A tour of the tors

Jacky and I stayed on a beautiful campsite owned by the Caravan and Camping club outside Tavistock. We spent a lot of time driving round the tors and getting a little bit lost at times but met lots of gorgeous ponies, many, many sheep in the road and had some great walks.

On our first day we took Eva out to the tor we could see from the campsite. It didn’t look very high but was quite a steep climb but the views from the top were well worth it.

We had spotted a group of ponies drinking by a pond and were going to go down to see them when they started up the hill to us. They were very friendly and obviously well used to visitors. I think they wanted some food but we had nothing with us and would not have fed them anyway but the clearly thought the rucksack might have some treats in it.

An amazing day out, finished off with a paddle and a BBQ, which made me very happy as I had been enviously watching other people have them at the last campsite and I don’t have room for one in my little kit.

We went on to Plymouth later that week and did a lot more walking so I will post about that later. I am in Aberystwyth at the moment, having left Tenby reluctantly yesterday as it was a wonderful place. I am currently in a hotel with very lovely soft bed and so much space, a real luxury after seven nights under canvas. It does feel a bit strange as I have been getting very used to my tent but it is nice to have a few quiet days.

I wil try and post again before I leave for the final leg of the tour to Barmouth later this week. I hope that you are all having a good time whatever you are doing. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Beautiful towns, and so many boats !

I am now sitting in my hotel room in Swansea, overlooking the bay and enjoying a quiet evening. I am on the way to another campsite in Wales on Monday but have a little break here and plan to visit the museums tomorrow.

I really enjoyed visiting so many towns in Devon, I really loved all of them, all with very different characters but all with such a focus on seagoing. I love the sea and was amazed by the number of boats in the harbours, especially at Dartmouth.

This was such a beautiful town, with so many gorgeous old buildings, even in the mizzle we had when we got off the steam train. I wandered around the old streets that go up the hill, enjoying the view of the harbour. I had two short ferry crossings and if I go back would love to do another cruise up the river.

My last trip before meeting Jacky was to Torquay, which I had passed on the way to Paignton. It was really hot so I had a paddle, ice cream, a lovely glass of white wine overlooking the marina, and finished the day with fish and chips.

Torquay is very elegant and I was also able to get a good look at the three large cruise ships that have been stuck in the bay since last year. There were so many other large boats in the marina as well. I am used to seeing them in Spain but didn’t realise there were so many here. I spent a very happy afternoon watching them all.

I have sorted out all off the pictures from my week with Jacky so will post next week about our adventures on Dartmoor, we saw so many of the wild ponies there which was amazing.

Until then I hope that you have a great week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Trains and boats and planes …. well just the first two for now.

I have had a great time exploring Devon on a variety of public transport. As you may know the original pre – Covid plan was to learn to drive and buy a campervan. However as we know things did not turn out that way.

I have been a lifelong public transport user so was not really that fazed by the lack of licence.

I chose this campsite specifically for its very good transport links and have been all over South Devon this week.

One of the best days out was to take the Riviera line train along to Paignton and then the Dartmouth Steam train. I will post again about Dartmouth, as it was a beautiful place but the two journey were stunning. I love normal trains but steam trains are especially wonderful.

I passed so many wonderful places, it was amazing to see all of the rock formations along the coast and the beautiful towns and estuaries.

I also went on a cruise from Exmouth along the coast which was again stunning. This coast is of special geological significance and is known as the Jurassic Coast due to the amount of fossils that have been found here. The rock formations due to erosion were very impressive.

I went to Exeter yesterday to see the cathedral and that will have to be a post all on its own as the embroidery was stunning. Today was a little trip to Torquay for a walk around the marina, more ice cream and fish and chips.

I am meeting up with Jacky tomorrow so we will continue our adventures in Devon for another week. Hope you have been having a good week, take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The miracles of modern technology!

So this is my first post coming to you from my tent. I am currently in Devon and am camping at a very lovely little campsite in a village on the banks of the River Exe.

I came from Worksop on the coach and stayed overnight in Exeter as it was too late to come straight to the campsite. It is on a farm and has some chickens and a beautiful pond with a resident heron as well as ducks and moorhens.

