Where has the year gone?

You’d think with all the to-ing and fro-ing between Home and Harrogate we’d done over the previous months, that when my mum’s house sale was finalised, and the dreaded drive up the M42/M1/M18/A1 motorways were behind us, we’d choose a different direction for a holiday.

June

T had decided I needed a holiday, the last year had been a stressful time to say the least, so after arriving home on 19th June, he booked us onto a campsite for a week from 24th June.

We’d had a glorious week at this site in May 2012 that had left us with some wonderful memories –

Yes, anyone who has read my blog will realise this was Whitby Holiday Park, and yes, it meant another dreaded M42/M1/M18/A1 again – but I’d got to the stage I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do anymore, I didn’t want to go on holiday and I didn’t want to stay at home.

I know T had meant well when he booked the holiday, he knew how much I’d enjoyed it before and he also knew how I’d felt my Yorkshire roots had been severed when I finally pulled the door to on my mums house, which is why he’d decided on Whitby.

The 24th arrived, but I still couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for the holiday, I felt as if I was trapped in a bubble, so apart from putting my clothes in the motorhome, T did everything else. IMG_0401_1 Four hours later we pulled into the holiday park.

Everything looked exactly as it was the day we left in 2012, even the sun was shinning as it was then, my mind immediately drifted back to Jasper, had his spirit joined us I wondered.

This holiday followed almost the same pattern as our previous visit, though we didn’t venture offsite with the van this time.

The walk down onto Saltwick Bay was easier, as both Sal and Cindy took the steep slope down in their stride. IMG_0409_1 Looking down to Saltwick Nab from the Cleveland Way footpath. IMG_4990_1 We walked into Whitby a couple of times, along the Cleveland Way. IMG_4994_1 Parked just outside Whitby Abbey, this was just screaming out to have it’s photograph taken, an old series ll/llA Land Rover ice cream van 🙂 IMG_4997_1 A monument to Captain James Cook, b.1728, the famous Yorkshire Explorer looks out over Whitby harbour.

On the Saturday we decided to visit the picturesque fishing village of Staithes.

So another walk into Whitby along the clifftop, then down through the town to the bus station.

Im sure every dog and his person had decided to do the same thing, I counted seven dogs (with their people obviously) waiting in the queue with us.

It was certainly worth the trip, as I got my first ‘Big Hairy Dog’ fix while sat outside the Cod and Lobster pub, from an enormous German Shepherd Husky cross.

This dog could moult for England, and after a ten minute cuddle, he had donated most of his coat to me, the rest was floating around the harbour  like snow 😮 IMG_2075_1 Staithes Harbour. The Cod and Lobster is the cream building in the centre of the photo. IMG_5002_1 An artist at work in the harbour. IMG_0402_1 We were treated to the wonderful east coast sunsets again, and by the end of the holiday, I’d started to unwind a bit, typically, just in time to go back home.

July

A month later we were packing the motorhome again for another holiday revisit.

This time it was Charmouth in Dorset.

I had bitter sweet memories of this holiday, last year as it had been Jasper’s last holiday, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not. Last year’s holiday site was fully booked sowe’d decided on another one just outside Charmouth. IMG_2150 A beautiful well maintained site, but a major drawback with its location.

We usually hook the motorhome up, then either walk or use public transport to get about. We knew we were a couple of miles from the beach via road, but had hoped there may have been a shortcut via a footpath, but no such luck, and the nearest bus stop was over a mile away.

The walk wouldn’t have bothered T and me, but the temperature was in the 30’s and Little Sal, who had recently been diagnosed with kidney disease, had slowed down considerably.

So the next day, we unhooked the motorhome and set off for Charmouth

Could things get any worse, our holiday last year had been in June, and we’d spent some quality time on the beach with the dogs, but here we were, confronted with big signs everywhere NO DOGS allowed on the beaches July and August.

We went for a short walk along the cliff path, but both dogs were struggling, so we went back down and sat on the grass at the edge of the River Char.

IMG_5051_1 Looking down at the dog UNfriendly beach.

Luckily Michelle our elder daughter and Louis her son, had arranged to join us later in the week, so the next day we decided to just chill on the site.

Michelle arrived on the Friday morning.

After enquiring at the reception for the location of a dog friendly beach, we all piled into her car and set off for Eype. No wonder this was dog friendly, there was hardly any in sand in sight, it was full of big pebbles. Great for an athletic young dog, but not for a tiny Yorkie, who kept falling between the pebbles. Poor Sal was struggling to keep her footing too, so we called it a day and went to the pub.

Louis wanted to go onto the beach, so the next day, T stayed onsite with Sal and Cindy, and Michelle, Louis and I went down to Charmouth. IMG_5053_1 Louis befriended a young boy with a dingy, so at least someone enjoyed their holiday.

The next day we left the site early to go home. We decided August would be a no for holidays, so the next revisit was West Runton.

September

Laburnum Holiday Park really has made a mark on our holiday destinations. This was out third visit and it certainly won’t be our last.

This site is a perfect location. Five minutes walk into the village of West Runton, where there is a regular bus service into Sherringham, Cromer or further afield if you wish. IMG_5091_1 Pitched on the clifftop overlooking the North Sea. Just across the tarmac and standing at the fence…… IMG_5115_1 …..this was the view. IMG_5146_1 A ten minute amble and we were on the glorious Norfolk beaches, where, if the tide is out, it is possible to walk into Sherringham or Cromer.

We did the walk into Sherringham three times, catching the bus back to the village to save Little Sal tiring too much. IMG_5151_1   An amazing Trompe l’oeil on the seafront at Sherringham, depicting the crab fisherman for which the area is famous. IMG_5152_1 This was a puzzling sight on Sherringham beach. Had the sea lined up all the pebbles in a straight line, or perhaps it was the sea fairies.

