Saturday, 20 December 2014

Last trip 2014

Well we just had our last trip of the year to York, will have to see if we can get away a bit more next year.

York 14th to the 16th of December.

Day one, Sunday 14th Dec 2014

When we arrived, work was still on going changing the site but there wasn't much noise, in fact not much seemed to have changed in the last month. Anyway we got a good large pitch, set up and then set off into town.

I had been ill on Thursday night and wasn't feeling too good at all but I wasn't going to let that get in the way.  After a quick look around we got a pasty from Greggs for lunch and then we had a good look around the Christmas Market in Parliament Street.  After a while I needed to sit down for a bit, so I had a sit in Kings Square while Dot had a look around the Shambles.

A bit later we had to go for a proper sit down and went into the Cross Keys for a drink. The gents toilets are upstairs, not unusual but in these toilets, where three lads, sat on the window ledge, with their beers and smoking cigarettes by an open window.

St Austell (Nicholson's), Saint Nich's, England

Very strange, we only stopped in there long enough for a rest and then set off shopping again.

Eventually we made our way to the Postern Gate, where we had our tea, before heading back to the van for an early night.

Day two, Monday 15th Dec 2014

It was as late as the day before and after dinner when we eventually set off shopping.  We headed through the town to Morrisons on the inner ring road, where Dot wanted to get something for Christmas.  We also got some stamps in there, my god they cost an arm and a leg and then we headed back into the centre.

We did do all of the shops and I did feel slightly better than yesterday.

York in December

We even had to go to the post office for more stamps but it was very full, so we just left it, although we did post the ones with stamps on.

Latter on, as it was Monday it was half price meals in the Slug and Lettuce, so we headed there for tea.  Even though the meals were half price, the price of the beer is 40% more than the Kings Arms, just below.  So we headed there for a last drink before going back to the van.   The Kings seemed to be under new management and was practically empty, not seen it like this for many years now.  The beer was nice though.

Day three, Tuesday 16th Dec 2014

Well we had to be away fairly early, as Dot had to go and get a tooth out, but a phone call last night meant that we had to be away first thing. Emily was not feeling well and we had to rush home to look after her.

In the end she had tonsillitis but that is another story, so this is the end of our trips for another year, see you after Christmas in the new year.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Past trips UK, 2010 part three, Thirsk, Barnard Castle and York

Thirsk, 2nd to the 4th August

We were just looking for somewhere to take the girls during the summer holidays and Thirsk is very handy for us.

Day one Mon 2nd August

Thirsk Racecourse Caravan Club Site

Thirsk Racecourse Caravan Club Site
Thirsk, Yorkshire, YO7 1QL

We had our pop up tent with us, is it is very handy for keeping all of the twins toys in, saving lots of room in the van.

As soon as we were set up we did the short walk into the centre (well we did, the girls went on there scooters) and had fish and chips sat on the plinth under the clock. This was followed by ice creams.

From there we walked to the river (Cod Beck) and the children's play area only the girls liked playing on a large old rotting log instead.

Log Climbing

After that we walked along the river back into town, we did parts of the beck we hadn't done before. We managed to pass most of the day like this.


We went into Wetherspoons for tea and the girls were surprised when Nicole popped in on her way back from a meeting.

Day two Tues 3rd August

The bottom hinge on the habitation door broke, so I took the door off and went into town to find something to fix it, while the girls looked after the van.  There is a nice hardware store, where the staff were very helpful looking for a bolt and nuts the right size.

I didn't take long at all to fix the door back on and the girls were enjoying themselves playing with there pushchairs anyway.


After a late lunch we did some walking by the river again and took bread for the ducks this time.

Day three Wed 4th August

On the way home we took a detour and stopped off at Catterick to look in at the caravan shops there. We arrived just before the fish and chip shop closed and had chips with our sandwiches.

After lunch the girls played in the stream there, that's three days in a row playing in the water.

River Walk

Barnard Castle 14th to the 18th August

The new Caravan Club site at Barnard Castle had just opened so we booked in with the girls for a few days.

Teesdale Barnard Castle, Caravan Club Site

Teesdale Barnard Castle, Caravan Club Site
Lartington Lane, Barnard Castle, Durham DL12 9AZ.

