Saturday, 31 October 2015

Are we going to Scarborough (Scratch That) Bampton fair?

Wednesday 28 October

Moving site day today so lying in bed is not an option.  We peel ourselves off the sheets by 9am and set about breaking camp.  It doesn’t take long and by 10.15am we are done and I’m doing a couple of laps of the dog walk with the hounds.

Out of the site we turn right and follow the A39 for a few miles before turning right onto the A391 to traverse the moor.  The village of Dunster was interesting, rammed with early morning traffic and shoppers crossing the busy and narrow road with gay abandon.

With Dunster but a fading image in our mirrors we settle in for what turned out to be a delightful tow over Exmoor.  Vera behaved herself and held the rig firm through all the twists and turns, only scrabbling for grip on one particularly nasty hairpin.  It was hard to keep rolling at times though, what with having to brake regularly to avoid hitting Kamikaze pheasants.

The roads are traffic free and before too long we are skirting Dulverton.  We pass the club site at Exbridge, remarking at how nice it looks and that we will have to stay there one day, before realising that it’s only 11.30am and we are too early to arrive at site.

Just before a narrow bridge I spot a large riverside car park that looks ideal to stop and have a sandwich until we can make our way to the site at 12 noon.  Herself is uneasy though and will have none of it, apparently it’s the overspill car park for the pub opposite.

I know when I’m beat and we head on over.  The dogs are allowed inside, and as pleasant as the beer garden is, inside was beckoning as the sun retreated behind a cloud.  The toasted sandwiches were rather good and at 12.15pm we make our way into Dulverton.

We’re pulling into the site gates of the Caravan Club’s Exmoor House site at 12.25pm and no sooner than I’d applied the parking brake I’m confronted by the male warden as I climb out of Vera.  He’s in my face straight away and I’m given a dressing down at full volume in front of  an audience of other campers.

I’ve not been spoken to like that since I was caught running a dinner token racket in school at the age of 11, and to be honest it took me back a bit.  I retreated to Vera and took a few moments to compose myself and reflect on what had just happened.

I’ll admit we’d committed the most heinous of crimes in arriving a little early, but in the service industry there are ways of addressing paying customers.

Mr Charisma Bypass stormed off to vent more of his anger on some leaves with a blower while Herself and I consider our options.  Neither of us fancy stopping here if what we have just been subjected to is the norm, so I get on the blower to the site back at Exbridge.  The lady warden confirms they have room so I then bell Caravan Club Towers to get them to cancel my booking for Colditz and ask that they make a fresh one for Lakeside at Exbridge.

With that all sorted Herself goes to the office to inform them that we will not be stopping while I head off to do a circuit of the site to turn around.

It would now appear that I have committed another hanging offence, I’ve moved Vera off the white line in the road without first being instructed to do so by Mr Charisma Bypass.  As I round the last bend I spot a lady rushing up the slope towards me and she flags me down.  I’ve no idea who she is but she looks angry.  She was not in uniform so until she shouted at me that she was THE warden for this site I did not know this.

Mrs Charisma Bypass now starts to  mouth off at me before Herself joins us and tells her to calm down as we are not stopping.  We bid them farewell as we leave, promising to take up the matter with Caravan Club Towers.

We retrace our steps, laughing in disbelief at what had just happened, back to Exebridge and the sanctuary of the site based there.  You often hear stories on the internet about over zealous site wardens, and those that could do with some customer relations training, but in my 22 years of caravanning and 11 years of CC membership I can honestly say this is the first time I ever encountered them.

Little did we know earlier when we remarked about stopping here one day that it would be so soon.

Setting up was a doddle, except for me getting a telling off from the warden for filling my bucket from the wrong tap, and it would appear that Mrs Charisma Bypass has already been on the blower to this site to warn hem about us.

