Rain, Rain Rain, Ruby

Two trips reported together. Peterborough and Yorkshire during Storm Ciara. Somerset and Devon during Storm Dennis….My blogging head has not been ‘on it’ so I saved you all from having to read another previous essay.!

As per the title..there has been a damn load of rain. How the hell we managed to survive I don’t know. Well.. Ruby got a right good soaking. She has survived storm Ciara and storm Dennis and a load of extra rain thrown in. We are confident that she is watertight with some of the rain soaked roads we have endured. We did have one minor damp moment which arrived shortly after me saying out loud ‘well that has been a good test of the waterproofing on Ruby‘ when a large splash landed right next to Michelle’s feet by the front seat. Well Ok, there might be a tiny gap in the sealant up front.! (Ruby…not Michelle..!) She also copes well with wind (No…. still talking about Ruby!). We can manage to compete with the lorries on the big-boy roads without the wind blowing us across two lanes. Surprisingly we have also managed to stay extremely dry whilst out walking. Due to a lot of skill and planning (luck) we have spent many great days walking..alongside rivers, up hills, along coasts and through tons and tons of mud. But truly..we have amazingly missed the vast quantity of rain whilst outside on both trips.

Part One- Peterborough and Yorkshire

So… 4th Feb we set off to the wonderfully exotic Peterborough.. well we picked this location because the forecasters suggested that the further east we went the better the chance of less severe weather. It was pretty good to be honest, parked for three nights at Nene Park, west of Peterborough. There was a decent pub nearby and a tarmac walk near the river into the City (7 miles each way). Michelle decided that she preferred to walk in mud so we returned along the north of the river… in mud, mud glorious mud. Well hey, we are adventurers.. we can do mud.. 😦

The weather at night was -1 degree and frosty but Ruby’s wonderful heating was perfick. 22 degrees inside, feet up, playing games, watching movies, eating popcorn, swaying gently in the breeze…. Love it. I had for some time wanted to visit the Wash, The Fens, The Flat bit with that strange square bit of sea… so we drove up to Frampton near Boston to visit the RSPB site. Didn’t think there would be much there but hey, there was loads of stuff. Birds and things all over the place, big flocks all around the bay and with the RAF sending an occasional F16 overhead our twitching was complete. (NB… must buy a bird spotting book. !) My favourite part was driving on those long, straight flat roads for miles and miles (sad?). Michelle spoilt my fun by driving back herself. I suppose it makes a change from her having to drive the dark, wet, windy journeys!

Anyhow after an eventful three days we drove up to Yorkshire to park in a lovely ‘wild camping’ site in Pontefract. Right outside mum and dads house and tucked up next to a neighbours wall, (but without electric hook up ..!). We had a good couple of fun family days whilst Storm Ciara tried to blow us over. Certainly glad we weren’t out in an open field or coastal site. We did however then have to struggle across the Pennines on the M62 in horrendous weather to relax awhile in the Lancashire delights of Bury for more family time. The trip back home (Portishead) was equally exciting. We had made the decision to travel on the Sunday with less traffic/trucks, which proved to be the smart option. As motorhomers we now travel at 60mph on motorways…… (wow, how did I get that old?!). Mind you we still overtake loads of aged car drivers (50 ish) doing snail impressions.

Part Two- Somerset & Devon

We had arranged with the nice folk at Alan Kerr Motorhomes in Paignton, (where Ruby was born) that we would drop her off for the day on 27th Feb so we decided to have a few days away prior to that. Again the weather held us to ransom so we stayed inland at first and spent 23rd Feb on a muddy farm just outside of Chard in Somerset. Well, I say, farm, it was just a field with a shed containing a cold, unwelcoming toilet and shower. No other occupied caravans or MoHo’s and just gravel alongside the electric and water points. We smiled and enjoyed it.. well not really. It was pretty rubbish. Not entirely their fault as the weather was responsible for the mud but the owner arrived later in the day, took his extortionate £20 and left us to to milk the cows. ( oh no, that’s not true). What I didn’t mention was that there were now three of us in Ruby as we were joined by Michelle’s sis Trina. £20 was still way too much though. We did however have the joy of a game of Tetris overnight… Trying to make Trina’s bed in the lounge area. We did not have great expectations for this setup and we weren’t disappointed.! It takes several attempts and reference to photos and diagrams to make this work and look something like a bed. (If we are honest this was always the plan… to stop too many grown ups trying to join us!) Anyway, we only stayed the one night before heading off to Teignmouth in Devon. – Because we could.

This was a much better prospect. A great little site which was pretty new, still a field, still with a shed containing a shower and toilet but better, bigger, cleaner, no mud, great view and £23 per night for three of us. This was near to Teignmouth and Kingsteignton. We did a recce on day one and found more mud, mud, mud in the local area so day two we ambled up the road and got the bus into Teignmouth and nearby Shaldon. Easy Peasy. Had a good day with bright sun, round the coast, passing the railway line cutting through the cliffs and along the beach. We also found a great little bar/cafe for dinner called the Lime something or other in the centre of Teignmouth. We all recommend the lovely food and cheery staff. It rained whilst we ate. It then stopped as we stepped out. Ha…..!

26th Feb saw us parked up in Beverly Park site in Paignton so we could be ready to take Ruby into Alan Kerrs early on 27th. A good view overlooking Torbay where we have been before. It is easy, comfy and well laid out. £21 per night looking at a hedge or £23.60 with a view over the bay… No brainer. Ruby had to go in to have the Supagard protective coating applied… She was supposed to have been done when we bought her but for some reason it was missed, or just badly applied, so we had another go. We were given a delightful, piddly little Fiat Panda courtesy car to use for the day. This was entertaining mainly because I had my big fat, clumpy, boots on which wasn’t exactly a twinkle toes moment as I delicately danced across the tiny pedals. Oh how we laughed…as we screwed the throttle, slammed on the anchors and wheel spun our way into Torquay for the day. ! It was dry but blooooooody cold which led us to spend too much time and way too much money in the Torquay shops, cafe’s and delightful Wetherspoons. Weatherspoons didn’t add much to the cost as we all know..! We arrived back in Paignton at the precise moment that Ruby was completed, nice and shiny. It now required me to sit back, recline and let Michelle drive us home…. aaaaaah! Reeeelax.

Time for Ruby to be put back to storage for another couple of weeks before the next exciting and hopefully dry outing.

Did you know….. Catherine of Aragon (First wife of Henry VIII) is buried in Peterborough Cathedral. She was one of the wives that retained her head though not her liberty after the King moved on to Anne Boleyn. He was miffed that Catherine could not provide him with a son.

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