Monday 1st February 2016
Happy Birthday Viv S. (James' childminder when James was little and Dorothy needed to carry on working)
We woke up in the lay-by on the A21 at Robertsbridge, East Sussex. The snack-bar was doing breakfast for the lorry drivers but of course we have our own kitchen so didn't need anything.
Early in the morning just before we were leaving to go to Bodiam Castle, Allan tried to glue the broken toilet cassette with Sikaflex, a motorhome glue that will stick anything to anything.
Bodiam Castle is a National Trust property and is one of our favourite days out, even in the wintertime. The lack of crowds and the quietness of the location seems to enhance its charm. Unfortunately the weather is so blooming lousy and cold today that we didn't venture past the gift shop or the toilets. Bought some ginger preserve for Mum though. At dusk we left the castle to return to Robertsbridge. When we got back there and set up for the night, Allan checked the glue on the toilet cassette to see if it was holding but just our luck, it just fell off straight away and was of no use whatsoever!
Deciding that Araldite, a two part epoxy resin glue, would probably be the only hope for repairing the toilet cassette but that we should not waste our money on repairs that may or may not work, we looked on Ebay and found a new cassette, seat and chemicals can be purchased for £82 delivered. Before ordering we decided to check the local Camping stores to see if they have one at a good price. CaravanTec £99, Johns Cross £130 so EBay it was then. The best deal and will be delivered free of charge to Mum's house in Seaford tomorrow.
Just as a trial, to see if it works, without any hope of success, Allan got out some old Superglue that was purchased about 4 years ago to try a temporary fix on the cassette, that is just until the new one arrives. This stuff, although sets quickly, is not very strong especially on plastics. Well let's give it a try anyway. After half an hour, well, it has stuck but perhaps only in the short term.
Robertsbridge Lay-by and tonight we have the generator on. The toilet is still working but perhaps not for long.
This morning all is well and the toilet cassette is still in good order!!
Down to Johns Cross Motorcaravan services today. We are having the fridge burner cleaned and serviced and as there was a problem with the heating a few days ago, that is also being looked at. We were very impressed with all that they did for us. The fridge is serviced and the gas fire was found to have some dust inside.
Whilst there we received a message from the people delivering the new cassette, saying that they would be coming to Mum's house in Seaford at just the time when we knew that Mum would be out so we had to return straight to Seaford to take the delivery.
As soon as we arrived at Mum's, Dorothy got to work with Mum's new washing machine doing all of our laundry. As it happened we only got there half an hour before the toilet cassette! Less than 24 hours after buying it and at a saving of 48 pounds!
But what of the new toilet cassette? Should we keep the repaired one which seems to be working better than ever before!!! or put the new one in? Should we keep the old one in storage or the new one in storage, or try to sell the new one? Decisions, decisions.
Because of the poor weather not all the washing dried today so we left it at Mum's to dry and made our way to our resting place for the night.
During the evening Dorothy made one of her phone calls to Richard and Bridget saying "this will only be a short call" but Allan knows better and dinner will be delayed by an hour or so !!
We picked up the last few pieces of washing that had been left to dry at Mum's and made our way to Eastbourne in the afternoon.
After shopping in Sainsburys at Eastbourne, we had a quick dinner and then went to Eastbourne Family Roots. This is a family history group which is affiliated to the Sussex Family History Group of which we are members. The lecture tonight was about family history in Eastbourne 1927 - 1939. This is not a place or time that we are particularly interested in but it made for a nice evening out.
Afterwards we travelled up the A22 to pick up gas and then to spend the night in a lay-by as we are heading towards Ringmer for tomorrow evening.
We spent a lazy day here after all the travelling around this week.
We were going to "The Green Man" in Ringmer this evening to have dinner with Yvonne and Kevin, people that we met in France last year. Unfortunately during the afternoon Yvonne phoned to say that they couldn't make it tonight and plans were made to meet on another evening.
Now that changes everything, so we had a quick look at the phone and found that we can get a 20% off voucher and a further 15% Halifax Bank cashback at a Harvester restaurant. This seemed too good a deal to pass up and as there is one just a few miles down the road in Polegate, this is where we are going. Many people that we know have said don't go there but how bad can it be?
At the "Horse and Groom" Harvester Restaurant, as we walked in the door we were quickly and quite abruptly addressed by the Head Waiter or Duty Manager "table for two, this way". He waved us to a table, said "there" and without even looking at us, he was off.
A server then asked what we wanted to drink and Allan said "please come back in a moment, I haven't even got my coat off yet".
The table was very small, situated in a gangway against a wall so the servers would be passing by and brushing past all the time and the only way to be able to sit at the small table was to move it slightly away from the wall. Allan asked Dorothy if she was happy with this position and just then the server was back, not asking this time but demanding what we wanted to drink and eat. Allan said "give us a chance we haven't even looked at the menu yet". And she was away again, saying that we should call her over when we were ready!
