26 February Keswick CCC
We’re now in Keswick for a couple of weeks – hurrah! Ambleside will be getting a visit on Monday…
25 February Windermere
Well, we’ve had two days of training that explained the origins of the Club, how it has evolved and what they expect from their employees going forward to further enhance the reputation of the Club. It was a fairly intensive two days as they covered lots of things including health and safety, dealing with customers, how to prepare for starting the job and how important communication will be.
We were quite surprised at how young a lot of the other couples were – we thought we would be the only ‘young’ ones there! It seemed that we all had the same reasons for choosing this path – we all wanted to improve the quality of our lives and to meet like-minded positive people.
To finish off the two days we all met up again in the evening for a chat. Everyone had relaxed by then and we had a great night just chilling out, having a few drinks and getting to know everyone a bit more. We all exchanged contact details so we can let each other know where we’ve all been ‘posted’!
23 February Windermere
Today was the sad day where we said goodbye to Hereford and made our way to Windermere CCC for our Induction Course. Again, the journey was a smooth one and we arrived early afternoon to the news that a curry evening was planned that night for us to get to know everyone.
As we hadn’t got many provisions we set off on a walk across the fields to nearby Staveley to stock up on essentials of milk, sausages, wine…. Although the walk was well sign-posted we took along our new GPS system (Garmin Dakota 20) to gain some experience for when we use it proper in the Lakes and Scotland.
The evening went well but we all left quite early, I guess to make sure we were alert for the course tomorrow!
21 February Hereford
Yesterday was spent staining lots of wood! The sun was shining; we were wrapped up warm and listening to folk music while painting. Birds were singing up in the trees, the ducks were wandering around and we were thinking what a great way to live!
Today was spent staining more wood but the weather was not so nice so we finished a little early and got ready for the supper we were all invited to round Bill & Lynn’s. I (Angela) tried out the new showers where it was discovered we had no hot water! I tried to stick it out but gave up and aborted the experience half way through, got dressed still fully lathered and went back to report!
Everyone thanked me for being the guinea pig and can now happily report they are fully working and lovely and warm!
We had a brilliant evening around Bill & Lynn’s chatting to everyone and exchanging stories about travelling, campers and what we can expect in our new job. Everyone had a great night and they are a great bunch of people – a pleasure to know them all.
19 February Hereford
As we left so early we made good time so we dropped into home to collect, among other things hair straighteners! It had to be done…
After our flying visit of a cup of tea with Dean’s mum we set off again and reached Hereford CCC about 2pm. There was still snow around but the roads were pretty clear until we got near to the campsite when we came across a car on its side in the bushes.
We made it back though and were pleased to see everyone on site. We’ve only been there just over a week but it feels like we’ve known them all for years.
18 February Poole
We were up early and off into Poole harbour as they needed the ‘van at 8.30am. The weather was not kind to us as it was grey, overcast and very chilly…especially being beside the sea!
Most of the day was spent either in Weatherspoons (both breakfast and lunch was eaten here) or wandering around the shops (hardly any by the harbour) but then we noticed a hairdressers. So, purely to kill time I (Angela) decided to get my hair cut having looked like a hedgerow for the last few weeks/months!
On our return the ‘van service/modifications had been completed so we got the ‘van ready for leaving tomorrow to go back to Hereford. Hereford had experienced some more snow fall over the last couple of days so we are just hoping we can make it back!
17 February Poole
We set off from Hereford in a snow shower and headed for Poole as HMS Robyn is having her first service/modifications done tomorrow at Essanjay Fiat Professionals. We made good time and our first destination was the launderette, followed by the local chinese takeaway!
Essanjay provide an external electric hookup so we stayed overnight to be ready for the 8.30am start!
7 – 16 February Hereford
Since we last posted we’ve been busy ‘volunteering’! We’ve collected even more branches that are now nearly all burnt, but we’ve noticed that there are more to collect. Somebody has been back to chop even more down!
Other jobs that we’ve been involved in include cleaning the newly refurbished sanitary block, laying turf, staining lots of fence panels and extending pitch sizes.
Dean has been getting used to the tractor, Lynn has been trying to get back on it but he won’t relinquish the seat! She only asked him to turn it round at the end of the drive….
