Nearly Iona Collection Day

After waiting 4 months for the collection date for Iona we are now one day away from when the Imala 734 is delivered to the dealer in Cheshire. Then we have to wait for them to give it a Pre Delivery Inspection, register it and get all the paperwork signed.

Matilda has been cleaned. All the cupbords are empty and because we have an overnight stay, a list of basic kit has been made and we are about ready for the big day.

With Snow forecast this weekend I am in no real hurry to drive the two hours across the Pennines to collect a new van that I have never driven in the sunshine, let alone Snow.

I expect Spinney’s to phone me to confirm they have the van and give me a collection date. I don’t expect that date will be next week but who knows.

When we do finish the change over we will be staying at a camp site about a mile away from the dealer. This is so we can try everything out and see if we have any questions or issues. On the way home we have to drive past the dealer which will be handy if we need any help or clarification on how things work..

Matilda goes to Teversal

Teversal Camping and Caravan Club site – Trip 12
November 11th – 13th 2016


Here we are parked in front of our friend Peter waiting for Gary and Carol to arrive. It took just over an hour to get here from home. The sun is out and we were soon set up on a pitch infront of Peter.

Gary and Carol arrived at about 3pm and after getting them some tea and coffee we left them to set up.


Matilda goes Mobile

After a short drive we arrived at our Christmas venue. Matilda is now our mobile bedroom for a couple of days while we spend a couple of days with our son and his family.

When it was time to turn in on Christmas Eve I for some reason decided to take the cat with us so that he would not be tapping on the door in the middle of the night. The cat took some pursuading and took a few chucks out of my arm. Once in he surveyed the whole van and made himself at home on the drivers captain’s chair. 

Christmas Day morning there was a loud knocking on the door of Matilda at about 7.00am , with instructions to get in the house to open the presents. Later, well about 9.00am our other son arrived and it all started again. The rest of Christmas Day well and plenty of food and drink was consumed. We were introduced to the game Pie Face which the grandchildren loved although after the first pie in the face they wanted to continue their turns without the cream.

We went back to Matilda at about 23.00hrs and with a few minutes the cat was under the van meowing, as soon as I opened the door he was in and spent some time climbing all over the bed until finally going to the drivers chair.

We had an almighty storm during the night along with high winds. The van was parked outside the house but exposed to the full force of the wind and rain. The cat woke me at 5.00am and I got up to let him out but he saw what the weather was like and came back in. Half an hour later he is pawing the sofa so I get up and put him out, it has stopped raining but the wind has got up, I see the Sebastopol heater controls are flashing although the heating is off. I spend the next 2 hrs listening to the wind and worrying about the flashing lights. When I got up at 7am the heater control panel lights had stopped flashing but it wasn’t until 9.00am that I realised the flashing lights were because the temperature around the boiler had fallen below 6′ at which temp the auto drain valve opens to drain the boiler even though it had been emptied before we left home. I let out a sigh of relief that nothing was broken and spent Boxing Day with the grandchildren even though I was suffering from a little too much booze Christmas Day. 
We packed the van and left after lunch so that we could check our pony although our neighbour had made sure he had water and I had extended his paddock before we left on Christmas Eve.

One last Trip with Matilda

Two Auto-Trails in Mining Country

 Here we are parked in front of our friend Peter waiting for Gary and Carol to arrive. It took just over an hour to get here from home. The sun is out and we were soon set up on a pitch infront of Peter.

Gary and Carol arrived at about 3pm and after getting them some tea and coffee we left them to set up.

Once we were all set up the call of the Wild was pulling us towards the hills. Well we went for a short walk with our friends and then back to the camp site, a quick cup of tea and we went back to Matilda.
Sue had made a curry which just needed heating along with some Naan breads. The rice was a special microwave variety that Carol was going to heat because we do not have a microwave although Iona will have one but that will be another blog.

Supper went well and we left our friends early because they were both looking tired, Gary had been on nights and was ready for some sleep.

Dog walking field

 Day 2

Woken by heavy rain at about 5.30am, dosed until 8.00am when I gave in and got up. Sue went across to Carols for breakfast but I gave it a miss. Later Peter dropped by for a chat and he gave us some directions on where to go for a walk. Gary came over for soup and a roll and then we went for a walk.

Opposite the campsite is the site of the old Silverhill Colliery that closed in 1992. All the spoil heaps have been landscaped and planted with deciduous trees and conifers as a timber crop.
At the top of the largest hill is a sculpture of a miner and several plaques remembering the colliery and it’s history.
Spectacular views although it was a dull day but what a transformation of Spoil Heaps.

