The Triple Eight Tour | Part 3 - Carmarthenshire

You’re not going to believe this - but since the last blog, we’ve not been to the pub. Yes, you did read it right. Don’t worry though, we haven’t gone without thanks not least to fellow caravanner Paul who made sure the beer flowed - sorry, research continued - whilst Patsy’s legs were down in South Wales.

The trundle from Moreton-in-Marsh to the lovely Llwynifan Farm site near Llanelli was trouble free - though slightly longer than planned. Google suggested heading cross country and joining the M5 but we thought heading south and around Cirencester would be better with Patsy bouncing around on the back. Signs directed us to the M4 well away from Cirencester which at least meant avoiding about three hundred roundabouts but adding  eventually adding twenty or so miles to the journey. Rosie once again performed well and belied her years - and mileage.

The site was dead easy to find - helped by the fact that we’d stayed here before - stopping off on the way to Ireland back in 2014 - you can refresh your memory HERE. I’d left it rather late to book so we didn’t get a serviced pitch this time - which also meant not having quite as good a view - but it was still nice to back. Check out our site tour HERE.

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Paul had popped in to say hello and given us some suggestions for things to do and we set about ticking them off Wednesday morning calling in first at Llandeilo - which offered some great views across the valley - and a barbers for haircuts. Inevitably there was some light-hearted banter about  the upcoming England game….

With just cereals for breakfast, the job of refuelling was rapidly making it’s way to the top of the agenda. We eschewed the awesome array of chocolate shaped offerings at Heavenly opting instead for some delicious Barn Brack - toasted fruit bread - to wash down tea, from proper china cups no less. Get us!

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Pretty though Llandeilo was, the main reason for this outing was a bit further north. The Top Gear team in the Clarkson, May & Hammond days were regular visitors to Wales for filming and one of the roads they used was the A4069 from Llangadog down through the Black Mountains. Now tight hairpins and sweeping curves aren’t Rosie’s sort of thing - caravan attached or not - but the scenery was spectacular and there were plenty of places to stop and admire the view. Had I been behind the wheel I may have been tempted to up the pace so it’s probably just as well that Trev was driving.

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Of course I have to mention the footy - and of course we’re disappointed. We elected to watch it in the ‘van rather than at the pub. Whilst the experience in the pub in Moreton was great it was one that was unlikely to be repeated here win or lose - as we'd have been the only two cheering on England. We’re in Wales remember!

Thursday was Patsy’s day to receive visitors and first up were Helen & Rob who came around for lunch. They’d had to cancel Twittercamp at the last minute so it was great to get to catch up over a cold meat salad prepared by Trev.

In the evening we welcomed site co-owner Hywel and his Mum for some burnt offerings from the Cadac. We also recorded a Sunday Night Natters with Hywell about the site and how it developed which you can see HERE. Then later fellow caravanner and local Paul arrived with an esky full of local ale, none of which had passed my lips before. We had a great evening thoroughly researching said beers and was pleased to have finally got to meet Paul after just missing him four years ago.

We’d got a days outing - suggested by Paul - but given the extensive research undertaken the night before we decided to pass for the day and instead head into Swansea for another Treasure Trail along the lines of the one we did in Moreton-in-Marsh with the TwitterCamp gang. Again, good fun and we learnt a little about Swansea’s redeveloped waterfront too.

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With clearer heads and considerably more energy Saturday morning we stoked up Rosie and headed first for the Millennium Coastal Path Visitor Centre about fifteen minutes drive from the site. Spectacular views were promised - and delivered - of Carmarthen Bay.

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Clearly a lot of thought has gone in to the coastal path. Open to pedestrians and cyclists there are wheelchair accessible raised areas and partially enclosed seating areas so you can still enjoy the view when the wind gets up.

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Next up was Burry Port and it’s harbour. Now given over to leisurecraft, coal used to be shipped from here whilst in came things like copper and products essential for the operation of the mines in the area.

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It seem as if they’d put out the flags and bunting for us as we arrived in Kidwelly, the next stop on Pauls suggested itinerary but it was in fact carnival day. Our focus though was the castle and it’s worth the very reasonable admission fee - just four quid for me - for the views along. We even got to see a bit of the parade. Well worth a look in if you’re in the area but it’s uneven in places and decent soled shoes are a must. Fortunately it wasn’t winklepicker season for me.

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The last stop of the day was at Laugharne. Famous for it’s Dylan Thomas connections - his Boathouse and Writing Shed are here - it’s worth a visit even if you have no interest in Mr T. It’s setting on the estuary of the River Taf with the castle right by is just so picturesque. We wished we’d put the chairs in the car and brought a picnic but settled instead for a baguette and cuppa at the Owl & Pussycat.

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And that was our time in South Wales about over. I’m so glad we decided to come back and explore bit more of this lovely area. There’s still much much more to do of course, so we will be back.

I must again thank Paul for his sightseeing suggestions as well all the beer. Whilst I could have got my nose in a guide book you can’t beat local knowledge and his has certainly served us well.

