Nerdfest 2015 – The Journey Home

Sunday morning, breakfast over, bog and tanks emptied and filled then off. We could have spent the morning hanging about and putting it off but Cath wanted to see Lyme Regis and I wanted Halfords to get some gear oil due to an annoying leak.

Lyme Regis, pretty little, very busy, seaside resort with a lovely working harbour as opposed to a marina. We had a walk down the cliffs and along the beach then out past the harbour onto the harbour wall. Apparently some of Jane Austens ‘Persuasion’ was set there so Cath re-enacted falling off some steps! Fish and chipson a busy beach and a walk through the town and off we went again through Winchester for food, fuel and oil then to Burley in the New Forest.

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

New Forest, nowhere to overnight except in proper sites

New Forest, nowhere to overnight except in proper sites

We couldn’t find a wild camping spot, probably because we are too chicken to just park up, especially when the signs state we can’t so onto the satnav and see what is available. It has been a good 20 years since I was at Salisbury Plain so we set a route and found a parking spot just next to Porton Down, a place called Figsbury Ring. There were MOD No Entry signs all around and to be honest I wouldn’t want to go in there.

The next morning with no real plan except to head north we skirted round Salisbury then went on to the plain with the intention of getting a picture on a tank crossing.

 

 

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Flykillers Tank.....crossing!

Flykillers Tank…..crossing!

Still at a loss on where to go we headed north until we came across Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace of the beard or should that be bard? Who knows? I just know his tomes were forced on me when a student and I could never see the attraction – it’s not really english anymore.image

Shakespeares birthplace.

Shakespeares birthplace.

A quick pint in the oldest pub in Stratford and northwards again – we just kept driving eventually finding a spot just north of Matlock Bath in the Peaks. It was dark and raining by now but Matlock Bath had their own illuminations above the river Derwent which gave the town a real holiday feel. We went back in the morning and it daylight it was a lovely little town with pubs, restaurants and amusement arcades all along the main street which runs next to the river. There is also a cable car going to a hilltop known as the Heights of Abraham, named after a battle fought in Canada.

View from the cable car

View from the cable car

Up on the Heights we had a good look round the displays and garden and had a tour through a cave. It seems that it was run as a lead mining business but some entrepreneur decided he could coax the rich Victorian visitors to the baths (Matlock Bath!) up the hill to see his attractions, all at the cost of the local business and workers – it is true that history just repeats itself but that is progress. Another quick pint then on to Bakewell where we sampled the local tart (!) which is known as a pudding and eventually found a quiet road up on Longstone Edge to spend our last night away. A wet and windy night we woke up to a beautiful view then buggered off home via Lancaster to visit son number 1 who is hard at work in Lancs Uni. Good lad!

Longstone Edge

Longstone Edge

Nerdfest 2015 – Part 2, Dorset

So on the Thursday morning after breakfast we nipped into Glastonbury itself and had a good look around the high street. It is basically full of shops selling……well, hippy stuff really. Any fragrance of joss stick you could want, weird clothes, stuff about witchcraft and all manner of health foods and along with this you could see a spiritualist, have your palm read, get a tarot reading or attend workshops about all of the above. I nearly swapped the Tank but decided the colour didn’t suit me…….

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We sat outside the George and Pilgrim a really old pub at the bottom of the high street watching the people go by and playing a game of resident/non-resident which, surprisingly involved guessing if people were local or not. To be honest, most of the time it was really easy as it seems that since the 60’s/70’s people have turned up and never left and bright clothing, ponytails and long beards (plus patchouli oil) seem to be the town uniform whether you are 20 or 60. It is a really interesting place and we would have like to spend longer there but needed to get to Eype in Dorset – the main reason we travelled down here.

Highland End campsite is at Eype on the Dorset coast just above West Bay. This is where Broadchurch was filmed and is a beautiful place, certainly when we were there as the weather was unseasonably hot and sunny!

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David Tennant's house

David Tennant’s house

Over the Thursday to Saturday 60 Classic Hymers appeared at the site and we had a great time showing off our van, looking at others, meeting new people, getting drunk with them, sharing knowledge and experience and being given tutorials in fridge maintenance and blind tensioning – exciting eh? We thought the Tank was an average sized van but it seems it is tiny when compared with some/most of the other models! The daddy of them all is the S700 which is basically huge. Built like a 70’s porn set it was only made for two and really gives meaning to the word motorhome!

