I mentioned that we drove through The Lakes. We did this on the Sunday, which turned out ot be the last day of summer weather we've had this year. Specifically, we headed to Glenridding, on the southern tip of Ullswater. Here, we strolled, fished, skimmed and picnicked. Then we drove on to Windermere where we had coffee and cake, before taking a different route back to our lodge.
We've recently been back to Center Parcs in Cumbria, our second visit this year. This time round we went with Gemma's sister and her boyfriend, and her mum.
This time round we went for a full week. Now that Gemma is only a handful of weeks away from her due date, we made contact with the local maternity unit. Luckily, they weren't needed, and we all enjoyed a relaxing time. Between us, we cycled, ran and swam, played pool, air hockey, badminton and ten-pin bowling, rode and groomed a pony, ate out, ate in, went to a show, drove through the lakes, saw red squirrels, rabbits and a Harris Hawk, and completed a game of Risk.
Dear peeps, havin a smashin' great time in sunny Spain & it's really tiring doing nothing all day, ha, ha. Can't wait to get back to the UK. (YEAH RIGHT!) Been on pleny of trips etc & going to make the last few days relaxing ones. Don't worry, we'll have a cerveza for you all. Bye for now xx.
Although we've been camping a couple of times in the last couple of years, we've not yet been back to North Wales. So the slaying of some demons was overdue.
Our friends Steve and Helen (plus Euan) organised things this time round, settling on the Eisteddfa Camping Site near Criccieth and close to Porthmadog, just up and round the coast (but importantly a couple of miles in land) from Shell Island. Deb, Neil and Lucas also came, and stayed in a caravan on account of them having to travel by train - an unfeasibly lengthy six-hour journey from The Wirral.
We arrived on a Monday, after a pretty long but increasingly scenic journey of our own from Leeds. Our new larger car helped greatly with accommodating our luggage. Our pitch, unusually, was a rectangle of slate chippings, more commonly used by caravans I supposed. It gave a sharper, but drier camping surface, but the rocky ground caused problems with banging in the pegs.
During the week we always kept an eye skywards for rain. This summer still hasn't really started yet, and the two weeks before our holiday were particularly wet and windy, and saw much flooding across the UK including North Wales. This week we were to be lucky, with some rain falling, but mostly at night, and the middle of the week was particularly pleasant with some warm sunshine.
Tuesday, the first full day, gave us an opportunity to visit the nearest village. Criccieth. We strolled the seafront, found a secluded playground, had lunch in a tiny cafe, and visited the castle.
Wednesday bought the promise of sunshine, so we headed west to Abersoch. I immediately liked the beach, but found it to be riddled with posh teenagers. No matter, we unfurled our picnic, paddled in the chilly sea, and dug sandcastles. We could have been at Scarborough!
The next day delivered even better weather. Today we did our own things. Deb and Neil caught the train a couple of stops to Harlech, while Steve and Helen drove to Angelsey, to the beach at Beaumaris. We went to nearby Portmeirion. This was on our to-do list from 2010, and we sure picked the best day to walk around this charming, eccentric village.
Friday was the last full day, and with it came rain. Not heavy, thankfully. We all went to Caernarfon, where we sat out the worst of the wet in a massive soft play built into an ex-church. Then we headed to the castle for a good nosey, before repairing for coffee and cake.
Saturday was home time. After packing our temporary homes into our cars, we went our separate ways. Neil and Deb went to Criccieth to get their train, Helen and Steve took a drive through the mountains to have lunch in Betws-y-Coed, while we retraced our coast-hugging inward route. We stopped at Conwy for a stretch and a bite, and we liked the place.
We all had a great time, but as ever it was good to get back to our own beds.
Over the Jubilee Holiday weekend we went to stay with John and Rachel, old friends in Clevedon, near Bristol. Now sporting two wonderful children, they were the perfect hosts. Whilst with them, we saw plenty of our other South-West-based chums Paul and Elinor plus family; also former Bristolians Tom and Sarah (with their new son) put in an appearance. Which was good.
On the Sunday, we went to Paul's home in Wotten-under-Edge when he treated us all to a barbecue. We were lucky, catching a sustained break of a couple of hours over lunchtime in the generally awful autumnal weather we've had so far this summer.
On the Monday the same cast could be found having a second barbecue on Clevedon beach, in the shadow of the wonderful pier.
We were sad when it was time to leave, and all agreed that it had been too long since our last meet-up.
Believe it or not, when we went camping last month we were reasonably lucky with the weather. Since April, it seems like we've only really had one week of summer. good for the plants growing in my yard, not so good for sleeping under canvas.
We arranged to go back to Humble Bee Farm, where we went last year. And this time we bought reinforcements. We decided to try to regroup most of our friends who were present at a camping holiday we took ten years ago, over the Diamond Jubilee weekend in June 2002.
Our group occupied three tents and five wigwams (wooden huts), although we were careful to be considerate to the other campers. Heck, we're almost all got young children of our own, so the days of staying up until all hours have long disappeared over the horizon.
This was the second year in our 'big tent', an eight-manner that has so much space it feels if anything a little to big. This time round we brought an electric hook up and a portable heater, and this came in handy because the night-time temperatures fell close to freezing. Each night we added blankets and layers until by the last night we were able to sleep in relative warmth until 5.30am, which is the time every morning that the cows walk noisily passed.
Anyways, we all had a brilliant time. And if you can stand it, here are lots of photos to illustrate our long weekend. The first batch are from around the campsite, whilst the latter lot are from a Sunday outing to Bridlington with the McGuinness'.
Hi all. Having a nice relaxing time away. Weather has been fine but windy. Orville the Duck was part of the entertainment the other night great eh! See you all soon & don't work too hard. Love Lou, John & Thomas -x-.