Monday, 5 February 2018

Chertsey (contd)

Saturday, 3rd February 2018

Raining, but, not quite so cold.

We do the "Grandparent baby sitting" role, to allow Gary and Susana to do last minute shopping for party items, for Salma's second birthday party, planned for tomorrow.

A very enjoyable afternoon, although Salma steadfastly refuses to have her afternoon nap. Gabriel entertains us by practicing his guitar, particularly his rendition of "Happy Birth", which he plans to perform tomorrow at Salma's party.

An excellent meal in the evening, clearly, Gary gets his cooking skills from his mother, not me!

The final excitement is using Uber for a taxi  ride for the first time. A "conventional" taxi company wanted £70 to take us from Windsor to Chertsey (a distance of about 8 miles), an Uber driver did it for £29. Driver polite, car clean, driving safe. What more can you ask, I will use them again.

Sunday, 4th February 2018

Dry, but cold.

A quick lunch, then off to Maidenhead to set things up for Salma's Birthday Party.

The party is excellent, all of the children seem to enjoy themselves, just about all of the food is eaten, no-one is ill, or injured in the melee, and the parents have a good old chin wag, a resounding success.

Monday, 5th February 2018

The weather forecast says it may snow, we escape with just a few flakes drifting across the A1, as we drive home, but, it is very, very cold again.

We leave Chertsey C&CC site at 09:00, and have a totally uneventful drive home.

Friday, 2 February 2018


Thursday, 1st February 2018

Bright and sunny, but, bitterly cold. Like most Northerners, I suspect, I tend to believe the hype that we live in the frozen North, and it is so much more pleasant and mild in the South of England, I am beginning to dis-believe this myth!

We investigate the whereabouts of the Catholic Church, so, Kathleen's Sunday Mass requirements are organised, then make our way into Chertsey make our way to Windsor, via Staines, on the bus.

Today is our Grand-daughter, Salma's, second birthday, it is only a few weeks since we saw her, but, she is comming along in leaps and bounds.

Grandson Gabriel is at school, but, we have a pleasant evening when he comes home, from school, Grandad doing the homework duties, very enjoyable. I wonder how long before the homework is too difficult for me? Frightening how quickly they grow up!

Friday, 2nd February 2018

A dry and sunny morning, but, not very warm.

A little explore of Chertsey, looking for a cake shop (without success), before 11:00am coffee.

After lunch, a very pleasant stroll along the Thames, toward Staines.

On reflection, we should have got the bicycles out and cycled. 

Despite the fact we are inside the M25, and in the Greater London catchment, we are walking along a mixture of quiet road and Thames Path. 

This is a rather beautiful part of England, probably less than ten miles from Central London and perhaps three miles from
Heathrow Airport, but, with plenty of open spaces and probably more wildlife (squirrels, ducks, geese, woodpeckers) than we see on a typical walk at home.

It is a pity the houses are so eye-wateringly expensive!

My original idea is to walk to Staines (approximately 3.7 miles, along the River Thames from Chertsey), and catch the bus back. But, instead, we walk as far as Penton Lock, and then retrace our steps to Chertsey, to clock up 5 miles of walking.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Ferry Meadows and on to Chertsey

Tuesday, 30th January 2018

A bright and sunny day, temperatures about what one would expect, for January in the UK, ie 6-8C, altogether a very pleasant day.

Lazing about and reading books, or, Private Eye, in my case, until lunch time.

After lunch, the bicycles are unloaded. This will be our first bicycle ride for six weeks, due to combination of, poor weather, winter coughs and colds, post Christmas idleness.

Peterborough certainly appears to have excellent cycling infrastructure, we are able to ride from the campsite to the city centre (3 miles) on tarmac cycle track / shared path, without once going on the road.

In total we cycle approximately 9 miles, not bad for our first day back in the saddle after a six week break.

It is the first time I have ever been to Peterborough, I am pleasantly surprised, initial impressions are very favourable, the campsite is clean and well organised (as you would expect from the Caravan and Motorhome Club), the Nene Valley Country Park around the site, is well organised and attractive, and, the town centre is pleasant with a good selection of shops (if you like shops).

