After my few hours of peaceful bliss in the Himalayan Gardens of Minterne House I only had to go a further 2 miles to find my first Britstop overnight safe-place. Britstop is a "club" we joined just before I left. It's based on the "France Passion" system which we have been members of for a couple of years. Various small businesses like (in England) pubs and farm shops, and (in France) wine or cider and various similar farms, pubs and restaurants, offer free overnight accommodation to motorhomers in exchange for non-obligatory purchases from their business. It's perfect for us, takes us to corners of the countries which we never may have found normally, and provides safe accommodation, sometimes with water, power and cleaning facilities as well.
The Hunter's Moon, pictured below, was my first Britstop overnight in the UK, where I enjoyed a wholesome dinner in front of a blazing fire - which was so blazing I had to ask to be moved a little further away from it! - and a safe night's sleep. Mind you, ever since we installed good solid locks on the passenger and driver doors of Milly, alarms on all the windows including the skylight, and an excellent sliding lock on the habitation door, I sleep the sleep of the happy dreamer.
I thought I might like to try and incorporate
these two lovely sculptures into a
painting sometime. They're in the garden
of The Hunter's Moon.
I didn't get any pics of the next day, Saturday, which I spent with my sister Pat and brother-in-law Lindsay, at the site of my next Britstop overnight, a farm shop, cafe and art gallery in Pylle, Somerset (near Shepton Mallet). It was rainy and dull and we spent most of our time chatting non-stop over lunch in the cafe. True to form, my scatty sister provided the best laugh. She visited the loo while Lindsay and I pottered over to the well-stocked art gallery (www.pylleemporium.co.uk) for a gander. Pat joined me there and on our way back to the motorhome, past the cafe, she casually said: "Oh, I think I may have set off the fire alarm there." Evidently Lindsay had gone back to tell her where I was, and without thinking (told you, scatty) she turned to leave by the nearest door ... which just happened to be the No Exit Fire Alarm door! Being scatty Pat, she just carried on walking to find me, leaving mayhem and alarms ringing behind her.
Sunday was a lazy-driving meander in windy, but soft and warm sunshine, avoiding freeways (thanks to Hamba Kahle* the GPS), up to Meghan's house in Weston, Hertfordshire, where my blonde aka The Blonde and my 3 little grandgirls awaited with arms wide for Big Granny Hugs ... Holly's (the eldest) hug not as tight as usual thanks to a nasty 'flu bug she was enduring.
Next morning I kidnapped my daughter all to myself and we spent a lovely, jaw-wagging 24 hours together at my next Britstop overnight just outside of Cambridge. Pics below of our riverside parking in the grounds of a pub, and the beautiful late afternoon sky. Sadly the dinner wasn't anything to write home about.
The publican had assured me the ground was hard enough for me to park on overnight, and it felt okay to me too, so I took a chance. Hmmmm, it rained overnight and the next morning my front left wheel began to stubbornly dig itself in as we had sunk a little - probably due to the weight of water and paintings I was carrying.
Thanks to the days of Landrover driving in the complete no-wheres of Southern African desert and mud, I knew that a few well-placed twigs and small branches in front of each wheel, plus a little pushing help would do the trick. The publican and his son obliging came to be the pushing help. It didn't work at first but I realised that a little trick of playing with the clutch so that the motorhome rocked itself forward in and out of first gear, was the thing to do! Voila! And I earned a salute of respect from the publican who probably looked at this mother and daughter duo thinking he'd never get us out of there. He must have been relieved. I was.
We spent a lovely couple of hours wandering about Cambridge, along the river and at the edge of the University, having a delicious Chinese lunch, before heading back to the duties of Mum and Granny back home in Weston, just in time to take Evie to her swimming lesson. I don't have many (if any) photos of Evie from this trip .... she's a hard one to catch because she's either out playing with the neighbourhood kids, or swimming, or playing tennis or football. Hardly ever still for a moment.
Special days with my girls coming up .....