A Caravanning Christmas – Part 1

Just when you thought there was a glimmer of hope – along comes another caravanning blog from the two finger toss-sorry, typist. Yes we are away again in the ‘van – our dear old Coachman Caravan nicknamed Patsy -  and are currently sited at the Camping & Caravan Club site at Theobald's Park nestled just north of the M25 and west of the A10 in Hertfordshire.

Although we’d booked in from the Sunday, we did ponder the possibility of getting away on Saturday and stopping on the way around the M25, perhaps at the Caravan Club site at Alderstead Heath – one we’ve not yet been too.

However, fairly early on on Saturday we decided to stick to our original plan. We’d done little in the way of getting ready and the fact that we’d been out on an end of term drinkypoos the night before with some of the other drivers at the school probably had some bearing too. Not only that but  there was the all important lengthy deliberation on which of my long leather coats would claim the spare place on the parcel shelf. 15439868_10154192366248231_6368498277964027937_n

So in the end we had a leisurely day with a visit to the barbers in the morning and an afternoon in front of the telly watching Final Score and the majority of our little weekly wagers make their merry way down the pan. Having somewhat reluctantly gotten rid of the mohawk/fin thingy a couple of years ago and attempting something longer I’ve now gone – to use a much maligned phrase – back to basics – with a boring no nonsense but more importantly low maintenance crop.

Sunday, and with arrivals not permitted before 1pm, there was a good chance we’d get caught up in the crowds heading for their Sunday morning worship at the Bluewater and Lakeside shopping centres either side of the Thames but traffic was pretty good and we pulled up at the site just a little before the hallowed hour. We followed the directions given by the club and they were excellent. Check out our site arrival video on our new (Get Your) Legs Down You Tube channel HERE. 

DSC_0291With check-in formalities completed we were shown to a choice of pitches and picked on looking down the gentle slope positioning Patsy nose in to make the most of an appearance the sun might make during the next few days. Apart from a bit of levelling set up was straightforward and the kettle was soon pressed into service.

The site itself is open although surrounded by trees. The M25 is close by but on a Sunday afternoon the noise from it wasn’t intrusive. There looked like a lot of seasonal ‘vans here and the site was clearly popular with those working away from home. We’ve seen this more and more – it’s a cheap way of working away from home if that’s what you have to do.

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Right, Christmas. Neither of us are remotely religious but I do like the benefits it brings – three weeks off, and the chance to decorate everywhere with pretty lights. The excuse to eat and drink too much is less important as I do that any time of the year regardless. Anyway, so with post set up cuppa slurped it was time to get to work. Patsy has had her own lights for a few years but a couple of months ago, during a bit of a clear out in the garage I came across our old Christmas tree and lights – which hadn’t been used for nearly four years thanks to us being away in the  ‘van. The tree and decs went to the local charity shop but I brought the lights home, plugged them in and to my utter surprise every single set worked.

There was much deliberation as to where the extra sets where to go. Lengths were compared – not for the first time, ahem – and sticky hooks and suction cups sought out to ensure that the lights would stay up when we moved sites. An hour or so later we were done and Patsy looked as camp as, well, Christmas!

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The light was fading and food was, by now nearing the top of the agenda, so we postponed doing the outside ones and went off to get something to eat. The site had helpfully provided  a list of local hostelries, but Sundays can be a funny day for pubs and food so we played it safe and opted for the nearby Toby Carvery. The food was what you’d expect  - okay without being spectacular - and they only had one real ale available but at least it was London Pride – one of my favourites. More impressive than both grog and grub was the building however. We promised to come and take a closer look in daylight. We stopped for one at the nearby King & Tinker on the way back – purely for research purposes obviously.

We were not surprisingly awake early Monday morning thanks to our silly o’clock starts when at work but it was late morning by the time we emerged and pointed Rosie – that’s our car in case you were wondering – in the general direction of the supermarket, a couple of miles towards London on the A10.

With essentials – beer and snacks – procured we did as promised and when back to the Toby Carvery. It’s located in the house of the original Whitewebbs Estate, now a country park and golf course. The original house was built in the mid sixteenth century and it is said that the Gunpowder plot was hatched here – although there are many other places that make the same claim.

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The current pile dates from 1791 and was for many years an old peoples home. There is an excellent article on Hidden London if you are interested.

Back at the ‘van it was time to look at some products we’d been sent to review – neat collapsible buckets, water carriers and watering cans from a company called Colapz. To see and read more check out my review blog HERE.

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Right. we’ll call it a day on this one. The word count is up – I always reckon that around a thousand words is enough – the right length is so important don’t you think!

Look out for part two soon.Oh and by the way – I ended up taking two coats…..

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