Adventures in Lockdown; Day tripping and picnicking our way through COVID 19

Hi everyone, how are you all keeping? Well we hope. Sorry for being so quiet recently. The shift to online work has taken a toll on my desire to be online at the weekends – my eyes throb at the end of each week, and for the first time since owning one, I barely pick my iPad or MacBook up on my days off.

Enjoying garden time – a new favourite past time

We’ve been bumbling along ok, despite still having up days and down days like the rest of the world I think, but we’ve settled into this new routine of working Monday – Thursday and then enjoying at least one pre booked day trip over the weekend, which has given us something to look forward to. The reopening of some of our local National Trust sites with prebooked tickets just before May Half term became a lifeline to us, along with our beloved Ruby the – our own home from home bubble.

Dunwich Heath National Trust

Our first trip was a the day before our 5th wedding anniversary at the end of May and was a trip to Felbrigg Hall. We enjoyed a great walk and picnic in the grounds. We felt safe due to the restrictions of numbers and having to pre book our entry time. In fact we barely saw another soul. We sat outside Ruby the Campervan until the car park closed at 5pm, enjoying the views across the estate.

We then realised we were a stones throw away from Cromer so we decided to take a ride to the seafront to see the sea. When we arrived it was empty so we went for a walk on the beach- which was empty and it absolutely did us the world of good.

We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on the 23rd May. We spent the day at home and treated ourselves to a cream tea delivered to us by our local tea rooms. It was delicious. We then had a Chinese for dinner. Despite it not being the day we’d envisaged we had a lovely day. Both Mum and my Dad and Jenny came to visit at a distance and drop us some goodies off. Mum turned up as a surprise in her mother of the bride outfit with some mini bottles of fizz which we enjoyed at a distance in the garden. It was the first time we’d seen her face to face since the beginning of March. I even dug out my wedding dress much to the amusement of our neighbours!

We managed a trip to Wicken Fen National Trust in Cambridgeshire and thoroughly enjoyed a bike ride and picnic. We haven’t visited here for about 8 years and the weather was stunning. We had another delicious picnic along side one of the lodes. Again we felt like we’d gone on a mini break, despite being 50 mins from home and just a day trip.

Our final May half term day trip was a pre booked trip day trip to Dunwich Heath in Suffolk. Was walked a few miles on the pebbly but deserted beach, enjoyed another picnic and sat and stared out at the sea. When the National trust car park closed, we drove a mile or so down the road and continued our sea staring for another hour or so on the public beach at Dunwich. Being at the seaside was liberating and helped our tension enormously. Especially helped by the fact that it was near enough deserted.

We enjoyed an American day where we ate an American meal of brisket, ribs, mac n cheese and pancakes and we loved watching the NASA footage of the dragon shuttle taking off and arriving at the ISS

Then the term restarted and our moods dipped once more. The summer term is always our favourite – it’s filled usually with school concerts, exam days, gigs gigs and more gigs and suddenly our diary was empty with no performance opportunities available at all. We were trying to inspire our students to keep practicing but with no performances lined up it was hard. So I put my energy into some fundraising instead, which I linked up with trying to inspire our students. We organised a Zoo Day for our village and surrounding villages – to raise money for our local zoo, Banham Zoo. It was a huge success and we raised over £2700, had lot of fun.

We became members of Historic Palaces at the end of February, so when we got an email to say Hampton Court Palace gardens were reopening (pre booked timed tickets) we immediately booked our tickets. It was the furthest that we’d driven in months and probably a bit far for a day trip, but we managed it, and more to the point enjoyed our visit hugely. It felt especially good because we’d planned BC (before COVID) to do this trip at this time of year. For a day it felt like we were ticking off a plan for this year!

We enjoyed a picnic in the Palace that was fit for a King. It really was a lovely day out.

Talking of gardens and lovely days out; we visited our local Bressingham Gardens- attached to the popular Steam museum and just 5 miles away from us, we can’t believe we’ve never been been before. It was just stunning! We were getting a dab hand at the pre booking timed entry tickets and absolutely recommend Bressingham Gardens as they are huge. We met Keith’s mum there as she lives very close and enjoyed a glorious couple of hours wandering around the vast and beautiful gardens.

