Christmas in Cambridge

So, as I said in the last blog, we’re up in Cambridge now - once again at the Cherry Hinton club site and we’re here now until new year. There have been arrangements to be made, appointments and so on, but all that is progressing well - and we have already had a fair bit of free time on our hands.

I mentioned too in the last blog that we’d been having a go at vlogging - daily in fact - and we’ve been delighted with the response - and had some great feedback, so we’ve decided to continue now things are getting sorted. It’s also proving to be a welcome distraction from current events.

It’s also given us the opportunity to have a trip or two down memory lane. On Saturday we had an amble around Cherry Hinton while Trev recalled his childhood - from where he was brought up, his first school, where he played and where he got his first job. It was a lovely morning and I even learnt some stuff about him too. Check out our video HERE


In the evening we were delighted to welcome fellow caravanners and now very dear friends Amanda & Allison for an evening of reminiscing, gossip - and yes an ale or two. We had a cracking time and wish them the very best as they’re follow their dream and prepare to start a new life in Scotland.

Sunday saw us on a day trip - to, er Brighton - and I must say it felt very odd going home for the day. We needed to pick up some paperwork regarding Trev’s Mum and it gave us the chance too to sling some stuff in the washing machine and pick some clean clothes up. It was foggy and icy on the way down - at least for the first half of the trip, but the majority were behaving sensibly behind the wheel. Coming back it was extremely wet and good sense seemed have deserted many in the quest to get where they wanted to be.

On Monday we spent the day in Cambridge getting the bus in from just around the corner from the site. The roads surrounding were as usual heaving but the city centre itself - away from the shopping centre, was quieter - helped considerably by the fact that the colleges are largely empty - most of the students having gone home for Christmas. The Market Square was our first pause followed by a climb up the tower of Great St Mary’s Church. An amble along Kings Parade and Trumpington Street was next before heading for the back and taking in that most iconic view of Cambridge; Kings College Chapel across the meadow. Just beautiful.



The was of course a brief pause at a pub for a spot of lunch at what is reputed to be Cambridge’s oldest pub, the Pickerell Inn in Bridge Street.

Legs were starting to tire as we made our way across Jesus Green and Christ’s Pieces before jumping on the bus back to the site. The day was a great reminder of what a beautiful city Cambridge is. There are two videos to accompany - HERE and HERE


Much of Tuesday was taken up with those necessary appointments following a death - first the Registrar then the young lady who will be conducting the service on Friday. We did however make it to a pub. Obviously.

The Cambridge American Cemetery at Madingley received the attentions of the Blogger in Black and Portly Partner on Wednesday morning. We’ve been here a few times over the years and it may seem an odd thing to do but it is very beautiful, very calming and a great place for a few moments of reflection too.

Newnham was next and gave us the opportunity for a bit of reminiscing - we both came here as kids to play in the pool - although some years apart! Yes, there’s a video which you can find HERE

I think I went to Anglesey Abbey as a kid - and was probably bored shi, er witless. However it was a different story this time around. The Winter Garden was particularly stunning with the range of colours on show just astonishing accompanied by all the different aromas.


The water mill was open but sadly not in action - not that much of a disappointment as we’d seen the one in action near Welwyn.

We loved the house too. Laid out as it would have been in 1964 when owner Lord Fairhaven would be getting ready for Christmas and for one of his regular shooting parties. The video is HERE


I must apologise for the photo’s - some numpty who shall remain nameless - okay then, me - failed to retrieve the memory card for the camera from the laptop before we left, so everything from today is with cheap and cheerful Galaxy cut downs. Talking of phones, I’m now back up and running with a replacement. I got one delivered to site and picked up a SIM when in town. I’m now back with ‘3’ since BT Mobile found it beyond them to put one in the post to me.

Another first on Friday was the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, sandwiched between Hills Road & Trumpington Road. Astonishingly in all the years we lived in Cambridgeshire, neither of us had been.

We spent a couple of hours here easily but keener horticulturalists would have no trouble in making a day of it. Well worth a visit but understandably lacking a little colour given the time of year. Video to follow.


Friday night was in a pub - quelle surprise - with our old pals from Histon & Impington - where I grew up and where Trev & I met. It was a great, slightly drunken night but I’m glad to report that the phone made it back to the ‘van intact.

And lastly - Saturday saw a rather sluggish meander around Ely before catching up with more friends for a restorative cuppa and mince pies.

Okay, you’re up to date. More or less. Today - Christmas Eve, we have three things planned - a couple of bits and bobs from the shop and a visit to Teversham to lay a wreath and say hello to Mum. A pub lunch will follow then that will be us until Boxing Day when we’ve been invited out for lunch.

So, as always, thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great Christmas.

Cheers & Beers from Rich & Trev.

The Festive Foursome

Right, I need to start with the sad news that many of you will have already heard - that Trev’s Mum passed away peacefully on Thursday morning at the grand age of 92. She had been admitted to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge the evening before after her heart really started to struggle and it was clear that her time really was coming to and end. Very sad of course but she has lived a full life and the world will be a much duller - if somewhat quieter - place without her!

