Ireland Part 1 :  Glendalough and Waterford Crystal 

8 months in the making and our Ireland trip had finally arrived. Map had been scoured, locations researched and feedback sought, we thought we’d made some good choices in site locations and sights to be seen.

The sites were then booked at the beginning of the year so they were a definite, all the sightseeing locations were a different matter as there was so much to see and do and thankfully not all weather dependant.

Ferry was booked too, Stena Supafast X out and the slow boat back as we didn’t think either of us would be in a rush to come back. Early ferry out though, just before 9am so it would mean a very early start, but that’s when your holiday begins, isn’t it ?

Insurance was renewed and as we’d gone through the Caravan and Motorhome Club we also opted for their recovery package, Red Pennant. That left medical cards to be obtained and money exchanged and that was done easily enough, think we’d covered all our bases but like anyone else we must have gone through things a few more times, just to make sure, of course.

We’re lucky to be able to store Pod at home, so a few days beforehand the fridge was switched on at the mains and by the time we pulled her out for her final check the fridge was nice and chilled and ready to be loaded up with lots of goodies.

Pod and the fridge were loaded the night before which made our life a little easier 4 a.m. the following morning.. yes you read right, 4AM !

Alarm duly woke us at 4 and breakfast was eaten whilst watching the weather report, rain was in play but we hoped for a calm crossing, 3 hours or so rocking from side to side doesn’t do anyones constitution any good, no matter how good your sea legs are.

Pod was hooked up to the car and lights checked, we said bleary eyed goodbyes to those we were leaving behind, knowing full well once we hit the road they would crawl back into their nice warm beds. 

On the road for 5.30 and as you’d expect they were empty which left us with a stress free 2 1/2 hr journey to Holyhead. 

As expected the SatNav worked a dream and delivered us to the port gate, papers were handed over and tickets received and we were instructed to continue on through to security.

We moved forward and joined the queue which was slowly crawling forward towards some rather stern looking faces. Eye contact was made and that was it, we were given the curly finger along with a waving arm in the direction of a bay on the right hand side.

Then out of nowhere a curly mopped grinning middle aged lady wearing the appropriate security garb bounded over and asked to have a nosey in Pod. Couldn’t refuse and we wouldn’t of, even if we’d met her whilst touring, Pods door was opened and her head bobbed round and into Pod with woops of amazement. She was impressed with the layout, size and how much was actually crammed inside, a proper little tardis apparently. Her curiosity satisfied she checked our gas bottle was off and let us move on after directing us to lane 9.

Weren’t waiting long and half an hour later we followed the motorcade up the ramp and into the belly of the Stena Superfast X. Once parked up we left Pod jammed between a 10 tonne truck and a bus full of females on a hen doo.

Second breakfast was eaten in the restaurant/cafe area and after a constitutional walk around the available outside decks we settled into the large reclining chairs for the final part of the journey.

The seas was flat calm and we were slowly leaving the rain behind us, as we entered Irelands waters the clouds moved away to allow the sun to finally break through.

We glided effortlessly into harbour passing a number of grand sailing ships and the two chimneys belonging to Poolbeg Generating Station, quite surreal seeing old times with new.

Once docked and back in Pod we again followed the trail of motor vehicles out of the ship and onto the roads of Dublin. Satnav came out to play and our first site destination of River Valley Caravan Park, Co. Wicklow was entered.

Once off the ferry we found ourselves winding our way through an industrial estate. We had no choice other than to trust the satnav as we didn’t have a scoobies where we were going and having set it to kilometres we went on our merry way.

We eventually turned left at one of the junctions and saw signs for the toll bridge and were a car length from the bridge when traffic came to a stand still as the bridge was on its way up. Brilliant, just what we didn’t need, or so we thought but that flat feeling soon changed as we saw a long thin line of tall ships slowly floating into harbour and all passing under the now raised bridge, wonderful and a great start to our holiday.

Soon set off again and paid 1.75€ as we crossed the bridge and followed the coast road passing a multitude of joggers, cyclists and outdoor gyms. Dublin certainly seemed a very fit city and as it was a Bank holiday everyone appeared to be out enjoying it. Eventually we left the coast road and moved inland slightly and climbed up hill, we bumbled along enjoying the scenery to be told we were no more than a kilometre away.. then metres.. then nothing.

An empty single track lane with nothing on it but a long driveway with some very fancy wrought iron gates leading to some unknown house.

We crawled into the recess of the driveway and out came the Caravan Club directory along with phone coordinates in an attempt to find the site, by this time we were both a little weary and could have killed for a cup of tea and neither mapping device was forthcoming with a location, the annoying thing being the satnav coordinations were from the Caravan Club.

Those wrought iron gates began to move and slowly opened to allow a little blue fiesta onto the small recess in the road, only problem was we were well and truly blocking the cars path. As the car and its occupant were our captives it seemed like the ideal opportunity and a bit of a stab in the dark to ask if they knew of the site, fortunately the lone female occupant did and in her broad Irish accent she pointed us further down the road and told us to keep going, it wasn’t much further.

We thanked her and drove on winding along the narrow road for what seemed an age but we eventually reached Redcross, the highest village in Ireland and then after scanning all the side streets found a pretty innocuous sign and the site tucked away behind the pub, Mickey Finns.

Booked in easily enough and as we were on the adults only section ‘Secret Garden’ we veered to the right of the site slowly manoeuvring our way through the hordes of children gathering around the entrance.

After a circuit of the site we eventually picked a pitch on the upper level, it gave great views down the valley and wasn’t too far from the facilities.

First thing we discovered was the hardstandings were just that, rock hard and concrete, there was no way we could pitch the awning so Pod went on the pitch at a jaunty angle which allowed the awning to sit on the grass. One of the great advantages of Pod being so small, she will fit anywhere.

Once set up, kettle was on and we sat out in the glorious sunshine and hoped it remained for the duration of our stay, have to live in hope, don’t you.

Now, over the past few months we’ve been in conversation with two Pod owners in Ireland and as a result of this they’d made what we saw as a very kind gesture, they decided to join us and stop at the site for a night, so whilst basking in the sunshine what did we see slowly working its way along the row of caravans, yes, another Pod.

Quickly tidied round, not that we’d actually done anything in the half hour since our arrival, but felt the need, first impressions and all that and stood waiting to put faces and bodies to names only seen on Facebook.

Introductions were soon done and conversation between Em, Son and ourselves was flowing nicely, so much so one of the available pitches was next to us and they made the decision to take that one, excellent we thought. But first we had to hand over a homemade Pod pendant which went on immediate display in their Pod. 

We left them to settle in whilst we had dinner and once all done we all headed off the the pub, Mickey Finns, for what else other a real pint of Guinness.

Found a table to the side of the pub and left Son guarding it whilst we went to peruse the alcoholic selection on offer, weaving our way through the small busy tables we reached the bar and after a little consultation between the bar staff and Em we opted for a set of taster ales but we inevitably moved onto the Irish nectar of black gold..Guinness.

Needless to say a few pints went down extremely well, tastes so much better than that sold in the U.K. and it couldn’t have been with better company as stories were told and plans were made for the next few days, including a guided walk from them both through Glendalough, it was a grand end to our first night in Ireland.

Showers were very welcoming and were in a central shared block, each shower was in a small tiled room and they were token operated, one euro a.k.a. one token gave 6 minutes and as neither of us have timed the experience before we discovered it was possible and 6 minutes was ample time, as long as you didn’t dilly-dally.

Didn’t wake till after 10 a.m. and felt better for it, we put it down to the long drive the day before and not the effects of the beer. When we did eventually stick our heads out of Pod we discovered Em and Son pottering around, conversation wound its way round to our plans for the day and we decided to visit their home town of Bray for a walk along the sea front.

As we didn’t know the area and the satnav had a mind of its own they suggested we follow them back, so once they’d packed their Pod up we jumped into our car and followed them back, virtually to their doorstep. Very strange following a GoPod and catching all the passersby staring and gesticulating in many different forms in the direction of the Pod. All friendly of course.

After parking we said our goodbyes to Em and Son and walked the short distance into Bray, we soon caught sight of the sea and just followed our noses the rest of the way. The sun was out again and the large beach was sat in a bay surrounded by tall impressive houses and hotels. The walk along the promenade was about a mile long and for us took us in the direction of Bray Head and the Cliff Walk, we could clearly see the large cross on the top of Bray Head.

Lunch time was calling and as the smell of fish and chips was wafting in our direction we joined the small queue on the seafront and duly bought said fish and chips, these were provided to us in brown paper bags, no plastic bags here and we thought it was a great idea, all recyclable. After finding a suitable spot on the promenade we sat and watched the world go by whilst we devoured our very tasty lunch.  

Eventually we began our walk back along the prom and just happened to pass ‘Ginos’ home made Italian ice-cream, delicious stuff indeed, black forest gateau and hazelnut heaven, don’t think we’ve ever tasted ice-cream as good as this. Walking back to the car we decided we liked Bray, it was so clean, fresh and well looked after and if the rest of Ireland was like this we were in for a treat.