The sun shone the whole week, we ate some good food, drank some good wine, and came home feeling rejuvenated.

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Here are a few more photos, from what is fast becoming my favourite holiday location.

Little did I know, it was going to be Little Sal’s last beach holiday 😦

 

I’m all distressed

Not in a bad way I might add 🙂

As most of you who read my blog will know, we spend most of our motorhome holidays near the sea. I adore the coast and all it has to offer.

On a recent holiday, I was looking in a gift shops window at all the coastal style gifts that were available, when I had a flash of inspiration, I will transform our well overdue to be decorated bedroom into the this now popular theme.

T looked at me and rolled his eyes as I told him my plans, and the look on his face spoke a thousand words.

“I suppose we’re having sand on the floor, and a CD with the sound of the sea playing” was his response, followed quite quickly with “Don’t expect me to help”

He really ought to know better than to challenge me……I emerged from the shop half an hour later, with two beach huts, a yacht and a seagull, and the plan was now in operation.

Once home, I set about removing the old and very dated vinyl wallpaper, then the backing paper that it had left on the walls.

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OMG! the walls were green underneath 😮 had I really painted them that colour all those years ago?

I never realised I’d hung so many pictures either…….. I spent the rest of the day filling holes.

Saturday, T was going to be out most of the day, so my plans were to paint the woodwork. Little did I know what I’d let myself in for.

My intention was to move the furniture into the middle of the room, temporarily lift the carpet away from the skirting boards, undercoat in the morning, gloss in the afternoon, and hopefully have the room sort of habitable by bedtime. Now how does the saying go? …..’the best laid plans of mice and men’……

The foam backed carpet, which had been down for well over twenty years, didn’t have a foam back anymore, the foam had totally disintegrated, and I was presented with what appeared to be a layer of black soot underneath it.

Oh dear, this wasn’t in my plan, but not to be deterred, at least the floorboards looked OK, so I could always paint them.

I set about moving all the furniture into the spare room so I could get the carpet off the floor. My neighbours must have wondered what on earth I was doing as I heaved the carpet to the window and pushed it out, it landed on the paving below with a thud in a cloud of black dust…..well I wasn’t going to drag that down the stairs, was I?

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Eventually, by late afternoon, I’d managed to remove the final traces of black dust from the floor, washed the paintwork down and was ready to give the woodwork it’s first coat of paint.

By the time T came home, after a rather boozy rugby day out with Deb and his friends, the carpet was hidden in the garage, and just the bed stood on the bare boards in the bedroom. He stumbled upstairs to bed……

“What have you done, where’s the furniture, where’s the carpet gone”

The state he was in I didn’t see the point in trying to explain anything , though I did wonder should I jest and tell him I’d prepared it ready for the delivery of sand 😉 😀

Over the next few days, the woodwork got it’s gloss coat, I gave the already white ceiling an even brighter coat of white, and the walls at least 3-4 coats of white to cover the green.

T was adamant he didn’t want painted floorboards (or sand), so we bought a remnant of berber carpet at a bargain price.

I’d decided I wanted a driftwood look to the furniture, and had intended to distress the pine furniture we already had, but it seemed a very daunting task, especially not knowing what I was doing. The spare room already had distressed mexican pine furniture in there, so I just swopped it round, and bought an extra six drawer chest to match.

I still wanted to try my hand at distressing pine, so I found an old orange pine mirror in a local charity shop, stripped and sanded the varnish off, then following instructions I had found on the internet, gave it a wash of chalk paint, followed by a coat of clear brush on wax.

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Wow,  it turned out exactly how I wanted it. I forgot to take a before pic, but the first mirror is an identical mirror to the one I distressed.

I’d seen some distressed pine and rope triple photo frames in a local shop, but I refused to pay £16 a time, deciding I could make my own.

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This was made from 3 single frames at a £1 each, which I distressed, drilled holes in and tied together with string, the photos are mine from our travels.

I bought two pine shelves at £3 each and distressed those for my beach huts to stand on.

Next to be distressed was the curtain pole, this was a total nightmare to remove the varnish and I ended up using the electric sander on it, so I haven’t attempted the rings.

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I’m quite pleased with the finished result, though the wardrobe doors are still annoying me, so they may end up getting a coat of white paint yet.

Good Karma

My life has been a bit of a whirlwind just lately.

The morning after the Battle proms Concert we set off in the motorhome for West Runton, Norfolk.

I love the coast, and after a brilliant holiday last year, we’d promised ourselves we’d return, but I wasn’t 100% about it.

Loosing Jasp was still very raw, and I feared re tracing our steps without him may be a bit too much to cope with, it had been bad enough going to Devon, and there were no ghosts of happier times there.

The first night on site, after a humdinger of an argument from trying to erect the awning on a cliff top in strong winds, I announced I wanted to go home.

The next morning everything looked different though as we set off to walk to Sherringham on the beach. We talked about Jasp, and I actually found myself smiling as my memories of him came flooding back.

I’m pleased we decided not to go home, as the week turned out good, and by the end of it I didn’t want to go home, we even checked to see if the pitch was available for a few more days, but sadly it wasn’t so we returned home on the Saturday.

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I had taken many photos as usual, but this time I was concentrating on getting something more abstract for my planned revamp of our bedroom with a beach theme.

On the Monday morning while browsing a local craft store for ideas, a text came into my phone. It was Deb, my younger daughter.

It read ‘We’re off to Mallorca on Thursday OK?’

I knew she’d been looking for a last minute chill out holiday, but her friend had been unable to get time off, so happy for her that she’d found someone else, I replied ‘Wonderful, who are you going with?’