Hymer heaven (for us nerds)

Hymer heaven (for us nerds)

The Daddy

The Daddy

The Bridge in the S900

The Bridge in the S900

On the Saturday evening we all got depressed watching England lose in the RWC (apart from Martin, Andrea and Steve, trust us to make friends with the only Welsh in the village) but made up for it by drinking too much again and just having a really good laugh!. That was it, the following morning afterbreakfast we left to start the long journey home. I’ll bore you with that in Part 3!!!!

Nerdfest 2015

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to classic Hymers (as is Cath now too) and we are both members of a Facebook group dedicated to the Tank and his extended family. Earlier on this year they had a ‘meet’ where a few owners got together to show off their vans. The guys who run the site decided to have a ‘mini-meet’ at Dorset last week but when they advertised it the interest was such that they had to turn people away after 60 owners had bought pitches.

We got in early with our booking and decided, as it was so far away, to make a weeks holiday out of it so at the end of September we finished work at 3pm, packed the van and drove off making it as far as Cheltenham before I started falling asleep and parked up at the top of Nottingham Hill after negotiating a very thin road. Waking up early the next morning we had brekkie then drove to a park and ride outside Bath a couple of hours away.

What a nice little city, beautiful architecture, nice pubs and glorious weather. Cath bought herself and England shirt with a view to the disappointment to follow that weekend and then bought me a Quins shirt……she knows how to please me!

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The scene of many a famous Quins win!

The scene of many a famous Quins win!

Then back to the Tank and a drive down to Glastonbury and just got up to the Tor at sunset.

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The Tor at Sunset

A Weekend Away with The Kids

Not mine I hasten to add – they are all someone elses! A couple of us have changed/are changing shifts so instead of the usual leaving do we decided on a quick camping trip for the weekend and a fair few people turned out. 90% of them are far younger than me and refer to me as Dad then take the p**s out of the Tank. This weekend though they were all jealous!

Ignore the mug - it's from Blackburn!

Ignore the mug – it’s from Blackburn!

We spent the first night away just down the road from my Mum and Dad’s house in Portinscale so went visiting first then popped into The Farmers Arms for a pint. It’s a long time since I was there and it has changed completely. It used to be a proper village pub full of locals but seems to be a bit of a gastropub now. Progress I suppose but still a nice place.

The next morning after an early start we headed for Park Foot camping site on the shores of Ullswater but on the way kept getting nasty gusts coming from the sink and waste water tank so we decided to stop off at Rheged (not really on the way) to get some coke which seems to do the trick usually.

Anyway, once there I pulled up in one of the pump bays and turned the engine off. The bugger wouldn’t start again and after a bit of mucking about with connections, wires and batteries decided it must be the starter motor – ‘hit it with a hammer’ my mechanic friend said so I did, no joy. Well at least I now had the chance to test out my recovery company which I get through my insurers, AIB. It was very cheap so I was interested to see how they fared and was really pleased.

A friendly guy from a local garage turned up and after a few tests decide to hit the starter motor with a hammer, no joy. He recommended we push start it (on a hill) and then drive home. I explained our predicament and he kindly said he would complete the paperwork as a flat battery, towed us to a hill and I rolled off, started the engine and went on to our campsite. Once some tugger and his caravan got out of the way I eventually parked up near our colleagues and turned the engine off, knowing it may or (more likely) may not start again.

Early stages - later to resemble a poor mans festival site!

Early stages – later to resemble a poor mans festival site!

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BBQ on the go

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Cheating at Rounders – Girls vs Boys

A really fun and enjoyable afternoon of rounders and drinking followed by a BBQ, more drinking, more rounders, touch rugby and some drinking in front of the fire.

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The joy of having the Tank now paid dividends as it was freezing and while everyone else went to their cold sleeping bags in cold, dark tents we got in our nice warm van and had a lovely nights sleep only disturbed by everyone else getting up really early as they were cold. Planning to get them to give me a push start I wandered off to the facilities without mentioning it and by the time I came back they had all gone….bugger!

