Day one of our merry camper trip started well enough. We hooked up overnight to get the fridge cold as planned and Miss Daisy fired up perfectly to get us on the road by half nine.
Woody Learns to Drive
My only real aim for the first two days was to get some miles behind us, arrive safely and eat a big plate of fish and chips. We did it all of course.
Our route to the first campsite took us via Penrith in Cumbria and across the country into Yorkshire. We had a mediocre sandwich at Marks and Spencer in Perth and an ice cream from Burger King at Gretna services. Hardly anything to write home about….
Anyway, our journey was uneventful enough until I discovered that my navigator (ahem) decided that, instead of inputting the postcode for the campsite we were staying in, any old Yorkshire campsite post code would be near enough. Weary of my seven hours (as pleasurable as Daisy is to drive) journey we pulled into the reception of Any-Old-Campsite-On-the-Wold and discovered that, yes you would hardly believe it, we weren’t booked in there.
After checking where we were actually booked into we set off on the return journey North for another hour and a half.
Ah but that’s the joy of camping isn’t it? Wee mishaps we can all laugh about later.
We pulled into Thirsk, a small Yorkshire town in Yorkshire close to where we were staying in Yorkshire. A pee was needed and, rather usefully, the nearest loo was inside a chip shop.
The White Horse Cafe in Thirsk served amazingly good fish and chips. Perfect in fact.
A woman nearly died to bring me this feast.
The lady who served us could have moved a bit quicker, but only if she was still alive. I had memories of Julie Walters attempting to serve ‘two soups’ as she approached – but thankfully she kept her balance and presented us with our food before I fainted with hunger or she turned to dust.
Now as went to leave the lovely market town of Thirsk, Miss Daisy and I had a small disagreement.
It went like this:
Me: (key in ignition) – that was a lovely dinner. Now to find that campsite.
Daisy: cough, cough, splutter, broooooommmmm……
Me: (throttling up) – sounding rough dear…
Daisy: Oh bugger off. (dies)
Me: (trying again): Oh come on lovely girl. I’m tired and we still have to find the Yorkshire campsite we booked into in Yorkshire somewhere.
Daisy: bleh … I’m tired too, and hot. I’m not moving.
To cut a long story short, the AA man came and Daisy got all bashful and fluttered her eye-lashes because he was ‘an actual mechanic’ and started up straight away. She even pretended to him that she had no idea what I was talking about.
Ah … camping misadventures! They make me laugh.
We rolled into a Yorkshire campsite deep in the heart of Yorkshire about nine pm. The lovely campsite manager welcomed us with the usual friendly greeting, ‘You’re a bit late!’ (apply strong Yorkshire accent for effect). However she did let us in and we pitched up for the night.
Next morning we were up with the lark and heading to Walton on Thames. We decided to do it in two legs and stop off in Lincoln to see what the fuss was about.
Daisy fired up first time in the morning and took us onto the lovely Yorkshire roads in the middle of Yorkshire. We headed out through the grounds of Castle Howard to the South.
It was baking hot today and the satnav appeared over-tired and quite irritable. We call her Sybil for no reason I can recall and she sounds like a rather grumpy middle aged woman with very little time for men like me. A bit like someone I know in fact!
One bonus to her strange sense of direction was directing us over the Humber Bridge, which was not on our list. It turned out to be quite surreal as when we approached the tolls the song San Francisco came on Radio 2. See previous blog entry for why.
The Humber Bridge is very impressive and the road to Lincoln from here was very scenic too. We were in deepest Lincolnshire heading to its city namesake.
Now Lincoln is a surprise to me. It’s got all the lovely ancient cobbled streets, the spectacular cathedral and castle that York has. And yet it never occurred to me to visit until today. It’s far nicer than York. I was just sorry we had so little time. We had been late for one campsite already. I wasn’t taking that chance again.
I left five clear hours for the three hour journey to Walton on Thames.
We were a minute late.
Yes the M25 car park caught us good and proper – five miles from our destination! Worse still, as I tried to bypass the hold up by taking an early exit, Sybil decided time and time again to redirect me back on to the blooming M25. She is supposed to have traffic information! She tells me every time she starts directing that she has considered ‘all the available traffic information’ so why try to send me towards the biggest traffic jam in the UK?
Parked on the M25
Now guess who played a binder with Sybil?
Yes, my navigator who is not known for her keen sense of direction. On coming to a roundabout she raised a finger in a sagely manner and wagged it to caution me.
Now when my wife advises on the North, South, East, West , Left or Right of anything– you should almost always ignore her. But today, with Daisy being grumpy about the heat and Sybil saying just about anything to keep me from my bed, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.
And would you believe it, she was bang on!
Sybil would have seen me parked on a motorway until the early hours of the morning and this blog would not have happened. Hurray for the navigator!
Sadly, dear reader, our eating today has been sparse. We had a lovely lunch at a little cafe called Coffee Bobbins in Lincoln but it wasn’t so special that I would advise you to travel nine hours in a temperamental van being directed by an even more temperamental satnav. We had a toasted Panini and a cream scone (Date and Walnut). The cafe was quirky though. The lampshades were balloon whisks and the tables were all recovered treadle sewing machines. Naturally I spun mine while I waited for my meal.
Dinner tonight had to be a camping special. See for yourself.
Yum! That’s the kind of food we expect on a camping holiday.
That’s the hardest part of our journey done. No more three to five hour drives. Now we can relax.