The Nostalgic Spring Sojourn | Part 9

Alison served up another lovely cooked breakfast Tuesday morning, satisfying my belly if not the nurse that keeps an eye on my cholesterol. We said our goodbyes to Adam & Jamie as they departed for what turned out to be a horrendously delayed journey back to Kent.

We’d a few things we wanted to do with our remaining time at Ashridge Farm but the forecast was depressingly accurate and the rain arrived mid-morning and hung around until late afternoon. We did manage an outing mind but to nowhere more exciting than the retail park outside Biggleswade a few minutes drive up the road. I’m a fairly recent convert to electric toothbrushes and having picked one up at Wilko’s when in South Wales last year, I needed some more replacement heads.

Now, I don’t know what it is about shops like Wilko but I either tend to come out with nothing or a basketful of stuff that a I didn’t realise I needed – and in truth probably didn’t. This was one of those occasions. Having located said replacement heads, more apparently essential bits and bobs made it’s way into the basket. By the looks of things, the same thing happened to Alison.

A lazy afternoon in Patsy followed and then later, as the rain cleared and the sun returned, I made the short drive cross country to finally catch up with Lyn & Richie at the English Caravan Company. We’d been friends on social media for ages and Trev and I had always wanted to come and say hello but for whatever reason it never happened. I was determined to put that right this time and it was fantastic to finally meet up in person. For those that don’t know Lyn & Richie design and build caravans, making them in their workshop from scratch. They also renovate and refurbish old caravans and there was an Alpine Sprite in the workshop with it’s innards removed as the slow process of restoring her began. Well, we had a really lovely chin-wag and they very kindly fed me too, with delicious jacket potatoes that had been cooking on the wood burner, with all the trimmings. Being a country boy myself I knew that it wasn’t always as tranquil as you might think in these parts but I enjoyed Lyn & Richie's tales of the carrying’s on they’ve seen and heard which, funnily enough, often coincided with the arrival of our travelling friends in the village and nearby. From hare coursing to vanishing lead from the church roof and more – as relative newcomers to life outside a city think it quite surprised them. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and I’m so glad we finally got to meet up. Again, the joy of social media is that we felt like we knew each other already.

Back at the site I had my second dinner of the day, Alison once again doing the honours. The cider, archers, beer and wine flowed and we probably overdid it a bit. Good fun though.

The forecast on Wednesday wasn’t too promising so we reckoned on a trip to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford would be ideal – mostly inside and we could dodge from hangar to hangar between showers. As it happened though the sun shone pretty much all day, but nevertheless we had a great time and the camera got plenty of use. I’d been a few times – particularly as a kid – but they’re constantly changing and expanding the collection and we didn’t get to see everything. You’ll need a day to do it all but it will be time well spent.

We had a rather odd encounter with a volunteer which had us giggling for a while after. He explained that the hanger behind us (there wasn’t one) was no longer there (ah!) because during the filming of The Battle of Britain they’d accidentally blown it up (got it). He laboured the point clearly thinking that we we having a bit of trouble grasping the fact, then went off on a tangent talking about my camera – and then his. You had to be there but it was amusing.

That night we tried one of the other pubs in the village – The Rose & Crown – and this was every bit as enjoyable as our meal at The Three Tuns two nights ago. There was even a black beer on offer – how very thoughtful of them!

On Thursday afternoon we headed into Cambridge, utilising the Park & Ride at Trumpington. This was a first me for me too and I nearly got us on the wrong bus – thankfully someone kindly put us right. We had a good wander around, through the Market Square and down Rose Crescent, stopping for coffee in Trinity Street, just along from the impressive Trinity Great Gate. I will never tire of visiting my home town and I’m still very proud of it though my tourist guide skills were no match for Trev’s – demonstrated so well when he took us around during a Twittercamp meet in 2016.

Suitably recharged we headed up Magdalene Street and across the River Cam, looking at the punts below and remembering our time in one back at the same meet. It looked as cold now as we found it then.

We crossed back over the Cam again at Jesus Green and made our way back into the City via Park Street before catching the bus back to the Park & Ride site.

We didn’t go back to the site but headed east to meet with a friend of mine for dinner at a pub on the other side of the city. The White Hart in Fulbourn is popular because of it’s food – Trev and I have been a few times in the past – and once again it didn’t disappoint.

Friday was my last full day on site – and the last of the trip – and I kept up with tradition of giving the old girl – Patsy that is – a bit of a clean up whilst packing stuff for the trip home. One of the less desirable features of blown air heating is the dust it circulates, though sadly, whichever way I look at it, I can’t blame it for the cobwebs. A certain someone would not have been amused!

That night I welcomed Alison to Patsy for dinner.. Fortunately she brought a slow cooker full of Chilli con Carne with her and all I had to do was the rice which I just managed not to bugger up. It all went down very well indeed – with a beer or two of course but with another tidy tow in the morning I wanted a reasonably clear head – as clear as mine ever gets anyway!

Saturday and time to go. I was ready in good time once again and well inside my admittedly generous target. Alison was up and about too and I stopped to say goodbye on the way out. It had been another great stay, made all the better with the company of friends. We parted in the knowledge that we would be meeting again at the end of May.

The 130 miles or so back to the south coast was trouble free and after a thirsty start Rosie had eventually managed 28 mpg by the time I’d pulled into the storage yard. The journey gave me time to reflect on the trip as a whole and without doubt it has been the best yet as a solo – and single – caravanner. I’ve revisited some great places. Stirred some happy memories and made a few new ones too. It wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable however had I not been able to meet up with so many friends whilst away – it made so much difference and kept the inevitable pangs of loneliness at bay. So, at the risk of this turning into some snivelling awards acceptance speech I want to say thanks to everyone that played a part in the Nostalgic Spring Sojourn and made it the success I had hoped for. In no particular order: Angela, Marc, Ken, Richard, Diane, Sandra, David, Gary, Mike, Jen, Peter, Pam, Alison, Adam, Jamie, Lyn, Richie and Pauline – Thank you – you’re awesome.

Right, until next time. Thanks as always for reading. I do appreciate it and your lovely comments too.

Cheers

Rich

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