Rosie‚Äôs Scanditour Part 3: The Bridge

Day 5: July 5th Linkoping, ūüáłūüá™We have another very long drive the three of us. 253 miles today at fairly slow speeds. Scandinavian roads are generally good for Rosie because there is an acceptance of slower speeds. Ok the trip takes longer but we can take it easy and Rosie is doing so well.

The day begins with ‘The Bridge’. The √ėresund Bridge was made famous by the Swedish drama ‘The Bridge’ which Dubber and I have really enjoyed. We watched the last ever episode a couple of days before we left. The programme’s titles show this bridge which links the cities of Copenhagen and Malmo. The theme music played is called ‘Hollow Talk‘ and I tried to attach it to the video but neither will load so a picture will have to suffice.

Once on the Swedish side we bypass Malmo and start the long journey up to Link√∂ping. We are taking it steady and to be honest there isn’t much traffic. Ooh there’s a Swedish Ikea!

We soon are amongst very few cars. Green flat farmland soon becomes rolling hills. The style of farmhouses and barns is very reminiscent of those we’ve seen in the countryside of New York State and apart from the Swedish road signs you wouldn’t know otherwise.

Rosie is doing so well. I’m amazed at our little van. Even more amazed at Dubber for driving, but we are due a break so we stop at a service station, this time with a Swedish shop and an Elk Park. Obviously a tourist destination as a bus load arrived when we got there.

We had a wander round the store, bought some postcards, filled up with fuel and continued steadily north. We found the campsite, Nordic Camping & Resort near Linköping, really easily. The site was sparsely filled although there were quite a few motor homes and quite a green site. Facilities were basic so to eat out we either had to drive into Linköping, 6kms away or walk into the locality.

We did the latter using Google maps and found ourselves in an estate which had two fairly dodgy restaurants. We chose the pizza with a Swedish beer but to be honest the Thai might have been a better option. After a quick wander to the supermarket we returned to Rosie for some games of Skipbo and I won!! As a postscript here we had several emails from Nordic Camping that we hadn’t pre-paid but we had so there were several emails back and forward with evidence we had. Probably the worst part of the trip to date but we did see some lovely Swedish houses.

Day 6: July 6th Stockholm

On the way to the next campsite we take a minor detour to Stockholm. I had had recommendations from an acquaintance who had worked there often, how best to spend a couple of hours and we headed for a museum.

We had researched a park and ride on the north of the city so that we were on the right side for going further north still. At first we couldn’t see how it worked and then saw a public transport bus stop. When the bus arrived the driver informed us we needed to have bought a ticket before boarding and most shops sold them. Now this was quite strange because there wasn’t a shop, this was a park and ride and it didn’t explain how it worked on the website. However we had the loveliest of drivers who said in perfect English not to worry. He would take us for free and we could buy a single ticket back from the Visitor Information near the museum. As we arrived he told us exactly where to go and wished us a good trip.

We loved what little we saw of Stockholm. We went to the Visitor Information first bought our ticket back to park and ride and a couple of postcards. We decided to have lunch and sat by the river with a sandwich and a cooling drink before going to the Vasa Museum.

This 17th Century ship was requested by the then monarch Gustav Adolf to build the biggest and best. It was lavishly carved and in August 1628 it had its maiden voyage. Sadly a thousand metres into the voyage the ship capsized and sank. 333 years later in 1956 the ship was found and salvaged and luckily mostly intact. It is breathtaking when you walk in and there’s plenty of side exhibitions to see. Well worth the visit.

We left for an ice cream and the bus and headed for Kapellskar, an hour away. Kapellskar Camping. This was a lovely site and only a few minutes away from the next ferry. However there was poor WiFi reception so we missed out on football and Dubber won at Skipbo.

We are so far north now it really is light so much later.

Day 7: July 7th ‘We’re nearly there!’

We are up and off early because we have a ferry to catch. First some pictures of wildflowers including these wild orchids.

We make good time and after a little bit of confused queuing we were pretty much boarded on time.

As we went through ticketing it just happened to be mentioned brunch and dinner were included. Wow! We hadn’t realised that so we found ourselves a table and had a lovely brunch. You could tell who the Russian truck drivers were. I’ve never seen such big plates of food. We headed off to find our cabin. Time for ‘rucksack’ to make an appearance.

