Yes, we’re at it again. Just when you thought that your spam filter was finally working properly - those of you with the dubious privilege of being on the email list that is - another motley collection of kilobytes loosely masquerading as a travel blog land in you inbox. Be prepared for more prolonged nonsensical drivel as I regale you with tales of our stay at Weeley, near Clacton-on-Sea in deepest Essex.
Before that though, there’s a bit to catch up on since the end of ‘The Tour’ in July. Patsy has been pressed into service more than once and has proved herself invaluable in what has been a rollercoaster of a summer.
It was good to be home again after three months - although Patsy didn’t seem quite as pleased. Half way up the drive the motor mover cut out and refused to re-start. No amount of cursing and swearing would coax it back to life and matters were not improved as HRH, who had travelled from Cambridge with us for a ‘holiday’, tetchily inquired from the comfort of her throne, when someone was going to put the bloody kettle on as she hadn’t had her tea! A short while later however Patsy, somewhat grudgingly completed her short journey on to the drive and was soon safely sited. The reason for the halt in proceedings was to be discovered later on to be nothing more than erm, operator error. It appears that if you try and send the van in opposite directions at once the control box cut’s out. Funny that!
Two weeks later and Patsy was on the road again - to ‘the other place’ as Cambridge University types would say or to everyone else, Oxford. We were taking HRH home to Cambridge too and having sited the van continued our journey around the M25. Many will be aware that Trev’s bro Malcolm was still in hospital at this point so the purpose of the journey threefold: Drop off HRH, pick up some caravan stuff we had left at hers and call in at the hospital.
Oxford was great fun, helped in no small part by the arrival of friends, neighbours - and incumbents of ‘Close HQ’; Tony & Jane. We explored Blenheim Palace and the lovely village of Woodstock. Afternoon tea, in a restaurant on the banks of the Thames was delightful as was the river trip. Not surprisingly Oxford’s lovely old pubs proved a powerful draw, although the ‘Inspector Morse’ connection - the vague excuse for visiting them - was soon lost. We dined in the awning and at Tony & Jane’s residence - a beautiful old Landmark Trust apartment in the heart of the city. We done a walking tour of Oxford’s colleges and got asked to leave a coffee shop for drinking er, coffee. Great company and great fun, but our time in Oxford was cut short by news from Cambridge that Trev’s brother had worsened considerably. The site wardens were very helpful and got us booked in at their Cambridge site, and so a day early, we left Oxford.
Most will know that Malcolm passed away and we were back in Cambridgeshire again just over a week later for the funeral at a site in the village of Fulbourn just outside Cambridge. Accomodating just five vans in what was an old farm orchard it was one of the prettiest sites we have stayed on and the weather was at it’s best too. The farmers’ dog, Benjy, proved good company too, particularly at meal times!
For the first time too we brought my bike with us and enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon bike ride around the villages while Trev and the family met with the Vicar. I wore, for the first time some proper cycling shorts and I can tell you that the padding certainly helped!
The funeral went well, and was well attended, the wake even more so. Then it was back to Saltdean again, but not for long….
Next up was, at last, a happy occasion. Trev’s Sister Mary was getting married, so less than a week later we were back on the road with Patsy to Norfolk. Patsy had paused for a rest on the drive of a friends house near Cambridge as it seemed pointless to haul her all the way back to Saltdean only to return a few days later. We had picked a site just outside North Walsham, just four miles away from Walcott where Mary & Derek live and were getting married. Another pretty site, accommodating just twelve vans this time although the road to it was clearly not designed with caravans in mind. We got to try out the smaller porch awning that had come with the van and had experimented with briefly, on our first outing to Crystal palace back in March. The weather, for most of the four days was not good - high winds and plenty of rain - but thankfully it cleared up for the day of the wedding, which went really well.
Right, back to the present. Weeley, is a little village just six miles away from the seaside resort of Clacton, in Essex and the site itself overlooks a lovely little fishing lake. It was persisting down when we arrived, and whilst we garnered some experience of siting up in the rain on ‘The Tour’ it was never as bad as this. Mud flew as the front wheels of the car tried in vain to grip the sodden grass. I have since come to the conclusion - although have yet to convince Trev - that some PVC or rubber jeans - in black obviously, so they don’t clash - would be ideal as they are waterproof and you could just wipe the mud off. That’s my excuse anyway!
The site offers ‘full service’ pitches, meaning that as well as electric hook up you have your own water tap and drain allowing direct connection for both fresh water supply and waste water disposal. Our water supply hose reached fine, but the waste hose fell just short showing just how important and extra few inches can be! A new length was procured in the site shop and all was well.
This morning, the rain had gone and in it’s place was a thick fog. Unperturbed we headed into Clacton to start the sightseeing. Although, not bustling there was, for a damp autumnal Monday morning, plenty of people about. Trev’s Mum & dad had ended up here after the war and we went to look where they used to live. Trev is a Cambridge boy, but two of his siblings, the two now sadly no longer with us, were born here.
We had hoped that the fog would lift but it proved stubbornly resistant as we drove along the coast to Frinton. Frinton certainly used to have a reputation as an upmarket place - it was said that when the wealthy holidayed in Frinton, their staff went to Clacton. It was also said that Frinton never used to have a pub, while Trev will tell you, from his newsagent days, that porno magazines where banned. Christ, what a fun place it must have been! There is now one pub, that we could find, although neither of the two newsagents we looked were selling ‘top shelf’ stuff.
So, there we are. Hopefully it will be clearer tomorrow and I can take a few pictures. In the meantime, enjoy the ones below (or attached) , from Oxford, Fulbourn and Walcott.