Monday, August 25, 2014

Chillin In The Rain

We decided to stay put today as the weather forecast was dire plus we thought that there could be a lot of traffic on the roads.

As it happened the weather wasn't too bad and was actually quite warm.

We are moored up in a really nice spot with 240 hook up and its all free  so we went for a couple of walks, caught up with banking and emails etc and watched some crap on the TV.


Tonight we popped into the bar for dinner and a couple of pints of Doombar, the food was absolutely fantastic.
It was certainly a lot quieter in the bar tonight.


Tomorrow we will head off to Bristol.

What a Difference a Few Miles Make.

I have always wanted to visit Tenby as I have always read good reports about it.

We parked up about a 15 minute walk from the centre but as soon as we started walking we had this feeling of this place wasnt going to be our cup of tea.

This soon changed once we arrived at the centre,  wow what a view ...

It looked fantastic ...

Our impressions did a 180 degree turn once we started walking around the place.  It seemed we had arrived in the middle of the UK Chav convention of 2014 which was being held in Tenby.

 Chav is a UK term for What Sydneysiders call Westies

This fella was most handsome  - and large ...

It was quite a nice place to walk around, but the Bank holiday crowds did my head in, and I normally like crowds ...

Perhaps it's a nice place to visit in the winter ...

It did have a very nice beach but it was not good weather for it, as it was raining quite heavily ...

Another nice local ...

Yay, play time!

The most interesting part of the day was when they launched the lifeboat for a demo ...

Dragging it back up the slipway ...

Loved this Lambretta ...

I didn't realised til I cropped this photo but I managed to capture one of the local lads eyeing up the girls!

We had planned to stay the night in the carpark, but this place registered very high on the 'you will not be alive in the morning scale'!

We checked our Britstops book and headed for a pub in the village of Pontargothi.
We arrived at the The Cothi Bridge pub and were met by one of the locals who told us to park around the back next to the river.

What a great spot!  The very helpful staff got us hooked up to 240 power and told us where to obtain water etc ...

Bugger the water!  After the Tenby experience I needed a beer, and what a beer it was - they had Doombar on tap.

There was a hen night going on in the form of a fancy dress 'C' party, so there were candles, criminals, coaches, cruella de villes, crayons, cats - they had all gone to great effort.  The girls were making great use of the karaoke machine!

Because of the hen night the restaurant was shut but they they said they could do takeaway, so we had fish and chips back in the van for £5.00 each!

After the fish and chips we went back into the pub as it was such a good atmosphere.  The girls headed off to a night club about 23.00 so we stayed and were chatting with the oh so friendly locals for a bit longer.

Once the girls had gone this chap was hogging the karaoke ... he was from the Rhondda Valley and boy could he sing!

So our day ended on a high note!

We have such a good 'mooring' here that we will stay another day!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Magical Malvern

Elaine here ...

Yesterday morning we went to visit the animal shippers again to finalise arrangements for shipping the boys back to Oz.  They will be flying back on a Qantas A380 on the 9th February 2015, we will sort out our flights nearer the time.  

Oh, the thought of putting my boys back on a plane ... and then to jail (quarantine) for 10 days.  Well, let's just say its giving me palpitations ... already!  Oh well, it must be done.  It is not so much the flight that I am worried about for the boys but the quarantine the other end.  The Aussies have changed a lot of regulations (and prices) in the past year as regards bring animals into Oz, one of the changes being that you can't visit your animal when they are in jail, nor ring up about them.  Prisoners get better service ... and they don't have to pay $150 dollars a day (per dog) for the privilege ...!  I bet things would change if Tony Abbot had to ship his dog off.  
OK, whinging over, let's get back to the travels ...

When we were in Portugal we met a couple, who were similar to ourselves (ie, strange) and they recommended the Malvern Hills as a wonderful place to live, so we always thought we must go and visit.  So, we decided to make a move and make that our next destination.

The countryside around here is absolutely stunning - we really love the scenery around Shropshire. 

Today we drove past Ludlow, which also looked like a beautiful market town but we didn't stop there as we were on a mission to Malvern.   Tom Tom took us up a very tiny street, which should really have been pedestrianised, as there were people everywhere ...

Luckily, they got back on the pavement as we passed through ...sorry everyone!

Beautiful river (Teme) and bridge ...

The water was a bit calmer than those in Scotland ...

We had read on Mr Google that it was possible to park a motorhome in a long term car park in Malvern (Priory Road South), which we did.  It was a pretty central spot and as we were taking up two parking spots we paid for the two, coming to the grand total of £2 for for 2 hours!!  We noticed that coaches could park for 10p!

We decided to have a bit of lunch before we ventured out (it was also raining, so we were waiting for that to pass).  As we sat in the van, I noticed a man going to the bin and taking out a loaf of bread.  He walked off swinging his loaf with a big smirk on his face.  Strange, I thought.  