Day one, Sat 14th August 

We were very disappointed to find that the children's play area wasn't complete but not as disappointed as the girls. The

Spent the day on site, we took some photos and the girls had a go with their cameras as well.

It was Saturday and the friend we usually see on Saturday came over to see us there.  Jonathan Lorraine and the boys arrived and we had a BBQ for tea and a few beers.

Day two, Sun 15th August 

Nicole and Tim came to visit, it was a surprise for the girls.   We all decided to walk into Barnard Castle for Sunday lunch.   This was the first time walking from the site although we did know Barnard Castle very well.   I though there might be a way from the site down into the valley and Deepdale wood but there isn't.  There is a footpath down just outside though, close to the back gate, a gate which also wasn't open yet.  

So we walked down the main road, there is no path, you have to walk on the narrow grass verge or step on and off the road as traffic permits (in 2013 it is still the same, a small path would be very useful and much safer).

At the bottom of the hill we used Deepdale Aqueduct to cross over the river Tees.

Then the long climb up to the the high street (its not that long but it is a bit steep).


It didn't take us long to find a pub serving Sunday dinners.

After lunch, we walked down the high street to the river a crossed over via Startforth footbridge, it was the first time we had used this bridge to cross the Tees (we have walked this way many times since).

Startforth Footbridge (1881)

Last time when we first discovered this bridge and tried to use it, we couldn't as it was closed for maintenance.

Startforth Footbridge (1881)

We then followed the river back to where we crossed on the way into town, here we decided to take the public footpath though Deepdale wood. We knew a public footpath came out just before the campsite, we just had to find it.

We looked all the way along but still managed to miss the path up to the campsite and walked almost to the Camping and Caravan Club site.  We turned back and found the path up the second time, it is not a very good path very muddy (in 2013 there had been a land slip on this path).  It is easier to walk up the road. 

Deepdale Wood

Day three, Mon 16th August

A lovely day, the girls had fishing nets with them, so we made a picnic and set off for a day by the river.

We crossed over Deepdale Aqueduct but instead of turning right into town, we turned left crossed a bridge over a small beck (Black Beck) and settled down on a patch of open ground with a small stony beach.

We spent the rest of the day there and the girls just played.

Day four, Tues 17th August

The girls made friends on the campsite and played all day, so dot and I had a relaxing resting day.

Day five, Wed 17th August

On the way home we pulled over near Darlington, at a play park we had seen on passing several times but never stopped at before. 

From the car park we also found a path down to the river Tees and a wear I didn't know existed.   So we ended up playing in the river again.

Wear on the Tees

The rest of the trips for 2010 would all be to York (York was and still is our first choice for a two or three day break).

York 26th to 28th September

Day one Sun 26th September

It was a usual first day in York, park up, sort out the TV, have lunch and then head into the city centre. Walk around the shops until it was time for a drink, then call into the Kings Arms for a few good beers and good crack (craic as the Irish say).

I was even given a bottle beer by someone who had bought the wrong beer, all in all a very good night.

Kings Arms

Day two Mon 27th September

Another day walking in the centre, followed by beers in the Hanson Cab and the Kings Arms.

Walking home I though I could take photos of the river in the dark again (I have been resisting this lately but beer does funny things to you mind).

York 10th to 13th October

Day one Sun 10th October

Settled in but gave lunch a miss, as we were meeting up with Nicole, Tim and the twins for food. We caught up with them in the centre and went into Bella Italia to eat.


I can not remember what but there was something wrong with the meal and we got money off, the food was good but I think they were just far too busy.

After our food as it was a lovely day, we all went for a walk through the centre and then along a section of the city walls.


At the end of the section of wall we had walked, we followed the river Foss back into the centre and the girls had a go on the bouncy trampoline things outside Fenwick's.

When the others left for home, Dot and I did something different, no we didn't, we went to the Kings for a couple of beers before supper.

Day two Mon 11th October

It was Josh's 21st birthday and we would be meeting up with the rest of the family for an Indian that evening (Josh it at University in York), so a walk was required to make room for all the extra calories we were going to have.