We showered and wandered around the ship until we could sit and watch F1 qualifying…. however the important football match was due whilst on board the ship.

Yes England were playing Sweden in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Yes we were on a Swedish ship with some Swedish passengers but in actual fact most were Russian truck drivers or Finns returning home. There were a few Romanies too, the women dressed in interesting lampshade skirts.

Suddenly all the TVs went off and we thought we weren’t going to be able to watch it and then it came on. We sat with a Swede for the match and almost gave a little hip hip hooray at the end. It didn’t seem appropriate to chant ‘It’s coming home’.

Eight hours beyond Kapellskar we arrived in Naantali Finland ……..

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Rosie‚Äôs Scanditour Part 2: Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

Day 4 July 4th Copenhagen

Dubber gets a day off from all that driving and we get a bus into the city of Copenhagen. At the bus stop we worked out we needed to buy a bus ticket online which we did but it can take 20 minutes to arrive to your phone and the bus was due. Another half hour wait if we missed it but the online ticket came by text just as the bus arrived. And the driver just accepted me flashing the phone at him. Could have been anything! On the phone!

We arrived in the Central Square and wandered to Nyhavn, the famous area with canals and beautiful coloured buildings. It is beautiful.

The day was another scorcher so we went for a coffee so we could sit under the umbrella. The canal side here is full of restaurants with tables and chairs under big umbrellas and awnings like you get in most continental cities. But the backdrop of the colourful buildings make it so welcoming.

After the coffee we decided to take a boat ride and chose the hour long route because the boats are open and it was very hot. It’s great seeing a city from the water.

First we journeyed up the canal and then we were in open water. The mixture of old and new buildings is amazing. New Danish design is simple and appropriate for its setting. And then there’s the Little Mermaid celebrating the Hans Christian Anderson story of the same name, modelling a seated pose for the crowds.

As you can see she faces the land so we didn’t see much of her, and she’s not very big.

Copenhagen is a busy city down by the water, particularly on the side where the restaurants are. After the boat ride we needed lunch and chose the Scandinavian Open sandwich otherwise known as smorgasbord (various spellings dependent on which Scandinavian country you’re in). It was delicious with the traditional drink of beer (his and hers again – Dubber goes blonde, I love dunkel.

After lunch we walked around the centre and visited the Harrods equivalent, Magasin in a beautiful building, with lots of lovely Danish style design. Time was moving on and it was still very hot so we had an ice cream. Being in Scandinavia what else should I have but homemade liquorice ice cream. Why have I not had this before. Amazing! Dubber had vanilla!

We had a lovely evening, cooked food by the van and got out the Skipbo. It’s definitely light later here ….. and Dubber won.

Rosie‚Äôs Scanditour Part 1 – The whim becomes reality

And so the adventure begins.

Meeting Rosie our campervan was a tenuous one on my part as I didn’t do Camping. But this little 30 year old VW is an absolute hero with what she achieves on this trip and has completely entered my heart. Let me tell you why.

It started as a whim as many things do. Our friends Ros and Oskari live in Oulu, Finland and they have been visiting us once or twice a year for a number of years. We have loved sharing time with them and seeing England through Oskari’s eyes as he’s a real Anglophile; now known as Sir Oskari particularly when he wears his dapper outfits!

Last year when they were over we were chatting about travels and that it was about time we visited them, when in a wine-induced moment I suggested we could travel to Finland in the van. ‘Could’ became ‘maybe’ which became ‘shall we?’ which became ‘we are coming, Ros’. After hysterical responses from Ros we started planning.

The first thing was to look at dates in our busy schedule (retirement is way too busy) agree them with Ros and Sir Oskari, then plan routes, ferries and the all important distance, which we think is about 2500 miles of driving – eek! But Dubber is happy to go.

Before we go everything is booked and paid for; ferries (Scandinavia has a lot of water and islands), campsites (they do it so well on the continent) and money – I hadn’t realised Sweden and Denmark weren’t in the Eurozone.