Once back at the site we drove up to Pod and considered moving her round, that is putting her square on the pitch, awning to, but no sooner had we thrown the idea out of the window the heavens opened and thank goodness we had, because the heavens didn’t just open a side door they opened the main gate and boy did it rain, we’d of been like drowned rats to say the least.

The rain passed soon after and we spent the afternoon pottering round Pod, enjoying the peace and quiet of the site and the view down the valley and over the hills to the coast.

Soon came time to get our wonderful multi-cooker out to play and a previous success of roast chicken, potatoes and veg along with sea bass was soon being demolished. Great little buy the multi-cooker and we hoped it would be our main cooking item whilst away.

A walk through Glendalough with Em and Son was on the cards for the following day so off to bed we went and woke with the sun peeping through the lining of the pop-top roof.

Sandwiches were made and we met up with Em and Son at 8.30 at an agreed location about a third of the way there.

4€ allowed us into the car park and we then followed Em round to find a space near them, it seems Em is as bad as MrB.. or is it a man thing, where they drive round for 5 minutes looking for the nearest spot only to find that if they’d parked at the first available one they’d of been out of the car and on their way probably at the same time.

Anyway, once out of the cars we had a giggle about the multiple choice of parking spots then rucksacks were on and off we went following the path towards the old monastery, once near we decided to take a closer look, we stepped off the main path and crossed a small wooden bridge into its grounds.

It was very picturesque and as we were early we had the place to ourselves. Old and worn gravestones which were barely legible were surrounded by dark green tall grasses and colourful wild flowers, all under a deep blue cloudless sky.

The remains of the monastery stood high above it all along with a tower that reminded us so much of the fairytale Rapunzel. Beautiful place, if we could have stayed we would of but we had much more to see so back on the main path we went.

This took us to the lake and we went to the right of it and upwards, it took us through the forest with its variety of tall evergreen trees, these eventually faded away and we were then on a wide stone path winding through an old quarry.

Upwards we continued with the smattering of a light shower for company, this soon died off leaving us to reach the turning point dry underfoot. 


As we turned to walk back along the other side of the valley we crossed water logged moorland which was only passable by walking over reclaimed railway sleepers. This was fun, especially when you came face to face with someone travelling in the opposite direction, etiquette unknown, so generally ‘passing’ was done by mutual nods and hand signals.

We then came to the view-point Em and Son had told us about and it was spectacular, the wooden platform reached out from the the outcrop and took in the length of the valley, all the way down to the lake and beyond, there wasn’t a cloud above us and the dark blue of the sky melding with the varying shades of green on the hillside along with the stream winding down the centre like a main artery was just incredible.

After a quick bite to eat we began the decent, wooden steps and stones took over this stage and we eventually entered the forest, it was surprising how quickly it darkened and the sun failed to even peep through due to the denseness of the surrounding trees, plus, due to the rain the walk down was slightly treacherous as the steps were covered in the fallen pine needles from the trees above.

By the time we reached the bottom the path was full of families with children dogs and bikes in tow, all travelling in different directions, we had definitely picked the right time to tackle Glendalough. Picnic benches were in sight so we managed to grab one as a group were in the process of leaving.

Once seated coffees were bought and food came out of our rucksacks, midges also joined us, they were annoying as they nibbled away but no way as big or as ferocious as their Scottish counterparts.

The day had been perfect in both company and weather, heavy rain that had been reported as possible never made an appearance.

As we sat at the table under the trees more people and families began to arrive and those not fortunate enough to grab a table put blankets out on the large lawned area and set about laying their picnics out around them.

Kids rode past on bikes and scooters and a family were in the midst of a game of hurling, the fastest game on grass apparently. Glendalough was certainly a popular place.

Soon came time to pack up and say our goodbyes until our paths crossed again as the following day was to be spent in Waterford and the day after that we were moving on to our next site. We’d had a ball with Em and Son and our first few days in Ireland couldn’t have gone better, pity we couldn’t take them along for the rest of the trip, but maybe that’s one for the future..

We drove off in separate directions and once back at Pod we felt a little deflated so walking boots were put on and we went for a mooch round the outskirts of the site.

A leisurely walk took us past a field of donkeys happily munching away on grass and a gnarly looking old fella of a sheep, he was quite happy to say hello but the donkeys weren’t up for it. We then passed the pedal go-kart circuit and the archery centre, would have liked a go but the queue didn’t appear to be going down.

From there we followed the path as it past through an orchard of blossoming pears and apple trees, then onwards toward lodges on stilts, very interesting design and wouldn’t have minded a nosey but doubt their occupants would have been best pleased with two unknown faces squashed up at the windows.

Eventually we returned to Pod and before showers and bed the multi-cooker came out to complete a firm favourite of chicken and chorizo stew, delicious.

Monday arrived and the weather was taking a turn for the worse as rain made an appearance and looked set for the day, typical. Not that it was going to stop us as we sorted ourselves out for a trip to Waterford.

M11 was empty and a joy to drive along, very well maintained and so clean, no rubbish along the hard shoulder, just lots of green fields. After an 1 1/2hr drive we arrived in Waterford and found a carpark just around the corner from The House of Waterford Crystal. Paid the 4€ for parking and as Waterford Crystal was on the ‘to see’ list off we tottled towards the shop. Calling it a shop doesn’t do it justice, it’s as big as a major high street store and as glamorous to boot.

Once in we discovered they have a tour of the factory so we signed up for that at 13.40€ each. Next slot was in 20 minutes so we used the time to walk round the shop, our jaws dropped on a couple of occasions, price being one of them but mainly for the workmanship and detail that went into some of the pieces.

Time came for the tour and once our small group had been gathered we all headed off out of the shop and into the factory which was next door.

Our guide was as expected very knowledgeable and took us through the whole process, from the designer moulds for commissioned work to the blowing and shaping of the glass.

From there we moved onto the blowers, cutters and engravers. Considering they were each surrounded by a few visitors from the group the concentration on their faces was clearly there and how they completed the work without hurting their hands was incredible.

We then moved onto completed works, amongst which we saw a wonderful tribute to 9/11 and from there we all went into the shop to spend a few pennies. Needless to say we came away with a few gifts for our nearest and dearest.

It was a fabulous experience, learnt a great deal about Waterford Crystal and it was a privilege to see such masters at work.

Once out from under the shelter of the shop we were under the torrential downpour that surrounded the coastline, we did a little window shopping an eventually found ourselves in the Gingerman Pub, mainly due to a suggestion made by a local shop keeper. Was a great suggestion and we were soon seated and ordered Guinness beef hotpot and Seafood chowder, it didn’t disappoint at all, extremely tasty and good value for money.

Still raining when we left the pub but we made a valiant attempt at walking along the front, didn’t turn out to be a good idea as by the time we had walked 20 metres we were both sodden and doing our best to keep our hoods up so the decision was made to abandon the idea and return to the car and Pod.

Rain remained for the rest of the day and the grass under the awning was starting to turn into a bit of a quagmire, drainage appeared to be a bit of an issue, that is, none existent.

We spent the rest of the evening cosied up inside Pod, after showers bed time called and we fell asleep hoping it would stop raining long enough for us to take the awning down dry in the morning. The time had come to move on to site number 2, Glenross Caravan Park on the south west coast and continue our adventures and sightseeing trips which will all be told in Part 2 of our Irish Adventure.

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Scarborough unveiled and Podders discovered

Time has come again for a little Pod adventure. Our map in the conservatory was starting to look a little uneven, that is the east and south east side was looking very flagless and bare, so after a small debate on where to start filling it in we decided to try and work our way down the coast, starting with Scarborough.

Neither of us have been there and after a little of the usual internet research it seemed to have everything we liked. The Yorkshire Moors nearby to discover, a beach to walk on and coastal villages to explore. We then had to decide on length of time and location and went for 4 nights at the Camping and Caravan Club site on the outskirts of Scarborough, it looked ideal, it was then booked and a done deal as a deposit is required, unlike the Caravan and Motorhome Club.

The day arrived and as we weren’t allowed on site till 1pm there wasn’t a rush for us to get up early and get out the door but we eventually left around 10.30 giving us a good 2 ½ hours to get there.

Weather was a bit none dis-script, the forecast for the east coast was overcast and cold whilst the west coast was sunshine and warmth, typical you might say but we’ve learnt its what you make of it and we were away in our ‘bubble’, bliss either way.

We skirted Leeds and went round York, traffic was pretty light and soon had Scarborough within our sights.

We hit the dual carriageway just outside of Scarborough and whilst nattering away LB just happened to look up and over the other side of the road to see something neither had ever seen on any of their trips away.. another GoPod, well, between the raised eyebrows, yelps, pointing and staring at the look of concern on MBs face she eventually managed to say ‘look a pod !’.

MB whipped his head round just in time to see it motoring along the road, LB fumbled with her phone and managed to grab a lopsided photo whilst yelling at MB to move his hand and stop waving, caught just in time, evidence was needed, who would believe us otherwise ? Once taken the image was checked and all was good, even managed to catch the lady driver in her pink hat waving back in return.

