A Travellerspoint blog

United Kingdom

Pick up day

Home is where we park it!!


What a contrast from where we have been.IMG_0286.jpg

Started the day with a full breakfast at the hotel, overlooking the runway at Heathrow and saw the huge aeroplanes landing almost one a minute. it was so quiet there and the ground didnt shake at all - until you went outside. An unexpected treat. No Air NZ tho.IMG_0260.jpg

We had booked a taxi online, so there’s always the trepidation that it won’t come. Ours was late. The journey took ages = an equivalent trip to Nelson in a taxi. He told us that the traffic was very good, which meant there weren’t long delays or snarl ups. This man was from Ceylon. Got lost finding the yard, as they use the post-code in the sat nav (rather than the street name) so that caused some hiccups.

Paul (that we’d been in communication with for some time) now had a face and voice. He was slow and deliberate in his walk thru of the van. He said he has 2 more people from NZ this weekend, the same process as us.it was a very good idea to record on the phone his instructions, as we’ve gone back to them several times already - specially about the water.

We spent some time unloading all our gear in their yard, which meant we could put all the plastic etc in their skip. IMG_0267.jpgThen it, was time to venture forth!!large_IMG_0285.jpg

Decided the first thing we’d need to get are some supplies, Food and equipment. Heidi (sat nav) is invaluable but she also has given us some headaches. We’d purchased maps at home of UK and Europe, but accessing them again took ages to figure out. Then at the hotel we couldn’t “acquire’ any satellite, and we finally clicked it was both cos we were indoors and maybe at the airport, so another crisis averted.

Filled up the van with diesel - 80 pounds and aready had quarter a tank in it. We were looking for Tesco as recommended we could get both food and supplies. Trouble was the first one we put into Heidi, was not the big super-store we needed, so that necessitated us back tracking and eventually get to where we were headed.

First ( of many) crisis - the alarm is cranky and keeps going off on us. Man is it loud.In fact we have spent the night with it off as we cant work it out - an issue to resolve in due course.

Cranham gave us a name of a camp ground that they ‘send’ their first timers to, so that was the next adventure. We ended up driiving through a much more picturesque typical english countryside to finally make our first night in the camper.it is called Kevendon Hatch Campsite - so like the “Wind in the Willows”

We had a very basic meal and very early night, just whacked.We are both very pleased with everything about Jabula, and once we have routines and worked out places for things it will be great. It is lovely and warm - outside much less so. L1070131.jpgIt has rained thru the night and is windy I think forecast 12 degrees .We have plenty of warm clothes. The facilities are excellent, but the price for one night is 32 pounds so that is dear.large_L1070130.jpg

Dont have a clear idea where to from here. We originally thought we’d need a couple of days to get ourselves organised but I think we are feeling confident, so may move off today. Did think of seeing Blenheim Palace that we didnt manage last time. Will see where we land.

Posted by Sallyj66 01:34 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (5)

Eastcombe near Stroud

reconnecting with old friends

sunny 14 °C

Our first full day on the road.L1070132.jpg

We had made a decision to visit old friends of Sal's family from SA days. large_L1070140.jpgThis meant travelling to Eastcombe near Stroud approx half an hour away from Wales. It also meant we had to confront the London motorway traffic for the first time. Certainly less hair raising than UAE, but Sal is still getting her confidence with the van. Pretty much ok, understanding the little communications still, e.g flashing lights at you is not a sign of annoyance but one of consideration to let you move into a space.

Once off the motorway, it became more typical English, roads alot narrower and this area is hilly. My goodness some of the roads are narrow.

Was just neat to reconnect with Keith, Sarah and her family. Had some more supplies to kit out van - especially for when we visit France. There were stories of scouting high jinx in SA. Sadly Keith lost his wife a couple of months ago also, so some commiserations as well. It is fantastic to see the area with 'local' eyes, and therefore last night we went to this rustic pub for a pizza meal.L1070144.jpgL1070150.jpgL1070143.jpg So good to enjoy from a more genuine perspective.

This morning we are joining Keith in taking Ellie (very much loved little dog) for a walk on the common, before hitting the road again.

Posted by Sallyj66 19:02 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Blenheim Palace

via the Cotswolds

View auckland on Sallyj66's travel map.