A final check over and a bit of fettling and fantastic work by Rosie’s favourite mechanic Richard and a new spare tyre from Richard’s dad and we’re ready to go.

Day 1 July 1st (183 miles)

We travel from home to Harwich to get the Scandilines ferry. It’s a bit of a trek from our house because it’s on the eastern sticky out bit of England ie Suffolk/Essex. We make good time and got straight aboard the ferry in time for an overnight journey to the Hook of Holland.

There was time for a drink, to watch the Grand Prix highlights and a beautiful sunset before retiring to our cabin for bed.

Always book a cabin if the journey is more than three or four hours and we booked through Direct Ferries for the whole trip. And more on the rucksack later.

Day 2 July 2nd (262 miles)

The wake up call begins with gentle music and ends with a very loud voice telling you breakfast is ready. OK we are awake, have a quick shower and breakfast ready for disembarking.

Immediately we have ‘Sat Nag’ on and Bill expertly drives on the right (even though it’s wrong) side of the road. The roads from Amsterdam north to Bremen are busy and it’s quite a trek. There are lots of lorries and caravans that have to be negotiated on mostly dual carriageways, where the right lane averages at 50mph and the outside lane 90+. Rosie can manage 60-65mph easily but being pestered by a BMW up your back anytime you try and overtake something is intimidating.

Of course because Rosie is an old lady and only has old fashioned air conditioning (windows) it’s hot work in the van and we found that it was too noisy having both windows open with Dubber’s Tinnitus. Good job we bought the little fan. It kept Dubber cooler.

Poor Dubber is very tired when we finally arrive at Hanse Camping near Bremen.

The campsite is lovely. The facilities are the best I’ve ever seen on a campsite ie large, clean and plenty of them for showers and toilets and kitchens. Dubber did well in his choice as he did with all the sites. In the Community building was an interesting statue which is the symbol for Bremen known after ‘The Four Musicians’, a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.

We decided once we had set up to go investigate the nearby lake and possibly the bar. Sunhats on our heads because it really was a beautiful day we wandered along the track to the lake, took a right turn towards the water and realised we were on a nudist beach and did a quick about turn back to the main track. What is it about Northern Europeans always wanting to be naked? Anyway more on that later.

We found the lake and beautiful it was. Time for beer back at the little restaurant which did lovely food so we went back later for dinner and to watch the footie. Have I mentioned we are on holiday during the World Cup. So there is some scheduling to be had through the holiday.

After sitting outside for pre-dinner drinks and dinner itself, we went inside to watch the football with Johann and Brigitte who were Dutch. I congratulated them on Verstappen’s F1 win which had happened earlier in the day. Football and travel became the conversation, drinks were bought and Belgium won which made the couple sat behind us very happy.

Time for Skipbo and a drink before bed – well that was the plan until Dubber knocked his red wine all over me and the cards and my white wine had to be used to compensate for the stains on me, the cards and Rosie. Goodnight Dubber ūüôĄ

Day 3 July 3rd (164 miles)

We enjoyed sitting in the sunshine for breakfast and it is already warm.

As you can see ‘Rucksack’ has made an appearance. My dear friend Pauline bought it for Dubber for his birthday and I’m taking a picture of it everywhere we go and sending it to her.

We pack up and make the drive north to Puttgarden. Along the way we are in the usual routine of driving for a couple of hours then stopping at a rest area come service station which I have to say all through Europe are excellent. The ones in the Netherlands tend to have fresh bakeries and the German ones a very broad choice of food.

We arrive at the Puttgarden Ferry Terminal and see signs for the Scandishop. I had visions of lovely Scandinavian gifts and interesting food – no it’s a floating booze shop. So that’s why Sir Oskari called it a booze cruise. Danes and Swedes were filling their cars and trailers full of crates and I do mean crates of booze. The shop had four floors dedicated to beer, wine and spirits. Through the wine there were tasting bottles or boxes so you can try before you buy. If you’re not careful you’d be drunk before you got on the ferry which was only a 45 minute sail to R√łdbyhavn. We bought a his and hers box of wine and left it at that.

On arrival in our third country, Denmark, at R√łdbyhavn we then drove the short journey through beautiful farmland to our campsite Charlottenlund Fort just outside Copenhagen where we planned to stay for a couple of nights so up went the awning.