The rest of the journey was spent giggling and in mild shock and as we drove into the grounds of the site a few minutes after 1pm we thought that would be it and we would never see another one, unless at a future Powwow.

There were a few ‘vans in front of us but it didn’t take long to get everyone moving along. Our turn came and the warden on his bike asked if there was anywhere in particular we’d like to be. He explained the layout of the site and we decided on a sheltered part, not too far from the facilities, we thought his gesture was a nice touch, after all he could have taken us in any direction.

We picked a lovely pitch, bit strange too as they were hard standing but hidden under grass, once on there we couldn’t resist catching a picture as Pod always looks so small and unless you’ve seen inside one you wouldn’t believe how much of a tardis they were.

Pod was levelled, bed made up, awning erected and it soon looked like we’d been there for days. Time had come to have a mooch in the area so we decided to head into Scarborough but first checked out the bus route. Big fail, we’d of been able to get into Scarborough but the buses stopped running between 4 – 5pm and didn’t run on weekends, as we didn’t know how far it actually was the car came into play. Turns out it was only 10 minutes away in the car so any future treks into the town could be done with a good half hour or so walk.

Once into Scarborough’s northern bay we passed the railway and Peasholm Park and were soon driving along the seafront down the coast, the sea was all the way in and there weren’t too many people about so there was plenty of parking by the time we reached the southern part of the bay.

We walked past the colourful amusement park and along the front, sea to our left and arcades, kiss-me-quick hat shops and take-away outlets to our right. The smell of the sea drifting over the break wall mingling with the freshly cooked donuts and the musical sounds of the arcades is a childhood memory many have and we’re no different.

Only thing to spoil it was the incessant noise of the hundreds of seagulls and we haven’t exaggerate on the number, they had not only nested in the rock face looking out to sea but also any available building space along the front, this plus all their ‘deposits’ shall we say marred our experience a little.

As we slowly ambled along taking all this in we couldn’t help but notice an unusually modified mobile home parked up on a side street. We edged nearer and as it looked like nobody was home a quick picture was taken to peruse later. Not sure what caravan was used to create this masterpiece but it looked loved and lived in.

Once we passed the people on the donkey rides and others playing on the beach we walked up through the tiered garden towards Britains oldest surviving cliff tramway, in great conditions and had plenty of custom for only 90p one way.

After a mooch around the shops we eventually worked our way back down to the seafront and discovered that parking was free after 6pm, this probably accounted for the buses not running in the evening. We also couldn’t resist an ice-cream from Harbour Bar Ice-cream Parlour, huge, full of flavour and really good value for money, took a while but by the time we got back to the car there wasn’t much left.

Once back at Pod dinner was cooked, steak, stir-fry and pasta sauce was on the menu and it went down very well sat outside under the awning whilst watching other ‘vanners walk by as the stars came out on a clear moonlit night.

Showers were next on the menu and they didn’t disappoint. Some may say a little small and dated but they were spotlessly clean and by heck the showers were hot, powerful and were very welcome as the block didn’t seem to have heating.

Temperature had dropped some what so hot water bottles had already been strategically placed for optimum bottom warming and once back at Pod we were soon snuggled under the duvet and fast asleep within minutes.

Woke to a dry day but we weren’t convinced it would remain that way, after breakfast we made plans for a trip to Robin Hoods Bay, half an hours drive up the coast we soon found it and all without the satnav, very daring decision some may say.

Found a small carpark at the top of the Bay and once we paid the minimal fee we began our walk down the steep winding road towards the harbour. 

Some of the houses were built out of the rock face, others had narrow footpaths between their apposing neighbours doors, if they were to reach out from their doorsteps they could probably have given a warm handshake. Each had made the best use of the space on offer with some wonderful architecture to show for it.

The sea was in again, seemed we needed to improve our timing if we were ever to get onto a beach. Right on the harbour front was the Old Coastguard Visitors Centre, it was free, so in we went. Small but plenty to read and many activities for the kids to enjoy, some adults too..

Once we left the centre we wound our way through the village, taking unexpected turns along ever decreasing stone paved paths where each building seemed to tower over us as the paths became narrower. Most appeared to be holiday lets but would like to think some were owned and lived in by the locals.

Lunch time arrived and after a steep walk back up we stopped just short of the car at the Fish Box and tucked into fishcake, pie and chips, delicious.

Next stop was Whitby, few more miles up the coast we went and once off the main road we turned in the direction of the Abbey. Up the hill we went and turned into the carpark at the foot of the Abbey and found the first available space.

A rye grin then came over MBs face as he pointed to the other side of the carpark and said ‘look’. Well, who would have thought it possible, never mind in a carpark.. another Pod ! Unattended but hitched/locked to a car, it was definitely a GoPod, a newish one too by the looks of the unmarked shiny hitch.

It was quite funny watching people strolling over for a look and to take pictures, made us wonder what happened around our Pod when we weren’t on the site. Of course we had to join the crowd and grabbed a picture for ourselves, that all important evidence 😉 .

Paid a few pounds for the parking and again to enter the Abbey grounds and the exhibition/shop. 

 Rain made an appearance along with the occasional gust of a biting wind. We took shelter in the ruins and wandered between the tall limestone arches and pillars reading the display posts as we went along. The rain did its best to get in the way of taking photographs but with a little jiggery-pokery they didn’t turn out too bad. If the rain had stayed off and it had been a clear day the views over Whitby and out to sea would have been incredible.

By the time we made it back to our car, the visiting pod, its car and owners had gone, so we didn’t get the chance to say hello and if it hadn’t been for grabbing a photo we doubt anyone would have believed we’d seen it, not everyday you see a pod at all, never mind in an Abbey car park.

Back down the hill we went and found a car park not far from the pier. Once wrapped up we headed for the pier and on the way we saw the RNLI museum so had to call in. In here we learnt about HMS Rohilla which had been a hospital ship and in 1941 struck Whitby Rock, after two days she eventually sunk killing 85 people.

Next stop was the pier, the sea was in, again and with the high winds it managed to breach the wall and surprise a few passing people with a bit of a soaking, needless to say we had our eyes peeled but enjoyed the braising walk up to the end of the pier. Once there we turned and the view was amazing, all of Whitby could be seen with the Abbey off in the distance, it must have been an incredible sight in its day.

Time came to head back to Pod and once there the new multi cooker came out to play. Because one of us a pescatarian and the other a carnivore cooking the same meal can be slightly tricky, but so far we’ve adapted well but felt like bringing a new dimension to it, hence the multi cooker.

The base was filled with chicken thighs, new potatoes, various veg and all smothered in a herb sauce, then a tray was placed over this and for the last 20 minutes sea bass wrapped in foil slowly steam cooked away. Turned out incredibly well but need to keep looking for one pot meals than can be varied a little to cater for both of our tastes.

Bed beckoned and once snuggled in bed watching the next days weather report, which looked promising, we decided to spend the day exploring the northern part of Scarborough and to walk in to make the most of the area.

We slept well, funny thing being we always seem to sleep better in Pod, maybe on this occasion it was all that wonderful fresh air that blew in from the coast.

Thankfully we woke to a dry day and once breakfast was out of the way we set off up the road into Scarborough, first we passed the railway deciding to call in on it on the way back, first port of call was Peasholm Park. We’d heard some wonderful stories about it and couldn’t wait to explore.

As we entered the park we did a left and walked towards the main part of the lake. As the path circled the lake we passed pedalos but were disappointed to see they were only available at weekends, we continued round to see the waterfall cascading down one section of the island. The bridge over to the island and its Oriental Garden and Pagoda wasn’t open so yet again it looked like we would miss the park at its best.

We continued on and passed the bandstand which was situated in the middle of the lake, this looked a little sorry for itself as it was encased in bird droppings and seagulls with their young were everywhere.

Our walk then took us through the gardens, these were lovely and so well maintained. Many different species of plants and trees surrounded the well marked pathway. We passed someone with his remote control boat on one of the smaller ponds and we soon found ourselves at the Lilly Pond, the whole walk had been very peaceful and because of the surrounding tall trees the air within the park remained still and none of the noise from the roads that circled the park penetrated its tranquility.

At the Lilly Pond we turned and on the way out we passed very friendly squirrels who it seemed had become accustomed to being hand fed, as we completed our route we discovered we had done a complete circle of the park and although we were disappointed to not see it at the hight of its popularity, including the ship battles, we thoroughly enjoyed it and it went a good way to recharging our batteries. Point of note for us was to return in the summer season to see the park in all its glory.

Once we left the park we could see the sea not too far away and walked up to the breaker wall collecting an ice cream on the way. We couldn’t make our mind up if the sea was on its way in or out, but either way it was a powerful beast battering the defences that surround the bay.

We could here the toot toot of the train coming from the miniature railway and within a few minutes we were at the train station looking at the times for the next available trip, the next wasn’t due for 15 minutes so we walked on through to discover the open air concert stage.