This morning we had a bracing walk on the common with Keith and little Ellie (the dog). Quintessential England. Wonderful views, lots of dogs and their owners going for a morning constitutional. DSCF2595.jpgDSCF2591.jpg
We passed an 'animal xmas tree' - i.e on xmas day when people are walking the dogs they all leave something on the tree for animals in shelters. Such a lovely idea that would be nice to see in nz (not sure it would be respected tho).DSCF2619.jpg

We had planned to go onto Bath this morning, but surprise - change of plan. We have ended up coming thru to see the Blenheim Palace today and will stay with Sal's Aunt in Eynsham ( near Oxford) for a few nights before heading on the road again. Driving here we went thru some drop dead gorgeous little villages. The one I remember especially is called Barnsley. Impossible for us to pull over to take photos, the roads are so narrow and no pull over areas. The Cotswold stone is so gentle and honey coloured.DSCF2612.jpg

Blenheim Palace is impressive. DSCF2625.jpgDSCF2637.jpgDSCF2639.jpgWe joined a tour and the guide was funny and very knowledgable. He had an excellent grasp on all the lineage permutations which makes it somewhat juicy. Politics, power, privilege in all its full blown colour.

Thoroughly enjoyed the grounds and gardens. large_DSCF2682.jpgDSCF2673.jpgDSCF2661.jpgi think if we'd come a month later the flowers would have been stunning. Still very glad I've seen it after all the time of it being on my to-do list.

Posted by Sallyj66 22:02 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)



overcast 17 °C

We are staying at Sal's Aunt in Eynsham, only about 15minutes away from Blenheim Palace.We were her about 4 years ago and it seems like only yesterday. Sal's other Aunt also lives in the village so we have had a neat time reconnecting - also via Skype with Sal's Mum last night, so was a family get together.large_L1070210.jpg

We had got very tired, and therefore decided yesterday was to be a rest day. Therefore we went for a walk around the village and just enjoyed the atmosphere. We walked to the Eynsham lock and got talking to a woman from the Environment agency who ws tending the lock. Unfortunately there were no boats allowed to use it as the river was too high and the current too fast i.e. a 'red board' day. We joined Lulu for a coffee at the emporium where she was promoting climate change issues, bought veggies at the market, had a cup of tea with Tina and generally took lots of phots of this lovely village.L1070204.jpgL1070193.jpgL1070173.jpgL1070166.jpg

In the evening Graham and Tina (aunt and uncle) made a 'food memory meal' for us. Graham had asked Sal what meal evoked special memories for her from when growing up, and that is what he made for us last night. Very special to past time about what connects them all. What also was amazing was learning about the history surrounding their house. It was so obviaous that we are from the 'new world' compared to the extremely long history here.L1070232.jpg

Eynsham Abbey was on the boundary of their property, which dates back to about 800AD. Digging in the garden Tina found bits of stone remnants of an arch, and also clay tiles from Saxon times. She has done a course in archaeology to appreciate the amazing stories surrounding it. Apparently in the 17th century ( I think) during the Plague, half the village population was decimated. Burying people individually was impractical so "plague pits" were dug for burying the dead. Some of these are on their property!! Mind you the garden is one and a half acres.L1070242.jpgL1070219.jpg

Posted by Sallyj66 00:57 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)


the bell tower incident!


A dreary Sunday greeted us, in fact a perfect day for staying indoors and socialising, which is what our day was.

Sunday - is church day in the village. We heard the bells tolling to call us to worship. Sal impulsively decided she would like to go to church, not me, so off she took.The bells were quite clear here and is very evocative of times gone by in Cheviot (my home town).She arrived home breathless a short time later to tell us she had got stuck in the bell tower!! Only Sally. Off course she got talking to someone (a nurse) who invited her into the bell tower to ring the bells - as you do. She did the 60 chimes at the end of the carillon, then wanted to go to the top of the tower up incredibly narrow stairs to look out over the village. Great idea, except when she came down the church service had started and she was locked in the tower!!! A cell phone call to one of the bell ringers who had already gone home got her rescued.Churches and Sally are not a good mix.L1070250.jpgL1070247.jpg

Simon (Sal's cousin) his wife Janice, daughters Emma and Bethan arrived from Cheltenham late morning to have lunch with us. Emma had stayed at ours last year for a month during a holiday break when she was at Sydney University. She had some great photos of her time in NZ that we shared on the TV-great memories.Maisie (their dog) was in need of a walk, so we all walked around the village loop walk, via the old Abbey fish ponds.L1070258.jpgL1070256.jpgL1070253.jpg

Lunch was at an Indian restaurant just around the corner. It was such a nice meal spending time together.Mid afternoon Graham and Tina with their friends Peter and Mary (also dog Sampi) arrived for a conducted tour of the van and cup of tea. The house was so full and noisey - poor Geoff.We were quite exhausted when they left so Lulu, Sal and I went to the pub for quiet drink.

Village life is really nice. Everything so close at hand. We had considered moving on in the late afternoon, however felt too tired and have made the decision to go early in the morning.L1070261.jpg

Posted by Sallyj66 20:02 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

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