Is that a Rat ?

I’ve mentioned many times on this blog about the annoying problem of complete strangers (mainly Men) making comments about our Yorkshire Terrier, Ruby.

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I admit that we probably look odd, a large man with a very small dog,

It’s usually when I’m stood outside a shop with Ruby on her lead and they walk by making comments like “Is that a rat” or “my dog would eat that for breakfast” It’s irritating that they are dumb enough to think they are the first ones to have ever said that and expect you to find it funny.

I would love to be able to come back with a quick of the cuff reply, but I seem unable to think of anything suitable.

I’m making an appeal to my follower and any random visitors that accidently land on this site.

I want a short sharp retort that would put these Neanderthals  swiftly in their place.

Sarcasm and humour are required, but remember that it has to meet the intelligence level of the perpetrator.

If you can help, please put your retort in the comments box.

No Swearing though.

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Extreme Felting

The Extreme Knitter has now added Extreme Felter to her list of nicknames. I treated her to a one day felting workshop for her birthday as she has always wanted to try it.

The course was held at a cottage studio in Hatton, Warwick with six other beginners.

When I collected her she was pleased as punch with her felted figure of Ruby. I was amazed at the likeness and at her first attempt. I’m really proud of her because she seems to be able to turn her hand to anything.

She wants to book another workshop that will hone her detailing skills.

The course is run by Sophie Wheatley from “All things felt and beautiful”  07706279252

e mail :  sophie@feltandbeautiful.co.uk

All things felt and beautiful

I was told that not only was the course inspiring and enjoyable, but it was complemented by a magnificent meal and desert. You would have thought I’d have had a doggy bag.

Unfortunately this photo doesn’t do justice to the texture of the figure that can be seen in real life.

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A night by the stones

The last few weeks have been challenging and we needed to escape again even if it was for one night.

The school holidays were over and weekday travel was less of a hassle. A fairly late start for us saw Puffin hurtling down the M5 motorway towards Bristol. We turned off at junction 19 for the Gordano services and drove towards the Clifton suspension bridge that crosses the River Avon Gorge. The extreme knitter likes to be surprised and I always try to include a fear factor if I can as it keeps the blood pumping. I excelled myself this time as I’m not good with heights and as we had never driven over the suspension bridge before I felt it had to be done. Crikey it’s high, Bum cheek clenchingly high and to pick up the road to our next destination we had to turn around and go back over it.

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Safely back on a lower ground level we drove towards Cheddar Gorge where we stopped in one of the lay-bys in the gorge for lunch.

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Next destination was Wells for a little sightseeing and retail therapy for the extreme knitter.

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Wells is a small city with an amazing Cathedral and lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

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Back on the road again and we joined the east bound A303. The signs for the Stonehenge visitor centre appeared at a roundabout, but I wasn’t going there. A little further along the A303 we turned left into a bye way called the Drove. It is just a dirt track that runs up beside the famous Stonehenge. The drove is used by campers from all walks of life to wild camp with a view of the stones across the field. New age travellers, Hippies, Over Landers and Motor home owners and now us.

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The look on the extreme knitters face was priceless when I announced that this was our campsite for the night, but as always she’s a game girl and embraced the madness.

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Stonehenge has become a major tourist attraction that can only be visited by paying substantial amount to the English Heritage. They had the roads around closed and blocked off to stop the common people sneaking a crafty look, but the Drove has survived for now. It’s a Bye way running close by with a public right of way. I’ve been wanting to stopover here for sometime and I thought that if we didn’t do it soon the powers that be will eventually close it and our chance would pass.

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The Autumn Solstice occurred on Friday 23rd September, so it could have been a mistake visiting so soon after the mass visit by hundreds of Druids on Friday. I expected it to be messy and littered after so many people had visited, but it was a pleasant surprise to find it litter free. There weren’t many campers and it was easy to find a fairly level place to park with a good view of the stones.

The paying visitors arrive by bus from the visitor centre having paid to park, then coughing up £18 a head to wander around the circumference of the stones, never getting close enough to touch them.

The meatballs in tomato sauce made another appearance, but sadly no Bacardi just in case we needed to drive off in the middle of the night.

It was suggested that I should dance naked in the middle of the stones at sunrise, but sadly I cancelled the dance as the sun didn’t rise in the morning. Well I suppose it must have risen, but I couldn’t see it for the rain and mist.

We had a peaceful, quiet and safe night. The extreme knitter was at ease there, which is a good sign because if she’s not comfortable with an overnight stay she will say so.

