Sunday, 4 June 2017

A Rather Deflating Experience at Llanmadoc

Friday 26 May

We've an extended break booked for this coming week, taking in the spring bank holiday weekend. I'm in work today, but a nice e mail to the Ayatollah bags me an early finish.

By 12.00 hrs I'm breaking the land speed record heading west on the M4, stopping briefly to give Vera a drink, before hitching the van up to head off.  By 2pm we are cruising the north Gower roads in bright, hot sunshine with clear blue skies.

The final few miles to our chosen site are never easy, mostly being very narrow single track efforts.  The experience is made none the less stressful by the appearance of a coach full of school kids on a blind bend.

The drama of that episode fades quickly though as we pull rattle over the cattle grid into Phillistone Farm in Llanmadoc.  It's a wonderful site, with views directly over Broughton Bay looking straight over Carmarthen Bay towards Tenby and Saundersfoot.

My solar panel takes an absolute hammering during the setting up process, and I'm a bit hot and bothered.  Our new Vango Kalari awning seems to be going up better too, until we can't seem to get any pressure in one of the Air Beams.  Herself can hear a hissing sound, but I'm puzzled as we've only used it once and it was fine last time out.

I unzip the bladder and connect it once more to the pump, and it appears there's a split in the end seam.  I apply a patch and leave it set while I throw a few pasties down my neck washed down with a few cans of Coke Zero.

I dare not inflate it to full pressure so adjust the gauge and give it just 2 Psi (enough for it to hold its shape) and continue the setting up process.  Hopefully it will last the week as a replacement will take some time to arrive!

The rest of the afternoon is taken up with some personal contemplation time in the recliners.  Well it would have been if our neighbours had not produced a 10 week old puppy for Herself to fawn over and the owner not turned up demanding a fist full of folding for us to abandon our caravan in his field for a week!

It gets to 18.30 hrs and rumbling bellies occupy our thoughts.  neither of us can be bothered to cook, so a takeaway curry is decided upon.  We're out in the sticks here though, so a spin back to Donksville is required.

With the meal ordered and a 20 min delay we decide to take the dogs over to the estuary for a cooling dip.  It would appear that the rest of the world has the same idea as the banks of the Loughor estuary are packed.  We walk to a quiet spot and let them slash around until it's time to collect our grub.

Back at the van it's devoured before we set up the recliners one last time today looking west towards Saundersfoot as the sun sets.

We retreat to the awning as the damp air descends and sit up chatting until bed time.  I've been struggling to get my internet up and running, so Herself seizes the opportunity and we talk for hours, probably the most we've talked in quite some time.

Saturday 27 May

To quote the 1980s advert for Carling Black Label .........

" I’ve never known a night like it … and I ain’t looking forward to the journey home neither!"

What a night!

I was awoken at 03.00 hrs by what seemed to be a strobe light going off.  It was the start of one of the longest storms I have known.  Herself does not like thunder and lightening one bit and she woke up really edgy.  The dogs were fine, until she convinced them that there was something to be worried about!

The torrential rain hammered on the roof in between the claps of thunder while the van it lit up by strobes!  We the started to get wet as the rain found its way under the roof vents.  They were shut tight and we spent the next 2 hours storm watching as God put on a first class light show.

The pitter patter of rain continued for the rest of the night and we were in no rush to get out of bed this morning.

Anyway, the awning survived the night but the semi inflated beam is deflecting somewhat in the stiff breeze.  I give it another psi and cross my fingers.

A very lazy morning was had, punctuated briefly by poached eggs.  Cabin fever started to close in by 14.00 hrs and we decided we needed a spin out.  First off we stop by at Mike Davies Leisure at Killay so we can pick up a puncture repair outfit for our new awning - I've not yet fessed up to you readers about how I need one for our brand new £1000 awning as it is still far too painful to regurgitate for your amusement.  Suffice to say that Herself thinks I should be in the Crayola Class in school, and has missed no opportunity to remind me of such at every opportunity!

We spin around and follow the south Gower road all the way to Port Eynon.  Even though it's not long stopped raining when we arrive the place is rammed.  Part of the beach is sectioned off her for dogs, so our two enjoy a run around on the sand and an explore of the rock pools.

This dog walking is thirsty work, so after being turned away from The Smugglers because they don't serve beer without food, and they'd stopped serving food, we joined the rest of the village crammed into the Ship and its beer garden and enjoyed a pint of Lighthouse Ale while the live band warmed up.

Time is getting on though, and we make tracks back to the van and my TV, you see The Scarlets are playing in the Pro12 final this evening out in Dublin, and I've a coolbox full of Amstel to keep me company and calm my nerves.

The sun makes a late appearance and Herself settles down outside on a recliner listening to me shout at Nigel Owens from a safe distance.