Testing for Gas

The Compass on the Summit
A sad list of the Mines and when they closed, (upto 2005).

On a good day you can see 5 counties

One of several marked trails aroung the 115 hectare site.

 After the long walk we retired back to Matilda and Gaz went to his van to check on Carol. Later we all came together for supper. By 9.30pm we said our goodbyes and returned to Matilda to find that Carol’s clock in their caravan was still on summertime and it was only 8.30pm. We  contacted Peter next door and arranged to visit him with bottle of the red stuff. It was a really good weekend and made better on Sunday when it was warm and fine while we all packed and headed for home, except Peter who was staying on for a few more days.

The Super Moon Climbing over Matilda

This will be the last trip in Matilda. December and January are normally hibernation months where we don’t go anywhere, although we may use her as a mobile bedroom and visit one of our son’s over Christmas. Then in theory we will collect Iona in January and a new chapter and adventures start all over again.

Time for a Change

Our old Motorhome – Matilda

We have had an Auto-Trail called Matilda for two years and we have written a blog about her travels.

Now we have got used to this new adventure we want a slightly bigger Motorhome with a different layout. Auto-Trail were launching a new range for 2017 and we liked one of the models so we went to Brownhills in Newark where they were having a launch weekend. We looked at the model we favoured , talked at length to a salesman who said Brownhills would give us the best deal and we went home to think about it.

Two weeks later the Lincoln Motorhome show was held at Lincoln showground, all the major manufacturers were going to be there so we decided a trip was in order and we went along for another look. The model we were interested in was on the Spinney stand and we had several looks around the vehicle and interogated a salesman about all the features. He offered to give us a rough quote on a part exchange with our current motorhome. We got the quote from the dealer and then drove to Brownhills at Newark to place the order, however Brownhills were miles away from the offer we had at the show. It was disappointing because Brownhills are the nearest Auto-Trail dealer, but not too distraught we walked back to our car which was in their car park. We sat in the car and had a chat about the offers.

Having decided that we wanted to go for the new model we rang the Spinney salesman at the Lincoln motorhome show. He confirmed the offer and we placed the order for our new Motorhome over the phone, an Auto-Trail Imala 734. The rough translation of Imala in Native American is ‘She Who Knows’

The new Motorhome – Iona

Iona is now on order and the provisional delivery date is in January 2017. Why Iona? Well while chatting about the new purchase the phrase, ‘I-own-a Motorhome ‘ came up, so Iona was chosen as the name for our next motorhome.

Woodhall Spa Calls Again

img_1671Woodhall Spa
October 11th-14th , Trip Eleven

Arrived in sunshine which turned to a shower and back to sunshine. I expect it will be a mixed week weather wise. There are not many here , we had another van join us just before lunch.

img_1669Day 2
Woken by rain hammering on the roof. Just put the heating on and went back to bed until it stopped.

img_1672We decided that we would have to go into town despite the chance of getting caught in another shower. Once in town we did some shopping for the dreaded lottery ticket and a birthday card. Next stop the post office and then onto our favourite deli for a pasty.

The shop was busy as usual and even though it was lunchtime there were only two staff serving. As we were waiting a man came in and stood at the counter and a couple of women came in and stood just behind us.

The man in front was served and I stepped up to the counter only for the old man to order. I did make a comment about the que but I was ignored and he continued to order. Another customer paid and again I stepped forward and ordered at exactly the same time the woman behind me pushed forward and ordered from the lady serving, three times I gave my order and three times did this woman continue to order. I gave up and was eventually served after a ten minute wait. Some people in Woodhall Spa have no manners but a stuck-up attitude.

I was still chuntering by the time we got to some benches where we sat and ate lunch. We walked back through the woods and arriving back at the site we made a detour to look at the camping and caravan site which is next to Jubilee Park.

Day 3
Woken by heavy rain again, but it soon stopped and we were forced to get up after 9 o’clock. It brightened up by midday so we went off for a walk.

img_1674First stop the C&CC site to get my concession set up, but it is only a listed site not the full bifta so I failed.

Never mind, we walked into town and then onto the Petwood Hotel made famous by the Dambusters, who used it as the officers mess. We headed across the lawns towards the wood where Sue saw a Muntjac deer cross the path. We walked through the wood but we saw no more deer but plenty of squirrels.

Not much happening back at the park, three caravans arrived together. We will be settling down to steak tonight before heading home tomorrow.

This may be our last blog with Matilda as we are considering changing. There will be a new blogg here next year. 