The reply came back…………….. ‘You!, my treat’

OMG! The last time I’d had a total chill out beach holiday, was in France over twenty years ago!!!

……and Palma Nova, Mallorca?? wasn’t that geared more for 18-30’s

I drove back home in a bit of a daze, walked into the house, and announced to T that I was going to Mallorca on Thursday.

I don’t think he believed me, as he just grunted, and didn’t even lift his head from the newspaper he was reading.

“Did you here me?” I said “I’m going to Mallorca on Thursday”

“Huh, who with?”

I still don’t think he believed me, even after I explained the text message from Deb.

Anyway, Tuesday I popped into town to get some Euros, and a few other bits and bobs when my phone rang, it was the Yorkshire Health Authority.

“Hello Vicky, I thought I’d let you know your mum has improved so much, we are looking at her going home sometime next week”

My mum has been between hospitals and nursing homes since December last year, so to hear that news was wonderful, my plan was to be there on her discharge, so I had to explain I wouldn’t be in the country and could it be delayed a week.

Everything sorted, I jumped on the bus home, only to realise in all the excitement I’d forgotten to get my euros 😕

Wednesday, after another trip into town, and my case packed, I went to bed early ready for the Thursday 3.15am taxi to the airport.

The flight was on time, and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves queuing at the Thomas Cook reception desk to locate our coach that would take us to the self catering apartment Deb had booked.

Giving our names to the rep, she said “could I ask you both to step round the corner of the kiosk please, the manager would like a word with you”

Wondering what we had done, we left the queue and waited, while others happily made their way to the waiting coach.

A man suddenly appeared “Good morning, are you miss and mrs H off the flight from Birmingham?

(I can honestly say my mind went into overdrive in the split second before he continued……. had someone planted something on us! ………why hadn’t I bought a padlock for my suitcase!)

“I am extremely sorry, but your apartment has been double booked, but we would like to offer you an upgrade to a 4* all inclusive hotel, which we hope you will accept with our sincere apologies”

Upgraded from 3* self catering to 4* all inclusive, I had great difficulty stopping my jaw from hitting the floor.

Trying not to look too excited, we made our way to the waiting coach.

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What a surprise Palma Nova was.

Nothing like the rowdy image painted by the TV programs I’d seen, it was beautiful too.

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We spend most of the holiday, totally chilling on the beach during the day. We ate breakfast and lunch in the hotel, but decided eating out in the evenings would be nice .

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Perhaps one too many San Miguels 😉

On the Saturday, I wasn’t just glowing with the sun, I was glowing from the inside too, at Deb’s heroism.

We were walking along one of the streets, when she suddenly took off like a bullet across the road, shouting back at me to ask the couple in front of us if he still had his wallet.

It turned out she thought she’d seen a young man and his girlfriend pick pocket the old man’s wallet, and she’d set off in hot pursuit.

The old man was missing his wallet, I pointed in the direction Deb had gone and explained my daughter was running after the thief. I could see her in the distance, she’d caught up with him and was demanding he gave her the wallet, which he eventually did.

Running back to us, but pointing back at the young couple, she was shouting at the top of her voice, someone call the police, they’re pickpockets!!!!!

She handed the wallet back to the old man, and told him off in quite a stern voice to put it somewhere safe and not in his back pocket. We left them standing totally speechless, probably wondering what whirlwind had just hit them.

I had been thinking about buying an air bed, to float on the sea in, later that same afternoon, we were given one by a family who’s holiday was over, was that good karma or not? 🙂

It saved my knees a couple of days later when I was carrying it to the beach, catching my flipflop in a crack in the footpath, I launched it in front of me and landed on it with a splat. Deb called my acrobatics the Vic Splat 😀

The food in the hotel was lovely, but there wasn’t a vast choice for vegetarians. Deb had pointed this out to one of the waiters, asking if it would be possible to add a pizza or some pasta just with vegetables to the self service menu.

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Talk about good service, the next day she was presented with a plate of pasta AND a pizza, specially prepared for her. 😀

The holiday was quickly coming to an end, we’d had a wonderful time, with stunning weather and temperatures in the high 20’s

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Just a little respite from the sun on one afternoon, when clouds came rolling in bringing about ten minutes of rain.

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Wednesday night, en route to our favourite restaurant, this beautiful moonlit scene caught my eye, typically I only had my phone with me, but I still think it captured it well.

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Up bright and early on Thursday morning, waiting for the coach to the airport, we both agreed we’d had a fabulous week on a beautiful island.

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Goodbye Mallorca, I will be back. 🙂

So in my whirlwind three weeks I’ve paddled in the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, and the Med. 😀

Fossil on the Jurassic

I was beginning to think the motorhome was going to stay on the drive this year.

The weather had been cold and wet, and the last thing we wanted was to be stuck in a confined space with three wet dogs. Yes, that is three dogs, Cindy mum’s dog is still lodging with us, as my mum is still in hospital.

Anyway after checking the long range weather forecast (no idea why, as it is well know to change by the hour), in rather a spur of the moment decision, we booked ourselves on a campsite in Charmouth, Dorset.

Spur of the moment is an understatement.

We’d woken up on the Monday morning to blue skies and sun beaming in through the window, I looked at T and said, “we shouldn’t be here, we should be on the coast somewhere”

“Come on then Fossil, lets go then” was his reply.

So following a recommendation from a friend of T’s, we phoned Seadown Holiday Park at Charmouth, and booked ourselves in for a week.

There were a couple of minor problems though, Monday being our usual food shop day, we didn’t have much in the cupboards to take with us, and secondly, after six months of hair growth I’d started to resemble a shaggy dog, so I’d organised for my hairdresser to cut my hair in the afternoon. I was just contemplating cancelling my appointment when the phone suddenly rang….

