Well Worth Every Mile !!

Tuesday 1st September (Day 173 of 236)

So, with another month now completed, we find ourselves with just 63 days of this seasons contract remaining, although it sounds even less if you refer to it as only two more months, but for us, it sounds even better when we also deduct our days off in that period, then it reads that actually we only have thirty-four more full ‘working days’ to do ! To be extremely honest and up front, this has certainly been a long, physically demanding and very tiring season, since Easter the site has been virtually full, every day, for the majority of that time, however, with the Bank Holiday in England marking the end of the school holidays, for the first time in just a little over five and a half months, we have an exodus of over half our campers from the site and a chance to actually take a breath once they have departed. Not that we can start to take things easy, oh no ! We still have the days new arrivals to deal with, which, by the end of the day, will see the site back to two-thirds occupancy again, that’s around 60 Camping Units although it doesn’t really make too much difference whether we have ten campers or a hundred campers on site, the daily routines of bin runs, cleaning the facilities block, cutting grass etc. it all still carries on as usual, it’s much like ‘Groundhog Day‘, if people can remember that film with ‘Bill Murray‘. It is however, only a short respite, four days to be precise and then by the weekend the campsite will be full again !! Serves us right I guess for getting a wonderful site in a beautiful location and one that has proven popular with Caravanners, Motorhomers and Tent campers, club members, as well as non members, and lots of International visitors. So we are certainly ready for a good long break ourselves and we are counting the days down to catching our ferry in November for some much-needed relaxation and ‘Winter Sun’ !

Although we haven’t been able to do everything that could be done in the Northumberland area, the only outstanding sightseeing activity left on our own personal ‘Must Do‘ list is a visit and exploration of the nearby ‘Bamburgh Castle‘ and ‘Grace Darling‘ museum and now that the summer hoards are thinning out it would be a good time to go and take a look, but not just yet, as there is one other very important appointment date in my calendar of events that has to take priority, more about that a little later.

In my last post I announced the arrival of our twin Granddaughters, ‘Lily‘ and ‘Eva‘, unfortunately our work schedule didn’t permit an early visit to see them both in the flesh, so to speak, and so although ‘Nana Shazza’ and I were chomping at the bit to get down to Wiltshire, we had to wait until our working roster gave us the opportunity to do the Seven Hundred and Fifty mile round trip. When that day finally arrived there was no holding us back, we finished our half day’s duties as usual with toilet cleaning but somehow it didn’t seem as much as a chore, perhaps our minds were elsewhere !! Shazza had prepared a picnic lunch to eat ‘on the go‘ as we first headed Southwards to Doncaster where we would stay overnight before heading off early the following morning to Swindon. Having the photo’s of our two Granddaughters was great, as was the initial Skype video call, however, it was nothing compared to actually getting to see and hold the little bundles in person.

Nana Shazza with 'Lily'

Nana Shazza with ‘Lily’

Grandad Eric with 'Eva'

Grandad Eric with ‘Eva’

Nana Shazza with 'Eva'

Nana Shazza with ‘Eva’

Grandad with 'Lily'

Grandad with ‘Lily’

And of course, the proud Parents 'Chris & Sarah'

And of course, the proud Parents ‘Chris & Sarah’

We spent a good seven hours with the four of them before, very reluctantly, having to drag ourselves away and start the long journey back North again but the trip was certainly ‘well worth every mile‘. We knew that we wouldn’t get another opportunity to visit again before we finished our Season’s work up in Northumberland, but Chris and Sarah do take the time to video Skype us regularly when the ‘girls’ are awake so that we can say hello. We will see them all again the weekend that we go down to catch our ferry and with the promise of a chance for Chris and Sarah to have a night out, Nana Shazza and Grandad may just get to take on their first ‘Babysitting’ duties !! There are also plans afoot for the four of them to come and visit us in the Apartment in Spain early next year, we are very much looking forward to that as the twins by then will be six months old !!

Over far more years than I care to remember, I have travelled the full length of the A1 on numerous occasions, passing the ‘iconic’ steel structure that is the ‘Angel of the North‘, however, I had never actually stopped at the viewing point to take a closer look, only viewing it through the windows of a car, however, Nature is now making such viewings more difficult as the ‘saplings’ that had originally been planted are now mature trees and as each year passes, and as the trees grow taller, the ‘Angel of the North’ is becoming less and less visible. So, it was time to go and take a closer look and seeing that we have now spent a fair bit of time living in this neck of the woods as ‘Temporary Residents’, it would be impolite not to call by and say hello, wouldn’t it ?

image

image

Could this be Shazza telling one of her 'Fisherman's Tales'......... "It was this big !! but alas, it got away................"

Could this be Shazza telling one of her ‘Fisherman’s Tales’……… “It really was this big !! but alas, it got away…………….”

I do however feel the need to apologise to the people of Northumberland, for, close up, I have to confess at being totally underwhelmed at this iconic structure, in fact it looks far more impressive from a distance. We stopped only long enough to take a few pictures, just as proof that we actually were there, and then we headed to the ‘Metro Centre’ for a much more interesting and satisfying luncheon appointment with a  ‘KFC’ !!

Back on site and back to our ‘Elf & Elfette’ duties, but in a just a couple of days, on Friday 4th September to be precise, I have my surgery to remove the Cataract that I mentioned in a previous post and something that has needed doing for the last three years so I will be relieved when it has been done. Dougie and Avril have re-shuffled the working rosters to enable me to take a few days off immediately afterwards as I cannot get any water in the eye, or lift heavy items, so cleaning showers or using the ground equipment is off the agenda, as is driving the tractor. Shazza will be my personal chauffeur to and from the hospital in Newcastle and when I told her that I didn’t know how long I would be there or the time of my surgery she said “That’s okay, there will be a Cafe in the hospital so I will just wait and I will have to keep an eye out for you” !! “That’s like a joke, just not funny” I replied !!…………………

Advertisements
Posted in Elf and Elfette - Season 2 | 17 Comments

Much Awaited Arrivals !!

Sunday 16th August (Day 157 of 236)

Doesn’t time fly when your having fun working !! Okay, so I know that it has been quite some time since I last managed to pen some ramblings and I fully understand, from the correspondence I have been receiving, that a few of my blog followers have been getting withdrawal symptoms, but what can I say ? Well quite obviously not a lot !! However, there have been a number of very good reasons for the lack of communication, the main ones being either the very bad weather on our days off, which certainly curtailed ‘Expeditions’ of any description, or, many of our recent days off being taken up with my attendance at various medical and dental appointments. There is absolutely nothing that we can do about the weather other than stay indoors in the dry and the comfort of ‘Big Momma’, however, as for the latter, well everything is coming together nicely now and so you can cancel the booking of the hire of the somber funeral attire and no need just yet for the sending of any notes of condolence to Shazza, as it appears that I may just be staying around for a wee bit longer, however, I  must say that I really do appreciate the efforts that you were going to make to give me a good send off and to attend the function afterwards to toast my demise and ‘Good Health’ !!

