Thursday, July 31, 2014

Future Plans.....Again!

We drove to Stone today to see the vet and sort out the dogs rabies vaccinations and blood tests ... the reason being that we are going back to Oz in about six months time, but more about that later.

We drove over to Stone in our little C3 Citroen which has been parked up behind Elaine's brothers house for the last 3 months.  As per usual it drove like a dream. 

As we drove into Stone we passed the Aston Marina hardcore HQ a.k.a.The Royal Exchange ...

After visiting the vets and the dogs having their blood tests we took ourselves off to Aston Marina.  It felt quite strange to walk around without any of the familiar faces or boats.  We popped into the farm shop to see if we had any points left on our card ... the girl swiped it and said you owe US £24.00.... she said she would get the boss to check it so we ran away ... 
(we don't owe them money, but we didn't want to get into it!)


On the way back to the van we stopped off at the Sutton Hall pub at Gurnett (Sutton) for a couple of beers.  It is one of our favourite pubs in the UK, and dog friendly ...



Future Plans ...

After an awful lot of deliberation we have made the decision to return to Oz.  I won't go into all the reasons as it's complicated and personal.

If all goes well with the dogs' blood tests we should leave the UK at the end of January/beginning of February 2015.

We had planned to take the motorhome back with us, but I have noticed a near identical model come up for sale in West Australia at an incredibly low price.  I actually emailed the chap to try and find out why it is so cheap but he hasn't responded, nor did I expect him to.  The ad states that they bought it in the UK and toured Europe before shipping it to Oz.  The Aussies are very strange about imports, so I guess he is having trouble selling it.  We don't want to go through the same problems with ours so we have decided we will sell it when we have finished touring the UK at the end of September. 

Anybody want to buy a lovely motorhome (Autotrail Delaware) in a couple of months?!!

Soooooooo ... on Monday we will leave here and head off to Scotland via Yorkshire.  After that we will head slowly down to Cornwall then back up along the south coast, then head back towards the Macclesfield area so we can unpack the motorhome and prepare all the stuff we have stored at Elaines dad's house to be sent back to Oz. 

We will put the motorhome on the market in October.  Once we sell the motorhome we will have nowhere to live, which is a bit scary as we can't return to Oz 'till late January (because of dogs pre quarantine period in the UK).  We will hopefully dodge the worst of the UK winter by heading off to a flat/villa in Spain as it seems relatively easy to rent a place down there.

So that is the great plan, which as always can quite easily change ... you never know what is around the corner!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Maintenance Day

As we will be here in Sutton for a week or so today was a maintenance day.

We broke the interior handle of the habitation door a few weeks ago whilst on the tour of Europe. I ordered a new one from Autotrail last week at a bargain price of £152.00....gulp. I tried to bypass them and get one from the German manufacturer but had no luck.

The door had to be virtually dismantled to fit the new one, but it all went well.


The new assy fitted to the door


I also re-secured the grey water drain pipe that had come adrift.

Meanwhile Elaine and her bro Trevor got stuck into Burts garden that had become rather weed infested.

I didnt get a before pic, but the whole garden was covered in weeds, its now looking a lot better. 


These are Elaine's feet after gardening wearing Crocs! 


Tonight we took the dogs for a walk to the Kings Head at Gurnett Aqueduct, Timothy Taylor Landlord on tap.....luverly. 

Elaines brother Trevor has still got Jaffa the cat and is going to keep him, we went round there a couple of nights ago and he wasn't at all happy to see the dogs again and spat and snarled at them, he has lived with them for years with no problems, we think that he is really enjoying being on his own without the other cats and dogs, so Trevor is happy we are happy and Jaffa is happy, plus Trevor has a house rabbit that is also happy with Jaffa. 








Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Procastination!

We left the show jumping grounds on Monday morning and headed up the M6 towards Macclesfield. If you are a caravan club member you get 50% discount on the M6 toll road, which brings it down to the car price of £5.50.

We booked into a campsite at Sutton, it is about 500 metres past the Gurnett aqueduct on the Macc canal.

We still missed the campsite and were sat in a industrial park re checking the map when a chap pulled up in  a 4WD, he was the farmer and spotted up drive past the entrance so chased after us. Follow me back he said.....so we did.


It is a great site in a working farm and stables, once again we are surrounded by horses and young fillies looking after them!


Only a couple of problems, we cant get TV and the phone reception is a bit dodgy


I nearly forget the procrastination problem..... Yesterday morning we were talking about going to a concert, we checked out Croperdy, there were tickets available but they said the tickets were selling fast so get in quick, I said to Elaine, they are putting the frighteners on because they cant sell enough tickets. We decided once we get to the site in a few hours we would buy a couple of tickets and go there next weekend. About 4 hours later when we were all settled in I got onto the website.....Sold Out!!!! Bollocks I never usually procrastinate and just go for it. We have left some messages with the box office and on face book, but it doesn't look good. 

We stayed at Elaine's dads house last night as we had an appointment in Manchester this morning and he was dog sitting. we were up at 06.00!! and in Manchester at 07.30....god we hate mornings!

One last pic of my niece jumping her horse Neeko!! 









Sunday, July 27, 2014

Final Day of Horsing Around.

We try not to encourage the dogs to beg whilst pepole are eating but we made an exception this weekend as there was just too much temptation.