So, I’m afraid the title is a bit misleading on this one, as we would have ended up staying at five sites, although now that has dropped to three. Anyway, lets bring you up to date with events prior to Wednesdays sad news.

Patsy spent her first night of the trip on site minus her occupants at our local site - the Caravan & Motorhome Club’s Brighton site at Sheepcote Valley. We’d picked her up from Roundstone Caravans at Southwater in West Sussex where she’d been in for a well overdue service and we’d sited her there to air her out and load up ready for our upcoming trip. I’m delighted - and somewhat relieved - to say that she passed her service with flying colours.

Saturday, once all the caravanning essentials had been loaded in - wine, scoff and long leather coats - we moved in. And so did the weather. The forecasted high winds and heavy rain arrived soon after midnight and it became clear on Sunday morning that we’d have to delay our departure - a decision which was to turn out to be very wise indeed.

So, we had a quick visit to the flat to pick up a few more bits and bobs, Trev thwarting my attempts to sneak in another leather coat. I argued that with the high winds remaining it’s weight would be good ballast for the car but he was having none of it. The remaining time was spent putting up the Christmas lights in Patsy and a quick incursion to Kemp Town for a couple of pints before a forgettable Co-Op ready meal for dinner.

The winds were no less vicious on Monday and the rain was still lashing down but a thorough studying of the weather reports suggested that the winds were confined to the coast, so after a VERY wet pack up we headed off, taking Patsy through Brighton to avoid the high winds likely to be found on the usual route through Woodingdean and through to Falmer.

The rest of the journey was ok - rain and sleet for most of the way but the dangerous winds had gone and most people were driving sensibly. We arrived at Commons Wood Caravan & Motorhome Club site on the edge of Welwyn Garden City to find five inches of snow - and the warden reckoned we wouldn't be able to get to the site entrance the day before, such were the state of the roads.

After a chilly set up and a warming cuppa we had a quick drive around the city, noting locations of various pubs - sorry, research venues - for the coming days.


Tuesday brought with it a frost but some bright sunshine and our first proper look at Welwyn Garden City, and we were both impressed. The central shopping area is nothing outstanding but it’s the wide open spaces surrounding that make it so special. Even with the snow on it looked beautiful and I can only imagine what it’s like in spring, and autumn too with all the changing colours. Welwyn was the second garden city in the UK after Letchworth, being founded in 1920 by one Sir Ebenezer Howard with the aim of combining the benefits of the city and countryside while avoiding the disadvantages of both. Laudable ideals and only those who live there can truly say if it works but it looked and felt a very pleasant place to be. However, no more were built in the UK but there are a few examples of garden cities worldwide, quite a few of which are in Canada.


The afternoon saw us heading a little south to Hatfield - not the town but for a mooch around the Galleria shopping centre. How exciting you might think. Well, yeah but it does have a bit of history worth noting - it was built over the A1(M) to save space - another seemingly good idea that didn’t take off - and it was the first such  centre where rents were based on the turnover. This was in the early days of computerised tills so was quite revolutionary. Shops takings were fed back via the tills to the management company. Again, I don’t think it caught on.

The rain came during the night and washed most of the remaining snow away, providing quite a different outlook when we eventually opened the blinds Wednesday morning. It was a little milder too as we headed out for our first destination of the day - the Welwyn Roman Baths - located about a 10 minute drive from the site. We didn’t stay long - not because they weren’t of interest but because they were shut! I’d made that most elementary tourist mistake of not checking opening times which in the winter where - understandably - considerably curtailed.

We had more luck at our next port of call though - the Mill Green Museum - which is much closer to the campsite and easily walkable by the more energetic. It’s a water mill that is still used to mill flour supplied to local bakeries and we were lucky enough to see it in action, demonstrated by a great character that had us thinking of old Windy Miller from Camberwick Green. Enthusiastic, entertaining and clearly knowledgeable about his subject he was great to listen to and really made the visit.


We’d pondered heading on out to Hatfield House but the rain had returned so we decided to head back to the warmth of Patsy for a lazy afternoon, before a quick excursion for grog and grub to the Attimore Hall pub.

The news came early Thursday morning that Trev’s Mum, Hilda had passed away so we re-arranged our plans and headed straight up to Cambridge, and that’s where I’ll call a halt to this blog. Trev would like to say a big bag thank you to all the lovely messages of condolence and support received over the last few days. It’s at time like this that  social media is truly that and at it’s very best.

We’ve been trying something new to us on this trip - vlogging. For those that haven’t yet seen our videos why not head over to our YouTube channel and have a look. We’ve been delighted at the positive responses we’ve been getting, but do please let us know what you think.

Ok, until next time, thanks as always for reading.


Rich & Trev


Hilda May Webdale (‘HRH’). 14th October 1925 to 14th December 2017