The Dental stuff is nearly complete, no more infection and just another couple of ‘fillings’ to go, my arm is another story and although improving, it will not be healed until I finish the seasons duties and can rest it properly. But by far the best bit of news, well as far as I am concerned anyway, is that in a few weeks time I shall be having surgery to remove the ‘Cataract‘ and will be having a replacement lens inserted. This will mean that for a short period afterwards I will be restricted on some certain ‘Elf‘ duties like driving the tractor, emptying bins, cutting grass, trimming hedges etc. etc. but that is where the both of us being equally trained comes in handy. I shall be confined to working in the Office on mundane tasks like dealing with ‘Departures‘, ‘Arrivals‘, taking telephone bookings and of course ‘talking‘ to the customers, a hell of a task I know but I am sure I will manage !! Shazza on the other hand will get the advantage of spending lots of time in the fresh air. I have already managed to give her a bit of refresher training on driving the tractor and using the industrial hedge trimmer. I am sure the dents in the tractor can be knocked out again with a panel hammer and the vegetation around the site will soon recover and grow back before our Regional Managers next scheduled visit !!

We are fortunate to be in a location by the sea that has a vast wealth of marine wildlife, we currently have a pod of dolphins in the bay, these have been sighted by many of our guests from their Caravan windows. We also have a couple of visiting grey seals, an Otter, two resident Herons and a whole flight of Swans, in excess of one hundred, so we are now awaiting the imminent arrival of the team from the BBC Countryfile programme, Nature Watch, or perhaps we may even be graced by the presence of the man himself, no not Richard Craven, but none other than Sir David Attenborough. Shazza has complained that so far she has not viewed any of these Natural wonders, I have tried to explain to her that she has little chance of doing so from either the ASDA, TESCO or Morrisons car parks !!

So, what have we been up to over the last few weeks ? As some of you may remember, my last attempt at giving up the dreaded weed ended after a short three-month stint, although for me, three months without my daily regular ‘fixes’ felt like an eternity, however, I did say at the time of that failure that I would give it another go when I felt the time was right, well, so far I have managed sixteen days and strangely, I am actually finding it much easier this time around, there have been very few periods where I have actually really craved my ‘fix’, perhaps it is because it is me that has made the decision and not pressure from ‘other’ external sources.

We did manage to take a trip out to Gateshead to the large ‘Metro Centre’, a large shopping complex just off the A1 and only an hour’s drive away. Now I am not normally one for shopping and so this would generally be something worse than even my worst nightmare, but after being confined on numerous days off I thought that it would be good to get back out amongst civilisation. For some inexplicable reason, Shazza wore a big smile on her face from the evening before our ‘Retail Therapy’ trip and all through the following day. I quite naively hadn’t thought about the retail therapy aspect, more a cheap day out with the treat of a long-awaited KFC lunch, and so I made a massive error and forgot to leave the ‘Girls Best Friend’ back in the van, yes the ‘Plastic Card’ !!

The large ‘Metro’ shopping complex was exactly as I had anticipated that it would be, but surprisingly I was quite enjoying just wandering in and out of the shops, stopping in the odd three, five or ten for Shazza to relieve the weight from the bank balance with a few ‘much-needed‘ essential additions to the wardrobe, whatever happened to that policy of clothing replacements we were supposed to have of ‘one in, one out‘ !! My remonstrations appeared to go unheard, or more accurately, totally ignored. I did however get my KFC lunch and it was absolutely delicious, yes I know, I am a pushover !!

We came across an entertainment show for the kids and stopped to watch it for a while, it made us think that in the very near future, with the impending arrival of our twin granddaughters, that one day we may well be one of those sets of grandparents sat watching the show. I turned to where Shazza had been stood but there was no sign of her, what shop has she now wandered into I began to think, but then I saw her, down below on the lower floor where the ‘Kids Show’ was taking place, she had joined in !!

Can you see her ? The clue is.......... She is the one dressed in the Green Elfette Outfit on the left !!!

Can you see her ? The clue is………. She is the one dressed in the Green Elfette Outfit on the left !!!

It had been had been a good day out and we had both enjoyed the opportunity of getting away from the Campsite for a few hours but the following day it was back to ‘Elf & Elfette’ duties proper !!

With our next period of time off bringing another decent day, weather wise, we decided to tick off another ‘must do’ from our list of activities, a boat trip around the ‘Farne Islands’ from Seahouses to see the Puffins, Gannets, Cormorants and if we were lucky, the Grey Seals.

image

One of the many trip boats

One of the many trip boats

Looking landward to the impressive sight of 'Bamburgh Castle'

Looking landward to the impressive sight of ‘Bamburgh Castle’

Some boat trips allowed you to get off at one of the Islands to view the nesting colonies of birds, we had elected to take the trip that didn't !!

Some boat trips allowed you to get off at one of the Islands to view the nesting colonies of birds, we had elected to take the trip that didn’t !!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

A Puffin with a beak full of fish ready to be taken back to its awaiting 'Pufflings'

A Puffin with a beak full of fish ready to be taken back to its awaiting ‘Pufflings’

And there it goes.........

And there it goes………

This gigantic vessel goes around the Country and services the unmanned lighthouses.

This gigantic vessel goes around the Country and services the unmanned lighthouses.

image

Now that's what I call a house with a sea view !!

Now that’s what I call a house with a sea view !!

image

image

image

I wonder why they call this place ' Seahouses' ?

I wonder why they call this place ‘ Seahouses’ ?

Bamburgh Castle at close quarters, still to be visited and ticked off our list of 'Must Do's'

Bamburgh Castle at close quarters, still to be visited and ticked off our list of ‘Must Do’s’

It was nice to get out again on a day off, but I have to confess at being somewhat disappointed at the lack of marine life. The sea was quite choppy, which didn’t help when trying to get decent photographs, but the Grey Seals are also quite shy and as soon as the boat got too close they submerged. On another day, at another time we may have got better viewing opportunities when it was time for them to just lay on the rocks basking in the sunshine, our trip was obviously on the wrong day at the wrong time !! As for, the Puffins, we saw just two and although there were many more Cormorants these were now, to us at least, getting to be as common as the resident Seagulls and Kittiwakes. Perhaps our expectations were far too high, last season, when we were working up on the West Coast of Scotland close to the Isle of Skye, we went on a rib trip and saw an abundance of marine life, so perhaps we had already seen the best of the best.

With the clock now ticking down on this current seasons exploration in the North East, yes, we are down to 79 days to do, or 11 weeks, or 3 more pay days, and yes we are counting down each and every one of them, there is not much left on our ‘Must Do’ list. However, just a few days ago, Chris and Sarah, presented us with our twin Granddaughters, Lily and Eva…….

image image

Our week has just been rounded off with a Skype Video call and our first introduction to our ‘Much Awaited Arrivals‘ and very precious little bundles, well done to Mum & Dad, our granddaughters were not very talkative but I somehow suspect that that will not last for very long !! We will get to meet them in person next week when we will use our days off to travel down to see them, can’t wait !!

