Wednesday 31 July 2013

Cute little animals

Longleat has lots of little animals that are close by the stately home.
The enclosures are fantastic and for the meerkats, penguins, lemurs and parakeets their cages were open plan and we went in with them.
The penguins were funny as they were very young and refused to go in the water.
We did all the touristy things -rode the mini train, sailed on the lake, sat in both of the ride simulators even though they made us feel sick, went to the bird of prey show and had an ice cream.
Great day out.

On safari

Staying at Longleat campsite at the moment which is attached to the famous safari park.
I am not usually known for my animal appreciation blogs, but today is an exception.
We spent the whole day at the Park and took the campervan on safari.  It was a real eye opener and very exciting. A lion, tiger, camel and many different types of deer and large creatures walked right across in front of us.  The rhinoceros were thinking about it but they were enormous with worrying tusks, so I  chickened out and made Darren drive away quickly. It didn't help that a staff member in a tractor stays close to them at all times, but I am not really sure why. Best not to find out, I thought.

Monday 29 July 2013

Stormy weather

We stayed at the Cycling Festival campsite last night. It was an enormous field with top of the range toilets and showers
There were only about ten tents or campervans spread out around the whole area, so I calculate we had about five toilets each. This was quite a relief as I had been worried about queues.
We moved today and the weather is very dramatic.  As a result, we have found that we have a little leak in our roof, but we do have a saucepan to collect the drips.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Brompton World Championships

Went to the Brompton World Championships this morning at Goodwood. There were over 750 competitors and the main rule is that a collar and tie must be worn, although it was a great excuse for most people to dress up.
There is a running start to the bikes which need to be unfolded, then pushed to the tarmac, before being mounted and cycled four times around the track.
There were four waves of cyclists with 90 seconds between them, so it ended up with people all over the race track.
It was a fantastic atmosphere, and who knows, maybe Darren will enter next year.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Getting the hang of it

Is it me on the top of that tower? Or maybe I am upside down and almost off the top of the photo?
Actually not, it's the Animal display team at Goodwood.
Finally, Darren is on the start line of the famous track. We didn't enter any of the races but we did have our own informal one lap competition. Daz won by about five metres, but he did draft behind me towards the final straight and then whizzed past me, a la Mark Cavendish.

Friday 26 July 2013

Trick cyclist

Drove 13 miles down the road today and arrived at Goodwood for the Orbital Festival of Cycling weekend.It opened this afternoon and was very quiet,  so one of the professional trick cyclists gave me a quick lesson.
It looked difficult when he did it, and it seemed even more so when I gave it a try.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Jousting at Arundel Castle

We walked to Arundel from our campsite, making use of a footpath across open countryside.
The first section was pleasant, but then we had to walk through a field of enormous cows, who all stared at us the whole time and would not move out of the way. I decided upon an action plan, which was to walk around the perimeter of the field, and if anything charged, then I would somehow leap the electric fence. Fortunately, nothing did so I did not have to test my plan. Darren does not trouble himself with such details, but then he always has the default option as he can sprint faster than me.
We had to navigate three cow and bull fields, and then one horse field before safely arriving at the Castle.
The Castle was in the middle of its annual jousting week, and we had a lovely time eating our picnic while watching the proceedings.
We then walked around the rooms of the castle, as recommended by Dave, and they were spectacular, as were the gardens.
After a lovely afternoon we were ready to walk back along the road. However, it was really busy and had no pavement, so we had no choice but to brave the farm animals again. The horses field was easy and I strode confidently ahead into a farmyard. As soon as I stepped off the stile, a mini herd of sheep came galloping towards me, all baaing at the top of their voices. They were very interested in the carrier bag with tonights dinner in it so I had to hold it above my head, shout 'go away' repeatedly, and hotfoot it to the next stile to escape them.
Sometimes it is hard work being me!

Wednesday 24 July 2013

The Witterings

Thank you to Margs for suggesting the Witterings - West and East, as a destination for a day trip.
We went on a humdinger of a journey today, 91 kilometres, which is my personal furthest on this bike.
We set off from the campsite at Littlehampton, stopped for a quick pitstop and photo opportunity at Bognor, then on to Chichester Cathedral, which we sat outside to eat our picnic.
Chichester Marina and the estuary down to the sea was beautiful, and then we got to West Wittering beach. It was very popular and had powder soft sand, very different from Bognor.
We went off road for a while down some narrow bridle paths and a big bramble scratched my toe, but I tried not to make a fuss.
Retracing our path home I had a 99 at Bognor, then back to the campsite.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Customising the campervan

