Monthly Archives: August 2013

Muttleys Obedience Training – Progress Report

Progress Report on Muttley’s Retrieval Skills :

He understands that he has to fetch, but he’s decided he won’t be bring it back! …….Well not to me anyway.

They both thought it was funny!

The lovingly administered beatings continue.

That is all

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August 28, 2013 · 8:24 pm

Day 10 #grandtour13pt2 – Llandigige Fawr, Berea, Pembrokeshire

On Day 8 we all piled into the Chucklebus, tooted our horn and sped of in a cloud of dust in the direction of Haverfordwest. En-route I deployed the “Other Half” into Morrisons at said town for a replenishment of my beer and haemorrhoid cream, she also came back with a carrier bag of cherry lips and red liquorice laces, (she would actually kill you for those items) so both parties were satisfied and shopping justice was done. We then headed north along the Pembrokeshire coast, firstly stopping on a lay-by to take in the view at Newgale Beach:

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The approach to Newgale

I used to drive this road to work nearly 20yrs ago, I can still remember the first time I did it, I had to pull the car over and take a proper look. Still great today, although as its a bank holiday weekend it was quite busy.

So now on Day 10, we’re parked up at Llandigige Fawr a few miles north east of St Davids, a decent sized CL in a large grassed field, complete with EHU. Its quiet, clean and pretty much ideal for us.

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Llandigige Fawr

“The Other Half” is all excited because in the next field to us are rows n rows of Pembrokeshire Potatoes. As she hails from the Emerald Isle, I have a special pet-name for her “Spudmuncher”….what could be more loving than that? ” Oi Spuddy, there’s SPUD’s in the next field”….and off she scampers!! So for tonight on the BBQ, holding pride of place, is good old Pembrokeshire potatoes!

Yesterday we walked over to the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Initially we headed to Abereiddy Bay, which is popular with surfers and body boarders,

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Our first peek at the bay

we bought some lunch and sat on the stony beach, watching their antics…Bondi its not, but still entertaining:

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Abereiddy Beach

Later we followed the path south, along the cliff edge, eventually spotting a couple of seals mooching about a lobster-pot buoy, no doubt hoping for scraps. The coast is pretty wild along here, but really good for walking. I think I would like to come back over the next 12 months and do some more.

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Looking back towards Abereiddy Bay

Today on Day 10, we’ve decided to have a “No Move” day, so lots of loitering around around the van and basically being idle and getting into mischief. Although we did take the mutt to a nearby cricket field and let him have a run about:

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I’ve also invented a new sport “Waspee’s” Which involves me whacking wasps with a flyswat, with the express intention of getting them to hit the “Other Half”, who’s scared stiff of them.  I’m doing quite well, we’re now at the stage where she’s to frightened to enter the van…I’ll do this for a couple of more hours, then tactically back off at tea-time, when she needs access to the cooker…

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Waspee Alert State – Red:

Another day here, before we move back to Motorhomedreamer HQ

That is all.

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Day 7 #grandtour13pt2 – New Park Landshipping, Pembrokeshire

So after a brief interlude. We packed up yesterday at Pendine Sands and headed a few miles west of Narberth into the county of Pembrokeshire, to an area called Landshipping. This is a small hamlet very close to the River Cleddau. We’re currently on an independent site, with full facilities provided. This means the “Other Half” gets to launder my clothes and basically pander to my every whim! In return, I allow her ones hours TV soap on the piped TV…..seems fair!

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I relax my whim, meanwhile the “Other Half” panders!

The site is called www.newparklandshipping.co.uk It’s a very nice, reasonably priced, well equipped and mostly quiet caravan and camping park. The only issue so far is the nice old boy a few pitches up from us, who’s spent the entire sunny afternoon repairing his boat, which he has parked alongside his caravan and awning, using a large and very loud hammer. He’s clearly a regular as the “Other Half” pointed out to me shortly after we arrived…“He’s got a sideboard in his awning!?” Oh well, we’re just passing through and after a lifetime of work, he’s probably earned the right.

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Sideboard in the awning!

This morning we went for a stroll down to the River Cleddau. Years ago this was a bustling trading river, as it provides inland access to Milford Haven, and the area was also a source of coal, nowadays life’s a bit more serene.

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The River Cleddau

Along the bank there’s not a lot going on and its probably under utilised as a tourist area. Its very scenic and all that, but there’s very little to attract families etc, although the moneypit of Oakwood Park is nearby. Even the local pub’s been closed for 5yrs. Still, I would imagine it’s a very nice area to live.

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Following the river south we came to the old quay. Located here is a memorial stone to the 40 men, boys and possibly some women, who died in the Garden Pit Mine Disaster of 1844.

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The mine workings went out under River Cleddau for about a quarter of a mile and were subject to water encroachment. On this occasion, a particularly high tide overcame the men who were working underground, reports suggest the main access shaft filled up with water at a speed of some 7 fathoms per minute. Locals managed to save 4 men and 14 boys by hoisting them up in buckets, everyone else perished.

What strikes you as you read through the list is the number of families left devestated with multiple losses and the young ages of some of the miners.

