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2020 - UK - Yorkshire & Cotswolds
The Covid 19 lock down lasted from March until the end of June. We had plenty of jobs around the house to be getting on with and it was actually quite enjoyable having some spare time for a change. Priscilla was to be part exchanged for our new motorhome and so we spent quite sometime ensuring that she was 100% and thoroughly cleaned both inside and out. Everything was taken out and stored in the garage, the shed and the spare bedroom. Our new motorhome, that we ordered last November, eventually arrived at the dealers, Go European, in June. Two months later than originally expected. Although still locked down, one was allowed to drive to a supplier to collect orders placed. That seemed to give us permission and so we agreed a switchover date. The dealership was in Gailey, near Stafford. It was an early start so that we were able to drive there and back in a day. It was wet and cold but we were excited. As before, the roads were deserted and it was an enjoyable journey. It was sad to say ‘goodbye’ to Priscilla as she had been a key part of our lives for the past six years. We were downsizing, quite significantly. Although he new camper van is plated at 4.25 tonnes it actually weighs less than 3.5 tonnes. This was deliberate because there are so many weight limits now in Europe plus speed restrictions over 3.5 tonnes plus a ban on overtaking on motorways for mile after mile. We also wanted something smaller that would enable us to reach the small villages and something that we could park easily in the majority of car parks. The plan was to use the camper van like a motorhome but also like a car. Below are some photos of the old and new side by side, on a rather wet day!
We were delighted with the drive home. The new Malibu van drove just like a comfortable car and inside. there were no rattles or squeaks. Once home we had an opportunity to get all the little extras done before the campsites were permitted to re-open. We added solar panel, dead locks to all the doors, shelves, extra curtains and all those little things that mak it your own home from home. From July 3rd, campsites were allowed toopen for business and we were off. Our first night stop was with friends in Rutland, who are Carthago owners. They have a delghtful house and grounds with plenty of room for parking motorhomes. (below) At Tony and Helen Herridge’s house in Ashwell, Rutland. L-R Me, Tony Herridge, Desnee, John and Sue Dockrell (their Carthago in the background)
Our next destination waas our usual visit to Gargrave in Yorkshire to meet up with Adrian and Debbie. Unfortunately, they could not get time off work and because of recommended social distancing, they had to sit outside the camper van. Here we are on site at Seat House CL. It was still cold and wet! Not what you expect in July! (below) Debbie and Adrian under the awning. The awning deliberately sloping to ensure the persistent rainwater runs off to the side!
In April, there was great excitement. Our new baby grandaughter, Aoife Jean Elizabeth, was born on 7th April to Brain and Alexa in Lambertville USA. Of course, we were desperate to go and visit but Covid 19 prevented all travel. We had airline tickets booked for June but unfortunately, those flights were cancelled in May. It would be 2021 before we will be able to fly transatlantic again. Luckily, we now have technology to provide video communication and we have had to content ourselves with watching Aoife and Harry grow up without being able to take an active part in their lives.
The following day we saw this amazing rainbow (right) As you can see, the end of the rainbow was by the fence in the next field to the campsite! We searched for the ‘pot of gold’ but it was nowhere to be found. Maybe the story is just a rumour! We travelled home via the Cotswolds to see Desnée’s niece, Victoria, and family in Shipston-on-Stour. We stopped over at the Camping and Caravanning Club campsite at Chipping Norton. Then used the van as a car to drive up to Shipston and parked in the town centre car park! Yes, the plan works! Victoria has opened a cafe called The Three Ewes in the middle of Shipston. She and Paul were getting it ready to open after being shut down for three months, Fortunately, for them, the café is more of a hobby than their sole means of support.
On our way back home, we called in to Tackley, Oxfordshire to visit Reg and Angela for lunch. Angela is Victoria’s sister, Desnée’s niece. Reg is an ace pizza chef and they have a pizza oven in their lovely rear garden. Reg showed us how to make our own pizzas and how to cook them in the oven. They were excellent! It was good to see them both.