This is a really unusual, small and very friendly site. Set in the grounds of a fort dating back to Napoleonic times, it is close to the beach, a very nice restaurant and a bus ride away from Copenhagen.

After a quick homemade supper we went across to the community kitchen with a TV, kicked the kids off the TV to watch England v. Columbia, except the station showing the match was blocked. Dubber and fellow Brits all tried to get it to work to no avail so we resorted to my phone on WiFi thanks to SkyGo. Hilarious really all of us sat around my little phone propped up against a plant pot, but it suffices to appease the panic that had set in earlier when the TV wouldn’t work. England won of course and we all went to bed happy.

We are liking this place.

Lessons learnt so far or general advice.

1. Always book a cabin on a ferry if the journey is more than three or four hours.

2. Don’t worry if there’s a BMW up your back when you’re in a classic vehicle.

3. Make sure Dubber is playing Skipbo on a level table and the wine isn’t where he can knock it over.

4. Germans really do like being naked.

5. Rosie is amazing.

Yikes! Bikes!

Another short break in Rosie and this time we are heading to Cambridge with bikes!!

It’s a first on two counts. 1, I’ve never been to Cambridge (Dubber has about 40 years ago to do a gig) and 2, it’s the first time we’ve put the bikes on the back.

We are on the Cambridge Caravanning and Camping Club site on the outskirts of Cambridge at Great Shelford. It’s an immaculate site with lots of people on hand to help if you need it. It’s lovely and quiet although of an evening you can hear trains constantly. Luckily once we are in the van it’s not a problem.

The most hopeful part of the whole break is that it’s very flat round here. No need for wedges under the wheels of Rosie and no getting off the bike and walking up hills for me. Yes I know I have gears on my bike but I just don’t like riding uphill.

When we arrive we set up camp and walk into Trumpington for a quick pint of local brew at a lovely pub, Hudson’s Ale House. After a quick walk back we cook tea outside, Piri Piri Chicken with Tsatsiki in pitta breads. Was yummy.

It was a lovely evening as the sun dipped low in the sky and we played four games of Skipbo – we normally only do three. We are even at the moment.

The weather is absolutely gorgeous and the next day after breakfast in the sunshine, we set off on our bikes (not ridden for well over a year but you never forget) the three mile journey into Cambridge.

Cambridge is known for its bikes and it must be the most well organised city as far as bikes are concerned. From Trumpington we didn’t have to travel on the roads at all as the cycleways are marked paths first behind houses and then following a disused railway line, now used by guided buses. It’s brilliant not to have to deal with traffic until we got to the railway station. Here we parked our bikes for free in a cycle park. You can of course tie your bike to railings in the street but the cycle park is most secure.

As we approached the city we passed lots of new developments and the new Addenbrookes Hospital. They are very modern and reminiscent of houses and new buildings in the Netherlands. In fact with the bikes, the river and the architecture it was very like being in the Netherlands.

Today is a significant day as it’s the Royal Wedding (H & M) and also the FA Cup Final. Not that they are going to rule the day but if we get chance we will do a bit of TV watching.

We walk from the station into the city (about a mile) in glorious sunshine past lovely buildings and decide to have a coffee in Costa. They have WiFi and it’s nearly 11 so time to watch the wedding. Just in time the bride is arriving. Ok I’ve seen the dress and the bridesmaids, we walk on.

Cambridge is buzzing in the sunshine. There are musicians on the street and we particularly enjoy the folk sounds of The Trials of Cato, so much so we bought a CD. Theres a great market in the centre and it was here that we could hear a choir and of course it was from a big screen showing the royal wedding and hundreds sat watching with flags and glasses of champagne. We watch for a while and then make our way to the Visitor Information Office.

We had pre-booked a guided walk to see the highlights of Cambridge. We had a very knowledgeable guide who had good little anecdotes to tell with the historic buildings. There wasn’t just a focus on the university either but a history of how Cambridge came to be and how it grew. Blimey the sun is scorching!!

