Tamar trails and of course a waterfall for Jacky!

As you may know my sister is a huge fan of waterfalls so most of our trips involve those. We only saw one this trip but did have a lovely day out doing some of the Tamar trails

There was not as much of a view of the actual Tamar River from the trail but there was a fascinating history of the tin mines in the area on the trails.

The tall chimneys still survive as do many of the old workings, both from the tin mining, and later producing arsenic.

The waterfall we visited was Lydford Gorge and we did just a short walk before it was time to hit the M5 for a slow journey back to Worcester.

It was so good to spend time with Jacky again, she and I have so many interests in common and I love sharing her van life for the odd week or so. She has been away for most of the 6 weeks holidays after the stressful year that she has had as a primary special needs teacher she really deserved the rest.

I am looking forward to more adventures with her next year. Meanwhile I have some very good news, I am finally in Spain! I arrived a couple of days ago and have been spending lots of time with Mum and my aunt Maureen, including a lovely trip to the pool yesterday.

I have lots of sorting to do, not least to put together a new craft space which is very exciting. My lovely aunt and I are going shopping for some storage this afternoon so I can unpack the two large bags of craft stuff I brought with me.

I still have lots of my UK tour to post about so will do as much as I can though things may be a bit slow as I have only a poor mobile Internet signal here.

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

Add yet more boats!

I am currently in my little tent on the very last day of the UK tour. I have been in a lovely little village called Fairbourne, across the estuary from Barmouth for the past few days. It is right on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, so is surrounded by mountains, with fantastic views.

Today, however I am posting about the trip to Plymouth. I have friends who live there, and my cousin Neil lives just outside the city so Jacky and I really wanted to go and explore. We also got to meet up the following day with my cousin and his family at their house which was brilliant. We normally see each other in Spain so have missed that.

As to be expected, given its long naval history, there were lots and lots of boats and celebration of that history. One of the first things we saw was a statue of Sir Francis Drake, who famously encountered the Spanish Armada here.

We were fascinated to watch the large ferry from Roscoff come into port. Hopefully at some point in the future Jacky and I will take a campervan over to France so we’re discussing which route we might take over ice-cream at this lovely cafe perched on the side of the cliff.

We had a wander round the bay and up into the older area of the Barbican. Sadly the Liberty shop was closed which was possibly a good thing as I don’t have room in any of my bags now. We did find a very cute Turkish inspired tea room with a gorgeous garden and had an afternoon tea.

After that we went on a cruise round the bay, past all the naval dockyards which was fascinating. My cousin has been in the Navy for nearly 30 years now so he works on many of these ships and will be sailing again soon for more training.

A very lovely day our and a very impressive city, it seems like a very nice place to live, with lots going on and a beautiful location just across from Cornwall.

We spent the last couple of days doing walks in the area. It was very hot so we stayed to woodland areas and had a lovely time before the long drive back to Jacky’s.

I will hopefully be able to post later this week, I am going back to Ellen’s tomorrow for a couple of nights and then fingers crossed on to further adventures.

I hope that you are all enjoying this late summer, it has been a bit wet here in Wales but that only adds to the scenery with low hanging cloud between the mountains.Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

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.

Let’s start as we mean to go on…

Well the first week of retirement, or permanent holiday, as I have decided to call it went very well. We were not able to join the others for the full weekend of the event at Nottingham Castle, due to restrictions on numbers who could camp. However, we did have a very nice day out, complete with lunch in a fabulous outdoor garden at a restaurant and bar in a Georgian House in the middle of Nottingham. One of the very good side effects of the restrictions is that people have created wonderful outside spaces and I am very happy that we can sit and eat and drink in such pretty places. The outdoor lifestyle is what I love most about Spain and it is lovely that we can now do more of that as well.

It was brilliant to see our friends, we have not met for 2 years so we did have some hugs and a lot of catching up to do. The event featured lots of different groups and was a nice gentle easing back into re-enactment. I will hopefully be doing an event in August if all goes well.

We really enjoyed the trip to Oxford, very busy and we we packed so much into the two days, lots of walking around finding filming locations from the Discovery of Witches series as well as visits to the Ashmolean and the Natural History Museum/Pitt Rivers Museum.

The colleges were all closed due to Covid but we did see All Souls and the Bodleian as well as the Bridge of Sighs.

We especially loved the Pre-Raphaelite rooms at the Ashmolean, the detail on the painting was incredible and there were many of our favourite artists there.

The Natural History Museum was just as fascinating for its architecture as well as the contents, with an amazing glass ceiling and pillars carved from different rocks representing various flora and fauna. And who can resist a dinosaur skeleton! Jake used to love these when he was younger and both children were big fans of the ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ series.