We won, and we won well.  In fact it was a proper old fashioned prison shaming for the boys from SW Ireland.

After last night's disturbed night we took off to bed at 10:00 hrs and were out cold in a matter on minutes.

Sunday 28 May

After a superb night's kip we don't stir until 09.30 hrs.  Herself looks outside and the weather is half tidy - certainly better that what @DerekTheWeather had promised.

We get on the blower to The Olds and invite them over for the afternoon.  We need supplies to feed them though, so while Herself takes a shower I pop off to CKs to hand over far too much folding for a few bag fulls of food and drink.

It's getting quite warm and my own personal solar panel is taking a hammering - it'll sting in the shower later!

Herself had said for them to come over at 13.00 hrs, and sure enough, bang on time Grumbles' passion wagon is rumbling over the cattle grid with Creaky and Coupons on board.

I cremate some pork loins on the BBQ to go with some new potatoes and salad, and we sit out all afternoon, eating and drinking and having a good old chat.

Creaky has had enough by 17:00 hrs and is anxious to return home in loads of time for her carer - that's her story, but I'm convinced that despite being plied with a continual supply of coffee she was having QVC cold turkey.

Grumbles' exhaust had barely time to warm up by the time we'd squared away and piled into Vera heading back to Port Eynon.  The weather turns a little and it's raining lightly and we walk along the beach with the dogs.  Herself had wanted  bag of chips, but both outlets in the village had queues out of the door, so we settled for a pizza and a pint at The Smugglers before heading back to site.

A quiet evening was had.  Herself watched some assorted crap on TV while I sat out in the awning tapping some keys as the sun set through my plastic windows over Carmarthen bay.

The airbeam survived the day, so there is hope yet!

Monday 29 May

I was rather foolish last night. I consumed nearly a full bag of wine gums while sat out in the awning, and wine gums and T2 diabetes do not really go well hand in hand.  This resulted in me needing to make frequent toilet visits in the night while my body worked overtime to rid itself of the sugar in my bloodstream.

Not immediately life threatening in itself, but I was in danger of being throttled by Herself as I clambered over her every two hours to get to the toilet. At 04.00 hrs the air was blue, and a flow of obscenities were hurled in my direction. I didn't know that Herself's swearing vocabulary was so extensive!

We swapped sides to avoid any bloodshed.

The morning dawned a bit grey and cool and a very lazy morning was had guzzling tea and reading yesterday's papers in the awning.  We did nothing else except rustle together a proper tidy Welsh cooked breakfast.

Saute Pembrokeshire news, local back bacon, local sausage, Burry Inlet cockles, Penclawdd lavabread and an egg from Reynoldston.  Cowin lush it was too!

Herself remarked that the van carpets were getting a little thick underfoot, and looking down revealed a horrid mess of matted dog hair.  It would seem that the B&M Bargains effort that I splashed out a whole £20 on last year just wasn't cutting it.

By the time I've scraped a few day's growth off my chops and showered, Herself has washed up and is sitting in Vera looking at her watch and tutting.  Within an hour we've driven to Swansea, had a demo in the shop from a rep, bought a Shark hand held cleaning device and are back on the Gower letting the dogs run off some steam in Reynoldston.

We pick up some fresh eggs from a roadside stall en-route back to site.  We've crossed Kennexstone Moor and are dropping down into Llanmadoc when Herself suggests stopping off at The Brit for a swift half.  I needed no further persuading!

Back on site I put together Herself's new toy and let her have a go.  I'm embarrassed to say that despite me only giving the van the once over before we'd left with B&M's finest, the new Shark handheld picked up a whole cylinder full of dust, grit and hair!  The van rugs have never looked so good!

Tea is best left not mentioning. A disaster it was and ended up in the dogs after Herself pushed it around her plate for 10 minutes.  By 18.30 hrs a good old Cornish type mizzle has the site enveloped, and we can't see Broughton and the big dune, let alone Saundersfoot on the other side of Carmarthen Bay.

From the comfort of the awning I watch the single mother on the adjacent pitch try to keep her son amused by playing badminton outside in the rain and the God Botherers on the other side come back to freshen up before heading back out to the nearby camp.

Sounds are emanating from inside the van and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to work out that Herself is enjoying some personal contemplation time.  I grasp the opportunity and settle down to re watch The Scarlets win on Saturday (smart TVs are great aren't they)

Hope this weather lifts tomorrow.

The air beam is holding it's own and I'm wondering if we were a little hasty in slashing out £30 for a replacement.

Tuesday 30 May

I slept soundly last night, but am awake by 05.45 hrs.  It's still grey outside and consulting @DerekTheWeather on my Samsung does nothing to lift the gloom.  The next bit of sunshine is not expected until Saturday, by which time we will be home!  It has cleared a bit though and I can at least see Broughton this morning.even if the sun isn't exactly burning the grass.

