Monday, 27 September 2010

18 Even More Cornwall

Monday 20th September
The weather has stayed cloudy and windy, and we decided to go to Falmouth and have a look around. I remember it being quite prominent in programmes like Poldark and the Onedine Line, ( showing my age here). It was not as interesting as I thought, so we headed on out along the coast and came across a beach called Swanpool, where Ray had a night navigation diving exam a very long time ago.  We had a wee snifter in a beach restaurant called "Ondabeach" which is what it says on the tin. There were some water sports going on and some very brave older people actually having a swimming session.  We haven't been brave enough to get into the sea yet, maybe next year.......

Tuesday 21st September

Today was brighter, but still not all that warm, we went to Penzance and I was quite taken with it.  There are lots of little streets with interesting little shops, all very pretty and quaint.

Competition time, Can you spot Ray?

We tried to go out on a boat which takes you around the coast in search of wildlife, but apparently it was too windy at sea.  Spot of retail therapy and then to a really old pub, steeped in History,(the sacrifices we make so that you have a good Pub guide).  The place is  called The Dolphin Tavern and is down on the harbour.  It dates back to 1585 and is where a man named Sir John Hawkins employed Cornish men to fight in the Navy against the Spanish Armada.  Sir Walter Raleigh smoked the first bit of tobacco brought back from his travels, (he's got a lot to answer for). Apparently the centre of the pub was the local court room and Judge Jeffries, who was known as the hanging judge, presided there on several occasions (we could do with some more like him)  Lastly, but not least, they have 3 resident ghosts. One is an old sea captain, one a young man who died in an accident on the premises and the third, an old woman, who nobody knows much about.  We didn't see any of them, but we did only stay for one drink.
Where are the ghosts?

Wednesday 22nd
Most of the day was spent at the MH, doing chores and then in the evening we went out for dinner at The Whitehouse Pub and Lodge.  We caused quite a stir turning up on our trusty steed as most of the clientel were older than us and were very impressed by the motor cycle.  Ray crept up on one older lady as she was touching the bike, shouted at her, "What are you doing to my bike" she nearly passed out having jumped 3 feet in the air, the paramedics stated it was only a mild heart attack, anyway we then listened to her and her husbands tales of their travels on different types of motor cycles 40 years ago.  Does this sound familiar?

Thursday 23rd
Now would be a good time to tell the saga of the awning by Ray Hall QPM. (as we put it up today) :
We needed a new awning as the one that came with Lizzy does not fair well in wind and has to be taken down every time the weather turns for the worse. 
So we searched the internet and found a suitable one that is designed for high Motorhomes and has a steel frame, a Dorema Highlander 2.
We found a supplier in Ilfracombe and we factored in a trip to there whilst on the way to Cornwall. We paid for the last one of its kind in the UK and waited for it to arrive. Four days later the supplier called us up and stated that the item did not actually exist and we had to have our money refunded.
We contacted another supplier in Sudbury near Colchester on the off chance that he hay have one in stock. He said no, there were none left but offered us an alternative, a Eurovent Coachman, this was also the last of its type in the UK.
We had no internet access and could not confirm the suitability but took his word for it and paid it and then waited to be delivered to the Treamble camp site at Perranporth. We waited about 4 days and then phoned up to enquire as to its whereabouts.
Lost in the Parcel force post system was the reply. Luverly.
We at this time had to move camp sites as the one we were as was closing.
Anyway, the dealer said that the supplier had put in a claim to Parcel force and would we like the next model down which was very similar with a different type of door on one side, a Eurovent Autovilla.
OK we said, and gave him the address of the new camp site.
3 Days later we phoned to enquire about the location of this awning only to be told that no one knew. I then received a voice mail from the courier stating that they had tried to deliver it but as we had left the campsite they would not take it. They tried to deliver it to the wrong campsite !
I phoned the courier, asked him wher he ewas and then drove the 15 miles to Crambourne to collect it on Wallace. Brilliant, at last we have our new awning.
The next morning, like a good little camper I set the awning up only to find that it was about 18" too small and we could not open our motorhome door if the awning was attached.
F**k, F**k, F**k !!!
Now we have the problem of sending it back. Not easy when you do not have a proper address.    