Once done we drove back to Dulverton to have a bit of a mooch.  We bought some new blinkers for the hounds and some grape juice for Herself, before making a bee line for the Bridge Inn for some refreshments (including the obligatory bag of pork scratchings for the dogs)

Vera is in a sorry state and is in desperate need of a wash, there is nothing local so we head off in the general direction of Tiverton where we find a hand car wash run by a group of Poles.

They were doing a sterling job, fair play, even washing and wiping down all the door struts.  What we didn’t expect them to do however was open up the boot lid.  Herself shouted at me ….. BOOT … and I exited Vera poste haste, skidding around the back in an effort to stop Gwawr jumping out to play with the traffic on the forecourt.

The sight that greeted me had me in stitches.  Vera’s boot lid was open, Cerys, Tali and Gwawr all sat there frozen and wondering who this strange bloke is who has opened the boot.  The poor young Pole is frozen with panic thinking will they run for it? Will they bite me?

We drive a sparkly clean Vera back to site and while I take the dogs off round the superb onsite dog walk, Herself gets into Nigella mode and cooks up a feast using some of the cheap lamb that we bought last night.

No beach tonight, and the dogs are missing it.

Nos da

Thursday 29 October

It rained quite a bit overnight and when we stir the wind is giving our new awning a bit of a going over.  To be honest it's a bit like re-watching the Bruno Bugner fight in the 80s as our awning keeps bouncing back off the ropes to deliver a stubborn but effective blow.

By 10.30am our Derek's latest weather warning has come to nothing again and I take the dogs over to the walk so that they can have a good stretch and carry out their necessary functions.

We have plans for today, as today is the main reason that we have come to this part of the world this week.  You see, today is Bampton Fair.  We've been here before and know it's a good day.  Just think Neath Fair, but with far less chavs.

Bampton Fair existed even before King Henry III granted it a Royal Charter in 1258 and it is always held on the last Thursday of October. It is one of the oldest surviving Charter Fairs in the country.

We handed over a fiver for the pleasure of parking up Vera on the waterlogged quagmire that used to be the football pitch, leaded the dogs and headed down into the village.

The place is bouncing.  Heaving with people and dogs, loads of stalls as well as party tents, food tents and street entertainers doing their stuff on every corner.  We walk the length of the village browsing the stalls, but making any sort of progress is difficult.  Herself has Gwawr on her lead and she's attracting a fair bit of attention. It's as if these people have never seen a puppy before.

A farmer stops Herself asks a few questions while still giving Gwawr the once over, opens her gob to take a look at her teeth and then asks how much we want for her.  He's got my attention now and Gwawr must be of good stock, so I'm intrigued as to how much profit there is in her.  On entering into the negotiation process I am treated to a kick in the shins from Herself as she announces that the puppy is not for sale.

Some git is also selling snappits, and it would appear that every snotty nosed little darling in the vicinity has been treated to a pack.  It's like walking through down town Beirut, and Cerys is none too happy.  She's dragging her heels and at one point sits down and refused to move.  We take sanctuary outside the relatively calm Quarryman's Rest and take the opportunity to throw a few pints of Thatcher's Gold down our necks with the rest of the revellers.

We can delay it no more, and run the gauntlet again back through the village.  We make it through to the other side and find a park bench next to the fair ground to sit on and tuck into beef rolls.

We could have spent a few more hours here, and I fancied getting a few more of these giant Welsh cakes, but Cerys really wasn't happy here and fair play to her she rarely grumbles about anything, so we climbed the hill back to the swamp to retrieve Vera and set off for a spin over Exemoore.

We traversed the National Park as far as Simonsbath on the lookout for somewhere tidy to go for a walk.  We didn't find anywhere as much of the land appears to be privately owned.  Onward we traveled to South Molton, it looks nice and promises a pannier market on Thursdays, but by now Herself in in "See the world from the comfort of Vera" mode, so we didn't stop.

Back on site we chill for an hour or so before tea. I used a few bottles of Cobra beer to aid the relaxation process as we sat in the awning watching all the other caravanners drift back after their days out.