It was a shame that many of the colleges were closed to visitors, I suppose it’s exam time and also post-grads were graduating. There were a lot of capes and ermine around; proud mums in high heels carrying gift bags and dads in their suits and ties, desperate for it all to be over so they can remove the jacket and tie in the heat.

We followed ‘Diane’ around in her floppy hat and sandals through the crowded streets and back to the Visitor Information Centre, where there was time to buy a postcard for my grand-daughter Chloe. I send her one every time we travel and she stores them in a scrap book.

Time for a well-earned M&S sandwich sitting by the river on the Backs. This at the back of most of the colleges, hence the name. We find a spot amongst the geese poo (Dubber does a quick clean up before I would sit down) and watch the graceful punting of the ‘professional’ punters as opposed to the general public who don’t have a clue.

There was one punt with two young guys; one lay prostrate in the punt, whilst the other with a huge head of hair balanced clumsily with his punt stick (I’m sure it has a name) not really going anywhere but round and round in circles. He would just about master getting the boat straight to carry on up or down the river, when a wrong twist of the stick and he was horizontal across the river again. Other punts would barge his out the way (normal protocol it seemed) and he’d be off going round and round again. Hilarious. I just waited for him to fall. I don’t know how he didn’t. Eventually he managed to move up the river only to start the round and round process again; his friend still lying in the punt inanimate whilst the punter caused chaos.

We stroll back through the town admiring the architecture, avoid being mowed down by cyclists and head back for our bikes. The Trials of Cato are still playing, the crowds still busy and the sun unbelievably hot for early May. We cycled back to Trumpington and decide to head back to the Hudson’s Ale House for a swift half which turned into a pint and dinner – the football was on. We were in good company even if the best team didn’t win.

We cycled back to Rosie and sat watching the sunset, opened a bottle of wine and I thrashed Dubber at Skipbo!

It’s still warm the next day and after a lazy breakfast we get on the bikes and ride to Grantchester. Renowned for being a quaint English village, populated by some of the best brains of Britain (apparently) it is most known for either the TV Series by the same name or for the more cultured of us Rupert Brooke and his interesting friends, the Bloomsbury Group. The Orchard Tea Garden was originally the orchard to the house he lived in and remains idyllic with its apple trees and deckchairs. Time for coffee and a cake.

After light refreshments we cycle round the village (NB 3 pubs and a gin distillery – see below). We find the cycle route to Cambridge which takes us across fields and into pretty suburbs of Cambridge. It’s great cycling in the sunshine. We ought to do it more often. Got to persuade Dubber for another trip, as it means the awning has to travel in the van.

Once we get our bearings we find our intended destination, the Botanic Gardens. Loved it. So much in bloom around the gardens and in the greenhouses.

A beautiful setting for lunch.

And still more lovely views

It’s really tiring lazing in this heat but it’s time to cycle back for our last evening here and there’s tuna fish and pineapple to cook…with wine, Dubber!

Another evening of Skipbo and time to reflect on lessons learnt:

1 Yikes! Bikes? Yes they were fun and made the area much more accessible when we want to leave the van with the awning.

2 As I haven’t ridden a bike for a while I have found muscles in my thighs I’d forgotten about.

3 We love a wedding and a football final.

4 I am still the Skipbo Champion, Dubber!

Yes Cambridge lived up to expectations and I’d certainly head back there bicycles in tow. It’s a shame to have to go home and leave the living outdoors for a while. But hey, the big summer trip is not far away. And we’re excited. Watch this space.

Respite and refuge in Rosie

Apologies haven’t posted in months. Life takes over and then you forget you record adventures here and the next thing it’s April 2018 and a new season of Rosie begins.

We call Rosie our happy place.

It’s just what we need at the moment. Dubber has had issues with his ears for a year now and the tinnitus has been unbearable. Also my dear old Dad had been unwell since Christmas and took very unwell about nine weeks ago. Sadly he died in March and it’s been a tough time with the big hole in our lives he’s left behind.

This weekend marks the beginning of our respite, just time to get away and try to put the grief to one side just for a moment and re-energise ourselves for the difficult months ahead. Rosie is our refuge for a couple of nights and we’ve travelled to Suffolk in the sunshine.