Last weekend, we popped for a day on the beach at Dunwich, Suffolk. I’d had a particularly bad week and needed to unwind. I was really worried about the beach being overcrowded so we packed some food and headed to Dunwich with the promise that if it was busy we would turn round and go for a walk at the heath instead. Luckily – probably because it was raining when we arrived- it was empty again. We set our stall out, and enjoyed the calming of the waves. Mum – who is now part of our support bubble – came to join us after she finished work. It really was a lovely day and again, I felt thankful to be living where we do and we caught the most spectacular Suffolk sunset on our way home.

During our beach time, I got a message from Banham zoo, thanking us for our fundraising efforts and inviting us to a soft reopening of the Zoo a couple of days later along with other fundraisers. We immediately said yes please and on Sunday spent some enjoyable hours wandering around the very very quiet zoo.

Before we knew it, July was upon us and the news that Campsites and pubs/restaurants were going to be reopening. The news of campsites reopening was met by a cheer in our household. Having said that, we’ve decided to wait a week until going on a camping trip. The numbers of deaths and infection still worry us enormously and whilst we’ve certainly been able to enjoy some day adventures, we’ve been very cautious to only do things with as little risk as possible. Keeping ourselves to ourselves, avoiding anywhere where there were lots of people – avoiding shops etc.

So yesterday we took ourselves on another day trip – this time to Sutton Hoo, a very important archeological site in East Anglia. In 1934, archaeologists discovered an Anglo-Saxon Royal Burial site in the farmland here which turned into them finding a 1400 year old, 27 metre boat buried underneath along with a Anglo Saxon King buried inside and his treasure. It’s thought the boat was dragged up the valley from the River Deben and laid to rest here with the king and his treasure inside.

We really enjoyed our walks around the local countryside and our time sat amongst the royal burial site. Keith is a huge history and archeology fan. He was literally in heaven and I couldn’t resist snapping those pics of him. You can almost see his imagination hard at work!

We really enjoyed the day out – and again got satisfaction as we’d planned to revisit here this summer. We will revisit again when their new viewing tower opens as that looks wonderful.

On the way home last night we passed a from shop with the sign “World Famous Sausage rolls”. Regular readers will know we find this sort of sign impossible to ignore, so in we swung. We picked up a number of sausage rolls, including the bad boy! And a scotch egg wrapped in haggis and some local ice cream. For a moment, it felt like our old lives were returning and life was beginning to feel a little more normal again. Perhaps it was that that prompted me to get writing again, I’m not sure. The sausage rolls etc were delicious by the way!

I hope that if you’re out and about this weekend you have a brilliant time and stay safe. We’re not going to be long behind you – we have 2 nights booked for next weekend on an adults only 5 van CL with no facilities. We’ve got some mini breaks lined up for the summer holidays too. We’ve also got a auto tunnel voucher burning away in our pockets so may – if we feel safe enough – use that in August.

Until then, take care, stay safe and happy camping.

Lx

A new year ahead – welcome 2020!

Welcome 2020! A new decade lays ahead of us, and it feels like a freshly laid road lies ahead. New memories to make, fresh eyes to see the journey with. Miles upon miles of roads to be discovered, countries and continents to explore. It’s a great time to stop and reflect, and get planning some adventures for the year ahead.

2019 was a phenomenal year for us. We ticked off more bucket list items – despite adding more to the list, we worked harder than ever and travelled more than we could have dreamt.

Camping wise we ticked off two bucket list adventures – our stay at Dufton last year and led us to complete a walk I’d been itching to do, High Cup Nick. We also took Ruby the VW across the Irish Sea and did a fantastic tour of Northern Ireland – ticking off the Giants Causeway.

We managed our earliest ever outside BBQ during feb half term in the Lake District of all places!

Worldwide adventures went off the scale – we travelled to Canada and Alaska, and saw some incredible scenery and wildlife.

I took my first cruise and got hooked and I also overcame my two biggest fears – firstly taking a sea plane in Alaska and then later swimming in the deep ocean with whale sharks in Mexico. I can still remember how scared I was on both those occasions- I genuinely thought I would die but the sense of achievement and adrenaline afterwards will never leave me!

Keith ticked three bucket list items off by visiting Colditz Castle in Germany, Chitchen Itza in Mexico and Gettysburg Battlefield in PA 🇺🇸.

