Our first visit to Busfest at Malvern. What a brilliant event, several thousand vans, loads of traders, 5 music stages. A brilliant weekend and we will be back.
The VW van forum we subscribe to has an annual get together at Beaulieu Motor Museum. It is a relatively quiet layer back fair with a lot of games for the kids, a smattering of traders and a fancy dress event.
This year’s fancy dress event was a drive out to Sammy Millers motorcycle museum where there was a large gathering of strongly dressed folk having morning coffee. Sue went as Cruella De Ville complete with a spotty dog pup, I thought she looked convincing, and I went as Kojak because it didn’t need too much dressing up and I got a lolly to suck.
We had a walk around the estate and visited the museum included in the event entry. Its a while since we had been there and it was interesting to see some of the new stuff . I was particularly amused by the Outspan mini. My friend, who’s father was the accountant there at the time, spent a summer with several young ladies touring the seaside resorts with this promotional motor.
I bought a set of pressed registration plates from Duflecta and another trader was selling Vango Kella drive away tents for a good price. We spent couple of days considering it and decided to buy one. I will write about it once we have used it a few times.
This is the last tax disc the we will very have to buy. As from 1 June 2015 we can have a clear windscreen. What it does tell you is that authorities believe that they have ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cracked.
Oh yes and from June2015 they will be making an extra months tax each time a vehicle changes hands, i.e. the seller gets a refund from the end of the month and the buyer pays from the start of the month.
The weather looked set fair for the weekend so we decided on a trip to Purbeck. Just for the adventure we opted to go via Bournemouth and the Sandbanks chain ferry. Once across the ferry we stopped for lunch and started thinking about where to camp for a few nights.
We had been to Corfe quite a few years before so we decided to try the C&CC site there and what a gem it is. Hidden away up a lane on the hillside amongst the woods. It has loads of sheltered pitches and really nice facilities. The lane means that you would struggle to get a big motorhome or caravan up there. From the site there is a green lane walk down to the castle and the village. Corfe itself is quaint and touristic and there is at the end of the Swanage Railway so you can ride a steam train into Swanage, which of course we did.
It was the first opportunity we had really had to do a nice dinner on the Cob so we decided to go culinary. We started dinner with asparagus on the griddle with a nice chilled white wine. We followed this up with a a lamb kebab salad and finally Gui chocolate cheesecake pots and nice bottle of red. A pleased what to will away an evening.
Getting through Wareham on the way home on Sunday was a bit of a mission. It seemed that everyone was heading for the coast for the day. On the way home we pulled in to Goodwood Circuit which always has a nice atmosphere when it not being used and there is plenty of space to pull up for a coffee or a picnic in the car park which is always spotless.
In the 70’s and 80’s we were heavily involved in organising drag racing. Over the winter of 79 / 80 our group developed Long Marston Airfield into permanent facility with new tarmac, armco crash barriers and the like. It is the best part of 30 years since we were last there or even at a drag race but my brother, Duncan, is still involved crewing for the Moor family. Things have moved on a lot in that time and we had a great weeked. Now they call the place Shakespeare County Raceway or “Shakey” and it is touching to see that the strip is named Wigmore Way in honour of our late freind Alan who did so much for UK drag racing.
On our way home from Ironbridge this is our first visit to a pukka Caravan & Camping Club site. Located by the Three Magpies just off the A365 near Devizes. It backs on to the Kennet and Avon Canal and is about 4 miles along the towpath into the town centre of Devizes. The spectacular bit of this tow path is Caen Hill Locks, a flight of 16 locks themselves part of the 29 Devizes flight. At the topmost lock is a cafe that has spectacular views over locks out across a large part of Wiltshire.
There are pleasant walks up the lane to Seend village and the other direction along the towpath. The owner of the smart house on the other side of the canal from the campsite likes his cars as you can see from the very nice mustang that rumbled down the lane toward us.
If this site is anything to go by then we are sold on C&CC site facilities. They were ample and very well maintained. If we have a criticism it is of the campers themselves who all disappear into their vans and tents in time to watch Eastenders and that is the last seen of them.
We had never been to Ironbridge, I think that is because it is hiding behind the other side of Birmingham from us, but it being on the return trip from the Bustypes show was an ideal opportunity.
The area is not flush with good campsites but we found a very acceptable site just off Much Wenlock Road in the shadow of Ironbridge power station. The coal fired power station is nearing its end and is running down. Beside the lane to the camp site is an old open cast mine that has probably also been used to stockpile coal as well. All around the site is woodland from which the deer and owls are regular visitors to the camp site. It is a mile or so into Ironbridge itself and we had brought our bikes to get around on.
As you can imagine there is so much history of the industrial revolution in and around Ironbridge so to get our bearings we started on Monday with a visit to the visitor centre. We decided first to go along the river gorge to the far end of town to the Coalport museum which although interesting was a little underwhelming. There is a good exhibition of of old china, some workshop type displays and you can walk around the kilns. To be honest we would have liked to see more real work going on.
After stopping for a pub lunch we crossed the river to the Jackfield Tile Museum. I am not sure why but this place fired our imagination more so than Coleport. The factory was formerly the Craven Dunhill works and still produces earthenware tiles today. There was the obligatory display of tiles through ages some of which are quite spectacular and then the opportunity to buy. A floor full of tiles here would cost a small fortune and we contemplated the idea for the porch at Hailsham but in the end couldn’t find enough in the bargain box. On the way back through Ironbridge we stopped to view the iconic bridge itself which is a graceful work of art.
The following morning we cycled to Much Wenlock to visit Ryan’s, often called the best butchers in Great Britain, to buy sausages for diner and an early pasty lunch. On the face of these I can say it is a very good butchers. That afternoon, fortified by our pasties, we went back into Ironbridge and up to the Coalbrookdale Museum of iron which is a truly fascinating place being the history of smelting throughout the industrial revolution. On the same site are the original blast furnaces in some state of preservation so you can follow the growth of the site at the time. Above the Upper Furnace Pool we had a look around Dale House, the home of Abraham Darby who perfected the coke fired blast furnace.
So in all it was an educational visit that we both enjoyed and I think we will visit again but give ourselves a little more time to see more.