Noticing that the servers all had a dirty looking cloth hanging from the back of their apron strings hanging next to their bottoms, Allan beckoned over our server and asked her what she intended to do with it. It's for carrying plates and wiping tables she said. But it is hanging against your bottom, said Allan. We all do it she said and after a little more conversation regarding the hygiene problem she shrugged and asked if I wanted to speak to the Restaurant Manager. When he came to our table he seemed to think that the cloth hanging against their bottoms was quite acceptable and is even done in the kitchen. Allan said that a long time ago he was a Silver Service waiter and this most certainly was NOT acceptable. The cloth should only be neatly folded and draped over the left arm. The Manager then left for another table of customers.
We were thoroughly disillusioned with the bad attitude so got up and told the Restaurant Manager that there is a spare table over there. Why he said. We told him, because we are leaving and would never return to such a dreadful and unhygienic place.
And we walked out!! (This is the short polite version!)
As we still had the special offers and thought that it would be silly to waste them, we made our way to the Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne, where there is another restaurant in the same Harvester chain. Well, they can't all be like the Horse & Groom, surely???
The reception here was slightly better but we we were asked to wait in the bar for a table to become available which we were told would be about 25 minutes. We were rather surprised because the place did not look over busy. When we were called to our table, about 20 minutes later, we found that there were plenty of free tables so either the waiting in the bar is because they have insufficient staff or it is just a ploy to increase the spending on drinks. I am pleased to say that our server didn't have a serving cloth against her bottom but some of the other servers did and in fact one even draped it around his neck like a scarf. When Allan told him that he made the place look like a transport cafe he apologised and held on to his cloth properly. But later he was back to wearing it around his neck!
The service was so slow that our meals arrived quite cold and the waitress had forgotten the extra bowl of chips. When we queried this she went off and returned (without said chips) saying that they were still in the fryer!!! When they did eventually arrive they were the best part of the meal - nice and hot! Allan then asked for a wine and a half pint. A wine and a pint appeared on the table. Allan does not like to complain, just wanting an easy life. Just put up and shut up, after all we don't have to come back. If others think that this is wonderful then that is up to them, but it is not for us.
After a considerable time and whilst we had been watching our waitress making obvious errors with tables around us, she starts laying up the free tables for breakfast, placing the cutlery held in her hand in a most unhygienic way. Allan does not like un-booked tables that have been laid with cutlery when previous occupants could have licked every knife, fork and spoon (or even worse). Noticing us looking at her she came over and asked if we had already ordered desserts!!!!! Well, had she taken our order???!!!! We looked at each other and asked, politely, for the bill. After a while she reappeared with the bill and left.
So, we made our way to the exit, looking for the till and were assisted by the young man who had been wearing his cloth around his neck. He asked after our meal and if everything was all right. Dorothy couldn't contain herself and said NO, the food was served warm and looked as if it had been waiting around for a while, the food did not come to the table all at the same time, the server was slow, we asked for half a pint she served a full pint. The young man taking our money apologised and tried to give us a discount but could not make the make the cash machine work!! and went to find the Manager who, surprise, surprise, could not be located! Just then our server came over and said that we hadn't complained during the meal. She just wanted a scene in the middle of the restaurant which is something that we certainly didn't want. We hurriedly paid the bill in full and left. And that is another place we don't want to return to.
Just to show how angry and upset Allan was, he joined Trip Advisor just to give both places NO STARS. A dreadful evening which was a total DIS-AAAAS-TER!!!
Today is Jon's birthday, 50 years old today. He is married to our niece Sharon and we have been invited to a party at their house tonight.
The birthday party is on the edge of Brighton at their house so that is where we are going. We met some of our family and their friends and we were so pleased that James, Frankie and Scarlett-Louise were able to get there too. We had a really lovely evening - just as we always do when we visit Sharon and Jon.
At the party we spent a long time chatting to Richard P who follows our Blog.
And then, to sleep in Saltdean.
We spent the day in Saltdean, walked along the prom and saw how they are getting on with the rebuilding of the Saltdean Lido.
The forecast is for strong winds tonight as Storm Imogen approaches and as Saltdean is on the coast beside the English Channel and completely unprotected from a storm, we decided that this is not the place to be. So for the evening we headed off to Seaford where we can try to seek a little shelter between the houses. Luckily we had a good night, free from harm. However, a house near to where we were in Saltdean lost it's roof so we definitely made the right decision to move. We hope the occupants of the house are OK.
An end to yet another hectic week. Time is beginning to pass very quickly now and we shall soon be saying our goodbyes.