THE LIFT HAS LANDED!
It's made and has arrived at The Bus Depot - Hoorrrraaaaayyyy
I know it doesn't look like six weeks work does it?
It was ordered the week before Christmas week so even taking out a couple of weeks for Christmas that is still six weeks! But its there now. I will drive down to Wolverhampton tomorrow so I am there ready for them to start first thing Monday morning, and will hope to be able to start back northwards on Tuesday. That's the plan anyway, though I hear reports of bad snow 'Op North'
Hopefully I will have a chance to meet up with Sally and Niner for more port and cheese while I am in Wolverhampton.
I am pleased with the alterations that I have already had made to Thebus. Not having 'motor-homed' before its difficult imagining what you might need, but in general I think I have made good choices. Taking out the passenger seat for Phoebe's 'nest' has worked well, and the little 'trap-door' which folds down and covers the stair well not only makes it easier to move around inside, but keeps everything cosier, as there is quite a lot of cold air coming from the metal and glass panelled door. And I love the washer/dryer.
After it was fitted I wondered if had been a foolish addition as there are lots of laundrettes around and many of the camping sites have them as one of the facilities on offer, but having been parked up for a few days it has given me the opportunity to try it out, and at present I am giving it ten out of ten.
This site only has electric hook-up on each pitch but with three weeks on the road the washing was building up. It was easy to rub it out, use the spinner and then switch on the drier. Without it I would have had several trips through the rain to the laundry room which was quite a little distance, then either sit there waiting or troop back and forth, up and down the rather steep slope. As it was I could get it all done in comfort without leaving Thebus. Excellent.
I have really enjoyed the site here, and though I won't have time to stop on my way back north I intend to visit again and explore properly sometime. I think I will make it a mid-week stop though. It was surprising how the site changed from Friday to Saturday. All the folk with one exception de-camped on Friday morning and from mid-day onwards a whole new selection arrived, some well after dark. The site now has the addition of some children, obviously not impressed at being imprisoned in the pouring rain for a weekend, with a short hike through the wet for morning ablutions. Plus the dogs of the 'retirees' here in the week were all totally silent, the incoming group are a little more vocal and the pace of everyone in general has hastened. Most interesting. I suppose if you are of the age group when you are bringing up children there is so much to be fitted into each day you get used to rushing about.
There were also quite a few walkers who emerged fully muffled, with mostly just their eyes showing, and I think it was a wise sartorial choice. It was so windy here in the night that I got up and brought both the slides in on the principle that it gave less 'sail' for the wind to catch. I did worry as to whether any branches or trees might fall on us, but basically we are in a wood, so there is nowhere to go away from the trees, and sometimes the closeness of the trees can keep things calmer, at least that was my hope. Though this morning I did notice that the tree next but one to us had lost about three big branches in the night. I didn't here them come down. Probably because of the noise of the rain and hail on our roof.
I think we had a bit of Scottish type weather blowing on down, as last thing before I went to bed the sides of Thebus were coated with wet snow. Once inside the sleet started in earnest and I expected to wake to a white landscape, but no, it turned to hail, then heavy rain. Then finally, like someone turning off the tap, it stopped.
But in the middle of the night the wind got up and having heard rumours of bad weather coming, as I said brought in the slides, much to Phoebe's alarm. She does so hate the floors moving about, especially when they are coming inwards towards her. Next morning when I lifted the corner of the bedroom blind to check what the day was like it was pitch black. I lifted it a little more – still total blackout, normally the safety lights round the site are on all night. Raising it fully I suddenly remembered the slides were in, so of course the window just looks out onto the inside of the bedroom wall!
Once up the rain gave over a bit so I decided to empty and fill the various water tanks. I hadn't completely filled up with water on our arrival, so the washing had used up pretty well all of it up, plus the waste tanks now needed emptying again. I managed much better than last time though I seem to have mislaid the cover which closes the hole on the pipe exit. I will need to have a really good rummage around before we start back for Wolverhampton on Sunday.
I will also have to make a checklist of things which must be done before starting out and keep it handy by the drivers seat, as in my reversing mirror I caught sight of the fact I had not unplugged the electric cable from the socket. Eeeek!!!! I am amazed that the American firm that built Thebus hadn't worked out a nifty fail-safe for that one, as they seem to have covered pretty well everything else.
I have done a huge order with Waitrose which will be delivered to me in Wolverhampton on Monday, so I used up as many of the bits and pieces out of the fridge. There was plenty for both of us and Phoebe had a good big portion of pork and mixed vegetable stir-fry, I was worried that she would turn up her nose again, she has been so picky since we have been on the road, but she ate it all including the veg, which normally gets pushed to the side of the bowl. Good girl. I also did an order with Asda and got about ten kilos of beef mince and some chicken thighs to keep her happy – I hope!
Strict Lady is programmed and informs me that it is one hundred and fifty seven miles and will take us three and and a half hours. So there will be time for a fry up to use up the last of the Scottish breakfast provisions before we start.
When I was up at Gretna Green I bought some Scottish Black Pudding (in tartan wrapping of course) and stopping at the Tebay M6 Services on the way back South they had some prizewinning Black Pudding in their farm shop, as well Cumberland sausage. I still had some of the Gretna Green one left so I decided on a taste test - and apologies to Scotland, but I think the Cumbrian one had the edge. It was much more delicate in both flavour and texture, far less Puddingy than the Scottish one which I suspect has a larger proportion of oatmeal. The Scottish one might "stick to your ribs" better though, which considering the weather up there would probably be an advantage. I called the weather 'bracing' but the ladies on the tills at Gretna Green called it 'invigorating'.
Tebay's Cumberland Sausage was excellent, as was their rump steak. I will definitely stop for a stock up at the one on the opposite side on my way back up the M6, and hope that has the same high quality produce on offer. Though I will need to get to Scotland for more Scotch Pancakes and Tablet.