On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Toad Rock, Tunbridge Wells

Dorset Hideaway Easter Mar/Apr 18

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Maundy Thursday  – 29th March

I just can’t get away from the old habit of going away on this day. Dates back to my 40+ years of being a Civil Servant and getting a half day. Not sure why we did? I was happy to take it though, and usually took an additional half day to make the most of it.

We departed at around 10.30. The journey time was estimated at just over 2 hours but we always stop for a coffee and break for Arch and we eventually arrived about 1.30 – just a shade early as our pitch was accessible from 2 p.m. but it was fine. The roads to the site are very narrow and steep, but there are passing places and it’s not too bad. I was relieved when we entered the site though – such a wuss! It was raining, not for the first time this weekend!

Our site – The Dorset Hideaway –  is very rural and it looked like we would have a peaceful few days. Bliss! There is a Spa, with hot tub and you can even hire a chicken and coop for your pitch (not if you have a dog though, sadly). We had a fully-serviced pitch and soon got set up – although we do have the issue of a leaky water barrel that needs resolving. Kettle on, light lunch and a short relax. Paul had a new external 3G/4G antenna to set up and test, so he got on with that. It seemed to work very well even though it was a very quiet rural location  (phones struggling a bit). We managed to stream Netflix with ease.

After a relax and a Google, I found that there was a Caravan Supplies shop very nearby in Charmouth so we set off to buy parts for the water barrel and to get our bearings. The shop – Dorset Leisure Centre was a real find. And the staff are very helpful and knowledgeable – and the stock is VAST! We got what we needed and few other bits to boot and then set off to see the harbour at Charmouth. we then went for a Cream Tea at the very pleasant Annie’s Tea Rooms .  (Facebook link) Highly, highly recommended. Very generous portions and reasonably priced.

Back to the van to discover we had a leak – the source of which seemed to be the shower tap. Wet carpet and a repair job required. Great. Good start. I hate plastic plumbing.

We had the first of our two Gousto meals for dinner, which was delicious. Potato Cakes with baked beans and streaky bacon. we’ve had it before but it’s worth a repeat. Dinner was originally planned to be a fresh Pizza cooked on our Cadac but the rain put paid to that idea!

We spent the rest of the day/night with the water pump off, meaning the joy of a fully serviced pitch was negated. And it rained – all night.

Good Friday – 30th March

I woke up after a very quiet night and – after checking not one, but two time pieces – I decided that, as our shower was US,  it would be a good time to nip over to the very smart shower block. It was a good call. Deserted! I had a lovely hot shower (although it was one of those push-button ones – not my favourite type) in solitary splendour.

Paul (and Arch!) was still snoozing when I got back to the van, so I had to sit quietly. On checking my phone, I noted that the time was actually only 07:20! No wonder I had had the place to myself. What an absolute nana!

Paul eventually arose, we had breakfast and then he started investigating the cause of the leak in more detail. It seemed that the tap had a minute crack. This may or may not have been caused by the recent freezing conditions. It’s hard to say. As we caravan all year round we don’t drain down all the pipework, as many people who put their caravans to bed from October to March do. But in ten years of caravanning, it’s never been a problem. Until now.

Another trip to the caravan shop, £50 and a new tap, pipework and connectors purchased. We then went to Waitrose in Bridport to collect out Click and Collect order. It was raining.

It being nearly lunch time, we decided to go to the Anchor Inn in Seatown.  Delightful location, but a VERY rude waitress/proprietor told us in no uncertain terms that they were full. Her manner was so brusque, we were both left open-mouthed. It was unbelievable.  We shall  certainly never darken their doors again!

We agreed that – as the coast was likely to be busy – we’d head inland and ended up at The Hare and Hounds in the village of Waytown. A  welcome from their lovely Border Terrier, a roaring fire and a plate of Ham, egg and chips improved our mood no end! They said thick cut ham – and boy did they mean it!! It was delicious too, but some of mine went home in a doggy bag – despite the avaricious eyes of the resident BT!! He was hard to resist, though.

We went back to the van – did I mention it was raining? I had a snooze (to make up for the early start, of course). Paul mended the tap – but left everything open – just in case. There was little info on the web about such matters so he wrote a Project page for this blog – a step by step guide –  which can be found here.

And then we spent the evening scanning old photos and watching the box. We watched Conspiracy Theory – an oldish film with Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson. Empire gave it 4 stars otherwise we wouldn’t have bothered and it was not too bad at all. Mel was acting for all he was worth!!