To read more:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/wales/posts/landshipping_mining_disaster_1844

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The miners who lost their lives. (image: Roger MacCallum)

Tomorrow we head north west to a small village called Berea and get back to basics on a farm site called Llandigige Fawr, about a mile from Abereiddy Bay. To finish, i’ll leave you with documentary evidence that I do (on occasion) allow the “Other Half” some down-time.

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That is all.

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The West Wales Jaunt – Day 4 #grandtour13pt2

Yesterday we packed up the Chucklebus and headed into West Wales, and we’re now staying at a farm CL called Upper Marros Farm, a few miles west of Pendine. It’s small, quiet and only a mile from the Carmarthenshire coast. An ideal location to explore some of this great walking country.

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Upper Marros Farm

Today, having checked the tide times, we walked down to the beach at Marros Sands. The first thing you notice is the firmness of the sand and how flat it is. This accounts for the area’s importance in the early part of the 20th century as the site of attempts at the World Land Speed Record. More on that later.

So with the Mutt happily running around like some sort of crazed animal(very apt) we headed east along the beach towards the small coastal village of Pendine.

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Marros Sands

As we walked, over our right shoulders we could clearly see the main resort of Tenby and in the middle of the bay; Caldey Island, famously occupied to this day by a working monastery.

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Looking over the top of Marros Sands towards Caldy Island

As we rounded Ragwen Point, looking inland into the small bay of Morfa Bachan, you get a visible reminder of the area’s importance in WW2. Prior to the D-Day landings, Allied troops practiced landing operations all along this coastline. To add realism the military planners built fortifications for the troops to practice against. Lying at the foot of the Morfa Bachan inlet is a large reinforced concrete block, some 30ft across and approx 12 ft high. The sea facing aspect of the block has explosive craters blasted into it, probably where the practicing troops have fixed explosive charges on it, as they would later do on german pillboxes on the beaches of Normandy. This is a part of the areas history that needs to be preserved, it adds an interest to the coastal path that passes alongside it. Sadly there’s no information board there to mark its important past.

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The oblong concrete block, visible in the centre. It’s been placed in a position that allows it to dominate the beach approach. As would be the case on the beaches at Normandy

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The concrete fortification up-close, clearly visible the cratering caused by explosives.

Heading further east along the sand, we passed Gilman Point and entered the area of Pendine Sands. This huge stretch of flat firm sand was the site of world land-speed records back in the 1920’s. Two very prominent men for several years between 1925-27 vied for the top spot; Sir Malcolm Campbell and Wrexham born JG Parry-Thomas, who was the son of a Wrexham vicar.

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The huge expanse of Pendine Sands

During this period the record changed hands 5 times. Parry-Thomas holding the record in 1926 with a top speed of 170mph, which he achieved in his car that he’d named “Babs”. He actually made 12 successful records attempts over a 5 month period, pretty impressive stuff.

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Sadly he was killed on the sands in 1927, whilst testing Babs. After his body was removed, the car was buried in the sands, and that’s where it was to remain until 1969, when the MOD(they own the sands, which they also use for weapon testing) gave permission for the car to be recovered. A team of enthusiasts then spent 15yrs renovating the vehicle. It now has pride of place at the Museum of Speed, which is located on the beach front of Pendine. The car is still running and this year was on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car is a hugely important part of our automotive industry’s history……

After having a wander around Pendine, we followed the coastal path back towards Marros. In comparison to Cornwall’s gently undulating path, this one is not for the faint-hearted, the never-ending concrete steps from Pendine up to Gilman Point….”Absolute Killer” even the dog was laughing at me. Once your on the top though, great views.

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We’re remaining in the area until Wednesday, before heading inland to take a look at the River Cleddau. Tomorrow we might take a stroll in the other direction towards Amroth.

That is all.

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Middle-Aged Word of the Day – Reem

Reem = In my opinion, I’m looking very smart and “Man about town”.

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Eg: “My Barbour hat is really quite “reem”

A short time later, I received this message from my “Urban Class Warrior “daughter, who prowls the mean streets of NW1

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The way I spelt it “Ream” apparently is something quite painful!

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The West Wales Jaunt – Day 1 #grandtour13pt2

So after kicking our heels for a few days, we packed up the van with pot noodles, wine, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” dvd’s, a ton of sweeties for the “Other half” and various treats for the mutt. We then pointed the van to the 7 o’clock position and headed to the lower part of Mid Wales, pitching up at a great site called Cwmcuttan: www.cwmcuttan.com a few miles north of Llandovery. The location is very isolated, with only two other units present. As always with Mid Wales, its raining….Image

During this trip we’ll be moving through West Wales, eventually getting up as far as St Davids, before heading home. The planned route is shown below:

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Tomorrow we head across to a small isolated site near Pendine Sands, which used to be the venue for world land speed records. Of particular interest is the Museum of Speed at Pendine, which contains the record breaking car “Babs” which was driven by Wrexham born speedster John Godfrey Parry-Thomas. He was the son of a Wrexham vicar and broke the land speed record using Babs in 1925. He lost his life on the sands in 1927, driving the same car. Babs was buried on Pendine Sands by other enthusiasts after the crash, but removed in 1969 and eventually renovated. http://www.parry-thomas.co.uk

We’re also hoping to walk across to Laugharne, famously the home of Dylan Thomas.