It look great, ideal for those intimate performances, everyone, those stood and those seated would have had a birds-eye view of whom ever was on the stage, definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Strolled back to the station and bought our return tickets for our journey which was 7/8th of a mile, we couldn’t resist a huge tub of sugar loaded sweets for the journey out and hopefully back.

We soon took our seats on Neptune and in total, including us there were 5 people on board, brilliant. Off we went, toot tooting as we went along and within 10 minutes we had reached Scalby Mills. We could have stayed on and returned but after speaking to the conductor he suggested a few pints at the pub up the hill, who were we to refuse such good helpful advice.

Off we went and after passing the sealife centre we found the pub called ‘Old Scalby Mills’. A couple of pints of Boon Doggle and Thwaites later we wound our way back to the train platform to await our train.

Few minutes later the toot toot could be heard off in the distance and it didn’t take long for it to wind its way along the track, round the corner and into our line of sight.

Neptune unhitched itself and was soon on the turntable doing a full circle to be joined at the other end of the carriages. This time we decided to film our journey and used Facebook live to do the task. We sat at the front, right behind the driver and waved at all and sundry as we moved along the track. For those who wish to see this endeavour you can find it on our Facebook page 2B’s in a Pod, we had a right giggle and we’re convinced the ale enjoyed in the pub added to our jolly demeanour.

We’d had a grand time discovering another part of Scarborough and our half an hour walk soon brought us back to the site, it was great to see Pod waiting for us, we soon had the kettle on, feet up and chilled chatting about our wonderful day and all the giggles we’d had along the way.

Night time came around again and we had our last day ahead of us, where had the days gone and why does a week of work never go this fast. Never the less, a search of the area was done and Flamborough Head was on the cards for the next day.

Another wonderful deep nights nights sleep was had and we woke to another dry day, we may not have had the sunshine of the west coast but it was dry and we counted our blessings on this.

Flamborough Head was a half hour drive down the coast, looked like it was going to remain dry so only warm clothes needed.

Soon drove through the small village and discovered a large carpark and café, 2£ to park for the day so we made ourselves welcome, we clocked the toilet block on the other side too, always handy to know.

A footpath went both left and right along the coast but the first place we had to see was the cove below us, the sea was out for the first time so after passing a rather dilapidated tractor who we didn’t feel too sorry for because he got to spend the rest of his days with a glorious view down the bay and out to sea, many would pay a fair penny for the view.

After walking past a few boats decked out in fishing gear we soon had our feet on the soft, fine sand. The only thing to have made a mark before us was a second tractor who had moved a boat out to sea, to be fair this tractor looked like it might be joining its partner in crime soon as we were amazed how it managed to move at all, as it was incased in rust, salt and sand.

The caves then came into view and once beneath them you could see the wear and tear the sea had caused, nearly said damaged, but its not, nature will have its way and whether ‘we’ are at fault as well, that’s another story.

We hopped over the rocks and wandered between the small rock pools and eventually found ourselves near the arch that showed you the way out of the bay, walking under the arch brought us out to even more caves that seemed to line the entire coast as far as our eyes could sea, the temptation to continue and explore was real but as we weren’t sure if the tide was on its way in or out we thought it best to make for the beach.

Back up on the main path we decided to continue down the coast and try and make for the Lighthouse, the path was easy enough to follow and at one point we entered a nature reserve.

Now the path we took was along the coast, little hairy in places and not for anyone who has a thing about heights, fortunately the wind wasn’t very high so we felt quite secure, we could image though if a gust of wind came along some may struggle, for those still wanting to do the walk there was also a path that cuts out most of the rock face.

Seagulls, Gannets and Oystercatchers were in abundance, the noise carried way down the coast and followed us all the way to the Lighthouse, Puffins are also supposed to be in the area but on this occasion we didn’t catch sight of one and yet to be seen by either of us.

Passing the golf course on our right we soon reached the Lighthouse but before having a look round we decided it was time for lunch, just something light we said, a sandwich we said, no. Well that was what was asked for but what was put in front of us was much greater and very delicious too. One had huge chunks of chicken rammed in the roll and the tuna melt ciabatta was scrumptious, this on top of chips went down very well.

After numerous cups of fresh tea we eventually managed to pull ourselves out of the chairs and walk towards the Lighthouse, views from its point were wonderful and as the day was clearing the views extended some way up and down the coast, only thing to be seen were seabirds darting in and out of the bays and their many hidden caves and alcoves.

Our walk back took us the same route and we noticed that the sea was on its way in, bashing against the rocks and forcing its way into the now half sunken dark caves.

Our day wasn’t over yet and on the way back, after being prompted by a follower, we decided to call in at Reighton Sands, we eventually found a small carpark near a static caravan site and took the steep concrete path down to the sea.

We found ourselves on a large pebble beach and as the sea was on its way in this was the only part we could see, from the many great reports we’d been given we knew this couldn’t be it, so after climbing up and over a small ledge we were met with a fabulous sight, yes the sea was in but you could clearly see the huge expanse of a protected sandy beach, how wonderful.

We sat a while and took it all in, our last day was nearly at an end and at this point the clouds cleared from around us and the sun came beaming down, perfect.

The sun remained out all the way back to Pod and allowed us to enjoy our last evening in the awning, beer in hand, with feet up as the sun slowly set and this wasn’t long after taken over by the moon in a clear starlit night.

Morning arrived way too soon but the time had come to pack up, we’d had a great time and had many a giggle along the way. Discovered a part of the east coast neither of us had visited before and beautiful memories had been made, that’s what it’s ultimately all about, isn’t it ?..

Posted in Accessories, Architecture, Awning, Bridges, Caravan, Caravanning, Castles, Church, Glamping, Photography, Scarborough, Sight seeing, Stately home, Travel, Traveling, Uncategorized, Walking, Yorkshire | Leave a comment

Back to the outdoors with a tarp in Chirk

Quarter of the way through the year and plans for Pods adventures are going according to plan. From Scotland to Wales, England and Ireland we seem to have the UK pretty well covered this year. Even to the extent of a few ‘off grid’ trips which are to some extent still in the planning stages but will eventually open Pod up to us being totally self sufficient and giving us a whole new travel experience.

All that said, it is baby steps, as over the next few months to a variety of degrees we hope to integrate some of our ‘self sufficiency’ into our trips away. We don’t just want to rock up in Scotland for example and not have thought daily living and other tasks out.  

So, first step was to lighten the load and simplify any accoutrements that we take along on our trips, our next jaunt was to Lady Margaret’s Park, Chirk and was the perfect opportunity to experiment. Minimalism was about to take over so the awning would be the first thing to be removed and be replaced with a tarp, also the portapotty removed as it took up valuable easily accessible storage, on this occasion we’d use the sites facilities, even for those emergency midnight trips if necessary. The table and clothes airer would also be coming out, along with the upright bin which was to be replaced with a weather proof, air tight container that could be stored under Pod if necessary. We even rethought our use of large, bulky towels and replaced them with microfibre ones in the hope they would live up to their promise of drying us adequately but ultimately dry quickly for the following days use. These were essentially all the items we kept in the awning.

Replacing the awning with the tarp would be the main challenge, as the awning offered so much living space plus kept us warm and dry when the weather turned for the worst, but come what may, rain, wind, snow (still live in hope on that one) we would deal with and cope with the limitation of being in a small confined space to live, cook and sleep. Hopefully any issues would be minor and if anything else be easily resolved, but if not resolving it would be a challenge we would revel in, as always.

The tarp is one we bought for 30.00 off ebay and was initially bought as a porch extension for the awning and for use as emergency cover when out kayaking. With a little sewing magic and trial and error concerning addition straps and loops we, and we say the royal ‘we’ on this one, we sewed awning bead and spare webbing on at various points under and along the tarp. Once done, the tarp along with two poles from the awning and spare guy lines were packed away inside Pod. It’s on YouTube for those who wish to see it in action.. along with Mr.B.

The day of departure arrived and Pod looked empty, but Poddington along with a homemade Pod decorative keepsake came too, have to have some home comforts don’t you? Mr.B checked Pods tyre pressure and we soon had the car hooked up and were on our way to Chirk.

Pretty uneventful trip and just over an hour away for us, we thought Lady Margarets Park could be a bolt hole if it promised everything the research had shown so fingers were crossed.

Arrived a few minutes after 12 and once booked in we were given a sheet with the available pitches. Didn’t take us long as we took a left just after the office and found ourselves in a lovely circular wooded area. If we’d carried on down the road we would have come to a more open area.

Only two vans on this section so we pretty much had the pick of pitches, we chose one that allowed the sunset to go down behind the trees and hopefully we’d get to enjoy it later when we settled down in our big comfy chairs under the tarp

Once Pods legs were down and she was levelled off the kettle was on. We couldn’t believe the weather, the sun was out, no clouds, windless, all we could hear were the birds in the trees and see rabbits and squirrels running around not far from Pod, perfect. Only thing left to do once the TV and water supply were connected along with the bed being made up with the slats and food stowed away was to get the foot stools out and relax with a huge mug of tea and a few Jaffa Cakes. Who’d have thought 1 hour earlier we’d been trundling down the motorway along with all those going about the hustle and bustle of their daily business.

