Monday 27 June 2016

Brighton renovations

We have spent the last few days ripping everything out of the flat, and at one stage all that was left was the toilet. If we had left it like that we could have charged the tourists 20 pence a visit and made a fortune!
However, Darren quickly removed it, and then the wall behind it looked very wobbly so of course, we ripped that out as well. It was a bit of a surprise to find two huge wooden doors, but we didn't try to open them as they would have taken us straight into the bedroom of the flat behind us.
We have got an electrician in at the moment so we are taking a bit of a break, although it should only take him two days to get the first fix in.
Did I mention that we have a sea view? It's a bit distant but from our bay window we can definitely see a bit of blue. It looks even better since I took this photo as I have cleaned the windows and suddenly the whole room looks much brighter.
Ps, we forgot to bring a ladder so Daz did a bit of improvising and then built us a platform out of raw ingredients that he found in the flat.
Pps, I got a bit over confident climbing off it and took quite a spectacular tumble, so I am covered in bruises but am a lot more careful now.

Saturday 18 June 2016

Tiny flat in Brighton

We have decided to slow down a little and have just bought the smallest flat on sale in Brighton.
At the moment it is extremely tatty and unpleasant, but we have lots of plans for it. It is just one room and we have been having lively discussions for weeks about how best to cram in a bathroom, kitchen, living room, bed and a huge telly.
We think that we have solved it, although that is only on paper and not yet in real life. It is exciting, and we are planning to have a fold up bed, possibly a window seat and lots of cupboards that reach right up to the ceiling.
Whatever happens it is about three times the size of our campervan, so it looks like a mansion to us.
We are going to be spending a few weeks doing the renovations and it will keep us out of mischief.
Ps, we visited Margs, the winner of my handmade rope competition on the way south, and here she is accepting her prize. Unfortunately she then realised just how much it really did smell and threw it quickly outdoors on to her patio.

Sunday 12 June 2016

World Triathlon event in Leeds

Today we are supporting my sister at the World Triathlon Event in Leeds. I must say that although she is good, she isn't a professional athlete and is entered in the amateur races, along with 5,000 other competitors.
They set off in groups of about 40 to swim around the lake at Roundhay Park. Elaine was with a group of ladies and we watched from a distance as they all stood around chatting and making friends as they waited to be called to the lakeside.
They then seemed to be having quite a discussion as to which direction they were going to swim. Some of them also appeared to have second thoughts about getting into the cold water, but they all made it - and then they were off!
All went well and Elaine climbed out in the middle of the pack and cheerfully made her way to the transition area.
We waited at the start of the bike section and in less time than expected, she appeared and leapt onto her bike.
Unfortunately, she was in the wrong gear and had a difficult time getting up the steep hill, but she dug deep and was soon on her way.
This was our cue to get on our own bikes and try to get to Leeds city centre before she did. We had an advantage as we took the direct line, while Elaine was on the long route with the other competitors.
The city centre was very busy and lots of the roads were closed, so we completely lost track of her. Suddenly she appeared in the distance and was running straight towards us.
I had no time to take a photo so we charged along the pavement trying to guess her route and take short cuts to get ahead of her.
I got level with her right near to the finish line but she turned a corner into the finishing straight and I wasn't allowed any further.
Five minutes later she appeared with a big smile on her face, a blue medal around her neck and a pint of what she promised us was alcohol free lager.
All in all a very good result.
She was outdone though by the Brownlee brothers a couple of hours later in the professional event, as they dominated the race and won the gold and silver medals.

