On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Toad Rock, Tunbridge Wells

Daisy Bank – 6-9 April

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A repeat visit to Daisy Bank – maybe the 5th? But as it’s one of our favourite sites, we are more than happy to be returning. Other than its facilities and the location on the Shropshire/Powys border (it’s just in Wales) its proximity to my Aunt is a big draw.

My Aunty Vera lives in Kerry, which is just outside Newtown, a trip of roughly 20 minutes from Daisy Bank. It’s about a five hour trip from home when towing so it’s a long way for a weekend, but I try to pop up up once a year.

We left on Thursday morning, after Paul had done some urgent jobs. The plan was for him to take calls on the drive up and then, once we had arrived, pick up his work via the very good WiFi at Daisy Bank, enhanced by our Digital Yacht WL60, which boosts an incoming signal and allows him to work away from the office. It attaches by suckers to the outside of the caravan and seems to work very well. The UK price is roughly £100 plus vat, in case you’re interested. It works in conjunction with an iKConnect Router (£150 plus VAT). We connect this to the site’s WiFi and then we can use multiple devices. We don’t do any streaming of music or films as that takes up too much bandwidth and makes it very slow for others, so just browsing and sending and receiving emails. It’s a good solution if you need a reliable connection.

We arrived and were set up by about 4 and Paul went straight to work, pausing only to pick up a very good Indian takeaway from the excellent Ganges in nearby Bishop’s Castle. He worked until around 9 pm and then we watched a bit of tele and retired.

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Our favourite pitch

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I’ve been here before!

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The view from our front window

We had a very peaceful night’s sleep and Friday awoke us with sunshine. Amazing how happy a little sunshine makes you feel. We had breakfast and Paul immediately set his nose to the grindstone whilst I cleared up and got myself ready to see Aunty Vera.

I set off at around 10.30, popping in to the local Harry Tuffins in Church Stoke on the way to pick up some spring flowers. I had also made her a Bara Brith cake, which I hoped she’d enjoy. She made so many lovely things when I was a kid and I don’t think she can do so much cooking for herself these days, so I thought it’d be a nice treat. Sad to see that Tuffins have been bought out by Co-op. The sad demise of another family-run business which has an interesting history, dating back over 50 years.

I arrived and Nanny Lynne (my stepmother, who was down for a few days from her home in Oswestry) soon had the kettle on and we started chatting. This didn’t stop for some hours, going on through lunch at a local hostelry and into the late afternoon. It was briefly punctuated by a flying visit from my cousin Sarah and her daughter Flora, both on their way to a bead sale in Somerset (that being her business –  Bead Supermarket).  I eventually left around five, having had such a lovely time.

I drove back to Daisy Bank, by which time, Paul was ready and raring to go out. It was such a lovely evening and we went for a drive up to Stipertsones, where we took a short walk from the Knolls Car Park. The countryside was beautiful and there were loads of lambs gambolling in the fields and pretty blossom everywhere.

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IMG_6565We passed one of the mine shafts for which the area is renowned. Lead was what they were after and mining was a major industry in the area until the mid 20th century, when most of them fell into disuse.

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Disused Lead Mine

After another peaceful night, we had an arrangement to meet a friend for lunch, but her husband was poorly, so that was cancelled. It was another beautiful day and so we decided, instead, to go to Welshpool – “over the top” to make the most of the views. On the way there, we took a short hike up to a Bronze age stone circle, and it was well worth the effort. The views were breathtaking – if a little hazy.

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After that we pressed on to Welshpool, and Archie enjoyed sniffing the many and varied smells on offer. IMG_6634

We parked by the canal – known as “The Monty” and could not resist a photo of the lock.

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Welshpool is a pretty little market town with a nice independent feel, including one particularly nice clothes shop – Kathy Gittins – very “lagen look”. It sells a particular favourite of mine Mes Soeurs et Moi. But I digress. We had a little wander and then my friend – an ex ONS employee who has moved to this area -contacted me to say she’d like to join us for a coffee, as her husband was now in bed. It was lovely to see her and we spent a happy hour reminiscing and talking about our new, retired lives. Poor Paul.

I took a picture of the high street – mainly to show how blue the sky was.

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We made our way home via Powis Castle, which was heaving on this lovely day. I loved the gates. Very imposing.

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We stopped off on in Montgomery for a cuppa and a scone (which Paul considers the law when on holiday, you may recall?). After which, it was back to van and for a beepy.

Once refreshed, we had another cuppa and played a game of pétanque. Rather unusually, Paul won. 🙂

We passed the evening watching the box before settling down for our last night.

It’s always a wrench to leave this area and Sunday was no exception. We left nice and early so as to give ourselves some time to do outdoor jobs at home. For Paul – the lawn, for me – power-washing the patio. A great weekend and less than a week until our Easter Break in the Peak District. Bring it on!

I will leave you with a picture of my Aunt, who is my Dad’s oldest and only surviving sibling. She is very precious to me as I spent a lot of time staying with her, at her home in Herefordshire in the school holidays as a child and also at her holiday home in Pembrokeshire (now Dyfed – where we re bound later this year).  I have so many happy memories of those times and am very grateful to her and my late Uncle Roy.

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