Friday 24th

Again really windy, but mostly dry, and off to the Lizard which is the most Southerly point of the UK.

Views from The Lizard, you can see the difference in the light just in the short time we were there.

  It was beautiful and after enjoying the views we headed back towards Lands End, however on route, we came across a Cider Farm which was in fact just a shop selling local brews, so we obliged, and that then becomes another story.  However, back to our touring and we ended up in Lands End.  We did the touristy bit and had our picture taken by the sign and complete with "Wallace".  There was a bloke on holiday with his 2 year old child, he turned out to be a complete knob. The area by the sign is actually rented by the photographer, so unless you are prepared to part with your hard earned dosh, you cannot take your own picture. This idiot wouldn't understand that and was declaring that England was a free country, all of this in front, of his kid, Well he was crying, the wife was crying, the in-laws were walking off, I thought I was back in Harringay, and Ray was surprisingly calm. You just cannot believe some people.  Anyway, photo posed for and off to the pub.

Says it all really

As we were leaving, we saw a group of people having their photo taken, all were wearing the same fetching outfits, so being nosy we went down to take a look and discovered that they were a group of Police Officers from Liverpool, who were about to embark on a cycle ride to John O'Groats for a children's charity.  Good luck chaps...

Liverpudlian Coppers

We drove along the coast to a place called Sennen Cove, it was very pretty and apparently Ray and the boys from the TA had a boys day out, trying to drown each other and practising their caveman skills.  Its been very nostalgic for him.

Sennen Cove

We headed back to Penzance to get a  photo of St Michaels Mount.

St Michaels Mount, minus the Germans

Back in World War 2, when the Germans were confident of a win, one of the Generals wanted to live there when the war was over. He believed that if he did his job well, then Hitler would give him most of Cornwall as well, thank goodness that we won, I doubt we would be visiting it now if things had turned out differently.  I needed to get a new camera, (mine having been covered in Cider when a bottle broke in the back of the motor cycle), and to finish off the evening we had decided we would go to  the Whitehouse for a quiz night.

Reason why Camera needed replacing

Whilst we were there, Ray thought he recognised a man he'd worked with in the Met whilst on the search team. Turned out he was an ex inspector from the met, Chris Sevier and he retired seven years ago and moved down to Cornwall.  I was left answering the quiz questions alone whilst they caught up. The marking went ahead, and apparently Chris and his family normally win, I am pleased to say that this night they didn't, we did. I think we put a few local noses out of joint. You just can't teach it can you.

Saturday 25th
Today we tried to get on the boat trip, as it was the first time that the wind had calmed down, again there was no joy but the man we had been trying to get out with, did suggest we try a place in Newquay, where his friend had a different type of boat that would be able to go out.  Before we got there, we met up with Chris again who works part time in an outdoor type of shop, so for a change, Ray spent loads a money on clothing,(this has been recorded in my diary in preparation for the next pair of shoes I want).  Once in Newquay we realised that there was a slight problem with our boat trip plan as the tide was out and the harbour was completely dry, apparently they had gone out hours earlier, just one of the details that we weren't told. 
On route back to the motor home, Ray decided that he had itchy feet and instead of leaving Cornwall on Sunday, he wanted to up sticks and do the trip over night so that we would be there early for our next campsite. I was quite pleased because there was a full day of motorcycle and motor vehicle racing on, so I would get to watch it. We had a couple of stops and I have to say one of the funniest things I've seen for a while, was Ray and Leon going for a walk around the huge car park of the service station.  Leon walks along beside you with his tail in the air, making sure that you haven't gone too far away and he meow's at you if there is something he wants to spend a bit more time at.
Male bonding at its best.