The site is large, and there are many activities available in the Nene Valley Country Park, so, I would suspect the site is popular with families, which in turn, probably means it is busy during School Holiday times, but, it is pleasantly quiet during our stay, just as we like it!

Wednesday, 31st January 2018

After yesterday, which was rather pleasant, weatherise, today is dull, and, it begins to rain just as I am in the middle of packing up (ie disconnection TV aerial, rolling up EHU cable etc.

We have a leisurely departure (10:00) and make our way the approximately 100 miles to Chertsey.

Despite the fairly constant rain, it is an easy run, even the M25 is moving at a steady speed, so, we arrive at Chertsey Camping and Caravan Club Site (N51 23'27" W0 29'21") before the 13:00 booking in time.

We have been to the Chertsey C&CC Site several times. For essentially a "city" site, (we are only a few miles from Central London), it is rather nice, but, being also just a few miles from Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, some aircraft noise is to be expected. Not enough to spoil our enjoyment, or keep us awake.

The weather brightens, with full sunshine for a while, but, by evening, it is very cold. 

Today is our Wedding Anniversary (31 years), after getting booked in and set up, we head to  the Kingfisher for a celebratory meal. Definitely a good choice, very pleasant surroundings, right by the River Thames, and a good choice of dishes, some unusual items and, some more traditional meals.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Ferry Meadows

Monday, 29th January 2018

We are booked in to Chertsey Camping and Caravan Club Site, from Wednesday, to visit son Gary, Susana, Gabriel and Salma (it being Salma's second birthday on Thursday 1st February)

The plan is to stay somewhere between home and Chertsey for a couple of days.

I have an inclination to head for the Lee Valley Dobbs Weir Site, it is right alongside what looks like good cycling, alongside the River Lee Navigation. I have seen several programs on TV, extolling the virtues of the Lee Valley Country Park and surrounding area.

An early start, light traffic and a lunch stop, with home made soup, provided by Kathleen's kitchen skills, everything is going well, we are south of Grantham, and on target to arrive at Lee Valley by about 16:30.

Ominously, we are overtaken by an ambulance, siren wailing and blue lights flashing, and we can see, that traffic coming to a halt up ahead. It is 14:00.

We spend the next two hours stationery on the A1, the only excitement being having to move over as far as possible, to allow two Police vehicles to reach the accident scene, and, occasional road traffic reports on the radio, telling us, there is a hold up on the A1 southbound, at Stamford. We already know that, we are sitting in it.

The traffic eventually begins to move at 16:00, and there is no sign of any incident, not even some roadside debris.

There is no way we are going to reach Lee Valley in daylight, so, Kathleen rings the nearest CAMC site, which happens to be Ferry Meadows CAMC site.

So, that is how we come to be just outside of Peterborough, clearly, we are not destined to visit Lee Valley, at least, not on this trip!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Colchester Holiday Park and Clumber Park, Worksop

Monday, 15th January 2018

We leave Colchester and head toward home, but, we have decided on a "stop-over" at Clumber Park Caravan and Motorhome Club Site.

A not very enjoyable drive of approximately 150 miles, most of which is in torrential rain.

Clumber Park Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, is about 20 miles south of Doncaster, so, would be a reasonable location for a short break from home, (for us) being within 2.5 - 3 hours drive, and Motorhome speeds. This provides an ideal opportunity to see if the site lives up to it's description, in the Campsite Book.

The site is fairly typical of Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, well organised, clean tidy, and, at £16/night, it is reasonably priced (for the UK).

 The only unusual thing is, there appears to be a security problem, there are signs at various points warning not to leave valuable in awnings, and, warning of bicycle theft. They even have a secure bicycle store, for use by members. Have not seen this at any other CAMC site, and, find it rather puzzling, since we are in the middle of nowhere, not even a mobile phone signal!

The grounds are certainly impressive, very extensive with walking and cycling opportunities, and, since we are National Trust Members (courtesy of brother Brian and sister-in-law Linda), we can enjoy the National Trust bits for free.

Clumber Park was once the Country Estate of the Dukes of Newcastle. Not sure what any of them ever did to deserve to own such a large Estate, clearly the "Honours List" is not a new Gravy Train.

