13. Jun, 2021

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SUNDAY 13-06-21

We slept reasonably well, but as well as we could have done, resulting in us being up early enough to spend time on the internet before getting scrubbed up and ready for the road by 09:00. Today we were heading for Beal which is on the mainland across the water from Lindisfarne or Holy Island. The journey was to be about eighty miles some of which involved passing around Newcastle. On the map it looked a bit daunting with so many junctions around the city, but I have to say it went just fine. There were a number of speed restrictions along the route which was great as it was a more relaxing speed to travel, especially as we are loaded to the roof with food and drink. We passed the Angel of the North. Well we weren't too impressed. I wouldn't call it pretty, more big and rusty.

On a couple of occasions the A1 reduced down to just single lane, but that was fine as the traffic flow was light. We did splash out and fill up with diesel on the way. Up until now we had noticed that the price of fuel on the A1 was almost the same as off the major road, so in the absence of petrol stations selling quality fuel before we joined it, we'd buy some on the way up north. So we pulled in to a 'BP' garage only to find the fuel priced at £1.56 a litre. What a rip off, little wonder we were the only mugs on the forecourt.

I  have to say that the standard of driving up here is very good and folk seem quite patient with other road users, and as I expected they're very friendly.

Fortunately we had a bit of luck en-route, with just a mile to go to our campsite we approached the junction of the A1 and our right turn when there stood on the junction, a petrol station which sold LPG!!! We were straight in, and although the filling process was rather slow we now have two full gas tanks. So down the road we went, crossing over the East Coast Mainline railway track. Many moons ago I persuaded my darling Rosina to part with our hard earned shekels and buy two tickets for a day out on a special train trip from Ely, all the way to Edinburgh. Well we won't be doing that again I can tell you, but we did pass close to this campsite on the way there, along with enjoying the beauty of this coastline along the way.

This is a great campsite and we have lovely views across to Holy Island. We didn't need to speak with anybody on arrival as they already had our money and in return had given us our pitch number - H14 via email.

After setting up 'base camp' we had lunch before sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and views. We haven't seen too much sunshine on this trip, so we needed to make the most of it. As I sat there I appreciated just how good this lifestyle can be if three elements come together; the right campsite, the right views and the right weather, and today it all made sense.

So here we are then at 'The Barn at Beal' www.barnatbeal.com  (N55.677630° W1.894502°). It's thirty pounds a night but worth every penny. There are no watchtowers, rising barriers, signage, Kamp Commandants', guard dogs or obvious rules. Thye just trust you to be respectful.

The cunning plan is for us to catch a bus tomorrow morning across to Holy Island. According to Google Maps there is a bus stop right outside the campsite, but I don't think it's going to be that simple, as staff via email have suggested we need to go to 'the corner' to catch the bus, and 'the corner' may well be back up on the A1 junction, so we're going up to the restaurant  (it's a working farm/restaurant/campsite business) to clarify matters. My default position is to flag the bus down as it passes and if it doesn't stop we'll return to the campsite, unhook the motorhome from the electrics and drive across the causeway at low tide. Ooops maybe I forgot to mention that access to the island is via a causeway at low tide, just like St Michaels' Mount in Cornwall, and if you get it wrong then it's a lot of grief.

Needless to say as the afternoon has progressed the wind has increased and become cooler, the sun has disappeared behind the clouds and England are playing Croatia in some European football competition. Fortunately whilst the sun was still shining I did manage to go in to the rear locker and come out with a Pimm's and lemonade. As I said to The Chef "Every motorhome should have a bar at back".

In the news Boris the Clown has had to point out to President Macron  that Northern Ireland is part of the UK and not a separate country, maybe the little Napoleon wannabe should have married his geography teacher instead. It's a bit worrying given that he has his finger on the button of the French nuclear deterrent and could press it not quite knowing where his intended target actually was.

The footballer Christian Erikson unfortunately suffered a cardiac arrest  half way through his football match between whoever he played for against some other team. Understandably football fans have been pulling their hair about over the situation yet nobody gives a toss when a poor racehorse gets a steel bolt blasted through its head because it broke a leg, having been forced to jump over huge fences for the pleasure of punters stood in betting shops around the country.

Although the campsite has a small toilet and shower block we shall use our own facilities as I can replenish and dump quite easily from our pitch. I think we may have cracked the waste water blockage in the bathroom, and in the hope that we have I have purchased some stainless steel kettle lime scale preventers (the only good thing to come out of Barnard Castle) and placed them in the shower tray drain holes. If they work, then when they get clogged up I'll just take them out, let them dry, and then set fire to them to burn the hair.

This evening two cars turned up further down the road with two groups of youngsters (at our time of life most people are 'young') with two large tents. They seems to be struggling to put the first one up and so I popped to see if they needed any help. They said they were fine, they had put the tent up once before ages ago and should be able to sort it between them. I just told them that if they need an extra couple of pairs of hands to help out we were just three doors down. And that's the thing, when I first started camping back in the sixties things were so different. Folk would make you a hot drink while you put your tent up, or they'd come armed with a mallet offering to help you put your tent up. Campers in tents need to understand that us old folk who roll up in a motorhome didn't just go straight to that. Most of us cut our teeth on tents of all shapes and sizes before we ended up with what we have, and so have empathy with them.

I am now about to enjoy The Chef's chicken salad which I may well enjoy with a glass or two of Marks & Spencer's glug.