I have not visited this part of the UK for a very long time, we came to Lulworth when the children were young but chose this as the campsite has very good public transport links, since I am doing all of this by train, bus and taxi.

So far I have had a very lovely trip on the ferry over to Exmouth and visited Dawlish Warren and been along the coast for a walk. There were lots of yachts and windsurfers to admire and it was beautiful and sunny, so much so that I got burnt as I did not realise how hot it was due to the wind.

I have had to get to grips with so much technology recently, I am writing this using the WordPress app, I have a Smartphone and am using apps on that to buy train tickets and have got power banks for charging things for life on the road. It is all very exciting and amazing that I can continue to blog and keep in touch with you all.

I am off on another train journey tomorrow, on a steam train so am really looking forward to that. I am meeting up with my sister on Monday for some campervan adventures so will be posting more later this week about the other things I have done, there will have been lots of boats involved!

I hope you are all having a good week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Attention to detail

The thing that impressed us the most about the Yorkshire Wartime event that we visited was the superb attention to detail in all of the encampments. There were so many things to look at, from the period typewriters and beds to the maps, replicas of the Enigma machines, and the huge number of vehicles that were there.

This shows amazing dedication to the hobby, medieval re-enactment is an expensive hobby but we saw vehicles that were for sale for £45,000 and there is the cost of transporting, running and maintaining them as well.

There were such a wide variety of camps, from both sides of WW1 and WW2 as well as replicas of trenches, hospital stations, desert settings, such as lot of hard work had gone into the event and we really appreciated that. We had some lovely chats with people, especially with a group who had been excavating a WW1 training camp in North Wales and had so many original finds from the rubbish dump there.

There was also the battle with very impressive pyrotechnics that created this huge smoke ring in the sky, which lasted for ages,

There was also the chance to admire the camper vans and caravans as we stayed over in the public camping field, these were two of my favourite for their size and cuteness.

We also went to the Saturday night dance which was brilliant fun. A really lovely way to end my time with Ellen. As of this week I am on my four week camping tour, visiting Devon, meeting up with my sister Jacky for some time with her in her camper van, and then two weeks in West and North Wales which I am very much looking forward to.

I will try and post as much as I can, I have yet to work out how to do that on a tablet but have a few days in apartments in between the camping so when I have access to electricity I will see what I can do.

In the meantime I hope that you all have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A welcome return

Evesham was such a lovely event. I have not been before, although the others had in 2019. It is a slightly earlier period than we normally do being a battle that took place in the town in 1265. Luckily my nun’s outfit covers a multitude of centuries. I was there this time with my new medieval group, Team Falchion. I am still with the other group, but always intended to join this group, who have been friends of ours for a very long time, so that I could attend even more events.

All of these photos were taken by our wonderful event photographer, Pat Patrick, who spends so much time at every event taking hundreds of pictures. We also had a photo shoot with our group photographer Silke in the abbey church. The costumes were wonderful, very much inspired by Byzantine fashions with lots of flowing tunics and embroidery.

On Saturday we had a parade through the town, which was brilliant fun, I would love to go back and spend more time there, it looks like a really lovely place with lots to see and a lovely river bank walk. I think I visited when I was younger as I grew up near there and have vague memories of it.

There was one battle on Saturday and two battles on Sunday and as well as the foot combat there were horses which was very exciting to watch.

It was just so lovely to catch up with friends again, sit in a beer tent and round a campfire and just have such a great time, it thankfully seemed as if the last year has been a bad dream. That is the last medieval event for this year though we have just got back from a WW2 one so will post about that later this week.

I hope that you have had a good weekend, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Walking back to happiness

I have had the loveliest time on my first solo camping trip in the Peak District. All worked out very well, I was able to manage the train with all of my luggage fine, though was in awe of the true backpackers with their minimal kit, mine was a very large bag and rucksack but I am on the road for 5 weeks and have all my cooking stuff with me and home comforts like chairs and a little table.

The campsite was excellent, in the centre of Edale, just behind the Park Visitor Centre, Fieldhead campsite is a very small site next to the stream, which was lovely to listen to, with an excellent view of the hills just before Mam Tor. It was perfect for my little new blue tent, which survived a very heavy downpour on the first night. The rest of the time the weather was very good, and I am glad that the tent has been tested in rain before I continue my adventures.