Bacon sandwiches for a late breakfast. We then wandered down the drove to the point where the visitor buses stop. This entrance was guarded and gated off. After walking on a little further we found a public footpath that appeared to lead to the stones.

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Not only did it lead to the stones, we were only about 15 metres further away than the paying punters and only separated by a wooden fence.

We had briefly passed through Marlborough when we had previously visited our Grandson at his Larkhill barracks and said we must visit when we had time to explore. We did try to park there on the way back, but failed.

On the trip back, just north of Tidworth we saw a tank coming down the road towards us with a squaddie under driving instruction. The extreme knitter suddenly waved to them out of the blue. I dread to think what the instructor said to the Squaddie.

 

Top Gear Cancelled

We were leaving today.

After using the last of our bacon supplies to make sandwiches for breakfast, we broke camp. It’s amazing how after only two days you forget how the awning was folded to get back into its bag. It’s at this point that you consider just wrapping the damp fabric into a big ball and hope to dry it at home.

No I didn’t. I folded it neatly into its bag, only to have to get it out again at home to dry it.

After all the arduous work repacking and two nights camping we perhaps should have invested 20 pence each in a shower or even shared a shower for 20 pence.

Oo!! Ere missus.

 

Puffin fired up first time with gusto using her new battery and it was time to see if my gear linkage bodge had worked.

Ha ha. First gear selected easily and we were rolling. Out the campsite gate and on to the open road. Second gear slipped in silently, then third and fourth. Unfortunately fifth gear was unobtainable. You can’t have every thing and it’s a lot easier driving without fifth gear, just a little slower, as 50 mph was the comfortable limit for the fourth gear.

O the joys of running a twenty year old campervan. If everything went exactly as planned where would the adventure be.

Chilling in the Glade

Tuesday morning in the glade.

A lazy, late start to the day with a full English breakfast. Last nights rain showers continued until after lunch time. The awning fared well without any leaks or problems and gave us some extra living space whilst it rained.

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The campervan gear selection problems meant we were camp bound for the day.

Today was a fettling and lazing day, when I do lots of adjusting and tweaking of guy ropes and things. We read, eat, napped and knitted.

It’s very difficult to spend the day doing nothing without feeling guilty for wasting time that should be used constructively.

It’s a problem we need to overcome.

I studied the problematic gear linkage to see if I could do a bodge (did I just say bodge? I meant a technical modification) to make the drive home easier.

Ruby had several walks through the woods on this quiet idlyic campsite.

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I think this site has grabbed us without us realising it, as we were saying things like “next time we come we will do this” or “we must remember to bring a so and so next time”. The site is open all year round, so perhaps a winter camp may be on the cards.

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Escape to the woods

The school holidays are on us and It’s nigh on impossible to find a camping pitch at the weekends and if I could it was horribly expensive.

My searching for a camp pitch to escape to for a couple of nights proved fruitful as a small site just 30 miles away from home looked promising, but we would have to visit on a weekday.

Monday morning and the camper was packed with way to much stuff for 2 nights camping.

Pulling of the drive highlighted a problem. There was no way I could select first gear. Being an old slogger of a diesel engine she pulled away in second gear, but obviously there was a fault.

It’s quite a common fault on the VW T4 for the gear linkage bushes to wear with age. A quick check under the bonnet and the linkage was flopping about.

As we were only travelling 30 miles and I had booked the campsite. A joint decision was made to carry on. (Hey who needs first gear anyway)?

We arrived at Eriba Glade which is a 10 pitch site just off the Fosse way 10 miles north of Leamington spa. It is set in a woodland glade.

Eriba Glade

It costs £15 per night with electric hook-up.

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The small toilet / shower block consists of two toilets one with a shower. These were immaculately clean.

The shower is coin operated taking 20 pence coins.

As we were staying for two nights we decided not to bother showering as we didn’t smell too bad.

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The new Sunncamp awning was erected without the usual disagreement, so that in itself was a plus.

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The mifi was switched on and low and behold we had wifi, just a tad slow, but still wifi.

I knew that there was a branch of TPS in Coventry that was only about five miles from the campsite were I could get a set of new gear linkage bushes.

My Google search showed that the branch was now shut down.

Ok, no problem I contacted Just Kampers and ordered a set of bushes that would hopefully arrive at the house before we got back. This meant we would be staying on the campsite as driving about would be a pain.

http://www.justkampers.com/

We had our usual previously prepared meatballs in a home made tomato sauce for our first camping night supper. I not sure if this turning into a tradition or are we taking the easy route as it’s a one pot heat up dish. Tastes good though, so who cares.

This is the closest to home we have ever camped. It seems strange that only two days ago we were at the dog show just three miles away from here.