Talk about fate!!  “Hi Vicky, it’s Marian, is there any chance I could do your hair this morning?” So I got my hair cut after all 🙂

In the meantime T set off to the supermarket for provisions, coming back armed with all the basics, which were soon stored away in the cupboards.

We grabbed an armful of clothes complete with hangers out of the wardrobe, and hung them straight into the motorhome wardrobe.

I always take plenty of jumpers and my waterproofs, but after being caught out with the glorious weather in Whitby last year, I made a point of taking several vests and shorts, just in case.

Dogs safely zipped into their travel crates (yes an extra crate had to be bought for Cindy), by 1pm we were on the road.

Fuel and tyres are normally done the night before a trip, so that was our first port of call, followed halfway down another stop for a ‘doggy stretchy leg break’ we pulled onto site about 5.30pm.

WOW, we’d hit gold again!!

The site was immaculate, totally flat well maintained pitches, which T said resembled a golf course.

We sited the motorhome, hooked up the electrics, and before we’d even put the kettle on, set off to find the beach.

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The River Char runs along the campsite grounds and into the sea. Walking along the riverbank, 150 yards later and over this bridge we were there.

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Heading back to the motorhome, we discussed attaching our new drive away awning. We’d bought it last year, but circumstances had stopped our holidays, before we’d had chance to try it. So we expected the next hour to be fraught and possibly argue filled.

Did I say hour? Ha!……….

…………….three hours later, and almost dark, we collapsed in a heap, totally brain dead and shattered.

Erecting the tent part was easy, attaching it to the motorhome, so we could actually get inside wasn’t. A few days later, talking to a couple pitched nearby, they had been in a similar predicament, and had been watching us hoping to pick up a few tips. Needless to say, we scrutinised every new arrival, hoping to do the same 😀

The idea of the awning, was for the dogs to sleep in it, giving us a bit more floor space inside, but the temperature had dropped, and there was no way we were going to make them sleep in it. The other problem was Cindy, being so small she could have escaped under the van.

We all settled down inside for a much needed night’s sleep. Sal and Jasp, seasoned motor homer’s now, crashed out straight away…….but not little Cindy, she decided she was going to dig her way out through the carpet. I’m not a nice person, when I’m tired and want to sleep, and by 3am, I was ready to chuck her out of the window. Eventually, as dawn was breaking, she drifted off.

I must have done so not long after, as the next thing I remember was T waking me up with a cuppa at 8am and demanding “This is our first and last holiday this year, and that (pointing at Cindy) is in the awning tonight!!!”

Hey, at least the sun was shinning, so after breakfast, we all set off to the beach.

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This coastline is called the Jurassic coast, and is a World Heritage site, literally thousands of fossils have been found as the cliffs crumble into the sea. This Jurassic rock, runs through The Cotswolds to the North Yorkshire coast, two of my favourite places. I wonder if that’s why T calls me fossil?

Copied from Natural England website

Marine Jurassic rocks comprising mudstones, limestones and sands run right across the country from Dorset to North Yorkshire. Lower Jurassic rocks are superbly exposed on the Dorset and North Yorkshire coasts, while Middle Jurassic oolitic limestones deposited in warm shallow seas and over tidal flats now form the broad ridges of the Cotswolds and their continuation through Northamptonshire and into Lincolnshire.

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I have a fascination with rows of beach huts. I just love the colour of these.

Jasper was finding the beach difficult to walk on because of all the rocks, so we made our way back to the site, and spent the day relaxing.

After a second night of Cindy playing up, we were about ready to call it a day and go home, but the third night she suddenly became ‘Ms Perfect’, perhaps she heard us talking 😉

Much of the week was spent doing the same. We took in turns to go out, so poor Jasp could relax on site, as his legs were giving him grief.

T went into Lyme Regis on the bus one of the days. That same afternoon, I walked to the top of the cliff with Sal.

IMG_4257Halfway up looking down at the bridge and the River Char.

I went into Lyme Regis the next day.

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Lyme Regis harbour.

In the centre of the photo, where the cliffs dip is where the River Char flows into the sea.

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Lyme Regis sea front.

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We managed to catch the tide out on one of the evenings, so a walk on the sand was called for.

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The last afternoon.

With the tent awning packed away ready for an early departure, once again we relaxed for a final time.

We’d had a week of stunning weather, and a holiday that almost ended early, finish with us not wanting to leave.

East or was it West??

The sea was calling me, so the wheels were in motion again.

We’d been North (well graphically it was NE) to Whitby, and South to Dawlish, so we though we’d try the East to West Runton. There is an East Runton too, but I do like to cause confusion.

West Runton is a small village, on the Norfolk coast, between Cromer and Sherringham. I’d been searching through some campsites on the internet, and stumbled across the Laburnum Campsite, it bore an uncanny resemblance to the wonderful Whitby Holiday Park, where we had spent a stunning week in May.

So we booked a pitch, one of only six pitches available for tourers, and set off on the morning of Sunday 8th for the 200 mile journey.

As everyone in Britain knows, it has been a tad wet of late, and parts of East Anglia had been deluged the previous week, so, on our journey there, driving through torrential rain, I did start to wonder if we’d made the right decision. Ever the optimist, T announced, ‘you cant get flooded on a cliff top’.

What a pleasant surprise when we got there, everywhere was dry, it was a concrete hard standing for the van, we were on the cliff edge, with amazing views out to sea.

Isn’t it amazing how something so simple can lift your spirits. 🙂

I left T sorting the Motorhome out, grabbed Little Sal and Jasp and went for a wander. I’d looked at the site on Google maps, and it appeared there was a short walk along the cliff top to a slipway, where we could easily access the beach below. Ten minutes later, I was at the slipway. I couldn’t believe our luck, no struggling to get J down cliff faces, and only a small area where dogs were banned.