So after a light lunch we set off through Rowntree park towards the Millennium bridge and the river.   We sat on the bridge and took photos of passing narrowboats before walking back to the site along the river.


We were only out for about an hour and then went back to get ready for the night.  We set off into town early and had a walk around the shops before meeting up with the others in the Kings.  Dot and I were a bit early and it was very quiet in there.

The Kings Arms

We met up with the others and headed back over the river to the Indian, the food was very good (look at the size of that naan bread) and there was a cake for Josh.

We walked back to the car park with the others on the way back to the campsite.

Day three Tues 12th October

Another beautiful day spent in the centre, we discovered a little old church we hadn't noticed before. Holy Trinity was down a passageway between two shops.  You can see the Minster in the background.

Holy Trinity Church

Day four, Wed 13th October

On the way home we stopped off at Cod Beck reservoir for a picnic and walk (until writing these catch up blogs, I hadn't realised how many times we have done this).  But it is a nice walk.

Cod Beck Reservoir

York 22th to 24th November

Day one, Sun 22nd November

York yet again, set up and walked in the the centre via the city wall, anticlockwise to Monk Bar where we came down and headed in to the shops.  It was a cold wet miserably day so it was just over an hour before we made for the pub.

York Lights

First we had a couple of beers in the Kings before moving on to the Spoons, Postern Gate but the beer I got in there was foul.  So we just headed back to the van for supper.

Day two, Mon 23nd November

Guess what we did today, we walked around the walls the other way in the clockwise direction. Something we have done before, in fact you can see the whole wall tour here, although we only walked as far as Lendal Bridge today.

Wandered around the shops then made for the Kings for a drink.  Dot tried something different and had a Samuel Smith's, Pure Brewed Lager, well I got a photo anyway.

Samuel Smith's, Pure Brewed Lager, England

Day three, Tues 24nd November

Well we just drove home today and it is the last trip for this year, so that is 2010 complete.

The New Tyre

I drove the van down to the tyre shop for them to have a look at the tire and put it right. Well that didn't work, they found a leak all right but in the wheel and not the tyre, so I had to go and find a new wheel.

I spent a day on the net looking for a wheel but they were all too expensive.  So next day I phoned round the local scrap yards and got one local at a reasonable price.

I picked up the wheel and went back to the tyre shop, where they changed over the tyer on to the new wheel free of charge.

So a hole in a wheel coast me close to £100, a hole in a wheel, something I have never heard of before and I hope will never again.

York Nov 2014

Well its that time of year, the time when we spend time in York, a time that I really like.  The first visit of two before Christmas, this one and one just before Christmas week.

York 16th to the 18th of November.

Day one, Sunday 16th Nov 2014

Well I emptied the van for the trip, we didn't need much in there anyway. We took some food but there are plenty of shops close by if needed.

We had letters from the Caravan Club to say that they are altering the site at York and there was some noise from the workmen but not a lot. There was however some changes, York site was always a very strict, stick to the rules site, now you can park which ever way you want, very strange.

After we booked in we wandered into town and eventually the Kings Arms. Where we had a couple of beers before heading back to the van. Dot did have some trouble in there, with a woman who was sat opposite, who accused her of staring at her and her disabled husband. Poor woman, it must have been hard for her but no excuse to be impolite and poor Dot was just facing that way.

Day two, Monday 17th Nov 2014

After another long day in the shops but not really buying anything much, we decided to go for something to eat. We were going to go to a restaurant but as we were near the Spoons, we popped in there for some food and a beer, or two.

Kelham Island, Bud Ekins, England

We didn't stay out late and settled back into the van early.  As you may have noticed, I am still not tacking photos like I used to, I have to make the effort to get better at it.

Day three, Tuesday 18th Nov 2014 

Just before breakfast the power went off, not just to the van (as usual) but to the whole campsite. So we got ready and left for a visit to McArthur Glen, do do some shopping and get breakfast.

When we arrived I noticed that the new tier we had just got for the van was getting flat and pumped it up, while Dot went off to find some food.

After we had been shopping for about an hour, Dot started to feel unwell, I was feeling bad but thought it was just me.  So we gave up shopping and headed home but not before I pumped up the tier again.