We like this site, we like the quietness and we like the freedom the dogs have not having to be tethered.  What I do miss though is the buzz of a larger site as it comes to life in the morning and the opportunity to people watch.  Herself says I'm nosey, but I much prefer the terms alert and observant.

It started to brighten up after breakfast, and while I was freshening up ready to go out it struck me how good the view was from our washroom window.

We took the short hop over towards Rhossilli with the intention of walking out towards Worms Head, but on arrival it was apparent that everyone else had too, so we spun around in the car park and retraced our tracks for a mile or so before abandoning Vera in a farmer's field.

£3 he was asking mind, and the fee was payable in an honesty box.  Herself did the deed as it would have spoiled my day.  The walk down towards Mewslade Bay was easy going, but I was acutely aware that coming back up would be a different matter.

I hadn't bargained for the high tide, so on arrival there was no beach.  We perched ourselves over looking where the beach would be and watched the waves crash into the access crevice.

I was right, the climb back to the car park was a little more strenuous and a break was required half way pretending to take in the view.

Time now for a late lunch so we head back towards Llanmadoc and The Britania Inn.

Very nice it was too, and quite reasonably priced.  Back on site we see that the woman next door had carefully placed a rope on the floor shadowing the outline of her camper before she went out so that her drive away awning would fit on her return.

The devil in me was so tempted to move it a foot, but Herself threatens to call the rozzers herself if I go within 5ft of it!

No rest for the wicked as Herself needs some paperwork from home to take to an appointment tomorrow.  Roids works not far from here, so we arrange for him to bring it over and we'll meet him at his workplace.

With that done we make tracks towards Port Eynon, where we enjoy a bag of chips for tea sat on a bench overlooking the beach.

Back on site the sun makes a late appearance.  Herself loses it and pokes her head out of the awning flap shouting obscenities at the gods - something about it being a bit late to be any good or something.

Wednesday 31 May

I wake to the sound of rain hammering on the roof, Herself informs me that it rained for most of the night, but once I take out my hearing aid and stuff my head into some rolled up pillows I hear nothing all night.

I get up at 09.30 hrs and peak out of the blinds.  The camper van on the next pitch is rolling up her soaking wet awning in the pouring rain.  I though briefly about going out to help her, only briefly mind, before jumping back into the nice dry and warm bed next to Herself.

A nearby small holding is selling fresh eggs, and we've breakfasted on them every day.  This morning we have them poached (again) before scrubbing up and heading off out just as it stops raining.

Herself has an appointment to keep in Carmarthen and is also dressed for the occasion.  We get as far as Old Walls and her phone rings with news to follow that the appointment is cancelled.  We continue as far as CKs in Donksville where we are robbed once again for some provisions before we park up on the banks of the Loughor letting the dogs have a run about while we look over the water towards The Promised Land.

The sun starts to peak through the cloud cover and Herself wants out of her civvies so we make straight for the van, wasting no time in getting out the recliners and indulging in a few hours of personal contemplation under the sun.

The sun goes back into hiding and we retreat into the awning, the dogs have other ideas though, and want a ball chucking for them.

Ronnie is coming over for tea, bringing his new girlfriend (Yankie Girl - YG) with him, so once I get the phone call that they are on their way I set fire to some charred wood in readiness to cremate some burgers.

We spend a lovely evening eating, drinking and chatting in the awning, and it's getting dark by the time they leave, with Ronnie's exhaust disturbing half of North Gower as he accelerates through the lanes.

Thursday 01 June

We had a late night (for us - no scratch that, for me) last night and it was gone midnight by the time we dived into our pit.

It was 09.45 hrs by the time we stirred this morning and the sun was shining through the roof vent. @DerekTheWeather is promising good things for today, and if it turns out that his work of fiction is reasonably accurate the we have plans to do very little today.

Gwawr goes outside on her own to play for a bit while we get our wake up caffeine fix.

Before long it's warming up lovely outside, so it's time to get my athletic like frame covered in used chip fat in readiness to soak up some rays.

Herself goes back inside to busy herself in the kitchen, and brunch is taken outside overlooking Broughton Bay.

More personal contemplation time is planned for the afternoon, but not until I've sorted out our front locker.  It is a mammoth task and took far longer than expected.  I'm not quite done when Herself calls to me from the comfort of the longer, I stick my sweat soaked head around the corner and she just points to the awning before closing her eyes once more.

The repair on the air beam appears to have failed and my erection is somewhat limp!  The bladder gets unzipped and after having the previously repaired area dipped in water it would appear that is the problem area once more.

I apply another patch and zip it back up, hoping for the best going back to finishing off the locker before daring to inflate it.

30 mins go by and I decide to chance it and push some air into it before settling down to catch some more rays.