We'd promised ourselves a drink out this evening, and there is a path that runs from the bottom of the site over some private land to the nearby Anchor Inn.  The wardens had warned us that even though it's a public right of way, the witch who owns the adjoining land doesn't like visitors using it as a thoroughfare, and she may challenge you.

It's pitch  black as we leave the site.  Herself and I holding torches and the dogs with their blinkers on as we pass between the two gates and head off between the two lakes.  Sure enough, the land owner starts to chase us yelling some incoherent rubbish in out general direction.  We didn't break step, and are on the public highway before the witch catches up.

Some of our neighbors are outside having a smoke as we arrive an they tell us that it would appear that the whole of the Caravan Club site are in the bar, and sure enough as we enter, all the faces that turn to face us are familiar.  the hotel obviously does more trade this time of year from caravanners than it does from hotel guests!

The Thatchers is going down  a treat and I'm getting  a little concerned about navigating the path between the lakes on the way back.  It's nice to have somewhere so close that is dog friendly, with them being allowed into the bar area with you.  We looked around, and a quick tail count says there are 11 dogs in the small bar area, including our 3.  All was well until another couple came in with their 4 month old spaniel puppy who started to yap at everything and peed all over the floor in excitement.

Judgement is never at it's best after a shed load of cider, and for some reason we reckoned that it would be safer to return to site waking along the unlit B3222 and A396.  It wasn't that far, but it's surprising how fast passing traffic can seem when you're on foot in the pitch dark.  suppose it didn't really help that Herself was dressed in black jeans and a her black coat as these would be warmer!

Anyway, we got back to the site in one piece, but suffuce to say, we won't be coming back that way at night any time soon.

Nos da

Friday 30 October

Herself sorts out a breakfast of scrambled eggs before we hit the road today towards Glastonbury. Traffic was heavy and it took us some time to get there.

Herself loves the place and whilst I quite like it for its eclectic mix of people, there are a few too many witches about that give me the ebejeebies.  If your weekly shopping list contains items such as a voodoo doll and frogs feet, then I'm afraid you frighten me.

After parking up we leave the dogs in Vera while we head off down the Gauntlet towards the main drag and are immediately accosted by a chugger.  I am wise to him and barge past his outstretched arms but he has Herself in his net.  She is far too nice a person sometimes and would do better telling some people to do one.

Herself is in her element darting in and out of all the Witches' shops selling all sorts of weird shite and whilst I am ok in some of them, I stop dead in my tracks at the threshold of others.

Mind you, some of those I went into I wished I hadn't.  Not the witches behind the tills, but the prices they were charging for some of the stuff, I mean, £750 for a meditation chair????

On the main square there was a silent vigil for peace taking place.  I know this because they had it written on pieces of card they were holding.  Herself knows me all too well, and I'm dared not to go up to them to ask what they are doing.

All Glasto'd out we make the short journey over to the Clarkes shopping outlet at Street.  Herself shifts up the gears in spending mode quite smoothly and in no time at all a few hundred notes have escaped my wallet.  I'm sweating now, really sweating, and am relieved when she suggests that its time to leave.

We return to site and stop long enough to walk and feed the dogs before shooting over to the Anchor Inn once more for an evening meal.  I went for the light option of a full mixed grill and washed it down with a few pints of Thatchers.

Back at the van I immediately set about the task of sleeping it off, waking at 10pm just in time to go to bed.

Nos Da

Saturday 31 October

Up early this morning after and early night last night.  We have broken camp and are hitched up and handing in our barrier code by 9.15am.  The warden is very friendly, perhaps after 3 nights he's now realised that we are not the villains that the previous wardens had made out.  Obviously too late for us to be invited to their cheese and wine party that they held in reception last night, to which many of the other caravanners had been invited.

We're cruising towards J27 of the M5 where we stop briefly for fuel before joining the steady flow of traffic.  The 152 mile journey was uneventful, exactly how you want it towing a 1.5t tin box, and we're pulling up outside home at 12.15 pm.

We've had a wonderful week again in the West Country, until next time ...

