Tuesday, 3 October 2017

29/09/2017; St Neots C&CC Site

Friday, 29th September 2017

St Neots Camping and Caravan Club Site.

Overnight rain, but, although the weather forecast looks dismal, the day turns out quite pleasant.

We have a day trip to Cambridge, about 20 miles away. on the excellent X5 bus service.

Kathleen was suffering retail withdrawal symptoms, we have been away for two weeks, and, she has not been in a Marks and Spencer or a Next. This was rectified today, plus a visit to a Market in Cambridge. Kathleen has depleted her bank balance.

Saturday, 30th September 2017

Another beautiful autumn day. Cool, but, calm, sunny and blue skies.

Kathleen decides to play with the site washing machine/dryer, because the "washing bag" is full to overflowing.

We are "winding down" to going home, we manage to have, for perhaps the last time this summer, an hour of sitting outside in the sunshine.

Sunday, 1st October 2017

Overnight rain, and still raining steadily in the morning, according to the TV Weather forecast, this is the remnants of two recent hurricanes, which have made their way over the Atlantic to batter the UK. It is probably President Trump to blame, he seems to be responsible for just about everything unpleasant, according to the "Mainstream Media" and "Social Media".

Kathleen does her "Sunday duty" and visits the local Catholic Church, then, Sunday Lunch in the Bridge House, next to the river. The Bridge House is a pleasant place, good riverside location, etc, but, best to choose another place for your Sunday Lunch, in my humble opinion.

Monday, 2nd October 2017

The weather forecast says gale force winds, but, we wake to a sunny and calm day, however, as the day wears on and we head North towards home, the gale force winds make themselves felt.

An uneventful and mostly traffic free journey home, but, there is seldom a "clear run" on UK motorways, and true to form we do have a 15-20 minute hold up, south of Doncaster, do to a small accident.

Home again, everything in order.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

27/09/2017; St Neots C&CC Site

Wednesday, 27th September 2017

St Neots Camping and Caravan Club Site.

Dry buy cloudy start to the day, but, by 10:00, the sun is breaking through the cloud, and, BBC Weather promises 20C for later today.

Today, we have promised ourselves we will cycle to Grafham Water. According to various information I have found on the internet, the distance quoted from St Neots to Grafham Water is anything between 6 miles and 11 miles. I tell Kathleen it is seven miles.

I researched the route very carefully, so we do not get lost, not that Kathleen would complain, or create a fuss, you understand.

Most of the route follows a National Cycle Route (NCN 12). These routes, as I understand it, are supposed to be suitable for any type of bicycles, and all cyclists, including families with children.


I do read some critical comments about NCN 12 on the internet, but, I keep this information to myself, no point provoking grumbling in the ranks.

We leave St Neots on a well signposted, well surfaced cycle track, so far, so good. This continues as we cross over the A1, on a bridge, through the village of Hail Weston, on, through a ford (Kathleen uses the bridge), we have done about five miles, and, all tarmac, so far.

We come to a junction, which, I was expecting, from my route planning, where we join a gravel farm track. It is a little rutted, from heavy farm machinery, slight grumbling is heard.

Soon, we are back on a quiet tarmac lane.

But, it does not last for long, the signposting takes us off the tarmac lane and onto a rutted and overgrown farm track.

I have to admit, it is rather difficult going.

Grumbling level increases significantly.

Kathleen decides it is easier to walk than to attempt to negotiate the narrow gravel strip, avoiding the protruding large stones.

Eventually, we emerge onto a tarmac track again, and, soon we are at Grafham Water.

Approximately 8 miles from St Neots.

I suggest we cycle the 8-10 miles around Grafham Water, nothing doing, instead we cycle to the cafe/visitor centre and have refreshments. Fortunately, they sell Tunnocks Teacakes, a particular favourite of Kathleen's, almost, but, not quite a smile.

We cycle in the opposite direction, to what we assume is another cafe/visitor centre, but, it appears to be a "Water Adventure Centre", for school children, with no facilities for casual visitors, who left school some 55 years ago!

We retrace our route, to St Neots, 19.5 miles in total, not a bad little ride out, in my opinion.

Thursday, 28th September 2017.

Heavy rain, overnight, and a grey start to the day, but, 10:00 and the sun is breaking through the clouds.

After yesterday's cycle ride, today is more restful.

Aldi have their "Cycling Special Buys" today, so, we walk to the Aldi a short distance along the road and buy various items of cycling winter wear.