I didn't have chance to dose off before Herself once more beckons me.  My erection is far from erect.

The bladder gets unzipped tested in water (to no avail)  and put back in and inflated - I assume that I had not closed the valve properly.

I'm just dozing off and I get nudged - it's gone down again.  I smile meekly, and get up in silence to attend to the matter.  If you believe that you'll believe anything!

It gets unzipped again, and falls limply on the table.  I rip off the newly applied patch and apply a different big patch.  the instructions say wait 30 mins before inflating, so I did before putting in 2 psi and hoping for the best.

An hour later we're heading out and it's still up.  B&M bargains benefits from our presence as the dogs are clean out of chews, and that just won't do!  180 degrees and we're re tracing our steps back to north Gower and The Britannia Inn when were call in for our tea.

The lamb tagine was superb!

Any plans we had to sit out by a camp fire evaporated as we rattled over the cattle grid to see our awning in all it's collapsed splendour.  I cussed and I cursed as I once more unzipped the bladder and examined the end.  I now know what the problem is, the seam rip is spreading out underneath the patches.

Some superglue is pumped into the hole hoping to halt the spread and two new patches applied.

Here's hoping.

Nos dda

Friday 02 June

My lobster red sun burnt torso did not make for a very comfortable night, waking at 07.30 hrs I found that the sheets were stuck to me.

By the way, it went down, so flip flops were donned and 6 pumps were given to re inflate the defective tube!

It's rather moist out there this morning and I'm glad that we've extended our stay for a few nights, as packing up the awning in this would not have been pleasant.

Herself's rearranged appointment in Carmarthen is today, so we've no plans to do anything until after that.  It clears up as we swing through the gated entrance of St Davids, so after dropping Herself off at the appropriate building I take to dogs for a walk around the grounds.

The weather improves beyond recognition from this morning so lunch is a McDs on the move as we head back to site to enjoy the weather.  The owner pops over for a chat and I also take the opportunity to give Vera the once over with a waterless wash.

Soon though the pressing issue of our evening meal occupies our minds and it is decides that an Indian takeaway will hit the spot.  Like last Friday we hotfoot it (well as fast as you can hotfoot it through a 40 mph average speed camera zone) towards Donksville and the excellent Paprika.

Loaded up with a divine smelling takeout and booze from CKs we return to site to enjoy a feast as the sun streams through our vinyl windows.  We're half way through the starter when Herself starts taking a funny shape, reminding me much of Quasimodo.  The air beam has deflated once more and is resting neatly on her right shoulder.

I break from filling my face to give it a few pumps, relieving the pressure on Herself.  Did I get a medal?

Dishes are squared away and our chairs taken back outside to sit facing the evening sun as it sets over Saundersfoot chucking a ball for Tali to wear him and Gwawr out.

The remainder of the evening is spent catching up with some TV and what Amanda Holden is NOT wearing for BGT.

Saturday 03 June

Another decent night's kip is had and I open the blinds to check if @DerekTheWeather has been telling fibs or not.

It looks nice out there, which is good news as we plan to drop the awning today.  After throwing on a pair of shorts I fling open the van door.  Guess what?  It's gone done again! It gets enough air to regain it's shape and I set about packing away, slowly and methodically.

Only a caravanner will truly understand the joy that can be had from being able to pack away a bone dry awning after a week of mixed weather.  Herself gets a call from the Vango retailer saying that our new inner tube will be with us by Tuesday, I could have done with it last Tuesday, but never mind eh!

It's funny, but we've been here over a week now, but with the awning attached our view was restricted to peeking over the hedgerow, but now with that gone we can see straight over to Broughton Bay from our caravan door.

With most of our camp broken and packed away Herself suggests a brunch.  Yay! We need eggs though.  Boo!

While she busies herself with a frying pan I hurtle through the lanes looking for an egg stall.  Mission accomplished and I pause briefly to admire the view up the Loughor Estuary.  Splendid it is, and I just wish it had been this sunny when I filmed the site arrival video a few days ago!

She did us proud fair play, almost blinding herself in the process with spitting oil.

The afternoon consisted of doing not much at all.  The recliners are set up and in between blowing the froth off a few cold ones I throw a ball for the dogs to chase.

We eventually motivate ourselves enough to scrub up and head towards The Brit once more for an evening meal.  We spot Ronnie's wheels on the way and bell him with the offer of a free meal if he'd care to join us.

We've only just chosen an outside table and we can hear his twin exhausts closing in on us.  the food was once again superb, people complain it's a little pricey, but I don't mind paying for quality.

Back on site we settle to an evening of TV and note that for the first time this week Amanda Holden has not turned up having stolen her dress from a stripper!

Sunday 04 June

We wake at 09.00 hrs to light rain.  No time to hang around this morning though as we want to be hitched up and out of the Llanmadoc lanes before the rest of the world decides they need to go out for a paper.