Excitedly, I dashed back to tell T.

“Where’ve you been” he enquired “I thought you were just taking the dogs on their ‘business trip'”

“On the beach”, I said smugly, as I continued to tell him the close proximity and ease of access to it.

Later in the evening, after we’d all been fed and watered, we went for a wander along the beach.

Monday 9th

After making a few enquiries, we decided our destination for the day would be Sherringham. This small seaside town was just over a mile along the cliff top path, with a short descent into the town itself.

This was a lovely walk, a mown footpath, cut through a meadowland of beautiful wild flowers. There were rabbits hopping all over the place, some even standing on their hind legs, watching us go past. Parts of the cliff top was void of any fencing, so, needless to say Sal and Jasp were kept on their leads, much to J’s disgust.

Dropping down into the town, we found a cafe, plonked ourselves outside on the rustic benches, where T ordered a black coffee, and me? ……………a cream tea 😳 with scones, jam and cream……….OK, OK, I was on holiday, and I did share it with T and the local sparrows 😉

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Wandering along the seafront, the concrete sea walls were adorned with some wonderful paintings, depicting typical British holiday scenes.

We walked into the town area, which was a really bad idea, as both Sal & Jasp thought all the shops smelt really nice and would be good to investigate. So we made our way up to the rail station, where we had a pleasant surprise, Sherringham is the home of the The North Norfolk Railway, also know as the Poppy Line, because of the abundance of poppies in the area. We found a bench and sat watching the world go by, while Jasp slept, building up his strength for the walk back.

With suitably refreshed dogs, and the tide on the way out, we walked back to West Runton along the sandy beach. We both agreed, we had hit the jackpot again, with our location………..and weather 🙂

July 9thas we sat and watched the sun going down………..in the East again??????

Tuesday 10th

There’s only so much you can do, and so many places you can visit with two dogs. We both enjoy walking, so we decided a walk along the cliff top heading in the opposite direction towards Cromer was on the cards. We knew Jasp wouldn’t make it all the way as it was further away than Sherringham, but we thought we’d give it a try, as we could always come back on the bus.

We set off in the direction of the slipway, crossed over it and continued along the footpath.

July 10thMore beautiful wild flowers lined our path again. Poppies are my favourite flower, and they were in abundance everywhere.

Nearing the next cliff top campsite along the route, we noticed a no access sign, unlike our site, and the others towards Sherringham, they would not allow us to pass through their site, which would have meant a detour onto the nearby road.

We decided to turn around and head back, which was a good job, as by the time we got to the slipway, it had started to rain, I left T to walk back to the van with the dogs, and popped down the slipway to capture a few photos of the inclement weather.

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Looking South towards Cromer, and north towards Sherringham.

I hurried back to the van, getting there just in time, as the heavens literally opened. It must have been fate not being allowed to walk through that campsite, if we had continued we’d have been stuck in the middle of no where and got totally drenched.

Dejected, we sat in the van, watching the rain running down the windows, hhmmm, had we spoken too soon yesterday 😦

By lunchtime, the rain had stopped, so we went to have a wander into the village.

West Runton has a very picturesque station (see slideshow), which has won several awards for the best maintained small station, all done by volunteers.

The village is also home to Hillside Animal Sanctuary, so we had a wander up to the entrance to have a look at the many rescued horses in the nearby field. Obviously having the dogs with us, we were unable to visit properly, but can imagine it would be a lovely place to view.

Some of the horses having fun.

July 10thTwo very tired dogs, but Sal still managed to give Jasps’ tired legs a massage 🙂

Wednesday 11th

T had decided he wanted a steak for his dinner, the nearest butchers was in Sherringham, so the plan was for him to go into the town on the local bus, while I took the dogs for a walk onto the beach.

I think I got the better deal, it was a beautiful morning, and the walk to the slipway was wonderful. The tide was in, so the sandy beaches weren’t accessible, besides, I didn’t want to walk Jasp too far, so once there, we just plonked ourselves down to watch the sea.

July 11thWe sat there for over half an hour, I don’t know what the dogs found to look at, unless like me, they were just taking in the atmosphere.

We meandered back, arriving about five minutes before T turned up, armed with shopping bags.

“You’ll never guess what’s happened” he said

He continues to tell me, how he’d called into the local supermarket for a few bits and bobs, and found an amazing deal on one of our favourite red wines, so he’d bought two bottles, then, calling into the butchers for his steak, while handing over the money, the bag had slipped out of his hand, and the two bottles had crashed to the floor, covering the butchers’ floor in red wine 😦

Apologising profusely to the butcher before leaving, he’d then called back at the supermarket to get two more bottles (making the wine not quite the bargain it was).

As he’s telling me this, he’s putting the rest of the shopping away……………

Suddenly he shouts “Where’s my steak”?

Thinking he’d inadvertently put it away, while telling me the wine tale, he checks the fridge and all the cupboards, even checking the carrier bag, which he had folded up and put in a drawer…………..LOL, yeah, like a steak would hide in the corner of a bag.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it wasn’t in the van, so he’d either lost it somewhere, or it was still at the butchers. I found the butchers shop phone number (thank goodness for mobile phones and internet) and he phoned them.

The conversation went something like……….”Err, hello, you’ll probably (LOL, ‘probably‘? like the butcher is likely to forget someone dropping two bottles of wine all over his floor) remember me, I’m the chap that dropped my………” He was cut short, as the butcher finished the sentence for him. “………….yes mate, you left your steak on the counter” The butcher offered to deliver it the next day, but as T wanted it for his dinner that night, he said he’d get the bus (again) and go and collect it.

