Thursday, 19 October 2017

(Hashtag) Absolutely.Spolit.Rotten!

If the Met Office are to be believed it will be very wet tomorrow, and the day after that, and Sunday and Monday as well ... oh goody πŸ’¦πŸ˜•.  It made sense, therefore, to get out and ‘play’ a little today.   Although only our second proper trip out it doesn’t take much time to pack Bill with a few bits to eat and drink, and we set off down the coast to St Bees.

There was much cogitating when we got to the carpark - no large spaces for long vehicles and a big sign that says ‘no camping or overnighting’ but neither are there any height barriers to keep motorhomes and campervans out completely.  So we parked away from the more popular rows of spaces which are closest to the beach, bought a ticket and crossed our fingers (and subsequently decided life will be much easier if we go to more out-of-the-way places that don’t have white lines all over tarmac!) But I digress . . . What luxury to put the kettle on as soon as we arrived and have a coffee whilst deciding which path to walk :)

The tide was fully in and walking on the pebbly part of the beach is too much like hard work so we headed up the cliff path towards the golf course.  It was surprisingly warm and eventually Daisy had to lose her coat, but not before she’d run around like a mad, zoomy thing clearly enjoying the fresh air and sandy path beneath her feet.

Fairly dull, and the light was very flat, but still good to be out. 

She is less impressed with having her feet wiped before coming into the campervan!

We have decided that just because I can produce a “full English” in a tiny space doesn’t mean it is a good idea, so lunch was scrambled eggs with smoked trout for me and ham for Management.

Madam was MEANT to be eating proper dog food but she can be a bit of a Princess when we are out and not eat or drink .... which might be how she came to be sitting in MY seat drinking MY milk ...  ??hashtag Absolutely.Spolit.Rotten?   I know some people say you should not give milk to adult dogs - but Daisy adores anything dairy-related and it doesn’t give her an upset tummy.

And then it was time to come home and chill out some more.   Once in more familiar surroundings, Madam managed to devour a bowl of her favourite food at speed that would have impressed a labrador and has been curled up in her bed sleeping soundly ever since.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


Knowing how gutted I am to be missing Starcamp, Management offered to drive Bill this morning to take advantage of an hour or two of brightness.  It could also have been a ruse to distract me from the fact that I am at home and not in Northumberland but I don't care - it worked!

We only travelled a few miles and stopped in the National Trust carpark at Kettlewell, on the edge of Derwentwater.  A tiny little spot with room for less than 20 vehicles - but one heck of a view.

A not-too-muddy walk of about a mile each way to have a look at the Lodore Falls.  The view was much better than the photo :-)

Although not the best thing for blood sugar control, there are days when a pasty from Harrison's in Cockermouth is the only thing that will do - especially when it's been popped in the campervan oven for a few minutes and is piping hot!

This is someone being really silly eating biscuits whilst laying on our side!  (It is also a photographer who left a brand new camera on the wrong setting, hence the lack of focus - perhaps I should RTFM!)

This is someone being really sulky because Daddy won't share any of his pasty 😏

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

I ~know~ I should not grumble . . .

But I am having a hard time not grumbling incessantly inside my head.

We got off very lightly last night.  A silver birch in the Coppice has lost a small branch and half of the old tarpaulin covering our huge log pile is in a field somewhere.  It certainly is not at Bag End, or in any of the neighbours' gardens.  Its disintegration has left an unholy mess of small shreds which will take quite sometime to clear up, but in the great scheme of things ... bla bla bla.

Daisy was, as usual, scared of the wind and insisted on sleeping virtually on top of me.  Just what I needed - 23kg of comatose canine, she definitely got more sleep than me.  There is no avoiding the fact that a very, very hurty shoulder is a full-blown frozen shoulder and there is no way I can manage five days at Kielder Forest in the caravan.  We were due to go away tomorrow for the Autumn Starcamp but it's not going to happen.  I did suggest that Management went anyway, either taking my car and the caravan, or going in Bill, but he didn't really want to go without me.