As we got out of the van to go on our looksie at Malvern town, I saw him again ... went to the bin, pulled out a loaf and walked off with a smirk!  What the?  I would love to have known what all that was about ... the things you see.

Anyway, the first stop was (of course) the train station.  We had read that it was beautiful, so went to see if it was true ...
Yep, it was pretty. No trains today though!

On we went, back up the hill to the town.  
We noticed there was a little craft market on on the way to the priory ...

They had some lovely products for sale ... such clever, crafty people about.  We noticed that a lot of people were dressed in an 'alternative' yet smart way ... we realised then that the lady we met in Portugal would have fitted right in here ... 

We went inside the priory, really beautiful ...

... and for once we were all able to go in together, because ...

Brilliant!  The people of Malvern seemed really friendly and smily.  We really like this place - it has the extremely live-able tick!

We passed this boutique - we thought they might be feeling like changing the name of it ... 

Part of the main street ... 

Lovely flowers on display along the roadway - bit hard to see, but they were lovely ...

We went into a little courtyard and found this, which we thought was a fireplace, but it is in fact an old Bottling Works Spring ...



... which I found absolutely fascinating but Paul wanted to 'get on' at this point (grumpy old git) !


On the way back to the van, we noticed this 'Theatre of Small Convenience' - made in a Victorian men's loo ...

We really had needed to get a move on though, as we had to go and find our night's mooring, which we had decided was going to be a pub car park from the Britstops book.  (We also had to make sure our night's mooring had good tele reception for the new Dr Who!!).  The pub was the New Inn at St Owen's Cross, Hereford - just outside Ross on Wye.

We arrived at the huge, empty car park and parked up ...

From the outside, the pub looked like it might be grotty and neglected but when we went in to introduce ourselves to the Landlord, we were pleasantly surprised.  It is a 16th C coaching inn - so pretty, bloody old!    What an amazing place and how looks can deceive.  The Landlord was just new as he and his wife were doing 'relief duties' til the pub was sold on by Marston's brewery.  Apparently it is for sale for about £450,000 and has been for 2 years.  

It was so quiet, with only a couple of people in there - on a Saturday night.  Apparently it has had so many landlords, that the locals have moved on, so the only business now is transient.  It is a really lovely, old pub, nice and clean and even has resident ghosts!  What a shame that no-one has bought it up and made a go of it.  We wonder what will become of it ... hopefully it will pick up under the relief landlord.


Today we have decided to nip to Tenby to have a quick look !

Friday, August 22, 2014

Shropshire via Wigan

We left Oban reasonably early on Thursday morning.  The rain was persistent with no break in the forecast, so we decided to head south to hopefully sunnier, warmer climes!

We decided to swing by Loch Lomond along the way and thought if the weather was good we would stop overnight to check it out.

As you can see by the below pic, we were virtually in the clouds, which was not a good start ...

We managed to see the Loch but the weather was absolutely awful ...


As we were just about at the southern most point the weather cleared so we pulled into a Loch side restaurant and ordered a couple of coffees ...

This seaplane was making the most of the break in the weather and was off.  We were hoping that he could see the restaurant in front of him, as he was heading in our direction ...

He did ...

We had only been there for about 5 mins when the bad weather returned and we had to run back to the van ...

That was it!  

We decided to try and escape the crap weather - so we headed for ...
Wigan!

We had a stop at Lockerbie to pay our respects at the Lockerbie air disaster memorial on the way ...

Crossing the border back into England ... look a bit of blue sky!

We parked up for the night at The Crooke Hall Inn on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.  It's a nice, little village and the locals are very friendly.  We stopped here once before in the boat ...

An old mate from Oz lives in Wigan so he joined us for dinner and a few drinks.  The pub was buzzing on a Thursday night, this was more like it ...

We left Wigan this morning heading towards towards Lydbury North in Shropshire, as we wanted to drop in and check out the shippers, who we will be using to send our precious pups back to Oz (Golden Arrow Shippers).

We stopped at Grandad's cafe for a lovely brekkie on the way ...
We had a chat with 'Grandad and Grandma', who have just come back from living in Tenerife for years as they missed the family!

We moored up behind the Powis Arms in Lydbury North.  Now we have water, 240v and a shower block ... perfick!

The shippers office and home was down a track next to the pub. It is in the grounds of Walcot Hall.  This sign made us laugh ...

The couple running the animal shipping operation were lovely.  They showed us around the place and told us lots of stories, as well as giving us all the information we needed for shipping the boys back to Oz.  They have been shipping animals for over 40 years, so we feel that they will be in good hands.  All up we were with them for over 3 hours!

They live in this house which belonged to his grandad.  It has no electricity, just oil burners and candles plus coal fires ...

They said that often the dogs kennels are warmer than their house!

We are not sure where we will head tomorrow, we may even stay here.  It is a beautiful area so we might do a bit of exploring.