To round off what has been a perfect week, we also had a Skype Video call with our daughter Stacey in Australia, so, although there have been few major ‘Expeditions’ over recent weeks, there has been enough to keep us occupied.

Posted in Elf and Elfette - Season 2 | 30 Comments

“Put Another Shilling On Him”

Monday 13th July (Day 123 of 236)

On a personal basis, it has not been the best of months for me and although the last thing I want to do is to write a post that sounds all doom and gloom, I guess this blog is about our everyday lives and not just about our gallivanting up and down the North East and when the opportunity arises, also around Europe !! So, if you have been following these ramblings recently you will know that I have a Cataract which requires removal and a ‘lens‘ replacement, I have an appointment with a Consultant at the end of July. I then had the injury to my elbow and that has recently been documented in previous posts. In between that, I needed a filling in a tooth, no big deal, but two weeks ago I developed another tooth ache, well more accurately, gum ache, in both my upper and lower gums on the right side of my mouth, the previous filling by the way being on the left hand side so not related. I finally got an Emergency appointment and X-Rays revealed an infection in the bone supporting my gum on the top right hand side, quite painful I can tell you !! The bad news, as if that wasn’t enough, was that the Dentist had to remove a perfectly healthy tooth, which broke during the procedure. I am now on a course of antibiotics and have to return to the Dentist in another two weeks to see if the infection has gone.

So why have I chosen to share these rather glum pieces of information with you, perhaps an appeal for sympathy ? Come on, you know me better than that, No ! It is rather a long-winded way of me, hopefully, bringing a smile to your face (Long winded, me !! Whatever can you mean ?).

So Shazza makes one of her routine calls to her Mum and gives her the latest news on my growing list of ailments. I heard Shazza laugh, not a little chuckle you understand, but a loud outburst of laughter, had ‘Sonia’ said “Oh, bless him, give him my love and tell him I hope he gets better soon“, Oh no ! her response to my lists of woes was, “You want to put another shilling on him” !!

Now I have to confess that this is an expression that I have not heard before and so I asked Shazza what it meant. She laughed, again, even louder than the first time, if that was possible, and explained that in years gone by, people could buy ‘Life Insurance’ for a ‘Shilling‘ (for the younger readers of this blog, a shilling was a small denomination of English Money before Decimalisation), the more ‘shillings‘ you paid the bigger the pay out grew !! Bloody charming I thought, I know I may be having a bit of a rough time but I’m not ready for the ‘Knackers Yard‘ just yet !!

Anyway, enough of that, it was Saturday evening, and after a long and busy day at work we readied ourselves for our next extended period of time off. We had booked on to the Club Site at Durham for the Sunday and Monday, not just as a bit of a getaway break but because that was the nearest place to where the ‘Thetford‘ approved dealer was who was going to repair our fridge. I had suspected a ‘faulty or broken’ electrical element in the fridge and that was the replacement ‘part’ that had been ordered. However, although I am far from being an Electrical Specialist, well any kind of specialist if I am being honest, but, just recently on a couple of occasions the fridge, which has an Automatic Energy Source’ detector, has switched back from working on Gas to working on Electric, not for long mind you, but…………. If the electrical element was ‘knackered’, then it wouldn’t work at all, my non-electrical mind deduced, so perhaps, I thought, it may not be the Electrical element at all but a faulty ‘Automatic Energy Source’ detector ? The only problem now is that the dealer may not have a replacement sensor in stock, which will mean having to make another return visit to Durham or, alternatively, paying an additional Eighty Five Pounds for their mobile service to come out to me !! Now I know that there will be a number of persons, from a certain Motorhome Forum, that read this blog, who will probably be thinking, “Serves you right for buying a Plastic Fantastic“, and who knows, they may well be right !! Even I remember the days when vehicles, when they broke down, could be fixed, or a suitable repair conducted, with only a set of Spanners, a Wrench, Screwdrivers and a Lump Hammer. Nowadays, modern vehicles with all their Electronic gadgets need a ‘Diagnostic Machine’ to tell the mechanic what the fault is and even how to fix it !! Yes, these are the joys of purchasing a modern ‘Plastic Fantastic’.

Sunday arrived and we got through our morning at work and then, after a quick change of clothing, we were ready to commence our short 76 mile journey to Durham. It’s amazing, I have lost count the number of times that I have travelled up and down this stretch of the A1 over the years but never knew that the Caravan Club had a site right next to it, literally a couple of minutes drive from Exit 62. It felt good to be back behind the wheel of ‘Big Momma’ and on the open road, it made us both yearn for the end of our season, we talked about our Apartment in Spain and we’re looking forward to getting back to ‘our’ Marina, to sit at one of the numerous bars enjoying a nice chilled bottle of ‘grape juice’. There were some advantages of having these ‘Elf & Elfette’ jobs, not just the financial aspect but the fact that they keep us fit, before taking up these jobs I used to have to buy trousers with a Thirty-Six inch waste, now I am closer to a Thirty-Three inch waist !! I just happened to mention to Shazza that there was a down-side to sitting on a sun bed, lathered in sun cream and drinking ‘Piña Coladas’, all day everyday for three months, to which she swiftly responded, “Yes, but I will still get my intake of five-a-day in my jug of Sangria” !!

It had been a nice drive, the sun was still shining and we were soon set up on our spacious ‘Fully Serviced‘ pitch. It was nice to be pitched up as just a ‘normal’ customer. Steve at TCM couldn’t fit us in until Monday afternoon, however, we would take the van to him mid-morning and as there was no bus Service from the Business Park where his workshop was located, he had offered to drive us to the bus stop in the next village where we could then take the short trip into Durham.

We awoke to rain beating on ‘Big Momma’s’ roof, however, the ‘Work of Fiction’ had forecast that it would stop raining by 11:00am, we hoped that it would be correct as we were going to spend several hours sightseeing in Durham, not very pleasant if you are getting soaking wet !! ‘Snoopy’ guided us straight to the front door of TCM and I explained the issue to Steve about the recent fluctuation from Gas back to Electric, he thought that it could be an issue with the ‘Primary Circuit Board‘ (PCB), but he told me that he would check it out. As promised he drove us to the village of ‘Bowburn‘ to catch the bus, we were grateful as it was quite some distance away, fortunately the rain had stopped.

image

image

image

image

The bus dropped us off right in the City Centre, Durham is a city because it has a Cathedral, but it is not a large place, however, we were pleasantly surprised as it is still full of old ‘Medieval’ charm and lots of character. We strolled around the few narrow streets, some of them cobbled, before climbing up to take a look at the Cathedral, which, surprisingly, is completely ‘free’ to enter. There was a bit of a link for us as the Shrine of St. Cuthbert is housed inside, that is the St. Cuthbert from ‘Holy Island‘ (Lindisfarne) which we had recently visited.

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

image

The 'Knocker' !! A Good job there wasn't a pair of them.......... !!