Later that afternoon, T went for his fifth bus ride.

It had turned into a beautiful afternoon, and another walk on the beach was calling. We didn’t think Jaspers legs would cope with a walk to Sherringham and back, and as dogs were allowed on the buses, we decided to go in on the bus, and walk back on the beach.

July 11thI cannot put into words how amazing the walk back was, it was literally breathtaking. Just looking at this photo again, and I’ve drifted straight back there.

July 11thThat evening we sat watching the sun go down…………in the East 😎

Thursday 12th

After all the rain we’d had over the last few weeks, this holiday was beginning to turn out far better than we could have hoped, OK, we’d had the odd shower here and there, but nothing prolonged enough to deter our plans, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the blinds, there was total blue sky above us, wow, oh wow.

July 12th The blue sky was an amazing sight, though looking inland, clouds were visible.

We decided after all the walking we’d been doing, we’d give the dogs a rest, and just pop down to the local beach. The tide was on its way in, so there was only so far we’d be able to walk on the sand, as the stones were a definite no for poor Jasps aching joints.

July 12th

This long line of breakers, runs the full length of the beach to Sherringham, protecting the fragile cliffs from the force of the sea.

Not easily visible in this photo, but all along the breaker, large pebbles were lodged in the gaps between the wood, we initially thought they’d been placed there, but it became obvious it was the force of nature, which gave some indication as to how wild the area must become in the winter.

July 12thEven the massive breakers, which looked at least a foot square, fall victim to the power of the sea over time.

July 12thCormorants were dipping and diving into the sea, then landing on the posts to dry their wings. We watched as they took it in turn to take the top perch.

July 12th

Our totally lazy day ended watching another stunning sunset over the sea.

Friday 13th

The clouds were back, but it was extremely warm and humid.

Talking to various people, many had said that Cromer, wasn’t a patch on Sherringham, so we’d been undecided whether to go or not. We couldn’t walk there, either by beach, or cliff top, we didn’t want to move the motorhome, so it meant a bus journey.

July 13th

T, Jasp and Sal, waiting for the bus to Cromer.

The bus service in this area was excellent, run by two companies, both with very friendly drivers and easy access buses. The Coast Hopper company didn’t even charge for dogs, so with T and me with our bus passes, we all travelled for free 🙂

I am so pleased we decided to check Cromer out for ourselves. It was a typical east coast holiday resort, and I really liked it.

July 13thCromer Pier. The steps up to the pier have dates engraved of RNLI rescues, and at the end is a very modern looking RNLI station.

Up to this time, neither of us had tried the famous Cromer crab, but we soon found ourselves a little seafront cafe, next door to the ‘old’ RNLI station (see link above) where T ordered himself a crab salad sandwich, temptation was too much, and I pinched one of the squares, to go with my bottle of water.

T is a very chatty person, and noticing the chap on the table behind me was wearing a Worcester Warriors rugby shirt, he struck up a conversation with him, soon to be joined by a Gloucester rugby supporter from another table. Jasper snoring under our table, and me watching the world go by, I left them to it.

Dogs weren’t allowed on certain parts the beach between May and September, but at the far end of the prom, was a dog friendly area, so we wandered along to have a look. Walking onto the sand, it was obvious that poor Jasp was suffering with his legs, so we sat down.

July 13th

It wasn’t long before Jasp, who had decided to sit on me, was totally crashed out 😆

We’d have stayed there a bit longer, but the tide was on the way in, and within twenty minutes I had to disturb Jasp from his slumber otherwise I’d have got a tad wet 😉

We made our way back up the long slope to the nearest bus stop, just in time for the bus back to West Runton.

Back at the campsite, with the dogs totally crashed out, T decided dressed crab would be good for dinner. So he made his last bus trip into Sherringham, to buy a couple.

July 13th

Our final meal at the end of another wonderful holiday in the motorhome, with one of the ‘not such a bargain’ bottles of red.

Returning home on the Saturday afternoon, we found everywhere was still waterlogged and our neighbour informed us, the whole week had been almost constant rain.

Holidaying on the east coast, we’d cracked it again with the weather 🙂

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Devon here we come

It was time for another trip in the motorhome. It had been three weeks since we’d returned from out wonderful week in Whitby, and we needed to get the wheels in motion again.

We decided on Devon for a couple of reasons. Our eldest daughter wanted to meet up with us, bringing our three year old grandson along, as they live on the south coast, it meant she wouldn’t have a long drive with an impatient toddler. The other reason was that T was playing in a golf tournament with some friends at a golf complex in Okehampton, Devon, which would obviously save him two trips to Devon in as many weeks.

We’d chosen the site from a camping club we’d recently joined called ACSI. ACSI is a Dutch based club which cost just under €10 a year to join if you subscribe for two years. The benefits are amazing, all the sites listed have a fixed price of €12, €14 or €16 per night (high season excluded), which gives a big saving on the standard price of the sites. Most of the sites are based on mainland Europe, with just thirty in the UK.

Sunday morning came, and here we were again, filling the motorhome with bags of food, dog beds, bowls, and everything else we thought we would need for our break. I’d decided I wasn’t going to get caught out with the weather this time, and grabbed armfuls of clothes, for cold weather, hot weather, wet weather, in fact probably most of my wardrobe ended up in the motorhomes wardrobe. As I jumped out of the van, to fetch some more clothes, T stepped into it with his few items, opened the wardrobe door and……………….”bloody hell fossil, how long are you intending stopping” ……………..I’d left him about two inches of hanging rail for his clothes 😳

Eventually, all packed, we set off for the M5, a nightmare of a motorway at this time of the years, as it heads straight down to the West Country holiday resorts of Devon and Cornwall. I was pleasantly surprised how quiet it was, and three hours later we were hooked up on the large grass pitch, having a cuppa.

