Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

On Returning Home

I may travel about in a tin box but I do like some comfort namely electric hook-up, toilets and showers as the bare minimum.

Being out in the motorhome is such fun for a variety of reasons.

However being on a campsite, even one with facilities and when out walking in the countryside I find the  phone signal and wifi are generally poor.

This might be due to the fact I need a new phone; being some distance from the signal or even heavy demand from other campers. For whatever reason communication is patchy.

It is frequently possible to "connect" but because it is so slow I usually cannot be bothered.  With no TV either I tend to travel about in my own little bubble contacting people when I can.

This is wonderful but does create a slight problem.

When I finally get home there is a long list of tasks, some quite urgent.
At least it keeps me busy.
Oddly enough having so many demands encourages me to go away again and escape.
The only thing I really miss is catching up with friends.

This time though it is a bit different because I have a special big trip coming up so I MUST complete the necessary preparations.  More about this later

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Read of the Month (August 2019)

August's Read of the Month is slightly different to the usual suggestion.

Rather than a book it is a......... I am not sure how to describe it;
it is less than a book but more than a pamphlet.  I think the best description is a "Journal".  It reminds me of a collection of articles or stories or thesis; similar to a scientific journal.

Yet I think in the light of current happenings it is appropriate.

My Read of the Month is "Positive News",

 It IS a collection of articles. 

All of them are of happenings and events where people have made a valuable contribution.  The sort of of stories that rarely make the news in the usual outlets; TV, radio and newspapers because they are "good news" items so not considered newsworthy.

It is produced quarterly with each edition having a number of in depth stories.  This makes it easy to read.  (In fact one of the stories I feel is particularly relevant to me.  I am investigating it further). 

I have also discovered it is available to purchase off the shelf in Sainsburys.  It may even be in other  stores. When I visit other shops I will check it out.

Do buy a copy.  It makes very interesting reading

Monday, 12 August 2019

Countryfile Live 2019

What excitement!

After a great deal of deliberation I eventually decided to promote and sell my book at the Countryfile Live Show at Blenheim Palace from Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th August.

It was eye-wateringly expensive.

Being a fan of the TV programme Countryfile and thoroughly supporting the emphasis it places on valuing the countryside and the people who live and work on the land I had high expectations of having a unique and rewarding experience at the Countryfile Live Show.  

I assumed my product “Wonderful Walks from Dog-friendly Campsites Throughout the UK” a book of countryside walks would be viewed as compatible with the ethos of the programme and so be an acceptable product for inclusion in the show and would complement the other small country rural business stalls.

I am sorry to report that it was not the experience I had hoped for.

Yes there were lots and lots of people

I would assert at least 50% of the passing crowd did not even register our presence.

That was because we were so far away back from the main pathway it was impossible to engage with the passing throng.  It did not make much difference even when those of us who could moved forward.

It was not all bad.  for the first time ever I sold some of Rita's book and quite a few of my first book in addition to several of my "Walk" book.

Also one of the Countryfile presenters Adam Henson passed by . 
He was  particularly interested in the stall next to mine;
Stainswick Farm. 
It was one of the few farm stalls. 
They grow rapeseed and bottle the oil which they then sell. 
He came to talk to them and photos were taken
If you look carefully you can just see him between the two girls.
(I was a bit slow with my camera).

Monday, 5 August 2019

Positive News

I imagine many of you are like me and find the news as presented in newspapers, on TV and radio very depressing.   
There seems to be nothing but conflict of all kinds.  
The exception is usually events involving the Queen and her family.  Then we are inundated with every minute detail.  
Enough already.

A friend of mine agreed with me.  She too feels the same.  

In order to  inject a modicum of equilibrium into the situation she subscribes to a publication called “Positive News”.  
She was very persuasive and mention some interesting ideas.  
I decided to look into it and eventually subscribed to it myself.

It is a quarterly publication and the summer edition had just been circulated so that was the edition I received the other day.

I was surprised to discover the format was similar to a quality journal not a newspaper.  The paper was good quality and the spine was unexpectedly stiff making it a bit like a large paperback book.  

The content however was definitely newsy; but in a manner which celebrates achievements.

As indicated it is a substantial publication so I am still working my way through it.  The article which especially interested me was the one examining democracy and how a town council involved people in re-vitalizing their community.  It was very interesting and uplifting.  This is typical of the stories in this news publication.  

Reports are from all over the world and cover all events, not just political.

I notice the Patron is Sir Martyn Lewis CBE.  A television news presenter and journalist.  To me this indicates the journalistic aims of the publication are vigorous.  

For more information go to 

Monday, 29 July 2019

Location, Location, Location

As the property TV programme states Location is very important, not just in choosing a house, but also when choosing a campsite.

When looking to buy a house people have different opinions both in the type of house and the location.  It is the same with campsites.

This was exemplified by the 2 campsites I visited just recently, both of which were new experiences.

