Friday, 5 January 2018

292 July to December 2017

July 2017
We popped up to Mums for a few day to collect Sandys old Honda Quad bike. I borrowed an appropriate trailer from a neighbour and once at home, loaded it up.

Loaded and ready to go

 We spent some quality time with Mum
August 2017
Once back home we popped over to see Naomi, Steve and Charlotte. I do believe that Karen is going soft and has developed a soft spot for Charlotte.

Luckily, she has taken to us very quickly, unlike most others she meets.
September 2017
Wendy, Bruces wife's, sister, and her husband Ken, came up to Norfolk for a camping holiday and popped over to see us. Ken and I decided to take the canoe out for a giggle. A giggle it was, we are both experienced canoeists, him more than me, but we could not get the damn thing to go straight.

About to launch, Hickling Broad.

Still pictures do not tell the full story, we were going round in circles. It was mad.

Lets knock this on the head and I'll fit a rudder for next time.

October 2017;
John, Karens brother invited us to a reception at the local village hall, where he lives in Maulds Meaburn. The lead singer from and old pop group called Steely Dan was the singer. He was, needless to say, very good.

Andrew 'Spud' Sinclair

...and a rare photo of John dancing
After leaving Johns place we moved over to the Lake District to do some hill walking and to test the cats' suitability for travelling in the campervan.
We set off intending to do a long walk but quickly realised we had bitten off more than we could chew. Never the less we walked most of the day and the scenery was beautiful.

It's the Brucie madness time of year again. Like last year, he was doing very well till a car clipped his front end and ripped out a ball joint from the front suspension.

Brucie keeping out of trouble.

Brucie causing trouble. Dozing a car into the barrier.

The front orange car (mid picture) ripped the suspension arm out of Bruces Yellow Ford.

December 2017
We had prebooked a ferry and a hotel for a trip to Hamelin in Germany. For those that don't know, Hamelin is where the story of the Pied Piper came from and the town is very proud of the story.
We got the overnight ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland and It was then a simple 4 hour drive to Hamelin. We booked into our hotel and then walked into town for the Christmas Markets.

This was the first shop we saw. I thought these were defunkt and all closed down.

Some of the bars were very ornate.
 We were also in the land of the sausage eaters. Lets not disapoint them ! We maxed out on Currywurst, pommes frites and beer as it our want when in Germany.
The Pied Piper.
The story of the Pied Piper goes something like this: The town of Hamelin had a rat infestation. The Pied Piper offered his services, in that he would play his pipe and the rats would follow him out of the town. The town agreed in return for a large fee. The Pied Piper duly played his pipe and the rats followed him out of the town and away. When the Piper came for his payment, the town refused to pay up. The piper then decided to play his pipe again, this time with a different tune and lured all the children away from the town. Only 2 did not go, a crippled boy and a blind girl who could not keep up.
Look closely, it is advent calender. And also a moving model of the Pied Piper Story.

The Piper taking the rats out of the town.

The piper taking the children out of the town.

The two children left behind. The cripple and the blind girl.
We stayed in Hamelin for 3 days and then decided to drive up into the Harz mountains. We had taken snow chains just in case of snow (in some places, they are a legal requirement if snow tyres are not fitted). It was a good job we did.
We came very close to wrecking the car. After getting stuck on a small hill in the centre of town and watching all the cars with snow tyres driving past us like it was the middle of summer we decided to get back to the hotel and fit the snow chains. After getting stuck, we had to take a different route back to the hotel that included a mountain road. It was covered in snow and at about 20mph, we came to a downhill bend in the road and when I braked for the bend, the cars wheels all locked up and we ended up heading towards the barrier with no brakes or steering. I was pumping the brakes in an effort to get some grip and as the barrier loomed closer, I said to Karen "We are having it", meaning the barrier. We got to within a foot of the barrier and found some grip on the uncompacted snow on the verge. The car just drove slowly along the barrier and despite being close, we did not hit it. How, we did not crash, I will never know.  We managed to get to the hotel and it was time to put the chains on. We had a long trip back to Belgium the next day.

This could get difficult.

The chains were from our previous motorhome so I modified them to fit. Lucky I did !

We rode on roads like this with chains on at 25 - 30 mph for just under 100 miles. It was hard work.
 After around 100 miles on snow chains the roads improved and we were able to drive on tyres. The slow progress made our next stop late and we struggled to find somewhere to stay and we ended up in the village of  Nurenberg, where the public race track is and found an empty hotel. We were not surprised, there would be no racing while the snow was around.

The next day we made our way to Antwerp where they had a lovely christmas market in full swing.

Time for more beer and suasages.
 Then next day We intended to drive to Rotterdam and spend the night there but with the weather as bad as it was, we got to Rotterdam and still had plenty of free time so we turned left and headed for the ferry terminal. We were lucky and in time to catch the ferry a day earlier. We had to pay extra but that was offset by the savings of another overnight hotel.
After a few hours we were back home and ready for bed.

19th December 2017;
A very proud day in the Hall household. Rosie, Sprog #4, was sworn in as a Special Constable in the Essex Police Service. She comes from a long family of police officers. Starting with her grandad, Ted, her Dad (me), Karen, her step mum, Rebecca, her real mum and her uncle, Nicholas.

I cried when I first saw her in uniform at Chelmsford Police Headquarters. My little girl is all grown up now and I could not be more proud.

Rosie with 2 of her colleagues. The one on the right is not a skinhead, she shaves her head to stop the mentally handicapped children she works with in her day job from pulling her hair.

A proud dad and sprog #4, Rosie with sprog #3 Naomi. We had to get Naomi back to Bishops storford early so she could spend the night working in the homeless shelter. My Kids have finally made the grade and I am 6" taller today.

Rosie and James, her boyfriend.
The next day we hot footed it up tpo scotland to collect Mum. We stayed for two days to allow us to go to a remembrance service for Sandy at the crematorium that he was cremated in. A somber day. Then it was back down to home for Christmas.

On Christmas day we took Mum to the beach to see the seals and pups along with the obligatory visit to the Nelsons Head pub.

The cordoned off beach with the mothering seals.

On the path back to the pub.

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