Later that evening, after we’d eaten, we decided to walk the ‘less than a mile’ to have a look at the local beach. I had images of a beautiful stroll, dogs off the leads, down to this beach, similar to the walk along the cliff tops into Whitby from our last holiday. What a disappointment this was, it was a tarmac footpath, edging quite a busy road, down a steep hill to chavsville. There was a large grass area, with chavs everywhere, all ‘playing football for England’ and everywhere we looked there were amusement arcades. I’m not knocking this type of resort, as each to their own, but it certainly wasn’t our idea of fun.

The only thing that took my eye, was a row of colourful beach huts, but did I have my camera on me? luckily I did have my phone.

I would have loved to have taken a photo of these, lit by the sun and with a blue sky behind then, but at 8pm at night, and just starting to drizzle, there wasn’t much chance of that, and we both agreed, we wouldn’t be coming back for another look.

We walked along the sea front, hoping to find the shortcut ‘less than a mile’ back to the site, but in the end had to retrace our steps, back up the steep hill along the road. Eventually arriving back at the motorhome, we sank into our seats, looked at each other and questioned our choice of holiday resort, as we listened to the rain beating on the roof.

Waking up Monday morning, although the blinds were closed, the van appeared quite bright from the chinks of light coming through the curtains. I half opened blind and peered out, not quite the view we’d had on our last holiday, but wow!!, the sun was shining. Shell and Louis were arriving around lunchtime, how nice if the weather stays like this.

We spent most of the morning, sitting outside soaking up the sun, certainly an improvement on yesterdays first impression.

Once Shell arrived, she pitched her tent on the adjacent plot, and we all sat down to discuss what to do on this beautiful day.

We decided we’d pop down into Dawlish, a little town nearby. As dogs were allowed on part of the beach, this was the first port of call, we then walked along the promenade, where a rail line runs alongside, hugging the coast. T and I agreed, this is a ‘must’ for us to use our rail passes on sometime in the near future. We then walked into the town to the Dawlish Water, where the famous Black swans live. Guess who forgot her camera…………and her phone this time, so sorry, no photographs.

By the time we got back to Shells’ motor, it had started to drizzle , so our plans for an evening, eating outside were dashed, and we all huddled into the motorhome.

Tuesday morning, blue sky and sun again, this meant breakfast outside.

I later had a wander around the site taking a few pics. This was the dog exercise area, looking down onto the site, with beautiful views of the rolling Devon countryside in the distance.

Around midday we all piled into Shell motor and set off for Teignmouth, another coastal town at the mouth of the River Teign.

There was a fairly decent beach here, where dog were allowed too, so we plonked ourselves down to watch the world go by.

The tide was coming in, and being on the river estuary, it was flowing in extremely fast, I sat for ages watching this yacht struggle to get out into the open sea.

The opposite side of the river mouth is the village of Shaldon, driving up to the top of the road, there is a smugglers tunnel that lead down onto Ness cove beach.

This was taken from a beer garden on the Shaldon side of the river, looking across to the peninsula where the dogs and T were in the previous photo.

Back at the site, we all agreed it had been a stunning day, as we sat outside eating our evening meal and drinking red wine.

All good things must come to an end, and this was certainly true as Wednesday morning we woke to a quite an overcast sky, but at least it was dry.

We decided to return to Teignmouth again, there was a big childrens’ park for Louis to play in, there was also a skate park where he could ride his bike, and a pier that T and I wanted to have a look at, and the town looked quite pretty too.

There was a slight problem before we set off though. Shells’ van keys had gone missing. She was certain she’d left them on the table in her tent, but they weren’t there.

We searched her tent, we searched the motorhome, we looked on every inch of grass outside, even the neighbouring caravan occupants were looking. Eventually she phoned her boyfriend, to ask him to courier the spare set over to her.

We still continued looking. In a final desperate attempt, she removed every item from her bag, shaking each item, suddenly they keys fell out from a rolled up towel. How did they get in there? ………….you can probably guess the conclusion we all came to.

Finally two hours later than planned, we set off for Teignmouth.

The pier, which looks quite impressive, was accessed through an amusement arcade. Dogs were allowed though, so we wandered through and to the end, turned round and wandered back.

On the pier looking down back into the town.

We had a wander around the town, then met back with Shell and Louis.

Shell had promised T a belated Fathers’ Day meal, but first we went to the little beer garden for refreshments. How different could two days be, Tuesday, we’d sat there in skimpy tops, sun beating down, relishing the refreshing cold drink. Wednesday, we sat there in wrapped up in warm clothing, wind blowing into out faces, and the cold drinks glasses chilling our fingers as we held them.

After the meal, we drove up to have a look at the smugglers tunnel, which was the only entrance onto……………………

Ness Cove Beach, I wonder if smugglers really did land on this beach.

Shell, Louis T and Jasper making their way back up the smugglers tunnel.

By the time we got back to the motor, the heavens had opened. Not wanting to go back to the site quite so early, we thought we’d have a drive along the coast to the next town. I never realised little coastal towns had a rush hour, but they do, and we got stuck in it. Needless to say, we never got to the next town, in nose to tail traffic, as soon as we got to a roundabout, we did an about turn, and headed back towards Teignmouth…………..and it’s rush hour. 😮

Arriving back at the site, laughingly we all agreed, at least it had killed a couple of hours.

No dinner outside this time, the rain was torrential, so three adults, one child and two dogs, sat for the rest of the evening, listening to the rain hammering on the roof, in the small confines of our motorhome.

