Off to a shaky start

It was with some trepidation that we set off on our first proper caravan trip for two years.  Packing for the journey used to be easy when the caravan was parked on the drive – we simply transferred our clothes to the wardrobe and lockers, and filled the fridge and kitchen cupboards, and then off we’d go.  But when we put the caravan in storage we had to almost completely empty it,  and now had to fill the car with duvets, sheets, towels, clothes, food, etc, etc!  We could hardly see out of the windows to drive!  Then after arriving at Border Storage we had to transfer it all to the caravan before driving the short distance to our first camp site, Fields End Water in the Fens.

The idea was to get the beds made, lockers filled and everything sorted out, and have a couple of nights to reacquaint ourselves with the realities of life in a caravan.  While in storage we’d arranged for some work to be done on it – a service, a new battery and locker door fitted, and a small solar panel fitted to keep the battery charged, as our alarm system was a constant drain.  We arrived at the camp site in pouring rain, and found we couldn’t open the new battery locker door to switch the motor mover on, so John had to reverse in – luckily this was easy as there was plenty of room and our pitch was large, level and gravelled.


Fields End Water campsite

Fields End Water campsite

Fields End Water campsite


It was a cold night but we slept well, with the aid of hot water bottles.  Despite the rain next morning we decided to go and have a look at Ely.  Fortified by coffee and cake after finding a car park, we went into Cromwell’s House and then walked down the High Street to the market to buy some nice local cheese and bread.  We had a good pub lunch in the Prince Albert, then, as the rain had eased off, walked down towards the river (the Great Ouse) and back to the Cathedral.  It was magnificent, and there was the added bonus of an orchestra rehearsing for a concert featuring music by Tchaikovsky, Katchachurian and Stravinsky – fantastic acoustics and suitably stirring.

Cathedral Precincts


Porta outside

River Great Ouse

Bishop's palace

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral north front

On to Leeds

Next day was cold and cloudy but at least dry as we packed up.  In good weather the site would have been lovely, as the facilities were excellent and the surroundings pretty, with a large fishing lake.  John managed to get the battery locker open this time (the door had just been stiff) but the mover refused to work.  So we hitched up and set off up the A1. Not the best of journeys.  I won’t go into details, but the place we stopped at for coffee was ghastly, and as we were driving away I realised I’d left my handbag behind.  Luckily it was still there when I went back for it!  When we arrived at Moor Lodge near Leeds  I discovered I’d forgotten to secure the two lockers over the sink, so everything had fallen out when we’d gone over some bumps in the road, including a jar of ground cumin whose contents were fragrantly strewn all over the caravan floor!  Next disaster – John got the inflatable awning out then realised he’d left the pump at home.  We called our big 2012 trip “Adventure before dementia” – obviously this is “Adventure after dementia has set in”!

We had an enjoyable time with the family, celebrating Lottie’s third birthday with a “Boom Chikka Boom” party which was great fun but very noisy!  Helen joined us for the weekend, which was lovely.  Meanwhile John had bought a new pump, put the awning up, tried in vain to fix the mover, got someone to come and look at it, declare it kaput, and fit another.  It had served us well for ten years during which time we’d spent two full years touring, with lots of shorter trips in between, so it didn’t owe us anything.

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