Matilda goes for a pint

September 13th-17th, Trip Ten- Batemans Brewery

On our way to Wainfleet All Saints it became apparent that the SatNav was not talking to us. Not a problem because we still had the map but I missed the warnings about the next turn etc. Anyway we stopped in a layby and I managed to get her talking to us again, although a few miles down the road I nearly turned her off again after frequently being told I was over the speed limit, in some cases by 2mph.

img_1623img_1628img_1622imageimageWe arrive at the campsite at Batemans Brewery just before lunch and as usual we were greeted by some very pleasant stewards who showed us all the facilities etc. This time we had electric hookup and at £11 a night was well worth having. The sun was out and it was hot, so a quick change into shorts and a wander over to the visitor centre, but it was closed for training so we continued into this little town.

At one part in it’s history it was a thriving port on the river Steeping, exporting salt and produce. But the river silted up and was eventually by-past with a larger drain. The river is still here but it does not flow quickly anymore. There are plenty of fish to be seen from the banks.


The town itself has a railway station and parts look as if they are still in the previous century. There is a petrol station in a shop on the high street, a market place, two closed pubs and one open pub. Strangely as you walk along the high you come to a side street that could be in Chelsea,London. It was built by a London architect to mirror a London street and was something to do with a hospital. The town has suffered and benefitted from the A52 by-pass, it is now quiet but without passing trade and shops are geared for the tourists that come to see the brewery.

After out short tour of the town we went back to Matilda for lunch and settled down to enjoy the sunshine before having a bar-b-que and enjoying a few glasses of the red stuff. Finally going inside at nine pm to watch the TV.
Day 2
We woke to a very misty morning but the forecast was for a fine sunny day as soon as the mist was banished by the sun. By about eleven the sun was out and we made our way to the brewery to book into the 12.30 pm tour. Back at the van I phoned a friend who lived nearby and he suggested he picked us up and we went back to his place for Pimms. We agreed immediately.

The brewery tour started on time and there were about 15 other people waiting with us. The tour lasted about an hour and finished with a free drink in the bar. The bar was packed with lunchtime guests so we took our sample drinks into the beer garden. To be honest I could have stayed there all day but we needed lunch before being whisked away by our friend
Tony arrived spot on 3pm and we went back to his place where we spent a leisurely three hours sat by the pool drinking Pims and reminiscing about our days at work. We got back to the van at about 7pm and sat outside until our supper was ready.
Day 3
The plan today is to have a look at the brewery shop , buy some beer and then walk into Wainfleet to take some more pictures for the blogg.

Matilda goes to the Seaside

August 22nd – 26th, Trip Nine – Heacham in Norfolk

The trip over to Heacham was Ok, we had an issue with something banging so we stopped a Sue checked the cupboards. We set off again and a few miles down the road there was another bang, we stopped again and I checked all the cupboards and shower, nothing seemed amiss and I just looked at the skylight and it was not fastened shut properly, problem solved.

The rest of the journey went well and we arrived at the campsite. Filled up with water and checked in with the stewards. We gave the awning a miss because of my back pain but sorted all the kit out and it started to rain, just like last year.

Once the rain had stopped we went for a short walk and ended up at the beach, and walked home in a circular route, clocking up three miles before getting back to Matilda. The sun came out at about 5pm and the kids arrived for football training.

Day 2
The wind had dropped and the sun was shining so we decided to spend the morning around the van. Chilled out, read and relaxed.

The forecast for tomorrow is better and Richard and Martha are joining us for the day.
Day 3
The day started at 6.30am as the car booters started to set up. By 8.00 am the football pitch was full of stalls and the car park was full as well as all the space in front of our pitch, cars were then sent to the back of the campsite.
It was so busy that at 11.00am we went out to the front of the social club to wait for Richard and guide him in. He arrived at about midday and we had a quick lunch before walking to the beach where we spent a few hours.



On the way home we stopped for an ice cream and stopped at the park with Martha. When we got back Martha stayed with us and Richard went to check into the hotel. Tea was ribs and salad before Rich and Martha went back to the hotel.we packed everything away prior to a thunder storm.
Day 4
Richard and Martha joined us in the morning,they went to the park and then we met them later and we all went to the Norfolk Lavender centre. After looking around the animal park and the outdoor play centre we bought some lunch from the farm shop and sat outside in amongst the ducks.




We went back home and left Richard and Martha heading for the soft play area. They arrived back after a couple of hours and we played ball games until the rain came. Another great day but tomorrow we all head back home.