The ‘Knocker’ !!
A Good job there wasn’t a pair of them………. !!

They are constructing a model of the Cathedral out of 'LEGO' bricks !!

They are constructing a model of the Cathedral out of ‘LEGO’ bricks !!

Work in progress and for £1.00 you could buy a LEGO brick and place it on the current 'module' under construction and just for the record 'No we didn't' !!

Work in progress and for £1 you could buy a LEGO brick and place it on the current ‘module’ under construction, for the record ‘No we didn’t’ !!

We spent quite a lot of time wandering around the inside of the Cathedral, I have to say that I was quite impressed by the spectacular array of extremely colourful, and very large, stained glass windows, especially the large central big circular one, unfortunately, the taking of photographs inside the Cathedral is not permitted so you will have to just take my word of it. I am not that easily impressed by Churches, Cathedrals etc and can get bored of wandering around aimlessly but on this occasion it wasn’t too bad. Shazza on the other hand finds such religious buildings quite peaceful and calming so she could have spent a lot longer looking around, fortunately there was a nice Cafe inside so after looking around the ‘Tourist Tat‘ Gift Shop, where I kept my wallet firmly secured in my coat pocket, we went for ‘Coffee and Cake‘. Whilst enjoying our very welcome tasty treat, we just happened to have another one of our regular ‘insignificant’ chats. Shazza obviously still under the influence of the ‘Religious Calming Influence‘, stated, in quite a serious way,  “I think I could have been a Nun“, flipping heck, I hadn’t seen that one coming and nearly choked on my Banana, Cherry and Walnut cake !! After regaining my composure, and speedily rescuing a cherry before it sunk into the depths of my ‘cappuccino‘, I looked across at her, “You certainly have some of the right attributes” I said, winking at her, “What on earth do you mean ?” She scowled quizzically back at me. “Well, you do have some ‘Dirty’ Habits” I said, with a mischievous grin on my face, at which point she reached under the table and nearly grabbed me in the ‘Cloisters‘ !!

When we exited the Cathedral it had started to rain again, well drizzle rather than heavy raindrops, so we walked the short distance to the Castle Entrance where we took one look at the cost of entry, took a photograph of the entrance and walked back into the town.

The Castle Entrance

The Castle Entrance

We had arranged to go back to Steve at TCM just before he closed at 5:00pm, to give him chance to both conduct the repair and to also complete the full well overdue annual Service on the Fridge, only four years overdue in our case !! It was only a little after 1:00pm, so we decided to have a walk around the indoor market to keep dry. I like these sort of places as they have numerous little stalls selling everything, sometimes you even find things that until you see them you didn’t actually know that you needed them !! Unfortunately, on this occasion there wasn’t anything that I needed. We walked around the own a little more, on a warm sunny day we could have killed a lot more time wandering down and along the twisting ‘Riverside Walk’, but whilst it was warm it certainly was anything but sunny, so we didn’t bother. We made an executive decision, after having a late breakfast of bacon butties in the van before we departed, neither of us was hungry enough to eat a proper lunch, so we purchased a couple of ‘Steak Bakes’ from ‘Greggs’ and took a taxi back to TCM, at least if the van wasn’t ready we could eat our tasty snack whilst we waited for him to finish. Just as we set off in the taxi Steve rang me to say it was all done and to confirm that the problem had been the ‘Electric Element’. Once we arrived Steve told me that he had tested everything first, he didn’t want to replace the element if that hadn’t been the problem. I asked if he had carried out the Service, which he duly confirmed but stated that it hadn’t really needed doing as it was in pretty good condition. However, as standard with a full service, he doesn’t clean the burner jet he just replaces the whole burner unit. I knew from stories from some fellow travellers in Europe that they had experienced problems with blocked burner jets and badly ‘soothed’ flue’s but Steve told me that whilst their was some ‘soot’ in the flue, it had been minimal and would not have caused any problems. I was content that at least now the fridge was working properly again and had been serviced, it was one of those ‘Peace of Mind’ things.

We were back on site and pitched up by 3:00pm, now we could just relax and enjoy the rest of our day off luxuriating in doing absolutely nothing !! In the morning, it would be time to get ‘Big Momma’ back into ‘On the Road’ mode as we returned to our own site, donned our ‘Elf & Elfette’ outfits once more and re-commenced our duties, until our next period of time off………………………………..

Posted in Elf and Elfette - Season 2 | 16 Comments

It’s All Going Downhill Now !!

Thursday 9th July (Day 119 of 236)

It has been a couple of weeks since I last had anything to write about, but I guess that’s the way it goes when part of your life is spent working. My last ramblings ended with me about to go to the Doctors to have a ‘Steroid’ injection in my elbow and oh what a saga this is turning into. Unfortunately, the appointment was on the first day of our extended period off, the information I had received was that after the injection I would not be feeling too great so would probably just be lounging around feeling sorry for myself, so rather than both of us wasting this valuable time off, Shazza decided to use the opportunity to drive down to Doncaster to visit her Mum where she could at least spend a couple of nights. This would be the first time in nineteen months that we would have been apart but they do say that “Absence makes the heart grow fonder“, I don’t know who thought up that particular saying but in my book if you need to be apart to realise how much you love someone then perhaps you need to review the relationship altogether !! or perhaps I am just being a Mr Grumpy Head, the reasons for which may become apparent a little later. Anyway, I waved Shazza off on the Sunday afternoon, was that a tear in my eye or a spec of sand blown in off the nearby beach ?

I had made the Doctors appointment for early Monday morning, if I was going to suffer for twenty-four hours then let’s get it over and done with in one day rather than over two. I first had my Nurses appointment, remember that after my health checks ‘they‘ had predicted that I had a 29% risk of having a heart attack and they wanted to discuss the results, well actually they wanted to tell me to stop smoking as this would reduce that risk by a further 50%, all of my ‘other’ checks had come back all okay !! Now of course they are right, but will this stop me from having the occasional cigarette, I say occasional, I have reduced my daily addiction by 50% and am now down to only ten a day, of course it won’t make me stop, but all in my good own time I may just decide that ‘I’ want to quit. However, I have yet again digressed, nothing new there then, I had been dreading having this injection, well actually, to be honest it was more the after effects I wasn’t looking forward to. You know what it’s like, the actual dread starts the evening before as you start to think about it, it was on my mind the following morning as I walked to the surgery but to make matters even worse, I sat in the waiting room and waited, and waited, the time of my appointment came and went. I remember thinking ‘How can they be running late this early in the morning ?‘. Thirty minutes after my appointment time I was called and tentatively I made my way along the narrow corridor for my appointment, with what my imagination had conjured up was a picture of a very large and thick needle.