So lots to do.

That is all.

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Middle-Aged Word of the Day – Amazeballs

Amazeballs = Really quite good.

Eg: “These new improved Werthers Originals are “amazeballs”

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Cold Feet – Prepare to Move!

Having been home for 3 whole days, movement plans are afoot. So on Friday the Chucklebus will be hitting the open road and heading into the other bit of Wales. First of all staying at: http://www.cwmcuttan.com  near to Llandovery.

Then on the Sunday heading South West onto the Carmarthenshire coast, staying close to Pendine Sands, at a small site called Upper Marros Farm. Pendine Sands used to be the site for British land-speed attempts, wide open beaches, lots of mutt-walking potential. After that, who knows?

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Day 19 #grandtour13 – Welcome Home!

So after departing Cornwall early on the morning of Day 18. We overnighted in Frampton on Severn, Gloucestershire, before finishing the final leg back to North Wales today. What a warm welcome we had on return, so warm in fact, we could smell it!!!! Yep, at some point over the last 18 days, the house fusebox tripped, leaving a packed freezer and partially-filled fridge to happily cook away over the intervening days. You could smell it as we opened the door. Oh we laughed, as we bagged rotting food, while trying not to gag. So the first 3 hrs was spent, gagging, bagging, binning and car runs to the tip….I love a crisis, what would I do without them! The electricians booked!

Anyway, back to the #grandtour13. Its been a great trip and an excellent learning curve for the 3 Stooges. Cornwall in particular was outstanding. Next year we’re planning to dip our toe into mainland Europe for the summer, so this period away has been very useful indeed. I now know that Muttley will happily break wind in the confined space of the van….one after the other, over a 30min period and feigns surprise when challenged (Whooo me?). I also now aware that the “Other Half” covets my bed in the van, i’m currently fighting a rear-guard action to prevent another “sleeping bag” scenario…(Read “The Maiden Voyage”)

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The Cornish Coast

Thanks to everyone who followed the blog. I really felt your pain as you persevered through bad grammar, incoherent syntax and of course my attempts at humour. So to finish with a few statistics:

19 Days on the road.

15 Nights spent in the van.

3 Minor arguments.

£175 Camping pitch charges

£11.75 Average cost per nights camping pitch.

5 x Shit Runs(Van Waste) – Including two up a steep hill, with spectators!

830 Miles travelled in the Chucklebus, approximately.

4 x Counties visited with overnight stays – Gloucestershire, Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall.

So for the rest of the week, we will mainly be trying to get rid of the prevailing smell of death in the house, cleaning the van and of course getting myself a much needed haircut…

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Enjoy whats left of the summer.

That is all.

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Day 15 #grandtour13 – Mawgan Porth

We woke up to beautiful sunshine again this morning, so after a quick jog, some weight training and 300m swim!! (I am of course joking, no swim!) I suggested a gentle stroll along the coast, heading south towards Newquay, but only planning to go as far as Mawgan Porth, which is regularly touted as one of the best beaches in the area.

The walk onto the coastal path at Bedruthan and then following the cliffs for a few kilometres, was as we expected, easy going with fantastic views.

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Looking back towards Bedruthan Steps

One thing i’ve noticed on our walking travels down here, the absence of litter! The coastal path is kept in pristine condition, its immaculate and a credit to the teams of ground-workers you occasionally see, high up on the path, busy maintaining it. Very few rubbish bins as well, so I have to assume at least some of the walkers take their litter home with them.

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The other thing is the lack of paths down to the small sandy coves, so they really are a haven for wildlife due to the isolation. Anyone venturing onto the beaches, would need to have an escape plan for when the tide comes in. You can understand why smuggling was such a popular pastime for the locals in the 18th & 19th century, local knowledge was everything and catching them would have been very difficult.

So eventually we spied the bay at Mawgan Porth as we descended the narrow cliff path. The first thing that struck us was the trendy buildings erected up on the high ground across the front of the bay, it turned out these were hotels. One of the most interesting visually was the Scarlett http://www.scarlethotel.co.uk  I have no idea how good it is, but it certainly has a commanding view of the area and looks a little like the properties you would see on Grand Designs.

The village itself is very small, but has some nice restaurants, a decent village shop and some hangouts for surfer types, selling wetsuits etc. The beach is long and narrow, with shelter from the wind provided by the steep cliffs either side. All the sunbathers and families are mainly at the top of the beach.

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This then leaves a virtually deserted middle piece of beach, before you get to the waters edge, which of course is dominated by surfers and bodyboarders. The swimmers and surfers are monitored by RNLI Lifeguards with good reason, as some of the tides have a sting in the tail.

When you look back to the top end of the beach you realise how long it is and actually how very few bathers there are, in comparison to more popular beaches at Constantine Bay and Porthcowan, further north.

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Looking back from the waters edge to the top of the beach

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When you visit beaches like Mawgan Porth, you realise, with good weather, they can easily compete with most of popular opposition on the other side of the English Channel.

That is all.

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