Thursday 14th May (Day 63 of 236)
Another day off, but as seems to be our luck at the moment, another not so nice day with the forecast threatening rain at several points, temperatures in single figures and another stiff breeze blowing. The Site may be in a great location but it seems that it is the more Southerly areas of the UK that are having the best of the weather, we both agreed that our choice for next seasons location will be a lot further South !!
However, we needed to get off site for a little while and so we just had to try to think of a place to go. Now, I have to confess at having been taken with these new ‘Inflatable’ Awnings and I have been researching the different makes and models available. There have been a few of our ‘customers’ with such awnings and I have taken every opportunity to both go and take a look as well as chatting with the owners on the advantages and disadvantages of these, over the more traditional ‘rigid pole’ designs. Although I may have been
moaning commenting recently on the strong winds it has certainly enabled me to see just how well they stand up, compared to the more traditional ones, and I have to say that they are comparative. The biggest advantage of the inflatable awnings is the ‘weight’ factor, with no ‘poles’ even the largest ‘inflatable’ comes in at just 24Kg. I have no intention of purchasing a ‘Traditional’ awning, already been there and done that on a previous Motorhome, the ‘Windblocker’ we currently have would not withstand the conditions we have been experiencing so it has so far stayed in its storage bag. Being on site for eight months an extra bit of living space is a real bonus which is why I have been interested in perhaps investing in something a lot hardier than the ‘Windblocker’. So that is rather a long-winded explanation for the choice of destination for the day’s outing, ‘Borders Camping’ showroom at ‘Jedburgh’ just a one hour drive away.
The Camping accessory showroom was in a small unit just on the outskirts of the town, ‘Snoopy’ guided us to the front door. I was looking at a particular model, the ‘Kampa Air Ace’ which fits vans up to 2.5 metres tall, the awning itself is 4 metres wide and 3 metres depth which is quite spacious. It all looked pretty good, the lady sales assistant explained and demonstrated the ‘inflation’ and ‘deflation’ process, very simple and very quick. I have to say that I was quite taken with it but there were two ‘downsides’. These awnings are not made for extended periods of use e.g. Permanently erected for eight months and for Motorhomers, dependent on the position of the habitation door, the internal ‘air tubes’ are quite large and could prevent the door from opening properly. I studied it for some time, trying to imagine where our door would be in relation to the ‘air tubes’ I was looking at, I estimated that as my roll out awning was 4.5 metres this would give me some manoeuvrability so the door issue would not be a major problem. To be honest I think that I could quite easily have bought it there and then, however, the look on Shazza’s face was telling me that she was not convinced, there were certainly no excited or approving ‘Ooohs and Aaahs‘ coming from her direction, which spoke volumes on its own, but thrown in for good measure were several of those “What If” questions and “What About” scenarios, which I immediately knew was ‘women speak‘ for “I don’t like it“, my wallet stayed well and truly in my pocket and we left the showroom, one of us feeling ‘deflated‘ the other ‘elated‘ !!
We had never heard of ‘Jedburgh‘ before today, so yet again, neither of us had any expectations of what, if anything, there was to see there, but we decided to go and look anyway, well it would have been silly not to have taken a wee peek at it having driven all this way. Once again, car parking was completely free of charge in the large central car park. Seeing the number of French, Dutch and German Motorhomes already parked up, that suggested that perhaps ‘Jedburgh’ was a tourist attraction so we needed to go and explore, however, it was now lunchtime and as Shazza’s had prepared us a nice picnic lunch, Sandwiches, Chicken Wings, Pork Pie and a Scotch Egg, and I had made a flask of coffee, we decided to eat lunch first before burning some calories and shoe leather !!
Suitably fed and watered we headed in the general direction of the town centre, however, we soon saw our first diversion, the rather large and imposing ruins of what used to be ‘Jedburgh Abbey’. We walked around the metal railings until we came to the entrance but the Information Board reflected an Admission Fee of £5.50 (each). We considered it for the briefest of moments but then decided that £11 to walk around ruins would not be money well spent, especially as we could see it quite well from outside the railings for ‘free’, so we turned back and took a couple of photographs and headed back towards the town.
We saw a tourist sign that pointed in one direction to a ‘Jail‘ and in another direction to ‘Mary Queen of Scots House‘. As the ‘Jail’ was up a rather steep hill, and as we were feeling relatively refreshed after our picnic lunch, we decided to do the hill climb first. At the top of the hill we arrived at the rather impressive entrance drive and the even more impressive Information Board which showed that Admission to Jail was ‘Free’ !!
This really had been a good tour, quite interesting to read some of the Information Boards dotted around as you walked through the different areas, seemed appropriate that a thief who stole a cask of beer should serve time behind bars !! We left a small donation in the box as we left and added our names in the ‘Visitors Book’.
It was a good decision to have done the hill walk first, the next port of call was downhill to ‘Mary Queen of Scots House’. To get there, we walked along the narrow single main shopping street, the number of ‘Tourist Tat’ shops confirming that this place drew lots of Summer Visitors, funny old thing but we managed to restrain ourselves, however, I couldn’t help but take a photo of the name of this particular hotel as we passed by it …….
We found our way to the entrance of ‘The House’ and once again the walk was worth the effort as Admission was once again ‘Free’, We really like that word !! I have to confess that the outside of the house looked interesting, enough to entice one inside, however, it was initially a little disappointing inside, but reading the information boards as we walked in and out of the rooms told ‘her’ story and so it was quite good in the end.
We had spent a good few ‘unscheduled’ hours in Jedburgh but as it turned out, another mystery tour ended up being a nice day out. On our way back we took a short detour to ‘Kelso’, another small town, but this was not really that interesting so we followed signs to ‘Riverbank Walk’, parked in the very convenient car park, at the riverside, and went for a walk. Now there just happened to be a conveniently parked ice cream van, we looked at each other, smiled and nodded, no words needed. We walked along the riverbank eating our ’99’ ice cream cones as we went, well it would have been rude not to, wouldn’t it now !!