Da bo

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Swimming in Canals Where Exmoor Meets The Sea

Our Autumn break has been eagerly anticipated and Herself and I have been counting down the weeks impatiently since our last brief outing.

We've changed our tow car since our last trip out.  Miranda has been packed off to a retirement home and has had her place taken by Vera, a 2010 Volvo V70 R-Design.  Vera is quick, and not as thirsty as Miranda, but I'm keen to give her a go at towing.  I don't expect her to be as competent as Miranda but still have high hopes.

Both Vera and the van needed a bucket of water throwing over them and I treated them both to a Ronnie special - snow foam and everything - and threw some folding in his direction for the pleasure.

Both vehicles now sparkly clean for our jaunt to the West Country (Again!!!)

Friday 23 October

For a change, I have to work today and Herself is off, so whilst I face the wrath of the council's scrutiny committee in the chamber, Herself is charged with loading up the van ready for the off.

With my duties dispensed with before lunch I'm attempting to break the land speed record between junctions 42 and 48.

Herself had taken herself off to the bacon van for some rolls for us to throw down our necks before leaving, and by 2pm we are on the road and hitched up ready for the off.

Initial thoughts are good.  Vera's got loads of power and accelerates up the slip road to the legal limit without breaking into a sweat.  White van man does his best by swerving towards the dotted line as he hurtles past us but the rig stays steady.  We hit traffic in Port Talbot and my heart climbs up towards my Adam's Apple as a warning light comes up on the dash.

Not fancying stopping on the hard shoulder I continue, and to be honest Vera is running like clockwork.  I promise myself that I'll pull off on the next junction if she so much as hiccups, but she doesn't, and I make the same promise.  Herself is unaware of all this and before I know it we're pulling off at the services on the M5 to let the dogs have a stretch.  Herself goes for a pee and I Google the light.  It's an emissions warning light and the general consensus is that if the car is still running carry on and get it checked out.

At 5.15pm we are pulling into the Caravan Club's site at Minehead with Vera having behaved impeccably all the way.  We are unable to check in as they've shut down the computers, we have to surrender our membership card, pitch up on pitch 9 and go back to pay in the morning.

The pitch was a little awkward to access, but once on it it was huge.  Since our last trip out I'd been back to Go Outdoors for a refund on the awning, so we had another new one to erect.  This of course takes longer with working it out and attaching ladders to all the pegging points, nevertheless we are set up in no time ready to enjoy the rest of the week.

We take a spin down to the sea front where we walk the dogs on the beach in the inky darkness, looking over the channel towards Barry.  Cardiff is to our right and the glow to the left in the distance is above Swansea.

Just down the road from the site is a row of shops, including many takeaways and among other things, an independent Pet shop.  Herself waits for our Chinese and I take the opportunity to take a look in the pet shop window, sucking in great quantities of air through my teeth looking at the prices they charge for stuff!!

Back at the van we settle down with our supper and watch The Scarlets triumph over Munster despite the best efforts of a cheating Irish referee.

It's not a late one tonight as we're both on our chin straps.

Nos da

Saturday 24 October

It rained overnight.  It rained a lot.

Herself was up and taking the dogs out as I stirred in my pit.  Three dogs would be too much for her so I'm rushing to get dressed to catch her up.  Despite running (well, walking as fast as I could) after her and doing two full circuits on the woodland walk I failed to find her.  back up to the van I trudge, a wet and sweating mess, where she is back and has the kettle on.

I get on the blower to Mayday at 9am to call them out to feel Vera's bumps before I trudge back down the hill to settle up at reception.  After nearly 3 hours the grease monkey shows up, I explain what;s wrong, he plugs her into his computer, clears the fault codes, revs the guts out of her and says "There you go!"

He was with us all of 5 minutes, and it turns out it was a message to do with the EGR valve.

A late breakfast of bacon and egg rolls is rustled up by mois, whilst Herself enjoys some personal contemplation.

