31st October 2015 1st Caravan Club Season Over

Doesn’t time fly when your having fun?

It was and has always been my intention to post regularly on here and that would be possible and would make better reading when we are on our travels. Unfortunately when we are working on the campsite it is a bit like Groundhog Day!

From our experiences so far of working on a campsite be it for the Camping & Caravanning Club (CCC) or our present employer the Caravan Club (CC) the day to day jobs are very similar and not worth writing about.

For those that do not know and may be interested in this way of life the jobs are as follows:-

Meet, greet, check in and depart guests. Take bookings by phone and onsite guests.

Empty bins.

Clean the toilet/shower block.

Cut grass.

This list is not exhaustive!

On our days off we sometimes try to get out and about visiting the local tourist spots which we would post on here. Sometimes though we just chill out on our pitch recharging our batteries for our next shift. One of the reasons we took on this way of life was knowing that after six months or whatever length contract we are on we get the rest of the year off to do what we want before it all begins again the next season.

Angela and I have both survived our first season with the CC and as I have mentioned before it is not that much different from the CCC in as much as the problems that arise are the same but what I will say is that the CC by far are more professional in every aspect.

Anyone reading this blog thinking of doing this sort of job I would strongly recommend the CC. We enjoyed our time with the CCC but it is a well known fact that people leave the CCC for the CC but never go the other way. I think there may be one couple who did! I have heard on the grapevine that there a people leaving the CCC and applying for the CC. All I can say is that we have no regrets so far but remember that the grass is NOT always greener on the other side!

Enough of that now but anyone wanting further information please feel free to contact us and we will be as honest and helpful as we can.

It has been a very busy season here in Brecon (we have worked on busier sites) but time has flown by. Late August we met up with family in Hereford. My sister and her husband picked up my mum and droveto meet up for a meal in Wagamama. It was our first time in that type of restaurant and we absolutely loved it. It was great to see them and have a good catch up. Since that visit Angela and I have been back to eat at the Wagamama in Hereford and another in Cardiff Bay.

  

At the end of August there was another meeting. This time I met up with an old friend I went through basic training with as a boy soldier aged just 16 in 1982. When I first met Robert Hywyn Parry he could hardly speak English as Welsh is his first language. It used to amaze me when waiting in the queue for the payphone (no mobiles in them days) and he was in full flow but throwing the odd word in that I knew. He had just dropped one of his pretty daughters (he has three) back at barracks as she is following in his footsteps and stopped of at Brecon with his lovely wife Sarah. We had a meal and tried to cram in over thirty years in far too short a time. We  must try to catch up again soon Rob.

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A few days after meeting Rob I decided to walk up to Pen Y Fan on my day off as it is something I wanted to do before we leave here and time is getting on. At 886 metres (2,907 ft) it is the highest peak in South Wales and situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park. I took the popular route up on the well made footpath from the Storey Arms on the A470. The total ascent is 1500 feet and I stopped off on Corn Du on the way back down. It was a great walk and a well earned bath was had on my return.

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We are lucky to have the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal pass by the campsite and half an hour stroll along it (in the right direction!) gets you in to the Centre of Brecon. The other direction you can walk for miles and it is full of wildlife. We often take a stroll after work to escape for a while. We have been lucky enough to spot a tawny owl perched in the tree.

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Another good thing about working for the CC is that you get to know where you will be working the following year before your contract is up.

We found out mid September that we will be working at the site in St David’s (Pembrokeshire) called Lleithyr Meadow. http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=21922

As it was not too far from us here in Brecon on our days off we drove down there to spend a couple of nights to check it out and introduce ourselves to the managers. We were not disappointed for a number of reasons. The site looks good, the managers seem very friendly and keen to work with us (which is always a good thing), Whitesands beach is only a  fifteen minute walk from site, we have always wanted to go to Pembrokeshire and it reminded us very much of Cornwall but without the crowds! Our start date is 11th March 2016.

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Towards the end of September saw a Harvest moon and I got a few shots of it with my camera after a bit of advice  from a good friend Terry Stack. I was very pleased with myself.

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Early October we went to visit Blaenavon to see the ironworks https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=blaenavon+ironworks&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=

This was one place Angela and I wanted to visit before leaving Brecon as lots of our campers had been to it and said it was well worth it. It was a real insight to life back in them days and  I for one would not have liked it. Times were so hard and the working day was so long.  Thanks to the unions for getting a grips with this and many other things that have helped the working man.

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Just up the road from the ironworks was The Big Pit https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=the+big+pit&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari

This was a working pit from 1890 until its closure in 1980. It was then opened to the public in 1983 and again is well worth a visit. Especially as it is free .