The trip from Cornwall to Ashford.
This normally boring 350 mile trip is worthy of mention.
We intended to do this trip on Sunday the 28th Oct but Karen said that she would miss the World Superbikes, the British Superbikes and the Formula 1 Grand Prix as these are all broadcast during Sunday. I decided it may be a good idea to travel overnight on the saturday to accommodate Karens screaming engine addiction.
So after arriving back home Saturday evening, we loaded Wallace on the back, struck camp and set off at about 7pm with TomTom leading the way. At about 8:30 I was driving and intending to pull in for a coffee at Exeter. Karen mentioned that she was about to miss Mick Hucknall and Simply Red on their final concert being shown at 9pm. Me being the obliging chap that I am decided to drive a bit further on, stop at 9, put the Satellite up and watch the program. (Aren't I wonderful ? - Don't answer that)
We set off again at 10 and eventually, with the tank showing a quarter full, pulled in near Swindon for petrol. I was surprised that the tank only took £50 but paid and set off again. A short while later Lizzy started to feel like her engine was misfiring, nothing serious but noticeable. We discussed the problem and decided that we had bought some dirty fuel and would get some injector cleaner. We drove to Windsor and decided to stop to take a look at the engine. As we got to the red lights at the bottom of the off ramp, the engine cut out. We got it going again and limped into Windsor looking for a garage or somewhere to pull over. When we eventually did, we could see and snell a small petrol leak from the area of the filler cap.
This was a very big "Oh S**t" moment. Not because of the leak, but because Lizzy runs on deisel !
I had shoved about 40 litres of petrol on top of about 20 litres of deisel. We had driven about 80 miles like this. How we were not stranded at the side of the M4 I do not know.
On top of this, the "engine Problem" light had now come on.
We decided to drive to Heston services, drain the tank, which was fortunately (?) lower than it would normally be by now, fill up with the correct fuel and see what happens.
I took the gas hose off of the BBQ and cut the gas fittings off. I had a spare 25 litre plastic can in the boot (as you do) and spent an hour or so with a mixture of petrol and diesel in my mouth but managed to siphon enough out to get the fuel light to come on at the dash. We then filled up and the engine ran perfectly. However, the "Engine Problem" light was still on so we had no idea how much damage has been done to it.
By now it was about 5am and I was knackered.
Having no real choice, we drove to Ashford, Kent, where we had booked our next campsite and as we turned off the M20 we found a McDonalds and decided to have breakfast. As we pulled up, blocking our usual 6 car parking spaces, I decided that there must be a way to clear the fault codes on the engine. so....
Ignition off, grab hold of and pull indicator stalk, ignition back on. Hey presto, "Engine Problem" light extinguished.
A massive sigh of relief from a silly old tw@t.
After McDonalds we drove the final 3 miles to the campsite, pulled in blocking most of the entrance and climbed into bed. What a horrible night.

Sunday 26th

McDonalds breakfast, sleep and motor racing, it doesn't get much better than this.

Monday 27th

Chores, I get to play with my washing machine, wearing thin already, too much like real life.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

17 More Cornwall

Wed 15 Sep, the weather wasn't so good today so we hung round the site and I fed the ducks that wandered around, it's all excitement here.

Make with the dough luv

The weather did pick up eventually and off we went for another gentle stroll along the cliffs of the beach and headed towards Perranporth.  Originally we were just going to stay on the cliffs, Ray was in is element due to there being an abundance of mushrooms growing wild........and in our unique style, there is a tale to tell of Ray, a mushroom and the motorhome keys.  To take his artistic mushroom photo, Ray decided that to show the real size of the Fungi, that he would put the MH keys beside it, he did his David Bellamy bit and then carried on walking.
closed cap mushroom, abandoned keys!

I suppose we had gone about a quarter of a mile when he suddenly realized that the keys were still keeping the mushroom company, and then had to run all the way back to retrieve them, I was my usual helpful self, raised the eyebrows and kept on walking.
We decided once we'd got to the top and could look down on the 3 miles of golden sand, towards Perranporth that we would carry on,  through the Oyster Catchers and mile after mile of sand, sand buggies being dragged along the beach by kites.( they can reach some speeds).

3 miles of golden sand

Where is that beach?  Turn around, go the other way!

Here it is

Yeah, cool dude!
Oyster catchers, doing what they do best, catch oysters, honest.