The only downside is, it is rather remote, it is a little over a mile from the entrance gate to the site, I shudder to think how far it is to the nearest shop, so, a site to visit with the fridge and freezer stocked up!

On balance, I think we will be back, plenty of walking and cycling opportunities, two of our favourite pastimes.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018

The drive 140 mile home, with a strong wind blowing sleet and snow across the A1.

Home again, time to think where to go next! 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Colchester Holiday Park, 13/01/2018 - 14/01/2018

Saturday, 13th January 2018

Cloudy and cold, but, dry. For January, in the UK, that counts as good weather!

A "take it easy morning" reading and generally lying about.

A 5 mile walk after lunch, ending up in, a very busy, Colchester Town Centre. A little shopping, followed by a bus ride back to the van.

Sunday, 14th January 2018

Weather much the same as yesterday, cloudy, cold, but dry, perhaps, slightly milder than yesterday.

Sunday means Church for Kathleen, so, she is off to walk the mile or so to the nearest Catholic Church. I am instructed to meet her after Mass (12:00). This is described as being so that I do not have to "hang about" waiting for her, in the cold, if I walk to Church with her. But, I am wise enough to know that it is really to prevent me strolling around whilst she is in Church, and getting ahead of her on the Runkeeper miles.

We find yet another route back from the church, slightly longer at 1.8 miles (instead of 1.3 miles), but, more scenic and pleasant, since most of it is a dedicated cycle track / footpath, and more scenic than walking along the main road.

A pleasant Sunday Lunch (courtesy of Marks & Spencer, two dine for £10), and an afternoon of reading and relaxing.


Friday, 12 January 2018

Colchester Holiday Park, 11/01/2018 - 12/01/2018

Thursday, 11th January 2018

The weather forecast is wrong, it is raining, again!

Not to worry, today is "haircare day", so, nothing is going to happen this morning, before about 11:00am.

I busy myself washing last nights dinner dishes (yes, disgraceful, should have done it last night, I know), then, "play" on the internet, until the Kathleen's hair is declared to be satisfactory.

By 11:30, the rain has reduced to a slight drizzle, so, we walk into Colchester. 

Yesterday, when we booked in, the chap on reception told Kathleen that it was about 1.6 miles walk to Colchester City Centre, and that all of his "continental" visitors walked it, whilst most of his UK visitors took a taxi.

We presumably went wrong somewhere because, we arrive with a figure of 3 miles on our Runkeeper App.

Lunch in Colchester, then walk back, slightly shorter this time, giving us a total of 5.3 miles, for which, there is no sensible explanation!

Colchester seems to be a pleasant small town. The town centre has a number of narrow and quaint streets. There are a mix of old and new buildings, but, generally, the new have been built in a style which fits in with the old, giving a generally pleasing result.

There are a range of shops, but sadly(?) after walking three miles to get hear, Kathleen is not keen on walking around the shops, what a shame(?).

Friday 12th January 2018

Weather has brightened a little, not raining, even a brief period of sunshine, around lunch-time.

This site is not badly placed from a Motorhomers point of view, a short walk from the site (just over half a mile), brings you to Lexden Road, where there are several regular bus routes, which will take you to Colchester, Cheltenham, and various other places. There is also a railway station, with trains to London. The site itself is clean and tidy, and the Reception Staff friendly and helpful. The main down side is, it is located near two busy roads, and there is noticeable traffic noise. The site accepts ACSI discount card, making the price £18/night (two people, Motorhome/Caravan, EHU) reasonable by UK standards.

Since weekend is approaching, Kathleen's thoughts turn to how is she going to attend church. Google tells us there is a Catholic Church, about a mile away, with Mass on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. 

This morning we walk to find the church, not problem, it is about one mile away. On our return route, we pass an Aldi, and call in for milk and bread. As always, the "Aldi Special Buys" catch our attention, and we emerge with various extras, including an LED Torch, some "treats" (chocolate) and yet another door-mat. Expensive carton or milk and loaf of bread that was!

The bright weather returns, briefly, after lunch, so we manage to fit a walk exploring the available signposted walking routes, plenty of promise here for a future visit in better weather.