Angela and I joined the queue on arrival for the 50 minute guided tour. As it is still classed as a working mine we had to put on our miners helmet and light as well as carry an emergency breathing aid! Also we had to hand over any contraband we had which was basically anything that could cause a spark. Mobiles, watches, matches, lighters, cameras and anything else you can think of. The tour guide who was very funny and very professional made a joke that without hesitation we all handed over our personal belongings to a man that we never knew, would never see again and left it all above ground while we travelled in the big caged lift the 90 metres to the bottom.

I have to say as the gate was slammed shut and the 15 of us began our descent into the black abyss I did feel a little strange as did one of the lady’s. I do not know how long it took to get to the bottom but I said to Angela that I was glad we were out. We were then taken on a circular tour with our guide who was very informative. He explained all about the types of dangers, mainly gas and what tools were available to the miner and who invented them. We were also told how the coal was mined and transported to the top. We saw the underground stables for the pit ponys. I felt sorry for the poor old pit pony. They spent most of the year below ground only coming up for a holiday once in a while and had to work so hard. The laws were eventually changed and they were treated a bit better.

We eventually ended our tour back where we began…….the lift. It wasn’t so bad on our way back up and once there we collected our personal belongings and had a walk around the above ground places of interest. The lamp room where all of the headlamps were charged. In this room were also kept the canaries used for detecting carbon monoxide. The old changing and shower rooms were interesting and you could imagine the banter that went on in here at the end of a busy shift.

All in all a great day out and if you are in the area well worth a visit to see how hard it was in the coal mining industry.

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Mid October we took the van out for its last run before we finish early November. We spent a couple of nights at the CC site Tredegar House http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=22003

We wanted to visit Cardiff and this site is ideal because a bus stop is only 20 minutes walk from site. We got the bus in the morning and after getting off in the city we walked about 30 minutes until we reached our destination Cardiff Bay. It is Europes biggest waterfront development and great for food, drink and fun for the family with its many attractions. We decided to have lunch (Wagamama) before we had a look around some of the many attractions. The main attractions are, The Wales Millenium centre, The Visitor centre, The Norwegian Church and The Cardiff Bay Barrage (1.1km long) which we had a pleasant stroll along and then back into the centre to get the bus back.

As the World Cup is taking place at the moment we had to go and have a look at the impressive rugby ball art creation on the wall of Cardiff Castle. Brilliant.

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I am writing these last few words after a busy day cleaning as we closed the site at midday when our last campers drove off.

To end the day we had a Chinese takeaway and I am having a few pints of Stowford Press  cider while Angela has a few well earned glasses of wine.

We are not working tomorrow and in the afternoon myself, Angela and the rest of the team are all going out for a roast at the local pub. That is after Phil my co worker is kindly towing my trailer down to the storage depot in Merthyr Tydfil where we are leaving it until next March as we do not need it and it seems pointless to drag it behind us using more fuel. As we are still in Wales next year we will collect it on our way through.

We are here in Brecon until the 7th November and then we begin our travels up to north to the Yorkshire Dales for some walking, eating, drinking and sitting in pubs with real fires!

As an aside, do many people read our blog and is it worth me continuing for others to read or do we just keep it as a record for ourselves?

Watch this space………………..

About Dean

Angela and I decided that there was more to life than working hard to keep up the payments on the mortgage, to pay the gas, electric, phone bills etc. etc. SO............ In 2008 we sold our house, I initially took a year off (Unpaid) and Angela handed in her notice! We bought a motorhome and set off for a year of travelling! This was the best thing we had done in our lives (Apart from getting married) and we have no regrets. During the year I managed to secure a redundancy package which felt very strange. Almost sad as I had worked for the same company for 19 years (BT). It was always our plan to have a whole year off before thinking about the 'W' word. We began applying to the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) for the position of Holiday site assistants in August 2009. After the interview, work experience and induction we were finally given a contract at the CCC site in Inverewe (Scotland). Our plan is to work through the summer in the UK then head to Europe to overwinter before coming back to work the following summer season. Hopefully these few words and our blog will inspire others to get off the hamsters wheel and see that there is more to live than having a house and material things. A cliche I know but this is not a rehearsal, life is too short!!! Since our first contract in Scotland we have worked a winter contract in Oxford (never again!) not Oxford but a winter contract. Hereford for two years, living in a yurt for one! And Cornwall. In between our working we have also travelled a bit. Hopefully this website will give you an insight into our alternative lifestyle. Get out there and live the dream!
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6 Responses to 31st October 2015 1st Caravan Club Season Over

  1. Angi & Paul says:

    I read it!!!! More frequent posts please!!!!

  2. tracey says:

    I read it too and agree more frequent posts please

  3. Peter Gorman says:

    Love reading your posts. Appriciate not much to add when you are working on a site but Love to read travelling motorhomers as from your views of where you have been we then follow as comments clearly outline whether it is worth going.

  4. Dean says:

    Hi Peter, thank you for your comments. We appreciate them and are glad it is worth doing.

    Regards

    D&A

  5. Dean says:

    Thank you Tracey.

  6. Graham says:

    I’m an avid follower of your adventures. Keep it up!

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