Fast route along the beach

At the end of the beech, in Perranporth was another great pub, with tables outside, but the sand was being blown about so much, instead of ice cubes in our drinks we had sand dunes, so being wimps  retreated  inside and enjoyed our drinks.  The next excitement of the day was catching a bus back to the MH.  Neither of us could remember the last time we travelled by bus.  It was very pleasant and very cheap.

Again Thursday started off very dull, and in the afternoon we went for a ride,(on Wallace) to Falmouth and had a wander round the town , quite pretty but not quite as bubbling as Newquay or Perranporth.

Friday we loaded up and moved onto our latest site, Treamble Valley. Unfortunately there is no internet signal or phone signal, but the site in its self is nice.  I drove the MH and Ray led the way on the trusty Wallace, a total of   2 miles.  Once parked up, Leon explored his new surroundings and unfortunately has met his first cat of the journey.  I still can't get to grips with cats who growl like dogs.  Anyway, I'm sure he'll meet worse on our travels.
Sad as it is, we decided that we would get all the house work done, and I got to play with my new toy, a mini washing machine, I never thought I would ever enjoy doing chores, but it is still very novel for me.
However, I managed to get over the feeling and on Saturday we ventured back into Newquay to find somewhere we could use the lap top and do a bit of shopping.  We really struggled with that, and when we did eventually find somewhere, the charge on the laptop ran out, we are good at setting ourselves up.  All was not lost though, we made our phone calls and got in contact with friends and family.

Sunday, after a slow start, well I had to watch the moto GP first, we have updated the blog. Just for a change, we are in the pub, and they have a pub singer.  In a truly romantic moment, he has just sung Wet Wet Wet's song Love is all around. That was the song we had our first dance to at our wedding.  He completely demolished it.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

16 Perranporth Cornwall - woohoo

A quick (relatively in a 5 ton motorhome) 4 hour drive landed us in Valhalla. Cornwall is an awesomely beautiful place with rugged rocky coastlines interspersed with beautiful huge sandy beaches and lots of surf.

We were camped about 1/2 mile from Hollywell bay, the next small bay North of Perranporth. We sorted Lizzy (the name we have given to our motorhome, its short for The Queen Elizabeth the 3rd because its the size a of a ship - I am sure I have said this before - do I care - not at all - I'm a pensioner) and made off for the beach.

Old git spoiling the beauty of Hollywell Bay
We decided it would be a good idea to do some handstands, you know, like we all did when we were 12. However we are a bit out of practice but we surely score points for effort....

Mussels and wimps !

Karen pretending to be a barnacle - it'll end in tears.

Told you so......

Mon 13 Sep. The next day the weather had turned windy and overcast. Perfect excuse to go find a pub. We jumped on Wallace and drove to a small spit of land called Pentire Point. As we pulled in we were joined by another couple of bikers who came over to look at Wallace. Me being the show off that I am let them have a sit on it and I even laid it on the grass to show how easy it was to pick up - something that I need to practice anyway as I am sure it will happen a lot in the future. Karen says I'm such a big head ! She is of course right, as always,

The view westwards, the bikers, whoi were also surfers,  came to chack out the surf on this beach.
We noticed a smashing little pub on the other side of the spit with awesome sea views and this on tap...

Ray said "ooh - a beer named after Mick Hucknall", Karen punched Ray !

The view from the pub veranda.
We then rode the 3 miles into Newquay which was a quaint little holiday town slowly closing down after the holiday season and found a Greek restaurant so we partook in the food and justified it as practice for next year when we go there.

Bored with looking at tourist junk shops and T shirt printers - it seems everyone needs a T shirt with their name written under the words "Life Guard", (does that make the beach safer?), we leapt on Wallace and drove to Watergate Bay. By now the clouds were clearing sun was on it's way down

Ray wishing he could surf.

The tide on its way in.

We then decided to visit the bar on the beach (not a difficult decision).
Perfect location for a bar.
The downside of this bar was the cost. BLOODY HELL. £8.45 for a small wine and a glass of fresh orange. Needless to say, we did not stay long.

The last surfers in the sunset. It was darker than the photo shows. We could only just see them with our eyes.