After a quick scrub up with some Dettol and a wire brush we head off out.  Herself has decided that Gwawr needs some toys.  Now I know there is no way that I could enter and leave the pet shop down the road without feeling the need to punch the owner in the chops so I instruct Herself to do some Googling.  It would appear that Tiverton is the place to go and It's B & M Bargains.

The spin over Exmoor is nice and all the autumnal colours are a sight to behold.  With B & M Bargains done and dusted we need to find somewhere to walk the dogs.  Just outside town we park up at the canal basin and take off along the tow path on the Grand western Canal.

It's very scenic and we're enjoying the quietness.  The dogs are having a whale of a time running free but we're keen for them to stay dry.  We walk for about a mile before turning back and we're almost back at the basin when Gwawr falls into the canal about 30m ahead of us.  Herself shreaks and I reassure her that she'll be ok and will be back out now.

Only she doesn't as the bank is a good 18" above the water level.  I'll tell you this now, The Hoff has got nothing on me.  I run to catch up (second time today mind that I've broken into something more than a gentle amble) and try and find a spot that is free from dog shit to lie down.

Gwawr is now thrashing the water to a foam, Herself is shreaking louder and louder and I'm down on my belly, crawling commando stylee towards the edge.  I eventually get hold of her collar and yank her out of the freezing water, having failed in my previous three attempts and getting soaked up to my armpits.

I get to my feet and I'm in a sorry state, soaked with bright red mud. I wasn't expecting a medal or even a superman tee shirt, but some gratitude may have been nice.  I carefully crawl backwards from the edge, taking extra care not to plant my palm in some dog mess and haul myself vertical.  By the time I look up Herself and the dogs have already gone leaving me all  by my self for the other  normal people to laugh at.

The spin back over the moor is very pleasant and we stop off at Morrisons for provisions before returning to site for an evening meal of comfort food.

In the dark we head for the beach again to walk the dogs before returning to the van where Herself watches Saturday night TV and I tap some keys.

Nos da

Sunday 25 October

The clocks went back last night, except someone forgot to let the dogs in on the secret.  We're doing a lap of the dog walk with them by 6.30am and have the place to ourselves.  The sun is just coming up and it looks like it's going to be a nice day.

Back at the van we breakfast on scrambled egg before I attempt to clean myself up in an effort not to look like I should be selling copies of the Big Issue!  I'm afraid to say that I played the "Gamble with the water level" game and was found more wanting than the England rugby team at their own world cup.  Just got lathered up and the shower head starts to spit at me.  Now some people pay good money to have that done to them, which is all well and good in a brothel, but not much good when trying to shower.

Dunster Castle is close by so we make tracks by midday.  First though I want to call into the outdoor shop in Dunster, we couldn't park so abandoned the effort and made straight for the castle managed by The National Trust and a band of robbing barstewards ..... sorry, able volunteers.

We pulled into the car park and I start to feel faint when they want £2.50 off me to park up, but I duly fed some coins into the meter and we make our way up the hill to the castle.  Here the gits want another £7.50 each off us to go in.  It went against all my instincts, but I coughed the dosh.  Not 30 seconds later I'm starting to boil as the goon in a green fleece cheerfully informs us that dogs are not allowed into the castle but we are welcome to walk the paths of the estate!

Herself senses the danger and drags me away before I make a scene.  There are no flies on her and she follows the sign to the tea rooms where I am sat at a table and presented with a pot of tea and a slice of rather nice ginger cake in an effort the placate me.

With my blood pressure restored to normal we set off again following the path through the woodland trail.

All of a sudden we are back in the village and on public land, we round the corner and re-enter the estate through an unmanned gate!  The steam again starts to rise, as we could have done what we have for free by parking in the village on the road and using this entrance. £17.50 down the drain mind!

We pass the Dream Garden, but it's rammed full of dreamers so didn't bother stopping and continued up to the stable block and gift shop.  I bag a jar of lemon curd and a jar of whortleberry jam for coupons before we take the dogs down to the river.  It's very pleasant and the views over the grassland back to the castle on the hill are spectacular.