Mid afternoon and it was time for a bit of exploring. Pod was locked up and we walked out the main gate and up the road which took us into Chirk. Along the walk we both noticed a very heady smell of someone baking a very rich chocolate cake, this soon identified itself as the old Cadbury chocolate factory, still producing cocoa and hot chocolate but now rebranded under Kraft/Mondelez. We continued along to the village but slowed somewhat to take in as much of the delicious smell as we could, so much so we were nearly hyperventilating by the time we reached the main road.

And this point The Hand pub was across the road from the junction, we decided to walk on a little to see what else was on offer and we discovered the usual array of shops and a local butchers which sold a good selection of meats. Eventually we turned and walked back towards the pub. It didn’t look particularly inviting from the outside but we thought we’d go in and have a look, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Pleasantly surprised is the least we can say, lovely big red leather chesterfields were arranged around two lounge areas, along with comfy looking high back chairs and large soft cushions scattered around.

We settled ourselves into a large sofa and as our bottoms sank into the chair they kept on going.. they were so soft the chair almost enveloped us, probably in an attempt to keep us there, believe us though, they didn’t have to try too hard. Two pints of guest ales were ordered, Darwin’s Origin and Shropshire Gold, both for under a fiver.

Few pints later we looked out of the window and could see darkness descending, it was time to get back to Pod and get dinner under way. Our walk back was slightly slower and as we entered the site and turned towards Pod dusk had surrounded us. Pod looked tiny without the awning but still very impressive. Quick flick of the LED light switch under the tarp and Pod looked great, the light didn’t escape to pollute the night sky, its downward light only emanated along the floor giving it a very euphorial look, if that’s possible with an object. Maybe it was those beers..

Dinner was done and we ate under the tarp, there wasn’t a breath of wind and all around was so still. There was a slight nip in the air but an extra layer soon sorted that out, we stayed there for quite some time planning our next day and until that nip became a chill.

Showers beckoned and we got to use our microfibre towels for the first time, they were brilliant and worked much better than the shower cubicle chosen by one of us. Trouble with that is once you’ve set your stall out you don’t want to go shower hunting so you just make the best of a bad choice. They block is clean and generally well kept so all was good in the end.

Chairs and footstools were stored under Pod and the airtight bin was secured with a clipped strap, didn’t want to find its contents visited by any of the wild locals and it strewn across the site, that wouldn’t have gone down well. Our magical towels were secured with their clips and hung over the straps we had sewn under the awning, it alllooked pretty tidy, we’re not overly fussy, just like to keep things ship shape.

Hot water bottle had been done before showers and it was nice to climb into bed and find that warm spot. The thermal wrap was up so no matter what happened outside, we were snug under the duvet and in for a good nights sleep. 

Woke to the sunlight peeping through the small gap in the blind, if we hadn’t done that there wouldn’t have been any light penetrating and a very long lie-in would have been had. Pod is just too cozy sometimes. Breakfast was eaten alfresco, slightly cloudy but again windless, perfect for us. Wish we’d just record all this visually as words sometimes are hard to find to express the bliss of the moment without it sounding corny.

Chirk Castle was on the cards for today and as it’s a National Trust property entry for us would hopefully be free. Picnic lunch was prepared and packed and we set off on foot towards the entrance to the grounds. The entrance, for those on foot is just outside the site and is the exit for those who visit the castle in cars.

For those that take this path, beware ! Because for those in cars we seemed to be invisible and if we hadn’t moved out of the way smartish one or both of us would have had a longer stay than planned and the view from inside any hospital isn’t what we’d planned on. But take this out of the equation the walk up to the castle was past the gate house and some incredibly detailed gates then along a narrow tree lined road, mostly peaceful as there wasn’t a soul to be seen. After about a mile we reached the castle and continued past it to the office to register our arrival.

Once done, tickets in hand we took the path up to the castle entrance and entered wondering what we would discover inside. Firstly, we entered a large courtyard entirely lined by the castle walls, the flag of Wales fluttered away in the far corner and a seating area near the café spilled out into the another corner.

Up the steps we went and into history we walked, the rooms were decked out in memorabilia through the ages and as you walked up the main staircase we got the feel of those who had walked before us and had lived in this wonderful castle.

From room to room we wondered and as always the ceiling drew our attention, the detail of which we will never see again.

The library was smaller than most establishments of this kind but the enthusiasm held by the guide from within was wonderful. The love of the books he had under his care poured from him and we were held there under his spell whilst he told the story of some of those held on the shelves around us. His wish, as well as ours was that he would get the display cases he had requested and some of those books would be opened and their contents shared to all.

From here we walked up the tower and then down the winding stone steps to the dungeon, brilliant experience. Then off to the café for a cream tea which went down very well.

The gardens were next on the list and whilst there we visited the laundry, a great piece of history and made us thankful for our electronic devices we have today. Our walk then took us to Hawks House, a beautiful thatched structure set at the back of the formal garden. We’d quite happily have lived in that, never mind the castle, this is where we sat to eat our picnic and much to our enjoyment we were joined by a robin and a field mouse. The robin we could deal with but the mouse had us holding our breath, not daring to move whilst it spent a short time hunting around for scraps the robin had left.

Our time at the castle was coming to an end so we took the same route along the winding road back down to the site and Pod.

The evening was spent sat outside catching up with news and chatting to those who ventured past. That nip was still in the air but dinner was eaten outside in the fading light of the day. It was great as we were the only ones mad enough it seems, to sit outside, everyone else was closed up in their little boxes, missing the outdoors and all the wildlife that was mooching about the site. Grant you, we had so far been blessed with the weather and should it take a turn for the worse, the tarp would be no place of refuge, we would be in Pod and all the hatches battened down, but whilst dry and calm we couldn’t hide in Pod.

Our last full day arrived and the sun was again making an appearance, today we planned on discovering the canal and aqueduct which also ran along side the railway, no picnic lunch though, we were going to seek out a pub somewhere along the way and have a bite to eat, we’d done a little research and found The Boathouse, we just had to figure how to get to it.

We set off on foot again and within a few minutes we’d crossed the bridge and were on the footpath down to the canal. Within a few steps we were already walking towards Chirk Tunnel, 421m long and very dark. In we went, during our research we’d read that some take torches in but we decided to go for the scary option in stead and just clutch onto the handrail that runs all the way through.

Off in the distance we saw lights bobbing towards us thinking it was a small group walking through, no, as these lights got within 10m of us whilst being blinded we discovered it was one man with three torches, one on his head and one in each hand. Once he’d passed us and our eyes adjusted to the darkness we were very grateful for the rail, it looked like it had been there a long time and we did wonder how anyone would have managed had it not been there. We’re sure that pre health and safety they found a way.

The light at the end of the tunnel grew bigger.. sorry, but when else would we get the chance to say it.. and we came out in a wider section of the canal, as the tunnel is a one way system it was the ideal place for those to queue and wait their turn. Sharing this space was a barge fully kitted out as a sweet shop, a brilliant idea with the option to go where ever needed. Ice creams were bought and we continued on towards the aqueduct.

The water flowed along the aqueduct and again barges queued to use it, whilst above on a higher bridge trains whizzed by. An amazing piece of engineering as between entering the tunnel and exiting the railway had switched to the opposite side of the canal.. or had the canal switched to the other side of the railway?

We continued on up the canal, moving from Wales to England, passing picturesque cottages and barges floating by but we eventually decided to turn back and try and find this pub. Once again we were in the tunnel and soon out the other end, we walked on along the wide well worn footpath which was lined with tall bare trees and we eventually spied it across the other side of the canal.

Another tunnel loomed ahead and we were again immersed in darkness, not as long as the first though, Whitehouse Tunnel at 174m. Once through we climbed a footpath up to the bridge and crossed over. A short walk along one of the lanes brought us to the pub.

Once in you see the bar first and beyond that there’s a pool table and seating area, round the far side are the doors out onto the decking area which gives a great view down to the marina and the canal.

Lunch was ordered along with two guest ales, Tekau 10 and Station Bitter. During a conversation with the manger turns out the Tekau is brewed in Oswestry 6 miles away and the brewery is owned by a New Zealander, the 10 refers to its anniversary and the name is taken from the Maori Haka.

Food arrived and it was delicious, roasted peppers, feta cheese for one and a steak pie in a very buttery sweet pastry for the other. Good value and portions were great too. We could have stayed and enjoyed a few more drinks and the view but we needed to get back before dark, we decided not to take the canal back and as there were no street lights along the lanes we didn’t want any mishaps.

Back at Pod we relaxed under the tarp and a light drizzle decided to surround us, the position we had the tarp in was just right, big enough for two chairs and two footstools. We could have eaten under the tarp but we decided to test Pod out for when the tarp wouldn’t be possible and we didn’t have the awning with us. This meant cooking, eating and spending the rest of the evening behind Pods door. New experience for us as we have always had the awning.

