As we are on countdown now to go to New Zealand I was looking at the map of where we have been in Europe over the last four and a bit years – each colour is a different trip and it is definitely fair to say that the darker/olive green, which was our first year and a half away was far more extensive! Year two/three was the lighter/grass green, followed by Year three/four in blue and we are now just starting Year five which is purple, but won’t fit on this map as we are flying out on Saturday to New Zealand to start eleven weeks of a new mini adventure…. its quite impressive though – although it does make us realise how slowly we go!
I am not quite sure where the last four weeks has gone – I could have sworn it was only a couple of weeks since the last blog…. obviously the wonderful English weather is going to my head – or perhaps that is what I am trying to convince myself whilst our teeth are chattering when we crawl out of the van to do our exercise in the morning …. to be fair it hasn’t gone below 3 degrees yet overnight but we are hopeful we aren’t going to be around long enough to see any minus numbers!
We have been keeping busy though not only making lots of lovely Autumnal food including a really tasty Lentil Ragu, experimenting with Pizzas as well as cooking Halloumi on the BBQ and for the first time – I can only say that we are late starters as it will definitely be repeated! But also helping my mum run a Macmillan Cancer Coffee Morning. Unfortunately, it has got to the point where pretty much everyone has been touched by Cancer and it is fair to say that the Macmillan nurses aren’t the only people who do an amazing job but as we love baking so much, this was an easy task! We were overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone … even the postie stayed for a coffee and a brownie, helping to raise an enormous total of £345… and all the cakes were delicious too – well we had to try what we had made to ensure we weren’t poisoning anyone!!
Taking a break from cakes we decided to venture over to St Albans with Hattie for a few days (Woodstock CL £14 per night inc.). Although I had warned the owners of our size – possibly a little larger having consumed rather a lot of cake – they had forgotten to tell us that there was an electric cable at 3.2m over the entrance. Thankfully there was someone on site who cleared the way through the rubbish so we could get into the site … passing the remnants of the all night summer party on our way to the top of the field.
Once Parked up Hattie had a great view … although she did feel a little light as her front wheels were dangling in the air – wouldn’t want to be doing this for more than a few days and I wouldn’t have wanted to be the caravan directly in front of us at the bottom of the field!
Although a little grey we managed to get out and did a lovely circular walk on the Sunday and went into St Albans on Monday for a look around and again on Tuesday to meet my mum for a mooch, dog walk and lunch – all very civilised. We were a little disappointed though as our expectations of St Albans were very high and although the old town and the park were very pretty, the rest was a little bit underwhelming unfortunately … apparently this is what happens when you start to visit lots of beautiful places!
We headed back at the farm in Holyport for a couple of nights before leaving Hattie and heading away to Weymouth for the weekend with the Andersons – a good location for a family get together despite the gale force winds …. a sobering run on Saturday morning to say the least.
We had decided to set a food challenge for Saturday lunch – each couple having to prepare something ahead of time from a category pulled from a hat. The Categories that we all agreed ahead of time were open to interpretation and the results were pretty good as follows:-
- Savoury Pastry – Lentil and Meat Sausage rolls
- Biscuits – Raspberry and White Chocolate
- Bread/Rolls – Focaccia, Water Biscuits and a nice white loaf
- Cakes/Muffins – Lemon drizzle cup cakes
- Pizza – Spinach, Goats cheese and Caramelised Onion on one and Chorizo on the other
- Wildcard – Black Pudding and Sausage Meat Scotch Eggs
… although way too much food and we did eat the huge Scotch Eggs for Breakfast as Paul and Carly didn’t make it down in time for lunch.
After an amazing summer in the UK both in terms of the weather but also exploring new areas with Hattie, the countdown is now nearly over and we are pretty much ready to take Hattie to storage ahead of our flights to New Zealand on Saturday. It’s only eleven weeks and I am sure that it will fly by but watch this space for updates and hopefully lots of photos!
…and just in case you need some more of the UK before we go, here are a couple from last weekend in Christmas Common which I can’t believe we haven’t ever visited before as it is so close … thank you Jonah and Karen!