15 More Weymouth

Sun 05 Sep.  We stayed in Weymouth for longer than expected. We had a few things to sort out mainly domestic stuff added to the fact that we liked the place and I had a dose of "Man Flu", OK a cold, but Karen called it "man Flu".
Karen was also struggling with the washing with there being no laundry facilities at the site we were on (or anything else for that matter - but it was peaceful). As a result of this I was despatched back to Southampton to buy a washing machine, a "Whirlygig" drying frame and a second sattelite dish so Karen could watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix whilst recording the World Superbikes etc at the same time on Sky. You could'nt make it up could you !

So on my return this is what presented itself back at the motor home 4 hours later.

Ray on Wallace with a twin tub washing machine, a drying frame and a portable satellite unit.

Leon Looked a bit bored with the subjct though.

That afternoon Karen was dancing around chirping happily about her new washing machine whilst washing my smalls. She is easly pleased.

Mon 06 Sep. We jumped on Wallace and drove into Weymouth. It is a very pleasant place and we liked it. Lots of good bars and even an arcade that catered for our new fad, racing each other on head to head motorcycle racing simulators - the sort where you sit on the bike and lean it over. We must look like an odd couple, over 100 years between us and still playing arcade games. On that note, I hate to say this but Karen beat me. End of subject !

We ran into the Mad Hatter having tea with some other pasty looking wierdoes.

There were some nice toys in the harbour.

We then drove up onto Portland and looked back on Weymouth, the view and weather were fantastic.

Looking north with 18 miles of shingle beach, namely Chesil Beach, on the left.

In the middle is this....

This is the Royal Engineers holiday camp at Wyke Regis, where I as a young Sapper, learned how to pilot power boats, military tugs and small military ferries.

Later that evening we rode back to Weymouth and whilst demolishing a shandy they decided to open the swing bridge next to the pub.

We stayed for a few more days to allow this silly old sod go get over his "Man Flu" and finally packed up on Saturday night (11th) ready for the 150 mile trip to Perranporth, Cornwall the next morning.

Friday, 3 September 2010

14 Bournemouth

Friday 3rd September.
We decided to go and visit Bournemouth today. We starttd with the pier (as you do) and had to pay 60p for the pleasure of walking the 60m from start to finish. To say it was an anti-climax was an understatement. Even the pathetic fair at the end was being taken apart. The bar was open though !
Even the Helter Skelter was going Helter Skelter
In all fairness the place had a nice feel about it and in the town the central park area was very picturesque. Despite the poxy pier, the rest was very nice.

We then decided to catch the short chain ferry to Swanage.
Just washed bike on its inorgural ferry crossing - the first of many.

Aside from Swanage being picturesque, the sun was going down and the temperature was starting to drop. A quick beer in as lovely pub.
On the way back to Weymouth, we came accross Corfe Castle.

No one lives here any more.
We then popped into Lulworth Cove, which is a lovely little inlet where the sea has broken through the rock and formed a beutiful little saltwater lake.
The boss and her husband doing the 10 second dash and pose.
 Finally, we spotted this pub sign and could not resist a photo. Wood is Karens maiden name.
Should read "Hall & Wood - Mad House"

13 Last days of the new forest

Tuesday 31st August
It was a beautiful day - even the cat thought so...
Bugger off and leave me in peace

We started off by thinking “thank god we had not been at Notting Hill".  Good luck to those of you that were.  We on the other hand had a rare sunny day and Ray, complete with his trusty gadgets, again decided to sort out a route for us to travel by bike.
Ponys and donkeys run wild all over the place

I need very straight roads with lots of downhill, apparently that is not possible, (according to he, who must be believed and some computer nerd who developed these gadgets). (Ray -Why can't she understand that if you go uphill, you must eventually come down).
Karen is smiling - She has no idea whats coming

For all you fit youngsters reading this, it was probably an easy ride, (20K’s ) but for moi, learning how to do mountain biking  standing up, going over lumps, bumps , tree trunks and every other form of non smooth road, it was really scary.
It took a while, but we finally managed to get rid of the look of abject fear on Karens face.