We're rattling over the cattle grid by 10.00 hrs and lady luck is with us as we hit roads with a white line without meeting any oncoming traffic.

It's been a great extended week away, and we've not really done that much except chill out.  You don't always have to be far to be away, and despite the frustration with the awning we have both returned home fully chilled.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Le Grande Tour of the West Country

Friday 21 April

I'm sure it's easier to pack yo go away in the caravan.  Two hours it took me to load up Vera with enough luggage to sink the QE2.

We're also taking a cool box with us, stuffed full of bottles of Champagne that have kindly been given as gifts.

By 10am we're accelerating up the slip road at J48 and heading off on our own little Grande Tour, intending to zig zag our way across the West Country for 5 nights, ending up at Lands End at the far tip of Cornwall.

The journey east and then turning right after the bridge sees us fighting through heavy traffic, though the mood is lightened somewhat by our accompanying music,  You see, Ronnie had put a bit of thought into it and bought us the Now21 CD to play in Vera.  Now 21 was release just a few weeks before we got married 25 years ago and the tracks are evoking some memories!

Before we know it we're turning off the A38 and up onto Dartmoor.  We stop at Widdicombe in the Moore for lunch at an old favourite of ours, The Old Inn, before climbing higher to our first stopover of the tour, The Two Bridges Hotel.

We park up and check in.  This place is oozing olde worlde charm.  Oak panelling everywhere, antiques in every room and big comfy Chesterfield sofas scattered about the place.

On opening the door to our room it immediately becomes apparent that we have been given an upgrade as we enter the "Brooklands" themed room, with a view over the manicured gardens.

Race posters adorn the walls and it would appear that a well know motoring journalist has previously stopped in this room.

I however am more impressed by the (what I thought was a) complimentary array of truffles and chocolates that have been left on a piece of wood for us!

Outside the hotel is a buzz of activity so we head down to grab some drinks from the bar to take outside with us. It's quite idyllic, geese wander the grounds free range as walkers stop off for refreshments, cream teas are being fetched out on trays like it's going out of fashion and the warm sun rays hitting our chops taking off the chill of the cool moorland air.

It was then that a procession of classic cars of varying vintage started to arrive and park up in a row. It then clicked why we had the "Brooklands" upgrade.  You see, they then erected banner that announced to everyone that they belonged to the "Brooklands Motoring Club".  There were quite a few of them, and the hotel could hardly allocate the Brooklands room to just one of them!

I am quite envious as the Morgans, Bentleys, Mercedes and Bugattis roll up.  Then with a "look at me" honk of the horn and a few unnecessary blips of the throttle, an Austin Powers wannabe arrives.

I already dislike him before parks on the end of the line, but when he steps out in tailored shorts, deck shoes and a rugby shirt with the collar turned up my feelings are irrational.

We pop upstairs to freshen up and get changed for dinner.  Herself scrubs up somewhat better than me and takes my breath away in her dress and heels.  I feel like I'm 10ft tall with her on my arm as we walk through the lobby towards the restaurant.

The mood is set as we pass a harpist doing her stuff as we are escorted to our window table.  Waiting for us is a bottle of the best Champagne they have.

I give the waiter the eyeball, as this place is eye wateringly expensive and I know that Herself will say to keep it, even if it is a mistake.

The waiter explains that my wonderful sister had rang them us and put it at our table for us as a gift from her and her significant other!  How thoughtful. (Edit .... it wasn't until we arrived home that we discovered that the "complimentary" chocolates were also from them).

The evening meal was delightful.  A fine dining experience to remember. After some warm breads Herself had a monkfish pakora and I had Mackerel to start, pork and lamb were our mains and a desert of sticky toffee followed.

We adjourn with some drinks to the big Chesterfields in the resident's lounge before heading to bed at around 11pm absolutely stuffed.

Saturday 22 April

I didn't sleep last night, not a wink.  I'd like to say it was a combination of eating a little late and drinking too much, but in reality I'd read earlier that the Hotel has a bit of a history and is haunted.  I thought someone followed me into the toilet earlier, but when I turned around there was no one there. I'd tried texting Sabrina, but she only wound me up more and the night was spent peeking at the ornate coving from under the duvet.

At 6am I gave up trying and got up to run myself a bath,  By the time I'm done it would appear that I've woken Herself and we are both downstairs by 8am waiting for breakfast to be served.  A plate of Eggs Benedict is washed down with a pot of tea before we hit the road once more, heading deeper into the West Country.

We're parking up in Tavistock by 9am.  We've been here a few times before but never managed to catch the Panier Market open.  It was open today, and we've now seen it.  By 9.15am we are back on the road heading towards Kernow.

