Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Cambridge Folk Festival 26-31 Jul 17

The last one in the Festival season and off to Cherry Hinton Caravan Club site for 5 nights of hideously overpriced camping. Luckily, our favourite warden is still there and it was nice to meet up with friends who are there year after year.  As usual the site was full - it is booked up for this event more or less as soon as the booking season opens.

As for the festival itself - not as good as previous years and the horrible weather certainly didn't help. Will we go next year? Who knows.

Cherry Hinton before all the tents arrive

Nice to see this old model


Newark/Yorkshire 19-24 Jul 17

Another Festival, but this time taking in a couple of visits on the way to Yorkshire. Firstly, to Newark to meet up with Martin with his narrow boat. We found a site just outside Newark (Smeaton's Lakes) and, as we arrived, we were hit with an awful overpowering pong. Whether it was the River or the adjacent Sugar Beet plant we don't know but it was rank! We cycled along the excellent cycle path into Newark, found Martin, wandered into this rather nice old market town for a few beers, bought a new mug off the stall, had a nice dinner and then cycled back. It was an excellent evening, highlighted by that clumsy galoot falling off of his chair in the pub. As for the site - nice if you like fishing, but if you have a sensitive conk then maybe best avoided.

In the pouring rain we headed north again to the badlands of West Yorkshire, pitching up at the fantastic little Southedge Works Certified Location (with the adjacent pub), met up with our old friends for a lovely evening with fantastic people and then retired for a good night's kip in this most friendly of places. The beer is bloody good too!

On again to Cannon Hall Farm near Barnsley for Kate Rusby's Underneath the Stars Festival. What a super event this is. We abandoned our vehicle amongst all the others on a sloping field and enjoyed a few days of good music, good company and excellent food at this event. Cannon Hall Farm shop is pretty damn good too. The Rhubcello (Rhubarb liqueur) is to die for! The rain came down pretty heavily at one stage (it is the North after all) and we were worried that we may get bogged down, but luckily the ground held and we managed to get home muddy but safe.

Commons Wood 14-17 Jul 17

Two days after arriving home from our mega trip to France we headed up to Norfolk so that the dealer could exchange our corroding alloy wheels for some nice sparkly new ones. Whilst waiting for the work to be done we had a nice boat trip on Rollesby Broad and a rather good breakfast. Hopefully the new wheels are of better quality than the old ones. 
Rollesby Broad

Shiny new wheels
Two more days at home and then off again. We are currently spending more time in the van than we are in the house! This weekend it was our first visit to Commons Wood Caravan Club site in Welwyn Garden City as we were attending both the Battle Proms and the Folk by The Oak events at Hatfield House.
The site is accessed by a fairly narrow lane from the A1 and is a spacious, well laid out site next to a massive caravan storage compound. The very friendly and helpful wardens soon had us pitched up and we decided to suss out the lie of the land and walk into Welwyn GC. We were pretty unimpressed with the immediate environs although the centre was OK. We did find a very nice pub (The Beehive) on the way back though.
You can't beat a good breakfast

On Saturday we walked along the narrow lane with overgrown foliage overhanging the pavements to Hatfield house, bearing our seats and picnic for the proms, which were excellent, albeit it was disappointing that the spitfire couldn't fly because of the weather. It didn't stop the Red Devils though - good old Army. We caught the last (and expensive) bus back from Hatfield, the journey back being a blur as he slowed down to about 70mph a couple of times.

The Red Devils

Sunday it was a bus journey back to Hatfield to watch Folk by the Oak, another great event, and an expensive and even faster taxi back to the site. What is it with the drivers round here that they have to travel at breakneck speed!

Cruelty to Children - making them Morris Dance

Monday was sunny and warm, but we had to go home and pack for the next trip!

Monday, 24 July 2017

France May to Jul 17 - week 6 - 1 to 9 Jul 17

On Saturday we left Saumur and trundled just along the valley to discover the mushroom caves at Le Saut aux Loups, Montsoreau, before finding a nightstop at a camperstop in the very pleasant village of Azay-le-Rideau. The weather was still pretty bad, but we had a walk around the gardens as the impressive chateau was closed. It was interesting watching the French vans move around this sheltered aire, basically not giving a hoot where they abandoned their vehicles in order to get satellite reception. Obviously they are desperate to watch the French version of Rue de Coronation. All very sad......

Picking Shiitake Mushrooms

Château d'Azay-le-Rideau

Monsieur spent hours in various location desperately seeking satellite reception.

On Sunday we headed north back to Normandy and a nice campsite on the Seine in Les Andelys. It's always nice to drive in France on a Sunday when there are no lorries on the road. 

Impressive Richard the Lionheart Castle

On Monday we walked into Les Andelys new town and found lots of dogs poo, a nice church, and a rather unimpressive new town (as well as being closed on Monday). We were nearly wiped out by massive juggernauts speeding through the tiny street with an 18" wide pavement. Bastards. In the afternoon we wandered around the much prettier old town and climbed up to the Castle to admire the views.

On Tuesday we left Les Andlys and drove the short distance to Monet's garden at Giverny. There is a nice big parking aire where we could stay the night. It was a lovely warm to hot day, so we joined the long queue to buy tickets. We finally got to the front and were queue-jumped by the arrogant frog git of a "professional" tour guide and his party (with the obvious consent (backhander) of the ticket seller). Very frustrating and we let our feeling be known. Gardens were lovely, village lovely, lots of armed police and troops around again with concrete bollards at the end of roads where there were likely to be crowds. We went back to  the van but were instantly plagued by thousands of thunderflies as they cut the corn nearby. We moved on quickly and drove up to the Somme Estuary and the Fermes des Aulnes, an old favourite of ours. Shame really as we would have like to have stayed in Giverny, but the heat and the bugs were just unbearable

Monet's grave

Grave with 7 airmen from a crashed Lancaster

On Wednesday the weather was perfect so we spent the day just dossing around doing a bit of admin, swimming,  playing boules and rounded the day off with a delicious dinner in the campsite restaurant.

Blending in with the natives

On Thursday we had a lazy morning in the rain and thunderstorms, then drove the short distance to Cité Europe, completing some last minute shopping in what is a large but pretty useless Carrefour supermarket.

After a quiet night on the aire we crossed the channel, drove onto the M20 and were met by third world tarmac, huge potholes, rough roads and a massive travel holdup due to an accident. We also noticed a load of illegals breaking out of a Belgian lorry and disappearing into the Kent countryside looking very pleased with themselves. It was an awful journey, compounded by an awful bus ride to visit Mother-in-Law after parking at Kelseys Farm. Schoolgirls in Sarf-East Larndarn and, basically, screaming ferals. It's nice to be back.

The SatNag was a bit confused on the best route.

Good old English Traffic Jam

A good buy in Carrefour. Shitty flavoured crisps

Kelsey's Farm, Bexley

On Saturday we trundled across to West London to undertake the second phase of Mother visiting and, finally, early on Sunday morning (to beat the numpties on the road) we arrived home and the jungle that once was a neat garden.......