I went on two walks of about 4 km each, I was pacing myself as have not been walking consistently and need to get back into it and get my fitness back. It was just bliss though, just wandering and looking at the hills and just being able to stop and stare at all of the beauty. My little heart was very, very happy and so grateful to finally be doing the things I love.

Edale is gorgeous, with lots of cute cottages, typically English with roses at the door and beautiful gardens with drystone walls.

My first day was the walk along the valley underneath Kinder Scout, which is famous for being the site of the mass trespass in 1932 that led the way to public access rights to land. I am so grateful that we have all this to enjoy and for the people that have built and maintain the fantastic paths and bridges. I especially love all the purple heather.

The second day was a little bit of the Pennine Way, which starts in Edale and goes near my old house in Marsden. I never get tired of the views here, over to Mam Tor and am looking forward to returning there next year with Jacky and walking more of that route.

I finished the walk with the biggest pot of tea I have seen in ages and lovely cake and then a quick visit to the parish church where there were lots of very detailed needlepoint kneelers and some lovely old grave stones.

I am temporarily back at Ellen’s as we are off to a WW2 re-enactment event this weekend, just as visitors this time. More camping and am really looking forward to the displays, this is one of the biggest in the UK. Hopefully I will get chance to post about Evesham when we return and this event later in the month but blogging may be a bit sporadic when I am fully on the road for a month.

I hope that you have all had a good week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The heavens aligned, and thankfully did not open!

Well I have had a very exciting and eventful week. I did not want to say too much on the last post, in case all did not go according to plan but it did! I have now sold my house, moved out of Marsden and and am off on my adventures.

All of this happened on Tues this week, by the previous Thursday I was living in a house with no furniture at all and having a last weekend with friends in the village. On Tuesday I handed over the keys to the new owners and set off with Kerry, who had very kindly come to collection me and my last possessions.

The first stop has been to Ellen’s, I have done some more volunteering at the food bank she works at, which has been really interesting again.

We then went to our first re-enactment event in 2 years at Evesham. It was absolutely brilliant, the weather was very kind, a few showers on the Friday night and Saturday afternoon, but we had a dry end to the weekend which made everyone very happy as no wet tents to sort. Here is my lovely little tent in the sun on Friday.

It was amazing to be back in a field, in the beer tent and round the campfire with my friends, we have kept in touch on Facebook but nothing beats being able to see them and there were lots of hugs.

I don’t have many pictures yet, I could not take any being in kit all weekend but there will be lots from our friends who come along to the events just to do all the photography so I will post again with those later this week.

There was a parade through the town, three battles, with horses which looked fantastic, and a we were at very nice event site between the abbey and the river. We did a photo shoot with one of our friends in the church, which was beautiful, and the vicar very kindly lit the candles for us to give it more atmosphere.

I am off tomorrow for three nights camping in my new little tent in Edale in the Peak District. I am planning a little walking but mainly a quiet and peaceful time reading, doing some knitting and recovering from all of the very busy sorting of the house and moving out.

I can’t quite believe that this has actually happened, it has been planned for so long but I am finally fully retired and free to go off and have all sorts of lovely adventures. I am so lucky and so thankful to everyone who has helped me in the last few months.

I hope that you have had a good weekend, take care, have fun, stay safe and I will see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

Weekends when you can be a flower fairy one day and a mermaid the next!

The title of this post comes from something Ellen said as we were walking out on Saturday at the Whitby Steampunk weekend and just really sums up why we do this. She got the chance to debut two completely new outfits, one of which was the flower fairy one which she made during the first lockdown when she was furloughed.

The other, Ariel the Little Mermaid, has been in the pipeline for a long time, the wig having been bought about 4 years ago and the tiara last year at Kelham.

When she was little she had the mermaid outfit from Disneyland and loved it so she was very pleased on Sunday when she got asked for photos with so many little girls. She is of course, and always will be a Disney princess at heart.

I sadly did not get chance to complete the cream outfit, just too much to do with sorting the house but did manage a new ensemble for the Friday night 1920s themed ball and a new hat. I also bought a new skirt in a light pink, in the same range as all my others, so had some new things to enjoy.

We stayed at a wonderful apartment on the cliff side, a fantastic location only 10 minutes walk from both the town and the seafront where the pavilion is. It was beautifully decorated with everything we could need, so we have already booked if for next year.