We are staying near Dunwich at Cliff House Holiday Park. Yeah I know holiday park sounds a bit Hi De Hi but actually it’s the nicest of places. All the parking spots are in wooded areas.

We have hard standing and hook up and all the spaces are a good size, so that over the weekend when the site was fuller you didn’t feel like you were on top of each other. The amenities are good too.

After a pint of Adnams early doors we had a very nice meal in the restaurant ‘12 List Churches’, which apparently relates to there being 12 churches that have gone into the sea off Dunwich.

After a leisurely start we headed off for a walk with the intention of walking to Walberswick. Reception had given Dubber directions which of course we left in the van so having walked on the pebble beach for 45 minutes and made our way to Dunwich village we realised we didn’t have the details of the route and of course we came to a crossroads. Dubber mentioned a bridle way so with that in mind we took this route which of course was the wrong route.

We ended up walking through Dunwich Forest and heath on the Sandlings Walk. Although heading in completely the wrong direction for where we wanted to go we actually had a pleasant walk mostly not seeing anyone first through woodland with hawthorn, willow and well used paths and then across heathland with bright yellow gorse.

There really are unspoilt areas of England where you can walk away from the crowds.

We resorted to google maps and an OS guide on my phone. Dubber didn’t have a signal. We found where we were and took the decision to find the route back to Dunwich rather than Walberswick. When we found the Suffolk Coastal Path the walk became much easier and as we entered Dunwich we realised we missed the path by 50 metres.

In Dunwich we visited The Ship and took light refreshments – more Adnams and lunch. The fish pie was excellent.

After picking up an ice cream for pudding from the kiosk by the beach we got back onto the beach and strained our legs as we battled the pebbles back to Cliff House. We got there pretty hot and exhausted.

We dined on a light supper and a glass of wine or two and hit the Skipbo. I think we are even this trip.

We left the campsite mid-morning and headed off to Southwold. Everyone loves Southwold with its lovely old buildings and beach huts. We quickly traipsed round the shops and of course the Adnams Brewery shop and bought gin as you do. There’s a lovely old pier where we ate lunch before walking back through the town.

Just for my friend Andrea – pictures of beach huts.

Its a lovely gentile part of the country and the sun shone for us. Respite indeed. The old bugger would have loved it.

Rosie’s trip with the dragon

We really needed this weekend away in Rosie. ¬†We’ve been so busy and struggling with life lately that we needed to slow down and take it easy. ¬†That’s what having a camper van means to us; that’s what makes the difference. ¬†So we packed up and set off on what was quite a lengthy drive through sunshine and rain to Pembrokeshire.

Our campsite Celtic Camping is near Abereiddy in the parish of St David’s. ¬†It’s set above the cliffs by the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, is on National Trust land and has extensive facilities including a bunkhouse, several fields for camping and a very laid back feel. ¬†We opt for the hook up field and pick our spot facing the sea. The views are fantastic, so tried to photograph a panoramic picture.


It’s an opportunity to properly use our new awning and light. ¬†Now the old awning had Dubber in a frenzy every time we put it up. It wasnt complicated but add a breeze and a twisted guy rope and you can get your knickers in a twist very quickly. ¬†Usually meant it was my time to put the kettle on and make a cuppa.


But with our new Kampa ‘inflatable’ (ooh!) awning it’s so much easier. ¬†There’s a blue pump thing that Dubber uses to inflate two beams and the cross beam and then it’s up essentially. It’s lovely and light and stays quite cosy even when the evenings get cool. ¬†It’s become our sitting room for when we’re camping but also has an inner tent providing another bedroom if others come to stay (see my next blog).

And then there’s always a place for a bit of decoration.


So we are settled quite quickly and have time to lazily watch the view, cook ourselves dinner and have a glass of wine or two ..and a gin.

There was overnight rain but we stayed nice and dry and after breakfast headed out to walk the Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk.  The scenery is stunning, with rocky cliffs and sandy bays, waterfalls and a blue lagoon where crazy people go coasteering.  Yes it was new to me too.  Young people wearing wet suits and helmets jump off cliffs and then climb back up them for pleasure.  Crazy.