Herself announces that she needs perfume and my suggesting that she doesn't smell earns me a dig in the ribs.  Google tells us that there is a Perfume Shop in Drakes Circus in Plymouth.  TomTom guides us to the door and my wallet has lost another 50 notes before  the clock turns 10.45am.

We're over the Tamar and into Cornwall enjoying the tunes and Looe looks uncharacteristically quiet as we bag a spot to abandon Vera on the quayside.having fed £12 into the machine for the privilege!

It's too early to check in so we walk over to East Looe for a mooch around.  We did try and find a sea food restaurant that we ate in during our honeymoon, but either it is not there anymore or our memory has faded over the years.

We grab a pasty for lunch and give ourselves heartburn whilst taking in the view and watching the world go by.

2pm is soon with us, so we make back to Vera to collect our baggage and check into our hotel for the night, the Portbyhan Hotel, which is situated right on the quayside in Looe.

As we approach I am regretting my innermost Cardi that made me book a standard room when planning the Grande Tour and just know that instead of one of those nice rooms with a private balcony we'll get one tucked round the side with a view of scaffolding for 24hrs.

The lady on reception tells us that they have allocated us a superior room - wow another free upgrade I thought - and Herself is beaming as we swing open the door to room 108.

We stop inside long enough to hang my shirt in the wardrobe before settling ourselves down on our own private balcony for the afternoon watching boaty people doing boaty things on their boats down below.  We spent some time opening our cards from well wishers and some presents we had bought each other while getting shitfaced on Champagne, gin and San Miguel.

We then realise why the lady on reception had advised that we have dinner a little later.  Edwards Coaches from South Wales own this place and at about 5pm one of their buses pulls up under our balcony and disgorges hoards of the valleys SAGA crowd.

After a shower we head off over to the bar for pre's, although in actual fact the pre's started at 2pm on the balcony!  Herself has bagged a window table and we settle down admiring the view.

The lady on reception had said that there was live entertainment in the bar at 8pm.  By 7.45pm there's still no sign of the turn and I remark to Herself that it's probably just some bloke with a guitar and an amp!

Right on cue a 4x4 pulls up below us and the black suited git of a driver throws his kit into the disabled lift.  Much banging ensued as he unloaded on our level before he saunters over to our table and instructs us that we would have to move as he wants to set up in that exact spot.  No please or apology for disturbing us, just an instruction.

I ignored him!

The duty manager saw what was unfolding and ran up the stairs to tell the Enrique Iglesias wannabe to set up somewhere else.  We finished off our drinks watching him throw us filthy looks while he set up in a different corner (without the harbour backdrop that he wanted for his act).

Just as he's finished we get up and make our way over to the restaurant for dinner. As we walk past Enrique looks crest fallen as he realised that if he'd waited 10 mins he could have set up in his preferred spot.

He says "You're leaving are you?" to which I replied "Aye, we've seen you perform before!"

We're still giggling as we take our window table for dinner.

A much simpler affair than last night, but very nice none the less.  The young girl serving us was delightful and Herself instructs me that I must give her a decent tip - of the folding variety.  I'm still smarting after Herself tipped them a brown one last night, but say nowt and retrieve another brown one from my wallet (it was a blue one at first but the look said I had to up the ante somewhat).

Then a miracle happened.  As it turned 9pm they must have had a changeover of staff and our waitress was nowhere to be seen.  My heart rate slowed considerably as the brown one was tucked safely away once more!

I took the opportunity to check my electronic receipt, and it would appear that old age does not come on it's own.  We had not had a free upgrade at all.  I had initially booked a superior room ..... and I inform Herself immediately in the hope of earning brownie points.

Back in the room we didn't draw the curtains, instead falling to sleep looking out over the festoon lit up quayside.

Sunday 23 April

I slept well last night, well until 4,30am anyway.  Our room got lit up like Chevvy Chase' next door neighbors in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  You see, directly opposite us is the quay and warehouse where they land the fish, and they switched all the floodlights on for the trawlers coming in on the 4am tide.

I got up and watched for a while leaving Herself in the land of nod oblivious.  Once daylight arrived it came with bright sun shine and clear blue skies.  Herself talked me inti tipping up a £2.50 tray charge and we took breakfast ourside on the balcony,

Once checked out we load up Vera and make the short journey to Polperro.  We're here early doors though so bag a space in the deserted car park before getting mugged in broad daylight.

A stroll down intio the village lightens my spirits as the shops are closed, with signs on most advertising a 11.30am opening.  We walk down to the end of the harbour before taking an outside table for a mug of tea at the cafe.

It's starting to get busier as we retrace our tracks back up through the village and I get caught for a pair of ear rings in the only shop that was open.  We were feeling lazy and caught the tram back up to Vera before pointing her nose in the direction of the ferry over the river Fowey.