At the Pitt Rivers I loved the textile elements of the collection, especially this sewing box and these amazing beaded costumes from North America. Also absolutely fascinating were garments made from seal intestines, especially the designs of what we would now recognise as as waterproof jacket that dated from over 100 years ago.

There was also a boat trip along the Thames, where we learnt a lot about the buildings along the river and the importance of rowing to the colleges. There was a very old ‘party barge’ moored on one of the banks which had been restored. I would love to go back and do some of the towpath walk one day. The blue boats are a steamer company whose boats were involved in the Dunkirk ships evacuation.

We also had some lovely lunches and dinners, including a surprise visit to the gorgeous Comptoir Libanais where the food was as good as the decor.

We stayed in a cute little log cabin Air b n b, which was located at the end of a garden not far from the city centre. We are trying out all sorts of different types of places to stay and could have happily lived in this one as well. It was a lot bigger than the last cabin by the sea, with an attic as well as two separate rooms and the living space.

Our final day was a trip to Blenheim Palace, which was just as spectacular as I had imagined. It was a lovely day for a wander round the gardens and a picnic by the fountains.

We also met a falcon, who was there for pest control rather than as a display of hunting skill. Her presence scares off the pigeons!

We went on a tour of the state rooms where there were some wonderful patterns on the walls and ceilings. I loved the library with the statue of Queen Anne.

There were also some beautiful portraits, particularly the ones of Consuelo Vanderbilt. I would like to read more of her story and have added some books about her to my wishlist. Lots of Steampunk inspiration there.

I also volunteered at Ellen’s new workplace, the Bassetlaw food Bank, which was a really interesting and enjoyable day, meeting her colleagues and getting to see what actually happens. I will not be able to commit to much volunteering in the future, but would like to help out as much as I can with fundraising, or anything that I can do remotely.

I have had two lovely leaving dos as well, I was very lucky to be able to meet up with some of my work colleagues in person at a local bar and it was lovely to share memories with people I have in some cases worked with for nearly 20 years. I was given some very generous gifts, including money which I am going to use for an interrail ticket, when we are able to travel again.

I also met up with the Wool and Wine group for a celebration and they very kindly gave me a gift voucher which I have used to buy some new camping supplies. I have spent time sorting my new camping bag, as well as decluttering and have lots of lovely new kit for all of my adventures.

I hope that you have all been having a nice time and have a good week ahead. Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The wonder of water

It has been a glorious day today so I have been up to my favourite Butterley reservoir, watching the Canada Geese’s goslings swimming with their parents and admiring the sun sparkling on the streams and spillways. I love water and feel happiest when near it, it calms me and I love the sounds it makes and the way it moves, when both natural and man made.

Our recent trip to Alnwick Gardens had lots of amazing water, the entrance water display was stunning, I did not manage to catch it when all the jets were working at once but I could have watched it for hours. It was wonderful, just sitting having a up of tea in the sun, so grateful to be out enjoying ourselves.

Ellen has taken up gardening since the first lockdown and she is doing lovely things to her little garden again this year, she will get all my pots and my chairs when I leave here so that will add to the joy. We had a brilliant morning admiring all the other water features there and the gorgeous planting of clematis and tulips.

The final joy was finding a blossom orchard with adult sized swing chairs which was just brilliant, so we had our picnic there.

We had a quick stop at Barter Books in Alnwick before going on to Durham. It was amazing, we were in awe of how many books they had, not to mention the cute little trains running round over the till area. It used to be railway station so this was an homage to its former life. Needless to say we left with a very large pile of books. I love reading, since I was a small child it has been a constant source of comfort and joy to me and I am packing up many boxes of books to ship to Spain.

Durham was very impressive, we managed to visit the cathedral twice, once for evensong, sadly no inside pictures allowed due to the restrictions, and had a good wander round. It would be great to go back when all of the museums and the castle are open.

We finished our trip with a detour for a picnic and a brilliant sunny walk at Fountains Abbey and Studely Royal Water Park, a beautiful location for this massive abbey complex and the adjoining Georgian water gardens. As always I love looking at the shapes that the stonework makes against the sky. I sometimes think the buildings look even more lovely as ruins, because of the contrast of stone and blue sky.

It was another excellent trip away and I am on the final countdown to many more. There are only 26 days left of me being employed and then it is freedom to travel (at least in the UK hopefully). I am busy sorting out some new camping supplies, don’t tell Ellen, but I am buying a new tent 😉 as if all goes well some of the summer will be me off on some little adventures. Jacky and I have also booked some camping in Devon with her van.

I have the final two weeks of marking to finish and then it is all nearly over. Then I will get back to far more crafting, so many things to make, including finishing the new outfit for Steampunk. We had a great time at Kelham so will share those pictures with you all soon, I bought some lovely lace for the new outfit and Ellen and I both got new hats!