With dogs worn out We make a second attempt at visiting the outdoor shop and managed to park up in the shade, mind you after spending all of 30 seconds inside the place we were wishing we hadn't bothered.  The owner takes umbridge when I ask him if he's got the decimal point in the wrong place on some of the "on sale" tickets and we exit post haste.

I pop into the bogs and when I came out Herself is rather amused.  I ask why, but she wont say.  I press her all the way back to the car before she is willing to start speaking.

She starts to describe how this stunning blonde lady, wearing a mini skirt, high heeled boots (she had my attention) perfect makeup has just arrived in the tattiest old transit van you've ever seen.  My eyes are scanning 360 degrees trying to see who she's on about and am quietly cursing that Herself had not brought this matter to  my attention a little earlier.

We make our way back to site via Tesco for provisions  and  take the opportunity to chill for a few hours, watch the second semi final and have tea, before heading off back down to the sea front to walk the dogs one last time today.  Apart from a few fishermen we have the place to ourselves and the dogs enjoy the freedom to run free.

Back at the van we waste no time in changing into our PJs and pour ourselves some light refreshments to while away the long dark evening.

Nos da

Monday 26 October

We've been lucky with the weather so far this week, and we wake to flashes of blue and white through the sky light as the wind blows the light cloud cover clear.

I get up and take the dogs to do a few laps of the on site dog walk.  They love it up there, lots of twists and turns and loads of places to stick their noses.

After that it was time to do all the outside jobs.  Fill the aquaroll, empty the wastemaster, empty the bin, empty the bog as well as getting a replacement gas cylinder.  While I'd been building up a sweat traipsing up and down the hill, Herself had been giving the inside of the van a quick clean, but more importantly, cooking up some bacon and getting a brew on.  Breakfast was taken sat outside with the dogs watching the site come to life.

With breakfast done and dusted we all pile into Vera and make the short trip over to Torre Cider Farm.  We've been here before and know exactly what we want, but still play the tasting game, well it would be rude not to.  I hand over some folding and come away with a few gallons of paint stripper.

Herself is quite taken with the piglets and is at pains to point out how cute they are, and that they are actually for sale.  I point to their mam saying "look what they turn in to"  and win the debate rather easily.

Vera's nose is then pointed back towards Minehead where we park up next to the railway and take a walk up The Parade.  Herself doesn't really do shopping and soon suggests refreshments.  The terrace in front of The Hairy Dog looks inviting and more importantly, completely empty.  I am dispatched to the bar to get some drinks and something light to eat as a snack.

Our snack arrived and it would appear that Herself's and my idea of something light differ somewhat.

One thing that really grips my innards is inconsiderate smokers.  Our food arrives and we are the only ones on the outside terrace, on which there are at least 12 empty tables.  This trollop comes out with a coffee and plonks herself down on the table right next to us.  She then spends the next 15 minutes lighting up three times and polluting the air all around.  I have no idea what she was smoking but it smelled like some exotic mix of horse manure and bus tickets!!

Herself does some shopping for Ronnie and Roids before we jump into Vera and point her towards Porlock Wier.  It's a charming place, not much there except a few pubs and shops, but it's really busy.

We park up, lead the dogs and set off to explore.  It didn't take long, and Herself lost herself in a glass shop for a while, picking up some gifts that she doesn't know who for yet.

Shopped out, refreshments are called for and we grab a table outside The Ship Inn, order a couple of pints and just sit watching all the comings and goings whilst bribing the dogs to be good with the contents of a packet of pork scratchings.

Herself is full of cold, not full on Manflu like I had earlier in the week, but she's claiming to feel a bit poorly and is flagging a bit, so we make tracks back to site to chill for a few hours.

Time flies and before too long it's dark and we're heading back down to the sea front again.  we walk the dogs along the beach, which again we have to ourselves, just two torch lights and three blinking red lights in the darkness.  Not so much room tonight though as the tide had not retreated that far.  It's quite peaceful though, that is if you ignore the sound of the NEDS racing up and down the sea front with their souped up Saxos.

