Friday, 23 April 2021

Home again, home again jiggety jig

I have a "long week" booked at my favourite campsite in May. Granted it's in Scotland and there is still a chance that I won't be able to travel over the border but optimism rules . . . However, alongside optimism comes caution and as it is well over a year since I had been away in the campervan we had the idea for me to do a couple of nights somewhere less rural in case anything did not work, or I had forgotten something vital.

I feel a bit of a fraud - I stayed at CMC site in Southport and nothing broke, nothing went wrong and I did not forget a single thing. The trip ended up being three nights to give me two complete days on the coast, one of which was spent at Crosby because I wanted to see the Antony Gormley sculptures. Tip: park at the north end of the beach because it is much, much quieter and walk down towards Liverpool if you want to see it all. I arrived a few minutes after low tide when the entire installation was exposed and stayed until high tide having watched them all disappear.  All art is subjective, modern art possibly more;  I found it interesting and disappointing in equal measure.

The second full day was spent at RSPB Marshside but sadly I don't think I got to enjoy the full potential of the site. Whilst driving down on Sunday I listened to a Professor of (Something Relevant) on Radio 4 talking about the "risks" of opening up outdoor venues and she said there was no known case of Covid transmission in an outdoor setting. So I cannot see the logic of the RSPB keeping hides closed, although I am probably just grumpy because I still haven't seen the avocet who are 'supposed' to be easy to see in this area.

I took a long, slow route home via Lytham and Blackpool to join up a couple of sections which Bill and I had not driven and have now concluded that the North West section of the English coast is DONE. I know I missed the docks area of Barrow but I'll do that whenever I decide to visit large islands, and I have made an executive decision to ignore the Wirral so my next trip south will start from Prestatyn.

It was so lovely to be away in the van again, I knew I had missed it but sometimes it is not until you return to something you can really see how much of a hole the absence had made.

Our internet connection is off  more than on at present, PlusNet have no idea what the problem is and it's taken two full days to upload this blog which has been frustrating and wasted a heck of a lot of time. If I don't respond to comments, sorry but at least you know why.

Sunday, 18 April 2021


It has been a long time, far far too long, since I went away in the campervan. 2019 to be precise. Yes I could have had a trip last summer between lockdowns (and many people did) but for me it was not the right thing to do. It will be a long time before I forget a day out in the car last summer when I drove around the Newlands Valley and Honister areas and found them absolutely rammed - chock full of people, badly parked cars and litter - and it wasn't even a Bank Holiday weekend. Van trips are about getting away from the masses and being quiet and it did not feel as if that was going to be possible, so rightly or wrongly I stayed at home.

Today that all changes. Since the beginning of the year Bill has been treated to an MOT, a Habitation Service, a full valet and more recently, four new tyres. And by the time you read this I will be heading down the M6 for three nights of bird watching and bugger-all-else.

Slightly apprehensive, not about the Covid situation but about how much I will have forgotten! Looking at other blogs I see I am not the only one taking smallish "toe-dipping" trips before embarking on a longer journey.

Wish us luck 😊

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Spring Clean - two weeks later

Ooops - where did that last 14 days go? Despite being in lockdown we have been so busy (weather permitting) that some nights it's been almost too much to fix supper before collapsing. Not that I am complaining mind . . .

The weather has sometimes been very co-operative and much of the time been a right pain - bitterly cold winds during the day making it impossible for Management to get my bench sanded, primed and painted as fast as either of us would like, and below freezing most nights so we are playing the "fleece on, fleece off" dance most days. Yesterday he was able to put on the second coat of a bright coloured Cuprinol I had left over from last year and my ta da moment is:

Of course the gorgeous seaside blue bench now makes all the other paintwork look tired and faded, but it will bloomin' well have to stay like that for a while. The only remaining job in the greenhouse is to put gravel down on the path having finally taken up the old bark chip which had rotted down and become beautiful compost.

I had a completely mental day last week when I woke up absolutely determined that the mulch pile on the drive was being relocated.

This is bucket number 121:

The other 120 are here

with the previously filled 58 pots waiting to do good things to the soil in the Coppice.

Whilst he has been painting I have been sowing seeds and working my way round other parts of the garden, particularly the nursery area which has had a big overhaul. The metal feed bin has been in many different places over the years, most recently on the driveway which I hated, but it is now tucked neatly at the end of the nursery and already proving invaluable storage for large tubs and planters.

All the lawns have had their first cut. My ‘cunning plan’ to convert most of the grass to wildflower meadow and let Yellow Rattle colonise the areas is starting to pay dividends because there was surprising little to cut, relative to the time of year and fact it’s the first cut of the season.

We finally made the decision that the large obelisks were now surplus to requirements. Originally bought to give some height to a very new garden, ten years of Cumbrian weather had not done them any favours and in truth, they were in the way and not adding anything to the planting. They are now kindling after Management dismantled them and I had a couple of hours with the chop saw. It felt sad to do this, BUT, they were not expensive, they were a decade old and starting to rot, and did not owe us anything.

I'm trying to clear up the rubbish which continually builds up around the back of the log store so we have emptied what was meant to be a "temporary" extension - about 7 years ago, and will dismantle it soon, and a neighbour was happy to take all the brown mesh which used to live on the big clematis-covered canopy (before we took that down).

There has also been a lovely amount of campervan fettling, and with the easing of lockdown there is soon to be some actual campervan travelling!