My appointment was with a different Doctor from the one who had initially diagnosed the ‘Golfers Elbow’, he asked me to explain how the injury had occurred and then to explain exactly where I felt the discomfort, a bit different to the two-minute original consultation and subsequent diagnosis ! He then proceeded to examine my arm and elbow and announced that in his opinion this was not ‘Golfers Elbow’ and that giving a Steroid Injection for something that it wasn’t could actually lead to bigger problems. However, he was not certain of what it was, there were three possibilities and he listed them in order of seriousness, a fracture, a damaged radial nerve or a strained tendon, but only an X-Ray would confirm which it was, or wasn’t, as the case may be. So, there was some relief, on my part, that I wasn’t going to suffer an injection into my elbow or the dreaded after effects, however, now I had to go straight to the hospital to have an X-Ray. So, to cut an already long story short, the X-Ray fortunately revealed no sign of a fracture but I had damaged the radial nerve and needed ‘urgent physiotherapy’ and if that didn’t work, an operation on my arm !! Now I just had to wait for the physiotherapy appointment to be made.

I telephoned Shazza and gave her the news and then settled down to enjoy the rest of my time off, alone. We are situated in such a great location on the Campsite, right at the front with a Wonderful sea view.

image

There are currently a pod of Dolphins just out to sea beyond the lighthouse, whilst I have been working I have seen the occasional splash as they leap out of the water, unfortunately my eyes are not that great so it is difficult for me to see them properly. Some of our campsite residents have been able to watch them through binoculars though and it has, I think, helped make their camping break a little more enjoyable, especially as we also have Seals swim into the Estuary at High Tide and they can be viewed close up from the old roman road bridge, with that, a resident Heron and around one hundred Swans I guess it is quite an experience for those that live in Towns away from the Coast. For me, I often sit of an evening, after work, and just enjoy listening to the sounds from the Sea and occasionally, just as a treat, as I am sat looking out, something worth photographing turns up.

The Air Sea Rescue helicopter !!

The Air Sea Rescue helicopter !!

image

A Square Rigger !!

A Square Rigger !!

A small(ish) Dutch Freight ship leaving Spittal Docks

A small(ish) Dutch Freight ship leaving Spittal Docks

It's a very narrow channel of water between the 'Sand Spit' and the Harbour Wall !!

It’s a very narrow channel of water between the ‘Sand Spit’ and the Harbour Wall !!

The 'Pilot' Boat

The ‘Pilot’ Boat

The 'New' and the 'Old'

The ‘New’ and the ‘Old’

So, all good things have to come to an end, or so the saying goes, and No ! I am most definitely not referring to the end of my period of relaxation, peace and quiet without my beloved who I obviously missed every minute of every day that she was away from my side, No, I refer to the end of yet another period of time off. The following week passed relatively quickly, we may not have shared the frazzling temperatures of some locations further South but we shared some of the rain, thunder and lightning, is that really fair ? I had another Skype video chat with my daughter in Australia, it’s so good to be able to keep in touch, I think I see her more now than when she was living in this Country. She has finally received her formal bit of paper that declares that she is a ‘Doctor of Philosophy‘…..

image

We are now excitedly awaiting news about the impending arrival of our twin granddaughters, now just a matter of weeks as opposed to months !!

Wednesday the 8th of July arrived, a very important day for us physcologically. You know what it’s like when you start to walk up a mountain, you know that when you reach the peak, although it may be the same distance down again, each downward step brings you that bit closer to the end. Well, we had just reached our ‘peak‘, our half way point and now each day would bring us closer to the end of this year’s season and to getting to actually spend Winter in our newly acquired Spanish Apartment, Yes, ‘It’s All Going Downhill Now‘ !!

The day after reaching our peak was actually a full day off and we celebrated in the only way we knew how, we went on a nine mile Shazza Expedition !! We are within walking distance of the ‘Coastal Route’, note I didn’t say ‘footpath’ as this is also one of the National Cycle Routes, not quite suitable for our Electric Bikes, which incidentally we have now decided to sell and replace them with ‘Hybrid Bicycles’, although we haven’t got around to advertising them yet. It was good to have a nice dry day and although it was a little overcast when we started our walk it brightened up and the sun made a most welcome appearance.

Spectacular views !!

Spectacular views !!

We had some company but they were busy eating lunch !

We had some company but they were busy eating lunch !

The main 'East Coast' railway line runs alongside the Coastal Route for some of the way.

The main ‘East Coast’ railway line runs alongside the Coastal Route for some of the way.

Very moody skies make for dramatic views

Very moody skies make for dramatic views

It was tempting but we already had our own picnic !

It was tempting but we already had our own picnic !

I said to Shazza "Do you think it's stalking us ?" She replied "Don't be stupid it's a Heron" !!!!!!

I said to Shazza “Do you think it’s stalking us ?” She replied “Don’t be stupid it’s a Heron” !!!!!!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

In the foreground, Spittal Promenade with Berwick in the background, nearly back home again !!

In the foreground, Spittal Promenade with Berwick in the background, nearly back home again !!

So, another day off gone but, Day 119 completed only 117 to go !! Next outing……….. A repair on ‘Big Mommas’ Fridge combined with a sightseeing trip of the ‘Pink Panther’s’ home town ?

Posted in Elf and Elfette - Season 2 | 18 Comments

“Summer Rain”

Thursday 25th June (Day 105 of 236)

I was spoilt for choice when I was trying to think of an appropriate song title for these ramblings, but I settled on an American Billboard No. 14 chart hit from 1968,  “The Summer Rain” written by ‘Jimmy Hendricks‘ and sung by ‘Johnny Rivers‘. I know that we are not alone in this part of the Country, experiencing a rather wet Summer this year, but what makes it harder to bear is that we have dry, sunny and warm interludes when we are working, yet for several weeks now, on almost every day off, it has rained !!

Days off are good, whether it rain or shine, we can wake up and know that we do not have to rush to get out of bed, we can stay under the duvet with a nice hot mug of coffee and think about what we want to do with this valuable period of ‘off duty’ time. There was another reason why we didn’t need to rush to get out today, at 10:00am, I had arranged to Skype Video Chat with my daughter in Australia, with the time difference it meant that it would be 7pm ‘her’ time so no early morning or late night calls which suited us both. There are lots of things about modern technology that I wonder whether they are good or not, however, this Skype business is brilliant, not only can I see and speak to people across the other side of the world, but even better, it’s ‘free’ !! It’s amazing what you can find to woffle on about, and for 51 minutes that’s exactly what we did !!

The ‘Works of Fiction’ had again forecasted another wet day, surprise, surprise, in fact a wet few days ahead, but at that moment it was dry, it was pretty cloudy but it was warm, and just in case I forget how to spell the word I will repeat it again, it was ‘Dry‘. We thought about walking part of the Coastal Route, well it is literally on our doorstep, however, if the ‘Work of Fiction’ was correct, did we really want to get caught in a downpour ? I looked on the road map to see where else we could go, somewhere we could drive to and I saw a place just up the Coast, ‘Burnmouth‘, funny sort of name for a place, perhaps they have a lot of ‘Hot Food’ takeaways !! As usual for such little jaunts, picnic and beverage were prepared and off we went, to………………………. ‘North Berwick‘ …… !!