We pick up a pizza from Rominos' close to the site, and I must say that the gaff fully deserves the 5 star rating it has on Google.

Been a nice day again today

Nos da

Tuesday 27 October

Our last full day on this site today and @DerekTheWeather is not speaking my language, in fact he's issued a weather warning - how inconsiderate, does he not know I'm on my holibobs?

The view from the wobble box window is none too encouraging, but by late morning we are getting cabin fever and head off out for the day.

We turn left out of the site and follow the A39 along the Heritage Coast through Porlock and Lynton where we turned up into the gorge to our destination at Waters Meet, taking in the spectacular coastal views as we traveled, with the weather doing it's very best to clear up.

Parked up, we lead the dogs and make for the path down into the deep valley, after having fed yet another fist full of coins into yet another parking meter.

The path is steep, very steep, as it snakes it's way down the the valley floor.  I'm looking at the state of some people as they haul themselves back up the hill and am starting to worry a bit about my ability to get back up it without having to call out mountain rescue.

We hit the bottom and follow the river down the valley towards Lynton for about a mile. The scenery is quite breathtaking, though not quite as much as I fear the climb back out of here is going to be.

We find a crossing point and make our way back up the valley.  It's just a gentle climb but it's enough to get the blood pumping.  We get to the top of a tump and like a mirage in the desert, the tea rooms that are run by the National Trust appear out of the mist.

We bag a table on the terrace undercover and are happy to note the absence of any smokers - probably all saving their lungs for the walk back to the car.  I go in and order some sandwiches, crisps, cake, tea and coffee whilst Herself fends off all the attention that Gwawr is attracting.

Lunch was very pleasant, very pleasant indeed, and the Trust must be commended for keeping this place going.  There is no charge for entry into the valley, so it's therefore disappointing to see freeloaders taking advantage.  We picnic quite often, but would not think of taking up tables to eat a packed lunch while paying customers stand to wait for a free table.  shame the same could not be said for the couple that planked themselves down next to us!!

Not able to delay our departure anymore, we motivate ourselves enough to move and join the group of people stood at Base Camp 4 on the lower slopes of Mt Everest, bracing themselves for what is to come.  There are mountain goats stood to one side sucking air through their teeth and muttering "Bugger that" as we take the bit between our teeth and go for it.

By the time we get to the first hairpin my calves are burning, we pretend to stop and take in the view before setting back off, by the second bend I'm blowing out of my rear end and my calves feel like they're going to explode.  By now I'm looking round for asthma sufferers to mug for their pumps!  I stop to empty the dog's water bottle that I'm carrying in the day sack and Herself stops me ditching yesterday's shopping that we forgot to take out before setting off.

We get to the top, just, and take 5 minutes to regain some composure before walking up the road in view of the general public towards the car.

We retrace our steps back along the A39 until Herself spots a sign for a scenic route back.  I spot a glitch straight away.  It's a toll road.  I am however persuaded that if they are charging for it, it must be good and am warned not to say anything to the man in the toll booth about him not dressing up for the part!

What a load of tosh, it follows the same route as the A39, except that it's about 40m lower in altitude as it clings to the edge of Exmoor!  We rejoin the A39 after driving through some trees and continue on past Minehead to the beach at Dunster.

Herself had a debate about whether we should pay to park - she won - and after feeding another fist full of coins into the meter we set off along the beach.

We've had a great day out, and our Derek's weather warning came to nothing, just a few heavy showers this morning.  Back on site we have new neighbours, a big fifth wheeler - blocks out our view lovely it does.

We need shopping so take a spin down to Morrisons where it appears we have timed it just right.  Nanna Coupons would be so proud - over £52 of ribeye, topside and lamb for under £8. All cling filmed and in the freezer.

Moving day tomorrow to another site in the middle of the National Park

Nos da