Friday 10 June 2016

Packhorse route

We set off on quite an expedition today, and I ended up walking 31,500 steps.
We started by heading over the hill from Castleton and down to Edale in the next valley.
From there we picked up the Pennine Way and followed it through beautiful countryside to the bottom of a huge hill. The only sounds along the way were birds tweeting, sheep baaing and then a stream splashing rapidly downhill in a rocky bed.
There was a tiny bridge over the stream and then a set of rock steps heading up the side of the mountain. They are known as Jacob's Ladder and was built by a local guy for the packhorses that used to carry goods across the Pennines from Manchester and Liverpool to Leeds, Sheffield and beyond.
Jacob also owned a rest stop at the bottom of the hill, so his ladder and bridge were probably very good at attracting business.
By the time we got to the top I was pretty tired and Daz found a nice flat route home along the top of the hills through the peat bogs. We were very lucky because everywhere was nice and dry so the peat was pleasant and springy.
Also, some kind people had just built a rocky path for parts of the way so we just followed it to our destination. I imagine on a foggy, dark, muddy day up there it would be very different, and horrible experience.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

The Devil's Bottom and other dark caves

I really don't want to lower the tone of this blog, so I have amended the name of a cave that we visited this afternoon.
It acquired it's name because water often floods into the cave through a small hole, and then gradually drains away through the same hole. As it drains it makes a loud, unsightly noise and hundreds of years ago people used to believe that the devil lived at the bottom of the cave, and the proof was that they could hear him going to the toilet!
It wasn't a very picturesque cave, but it was livened up a lot by our very sarcastic and entertaining guide.
He also showed us how the locals used to make ropes in the dry cave entrance, and as I volunteered to help him, he gave me the rope that we made together as a gift.
I was pleased with it, but Daz wasn't quite so much as it definitely had a 'farmyard' smell about it and I stored it in his backpack for the day. Don't know what I am going to do with it now though.
We then had a nice walk around Winnats Pass, and a visit to a second cave - it sounds rather keen but we got a discount for buying two together.
This one was the Speedwell Cavern and we had to walk down 106 steps to a hidden canal. It was built and used by lead miners about 200 years ago, although it was unsuccessful as very little lead was actually found.
We sat in the little boat and were carried to a large cave where we stepped out to look at the so called Bottomless Lake.
It was called bottomless because the miners believed that it was, and that the devil lived in it. Our guide said that two devils was probably at least one to many for a small Derbyshire village, but there you go.
Ps, I haven't had a competition for ages, so the first person to comment wins a handmade rope.

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Castleton loop

We are up in the Derbyshire Peak District at a campsite just next to Castleton. It is a beautiful little village that is filled with cute little cottages, roses round the doors and dozens of tourists.
It is surrounded by a high ring of hills and we set off today on a circular hike around the top of all of them.
It was quite a major expedition so we stocked up with an amazing malteser cake from the local store. 
The views were incredible and the weather was glorious - what a wonderful place.

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Animal magic and a sad goodbye

Wow, it's just non stop excitement at the Caravan Club National, and I haven't got room to include everything.
I will have a go though, starting with a few animal based acts in the Display Arena.
First up was a lively lady doing gymnastics on the backs of two almost galloping horses.
Another highlight was a very entertaining flock of racing sheep, complete with mini jockeys. They wouldn't have run if there wasn't a sheep dog chasing them round, but apparently they really enjoy it.
I am not so sure about the llama high jumpers, as they wouldn't always leap, but they are quite big and opinionated animals and it didn't really make much difference to the performance whether they jumped or not.
There was so many things that we didn't know about in advance so we hadn't made a cake for the Queen's birthday party, or a handmade greetings card, or a knitted scarf, or a carved walking stick handle, or a jar of jam - the list was endless.
We missed the sheepdog trials, the darts competition and the dog show, but we did try our hand at archery and Darren got a certificate for finishing in 7th place in the fun run.
We also had tickets for the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers tribute show on the last evening. It is fair to say that we are not big country music fans, but I do love 'Islands in the stream', and I had said to Darren that we couldn't leave until they had sung it.
Luck was on our side as it was the very first song that they sang, and it was excellent. From that great start it slid gracefully downhill, although Dolly did sing a spirited 'Jolene'.
Finally, the sun set on our eventful bank holiday weekend and we are going to spend a few days with friends and family before setting off again.