We have spent a lot of time now in the camper, so have started to individualise it.
Darren has put up dozens of hooks of differing sizes, all with their own function. He has also put plate and cup hooks on the inside of doors, and my personal favourite, he made a wine glass storer out of a kitchen roll holder.
The telly is now on the wall, the washing is in its own basket hanging from the ceiling of the cab and almost every square inch is utilised.
We have a daytime mode, where all of the bedding is on the front seat, the bikes are in the footwell, the passenger chair is swivelled and the silver screens are in the windows.
The night time mode involves swapping loads of things about, and driving mode incorporates a bike in the bathroom.
When we leave we have to run through a checklist to make sure nothing is left behind or suddenly springs out of a cupboard as we drive along, although we are starting to get the hang of it now.
It's good to get organised.

Monday 22 July 2013

Long hot walk in Littlehampton

Changed campsites today, but have only gone about seven miles further along the coast. 
We are now about a mile or two from the sea at a very clean, efficient and busy Caravan Club site.
We set off early afternoon to walk to town and to see the sea, but we had to cross a railway line just near the campsite.
Unfortunately, in the half hour since we had arrived, a lorry driver had tried to jump through the crossing when a train was coming and had hit and knocked off one of the gates. The police had arrived and taped the whole area off so we could not pass through. Instead they told us to follow the cars on a diversion which took us on a very long way around, on an extremely busy and narrow pavementless road.
When we eventually got to town I then got the map upside down and took us away from the sea completely. I then tried to compensate by crossing a big river and heading to the beach on the opposite side of the water.
We did find the beach, as you can see, but all of the action was across the river and there was no way to get there.
I walked us back to the camper along a hot and dusty main road, but luckily the railway crossing had been repaired and we trudged back to the van without the detour.
I think next time we will take the bikes.

Sunday 21 July 2013

Paddling at Shoreham

Interesting ride today from the campsite. We set off cross country to find the South Downs Way. This was harder than expected and involved cycling along rolling bridle paths that were made of rutted chalk soil with stones and boulders included.
We eventually got to a wheat field where the path was less than a foot wide, but we persevered and fortunately, at the top of the hill was the South Downs Way.
This was even more chalky, bouldery and hilly than the route up to it, but the views were excellent.
We decided to leave it after a few k and head on down to the coast, along with most of the population of the south east.
Once there I had to have a paddle, while Margs and Dave looked on in bemusement from the top of the stoney dune.
Finished off at a pub with a folk music duo playing in the beer garden, accompanied by a tap dancer.
45 kilometres today.


Braved the M25 today to get down near the south coast at Worthing. Dave and Margs are staying next door in a little tent for the night.
This evening we cycled cross country along a bridle path and enjoyed lovely views and had a nice meal at the local pub. Going for a paddle in the sea in the morning. Hopefully.

Friday 19 July 2013

Clowning in Cuddington

Had a lazy day yesterday. We drove the van to Susan and Paul's in Aylesbury, then spent the afternoon gardening and watching the cricket and Tour de France on their big tv.
Today Susan had planned a cycle route for us and an early highlight was Darvill Road. We then stopped at Cuddington - billed as best kept village winner 2010, 2011 and 2012. It is also home to many beautiful to thatched cottages and some interesting seaside paraphernalia.
Apparently Brendan Cole of Strictly Come Dancing fame lives there too, but he was laying low today.
Finally, a lovely lunch and pint of cider at Bledlow.
A fairly leisurely 51 kilometres in the sunshine.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Compton Verney

We had a bit of a cultural day today as we cycled to Compton Verney. It is an independent art gallery in a grade one listed mansion, with the gardens remodelled by Capability Brown.
He designed it so that there would be beautiful views of the house from the lake, so we sat and had our picnic while we enjoyed the view from the designated position.
We sat near to a piece of art in the grounds which was called 'Empty Nest'. The idea is that visitors climb up into a human sized nest in a tree to get a birds eye view of the ground. I am pretending to flap my wings to help get into the spirit of the piece.
We also went to Chesterton Windmill which is located in the middle of a cornfield at the top of a hill with fantastic views all around.
Only cycled 42 kilometres today so didn't need an afternoon nap.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Worn out in Warwick, shattered at Stratford

Went on a massive cycle ride today and cycled 86 kilometres, which is more than 50 miles.
We cycled through Leamington Spa, Warwick, Stratford upon Avon, (see photos) and back along the Fosse Way to the campsite.
We then devoured the left over party food from the Diamond wedding do and fell asleep!
Feeling a lot better now and enjoying a gin and tonic. Probably won't go as far tomorrow.