Anyway we have a lovely walk to Abereiddy, a small village where the coasteerers set off from. ¬†There doesn’t appear to be much there other than a well equipped food van on the car park. We will come back to that. ¬†We continue on to the next village Porthgain where we know there is a pub. After a couple of sharp showers the sun is out and we take off waterproofs and bare our arms on what turns out to be a beautiful day. ¬†This time of year is great for walking because there is so much wildflower around the edges of the path. ¬†I’m sure that we are doing so much more to preserve our countryside and flowers are returning that we haven’t seen in a number of years. ¬†This is National Trust land and they do a great job at preserving land so that we can enjoy it.


We arrive in time for lunch at Porthgain, a small village but obviously well visited by tourists with gift shops and a gallery, a restaurant and a pub, The Sloop Inn. There is a lovely little harbour and the tide is out. A man and his dog are digging for something in the muddy sand.  There is a strange building clinging to the cliffs that is almost fortress like and on researching it, it is a relic of slate quarrying days.  The slate used to come via a tramway, to be worked on here before being shipped out.  For a time when the slate mines closed it became a brick factory and later for crushing road stone.  Along with the large brick hoppers it is now an important national monument.


Dubber’s choice of a national monument would be this:


We make short work of walking back. ¬†Dubber is perturbed that I’m on my second wind as I’m racing ahead, but to be honest I need the loo! It’s the beer my dear.

We unhitched Rosie from the awning and headed out to St Davids. ¬†It’s the closest town or is that city as it has a cathedral. It has an impressive cathedral and remains of the Bishops Palace. ¬†There are quaint shops and a supermarket; we have a list of things we forgot to bring. ¬†Need to have a list permanently in the food box to check before we come.


We people watch as we had lunch but this visitor caused a distraction because it was feeling a bit peckish!


We sampled the local beer too.

Back at the van we make dinner and sit out in the evening sun to wait for the sunset. ¬†Unfortunately the clouds moved in so it wasn’t as spectacular as we thought, but we are happy just to admire the view before the Skipbo challenge starts.

Another day and a trip out in the van today. ¬†We are heading to Tenby. ¬†It’s one of those places everyone except me has been to. ¬†Even Dubber tells me he came here as a child. ¬†First impressions are very good. ¬†It’s an upmarket holiday destination. ¬†No kiss me quick hats, more fancy gift shops, wine and coffee bars. ¬†Inside the town walls there is a lovely feel to the town. We wander the shops and have a spot of lunch whilst people watching before we have a shower of rain. ¬†We walk to look over the beach and make a visit to the Lifeboat, and next door was the old lifeboat station that became a home on Grand Designs. ¬†A bit public!


We sat and enjoyed the sunshine a while longer then headed back to our campsite for dinner, this time experiencing a fantastic sunset.  How beautiful this world is.


After another killing at Skipbo, Dubber really does get fed up with me winning, we bunker down for the night and the next day we pack up quite swiftly – another asset of the new awning, it deflates really easily.

We say goodbye to the sea and make our way back towards Cardiff. We are stopping off near Cowbridge with friends Bev and Dick and enjoy a beautiful lunch in their garden. ¬†There’s nothing better than relaxing in someone’s beautiful garden and enjoying lunch with lovely people.

So the awning was a real success. ¬†I have another good win at Skipbo under my belt and at last I’ve visited Pembrokeshire, which was on my bucket list of places to visit in Rosie. ¬†Another week and we are taking her out again. ¬†Can’t wait.

Gorging ourselves on Cheddar

It’s good to be back on the road in Rosie.  Now you wouldn’t have heard me say that three years ago, but hey a girl can change her mind.  So we set off for an April Bank Holiday weekend in Somerset – love that accent.  Dubber has to make the transition from car to van so we race along the M42, changing up and down gears like there’s no tomorrow, until after about an hour he settles into her rhythm, and the drive becomes smooth again.

We are heading for Priddy in Somerset.  We’ve taken another giant step in our investment in Rosie and joined the Caravan and Camping Club, which essentially gives us better access to camping sites around the country.  We are staying at the Cheddar Mendip Heights campsite near Priddy.


We arrive at the campsite and immediately there’s a sense of this being a friendly and welcoming place.  The setting is lovely amongst the Mendip hills but also where we decide to camp is secluded and quiet…so much so that when our friends Sean and Claire arrive they can’t find us!