We are located in a funny sort of geographical position, if we headed due West from ‘Berwick-upon-Tweed‘ then, in less than ten miles, we would cross the border into Scotland, but we were headed North, so it would be nearly thirty miles before we crossed the border, ‘Berwick-upon-Tweed’ is in Northumberland, which is in England, but ‘North Berwick‘ which is in East Lothian is in Scotland !!

It was a pleasant enough drive, thick cloud accompanying us most of the way making it impossible for the suns rays to permeate through, but it was warm and still dry. We entered the town and quickly found a ‘free’ car park. We had envisaged having to eat our picnic lunch sat in the car but with no signs of rain we risked taking our feast down to the seafront, we found an empty bench seat on the small promenade overlooking the sandy beach and through a misty haze, called a ‘Sea Fret‘ in these parts, we had a view of ‘Bass Rock‘.

image

image

image

image

Lunch didn’t last very long and it had nothing to do with the Sea air, we were both hungry and once again the growing audience of Seagulls totally lucked out !! We wandered along the short promenade to the ‘Seabird Centre’, we looked in the windows briefly, saw that the shelves were crammed full of the usual ‘Tourist Tat’, so continued walking down to what was a very small harbour.

image

image

image

image

North Berwick is a very nice Coastal Town, it hasn’t been spoilt by modernisation, no pedestrianised shopping precincts here just one quite long Main Street but many little nooks and crannies to explore, many of which lead back to the sweeping beach that runs on the opposite side of the harbour, a town with two beaches eh ! We followed one of the short nooks and found ourselves back at the beach, but then our good fortune ran out and the light drizzle soon turned to larger and more frequent raindrops which thwarted any further attempts to get any decent photographs, however, I saw someone out, a fair distance I may add, on a paddle board, which is basically a surf board which you stand on and paddle, with an elongated paddle. Why I wanted this photograph was because the ‘Sea Fret’ was getting thicker and he, or she, kept disappearing from view, they were not paddling in the direction of the shore so I was intrigued as to where they were going !!

image

"Summer in the UK" !!

“Summer in the UK” !!

We were more than a little damp when we reached ‘Wuxly’ but neither of us wanted to return to the campsite just yet. A quick check of the map showed that we were not far from another Caravan Club Site (Yellowcraig). We were not intending calling in, that would have more than likely entailed any conversation being about ‘Work‘ and we were on our day off, so that was the last thing we wanted to be discussing. However, we knew that the campsite was within walking distance of another beach, so, if we were lucky enough, the rain may have abated enough for another short walk. The campsite and beach were only three miles West of the town and we were soon parked up on another ‘free’ public car park. It was still raining but by the time we had poured, and drank, another coffee from our flask it had stopped and so we took the risk. There was a footpath through a small wooded area that took us directly to the beach, no more than a five-minute walk so we walked down to the water’s edge.

image

image

image

Whilst we were there, looking out to sea, you wouldn’t believe what we saw, it was too much of a coincidence to have been a different person and we agreed that this was the same paddle boarder we had seen whilst we were in North Berwick !!

image

I wondered if this was a real person or a ghostly apparition as each time we have seen him, he was surrounded by a strange ‘mist’, we had also decided, on looking at the photograph, that it was definitely a ‘he’, spooky or what !! And, the last time we had seen him it had started to rain, guess what happened next ?…………

We again returned to ‘Wuxly’ a little damp and decided that enough was enough, it was time to head for home.

We knew that there would be no ‘Great Escape’ for ‘Big Momma’ on our next extended period of time off, as I had two appointments on Monday. The first with the practice Nurse at the local doctors surgery, this was a follow-up on my previous recent health checks, apparently, after checking my blood results, and some other bodily fluids !! someone had concluded that I had a twenty-nine percent risk of suffering a heart attack !! I couldn’t help but smile, my last job, compared to this, was pretty ‘sedentary’ and I did little exercise. Now I am physically active almost every day and my daily diet has improved dramatically, God knows what my risk level would have been just a couple of years ago !! My second appointment, straight after the one with the Nurse, that is if I make it and don’t drop dead on the way, is with a Doctor to get a ‘Steroid’ injection in my elbow. The anaesthetic gel they prescribed several weeks ago has helped but not enough, so the next stage is the injection. I am a little concerned as I have heard stories about their being side effects with ‘Steroids’, such as Men growing breasts !! If that be the case, can I have a 36DD please !!

Posted in Elf and Elfette - Season 2 | 8 Comments

The Great Escape !!

Sunday 14th June (Day 94 of 236)

We work on a two-week cycle roster, one week is quite long with only a half day off in an eight-day period, but then the second week is good with two extended periods of time off falling within a couple of days of each other, we were on our good week and after having a nice day and a half period off, with the weather being good, enabling us to get out  and about a bit, we were now about to get to our two-day off period, an afternoon, a full day and a morning. We normally just have a lazy first afternoon off then plan an ‘outing’ for our full day off, our last morning being used to do the major provisions re-stocking before returning to work. However, this meant that whatever we did, or wherever we went, we always returned to the site at the end of the day, so we decided to do something different this time and so we booked a couple of nights on another Caravan Club Site, ‘Gibson Park‘ at Melrose, only about an hour’s drive away but somewhere that we had never visited before. The trip would also serve a number of other very useful purposes, other than getting us off our own site and having a different view from our windows for a couple of days, it would give ‘Big Momma’ another decent run out, the last being when we drove to Edinburgh a couple of months previously when she needed her Annual Service & MOT. We also needed to top up with LPG as we had been using more gas than normal as we had to use it to power the fridge due to the electrical element packing up !! Not a major problem as the fridge, on its own, doesn’t use that much gas, but combined with using gas for cooking we had now used our first 11kg cylinder and had just started the second, not bad really as one cylinder had lasted two months. There was a service station just five miles down the ‘A1’ from the site so we would call in there on our way back from Melrose and top up. Fortunately, there is a ‘Thetford’ approved dealership at a Motorhome Service Centre near Durham and that is fortunately also very close to another Caravan Club Site, so at some point we will take one of our extended periods of time off at Durham and get the fridge repaired and serviced, we had not had it serviced since we bought the van just over five years ago so I think it is due, although, until this electrical element issue, we have not experienced any problems with it so not bad really. So, although moving from one club site to another may appear to be ‘a bit like a busman’s holiday‘, at least for two days we would be parked on a ‘pitch‘ where we would just be another ‘guest‘ !!

Before we could do our ‘Great Escape’ though there was a small matter of a mornings work to conduct. After having five great days of sunshine and warm temperatures the weather had turned again and turned with a vengeance, it was quite ‘Autumnal’, interpret that as being bloody cold, not only that but it was raining and my turn to do the morning bin run !! Normally I do not mind this task, riding around on the tractor to five ‘service points’ and emptying the numerous bins, usually it is an opportunity to chat with the guests as they dispose of their rubbish, empty their containers of ‘grey’ water or re-fill their ‘Aquarolls’ with fresh water, but on wet days I just want to get around as quickly as possible and get back into the dry as on completion of the bin run it is time for a hot cuppa. I think someone was having a laugh, it rained all the way around, every bin was full, every glass crate was full and then just as I finished and put the tractor and trailer into the workshop garage it stopped bloody raining !! With the site being fully booked yet again there were as many new arrivals as their were departures, this meant that we were kept busy and our morning fair flew by and before we knew it we were ready for our ‘Great Escape‘.