Fowey holds nothing for us so we turned right and made a bee line to the north coast and the pretty little town of Tintagel.

After a bit of cloud as we climbed over  Bodmin Moor we rolled into Tintagel with blue skies overhead and bright sunshine.  As is the custom in Cornwall we get mugged for the privilege of abandoning Vera for a few hours and set off down the main drag.

Tintagel is known for (and makes the most of) the King Arthur connection.  A museum dedicated to him greets you at the top of the drag and every gift shop tempts you with swords, not joking plastic ones mind, but real proper steel ones.  I'm tempted but couldn't find one at a price that I'd be willing to pay. Herself remarks that I'd look a bit silly going to Trostre dressed like Tenpole Tudor!

With the wind taken out of my sails we take refuge in the beer garden of The Cornishman Inn for beers and lunch before walking back to Vera via a few very unauthentic witches shops.

It's time to head to our hotel for the night at Port Isaac (famous for being Port Wen in the Doc Martin TV series).  Normal visitors have to park at the very top and walk in but our hotel has a small car park so we breath in and thread our way down the narrow approach.

The Old School Hotel is used as the schoolhouse on the programme and cashes in on it's fame big time. The rooms are not cheap and the place has an unkemp feel about it, and it shouldn't given the cost of sleeping here for the night!

Somehow I got Vera through a very narrow gap only just avoiding contact with the unforgiving stone walls.

Once checked in we are escorted up to our room, no surprises here though as I'd stumped up for their best room, the Latin Room.  The big arched windows afford a fantastic view over the harbour directly to the house they use as Doc Martin's surgery on TV.

It's too nice to be sat indoors though and since we've been here and done all the touristy things before we opted to get drunk.  First we took an outside seat at the Golden Lion before following our noses and the smell of fish to The Slipway.

There seem to be more Yanks here than Brits.  The place is overrun by them and as the film crews are due back in town tomorrow they're no doubt hoping to do a bit of star spotting.  The Yank group sat next to us are in full flow and are discussing scenes from series 2 episode 4 and then series 3 episode 5 before going back to series 1 episode 2.  Do you get my drift?

I did think of digging out the photo I had taken with Burt Large here a few years ago, but then thought better of it.

Back up the hill we staggered and finished off the afternoon having a few outside the hotel entrance and watch more arrivals struggle with the gap.

Before too long it's time to scrub up for dinner.  We are eating in again tonight and take our table in the very airy school dining room.

My mussels started and salmon main were out of this world and as time is getting on I (wait for it) skip dessert!  The sofa in our room is facing the windows and we have a bottle Champagne on ice waiting for our return to watch the sun set over Port Isaac.

Monday 24 April

We slept with the curtains open last night, wanting to wake up to the view, but when I got up at 3am for night time essentials this is what I could see from my pillow.

It's fine again by the time that normal people wake and we scrub up for breakfast.  No room service available this morning and we're sat waiting for them to start serving at 8.30am, not that we were starving or anything, but we've a lot planned for today.

Vera is loaded up and i risk scraping her sides once more to negotiate the car park.

We get through ...... just ........ but the stress of it all was a bit much for her and she blew a headlight as we squeezed through the gap.

Pretty soon we're at cruising speed on the Atlantic Highway, though why it's called that is beyond me as you con't really see the ocean from it.  Our intention was to visit The World in Miniature at Goonhavren. We had visited the attraction on our honeymoon and just once since with Ronnie and Roids in 2007.  I start some finger swiping to establish the entrance fee while Herself pops into a Co-op and Google tells me that it shut down in 2008.

Plans are re-hatched and we cruise into Newquay in bright sunshine.  After bagging a parking space and feeding a fist full of pound coins into the meter, we dodge the tramps sleeping in doorways of the main drag.

Herself last bought me a watch a few years back, but with my lamps not what they used to be I can't see it.  She treated me to a new one before we went to one of my favourite shops in the town to buy some rather impractical knives for the boys.

We take a front row bench in the park overlooking the beach and soak up the view and some rays.

Healeys cider farm is the next port of call where we stock up on Rattler before continuing our journey west through the Duchy.

Herself spots a brown sign on the A30 near Redruth and Yanks on the wheel to point Vera up the slip road.  I'm having palpitations now as I'd also seen the sign.  The Cornwall Gold "clip Joint" beckons, and the ladies serving are a little too helpful for my liking!

Herself gets a ring before we continue westwards, scouting out a couple of camp sites on the way.  We veer off the A30 at Penzance and take the coast road through Newlyn to Mousehole.

After feeding yet more pound coins into another machine we take a superb bench and table at Rock Pool Cafe looking over Mounts Bay with a seal putting on a show just for us close to shore!

The Newlyn crab was superb.