This is our first outing with our new awning, a Kampa Travelpod Action…Dubber is full of technical knowledge… It’s an inflatable awning to you and me.  It’s so much better than our previous awning because it goes up in 15 minutes rather than the frustrating hour accompanied by miscellaneous bad language from Dubber. He has no patience.  Anyway the awning is lovely and brings in a lot more light.


It’s not the only thing new on Rosie. She has her very own T25 Rosie sticker front and back.


We have just set up and our friends arrive.  We put the kettle on and share ( yes I said ‘share’) the Hobnobs.   I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but a staple to our Rosie trips is Hobnobs. Chocolate ones of course.  What I have observed is that for every one that Dubber has I have about three.  What?!

So we have had our cuppa then we head off to the pub, the Queen Vic in Priddy for dinner.  A really nice traditional pub with excellent food. My goodness if you saw Sean’s pie – it was a wedge of meat.

Having said goodbye to our friends, who also have a camper called Verne but he’s off the road at the moment, (Look out for a Rosie and Verne adventure in the future) we settle ourselves in for the night.  Have missed the cosiness of sleeping in the van.  


After a great night’s sleep we decide to get out early for a walk through Cheddar Gorge.  The forecast is rain.  We park up in the Gorge and head to the Tourist Information Office for guidance on the walk.  After some simple instructions which included “There’s a bit of an incline as you begin” we crossed the road went through a gate and OMG that’s a cliff not an incline!

I’m not kidding it was practically straight up.  If we’d come prepared we would have had crampons!  Anyway we made our way straight up with a huff and a puff half way and after about 15 minutes having been overtaken by a dog, we got up onto the top and the plateau that is the top of one side of the gorge.  The views were fabulous and the weather was beautiful.


Now the good thing about going up is that you can go down, so after about 5 minutes we were back down on the road.  The walk we were following however covered both sides the gorge, so yes you’ve guessed it we had to climb again.  This time though the environment was more interesting and the view at the top was worth waiting for.  Walking back down we earned the double chocolate torte and hot chocolate overdose in a cafe, along with the cheddar cheese of course.


The rain came down as we head to the cathedral city of Wells.  It’s a beautiful cathedral and it was so calming to sit there in the peace.  A quaint town and worth the window shopping.  We spent the rest of the day back at the site and yes it did start to rain quite heavy, so Skipbo came out and I beat Dubber again, and again and again.

The next day we packed up and drove to the coast. Always good to see a bit of sea, our choice of place was Burnham-on-sea. Obviously we were slightly on the young side for most of the people we saw there but they had a good Clarks Outlet store.
Our aim was to get to Bleadon by lunchtime to hear our friend Unc aka Chief Engineer on the barge trip, playing with Chris Stinchcombe  at a village fete.  It was in full swing in blazing and I mean blazing sunshine.  A bit of tan initiation for everyone that day.  It seemed like a nice community and as we arrived the band had just finished playing and the Morris dancers were performing.  We got ourselves a local beer but there was no food left – it was only 1pm.  Constant throughout the fete was a Lady Commentator, obviously been trained by the WI with her pearls and twinset at some point.  She got very excited at introducing everything to everyone and saying how wonderful everything was especially the food – what food?


After the Morris dancers there were more dancers.  They called themselves Medieval but were dressed in Tudor clothes which I have to say in that heat must have been exhausting.  What followed was a bit of madrigal dancing and then everyone was asked to get involved in what can only be described as country dancing.  Not a medieval joust move in site.  Anyway after the Medieval, sorry Tudor, sorry mock Victorian dancers died from heat stroke in the corner at the bar which was by now running out of beer, our boys got up and played again before they were interrupted by the Lady Commentator mid-song to call out the winner on the raffle for the bike.


Joking aside, small village communities do a great job at entertaining themselves and visitors.  My own village of Hathern has a core group of people and organisations which do a fantastic job at putting on events.  Looking forward to taking Rosie down to the Wicked Hathern Festival again this year.  Come and join us August 11/12.

So the Rosie season has begun.  Have missed going away with you, Rosie.