On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Holmbury Hill, Surrey

Brighton- 12-14 February 2016

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Friday 12th

We began our journey a little later than planned (OK – nearly an hour!) but such is life. We arrived at the Caravan Club site site  – formerly, and rather more romantically, known as Sheepcote Valley-  with just enough daylight to do the outside jobs. The check -in was swift and efficient and we used some of the CC vouchers that our dear old chums Linda Mary and Anna had given Paul for his birthday – essentially a free weekend! Thanks girls. Much obliged to ye.

We picked a lovely spot on the upper level overlooking the Downs and got cracking. It was pretty chilly outdoors! But soon, the van was warming up nicely ad we settled down to a cuppa and then disaster struck! NO MILK. Plenty of milk left at home, languishing in the fridge, but none here in the van. We made a quick mercy dash to Waitrose and whilst on the way, we realised no bread either. The person in charge of supplies (and indeed everything else!) needs a good kick up the rear, it seems.

We arrived back to a toasty van and put the oven on, ready to receive the lasagne that “the person in charge of supplies” (let’s call that person Kay) had made earlier. We ate it with a lovely rocket and watercress salad and watched a bit of television (good signal) before retiring to bed for an early night.

Sat 13th

It seems we very much needed that early night as we didn’t actually wake up until 10.10. a good 12 hours. Lovely. We made contact with Linda Mary and Anna and, as it was a vile rainy morning, invited them over to the van for lunch. They were in the middle of packing for a change of address, so they were happy to take a quick break. We had a lively and convivial lunch, watching people coming and going. One thing we saw struck a chord with us. Instead of fiddling around with hoses to fill his water butt, some chap had a length of 1 1/2″ white plumbing pipe which he was using to great effect. We thought this a great idea and set off with the girls – them to return home to continue packing and us in search of a B&Q to buy 1 1/2″ white plumbing pipe!

We drove to a very run down shopping centre (Pavilion), on Lewes road, where B&Q was the only surviving retail outlet. The Halfords and Currys were both boarded up and the pub opposite the site was also boarded. Sad times. The pipe comes in 2 meter lengths and would require cutting to an optimum length for the job in hand. The trouble was – what was that optimum length?   We pondered and then spotted something that might be even  better and thus bought a telescopic waste pipe of the same bore,  a bit like the  one in this link. We will see how how that gets on – there’s a slight query about the durability of the telescopic bit. We’ll let you know.

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Driving back to camp with our new pipe!

We drove back to the van and spent the afternoon reading and snoozing, while the rain rained on. This is one of the things we love about our caravan. At home, there are always jobs to do, but in the van we can totally relax if we want to,. And we often do want to!.

Soon it was time to shower and dress ready to pick the girls up and go out for dinner. We had chosen the divine Fato a Mano, a place we had visited before for Lind Mary’s birthday. It is a very authentic pizza restaurant, dominated by a huge blue and white mosaic-tiled wood-fired pizza oven. They produce great pizzas with lovely springy crust. The staff are very friendly and it’s always heaving, with people (those who hadn’t booked like we had) outside waiting for a table. Even on a chilly evening. We had a mixture of starters, some lovely pizzas and all this followed by a beautifully presented affogato. Scrumdiddlyumptious. It was a lovely evening spent in a very pleasant atmosphere of a crowd of apparently fun-loving people enjoying their Saturday evening. And we were with the Babbies. Treat!

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Nightime in Brighton

We dropped the girls home, had a coffee and went to bed. We set an alarm as we had another old friend coming to visit in the morning.

Sun 14th – Happy Valentine’s day!

The alarm went off at 9 and we sprang into action. OK. We didn’t spring. We loafed a bit and then yawned a bit and then cuddled a bit and then we got up. We exchanged cards, made brekker, ate it, washed up and did a bit of packing in preparation for a 12 noon departure. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day on the Downs.

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Our view of the Downs

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Our pitch

Shortly, we got a call from Emma – a friend of some 25 or 30 years standing who also lives in Brighton. Paul went and picked her up and we had coffee and a lovely long catch up. That’s the beauty of old friends. You can just pick up where you left off. It was lovely to see her but all too soon it was time for her to go and tend to her family and for us to quickly pack up and go. We did this in record time and left the site only 2 minutes late. We arrived back home at about 1.30 and thus still had plenty of Sunday left to see Mum. cook dinner, unpack and relax. George brought the dog back (we had not taken him this time because of going out for dinner). It was strange in the van without him and he’ll certainly be with us next time. That will be at the end of March, when we have a a long (Easter) weekend near Tunbridge Wells planned. Roll on Easter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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