Shazza had pre-prepared some ham rolls to eat en-route, we were not going to waste any time in having lunch first and so after a quick change out of our ‘Elf & Elfette’ uniforms we were on our way. The weather had turned in our favour, the grey foreboding skies that greeted us when we awoke had now morphed into blue and the sun was warm. Our journey was quite straightforward, cross-country on primarily ‘B’ class undulating and winding roads and it felt good to be in the ‘Captains’ seat of ‘Big Momma’ once more. After just one short hour we were at the entrance of the Clubs site at Melrose and after booking in, and having a brief chat with our warden hosts, we were soon parked up on our spacious ‘Service Pitch’.

image

The site is literally within a few minutes walk of the small and very picturesque town of Melrose and we had arrived during the town’s week-long ‘Book Festival’, although it wasn’t all about books, their was a charity football match being played on the green outside the site entrance as well as music and a variety of stalls, the whole place was alive with the throng of people and atmosphere. However, today, for us at least, it was to be an afternoon of relaxation and inactivity, we sat outside in our sun chairs in the warmth of the afternoon sunshine with a chilled glass of ‘grape juice’, of the Rose variety and within minutes we were back in holiday mode, the sense of freedom was quite overwhelming. The day couldn’t have ended more perfectly, I hadn’t realised beforehand, but Shazza informed me that England were playing Slovenia in a European Qualifier, and more importantly it was being shown ‘live’ on ITV and then later that evening I could continue watching the ‘TV Drama’ of ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell‘. With yet another English win, making it six on the trot, our first evening ended very well.

I don’t know how to explain the feeling I felt being able to wake up knowing that there was no rush to do anything, we had both slept well and even without the alarm clock we awoke at 7:30am, of course we had already agreed to go and explore the town, but we could do that as and when we wanted, so for now it was a luxury to just lay in bed, with a nice hot cuppa, and let the first part of the morning pass us by. When we were both ready, mid-morning, we set off for the two-minute walk into a town we knew absolutely nothing about.

image

There are lots of walks from the town !!

There are lots of walks from the town !!

image

image

image

So, in a very short space of time we discovered that this small but very picturesque Borders town had lots of activities, from several walking routes, three cycle routes and a week-long festival, pity that we hadn’t brought either our walking boots or electric bikes, never mind, now we had an excuse to re-visit. We were just strolling around the small streets when we saw a sign pointing towards a ‘Riverside Walk’, well it would have been rude not to wouldn’t it ?

Yet another Abbey, managed again by the National Trust which of course meant an Admission Fee, we kept walking !!

Yet another Abbey, managed again by the National Trust which of course meant an Admission Fee, we kept walking !!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

We were totally taken with this area but decided that we really needed to come back again, fully equipped, to make the most of everything on offer. It was during our walk back that Shazza came out with what I can only suggest is a totally ‘female‘ statement, she turned to me and said “Sometimes Wanting Something is a Good Thing” !! I guess I should explain what had prompted that outburst of emotion from my beloved. When she had first suggested that we take ‘Big Momma’ off site for a couple of days I was a little reluctant, to me, it would entail too much aggravation, re-packing the van, unattaching the ‘grey’ waste pipes that ran underneath the van to the waste drain, disconnecting the EHU cable but more importantly, reversing ‘Big Momma’ out of our wardens compound, in what is quite a tight space and then getting it back in again and re-connecting everything again, all for the sake of two days !! But I am not too proud to admit that it really wasn’t as complicated as I had imagined it would be, and okay, yes, it had turned out to be a good decision !!

image

image

After admiring the views, and just enjoying the time and the freedom to wander at our leisure, we decided it was time to head back the short distance to the town and enjoy a coffee at one of the many Cafe’s before returning to the site and ‘Big Momma’ for an afternoon of further relaxation. On our way back in we saw ‘Linda’ the resident Warden and we spent some time just chatting, as you do. However, she told us about an event that would be starting right outside the site at around 6:00pm. But first, to put it into some sort of perspective I need to provide some sort of………… wait for it ! History !! Yes, me, a self-confessed history heathen !!

In the 13th and 14th Centuries, here in the Border towns, it was quite lawless, and it was common place for neighbouring families to encroach and steal land and livestock. So local Lords would select a key person to ‘ride out‘ and patrol the Borders of their towns and  land to protect it from both the English as well as other ‘Clans‘. Although such lawlessness does not exist in these modern times the tradition of ‘riding out’ has become part of many of the local towns Annual Festivals and we, through luck rather than judgement, just happened to be in Melrose during their week-long festivities and what’s more, the traditional ‘ride out’ would take place this particular evening.

These days, those participating get a Poluce Escort through the town until they reach the Bridleways.

These days, those participating get a Police Escort through the town until they reach the Bridleways.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

There must have been a good hundred riders and horses, of all shapes, sizes and age, which applies to both horses and riders !! Wow, what a great procession to watch. The riders would be out for over two and a half hours before returning to a piped band. We were well happy with this short visit, we hadn’t expected to discover either the beauty of this place, the festival or be able to stand and watch a Century old tradition taking place. Now that had been enough to make this short trip worth every single minute, but as if to provide us with a ‘grand finale’ the pipe band came onto site and gave us, we’ll not us personally, us as in the campsite guests, a private performance !!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

We could not have planned this any better, and all in a day and a half !! I had already started with ‘itchy feet‘ at around the eighth week of this our second season as ‘Elf & Elfette’, I was really missing not being on the road travelling and Shazza felt the same way. So, coming across unexpected things like this, feeling so relaxed and having tasted ‘freedom’ again, we were both feeling more than a little despondent about having to return back to our ‘Compound’ and we weren’t even half way through our season yet !!

Posted in Elf and Elfette - Season 2 | 14 Comments

Time And Tide Wait For No-one !!

Thursday 11th June (Day 91 of 236)

After a wonderfully relaxing afternoon on the beach the previous day, where I once again failed to learn from many previous experiences and fell asleep in my chair, in the sun, and finished up with a burning face that glowed so much that it could guide ships into port in the dead of night !! However, it felt good to once again awaken naturally without the aid of the alarm clock and to be able to sit in bed with a nice hot cuppa and not have to click watch.

