Up North – Monday 20th Feb : Friday 24th Feb
Over the Christmas period I had discussed with Kaz my thoughts of visiting my family Up North (sister and cousins). Wanting to do this early in the year the end of February seemed a good time with the weather getting better, hopefully!
Over the weekend (18-19 Feb) I prepped the van giving Zygie a good wash outside and a brush up inside. I will never again be lazy and put him back into storage without doing this first as it was such a cold miserable job with some external muddy bits hard to reach and get off. Only job left to do is to clean the leather seating. Construction wise I have some shelves to build and replace in the wardrobes and in the kitchen area. Zygie is going to be with us a while and we are slowly getting him the way we want. The garage needs more lights and readjusting the compartments.
Monday 20 Feb
So the day came and “The Boys” and I set off on our little adventure without Kaz. Filling Zygie full of diesel to the brim in order to find out on this trip what MPG was possible I nearly had a mini heart attack with 72 litres going into the tank and £87 going out of my wallet! So far it seems cheaper down south, which I think is odd, and about 14p a litre more expensive than France – roll on our 2017 summer tour.
Planning to stay over using a Brit Stop we left Salisbury about 10.30am and headed our way towards the North East. After a few stops for “The Boys” and I to have a walk and coffee breaks we arrived in the village of Strathern just outside Melton Mowbray at about 4pm. Passing a farm before the village we came across a tractor cleaning the muddy road with a brush attachment at the front. He successfully made the road even worse than it was and it was some miles before we were able to pass. The sides of Zygie now have a shade brown mud which does not do him justice at all.
The Plough Inn is in the Main Street with a small carpark to the rear through a narrow gateway. It was nice to be met by the landlord who I arranged to meet later for a beer and a bite to eat. The Boys got an early evening walk and then settled them down while I went into the pub. That is the great thing about BS as it gives everyone a chance to chill and not worry about driving.
Tuesday 21 Feb
After a quiet night we set off for the next part of our journey. One thing I must do is keep in mind how much fresh water is on board. On the way up Zygie decided to dump some of his water which meant that we had less on board. It was always something that Kaz would check often and remind to fill up. I should have done that before we left as now we are running low and will need a top up.
The journey up the A1 and A1M was congested with traffic travelling both North and South. I had the cruise control on set at 60mph on the dash but equates to 56mph on TomTom. I was very happy at that speed and left the traffic to negotiate us. HGV’s do make Motorhomes sway when they pass and there were quite a few, both traveling close to each other and seemingly fast. The verges all the way up on the main roads from Salisbury have been littered with rubbish. I can honestly say I am disgusted with this country for the we fly tip and throw rubbish about with lay by’s being the worst. Oh for the French aires where it is safe to stop, have a break and also let the Boys have a run around.
It was about 1.30 when I pulled up outside my sisters and nieces bungalow. With it being in a cul-de-sac it was safe to park up outside. As they have a cat, the Boys favourite animal to chase, I left them in Zygie. Early evening having eaten I took them for a walk with my sister joining me to continue our chat about the family tree. It has been ages since we have had the opportunity to do this so there was plenty of catching up to do!
Wednesday 22 Feb
A clear sunny day but windy still. The wind rocked the van last night which seemed rather odd as I think this was the first time for such weather when being away.
Zygie is still square wheels at my sisters with today and tomorrow being family get togethers.
Caught up on the blog, took The Boys for a walk in another new park around here. Apparently the whole area was an RAF aerodrome until the mid 1970’s and so is very flat and rather windy but with lots of open spaces for the dogs to sniff around.
This afternoon I drove my nieces car a few miles to a local village to see my cousin (on my Dads side). Until 3 years ago I did not know that she, Ida, existed. I am looking forward to meeting her and her daughter Andrea who among other things is a genealogist. It was she who gave me loads of family info and has prompted me to do ours and follow up on certain family members.
Thursday 23 Feb
Well what a wet and windy night last night was which being part of Storm Doris which is hitting the Uk, apparently it is going to be extremely windy today!
Off for a short dog walk after my breakfast and with goodbyes said then off to visit my cousin Emily, on my mothers side. Although we have not kept in close contact with each other I have known her since I was very young. I used to visit and stay with her mum, Auntie Eva, many times when young in Great Ayton.
After a few hours chatting away about passed years it was time to leave but not before eating some really lovely home made cake! It was now raining hard with the odd snow squall thrown in too for good measure. Only once did I get really caught out with a gust of wind on the main road south, a sharp intake of breath.
Eventually we found the evening Brit Stop, The Windmill Inn in Linton, after quite a detour due to a damaged bridge in the town. With plenty of space we were spoilt for choice however the carpark did slope quite a bit so we chose a fairly flattish area in a corner. So with The Boys settled down I was off to the pub for a lovely evening meal and a couple of pints of Theakstones. It was the best nights sleep so far being so quiet and still.
Ok what is it about good customer service! Tried to get the tyres filled with air today. First two garages contacted were so abrupt to my enquiry it was almost verging on rudeness. Thankfully I perceived and came across “Tyre Exchange” in Stockton where Mally and Danny sorted Zygie’s out with a warm welcome and smiles. Being polite costs nothing.
Friday 24 Feb
An early wakeup with the dustbins being emptied shattered my dreams never mind the sun was shining brightly. Dogs walked and the covers off Zygie and we were off south. A easy drive using the cruise control but still the roads were very busy. We stopped a couple of times for coffee and finish off my cousins cake plus letting The Boys stretch their legs, (you know what I mean).
After a five hour drive we were at the farm putting Zygie to bed and loading up Vicky to go home.
School Boy Error
Thursday night saw me trying to work out Zygie’s Miles Per Gallon as I had fully refuelled again while in Thornaby. Well I do not know what I was thinking about but on the first two occasions I only managed to get 7 miles to the gallon, or so I thought. A glass of wine solved my confusion; I had forgotten to convert litres to gallons, so now it worked out at 26.79 miles to the gallon – brilliant, really chuffed with that performance.