Monday 11th January 2016
Thankfully there was no snow when
we woke this morning and before we left we actually found a geocache here.
We stopped off at Ashford to visit the Sainsburys Superstore as we have some tokens to use. The deal is you get £8 off if you spend over £40 and these days it is quite easy to spend £40. Just to make sure, Dorothy piled stuff into the shopping trolley and the bill came to well over the amount required!
Afterwards we continued on to Canterbury but along the way we did a little stop at a motorhome sales forecourt. "Choose Leisure Canterbury" is a small place but well worth a visit if or when in the area. There we saw many motorhomes but nothing that would suit us better than the Autotrail Mohawk that we currently have. That is until Allan saw a Rapido. The Rapido did seem to have a lot of good features. The build quality is much better, the styling is much better and the durability seemed better. Unfortunately the layout would not be suitable for us and as this motorhome was 10 years old and showing its age and there is no way we would swap for an older motorhome, with an older engine. This was not the vehicle for us, however, Allan will be keeping this brand in mind for the future.
We then made our way to the Canterbury "Park and Ride". This is an excellent facility giving you a secure area to park in and you can use the bus, which comes every 8 minutes, to ride into the city centre and then, if you wish, change to another bus for the other parts of the city. You can stay all night, use the water and other services and use the buses, all for £3.00 a day. We wish other English cities would consider a similar facility as this would definitely bring motorhoming visitors to their towns and cities.
Today was a lovely sunny day and after breakfast we took the bus into the city. We took a shortcut through Fenwicks Department Store but somehow ended up in the Toy Department??
We finally found the exit and had a good walk around the city and then found ourselves outside "The Thomas Ingoldsby" a Wetherspoons Pub. It would have been rude not to go in (!) and so we decided to stay for a late lunch.
Whilst there we met a couple called Ann and Ray who come from Whitstable. They come into the City quite regularly by bus and meet up with friends. When we struck up a conversation and asked them where they would recommend us to go to next in France, Ann said that when she was younger she was a childrens' Nanny and that she worked in La Baule. Allan got the mobile phone out and showed her modern photos of La Baule and she seemed most impressed. Ray was more impressed with the bikini clad girls on the beautiful sandy beach and Ann declared that one of them could have been her (many years ago!!) Later in the year they will be jetting off to their son's wedding and they were having a great life in their retirement. It was great to chat with these interesting people and we hope that they realise their dreams. We are also having a great time in retirement and are certainly making our dreams come true.
Back into Canterbury on the bus this morning as It is market day today. Amongst other things we were looking at a new piece of carpet and we found out that Market day is also Friday but as our life is so busy, will we still be here on Friday?
After a little shopping we took a stroll down one of the side streets and came across this view of the Cathedral, We walked on, so far that we ended up at the edge of the City. Not knowing what to do next we turned left and found a Sainsburys car-park. Nothing else for it but as there is a well known series of Geocaches called "Off Your Trolley" that are located in most supermarket car-parks, we thought there must be one around here. Looking at the Geocache app on the phone we were dismayed to find NOTHING. Fortunately we found that just across the roundabout on the road outside the car-park, there was a Geocache. So, what did we do next???!
This Geocache was part of a little series called "Riverside Walk" so we decided to do these as you never know where they will lead you. The first was easy and then the second was OK. After that, the series took on a theme of very well constructed puzzles and fun geocaches. This was truly one of the best little series that we have done for a long time. Only 6 different geocaches but each one was a delight and a pleasure to find. We took a couple of photos on this walk.
The day was rounded off with a return visit to Wetherspoons and then the bus home to the Canterbury Park and Ride.
Unfortunately during the evening the gas ran out. At this time of the year it should last for about two weeks without any problems and we filled up (oh dear about 3 weeks ago!). The reserve tank must have been left on and so that is what has kept us in gas for so long and now that is also empty. The Honda generator is our only standby but as that can only heat the fire by half a Kw it is going to be a cold night tonight. Brrrrrr.
Gas is most definitely required today! We found that there is a gas station just a few miles north of Canterbury but as it is on a main road the price is much too expensive at 72p per litre so we only take enough as an emergency and look on the phone for a better price somewhere else.
A quick look at the internet shows that there is gas to be had just outside Ashford at only 41p from a taxi firm, so a quick phone call to ensure that they sell to the public and we are on our way again. The Taxi firm was down what seemed an endless series of country lanes but eventually we found it and filled the tanks. Apparently they sell to the public as the increased sales help to keep their own price low. It is a case of everyone doing each other a good turn. If we are in the area again then it will be a good place to stop.
We decide not to go back into Canterbury and so head back to East Sussex, stopping for the night at Robertsbridge lay-by. We have been here many times before and it is always good to come to somewhere that we feel welcome.
Robertsbridge is a place that we have visited many times, in fact it is here where Allan "drove" our last motorhome over his foot. Quite a feat since he was not in the vehicle at the time???!!! No room here to explain that one!
During the morning we had a look at some motorhomes at Caravan Tec, just up the road at Hurst Green and bought some elastic for our Silverscreens and a new door catch. Then we went back down the road to Johns Cross Motorcaravan and Camping Centre at Johns Cross just north of Battle. Allan spotted his second Rapido Motorhome!!. These things are beginning to interest him. This one was as old as the Canterbury one and so would not be our next motorhome but the quality was exceptional. The materials used are quality and the fittings are good. The problem is just simply that it is old and the styling is old fashioned. The salesman said that although this one looks good, just as with many motorhome manufacturers, the quality and the robustness of the materials have suffered during recent years to reduce weight and price.
We then returned to Robertsbridge for another night before completing our return journey.
Finding that the Pentacle Drummers
with guest Morris Dancers, Hunters Moon, are to perform a Wassail at the Royal
Oak and Castle Inn in Pevensey, that is where we need to be. Ray and Linda,
whom Dorothy used to work with, will also be there and so arrangements are made
to meet up with them in the Pub.
Allan, Dorothy, Linda and Ray
It can only be in England where a
ceremony takes place to drink the health of and to sing and dance to, an Apple
tree. (Although the French do it for shallots and washhouses but that's another
The following photos give just a flavour of this very enjoyable evening.
During a rest in the proceedings, we looked up and saw the most amazing halo effect around the moon. This is the best we could capture on our phone.
After some drinks and a hog roast the celebrations continued..................
Another very good evening and it was great to spend it with Linda and Ray but all too soon we must depart for the warmth of the motorhome, a bowl of steaming hot soup and an overnight in North Hailsham.
We woke in the early morning to heavy snow showers but by the time we got up, thankfully the thaw had set in and there was just a slight covering of snow at North Hailsham. Later in the morning after most of the snow had cleared we visited James and Frankie in Hailsham, went for a walk to the town and had lunch at The George. Wetherspoons pubs seem to a great part of our life, especially when visiting James but for value and quality they are extremely good. Today was one of the perfect days. One that can be cherished for a long time. Grandparents, parents, a beautiful baby girl, a good roast dinner and a pint of best bitter. Sadly James had to go to work this evening and so after saying our goodbyes we made our way back to Seaford to Mum's where she had cooked us a Sunday dinner for about 6pm.
Two big dinners in one day!! The diet MUST start as soon as we return to France.