Next, a trip to Il Girasole, a rather nice Italian Restaurant, near the Market Square, in St Neots, where we have an excellent lunch, with too much food, and, if such a thing is possible, too much wine!

Somehow, despite the wine, we manage to cycle back to Aldi, to exchange one of Kathleen's items of cycling clothing for a bigger size.

Fortunately, the late afternoon is warm and sunny, so, we spend the rest of the afternoon lazing and snoozing in the sunshine. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

25/09/2017; Ashridge Farm Caravan Club Site and St Neots C&CC Site

Ashridge Farm Caravan Club Site

Looks as if we have used up all of the good weather here. Heavy rain overnight, which continues in the morning, I should have packed everything away last night, while it was dry!

The rain does eventually stop, but, it is, never-the-less a dull grey drive of approximately 25 miles to St Neots, Camping and Caravan Club Site, N52° 13.227' W0° 16.458'.

On our way to the campsite, my navigational assistant (Kathleen) failed to heed the warning in the Caravan Club instructions, to avoid driving through the village of Ashwell, because the roads were narrow and clogged with parked cars, and, so, we had a nail-biting trip through the village. The Navigational Assistant was fully alert this morning so, we avoided the village centre and headed for the Baldock Bypass.


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St Neots is a much larger site than Ashridge and is considerably nearer to a sizeable town (ie less than a mile walk via the shortest route, or about a mile via the scenic route along the River Great Ouse).

A stroll into town to explore, and establish the whereabouts of the Catholic Church, is about the sum total of our exertions.

Tuesday, 26th September 2017

A grey and misty start to the day, but, by 11:00 sunshine and cloud, and a pleasant 19C.

There is a cycle track, right at the entrance to the campsite, so, we set off to explore where it goes.

We soon find there is a network of cycle tracks, mostly well surfaced, but, we learn, not so well signposted! We have an OS Map of the area, but, even with the aid of the map, we do not know where we are, most of the time!

Lesson learned today, so much choice, leads to confusion, a detailed plan is required before we set off for Grafham Water (which is planned, so I am told).

We manage to cycle a little over 12 miles, without actually going anywhere!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

23/09/2017; Ashridge Farm Caravan Club Site (contd)

Saturday, 23rd September 2017

Cloudy start to the day, with the occasional light shower, sunshine by 10:30 which lasts for the rest of the day.

A (food) shopping trip to Baldock, for essential supplies. We have the same cheery bus driver as Wednesday, and, some of the same passengers.

In the afternoon, a stroll to the church in Ashwell, so Kathleen can check service times, for Sunday, note, Service Times, not Mass times, although the church has been here since before the Black Death, a couple of centuries later, it was the subject of a hostile takeover by Henry VIII, so, is now a Church of England establishment.

It would appear there is not a Catholic Church in practical travelling distance.

In addition to the "normal" streets and roads in the village, Ashwell is criss-crossed with public footpaths and byeways, one of which leads us to Ashwell Springs, from which, it would appear, Ashwell got it's name, and, which are the source of the River Cam, as in Cambridge.

Sunday, 24th September 2017

Another day of sunshine and blue sky, 20C by lunch time.

Sunday means church for Kathleen. There is no Catholic Church within practical travelling distance, so, she attends the C of E Church in Ashwell, of Black Death Graffiti fame, eat your heart out Henry VIII !

After a very pleasant Sunday Lunch, we go cycling, following a route suggested by the very helpful and friendly site warden. A brisk 12 - 13 miles in brilliant sunshine.


Friday, 22 September 2017

21/09/2017; Ashridge Farm Caravan Club Site (contd)

Thursday, 21st September 2017

A rather windy morning, although otherwise, mild and sunny, so, cycling does not seem like a good idea.

We decide to make use of the local bus service, and have a day in Letchworth (Garden City), not for any particular reason, simply because that is where the bus goes!

The bus journey is a pleasure, with a friendly bus driver who seems to know all of the passengers (except ourselves, of course), by their first names.

Letchworth Garden City, was one of the world's first "new towns", although the original villages on which it is based (Letchworth, Willian and Norton) appeared in the Doomsday Book, the new town was established based on the principles in a book by social reformer Ebenezer Howard, published in 1898, with construction beginning in 1903. It is a very pleasant place, I particularly liked the almost total absence of litter! However, it fails Kathleen's "retail therapy" test, she does not find any item of clothing to buy.