My first outing was to the "Cock Inn" in Peasmarsh in East Sussex near Rye. The pub has a long interesting history.  Though it was built in 1670 during the reign of Charles II the name "The Cock" comes from an even earlier time the 12th century when Richard I was king.  It refers to the traditions of chivalry as practised by the knights of old.  During the pre-tournament meal where the knights made their vows a peacock in all its wonderful plumage was served.

This local pub has a large static park behind it as well as a much much smaller grass field for tourers at the side. It has a new modern amenities block on the other side of the pub. There are many walks of varying length some from the rear of the campsite despite that fact a few of the paths were inaccessible because of overgrown produce (beans I think).

The two walks I did was a wood walk where I got wet in a downpour.  The other was an explore of the medieval city of Rye (very interesting) and then the walk home.

The other campsite I went to was Windermere Camping and Caravanning Club Site.  As is usual with club sites it was well organized, clean and an absolute delight.

There was a dog walk but it was very basic; nowhere for Pearl to chase her frisbee.  Also with sheep about I had to be careful about letting her off in the fields.
The sheep even migrated onto the campsite.

Also the walks were unexciting especially for Pearl because of the plethora of sheep in many fields. The number and variety of walks improved after we had gone more than a mile over the fields to the nearby village.

However, Pearl and I discovered some lovely places. In addition to a playing field where Pearl could chase her frisbee we discovered access to the river where she could have a swim.

On one of the walks we had to take a detour along a minor road because of a bull in the field.   I decided not to cross the field because of the cows at the top of the hill right across the proposed path.  It was only later as the road passed the field I saw that there was also a bull with the cows.  Oh how relieved I was.

Two enjoyable campsites for very different reasons at contrasting locations

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Roller Coaster Ride

One result of having my second book "Wonderful Walks from Dog-friendly Campsites" published is the range of new experiences that have arisen.
 It has been a rather roller coaster ride.

On reflection, (looking back after several weeks) promoting and selling my book at the Newbury Motorhome show was a success.   So much so I was happy to repeat the experience.

So I booked a stall at the Norfolk Motorhome show.

Things began to go array right from the start.

  • My planned outing culminating at Norwich for the Show was curtailed as I had to return home for a new starter motor. As a result it was a long drive to Norwich
  • Erecting the gazebo was much easier as there were people around to help
  • Setting up the following morning I discovered I had bought the wrong banner; the netball one. I unrolled it anyway.  I though it might attract attention, with the Netball World Cup actually being broadcast on TV.
Things began well with books proving popular. 
Then a sharp shower halted proceedings with people decamping.  The rest of the day was slow.  
I hoped Saturday would prove different but with a dire weather forecast this seemed doubtful.  And so it proved.  The morning was not too bad but the showers were very heavy and footfall was sporadic.

The upside was a Saturday evening outing with a friend from Norfolk. 

Sunday was a lovely bright sunny day.   Unfortunately sales of my book did not improve BUT the day was considerably brightened because I met a couple with a dog who had bought my book from some other source.  They had been to one of the campsites and followed the walks.  
They liked the book and kept it in their van.  

All things considered it was not the complete wash out that the WH Smith signing was.

At both motorhome shows I lost sales because I was unable to accept card payments.  
This is now rectified  I have just acquired and set up a card repayment system.  
I now just need to test it. .
I was thinking of asking for volunteers to to donate a payment so I can see if it works before my next show this weekend. 
 Not sure I would get many such volunteers

The weekend after that I have a very special show.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Read of the Month (July 2019)

It seems that the "Read of the Month" post has come round so quickly.
It does not help that I was so late with the June book.

Over the past few weeks there has been interest in the D-Day landings.
My suggestion follows this theme.

"Read of the Month" for July is

Operation Mincemeat " by Ben MacIntyre

This is an account of an audacious disinformation operation by the British during World War II to feed false information to the German High Command.

Those of you of a certain age will no doubt remember the film "The Man Who Never Was" often shown on TV in the 1960s and 1970s  but released in 1959. This film, starring Clifton Webb and Gloria Grahame (no I don't recognize the names either) was based on the true story of a British attempt to trick the enemy into weakening its defences in Sicily prior to a planned attack in 1943.

The idea, code name "Operation Mincemeat", was to drop a dead man in uniform with fake papers in a secure bag attached to his arm into the sea near an enemy stronghold.

As with most films of actual events, the facts are adjusted to fit the narrative.

In the book the enterprise is recounted in extensive detail from inception to the unexpected  consequences including the significance of various personnel involved, both English, German as well as Spanish some of whom are incredible characters

It is a remarkable tale. 
Truth is in fact stranger than fiction.
 It is as riveting and spellbinding as any spy novel or thriller and yet is a true story

Sunday, 30 June 2019

More new experiences

It has been a hugely enriching experience researching for my book "Wonderful Walks from Dog-friendly Campsites throughout the UK".

One reason was the many new places I discovered.

Another reason is the variety to be found throughout the UK and the phenomenal countryside.  I am continually surprised by my discoveries.

I am often asked which is my favourite campsite.  This is difficult to answer because there is something special and unique about each one.