Full once more we make the final push to Lands End.  Herself had been getting worked up.  We've had superb rooms so far on this trip and she was concerned that the room for the main event - the only one that she'd chosen would not live up to expectations.  It's still sunny as we cruise into lands End, park up and check in.

I nearly have a coronary lugging our kit up the stairs to the second floor, but when we flung the door open all our anxiety evaporated.

We have a raised seating platform in-front of the windows that afford a view to Longships and the Scilly Isles beyond.  After my efforts with the luggage I've a thirst on, so a few beers are quaffed in the best beer garden in the world before we make tracks to the room to scrub up for dinner.

While Herself takes a bath I settle down with the view to continue my lager fest (in my pants).

Our table is reserved for 7pm but we're both ready earlier and take a seat in the conservatory restaurant as the sun dips down into the Atlantic.

The food was superb. King Prawn starters were followed by Sea Bass. We did have dessert but I forgot to take a picture of the Peanut butter concoction and the toffee pudding.

Full as gyppo's handbags, we retire to our room to undo a few buttons and stare at the ocean.

Tuesday 25 April

THE big day has arrived, 25 years ago Herself said I do, and made me the happiest man alive.  Mind you we very nearly fell at the last hurdle.  You see, last night I didn't sleep.  I'd drank too much booze and eaten far too much carbs and sugar than is good for my diabetes and was awake all night peeing syrup into the toilet.

I give up trying at 6am and sit up to watch the ocean from bed.

7.30am Herself joins me and we think back to that day 25 years ago (I didn't sleep then either and needed make up applied to avoid the panda look).

We had breakfast brought up to the room before heading of out, not too far today. First stop is Sennen Cove.  First down to the harbour and then up to the car park.

From inside our hotel room it had look lovely outside.  Herself had questioned my sanity in wearing shorts, but I'd ignored her.  I stayed outside Vera for long enough to take the pictures only.

Cape Cornwall was next, and being a little more exposed than Sennen it was no warmer,  I nearly lost Vera's door on opening it.

We know this area very well as we holiday in Sennen quite often.  I'd left it too late to book a pitch at Trevedra this year, but had asked Wendy, the owner, to put us on the reserve list (if they had one).  She knew we were down here on a road trip and I'd said we'd call in for a cuppa.  We pull up, but have just missed the cafe, but as we are just about to pull away Wendy shows up and says that she'd had a cancellation and was keeping it for us, so we popped in for a chat and reserved our pitch for August.

Back at Lands End the wind has not let up and we decide to see the attractions (free for hotel guests). We take 5 mins to walk around the King Arthur experience and do a bit of gift shopping before we got a bad dose of CBA and retreated to the bar.

Well, not quite straight to the bar, I am dragged to have the obligatory picture taken at the sign post before I can whet my whistle.

We didn't move outside the cocooned interior of the hotel all afternoon, opting instead to watch visitors freezing outside in the cold wind.

With just a few hours before dinner we go back up stairs where we have a very special bottle on ice.  Ronnie, Roids and TF has given us the bottle of Tallinger last week, and we'd been saving it for our actual anniversary day.

Very nice it was too, and we were slightly light headed as we made our way back down stairs for our anniversary dinner.

We has the restaurant to ourselves and took another table looking out over Longships and WNW up the Celtic Sea.  We asked to see the wine list and the waiter recommended their best bottle of Prossecco for the special day..  He looked rather crestfallen when Herself declined, explaining firstly that she'd had a bottle last night and secondly we'd just polished off the Tallinger, so his suggestion wouldn't quite cut it.

The meal was superb again, mussels and scallops for starters with a steak and duck mains.  Sorry but forgot dessert pictures again!

Wednesday 26 April

Going home day today after a full on road trip.

Breakfast is taken at our window looking out over the shipping traffic, with a vehicle carrier making it's way from Bristol to Belgium with a belly full of cars.

After breakfast we load up Vera and hit the A30, not too far initially as we diverted off to Philps in Hayle for pasties and cream teas to take home as gifts.

Herself hadn't wanted to go home directly so at Exeter we diverted to Sidmouth and the Donkey Sanctuary.

We spend some time petting and admiring the donkeys before Herself raid my wallet in the gift shop before hitting the road once more.

I'll not regail the blip in our travel arrangements as TomTom took us on a scenic tour of Dorset's lanes in a bid ti find a McDs for lunch, but after 30mins of frantic driving we were not further down it's countdown to home than when we left the sanctuary!

What a trip!  No caravan but luxury hotels.  Pampered we were, pampered.  many people go on exotic cruises for their 25th, but we wanted to revisit the places that were special to us.

Sorry there are no disasters to recount as thankfully the trip was perfect, and sorry about all the food and drink pics too, but that's what we did most of (that I am prepared to publish).

Thanks finally to Herself, who somehow has managed to spend the last 25 years with me and has not resorted to killing me!