I hope you are having a lovely time whatever you are doing. Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Northumbrian joys

We had a very lovely, if a little damp at the start, break in Northumberland. Beamish was once again beautiful, even in the rain and with all of the inside areas still closed, we really enjoyed the visit. We especially enjoyed seeing the steam train operating from the colliery and visiting the sweet shop where they were still making the boiled sweets by hand. These sweet moulds were fascinating to see. We will look forward to going back next year when the 1950s are is complete and the houses are open.

Our cabin on the coast was a 15 minute walk from where we parked in Alnmouth and by the time we got there it was lashing down with the most stinging, freezing rain, so we were soaked to the skin by the time we had walked along the cliff path.

The lovely host brought all our bags for us in his off road truck so we didn’t have to carry them, and we quickly had a roaring fire going in the log burner, so we soon dried off. We then had a lovely evening watching the weather from the cabin.

It had mostly cleared up by the evening so we were able to admire the view. I could very happily live there, even with it being so far from the road and loved watching the clouds, sun and sea change all the time.

Sadly our boat trip to see the seals had to be cancelled as there were very high winds on the following day but we spent a lovely morning in Alnwick. There were lots of fabulous charity shops, and a wool shop, and chocolate shop, so we had a very good time putting some money into the local economy. I will share what we got in a later post but we did very well and it was great to be able to shop again, I have really missed my charity shop visits.

We did have an unexpected visit to Warkworth Castle, which was very impressive, and then on to Amble for a blowy walk along the harbour to get a closer view of the island we had seen from our hut, which is a nature reserve for birds.

By the time we got back to Alnmouth the weather was beautiful and we were able to enjoy the walk back to the huts and onto the beach below.

One of the books in the hut was all about pebbles, with some gorgeous illustrations and it was very interesting reading. We saw some great examples of all of the different types of pebbles on the shore, as well as the rock pools and formations of Marden Rocks, which are just below the huts.

Again, a brilliant time in Northumberland, and cabin was just gorgeous. I have long wanted to go and stay in one of the Canopy and Stars‘ properties and was not disappointed. It was so beautiful and I was very reluctant to leave.

We did have a further day visiting Alnwick Gardens, Durham, and the stunning Fountains Abbey, so will post about that later. I feel very lucky to be able to have another holiday, and it was a very good way to celebrate all of the nice things that have happened to the family recently.

The weekend has been quiet and I have been enjoying my Luna and Little Cotton Rabbits crafting again. I will have some finishes to show you next time, as well as the new purchases.

Until then hope you are having fun. Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Up hill and down Dales

We were very lucky with the weather on our trip this week. Despite a cold forecast there were blue skies every day and it was beautifully sunny. I think I have even come back with a sunburnt nose 😉 We did a very commendable 18 km of walking over the three days, and most of it was very much up hill so we we were very impressed with ourselves. Jacky had a major operation just before Christmas and three months ago she could hardly walk outside, and I have been very immobile this winter, so we were really pleased to be able to tackle such walks.

We stayed at the very lovely Dalesbridge campsite near Settle, which was beautifully laid out with great facilities. Due to the restrictions there were only camper vans there the first few days but as the toilet blocks were able to open there were some tents at the end of the week. It was great to see people out enjoying themselves and we had the first BBQ and campfire of the year.

On the first day we just did a short 3 km walk in the afternoon through the Ingleborough nature trail, past the lake and the gorgeous houses of the village of Clapham. It was a beautiful day we saw lots of birds and wildflowers.

On day two we went on the Ingelton Waterfalls Walk, Jacky is a big fan of waterfalls and this trail with 6 in total did not disappoint. There were also amazing views at the top when we crossed open land with a view of Ingleborough, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

The last day was our longest trip, 8 km starting at the Ingleborough lake and going up through Trow Gill, all the way to Gaping Gill, a large pothole which has a stream running into it. This was our most impressive walk, the scenery was amazing and we had some steep climbs out of Trow Gill. We stopped mid – way for a little paddle in the stream near the cave as well. The stone formations are wonderful and of course there were lots of very friendly Dales sheep.

This may not look very steep from this angle, but it was, not so bad going up but a challenge coming down with my dodgy knees!

A really brilliant adventure, this is our third trip to the Dales in the campervan, and although there are so many other places we want to visit, we will definitely be back at some point. It is wonderful to have people that you can do lovely things with. Jacky and I really love walking and being outdoors and I am so lucky to be able to spend time with her doing all this.

I am having a quiet weekend after all that adventure, just finishing off some last bits in the house before I ring the estate agent and it goes on the market. Exciting times! I also had my first driving lesson on Monday, I didn’t bump into anything and really enjoyed it, so am looking forward to the next one. Fingers crossed my plans are all coming together.

I hope that you have a nice weekend, whatever you are doing. The sun is still shining here and it is all very lovely.Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.