Right, time to get this sent out then shower, shave and pub!

Cheers

Rich & Trev.

888



The Triple Eight Tour | Part 2 - Gloucestershire

Sorry, no references to songs this week, probably because I’m typing this completely sober. Well it is around 9am and that’s too early - even for me. Usually. Hopefully caffeine will do the trick this time.11022013

So, in what is undoubtedly our shortest tow ever our next stop was just 15 miles away at the Caravan & Motorhome Club site at Moreton-in-Marsh. You may recall we’ve been here a couple of times before. The first was back in February 2013 still very much as caravanning novices. The journey across Oxfordshire brought with it rain and later sleet. Overnight the forecasters got it right and we woke up to nearly six inches. A beautiful sight….

More recently, in 2015 we gathered with fellow caravanning pals for one of our Twittercamp meets - and that was the reason for our stay this time. Original plans were to meet at Tewkesbury but redevelopment work there, delayed due to the weather in the winter and spring - meant a change of venue. Of course, a week or so after we switched they announced that it would be opening on time. Oh well.

With a few regulars unable to come this time we were delighted to welcome some newbies - one of the benefits of social media is that we felt like we knew them already and met for the first time as friends rather than strangers.

20180706_091326First up and already on site when we arrived were Alan & Jackie, making the most of a shaded pitch - a luxury that we could well have done with. Alan had messaged me with what was available around and with this being one of the busiest sites on the network - and the weather being so good - there wasn’t much to choose from.

Later we were to be joined by regulars David, then Alison and more newbies in the shape of Peter then Ann & Gary. Ann has been a regular contributor of dashcam footage for my Site Arrival videos so it was nice to meet and say thank you in person.

Our meet was again sponsored by insurers Cover4Caravans and thanks to their generosity we were able to feed everyone several times during the meet, the first of which was for pizzas on the first night. My speciality in burnt offerings continued as we rather naively tried to cook one on our little Cadac without the proper kit. The topping was nice but the base was beyond redemption. The rest, cooked more conventionally in Patsy’s oven came out fine and seemed very well received.20180706_194600

Friday brought with it first a gathering for the usual bacon baps and then later on more arrivals with regulars Neil & Dave and newbie Martin appearing around lunchtime. It was bbq time in the evening - the first time we were all together - and it gave everyone a chance to meet properly. With regulars and meet quizmasters Sam & Andy sadly unable to make it this time there was no quiz but a large Jenga game - extracted from Alison’s Tardis like front locker - provided regular entertainment. Gifts from parents during Trev’s time as Caretaker at the school meant we’d acquired quite a lot of Prosecco and was happy to give it away. Well done to Jackie for winning the majority of it over the course of the weekend - almost enough to bathe in by my reckoning!

20180707_141747The meet was fairly evenly divided over who wanted to watch the footy on Saturday afternoon but some of us went into to Moreton to do just that. The Black Bear was the venue of choice not least because their real ale - a decent drop mind - was considerably cheaper than anywhere else. The benefit of ‘research’ on previous visits you see!

Well, we had a great time. A bus load of fans, turned away from other pubs were made welcome and really added to the atmosphere. I’d forgotten how much fun it was watching football in a pub. England won of course, a result that now seems a little hollow but it was good at the time.

That night we were reunited with our fellow campers for more pizza, none of which had to go in the bin, somewhat of an achievement given the amount of alcohol that had been imbibed.

After breakfast as usual on Sunday, everyone did their own thing whilst we went to the supermarket to procure the evenings nosh - a cold meat salad  which again seemed to go down well and provided a welcome change from burgers and bangers, particularly given the heat - although we certainly benefited from the warm nights, being able to sit out longer after the sun went down.

Monday morning saw the first of the departures, Martin who would be headed back to North Wales, then Alan & Jackie who had a much longer run back to Edinburgh. It was great to meet them all and they certainly seemed to enjoy their first Twittercamp. Hopefully it wont be the last and well see them again soon.20180709_163404

As is usual at Twittercamp, as hosts myself & Trev don’t get out and about much, other than to the nearest supermarket or to a pub. Or two. Pubs did feature on our outing into Moreton in the afternoon but only as part of a Spy Themed Treasure Trail procured by Neil. It took us around Moreton and away from the main drag and into the side streets - with a couple of refreshment stops too of course. Really good fun and thoroughly enjoyed by all. It’s something we intend to do more of, both at meets and when we on our own - you get to see and learn more about a place in a fun way.

20180710_100201No sooner had it started then it was all over. We were the first to leave on Tuesday morning, heading west into South Wales. Goodbyes are always sad but once again we - and I hope everyone else too - had a great time.

So, in no particular order thanks to: David, Alison, Alan, Jackie, Peter, Martin, Neil, Dave, Ann & Gary for being part of it and making Twittercamp what it is.

Thank you too to our sponsor - Richard from Cover4Caravans - whose continued support is very much appreciated by all.

Right, until next time, thanks for reading.

Cheers & Beers

Rich & Trev.