This year’s trip was for four nights so that we could have a day at Saltwick Bay fossil hunting and a leisurely trip back on the Monday. The bay was amazing, the cliffs are so impressive, though sadly eroding fast and we had a lovely time looking in rock pools, paddling and finding some very impressive fossils.

Both days over the weekend we visited the market, not much was bought but we had a lovely time and really enjoyed talking to all of the stall holders and again admiring all the wonderful possibilities for future outfits (Ellen does keep reminding me that I have three to make already though so I can’t buy anything else until those are done).

The Friday night ball was such fun! There were people and a band and dancing, just like the good old days 🙂 Ellen already had a 1920s dress that she created from a sari set from Bombay Stores and I went for a Marlene Dietrich theme with my dinner suit and top hat, plus a bit of bling with some marvellous earrings from Bombay Stores, and a lovely new cane.

Ellen had another evening outfit which was an ensemble of previous ones, with her new hat.

We didn’t take many other costume shots, partly as we were just too busy talking to people and the inside of the market was quite crowded but met one of our favourite Steampunk couples again, what a wonderful Adam Ant, one of my teen heart throbs!

This Mad Hatter’s tea party hat was another lockdown project, all the felting was done by its creator and it is probably one of the best of that theme that I have every seen.

This was our last Steampunk for this year, we have been very, very lucky to be able to go to three this year and are so very grateful to the organisers who have had to overcome such hurdles to get everything to go ahead within all the restrictions. It has been wonderful to see people and be out and about again.

Fingers crossed there will be a re-enactment event soon as well, don’t want to jinx anything as we didn’t actually get to go to the last one due to a change in the rules last minute but here’s hoping.

I have hopefully got an exciting week ahead of me and will be able to share those plans and the re-enactment event in my next post. Until then have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Blist’s (aka Blistering) Hill wonders

Our recent Steampunk event at Blist’s Hill was a lovely, if rather warm day out. It is of course very sensible when the UK is having a heatwave of 28 degrees, which is far too warm for the likes of us pale people more used to downpours, to dress in many layers, and a top hat.

It was a beautiful venue, one I definitely need to return to as there are many more museums there to visit. I loved the little shops, particularly the chemist and haberdashers and the sheer scale of some of the artefacts of engineering such as the replica of the first steam locomotive and the brick kilns and the winding wheels. It just makes you wonder at the changes that era experienced and the reactions of people to those changes.

There were some splendid costumes as well, though many people were very sensibly in hot weather costume so not as many amazing creations as usual. I loved the three people who came as Alice, the Mad Hatter and the caterpillar, the latter costume was so wonderfully constructed.

This peacock hat was very splendid indeed, putting my few feathers to shame and there were some very lovely top hats like this purple one, again a Mad Hatter theme.

We saw this beautiful costume at the end of the day, the woman who created it looked stunning but it must have been so hot to wear.

James looked amazingly cool all day despite wearing a coat and hat, whereas Kerry and I were mainly modelling very pink faces but it did give us the excuse to stop in all the nice cafes for drinks and ice cream.

There were other newer wonders as well, I had never seen this marvellous airship/boat before. The ingenuity and creativity of the Steampunk community is fantastic, a true testament to the creativity of all those who made the Industrial Age happen.

Following on from Blist’s Hill was the wonderful Whitby, we had a fantastic time and will post again soon with all the lovely things we saw there. In between was another week of getting rid of possessions and booking future adventures which I hope I will be able to share with you soon.

Tomorrow marks my official last day at work…ever. I retired on the 25th June and have been on leave since then but have still been going in some days to tie up loose ends and do some late marking, but as of 5pm tomorrow it will all be over. I hand my laptop back, finish clearing my office and loose all access to e-mails 🙂 I think that will be the best bit actually knowing I can relax and not have to worry about students any more. It has been a tough year for us all and I am very glad that for me it is over. I wish all my students and colleagues the very best of luck for the coming academic year.

It has been raining here all day and the sun has just come out so I am looking at the beautiful moors, I am so lucky to have spent time here and am looking forward to more of the UK’s lovely countryside in the coming months.

I hope that your weekend ahead is good, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.