Back in good Ole Blighty

Well what a hectic time we’ve had since being back in the UK our feet just haven’t touched the floor, it’s been all systems go with lots of changes to organise & catching up with family and friends, typically for the UK the weather has been very wet and humid!!!

We stayed at Stonehenge Touring Park for 2 nights upon our return to the UK,  we thought it would be a fitting touch just to round it off here seeing as it was the first campsite that we stayed at, at the beginning of our Europe tour, so it seemed only fair to end it there too!!!

 

 

Once back in Plymouth we booked into our next stop Dolbeare Park which is just on the outskirts of Plymouth, well just across the water and in Saltash, Cornwall, the park here is lovely with friendly staff, the campsite is well tended to and is spotlessly clean, I have to mention the showers and washroom also which are spotless and have sensor controlled showers, with the temperature controlled by placing your hand over the sensors and again also to start the showers, how awesome is that??? the washroom also has under floor heating which will be lovely in the lower temperatures!!! The only bad thing at Dolbeare is that Toffi seems to have a major issue walking across so much harsh and sharp gravel, it really hurts her under foot perhaps more due to her having a deformed paw against the sharpness of the gravel the poor dog has been left limping across the stuff endlessly… when it’s time for walkies she’s now often refusing to walk across the stones full stop and is now practically being dragged across the stones to get outside the camp for mentioned walkies & toilet time!!!

As mentioned as soon as we landed back on UK turf we were busy… our search began for a suitable car and caravan, now I naively thought this was going to be great fun!!! boy was I in for a shock!!! leaving Pete to research roughly what type of 4×4 car we needed and what would suit our needs, Pete declared we wanted a Mazda CX5 AWD…  I had seen a white Mazda CX5 and I’d really liked the car in a white colour… but it turned out the white one wasn’t an “All wheel drive” which is what we needed, we then went on to source an AWD version of the CX5, we finally found one a 100 miles from Plymouth at a car sales garage called Carbase.

We drove up the 100 miles to view it, a gun metal grey colour, quite a nice looking car overall with a good towing ratio and with good reviews, the only thing I really hated about this car was the fact it had 2 totally different tyres on the back axle both with a different level of tread on each (one new tyre, one part worn tyre)… now I would usually replace both tyres on any axle back or front when one is needed to be replaced which is just something I was always taught to do ie helps for the cars handling etc and we’ve owned some pretty tasty fast cars in our time… so I pointed out to the showroom salesman the issue I had and asked if he could rectify this as it was literally just the tyres and I didn’t think it a good idea to have different tyres with different levels of tread across the same axles upon such a powerful 4WD car… they were not having any of it so guess we will have to get it new shoes!!!

After purchasing the car, picking it up and then having access to and reading the cars manual, I’m glad to see I was correct to pick this up and Mazda also strongly recommends in their manual that you should actually have all “4” tyres changed at the same time, due to user safety and the overall handling of the car, to ensure the cars ability to react in emergency actions which could be compromised otherwise… but hey what would I know right??…

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There were only a few of these cars for sale in the whole of the country and although my preference would have been for a white coloured one, we also didn’t fancy driving another 1000 miles in the rented Fiat 500 going all that way up and down motorways looking for another car, because although Fiat 500’s are a great fun little town car they are not the greatest to drive on long haul motorway drives and we also had the rental mileage to think about…  so yes… we now have our car…

Pick up completed and all the rest of the extras apparently worth hundreds, running into thousands that the sales team tried desperately to sell us all rejected, I got to drive the car the 100 miles back home, the car is actually very nice, and although I had agreed to follow Pete home… I got bored of following behind and waved as I passed him on the motorway…

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Now our week just seemed to get a little worse with regard to vehicles and dealing with yet more salesmen…  and my abstaining from Nicotine really didn’t seem like such a good idea at times, but I stuck to it anyway even though sometimes I feared I could have screamed with sheer feelings of annoyance and irritability, but, go me… I have managed to abstain now for over a month!!! all with the help of a book called “The easy way” by Allan Carr of which I would certainly advise anyone trying to give up this nasty habit to give this book a read…

We drove from Plymouth to Bristol then to Somerset, then somewhere else to look at more caravans but what an utter disappointment, I can honestly say it was starting to get downright depressing… the caravans we were viewing seemed really dirty and uncared for, I started to think we had really made the wrong decision to sell and swap over, we had driven hundreds of miles when Pete mentioned the towbar place in Plymouth Tamar Towing sold caravans also… so we decided to go check it out… the caravans they had up for sale were clean and were all kept under cover it was clear they only took on caravans that were in good condition too, we found a few here that tweaked our interest so thought we had better get some more info about them from their salesman…

Ok so after chatting with a salesman at Tamartowing we decided on one particular caravan they had on their shopfloor… A Sterling Eccles Sport 554 although we could have purchased it there and then we also enquired about a part exchange with the motorhome to make things easier rather than have to sell it privately… to be honest this process was to put it frankly utterly soul destroying and it certainly wasn’t helped by the salesman who was new to the job and clearly hadn’t a clue about caravans or motorhomes and hadn’t quite got the knack of any of it yet, he then made us wait in the salesroom for a whopping 6 hours… waiting for a valuation from a third party for our motorhome, all while giving me none of the info I had asked for regarding the caravan we were enquiring about… What a palava when we left their showroom that day we still hadn’t received the valuation or information on the caravan!!!

Well enough said about the rest of this process but lets just repeat the words “soul destroying” once again…  to cut a long story short the “Deal” now done we swap over and pick up our new caravan on the 6th September 2018… Also with another faff around thrown in what with changing private number plates etc…

When we got a chance we also threw in a visit to a site we’d visited when we first got the motorhome 2 years ago near Newquay it’s a small site called Higher Lanhainsworth I’m glad to say James the owner reported they had had a great summer this year and had been up until then fairly busy, although when we arrived gratefully we had the site to ourselves for the first few days, we were also pleasantly surprised by the improvements we had found and that the place now sported showers and a washing up facility which it hadn’t had before… we were totally prepared to rough it!!!

 

After a week there, which actually felt more like just a couple of days because it just passed so quickly, it was time for us to magically reappear at Dolbeare campsite we are trying to stay local for at least a matter of weeks still so family and friends may contact us and catch up if they so wish and we can transition to the caravan…

We have had some lovely catch ups with people so far, I also managed to get my haircut and just look at my new attire which the lovely Josie and Liam gifted me, obviously I shall now be strutting my stuff around the campsites and making my way to and from the shower blocks sporting these lovely new PJ’s… we had a meal with family at the Dock in Plymouth for Pete’s 60th birthday, also another lovely meal at The Weary Friar…

 

 

We are trying to plan our next few stays ahead of time, and between us we’d decided to stay for the next few stops for 2-3 weeks at a time while getting used to the caravan etc so we are trying to plan where we shall stay for Christmas, this believe it or not hasn’t been easy, I like to be organised and so I find it stressful when Pete throws in curve balls of other ideas all this after we had already agreed on things, and planned out sites to stay at for the next couple of months… typically he then has ideas about changing all our laid out plans, the problem with this is we really need to pre book somewhere for Christmas season and right now due to that curve ball we now have no idea whether to stay around the SouthWest as we’d planned for the Christmas winter season, or to grab ourselves a seasonal camp job to keep us occupied and settle for the winter or whether to just start touring the country anyway in the next few weeks, the only thing we do know for sure so far, is that we need to be in Yorkshire in February…

Perhaps we will update you all when we ourselves are more sure of our plans…. until then have fun…

Take Care

Donna x