The last couple of days have been nothing if not expensive, but more of the that later. After a nice relaxing stay in the Lake District we are now in Bury - in the Burrs Country Park and alongside the East Lancashire Steam Railway. Manchester is but a few miles away and after the overdose of scenery last week we are both looking forward to ‘doing’ another city, but will bring you up to date first, carrying on (and on) from roughly where I left off.
Right, Thursday. We didn’t bother with the lake cruise in the end. The rain stopped but it was still cold and windy and would have been no fun at all. The infamous ‘they’ had been working on the electrical supply to the site all day, and whilst the power remained on the Wi-Fi didn’t, which meant that to send the blog we’d have to go to a pub. Obviously.
The pub in question; the Black Bull in Coniston had Wi-Fi but it also conveniently had it’s own brewery - how fortuitous. Well, we tried all the ales on offer - purely for research purposes' obviously - along with a delicious Cumberland sausage and mash, which is without doubt was the best sausage I’ve ever tasted. And there’s been a few I can tell you…….
Friday and a somewhat later start not entirely unrelated to the activities of the previous evening. We drove first out to Kendal - famous mainly for it’s sickly mint cake and popular with hikers and the like ever since Hillary & Norgay munched on it on their way up Everest in 1953. Next up was Penrith - a short drive up the reasonably scenic A6 and the reasonably dull M6. Nothing particular was on the agenda - just a look around really. Both pleasant if unremarkable towns. The journey back was much better, returning back alongside the shimmering silvery grey water of Ullswater. We stopped for tea at a little cafe halfway down - absolutely beautiful.
We had left, earlier in the day with the site half empty but it was a different story when we returned. It was full to bursting - all 280 pitches occupied ready for the long weekend - and a nice warm atmosphere too.
Saturday was dry so we decided to go for a walk in to Coniston, pick up some groceries and have a couple of lunchtime pints too. Well, we’d been walking for at least ten minutes before the muttering started. Trev, convinced that we had walked five miles or so was suggesting that they could put more benches along the pathway to aid weary walkers. I pointed out that this was the Cumbrian Way, not Worthing seafront and that we’d walked less than a mile but this didn’t seem to help!
When is a Co-Op not a Co-Op? When it’s in Coniston of course. The local shop, despite being called the Coniston Co-Op, and selling Co-Op branded goods was not actually a Co-Op. At least when it came to accepting my loyalty card. Or charging for bags. Or not accepting Amex. At the bottom of the receipt was a text telling me that, as I had paid with my credit card I had incurred a fee to the ‘Co-Op’ but they had not passed it on and I should consider this as an extra discount. I felt like returning and pointing out that perhaps they should consider my custom as a bonus and not as a nuisance. Hmm, perhaps it is a Co-Op after all!
Sunday, dry but we done nowt apart from watch some of the Jubilee celebrations on the telly and partook of some of the ale we’d picked up at the brewery a couple of days prior.
Monday, some promising albeit intermittent sunshine. We did little apart from lounge about - occasionally in the sun until the water pump decided to fail. The pump itself normally sits in the water container and pumps water up and in to the van as and when you open a tap. Instead, however, the water was travelling just three inches up the pipe and out through a split in the wall of the pipe and back in to the tank. Clearly not ideal! Fortunately, the wardens at reception knew of a caravan place just a few miles way and a new pump was procured with little effort - apart from having to open the wallet of course.
Tuesday - today - and time to move on. I opted to do the first stint - including of course all the narrow twists and turns that Trev had to endure on the way in. It was early however and nice and quiet and this part of the journey at least went without a hitch.
We swapped over at Rivington services, grabbed some over priced mediocre coffee at the same time. The site was easy to find thanks to accurate directions from the SatNav app. It was when we arrived however that we discovered that an essential component was missing.
Traditionally, a caravan electrical system had two seven pin plugs to connect to the towing vehicle - one for the internal electrics, to power the fridge and charge the on board battery, and one for the running lights - indicators, brakes etc. More recently however, one thirteen plug has been used and when we bought the van, we had to buy an adaptor to convert the thirteen pin plug of the caravan to the two seven pin plugs of the tow bar. Well, when we arrived here the adaptor was missing. They simply cannot be pulled off - the type of connections stop that - the wires would pull out first, so the only explanation we can come up with was that it was nicked whilst we stopped and went for coffee at the services. Which means of course that we drove for forty or so miles with no bake lights or indicators. What selfish inconsiderate tossers. Not only that but now we’ve got to chase around tomorrow and source and buy another adaptor. A waste of time and another expense that we could well do with out, but there it is. Or isn’t.
Anyway, the site is nice and has a pub right next door with which we’ve already graced with our presence. They do three real ales but we’ve only had two of them, so may need to go back later for some more er, research…..