We manage a walk along part of the Icknield Way, in the early evening, before the rain comes!

Friday, 22nd September 2017

A beautiful day, clear blue sky, and, by lunch time, a very pleasant 21C.

The morning is spent cycling, toward Biggleswade, and then back to Ashwell, via the Mordens, a very enjoyable 16 mile circuit.

The afternoon is spent lazing in the sun, and watching the aircraft, including a couple of Spitfires, circling and rehearsing for the Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow, which is on tomorrow and Sunday. 

Late afternoon, and, all plans are disrupted. The boiler in the Amenity Block has broken down, so, no hot water. A Plumber is apparently going to arrive tomorrow, Saturday to (hopefully) fix it. Tomorrow was supposed to be the vital "hair care" day, no hot water means no hair washing etc etc

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Wednesday, 20th September 2017

Ashridge Farm Caravan Club Site (contd)

A cloudy, but dry and mild start to the day. 

Watching the news about the earthquake in Mexico, the third I think, in as many weeks, and, yet another category 5 hurricane heading for the islands of the Caribbean, our moans about the weather, just because it is a bit wet or a bit cold, are a rather pathetic, but, it is difficult to give up the habits of a lifetime!

After yesterday's strenuous cycling, I have been instructed to select a "gentle" route, for today.

Accordingly, I select a ride of ten miles, which is supposedly suitable for families with children in cycle trailers, with the destination being a coffee and cake shop. Sounds good.

We manage to find our way through the country lanes, no signposts in evidence, and, arrive at the coffee shop, only to find, it is closed on Wednesdays, and, today is, of course, Wednesday!

The going so far has been easy, I suspect the wind is behind us, and, there have been no significant hills.

Kathleen is full of enthusiasm, and, decides to plot a circular route back to Ashwell, using roads, which we guess will be quiet and relatively traffic free.

The road through Dunton and Eyeworth is the busiest, but, still acceptably quiet.

A rest in the church yard at Guilden Morden, just using a seat, not ready for a longer or more permanant stay
yet!, while we check the map, to ensure we are still heading in the right direction.

A stop for refreshments in Steeple Morden and the Waggon and Horses.

Finally, back to Ashwell, where we book a table at the Three Tuns, for our evening meal.

Just over 17 miles, and, we have actually covered three counties, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Cambridgeshire, so much for a "gentle" ten mile ride!

Evening meal, steak night in The Three Tuns, in Ashwell Village, excellent food, but, the acoustics leave something to be desired.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tuesday, 19th September 2017

Ashridge Farm Caravan Club Site (contd)

After torrential overnight rain, during which, of course, we were warm and dry in the van, Tuesday starts dry, cloudy, and decidedly cool (which is Englishman's speak for "bloody freezing").

A quick search on the internet, and I find a local cycle route, Baldock, Ashwell, Wallington Loop, which is classified as an easy 13 miles.

Well, using our OS Map, we follow the route meticulously, and, according to Runkeeper, it is 16.19 miles!

It is mostly quiet country lanes, and dedicated cycle track, with only one major road to cross.

The countryside around here is, how shall I say, undulating.

Kathleen's verdict is that she likes the down undulating bits, but is not so keen on the up undulating bits.

But, on her new bicycle, she does very well, with not a word of complaint, only being defeated by one hill.

Although there is some consternation, when we have covered nine miles, and still not reached Baldock, which, we believe, is only approximately four miles from Ashwell. 

Eventually, we reach Baldock, without incident, and have a productive time, finding the location of the Catholic Church and the Tesco Supermarket, before retiring for a pleasant light lunch in Dizi, a small cafe, with a good range of light meals, sandwiches and drinks.

A quick check of the map, and, I confidently predict we do not have far to go, I also notice that our route crosses lots of contours, which means hills, I omit to mention this bit of information.

If I have learned anything in my 69 years, it is, sometimes, it is wise to say nothing.

Up until lunch time, the weather was dry, but cloudy, but, eventually, by lunch time, we have glorious sunshine.

The route from Baldock is definitely shorter, but, it appears to us to be more hilly, perhaps it simply that our legs have peddled almost sixteen miles by now!

Outside of the campsite, there is a track, signposted Icknield Way, allegedly the oldest road in Britain. Kathleen even has enough energy to spare to explore for a mile or so, along the track.

The rest of the afternoon we spend lazing in the sun, until that is, the clouds roll in again, in late afternoon