11 January – 11 February 2020
From the moment we landed in the UK we seemed to be in constant motion. We reacquainted ourselves with friends and family starting with with those in the South East. It was great to see them all but it took us some time to recover from our shock at the price of a pint!
We visited RoadPro in Daventry where we had Lithium batteries and an extra solar panel fitted as well as a re-wire so that our ongoing problem with individual batteries draining down at different rates should be fixed. As an added bonus we got to visit nearby Bletchley Park, something we had wanted to do for ages and well worth it.
We wanted to spend a couple of weeks testing our new system so took the opportunity to visit friends and family, try some Britstops (the closest thing the UK has to Aires), and check out a couple of places we’d always wanted to visit together – Bath and York. The drive to Bath took us through the South Downs National Park with its pretty villages and shocking house prices, and the Mendips.
Our campsite was only the second we had been on that had individual bathrooms – shower, sink & toilet – which was a bit of a treat, and was also only a bus-ride from Bath. We loved exploring the Roman Baths and our self-guided walking tour, Kate finally getting to see the places she had read about – Royal Crescent, the Assembly Rooms and Milsom Street in particular – all famous during the Regency Period so beloved of novelists such as Jane Austen. And of course we visited Bath’s smallest pub.
A leisurely and scenic couple of days driving – we were never going to take the short route – took us to York. The sun shone for a whole day and the very thought of our riverside campsite flooding seemed extraordinary. A short walk took into the York centre where we walked the walls, visited Jorvik and Clifford’s Tower (were we forked out for English Heritage membership), and had a couple of excellent lunches.
We sampled local brews in the city’s oldest pubs and discovered the rather trendy area of Bishophill with 2 excellent 1930’s Heritage street-corner pubs and possibly the best Indian we’ve had. Bizarrely the waiter’s cousin owns the Indian restaurant in Kate’s home town and did when we frequented it nearly 25 years ago. Small world.
We found some lovely wild-camping spots on our travels and saw some gorgeous scenery as we zig-zagged back and forth across the country, exploring the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District which neither of us were familiar with.
At one of our overnight spots we woke to find ourselves surrounded by hunting dogs which soon headed off onto the fells, for exercise, training or a hunt – we never quite worked it out. A succession of locals turned up to watch their progress.. The only fox we saw was wisely running in the opposite direction unseen by the hounds.
We tried a 5-star campsite in Lancashire intending to do some birdwatching but despite the facilities it was more set up for static caravans and families and the weather was foul so we left in short order. Instead we headed nearer to home, celebrated our anniversary with a fantastic Chinese banquet at Chows in Parkgate – never disappoints – and caught up with Daryl & Rachel in Halsall having our first night in a ‘real’ bed in 9 months. Next morning real British bacon on soft baps were a real treat for us – some things you just can’t get abroad.
Then it was down to the weird task of emptying out the motorhome into our storage unit before we hand it over for a month. It is amazing how much ‘stuff’ we have accumulated and we hoped that we would remember where everything went.
We drove down to Kate’s brother’s – conveniently close to our dealer – and stayed a couple of nights having a lovely catch-up and enjoying the luxury of a bath before dropping off the van for 3-weeks of body-work, repairing the damage caused by the stop sign in Greece last summer. All our clothes for the next month were now packed in our only other vehicle, an old MX5 that belonged to Kate’s dad which we keep in storage when we are away. It felt really odd saying goodbye to our home and driving off for a month without her .