Thursday, the rain had hammered down almost all night, only easing off about 7am.  today was the day T was going to Okehampton.

The plan had been for Shell to take him to Exeter motorway services, where his friends would pick him up. Then Shell, Louis and I would spend the day together, Shell had planned to leave Friday morning, and if the weather was miserable, I would too, otherwise, I was going to stop until Sunday so I could pick T up after his golf tournament.

This is what greeted us when we opened the door in the morning, our very own personal swimming pool. In fact, it had receded quite a bit from the previous night, when I’d taken the dogs out for their nightly ablutions, as the black mat had been completely submerged.

The forecast for the next few days, was rain and more rain, Shell and I had both decided we were going home, so it was all hands on deck, Shell was frantically trying to un-pitch her tent before the next downpour hit, T and I were getting everything packed away into the motorhome, as I was now taking him to the services en route home, and we needed to be there for 11am.

Everything packed away, we said our goodbyes, and set off.

I left T at Exeter services, and continued up the M5 back to the midlands. Certainly not a pleasant journey, three hours driving in torrential rain, with spray from the trucks, and the repetitive beat of the wipers on full speed, I breathed a sigh of relief when I pulled onto the drive at home.

Looking back at the holiday:

Did I enjoy it?……. it was OK.

Would I go there again?……. NO!

Did I take enough clothes?…….The majority of them went straight back into my wardrobe unworn…………they enjoyed the trip though 😆

A week in Whitby – day seven

SATURDAY 26th MAY

I woke up feeling quite sad, this was the last full day of what had been a truly fantastic week.

What more could anyone have wished for. Earlier this year, we had purchased our motorhome, which for me had been a long standing dream. We were in Yorkshire, for obvious reasons one of my favourite places in the UK, and after almost six weeks of more or less of continual rain, we’d had a week of totally stunning weather.

I could hear the seagulls outside. On the mornings of the sea frets, there had been an eerie silence, so I was hoping this was a good sign, as I reached up and unclipped the blind of the rear window.

I couldn’t have wished for a better sight…………

I unfastened the window and opened it as wide as it would go, reached for my camera to record what my eyes were seeing……….the start of another beautiful day!!!

Much on the same lines as yesterday, we sat outside for breakfast then discussed how we’d spend the final day. We both agreed there was no point in driving anywhere as we had all we wanted on the site.

T had called into a pub in Whitby earlier in the week, and found they would be screening a rugby match he wanted to watch, so his plans for the afternoon were sorted.

Firstly though, Sal and Jasp needed a walk, so we set off along the Cleveland Way in the direction of Robin Hoods Bay. I had viewed this section of the walk through my binoculars the previous evening, and although it wasn’t a proper footpath, it still looked OK for Jasper to cope with.

More a track than a footpath, the various fields were separated by swing gates to walk through, everything was going well, until we came across a flight of wooden steps straddling a ditch, they were far too steep for Jasp to manage, and without a slope at the side, reluctantly we had to turn back, probably a good job anyway, as it was getting quite warm by the time we got back to the van, and both dogs were quite happy to lie in the shade, while T and I sat soaking up the suns rays.

T was quite happy to stay where he was, as he’d be walking the mile into Whitby later,  but I wanted one final walk in the local bay, and as the tide was out, it was a perfect opportunity. Jasp wouldn’t have managed it, but I thought  Sal would enjoy a run on the beach, so grabbing my camera, we set off.

Sal ran almost the full length of the slope down to the beach, leaping off the three foot drop at the bottom, where we’d struggled with Jasp earlier in the week.

I walked out to the rock, which is just visible from this photo and Sal posed for her photo. The campsite is just visible to the top left of this pic.

We spent about an hour wandering around the beach and rocks, then went back up the slope to the site, I can’t believe how steep it was, unlike the other day when we were taking a couple of strides and stopping for Jasp, I had no excuse this time, Sal was already at the top, waiting for me and wagging her tail, by the time I, puffing like I’d just smoked about fifty fags (not that I’ve ever smoked) caught up with her.

Walking back through the campsite site entrance, I got back to the van just in time, as T was waiting to set off into Whitby. “I’ll be back in about two or three hours” he shouted back to me as he walked away.

Both dogs asleep, I’m sat in the sun, watching the world go by, with a bottle of Peroni in my hand………does life get any better?

Suddenly my phone rang…………it’s T……..”Vic, you won’t believe this” he carries on to tell me,  he’d got to the pub, just in time for the start of the game, walked into the lounge, to find a local derby of two Yorkshire football teams on the TV. Being in Yorkshire, with two Yorkshire teams on the TV, he didn’t think it a good idea to ask if he could watch the rugby instead. So he was going for a wander around the town.

After about an hour, thinking he’d probably be on his way back, I decided I’d take the dogs along the coast path to meet him. Half way there, I thought I’d better phone him to tell him what I was doing, just incase he’d decided to find a bus back. It was a good job I did, he was just leaving and his plan was to walk back along the beach. So, change of plan, he set off up Donkey Road to the cliff top path. Sal and Jasp were a picture, they couldn’t believe who they saw walking towards them, and charged up to greet him.

That evening, T had the mixed remains of yesterdays curry, I had beans on toast again, and we finished another bottle of red.

Looking out of the window later in the evening, I saw the beginning of a what I thought would be a beautiful sunset, so grabbing my camera, for the last time this holiday, I set off along the clifftop towards Whitby (again) for my finale photo.

SUNDAY 27th MAY

We had to be off site by 10am, so no leisurely wake up, breakfast etc. it was all hands on deck preparing the van for the off.

Calling to visit my mum in Harrogate on the way back to the midlands, we arrived home at 8pm, exhausted, but happy.

WHAT A FANTASTIC HOLIDAY THAT WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!