9. Jun, 2021



Today was not a good day, today was the kind of day you wished you could be over on the European mainland, maybe France, or Spain, or almost anywhere.

The only thing that went right is that we seem to have cured the drainage problem in the bathroom. We're convinced it must have been human hair that was clogging the pipework up. Fortunately the last third of a bottle of 'Mr Muscle' sorted it, though I must try to resolve the problem once and for all when we get back home, and then place traps at each drain hole to stop the situation arising again.

After a nice hot shower we prepared the vehicle and then left the campsite at Aysgarth bound for Barnard Castle. Normally if we take a wrong turning on leaving locations we get a 'ping-ping', but not today. No today 'She' decided to have a bit of fun with us and let us travel about two miles down the twisting, turning, narrow road until she decided to 'ping' us, so that meant a three point turn at the earliest opportunity and a double-back to the campsite and beyond.

Today's cunning plan was to park at Morrison's supermarket in Barnard Castle for some shopping before making our way to the Caravan & Motorhome Club campsite down the road.

Oh dear - it was market day in town, and the place was heaving. We drove slowly around Morrison's supermarket car park to see if a vehicle this size would fit somewhere, but no, in fact a vehicle of any size would have struggled to find a parking space. So we gave up and made our way to the campsite, the only problem was, that having not been able to do our shopping we had arrived at the campsite early - a sin. As we swung in to the entrance past the CCTV cameras, barbed wire, guard dogs and signage I was ushered past a static line of three parked vehicles in a queue by a member of staff who gestured to me to park next to the kerb on the other side, which I did. The next thing I've got a female jobsworth gesticulating about my stupidity for not having parked at the beginning of the second lane of sinners. Well I would have done dear if your colleague hadn't gestured elsewhere. Her card was marked.

Come exactly mid-day, the approved time to arrive at the campsite we were all invited to stand outside the headmasters office and book in, socially distanced of course. Due to the demand, even though I had booked this site months ago, I had to book two separate pitches as there were no vacancies to stay where we were after the first night. This would be very inconvenient as it would mean we'd either have to find somewhere to park the vehicle before we left the campsite to catch the bus in to town tomorrow or waste half the day sitting around until a space became available on the second, an all singing all dancing five start pitch.

Having decided to steer clear of the town for today and relax, I decided once we were set up to pop up to the Kamp Commandant's office to find out where they wanted me to park the vehicle tomorrow until I could go on to the second pitch when we returned from town. I was all ready to spell it out to them that the vehicle needed to go somewhere and they could advise me where, but if they couldn't then it was going wherever I decided to put it.

The Commandant was actually helpful because she remembered there had been a cancellation in our 'cheap' pitches at just twenty-five pounds a night which meant we could stay where we were for the two nights. So that was good news.

I really don't like these Caravan & Motorhome Club sites. They epitomise everything I hate about our chosen lifestyle. I swear they are all modelled on an open prison. There is signage everywhere and rules to follow. The only good thing about them is that they always have a consistently high standard of shower and toilet blocks, and that's it, nothing else. Given that the club has about 350,000 members, each paying about fifty-eight pounds a year in membership fees, thus giving the club an income of about £18,000,000 before they've even opened their doors to trade I think they could do better. To  my mind they're just a glorified insurance broker and travel agents, and the only reason we remain members is because their house insurance policies are very good and cover up to 90-day absences. Having said that lots of folk really like using their sites, and good for them.

The afternoon was spend predominantly indoors with the door open because there was quite a chilly breeze blowing, so even though I'd put the mat down and the chairs out, they didn't get much use.

Fine dining this evening was to be a barbecue but even that didn't go well. The gas barbecue just didn't seem to have  any Oomph behind it, to the extent that the sausages were finished off in a frying pan, and on closer inspection the chicken drumsticks were a bit underdone. Very disappointing and 'Sort the barbecue' has been added to my list of jobs for when we return home.

Tomorrow we shall be up and ready to catch the once-in-a-lifetime bus from outside the campsite gate in to Barnard Castle where we plan to spend the day.

The only thing that has cheered me up today is the video showing a farmer removing a car from his blocked driveway. It happened not far from here.