It is on days like this that I feel Ray is in fact Benjamin Button and is constantly regressing.  I on the other hand, am ageing and would like to do so quietly and in one piece.   Okay I lie slightly, but I would like to be dragged squeaking rather than screaming.
When I plan a ride,  I plan it properly with appropriate rest stops.

All was forgiven though when we actually saw deer running through the forest and the ponies as well.  There were times that we were totally alone and you could actually believe that there was no-one else on the planet, it was so quiet and peaceful, that it was really wonderful. We then finished off the day with a BBQ, it doesn’t   get much more rustic than that.

Wednesday 1st September
We have sorted out our next site which is down near Weymouth. However , not content with doing just one thing today, we rode into Salisbury and visited the Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathederal - on a nice day
I will let Ray explain more, but I have to say it was an impressive site, and steeped in history, it is amazing how far back our records go.
Inside was just as impressive, there is a lit of military regalia hanging from the walls and an awfull lot of dead people under the floor.
In one small cloister was one of the original 1215AD copies of the Magna Carta. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed. We did see one old man taking one though and he got his bottom spanked by the staff.  

We had a quick wander around the town and then nipped off to Stonehenge (as you do). I found the place, smaller than I had imagined. It has a powerful feel about it, but something was missing.
 (Ray - Yeah, friends and beer)

We took the tour around it with the head sets, but what was really apparent is that nobody knows how, why, and really when, it all happened, or if there is really any real significance to it, I was quite saddened by it, it was too touristy and therefore lost some of its magic, but please don’t let my humble opinion spoil it for you, I think I just expected more.
We like this view


Thursday 2nd Sept.
We struck camp and whilst doing so I (Ray) got talking to the guy parked next to us named Tim Adams who is a Brit living in Australia and working as a tiler. He and his wife Heather are in the UK for 6 months holiday and are touring in their motorhome too. He was a damn nice chap and gave us an insight into motorcycling in Australia, New Zealand and Tazmania. He told us to pop in and se him when we hit Oz.

We then left for Weymouth and arrived there as about 1pm. It is only a small campsite with a maximum of 5 caravans or motohomes allowed but it is well isolated on a small farm in Osmington. The good thing about this site is that it is only 10 minutes walk to the sea and about 3 miles from Weymouth. On top of that, there is no-one else on the site - luverly.

We got our act together, set up the MH, awning etc and then set off towards the beach. As is our luck we missed the steps leading down the cliff face to the seas and eventually walked to the nearest edge of Weymouth looking for a way down to the beach. Whilst walking along what we now know to be the "South Coast Path" we was a Chinook helicopter (they realy are the sexiest things in the sky) flying along the coast in our direction.
These are so sexy and bring back a lot of fond memories
Then it got serious......

Missed us ya plonker....but only just

Many moons ago, a group of Army buddies and I were coming back from somewhere. The Chinook was flying with its tail ramp down, and me, being the cocky little shit that I am thought it would be cool so sit on the edge of the ramp with my legs dangling into mid air. After a while the loadmaster came up to me and shouted in my ear that I should put the a safety belt on and he hooked me to the aircraft with a strop. About 10 minutes later he came back and shouted in my ear again. He shouted that he needed the connecting strop for another purpose and would re connect it in a short while. Now, bear in mind that I am facing out the back at the ground and could not see that he disconneced one but without me knowing, connected another at the same. 
I am now sat in the firm belief that I am not connected and the loadmaster suddenly dropped the ramp by 6 inches. I nearly had a heart attack and whist scambling back inside in a blind panic I looked around to see all my mates falling around on the floor laughing. Cocky boy gets his cumuppance !

The trip was not all bad, there was a bar there that we had to try out. To comply with the new set of rules that we have imposed upon ourelves, now we've retired. Never let it be said that we are undisciplined.  ;-)

We then walked back along the "beach". This turned out to be a marathon ordeal clambering over boulders the size of cars down to soft shingle.
All together now, say Ahhhhhh.

We then found the staircase that had successfully eluded us earlier and on the way back over the hill to the MH we saw that we were parked up in view of this. So we took a photo.
Our solitary MH in the vale of the White Horse. Bliss.

Once back at the ranch it was time to get the barby out and watch the sun go down.