Chairs were put away under Pod and the door was closed as we said goodbye to the outside world. Now, Mr.B is in charge of washing the dishes and LB is the cook, works for us so far so why mess with it. On offer this evening was quorn chilli and rice, as long as Mr.B stayed out of the way, ie: on the bed it would work out fine and it did, only issue was the bin. We would need a small receptacle for whilst encased in Pod during bad weather as it would be totally impractical to keep opening the door to use the bin if the weather was playing Mary-hell outside. Issue identified and easily enough to solve. Dinner was eaten once a suitable position was found so no issues there as a huge throw was on the bed to protect the duvet and could easily be removed and shaken out at a suitable point in the evening.

I know we could make the seats up and put the table in place but that’s not us, we like the camper van feel to Pod, our breaks away are little adventures and we like the feel of it being different, not for everyone, we know.

We’d survived being confined in Pod and before we knew it the time came for showers and bed, our last day had come to an end as the following day meant home.

Glorious sunshine greeted us as we opened Pods door and once breakfast was out of the way it didn’t take long to pack Pod up. The LED light was packed away in its own little case along with the TV in its new padded holder. No awning to take down and pack and no table to dismantle, the tarp was down and in its little bag within minutes. Ideal for those one or two nights stops we had planned.

We’d had an absolutely fabulous time at Lady Margaret’s and the weather couldn’t have been any better for our trial run ‘tarping’. Using the tarp had reminded us why we had Pod in the first place. Yes, the awning has its uses and purpose in bad weather but as it only has one poorly positioned window you can feel very cut off from the outside and isn’t that the point of caravanning, glamping or podding ? To be outside, in the elements, seeing and experiencing the outdoors, a step up from camping.

As we set off home we felt more at ease with the off grid trips we have planned, there’ll be no TV or facilities to use and we know there will be other issues along the way but its an adventure, the unknown and we like a challenge.

Posted in Accessories, Architecture, Awning, Bridges, Canals, Caravan, Caravanning, Castles, Glamping, Modifications, Photography, Sight seeing, Stately home, Travel, Traveling, Wales, Walking, Waterways | Leave a comment

City Tour and Eyes Opened

Out comes Pod again. Off to see family down Bristol way and the great thing about having her, like any mobile home, we get to stay in the area we want and be in our own comfortable, cozy environment. Our ‘bubble’. No abiding by B&B rules or costly hotel bills.Within a few minutes we had her out of Pods Place, there’s a slight gradient but not an issue and between the two of us she was soon hitched up to the back of the car.

Rear lights were checked as always and off we set to Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park, adults only apparently something never experienced before and didn’t really expect it to be any different. Site is situated below Bristol and to the west of Bath, just outside Bishop Sutton.

Off we set and were soon on the motorway heading south. There was a little bit of drizzle to contend with but nothing too bad, the weather forecast warned us of minus temperatures over the next few days and possible snow so anything was possible but we liked to think we were prepared for anything.

3 ½ hours later we rolled into the site, for the last 100m it was a one way system so we had to keep our eyes peeled for the site entrance, there was no need to worry as we were met by a a large green sign informing us of our arrival.

20 metres in we were met by a barrier and another sign instructed us to park on the left and make ourselves known to staff on the other side of the barrier.

This was done and we booked in without any problems, we were then informed that they would be sighting Pod on the designated pitch, not us. Now, we had read the literature before booking and it did say this was done, but foolishly we believed it to be an optional thing, you know, for those who may not be that confident at reversing. No, it was mandatory, company policy.

Speechless and slightly taken aback we stood and watched a small motorised tractor crawl through the barrier and pull up beside Pod and its driver began to unhitch Pod from the rear of the car. At this point we both woke from our frozen state and MrB strode to a position where he could monitor and observe every move, this had never happened before, so we were at a loss of how to deal with it other than to let the warden get on with it.

We waited in the car and watched Pod drive past us and at this point we followed it through the barrier and up the site the 25 metres to our pitch. Very surreal moment following Pod up the path.

It was however slightly ridiculous to watch, the poor embarrassed tractor driver reversed Pod in and at this point MrB could’t take it anymore and jumped out of the car, thanked the warden but asked him to unhitch and we would finish off sighting Pod.

We were then reminded that cars were not allowed to remain at the pitch and once unloaded had to be moved to the main car park, this we also knew and wasn’t a problem.

Pod was levelled off with our little spirit level and we began the process of ‘moving in’.

First off the thermal wrap went on, then the awning. We decided not to use the guy lines which fit down the side of Pod and rely totally on the popper system we had devised. We had to do it one day, just to test it properly, so this occasion seemed as good as any.

Bed was made up with the slats and cupboards filled with food. Ariel and TV were soon up and running too. The clothes had already been placed in the wardrobe before we left, that definitely saves time.

Aqua role, water waste unit, table and chairs were set up and within an hour it looked like we’d been there for days.

After a spot of lunch in Pod we decided to go and investigate the local pub, The Red Lion. Our mission on this occasion had a purpose, as on booking the site we were given the option of a reduction on our stay or a free main course from the local pub aka The Red Lion. We decided on the the meal as on reading reviews via tripadvisor the food seemed to have a good rating.

We walked back up the one way road and at its junction, across the road, was the above said pub. Looked inviting enough from the outside, so in we went.

To the left was an area for the TV and to the right the main bar area with a dinning area set further back with a lovely open fire, the pub had about half a dozen people in but whilst we perused the small selection of guest ales it slowly started to fill up as Rugby 6 nations was on the TV, Wales v England.

We sat on the only bench near the bar, enjoyed our pints of Fullers London Pride, Gem and Sharps Doom Bar and people watched as more and more poured in, they were all geared up for the battle which was due to commence on the TV. As the game began to build and after a few more pints we decided to finish watching the game back at Pod. The pub had a great vibe but it just needed re-jigging a little, would loved to have walked in and seen comfy old sofa’s and chairs up near the fire place with a little subtle lighting to add to the mood. As it was, it was nice, it was definitely a local mans pub and we would be back to check out the food.

Quick dash back down the unlit one way road with torch in hand we were soon back inside Pod, for those that have read our past blatherings, this is a lesson learnt.

TV and small fan heater on we sprawled ourselves across the bed and settled in to watch the last half of the game, and boy what a game. England pulled it out of the hat and won (sorry Wales) !

Shower time came around and after putting a hot water bottle in the bed we set off with towels in hand to try out the facilities. Eight doors leading to eight individual wash rooms, looked good so we each went into one and were met with a shower cubicle, sink, toilet, hand dryer and hairdryer, quite a lot to pack in and depending on which door you walked through you either had lots of room because of the small hallway or a suitably sized large cubicle.

All worked perfectly well and we were both soon back at Pod, that hot water bottle had worked wonders as we climbed into bed. We didn’t use the heater either as the thermal wrap seemed to be working a treat at keeping any chills at bay. Weather was checked just before lights out and it threatened to snow as temperatures had dropped below zero.

Would be great to wake to a foot or so of snow and it was a nice thought to fall asleep to as we snuggled down under the duvet.

Sunday morning arrived, but no snow, some may say that’s a good thing but it would have been fun.

Monday had been set aside to visit family so we chose today to have a look on foot on what was on offer in the area. The site was situated not too far from Chew Valley Lake so big coats, scarfs and hats were donned and off we went along the road. We soon came to a side road and within a few metres we were amongst the trees and over a small footbridge and within sight of the lake.

The well worn path was easy enough to follow as it wound its way along the lake edge, we passed a few people out for their Sunday stroll, all with kids, dogs and grandparents in tow.


The sun attempted to break through the clouds and every now and then the wind picked up to remind us we were extremely pleased to be wearing thick gloves and wooly hats.

We eventually reached ‘Salt and Malt’, a café and fish & chip shop. We loved the recycling approach; everything,  also not cheap but the battered sausage and chips were extremely hot, tasty and warmed us through nicely whilst we sat on the picnic bench and watched the world go by.

A slow walk back took us along the same route and as the sun was dropping down below the sky line the temperature started to drop and the wind began to pick up with an nice icy bite attached.

Kettle on once back at Pod and prep began for our evening meal. On previous trip we’ve opted for quick cook food, that is stuff out of a jar, you know, sweet & sour, spaghetti bolognaise, chuck the protein with the sauce in one pan and the carbs in the other. Well, this time round LB had a change of heart and decided to take on the challenge of cooking a decent meal on a two ring burner with all fresh ingredients and she did it. Worked out cheaper too. On offer on this trip out we had Quorn Singapore Noodles, Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff and Quorn Chicken Rice Stir Fry.

Night before we had Stroganoff and it was deliciously creamy, tonight’s delicacy was Singapore Noodles, again tasted great and it just went to show what’s possible in Pod.

You’ve probably noticed the vegetarian theme, one of us is a meat eater and the other pescatarian, whilst away in Pod the carnivore becomes a flexitarian in reverse. Google it, you’ll get what we mean.

Dinner out of the way showers were had and once in bed we fell asleep whilst planning our next day out.

Wind had picked up through the night, we woke occasionally as it buffered against the awning but by morning light it had died down. The poppers down the sides of Pod and the awning had worked brilliantly, the awning hadn’t budged once so we were extremely pleased with our little modification.

