New beginnings; Adventures on the Norfolk Broads.. in Gandalf

Gandalf the Grey is parked up on a lovely little Certified Location (a 5 van members only site with no facilities other than EHU) in Thurne on the Norfolk Broads. Home Farm is just 45 mins from our house, and although not quite on the banks of the river, the River Thurne is only a couple of hundred metres walk away and we also have a rather nice looking pub a minute way too. A perfect location for us to try out our new wheels!

The best thing about Gandalf is that all our pre existing gadgets have transferred across from Ruby, apart from the tow bar of course. “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” and this is a sentiment close to our heart after a terrific summer of campervanning in dear old Ruby.

We have made one slight change though. Keith, who has only ever been happy bbq-ing on coals, decided to give up charcoal in favour of a Cadac Safari chef. Mainly because the boot is slightly smaller in Gandalf, this saved having to carry charcoal etc around. It’s compact size fits in our boot a treat.

We’ve changed a few other small bits and bobs here and there and I will do a full list of our new gadgets shortly.

On arrival to our site, we set about our first camp set up. We filled with water at the tap as our water tank is now onboard and accessed through the tailgate. Up went the roof, and I soon discovered that my setting up jobs were minimal as now the food boxes live in the cupboards permanently there was barely anything to transfer from the boot! I helped Keefy with the tailgate awning and we fought with the wind and got the canopy up for an hour or so. The passenger captain chair swivels effortlessly and so we were literally set up and enjoying lunch within 30 minutes. Perfect!

We went for a wander round the local area, following a 2 mile geocaching trail and finished with a pint or two at the local pub before making our way back (with takeouts!) for showers in the tailgate awning and then a bbq dinner on the cadac. Everything worked like a dream and we were loving standing up!

We set the bed up early, eager to try out the last gadget – the 3 seater rock and roll seat which transfers into a wider and longer bed than we’ve been used to in Ruby, so we soon crashed out.

I woke in the night to use to the portapotti and couldn’t believe my eyes- the windows in the pop top gave a panoramic view of the blanket of stars twinkling away. I couldn’t resist sneaking out in my onesie through the tailgate awning to marvel at the Milky Way whilst everyone else on site (including my husband and dog!) was deep in the land of nod. I stood in awe whilst listening to the owls circling around us on the surrounding fields. I blooming love CL campsites.

Saturday morning dawned bright and breezy, and luckily for me, Keefy couldn’t wait to get the kettle on- he was eager to make the morning coffee with the added novelty of being able to stand up! I clearly had no issue with this! We decided to have a lazy morning – I read my book in bed whilst Keefy tinkered, and tinkered some more. It was like he had ants in his pants. He tells me he was enjoying having a good explore and fiddle of every nook and cranny of Gandalf- I was enjoying my book so all was well with the world.

At midday we decided to have an early lunch as we’d eyed up the pizza menu at the pub. Brisket, goats cheese and red onion pizza (s) – yes, we had one each 🐷 – inhaled, we set about a 4.5 mile circular walk along with River Thurne and past 3 gorgeous traditional wind pumps.

The weather was just incredible, not a cloud in the sky. The river was busy with holiday makers enjoying the last few weeks of the season on hire boats and the wind, although slightly gentler now, was rustling through the reeds and making the sails tinkle. It felt like the perfect day.

When we got back to Gandalf we decided to get the inflatable Banana chairs out and enter serious chill mode. We really needed this this weekend- it’s been so stressful getting back into work mode after the summer with so many changes to negotiate, it was like our minds were just beginning to process the last 6 months.

Dinner was a homemade curry. Like Keith, the novelty factor of standing up was great! How have we managed 4 years without a pop up?

After washing up we settled in to watch the Michael Mckintyre Netflix special which was hilarious, before doing some star gazing at a sociable time! These Norfolk skies really are spectacular when the conditions are good.

We both slept like logs Saturday night. All too soon though, after a bacon and egg sandwich made on the cadac,it was time to pack up and head home.

Gandalf gave me a parting gift of almost concussion- I really spanked my head hard on the bed section of the pop up near the passenger seat, and almost knocked myself out! 2 minutes later Keith almost broke his wrist getting the awning pegs out! What a pair we are! Despite that though, we’d had a terrific weekend and are thrilled to bits with Gandalf. Absolutely smitten!

Until next time – which will be next weekend as we’ve (hopefully, no lockdown permitting) got another expedition planned- yay!


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