888

P.S. Big thanks to Dan for creating this great symbol for our trip.




The Triple Eight Tour | Part 1 - Oxfordshire

“ I won’t quit ‘till I’m a star” is a statement that most  certainly doesn't apply to yours truly as my ambitions to be rich, famous or successful are non-existent. Just as well. It is however a line from ‘On Broadway’ by George Benson - an awesome tune - or choon as Craig Charles would say - that has undoubtedly been my song of the month having heard a remix on a podcast of the aforementioned DJ’s funk & soul show on Six Music. Various live versions of this fantastic hunk of funky jazz have tested the speakers of college minibus number 2 to the limits on the way back from Eastbourne many times over the last few weeks.

Talking of the college, I now have the dubious distinction of being the longest serving driver - five years and one term to be precise - following the departure of another colleague (and friend) at the end of term in circumstances the stench of which would make any fair minded person wrinkle their nose. Risk of reprisals forbid me from elaborating but it has all left a very nasty taste and it’s probably just as well the holidays have started.

If you’re wondering when (or if) I’ll get to the point, here it is. Sort of. We are away - in the caravan - and having had a busy lunchtime ‘researching’ in Burford I decided to forgo the opportunity to listen to Trev snoring preferring  instead the aforementioned Mr Benson before bashing one out. A blog that is. Yes I know I’ve used that one before but I’m keen on recycling. Anyway, lets get cracking:

College duties finished Friday night after depositing a couple of bus loads of kids at Gatwick North Terminal for their trip to Sri Lanka. Our destination was nowhere more exotic than the local carvery which was short lived because they had ran out of er, meat. Another chain pub a few minutes along the coast came to the rescue although even there I felt as If I was a nuisance for having the temerity to order food AND drink. How inconvenient for them.

Saturday was free to get everything ready and departure came Sunday morning. With check-in at the site from 1pm there was none of the usual rush and it was gone 10am by the time we pulled out of the storage yard. Things went well until we joined the M25 - and things got better once we left it. The rest I won’t bore you with but our ageing Honda CRV Rosie performed admirably returning nearly 29mpg despite the stops and starts and liberal use of aircon. I will never love driving this car - it’s just too dull - but dull is good when your towing and she does that very very well, doesn't go wrong (touch wood) and passed a recent MOT with no drama. Her clutch, which has given us cause for concern recently behaved itself.

I don’t know how Trev came across this site on the ‘net - but I’m mighty glad he did - it’s terrific. Easy to find, just 25 spacious pitches, adult only and all importantly (for us anyway) decent WiFi. Add to that it’s just a few minutes walk to the centre of Burford - and a few more back given the hill - and it’s only eighteen quid a night including electric. We even have our own fresh water tap. This wont be our last visit to Wysdom Touring Park.

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Attentive blog readers will know that we’ve stayed in the Cotswolds before - the first time back in 2013 in only a second year of caravanning and in 2015 for Twittercamp, both at the Moreton-in-Marsh Caravan & Motorhome Club site - our next destination. So whilst we can’t in anyway say we’ve ‘done’ the Cotswolds’, we have seen a fair bit of them and there was no urgency to get out and explore. Given the heatwave, just as well.

We’ve not been entirely idle though. First up was a run back along the A40 into Witney, to pick up a replacement charging lead for Trev’s Galaxy Tab - quite remarkably the only thing so far that’s made it on the ‘ things we forgot to pack’ list.

Burford has had the dubious pleasure of several incursions by the Blogger in Black and Portly Partner and I am delighted to report that the burgers from butchers W.J Castle in the main drag are every bit as good as they were five years ago. We have, during our time visited nine pubs here - all in the interests of research obviously - thanks to the sites' proximity -  and something we didn’t do last time. Look out for our next Sunday Night Natter on YouTube where we give the verdict on our favourite.

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Just a couple of miles from the site is Cotswold Wildlife Park and that was the focus of our attention on Tuesday. It’s years since I’ve been to a zoo, never mind a wildlife park but thoroughly enjoyed it. From the stunning walled garden with the Lemur walk to the White Rhinos basking in the fields it was fantastic. We spent far longer than we originally intended but could easily have made a day of it. Ironically, this won’t be the only such visit on this trip as our fourth stop is at Longleat but this has reawakened my enthusiasm considerably.

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Todays outing - before the aforementioned research - was to a (shudder) garden centre. Even approaching 47 I feel I’m not yet old enough to engage in such activities and looking around the the Burford Garden Centre today confirmed that. When Trev suggested lunch there I swiftly steered him to the exit. I jest of course (well a bit) but the mental scars of seemingly interminable visit’s to such establishments accompanying Trev’s Mum are still evident. I have to admit though, this was one was very impressive. They even had some plants and shrubs in amongst the jams, gin and handbags….

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So, that was part one. A predicted storm has not materialised but it is a little cloudy and certainly cooler. Not quite cool enough for a long leather coat though…

Right, until Part 2 - thanks as always for reading - if you’ve made it this far.

Cheers & (rather too many ) Beers

Rich & Trev.