Today was family day but before meeting up we drove to Ashton Court and went for a wander through the grounds. The sun made an appearance between the ever present clouds and as we walked along the heat could be felt on our backs as it seeped through our clothes and warmed our bones. 

The house looked splendid in its bright mustardy colour as it sat high in its grounds peering down the hill taking in all of Bristol. This was a weekday and there were still plenty of people around, could imagine the weekends being packed and why wouldn’t it be, fabulous place to have on anyones doorstep.

Last stop for us before family time was Clifton Suspension Bridge. Costs a pound each way, we paid one way and parked so we could experience it in the car and on foot.

An amazing structure and a testament to the price paid by many in its making. It’s a great shame its creator Isambard Kingdom Brunel never lived to see it finished.

Before we knew it the day came to an end, why is it holidays go so fast, maddening to say the least.

Tuesday arrived and off to Bristol Museum. Free to enter, but donations welcome, most seemed to be around the 5 mark. Absolutely love museums, so many lives lived, stories to tell and history to be seen. The draw on this occasion was an original gypsy caravan kitted out in its original interior. Cast iron hob and fireplace, beds and storage, must have been very heavy to pull and a very different way of life.

After a few hours of immersing ourselves in the past we moved onto Bristol Cathedral, again free to enter. Beautiful architecture and so peaceful, a wonderful place to stop for a few minutes and collect your thoughts, you have to look up too, you don’t know what your missing, there’s more than you think up there.

Our last evening arrived and it was the perfect opportunity to use our discount voucher at the Red Lion, table was booked for 6.30 so off we went. Once through the door all heads turned and it went quiet, we had the distinct feeling we’d interrupted something but no matter, in we went and up to the bar to order a pint of Sharps doom bar and Gem. Conversation soon struck up again between the locals and we sat ourselves down in the bar area to enjoy our pre dinner drinks. More people began to stream through the door and it became quite clear it was the locals local, everyone new everyone, it was great to see such a close community.

Meal time approached so we moved to a table near the fireplace and ordered. The menu was limited but we always see this as a good thing, you just know its freshly made and not chucked in a microwave in order to feed the masses. Pork belly for one and risotto for the other followed by cheesecake with the thinnest base ever seen and a chocolate trifle to die for, good food and great value for money.

A few more pints later we stumbled our way back to Pod, before climbing into bed we checked the weather for the following day, nothing worse than taking down a wet awning, the forecast promised differently but only the morning would tell.

Guess what, it rained, but on a good note the re-waterproofing of the awning we’d done a few weeks earlier had worked a treat, no drips which was excellent.

Due to the rain it took a little longer to pack up, nothing major, we just like to wipe everything down before its packed away. That way next trip is ready to go, see, always planning the next adventure.

Last thing to come down was the awning and low and behold the rain had stopped. So with a dry cloth and due to the reproofing it didn’t take long to get the rain off and the awning packed away.

Now, at this point we were supposed to try and catch one of the site wardens and get them to move Pod to the carpark, we didn’t. Within seconds we had Pod pulled out onto the main path, minutes later she was hitched up and lights checked so we were off. We didn’t do a total runner, conscience got the better of us, once in the carpark an attempt to find a staff member to explain and maybe take a telling off was made but no one was to be found, so we said our goodbyes to the site and hit the road to head home.

Bristol is MrB’s birthplace and somewhere LB would never of thought to visit. It had always been seen as a city just like any other, but how wrong. It would seem no city is the same as any other as they all have a story to tell, some history hidden somewhere, also Bristol was much greener than thought.

So, although wandering through the UKs wonderfully treasured countryside can never be underestimated, the mistake would be not to consider touring cities to find their own hidden gems.

Posted in Accessories, Architecture, Awning, Caravan, Caravanning, Church, Glamping, Lakes, Modifications, Photography, Sight seeing, Stately home, Travel, Traveling, Uncategorized, Walking | Leave a comment

Studs, Poppers and an Epiphany 

We’ve had Pod now for a year and a half and boy we’ve had some fun in her and enjoyed coming up with ideas to improve our experiences, from designing our bed slats, our chopping board and modified the 12V system to meet our needs to name a few, but no matter where the location the weather has always been the testing and changeable factor, certainly made some trips very interesting.  

The rain and the temperature have always been manageable but the one that always tested our set-up was the wind. Without a doubt Pod can withstand anything, the awning however because it’s a generic fit in our eyes has always needed a bit of tweaking.

This we’ve already done by sewing in beading so it gave the required fit with the awning rail and this was soon followed by moving the guy line triangles to a lower position to give a tight, snug fit down the sides. This worked well but in high winds, dependant on its direction it would still cause the sides edges of the awning to flap away from the sides of Pod, no major issue really but we still wanted to improve on it, so thinking caps were always on and when we’ve been away we’ve couldn’t resist a nosey at other set ups for any possible ideas.

The Camping and Caravan show at the NEC provided us with plenty of ideas but the one that caught our attention was the Protec covers display, as part of their range of towing cover attachments were YKK plastic press studs with 3M adhesive backings, as these were plastic and not metal there wouldn’t be any corrosion and a further search revealed they were available in black or white.

Lots of ideas were floating around in MrB’s head but nothing firm had been set so the decision was to put it to one side and hope for an epiphany.

Pod Powwow in Oban came around and during a walk round the site this ‘light bulb’ moment occurred and this is all thanks to Powwow pals Julie and Robert. They had attached heavy duty suckers to the sides of their pod and the guy lines running from the awning were fastened to the suckers, good use of suckers we thought and we do use them on the back of Pod for coats and the toilet roll holder but we wanted something smaller.

Now with the press studs and this combined we came up with a permanent fixture that due to their size blended in with the sides of Pod, it would just require more sewing.

Once home from the Powwow lots of research took place to locate the press studs and YKK Snad fastener self adhesive 40mm stud and poppers were decided on from Ebay, four black and four white were bought at £3.94 ea., white for Pod and the black for the awing.

They arrived promptly and 4 x 1.5mm holes were drilled into the black studs, in effect turning them into buttons, next came the ‘fun’ bit, sewing them onto the four guy line triangles. 

Once a decision was made as to where on the triangle to sew them LB used the rot proof thread from the beading blog and set about sewing the buttons on, only went through 3 needles on this occasion and thanks to a thimble no blood was shed ;).

The next job to be done was the securing of the white poppers and this had to wait for our next trip out, which was Cirencester in a few weeks.

Once at Cirencester the awning was set up and LB’s hairdryer came out, it was November and temperatures weren’t brilliant, we needed the glue side of the popper to warm slightly to ensure a permanent and secure fit to Pod, once these were on, they wouldn’t be coming off very easily.

After making sure the guy lines were equally positioned on both sides and the area to be used cleaned, we set about warming the sticky pad of the popper and the chosen spot on Pod. Once adequately done, the sticker back came off and the popper went on, no going back now we thought.

Tape measure was used through out and eventually all four poppers were secured to the side of Pod, the temptation to try them was there but we needed to let it set and with a great deal of patience we waited for our next trip out to Delamere Forest in December.

Between mid November and December Pod was checked occasionally and this was done with a little trepidation as we thought they would either fall off due to cold temperatures or slide off from the torrential rain, but no, they were still firmly in place and we arrived at Delamere Forest with them intact.

Pod was set up along with the awning and the stud/poppers, it gave a lovely streamline look to the sides and stopped the sides from bellowing in the wind, a much snugger fit. If guaranteed good weather (we can dream) we even gave consideration to not using the guy lines on the sides the press studs were doing an excellent job.

Another modification done on the awning we are extremely pleased with, but what now, well, watch this space because something is already in the pipeline.

Posted in Accessories, Awning, Caravan, Caravanning, Modifications, Travel, Traveling, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

York : so good they should have named it twice.

Once Christmas and New Year were out of the way the time would come again for a Podding trip. One of us has never been to York so as this is only a hop, skip and a jump away.. 1 1/2hrs to be precise this seemed like a good option.

There’s a few sites in the area but we wanted one as near to the centre as we could, thereby eliminating the need to use transport; taking the car and paying for parking and likewise waiting for the appropriate bus to come along, but if it meant taking the bus this was the lesser of the two evils.

After a bit of research we found York Rowntree Park Caravan Club site and it looked like it couldn’t get any nearer to York centre without encroaching the mighty stone wall that surrounds it.

The decision for York was made well in advance of January our chosen month, July in fact, and we were about to book it through the club when a huge ball dropped, one of the concrete type that had the capability of shattering our plans into tiny pieces.

The Caravan Club have a policy that the following years sites can only be booked in advance after the first week in the preceding December. A very annoying policy, from previous experience we’ve noted when the highly promoted ‘booking date’ arrives it has proven difficult to book any site in January, especially any that included weekends, but the site had been decided upon so we bided our time.. till December.

Lots of trips planned and completed in the mean time but before we knew it December arrived and a couple of days after the initial booking date arrived we eagerly logged onto the clubs page to begin our 2017 adventures.