Today was a day that we had waited for, for such a long time, our chance to cross the Causeway that gave access to the very small village community on ‘Holy Island’ or is it ‘Lindisfarne’. The signpost upon crossing says ‘Welcome to Holy Island’ but then almost everything else on the Island is called ‘Lindisfarne’, very confusing !! The ‘safe crossing’ times today were between 13:20 – 21:25, so we had plenty of time, however, we had decided that we would get to the causeway a little earlier, in order to try to get some photo’s of the tide receding. How were we to know at the time that actually those safe crossing times do not accurately reflect the true time of the tides, so even if we had of managed to arrive early we still wouldn’t have witnessed the event as the tide would already have gone out well before, as it happened it was irrelevant anyway, but more about that in a moment or two.

Our first little task of the day was to visit the very handy Marks & Spencer Food store to stock up on Salad provisions !! Shazza has been feeding me this stuff for months now, and at least four meals a week, I am sure that my ears have got bigger and looking a bit floppy (yes, I am talking about my ears !!) and my two front teeth look slightly elongated and worst of all, I keep diving into hedgerows whenever I see the overhead silhouette of a bird of prey, okay I know I am always ‘rabbiting on’ but it’s getting a bit embarrassing now !!

Back at ‘Big Momma’ we got into our usual routine, Shazza in charge of the eatables department and me the beverages, it would be a late lunch but we were sure we could find a nice picnic spot somewhere on the Island.

It was another very warm and sunny day but with a few cotton wool balls in the sky and ‘white horses’ riding the waves out on the sea, so a bit breezier that yesterday but not gale force. We set off with a sense of excitement, so many people had told us how lovely this place was but we needed to see it with our own eyes. We turned off the ‘A1’ onto the only road that would take us to the Causeway and ultimately our destination but were horrified to see a sign on the side of the road that stated ‘ROAD AHEAD CLOSED’ !! Surely not, it couldn’t be, somebody was having a laugh !! We did the only sensible thing we could think of, we kept driving until we could drive no more. We were about the thirtieth vehicle in a stationary queue of traffic and all the while traffic began queuing behind us. We waited for a while but then curiosity got the better of me, I got out and walked to the front of the queue to see what the hold up was. We were still some distance away from the Causeway but in the distance I could see the Island.

image

Just a small part of the traffic queue, we were about four or five vehicles behind the Motorhome in the photograph !!

Just a small part of the traffic queue, we were about four or five vehicles behind the Motorhome in the photograph !!

The hold up was due to road works !! We were told that we should be permitted to carry on at 13:20, the official start of the ‘safe crossing’ period, it was only 12:30pm !! I returned to Shazza and ‘Wuxly’ and we sat and listened to the radio for a little while until we got bored, there was only one thing to do, eat our picnic !!

The designated time came and went and as every minute ticked away the queue of traffic behind us just kept getting longer until the end of it was out of sight. We started to discuss our options, we had no idea how much longer this delay would be, did we want to waste a valuable day off just sat in a traffic queue, where else could we go ? Several other’s must have had the same discussions as we saw a steady stream of three-point turns in the road, ahead and behind us, and vehicles containing disgruntled faces heading back towards the ‘A1’. I decided to take another wander to the front of the queue, apparently one of the JCB diggers had suffered a hydraulic failure and was in the process of being repaired, once that had been completed they could fill in the hole they had made across the road and open it up to traffic again. We decided to wait just a little longer and our patience paid off as the traffic started moving at around 2pm. The only problem now was the huge amount of people who were going onto what is a rather small Island, lots of cars, motorcycles, Motorhomes and even a steady stream of walkers.

image

image

Shazza !! For goodness sake, this is not quite what I meant when I said "You need to Dip your headlights"

Shazza !! For goodness sake, this is not quite what I meant when I said “You need to Dip your headlights”

Once across the Causeway it is still quite a fair distance to the car park outside the village but once there it filled up rather quickly. Of course we needed to pay to park but at £4.40 for a ‘All Day’ ticket I thought it was pretty reasonable, not that we had much choice in the matter. We had no planned route or itinerary, it would be just a matter of walk around and see what was on offer. We tried to keep away from the main throng of people, who fortunately headed into the village, we opted to walk towards the Castle.

image

image

We walked as far as the main entrance where we saw the usual ‘Information Board’ which told us that if we wanted to go inside the castle we would be relieved of £14 for the privilege !! Although, if we had happened to have been members of the ‘National Trust’ we could have got in for ‘Free’, we decided that all things being equal, there are some things that we can live without. Instead we decided to just meander our way around the shoreline and see what turned up.

Looking back across to the mainland and 'Bamburgh Castle'.

Looking back across to the mainland and ‘Bamburgh Castle’.

image

image

image

When is a boat, not a boat ?

When is a boat, not a boat ?

When it's a shed !!

When it’s a shed !!

The one thing that was constant from the minute we arrived and that was the very strong wind, even with the sun shining the wind carried an icy bite, so we decided to head towards the village where we hoped to find some respite from it. As we climbed back up from the shoreline we got our first glimpse of the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory.

image imageWe continued to walk along the shoreline but this time from an elevated position, the views were tremendous so we took a small diversion away from the village, that could wait a while.

image

image

image

image

image

image

I could have sat on the rocky shoreline for a lot longer but Shazza was feeling the chill and needed to find some warmth, I offered to give her a cuddle…………. we headed towards the village !!

Once again we came across the Priory so decided to take a look, I couldn’t believe it, this was a load of bricks, a ruin, but they wanted £8 to walk around it, we certainly walked around it, but from the outside !!

image

image imageimageNow if Lyssa (Adventures of Big Bird Blog) had been the author of this blog, she would have spent hours here, she would have told you a lot about the history of the Island, the Castle and the Priory, unfortunately, you got me, a self-confessed history heathen so if you want to learn more about the history of ‘Holy Island’ you have three choices, you can ‘Google‘ it, come and visit it for yourself or wait for Steve & Lyssa to visit and then read what will be a very detailed and informative account of the history of this place.

We continued our meanderings with a walk through the small but very pretty village before returning to ‘Wuxly’ and making our way back to the mainland.

image

image

image

image

image

I am not sure whether it was the long wait sat in the car, the mass of people, or the strong wind that blew constantly, however, after waiting for so long for our day off to align with the safe crossing times I found our long-awaited  ‘Holy Island’ a bit of an anti-climax. Sure it was a pretty enough place, but it had all the usual ‘tourist entrapments’ all of which came at a cost !! Had the wind have not had been so strong, had we not have eaten our picnic beforehand, we may well have wandered off to more secluded parts and enjoyed our experience a lot more. We didn’t dislike, or regret, the time we had spent here, it just hadn’t lived up to all the pre-visit hype or expectations, but at least it’s another ‘Must Do’ ticked off our itinerary. Perhaps, and it is only with the gift of hindsight that I can say this, we should have delayed our visit until we had an extended period of time off, a period where we could have gone across in ‘Big Momma’ and found ourselves a nice secluded spot to ‘Wildcamp’, to sit outside on a nice warm summers evening with a BBQ, and of course a nice bottle or two of chilled grape juice, and watch the sun set to the sound of the sea in the background. Now there’s an idea worthy of a bit more serious thought !!…………………………

Posted in Elf and Elfette - Season 2 | 4 Comments