It rained all night!

Easter Saturday – 31st March

Kippers for breakfast. With fresh wholemeal bread. Divine. Been such a long time since I had kippers. Must do it more often.

Sometime during the night the rain had stopped. Great! We set off after brekker and our first port of call was Eypemouth. A delightful spot. We met a young BT and his hoomans, who were very nice and made a fuss of our old chap. I noticed today that his age is starting to show a bit and must admit to shedding a tear at the the thought of him leaving us, as he he will one day. But for the moment he had fun chasing sticks, although it was clear he didn’t like the surface on the beach.

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Fans of Broadchurch will recall this place

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Eypemouth Beach

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Arch – stepping stones

 

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Kay stepping stones

 

Next we went to West Bay – made famous recently by the gripping series “Broadchurch“, which we loved. It was fun spotting all the familiar locations and we had a nice walk round the harbour, before buying freshly baked pasties from The Cornish Bakery for our lunch. Cheese and Onion for me and Bacon, Leek and Cheese for Sumps.  And – joy of joys – Pastei de Nata. The pasties were nice, but we both wished we had gone “traditional”.  The tarts were delish! Almost as good as mine. Chuckle.

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West Bay – River Brit flow

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Too muddy!

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The famous cliff

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Made famous by Broadchurch

We sat and people watched as we had our lunch. By coincidence, we saw the people with the BT again. Stalkers!!

Next was a visit to Burton Bradstock – which my spellchecker very kindly spelt Burton Breadstick, which made me laugh! Thence onward to lovely Lyme Regis, which was – as usual – very busy indeed. We did eventually manage to find a KIA shaped space though. We went for a stroll along the Cobb and decided to complete the west Country triumvirate (Cream Tea, Pasty) with an ice cream. Salted Caramel and Maple Walnut, specifically. And very yummy it was. I had a good poke round the very well stocked hardware store  – Arthur Fordham and Co – and bought some (vital!) pan separators! The link is to their Facebook page, by the way, so will not work for non-users.

We got back to the van and all was well with the tap and the carpet was dry, so Paul put everything back together and stowed everything back in the cupboards. Nice to have the water back on!

As we had lunched well, we had what is known as a “Willowbridge” or “Boat” supper –  which is a selection of cold cuts/cheese/salad/dips etc etc. Always a favourite.

Another evening of scanning and telly ensued. And the rain held off. And, just as we were going to bed, Paul was in the bathroom, cleaning his teeth when he suddenly hollered “Pump off, Pump Off!”. The fix had failed and the carpets and cupboards were once again submitted to a wetting – although not as bad as last time. We put everything to dry again, and retired. Somewhat dejected…….

Easter Sunday – 1st April

This morning saw us making another trip to the Caravan shop where more advice was dispensed and more parts bought. And it’s not raining!

And then we set off to see what delights Axmouth and Seaton had to offer. They are either side of the mouth of the River Axe. Sadly the water was out so it was less picturesque than it might have been at high tide. But we did catch a glimpse of the Seaton Tramway , which goes to Colyton, before stopping for coffee on the esplanade at Seaton. In common with many places in these parts we observed that it must be hellish here in the full season. Too many people going after too few parking spaces. This time of year is just right. Our next visit was to Beer (you will have noticed that we are now in Devon by the way).

Beer is a very pretty town and we stopped for a while on the cliff top, where there are great views.

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Estuary at Axmouth

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Seaton

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Beer cliff top parking

 

We made our way home via Colyton (pretty, great church) and Axminster (not so much!) . We had a light, late lunch (cheese and crackers) and then did a bit of packing ready for the off tomorrow. All seemed well with the plumbing. So far so good.

Dinner was the 2nd Gousto meal – Beef and Mushroom Risotto. As always, very tasty.

Oh – and the rain started.

Easter Monday – 2nd April

Rain all night. Heavy rain. Thank goodness for ear plugs. All seemed well with the plumbing, the carpet was dry and everything else likewise, so we repacked everything. Hopefully for the last time!!

We finished packing up and were off site by 10 am. The roads were quite close to flooded and I was again relieved when we joined the main road. Which was also flooded in places. Progress was slow. But we eventually arrived home, after the usual stops at about 2 pm. Not the best break ever, but still a break from routine and some quality time for us and the dog. Roll on the next Bank Holiday, when we are off to Kent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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