Two campsites perfectly illustrate reasons mention above:-

Burghead Beach Holiday Park
  • Delamere Forest Camping and Caravanning Club site.  Here I explored the forest and discovered the delights of Chester
  • Burghead Beach Holiday Park. As the name indicates this campsite was ideally situated for a beach walk also convenient for trips in the bay

I have also enjoyed the experience of promoting my book
particularly at the Motorhome Show I went to in May in Newbury .  As a consequence in the middle of July I am doing another Motorhome Show in Norfolk.  I hope this will be as successful.

Do drop by if you are attending.  I so enjoy talking to fellow walkers and motorhomers.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Climate Change Protest

As you all know the research I did for my book "Wonderful Walks from Dog-friendly Campsites" has had a profound effect upon my thinking. So much so that my daughter has remarked I have become somewhat militant.   I have definitely become more passionate about the countryside, wildlife and the whole issue of climate change.

As a consequence when I received an invitation from CPRE to join them at a protest gathering in London I was intrigued and decided to investigate.

So it was on Wednesday morning I found myself at Bristol Bus Station waiting for the specially chartered coach to London

My day began exceptionally well.  I opted to get to the bus station via the recent "metro bus". 
As it was the first time I had used this bus the system was totally new to me.  I asked the bus driver to explain.  He spoke quite quickly, then hopped out of the bus and actually got me a ticket from the machine beside the bus stop. I told him I did not have the exact money and would need change.  He said not to worry. 
So I gave him all my change; about 3/4 of the fare. 
How wonderful to meet such a kind and thoughtful person.

The journey to London was uneventful.  We were dropped off beside the River Thames close to Albert Bridge (I think) by the Houses of Parliament. 
I did not take careful note of names and places etc, I just followed the people from the bus.  They very quickly got swallowed up in the crowd all along the road.

I was not sure precisely what was happening and what the procedure was so I wandered around having a close look keeping a watch for any CPRE members

It was NOT a march.  Instead there were groups of people of varying sizes waiting patiently on the pavement along both banks of the river as well as across the bridge,
It was suggested that as many as 16,000 people were on the streets.  Certainly there were lots of organizations such as WWT, Wildlife Trusts, RSPB,  CAFOD, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace. 
I also saw a Buddhist  group  and a WI group.

I soon realized beside each cluster of people was a name of an area in the UK. Eventually it came to me it was the name of the various constituencies.  The groups were waiting for their MP to come and talk to them.  I listened to some of the MPs.

It was most impressive.  They spoke without microphones or anything; no notes; and they answered the questions the crowd put to them without fobbing anyone off.

I listened to a Labour and a Conservative MP. 
They were both brilliant. (No other word for it).

What of my MP; well he did not turn up.  I don't know why.  I was not surprised.

The four hours or so I spent in London was a real tonic. I saw another aspect of life and society and it was not nearly as black and depressing as portrayed in the media; TV, print and digital.

With so many organizations and people right across the age range concerned about climate change I feel more confident that something positive will happen.

Then it was time to board the bus for the journey home.  This too was eventful.
One young man was missing when we set off at the appointed time.  As we drew out into the traffic and onto the bridge the people in the back of the coach saw him running along the pavement.
Unfortunately the coach could not stop to wait for him.
He kept running round the corner onto the bridge chasing the coach.
With the heavy traffic the coach moved across the bridge very slowly.
The closer he got to the coach the slower he ran, unsurprisingly; it was a long bridge.  Nevertheless he did get to the corner at the same time as the coach.
When the coach turned left off the bridge the driver could pull over for the man to board.

Now we had the full contingent it was homeward bound after a day full of pleasant surprises.

A final message;-
Please join an organization concerned with the planet earth. 
I would be delighted if you would make it the CPRE. 
Help protect our countryside, flora and fauna.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Read of the Month (June 2019)

Apologies for being late again with the June"Read of the Month".

June was not only another busy month but an injury to my knee rather hampered me besides the difficulty I had walking. 
I may have been injured but I still had to take the dog out for a walk.  Actually walking was good for the injury as I was informed by a doctor, but it did tire me so.

Also I was dog sitting for a friend.  I learnt a lot from this dog as it was very very different from Pearl and her ancestors.
 It was a miniature dachshund. 
It did not like going out in the rain and this week we had a lot of that. 
Also it did not like long grass so it meant I had to adjust the walks I did with Pearl.
I found it a interesting week.

This is all rather appropriate to the "Read of the Month".

"The Genius of Dogs" by Brian Hare.

Like some previous books the ideas expressed in it and the theories suggested are all based upon a raft of scientific studies carried out all over the world.
Who knew there were people studying the humble dog. 
Perhaps this explains why the author is American!!!!

I know of lots of people who would be only to happy to have a job studying dogs.
Despite this the studies quoted are fascinating and produce some surprising results. 
Many of them are simple enough to be replicated with any pet dog.

If you have a dog or are interested in dogs this book will help you understand them better.