Brother Russ was eating BBQ chicken last night.  The dogs were his very best friends ...

After dinner and drinks it was time for a game of cricket till bad light stopped play at about 22.00!

Today was the final day of the show jumping and it was my niece's friend, Tiffany's turn to shine ...

She didn't win, but finished well placed in the final ...

Another rosette to add to the collection ...

Next up was niece, Kim, who had a good clear round to go into the final... 

Once again a superb day for sitting in the sun watching the riders put the horses through their paces ...

Kim's horse clipped a pole so no place today.  Later on she went up to the 95cm class but the poor horse was so tired because of the heat and went through rather than over a couple of fences but still did an amazing job ...

So that was that!  A superb 4 days was over ... I needed a rest before we dismantled the camp ...

Kim having a final cuddle with Sammie ...

Packing away the tents with Bombo supervising ...

Bombo enjoying the country air ...

And that was that.  They all left us on our own ... brother Russ kindly squeezed mother in the horse box and took her back to Milton Keynes, saving us the journey south then turning round and heading north again.

We are going to stay put in the park tonight hooked up to the 240v.  Other people are still here so we are pretty sure we won't be bothered. Then tomorrow we will head back to Macc and moor up at Sutton, very close to the canal at Gurnett aqueduct.

We have both thoroughly enjoyed the last few days.  It was so great to catch up with the family.  I would never have thought in a million years that I would have enjoyed watching horses jumping,but it was fantastic, although it helps to have a family member to cheer on!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Horsing Around Part 2

Yesterday (Friday) first.  Elaine gave Bombo a trim to try to keep him
cool in this fantastically hot weather.

He actually slept through it!

Yesterday was a practice day with both Kim and Tiff putting the horses through their paces ...

Last night we just hung around the camp-site having a few beers and a chat with the family.  The boys relaxed on the air bed with the two star riders ...

Bombo was looking cool in his new haircut and shades ...

Today the serious competition started. It is funny to watch the riders all walking the course and checking it out, some just stroll around whilst some pace out the whole course ...

Elaine with Tiff's horse, Robbie.  He set the fastest time of the session but unfortunately he knocked over the last pole so didn't get a place ...


Then it was niece Kimberley's turn.   Complete concentration is the go.  
She went on a clear round and was into the final ...

We took him back to the motorhome between rounds to cool him off with the external shower, today being another scorcher ...

It worked!  He didn't win but got a good place and a rosette ...

He is a lovely horse, the rider's not bad either ...

After lunch the bar was raised and once again Beneeko, the horse. and Kim qualified with a clear round ...

She went really well in the final but clipped a post ...

Because she was quick she still got a good place ...

Another rosette ...

Another great day!  We will do the the same again tomorrow, I hope this fantastic weather holds out.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Horsing Around

We had a good night at the Fancott Pub, my sister came over to see us as she lived nearby.  I presume it was because the sun was shining, but the pub and garden was absolutely packed, good job we arrived in the afternoon otherwise we wouldn't have got a spot.

In the morning we headed to Milton Keynes to pick up my mum then we headed off to meet brother Russ and his family up at their stables.

My Niece, Kimberley and her friend Tiffany were competing in a big horse riding competition up at Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

Elaine was straight into bonding with Kim's horse, Neeko. He was using Elaine to rest his head on ...

Kim leading him into the float ...

And off we go ...

We all set up camp, there are 10 of us altogether.

 We have mother in the motorhome with us!! 

The dogs were enjoying plenty of the leftovers from the barbie .... 

Kim and Tiff came over for a chat whilst they were on a casual ride ...

About 22.30 some young girls asked us if we knew anything about tents!! They had arrived with a humongous tent and didn't have a clue how to put it up, plus it was nearly dark.  My nephew put his military training into practice ... he took charge and we soon had the tent erected.  Actually it took over an hour! 

Today is practice day before the main event starts tomorrow.

Here is Tiff on a warm up round, Kim hasn't had a go yet ...

All in all we are having a great family catch up in superb weather.

I have also just booked us into a campsite near Macclesfield for a week starting this Monday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heading North

We left the Caravan Club at 12.05, the staff were already coming to check why we were 5 mins late leaving!

Just as we left the site we met this horse drawn hearse.  Now I am 99% sure it was a Pikey funeral as there were a procession of about 20 cars following with their headlights on and hazard warning lights flashing, the car, or should I say van of choice, was a battered white Ford Transit.

May they RIP whoever they were ...

Tail end Charlie was a stretch Hummer.  Unfortunately he was struggling to negotiate a high kerb!

Brixton was buzzy ...

Another scorcher, with locals cooling off in a London fountain ...

We drove through my old home town of Luton.  I hate to say it but it is such a dump!  It would be a close call to which would be the crappier town, Luton or Stoke, actually I think Luton wins as the crappiest town in the UK.

We stopped at a large Tesco in Luton for a big shop, where we hit a rather strange and disturbing aroma....the stench of BO was overwhelming, there were families of stinking people.

I suppose this is the price you have to pay for a UK heatwave!

We are now moored up in a pub carpark in the little hamlet of Fancott just outside of Luton. We got here at about 17.30 and it was virtually empty, now it is packed with families coming to enjoy a drink in the Garden on this lovely day ...