We’ve also managed a trip to Hereford and Hay-on-Wye. Hereford was lovely and we visited the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library within the Cathedral. It is well worth a visit if you’re ever around this area and they serve a lovely soup in the Cloisters Cafe.
In the summer months Hay is probably a lovely place to visit but we were a little disappointed. This was probably due to the miserable weather but the journey out there was very picturesque. We ended up cutting our visit short and headed back to Ledbury for fish and chips in the Horseshoe Inn.
6 February Ledbury
We scootered into Ledbury as we needed some provisions. It was a bit colder than we both anticipated so the old knees needed defrosting when we got there!
The town is very pretty and has an ‘old fashioned’ feel with all the independent shops vying for your custom. There are quite a few butchers, greengrocers and deli shops and we chose the Cameron & Swan cafe to have lunch. A large bowl of Tomato, Spinach and Mascarpone soup with homemade bread went down rather well then we made our way back to the superstore to stock up.
We passed a shop selling Crocs shoes (a must for this way of life, no matter how unattractive) so went and bought some – for much less than usual!
5 February Hereford
We were up and about ready to start at 10am! A group of us went down the drive loading the branches and logs onto the trailer, and within an hour I (Angela) had already tried to break my jaw! I tried to carry too many and one dropped down clunking me under the jaw – first lesson learnt!
Both of us also had branches smacking us in the face but we eventually got the hang of it and made good progress. We finished between 3pm and 4pm feeling as if we’d done a full day’s work!
At the end of the day we were all treated to coffee and fruit buns and got to chat with everyone – what a great bunch of people!
Early evening we went for a walk around the lake watching all the ducks and geese going about their business. They have an Indian Runner duck called Indy, a Campbell duck called Doris (her friend Elsie was murdered at the hands of the local fox) and a Muscovy duck called Priscilla whose hubby, Elvis was also despatched by the fox.
4 February Hereford
Having left Oxford at midday we had a good journey to Hereford and arrived about 3pm. We were introduced to Bill who advised us we could set up anywhere and that he would come over and see us once we’d settled in about 6pm. The picture above is looking over the fishing lake towards our van. What a beautiful view we have each morning.
Lots of people are on site as the builders are here getting the brand new sanitary block up and running. Later in the evening we were introduced to Lynn and shown around the site and after a chat we arranged to meet again mid-morning.
On the way back to the ‘van we agreed we must thank Malcolm and Alison for letting us know about their request for volunteers!
3 February Oxford
I (Angela) finally managed to get to see Alison, the lovely lady who has ‘fixed’ me with massages for the last ten years. It was great to see her and Valerie as they’ve been really excited for us right from the start. Public transport meant the two hour appointment took six hours out of the day – deep joy!
A great day ended with Manda & John (Dean’s sister and husband) coming for supper, which involved lots of cheese and red wine. It was really nice as we’ve not seen them a lot whilst we’ve been here, what with the snow, college and other commitments.
2 February Oxford
Having left Chris, Dean scootered back with most of the stuff while I was made to go on the bus that took ages…
It was starting to rain as I got back to the ‘van and time was running out – we had arranged to meet two friends in Oxford at midday. We originally met John & Sue in France at Parc Verger, and became friends straight away. They have a massive RV in comparison to our little motorhome, along with a great sense of humour!
We went to the Mitre on the High Street for lunch and spent a good couple of hours catching up and exchanging stories of our travels. They had to leave for a prior appointment at 3pm so we said our farewells, bought some provisions for tomorrow and made our way home.
1 February Oxford
We borrowed Hollie’s car again to shift a load of stuff back to Chris’ house, and abused her hospitality again by doing loads of washing….again!
She had cooked a lovely stew as she said she would when she invited us to stay over. I dyed my hair (not convinced it was a success but there you go!) and then we went to visit Bill & Marion (Angela’s uncle and aunt) who live on the same estate.
It was a great evening and as usual they tried to fatten us up! They’ve always got great stories to tell and we told them all about Brian’s wedding and our escapades throughout Germany.
They escorted us to the bus stop at the end of the evening (our bodyguards) and we made it back to Chris’ safely. Marion gave us some Bread & Butter pudding to take with us and we polished that off the next day – delicious!