Compared to thousands without power in Ireland, and fatalities, and all the other senseless happenings in the world right now I should not grumble.  However, knowing something and truly feeling it and believing it are two different things.  I look forward to the next Starcamp from the moment I get home from the last one.  The caravan was cleaned, food sorted, kit boxes ready to be packed; guess they are going back in their cupboard now  😞😞

Monday, 16 October 2017

Batten down the hatches

It's a bit of a glum start to the week at Bag End.

Driving Bill last Monday resulted in a sore left arm - we put that down to the fact that I've not driven a car with a manual gearbox for a couple of years, and even Management acknowledges the dash-mounted gear stick is in a slightly unusual place.  Things were not particularly bad, but not getting better, and on Friday I popped out to do some errands.  Must have lifted or carried a bag badly but from Friday night my left shoulder/upper arm has been hell.  Quite ironic really that the chronically painful right shoulder is behaving itself perfectly at present!  So it has not been a good weekend, with enough pain last night that for a brief and miserable moment this morning I considered a trip to A&E . . .

Fortunately once a healthy dose of painkillers kicked in the idea of spending half a day in an over-stretched Accident & Emergency department was shelved in favour of self-management😎    With the weather that is due in the next few hours it's not as if we were planning on doing anything much.

Over the weekend we moved anything which might get blown over and just have to cross our fingers that the 60mph wind which is forecast for this evening will not do too much damage.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


I was tired yesterday after our brunch at the beach but made the effort to get outside after lunch and cut all the lawns, makes such a difference and is the easiest way to pick up all those pesky leaves.

Bloomin' good job I did, because for once the Met Office told no fibs and we had high wind and driving rain all night; the lawn is no longer a leaf-free zone.   Although parts of the garden are clearly saturated outside it is a different story.  The photos are rubbish and have had to be mauled about.

At the bottom of the drive: fortunately we don't tend to use the end of the lane very often, the water gets to at least 20 - 25cm deep.

This is the lane which runs up the side of the garden.

And this is why I need a little culvert in the Coppice, there was a steady stream (couple of inches deep) of water flowing through into the manhole.

Not surprisingly, Daisy was thoroughly unimpressed that her morning toilet included a free shower. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Brunch with Bill [*] at the beach

After the slow start on Friday, we picked up the pace a little and put a few things into Bill over the weekend so we could go out for the first time.  Never ones to do anything by halves, my first proper drive of a six metre long big white van started with a journey to Workington, oh we know how to live!

First stop was almost too exciting to recount here - Poundstretcher for some storage tubs (sorry, mild note of silly sarcasm clearly brought on by being overcome with aforementioned excitement!)  Our lovely van has some huge cupboards and without a bit of organisation things are going to get lost at the back, possibly not to be seen again for weeks!  Management stayed in the van to ‘babysit’ and reported Madam.Was.Not.Impressed that I had walked off.

Then on to Solway Heaters to fill the LPG tank.  As we found Bill before her conversion was fully underway we had the opportunity to have an underslung gas tank fitted, rather than the more traditional gas locker with two heavy bottles.  Surprisingly our van came with nearly half a tank of gas (thank you, Devon Conversions!) but we wanted to start with a full tank to see how long it lasts.  The chap at Solway was so helpful showing me how to safely fill the tank without getting caught by gas blowback - I felt rather guilty that it only took 6 litres (at a huge cost of £3.72!) to fill up.  Picture nicked from their website.

Apart from the self-induced tension of driving our van through town there were two constants in the day - one is that the Met Office told fibs about the weather and two is that I took virtually no photos, and with one exception, the few I did take have gone straight to the trash bucket.

We then travelled half a mile down the road to Morrisons to fill up with diesel (another first, but a thank you to Devon Conversions because Bill came to us with at least half a tank of fuel) and a grocery top up.  Management and Daisy stayed in the campervan in ridiculous comfort whilst I pootled around with a shopping trolley.  There was chilling out (Management) and a lot of whining, complaining that Mummy had buggered off again and nose-art on the windows (clearly, not Management!)