First of course we checked York to discover as we’d thought all of January and February weekends had been been taken, all brightly coloured yellow so no mistaking it for anything else. We knew it was a popular site but none of the week dates were coded yellow and this discovery resulted in a debate around the booking policy of the club, but lets not go there, not today anyway, it just meant our 5 day break would be reduced to 4.

Date of departure arrived and the weather seemed to be neither here nor there, not particularly dry, cold or windy, just a constant central theme of a little of everything.

Arrived at the site as the clock in the car past 1pm, there were two arrivals in front of us and we were met by a member of staff at the gate who quickly ticked us off the sheet and allowed us passage through.

After a slow trawl round the site we found a pitch on the far side, the site isn’t huge so any pitch is in easy reach of the facilities. Pitches are of a fair size and we found it easy enough to pull onto and manoeuvre Pod into place, she looked all grown up with the GB sticker on the back, already for her Irish trip in June.

We were soon set up and the new Thermal Wrap was added to the pop-top roof. Vlog was completed, in one take (thankfully), although MrB did slip on the step and managed to remember he was being recorded and eliminate the need for a ‘bleep’ machine, we then set about making ourselves comfy for the next few days.

Now, LB has come by an old knee injury which has prevented us from doing too much walking, not even a good leg stretch never mind one of our mammoth walks, so a slow potter round the site, up the path that runs along the River Ouse to the bridge and into York to get a taster for the place was called for.

Didn’t take long to find a suitably haunted pub, The Golden Fleece, whilst enjoying a pint of Hobgoblin and Yankee pale ale we soaked up the atmosphere along with taking in all the historical pictures that surrounded us, no unusual visitors though, thank goodness.

We were soon on our way back to Pod for dinner, but not before passing Yorks shortest street, Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, which depending on what you read translates to ‘neither one thing, nor the other’ in Anglo Saxon and was the site of York’s pillory, a post criminals were tied to for humiliation and punishment, much like the stocks.

We also found an activity for the upcoming October Powwow, ‘Ghost walk of York’, at £6.00 a head and £3.00 for children it looks like a lot of fun.

Once back at the site we passed the office and facilities, these are all in one block and up on stilts, the reason for this became apparent when we also passed three large stones from Rowntrees old Cocoa bean grinding mill, two of which displayed flood markers. The earliest and lowest being from 1947 and its most resent flood, the middle marker from 2012. It would seem the River Ouse can get closer than you think.

Dinner eaten we availed ourselves of the facilities and they were of a really good standard, new, clean and the showers were of a great size, hate it when the shower curtains sticks to you, none of that here.

We were soon tucked up in Pod, didn’t feel the need for the fan heater as the thermal wrap seemed to be working admirably, but by morning we’d definitely know the answer to that one.

And we did, we slept solidly, the wrap was a resounding success and once a cup of tea was in hand we took a peek outside to see it had rained over night and after watching the weather forecast it seemed drizzle looked set for the day.

A mixture of indoor and outdoor activities were decided upon and all had to be within a short distance of the site, so once breakfast was eaten we headed out of Pod and went on the hunt for a local legend. Thanks to google, this wasn’t too hard.

John Palmer, otherwise know as Richard ‘Dick’ Turpin, we found his headstone in a very small bleak graveyard in an unremarkable spot, surrounded by office blocks and housing it didn’t belay itself to anyone of importance, or maybe, considering his history and lifestyle some would say it’s the befitting end to someone like him. Even the sight of the grave can’t be confirmed as the expect spot although he is believed to be in the churchyard of St. George’s somewhere.

Next stop was York Castle Museum and in order to reach this we passed Clifford Tower, we believe the view from the top would have been spectacular but at a price of £5.00 each it seemed a little steep and we don’t just mean all the steps needed to walk to the top. We’re not penny pinching, just want value for money.

The museum on the other hand was worth every penny of the £10.00 each we paid. It took us along a wonderful timeline through the history of the castle, the raging ‘60s and up to the present day. The fashion exhibition and the old world village were brilliant, the memorabilia was incredible and of such good quality, all heavily detailed with their own individual story.

After a good few hours we eventually left the museum in search of food. There were lots on offer and a huge variety of eateries on offer but we decided upon The Yorkshire Roast Company, the image of the huge pieces of cooked meat on display through the window may have had a baring on our decision but it proved to be the right one.

Once ordered we sat upstairs and tucked into two huge Yorkshire Puddings stuffed full of roast potatoes, vegetables, red cabbage, stuffing, gravy and on one roast pork the other more vegetables. All washed down with two huge cups of Yorkshire tea, so filling and so very welcome. Not bad for £8.00 each we thought.

The walk back to Pod took us along The Shambles, today wasn’t the day for the exploring this but we couldn’t walk past Roly’s Fudge without calling in.

At this point we seemed to loose all reason and control over our actions, we did slightly run away with ourselves and left the shop with over 1kg of fudge! Great variety within the bag, so not that bad really is it?! On leaving the lady behind the counter did say it would last a few days if in a cool sealed bag but the chances of any of it lasting any longer than our stay were very remote.

Dinner consisted of sandwiches and of course the fudge, after our wonderful lunch neither of us had much room for anything else.

Our last day arrived and we decided to head to York Minster, it towered above all of the shops, rightly so and it had to be seen didn’t it.

Another walk along The Shamble and we were amazed at the buildings, their overhanging timber structures were incredible and in such good condition, including the shelves at their fronts which had apparently been used by the butchers of the past to display their wares. 

We soon reached the Minster, architecturally it is an incredible piece of work, as you walk round the outside the stonework and towers reach up like fingertips, to the sky. Beautiful.

Work is also ongoing with the renovation of the Cathedral and it can be seen in a cordoned off section, stonemasons were busily at work replacing over 2,500 of its stones and some of the grotesques.

We walked to the entrance and looked for a sign which would display an entry fee, we expected something, if not a fixed price a donation of sorts. Nothing to be seen, so in we went. This was as far as we got, sadly. The price of £10.00 each for us was too much and unethical, if you wished to go up the tower it was an addition £5.00. A place of worship and prayer should not only allow admittance upon a fee being payed, whilst we viewed the inside from the entrance we were passed by others on the way in and out again who thought the same.

We would gladly of paid £10.00 for the both of us as a donation but not as a condition of admittance. The church itself is by no means a pauper and they have cut themselves off from those who do not have deep pockets and wish to visit and experience its history and atmosphere.

For those wishing to visit, from tripadvisor it seems the tickets do last 12 months and if you say you are going into pray you are allowed in for free. How true the latter is we don’t know, but be aware… you may be watched and for those who like to do a little research, we visited the West window, from the outside and did the deed ;).

Food again came to mind and bellies, stodge was the order of the day so we called into Byron Burger bar and ordered two huge burgers, one being the vegetarian option, as a little treat a Boilermaker was ordered too, certainly warmed the cockles.

Over the bridge we went back to Pod and we noticed the river was up, once dinner and showers were done we, believe it not, finished off the fudge. Shocking we know, but it was soo good.

Last morning arrived and we soon had Pod packed away, everything on the outside was wet so it took a little longer to do. We like to wipe everything down as it goes in, that way she is ready to go as soon as we get home. Things have been bad, who likes to go home and back to work, but that is yet to be tested.

We left York eager to come back as we had only scratched the surface of its history, architecture and its shopping heaven, for us it would be October, the Powwow, pals old and hopefully new.

Posted in Accessories, Architecture, Awning, Caravan, Caravanning, Church, Glamping, Modifications, Photography, Sight seeing, Stately home, Travel, Traveling, Uncategorized, Walking, Yorkshire | Leave a comment

Pop Top Thermal Wrap 

Spending all year round using Pod we have noticed that a pop up roof does have its draw backs being material.

We had toyed with a number of design ideas over the past 18 months but took the lead from existing motorhome designs.

After searching on numerous camper van Facebook groups and forums we found the solution was there already, the issue being turning the design in to reality.

Several failed attempts to convince a number of manufacturers to take up this challenge were made but determination paid off.

In collaboration with Van Comfort and POLAR we have designed and had made this made to measure easy fit thermal wrap.

Designed to insulate the Pop-Up roof during the colder season whilst also being affective in keeping you cooler during the hotter months. Due to its quilted design it will also help with sound proofing.

As the wrap encases the roof mechanism it provides an air gap so the vents can still be used and due to the weatherproof material it will stop rain seeping through the roof material and vent zips.

Packed away in its own bag it measures 35cmx28cm and weighs only 650g.

Ours being the original prototype cost £185, which we believe is money well spent for the reasons above, but more orders may attract a price reduction.

For more information and to order yours contact Van Comfort Steve Beevers 01777 701804 quoting 2B’s in a Pod, Go-Pod Pop Top Thermal Wrap.

Take a look at the pictures, if they don’t convince you, nothing will :).

Also the YouTube vlog

Posted in Accessories, Awning, Caravan, Caravanning, Glamping, Modifications, Photography, Travel, Traveling, Uncategorized | Leave a comment