The UK Interlude
Trip Start May 06, 2008
50Trip End May 26, 2009
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On the Friday we took Mum up to London and had two nights in a very disappointing Thistle Hotel in Bloomsbury, which resulted in an e-mail from me to the General Manager outlining 26 areas of dissatisfaction. His response, a three page letter couched in amazing modern English management-speak, was of little help, other than to remind us that we did not stay in a hotel room, we stayed in a "bedroom product" within a "branded property". He did however offer a 20% discount and a bottle of champagne if we were to stay again. The reception staff had already given us a £100 discount when I settled up, so I don't think we will be taking up his offer.
The wedding went well and the weather held. (It has to be said that this has been one of the worst summers, weather-wise, that we can remember - or perhaps we just notice it more when buffeted by wind and rain in a caravan!) It was an interesting and rather different ceremony, followed by a reception in the undercroft of the church and then entertainment provided by Sophie, Dan and their friends. Sophie is a first class tenor sax player and her quartet, the SaxCollective, played for us. The quartet is currently playing at the Edinburgh Festival, for the third year. Read about them on www.saxcollective.com.
On the Tuesday we took the caravan back to Leeds to be reunited with our cats and Michael and Nicole. It was good to see them again, but we were eager to continue our travels. Unfortunately we had to stay much longer than anticipated. Whilst in France one of our awning zips had jammed, and while erecting the awning in the New Forest another zip had split. The manufacturer, NR Awnings of Todmorden, advised that it should be a simple repair, but it was their works fortnight and they would have no staff to do it until Monday 28th. We were stuck. On the plus side, the site we were at, Moor Lodge, between Scarcroft and Bardsey, was very pleasant, with beautifully tended grass and nice facilities. It was close enough to Michael and Nicole to make visits for Internet and washing easy.
We broke our stay with a trip to Merseyside, staying for a long weekend at Church Farm, Thurstaston, an organic farm that had a small caravan site attached, along with a collection of "petting" animals and a children's play area. An excellent spot if you have kids. It was strange waking up each morning to see the mountain goats jockeying for position on top of their hut and a long line of ducks waddling up the hill for their morning walk. It was amazing how the ducks seemed to know the farm opening times, as just before ten each morning they would all waddle back to their pen, ready to entertain the kids.
Then it was across to Thirsk for a night on Thirsk racecourse, a caravan club site available on non-race days. The purpose here was to visit Crab Manor Hotel's Crab and Lobster restaurant. My colleagues at first direct had presented me with a voucher for a meal there and this was the first opportunity we had had to use it. What a superb meal. Thanks to all the team for a lovely night out.
Back to Leeds to sort out the awning and prepare ourselves for the next stage of our journey. It had been our original intention to start our voyage in Norway, perhaps working up to the Arctic Circle or even the Nordcap, before working our way south for the winter. It was now August, and to do this would have meant rushing. We therefore decided to leave Scandinavia for next year, and booked the Hull ferry to Rotterdam, to visit Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden and Prague, departing on August 3rd.
Where I stayed
Caravan Club Centenary site