So I had to call recovery again and a different chap turned up. After prodding around and doing a few tests he decided to hit the starter motor with a hammer, no joy. A quick tow off the field, push start and off we toddled, straight to the garage where I’m sure, after hitting it a few times, they will change the starter motor!

It Beats Working!

As we have no major trip away in the Tank planned for this year, we decided we would do as many small trips as we could, certainly throughout the summer. We could also take the opportunity of seeing more of Cumbria as we have been here some time but many places still elude us.

Last week we stayed a couple of nights at Coniston, we've been before – last year in fact, but there is a nice wildcamping i.e. free, spot with good walks around it. We also finally got to try out my hammock which Alex, my daughter, gave to me last year. It was about time!

 

This week we have a leaving do to go to in Cockermouth so have come out early and parked up, again for free, at Portinscale. Due to the inevitable rain we spent the morning window shopping in Keswick and had a pub lunch in the Dog and Gun (Cath recommends the goulash!). It then cleared up so we popped on the bikes and had an easy ride around Derwentwater – windy but warm!

 

 

Now it's time for a shower, beer and dinner. Goodbye!

 

What Have We been Doing?


 

It has been a very long time since I have put any entries on this blog although I always remember I need to do it, I just don’t get around to it. Anyway, what have we been doing?

 

First off I had to fix a leak, a big leak, in the van

It was a really big leak which meant taking the window out, all the inside stripped off and dried then the wood, wallpaper and paint replaced. The dash also had to be replaced so we put new speakers and an amp in (why not?) and, just for the hell of it replaced all the carpets.

 

 

Having done all that and got Christmas out of the way we have been skiing at Glencoe a few times,

Last month we went to Barbados, without the Tank. It is an absolutely fantastic place, so relaxing and the beaches are just beautiful.

There is really too much to put on here and I should have been updating this as I went. I didn’t unfortunately but will endeavour to do so in the future. Having said all that we’ve nothing planned for the near future, just trips away on our rest days and basically fettling the van. Keeping an old heap a classic motorhome going is not cheap and quite time consuming but well worth it in my opinion.

We’ve been out for our last few rest days and I’ll put some photos on soon…..I hope!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Itching to Get Out!

Since my last post we’ve only managed to get out a couple of times and even then only for local overnight stops but it is handy living where we do as beautiful countryside and coasts are just on our doorstep.

A few weeks ago we wanted to take the dogs for a good walk so thought we would make the most of it and give the Tank a run out and overnighter at the same time – spoilt for choice on where to go but took one of the easiest local options and popped down to Drigg Beach on a nice sunny evening. After a good long walk we settled in with a bottle of wine and a good book. I even fired up the satellite dish to watch a bit of TV and that is the first time we have used it in a year.

That's the sun not Sellafield

That’s the sun not Sellafield!

That's Sellafield, not the woman, that's Cath1

That’s Sellafield, not the woman, that’s Cath!

Black Combe in the distance.

Black Combe in the distance.

The next morning was a bit windy and overcast but still warm….ish and we had a long walk along the dunes where a couple of WW2 pillboxes are still standing but being slowly engulfed by the dunes.

Still standing!

Still standing!

Still mostly standing...

Still mostly standing…

Mostly standing underground!

Mostly standing underground!

Last week our eldest son Conor wanted us to post him some stuff – he’s down at Uni in Lancaster. Rather than post it we thought we would deliver it in person so went down for another overnighter. There aren’t many dodgy parts of Lancaster but according to Conor he lives in one so we didn’t fancy parking around his house and disappeared along the road for a few miles to Glasson Dock. We’ve stayed here before and found everyone to be very friendly so it was no hardship to return. There are two pubs and this time we stayed at ‘The Vic’ in the car park, they even have EHU if you need it. We were the only customers so got quite special treatment from the Italian chef (sorry forgot his name) who sat down with us and explained how he approaches his work. He doesn’t see himself so much as a chef but more of an entrepreneur of the food service industry – nice bloke and was feeding beef to our dogs which we never do, they liked him too!

Glasson and The Vic (that's the Tank in the car park)

Glasson and The Vic (that’s the Tank in the car park)

Not sure what is next – we were supposed to go out this week but with the current gales have decided to give it a miss!!