Looks like it was the sandwiches we has for breakfast, Dot was really unwell for a couple of days. As for the tire, when we got home it was still going down, so I would have to take it back to the shop.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Bonfire Night 2014

As we have done for a few years, we booked into our local campsite, Stockton, for a couple of nights for Bonfire Night.  It saves messing with the traffic.

Stockton, White Water Park Caravan Club Site, 4th to the 5th November

Well the girls were off school and as we had them the day before Bonfire Night we booked onto the White Water Park Caravan Club Site at Stockton.  Nicole would pick the girls up after the fireworks on the 5th.

Day one, Tuesday 4th Nov 2014

As we had the girl the night before we just got the van ready and set off to Stockton. Booked in then pitched up on the grass near the entrance and toilets.

After the girls had played for a while we called them back and wandered off too ASDA to get some shopping (sweets and cake).

Day two, Wednesday 5th Nov 2014, Bonfire Night

The weather was better today, so we managed to get the girls out for a short walk. We did not get far, just around the white water park, where we watched the police practice river rescues.

Then we went for a drink in the The Talpore (I only had lemonade), where the girls played outside in the play garden.

Then over there

That evening there was only the four of us, so we walked over to the bridge with hundreds of others to watch the firework display.

Last night

Nicole waited until late before she came for the girls, then about half an hour after that Dot and me headed home. Dot was at work the next day and it made sense to head home now rather then wait until the morning.

The van handled rather badly on the way home and next day I found a rear tier down and knackered.

I had to get a new one, great news as they were fairly new.

Stratford day out to London

One day from our trip to Stratford on Avon, the day out to London.

Day four, Tuesday 21th Sep 2014

Well today is the day we are off to London, so it was up early to get ready and get over for the taxi at reception. The taxi was waiting for us when we arrived and we where soon at the station, very early but at least we were there. It was cold so we sat in the warmer reception and had a cup of tea, while we waited. The train arrived early and we didn't think it was ours, as it was on the wrong platform but in the end we got on anyway.

Stratford-upon-Avon Station Stratford-upon-Avon Station

It was rather a long journey and we set off in the wrong direction to start with, then towards the end of the ride, the train got to be very crowded. We did have seats together for the whole ride though.

Marylebone Station

In Marylebone Station station we headed down to the underground and hopped on a tube towards the river but we got off at Lester Square. We had all the tickets we needed for this trip (underground, bus and boat), that we had got from Tesco as part of their rewards scheme.

Nelson's Column Hahn/Cock

From Lester Square we walked along Whitehall towards the Palace of Westminster. The Mall was closed as some visitor had just gone off to Buckingham Palace but there was nothing left to see. We passed all of the posh places along the way, Horse Guards, 10 Downing Street, The Cenotaph, the Cabinet War Rooms, etc.

Entrance to Downing Street Downing Street

We eventually got to the Houses of Parliament, and had a look around from the outside, we also walked onto Westminster Bridge to take photos of it and also the London Eye. We then went back to opposite Houses of Parliament and got some food from a takeaway.

Palace of Westminster The London Eye

As we had tickets for the river boat, we wandered down to the ferry next to Westminster Bridge and got straight on.  Then it was off for a river trip.  There was quite a lot to see just from the river, there were even things I wasn't expecting.

Tattershall Castle (1934) Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast

When we got to Tower bride we continued on with the boat ride down to Greenwich, witch while it was good, we could probably have done without.  Although we did see stuff we would not have, we did wast a lot of time.  I got a photo of the mockup of the Globe Theatre, we had a lot to do with Shakespeare this week.

Cutty Sark (1869) The Globe Theatre, London

On the way back I did get photos of the many bridges over the Thames, as the sun was shining the right way, to get pictures from back of the boat.

Southwark Bridge 1921

By the time we got off the boat there wasn't a lot of time to get the bus for a look around. But we did that anyway. Unfortunately just after the beginning we had to change buses, as the one we were on was going off shift. The next but took ages before it set off and when it did we had to get off at Marble Arch and wander back to our train station.  It was very dark by now anyway.

We had a drink in a pub close to the train station then wandered over to catch the train back to Stratford.