With enough errands completed, normal people would have gone home.  If I was in the car I would have wanted to get back; I find this sort of shopping thoroughly tiring and after a couple of hours I have usually 'had enough' and need to bail out.  But thanks to Bill, we could stay out and play for a bit longer.

So off we went up the coast, parked in a favourite spot at Allonby and had a rather late but delicious "full English" for brunch.😊😊😊

Even though the weather was quite grotty and we got thoroughly damp and windswept when walking Daisy it was really lovely.  Management has commented before that there is something magical about being in the caravan that allows me to relax and it seems that the campervan is the same.  Although I knew we really 'ought' to go home and unpack the shopping I'd have been more than happy to put my feet up and study the inside of my eyelids for an hour or two . . . but that's for another day.

[*] Why "Bill"?

Well, for starters we've spent the last couple of years referring to our caravan as "the van".  Despite my attempts to associate a proper name to the Bailey (Rosie the Rimini ?) the name just has not taken and it is too late to try and change the habit now.  Unfortunately it also seems natural to refer to a panel van/campervan as "the van" and that's just too confusing, so a proper name HAD to be found, and quickly.

Bill is either called Bill because:

a)  I like alliteration and "Bill the Boxer" works - the base vehicle is a Peugeot Boxer.

b)  Peter Capaldi's last series as Dr Who proved that Bill is a thoroughly good name for a female companion . . .

You can make up your own mind as to whether (a) or (b) is the real reason!  Management is just not convinced, regardless of the explanation.  However, he did eventually come to refer to my Honda CR-V as "Hattie" so I am confident that he'll get to the same nomenclature page as me with "Bill"πŸ˜„ .

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A day on the drive

Apart from breaks to eat and walk Daisy, somehow we managed to spend all day on the drive.  The first hour or so was taken up with vehicular messing around - tyre pressures, windscreen fluid, rinsing out the big water tanks underneath the campervan . . .

. . . but what Management really wanted to do was see if the 'driveaway awning' that we bought to use on the caravan in winter would fit on the campervan which is what it is really designed to do.  It did πŸ˜€ so he was a happy chap but I forgot to take any pictures of it . . .

. . .  and then we "had" to fit it onto the caravan because neither of us could remember what tweaks we had decided we needed to make to create a good fit.

After lunch poor Management was kind/daft/long-suffering enough to ask "OK, what do you want to do next" and although it wasn't scheduled, I nominated removal of the large brick planter as the next thing I wanted to accomplish.  We had this built in April 2010:

In the intervening seven years I had never managed to plant it up - which should tell you something.  Right idea, wrong place, and it was time for it to go.

We had completely forgotten about the rather high water table.   It was back-breaking to dig out the heavy, sodden, clay soil which LP had filled the planter with (one of the many things he did to be 'helpful' one day when my back was turned ...) and I had never got round to replacing the soil with something which drained better.

By the time we'd cleared up we were cream-crackered, but it was a brilliant day and really good to get so much done.  

Friday, 6 October 2017


There is always a plan - but sometimes we don't stick to it.  I had hoped to spend today cleaning and tidying in our new baby but it did not happen.

There has been some cleaning, but the carpenter arrived this morning to fix up a couple of things in M's study which was far more distracting than expected, and after lunch a couple of motorhome-owing neighbours popped in to see our new baby and stayed far longer than expected.  By the time they left the sun had gone in and we were freezing cold - had not got far enough along in the campervan organising to have put the heating on  (d'uh?) - and tiredness from yesterday had caught up with me.

Looks like the roof could do with a bit of a clean, good job we've got some big ladders, ha ha.

It's going to be a very quiet night in front of the woodburner.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Hello, sweetie :-)

An early (for us) start and a lovely run along the A66 in near perfect conditions, blue sky and sunshine, puffy clouds and a gentle breeze.  Daisy is really not so sure, she will never love the car like Ollie did.

An appointment at Ferryhill, to collect the newest member of the family.

A thorough handover:

Followed by a late lunch.  Not the most picturesque location, but Scotch Corner was a convenient place to stop and enjoy our picnic lunch.

A couple of hours later, home safely.  Very happy and very tired.  More tomorrow πŸ˜ƒ