As a couple we celebrated a whole decade of being together and booked a indulgent but marvellous trip to New York for Thanksgiving. A day we’ve always celebrated (despite not being American) for 10 years – this year we watched the Macy’s Day Parade from the front row on sixth avenue.

Blog wise we started a sister site to Adventures in Motorhome – a specific place for us to share our non Motorhome travel. We introduce WanderLeefy.com.

Please pop and give us a follow. We’ll be keeping this site more specific for camping trips and pairing worldwide on WanderLeefy. We have a new Facebook page and would love you to follow us on both.

Despite all our worldwide travels last year we still managed 43 nights in Ruby – that’s one more than the previous year! This year, we’ve got some exciting adventures planned for Ruby including Switzerland in May – and Yorkshire in February and much more I’m sure. Worldwide adventures include Vietnam and Cambodia in March/April and possibly a couple more USA trips if the January sales are good to us!

Thank you to all our followers – we love sharing our adventures and hearing from you.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2020!

Cheers

Lx

Adventures on the North Norfolk Coast at the turn of the Decade

Ruby the VW has made a return to the North Norfolk coast to help us celebrate the end of our first decade together. It’s a place that is special to us – convenient to get to and home to the biggest and most beautiful skies around. Each village has its own individual charm, a dog friendly pub and some really tasty local shellfish. A perfect place for us to retreat to!

Last year we spent a very happy NYE mini break at Deepdale Campsite – which we would have been more than happy to have revisited – but on enquiry they had more than doubled their prices up to over £40 pn. So we ended up trying a new site for us, a C&MC certified site called Foxhills, an adult only CL on the outskirts of Weybourne, North Norfolk.

We’ve had a crazy winter of work and it has caught up with me, so I travelled on Sunday with lurgy. I was adamant we would still go – my body crying out for some sea air and a change in scenery.

On arrival to Foxhills we got ourselves unpacked and had an acclimatisation wander down to the small but pretty village of Weybourne. First (and only) stop being the pub, the thin serpentine of smoke from the chimney luring us to the log fire in the bar inside.

A couple of drinks including a whiskey to help my cold later, and we made our way back to Ruby where we set the bed out, got our pjs on, put the heater up to max and dozed and read for the remainder of the evening. Dinner was a homemade turkey and brie pie, which I’d made at home – we reheated it in the Remoska oven and served with veg and the last of the Xmas spuds.

Monday (New Year’s Eve Eve) dawned a beautiful winters day. My cold was lingering and I was aching, but I was desperate to get some sea air. We picked up the Norfolk Coastal path at Weybourne beach and followed it North with the sea on our right towards Wells next sea.

We weren’t sure how far we’d get, and the answer turned out to be not too far! The surface underfoot was mainly pebbles on the beach and I found it really hard going. The sea breeze was icy and it was making me cough and cough. Jazz was windswept and I think Keefy just fancied a pint! So, after about a mile and a half along the sea we diverted off the seafront at Salthouse and found ourselves a lovely pub to warm up in.

Inland we found the small but pretty village of Salthouse, situated on the salt marshes. As the name suggests this charming little village was named as such because of the salt houses that used to store salt here- it’s even listed in the Doomsday book as such.

7 swans a swimming!

Salthouse

The Dun Cow at Salthouse was just a brilliant impromptu find- we bagged the last spot in front of the fire and even though we weren’t planning a pub lunch, couldn’t resist a starter of local mussels and a main of crab linguine to share. The food and atmosphere was lovely – a true North Norfolk gem of a pub, dog friendly thoughout and serving food all day until 9pm. We will absolutely be back!

Jazz thinks this is more like it!

We picked up the coast hopper bus on to Cley next the Sea where we enjoyed a wander before picking up the coastal path and walking a further 3 miles to Blakeney. We caught the last of the winter light – it was a spectacular sunset, the gold dripped down onto the path ahead and it was impossible not to feel recharged, despite starting to feel a bit rank!

We caught the bus back all the way to the campsite before heating up some chicken and pumpkin curry from the freezer and settling in for the evening. On the trip to the shower block we became aware of the most spectacular night sky we’ve seen whilst in the UK so layered up and did some star gazing. We saw the 60 satellites in formation called Starlink Constellation. They are 60 bright lights in a straight line going upward and really took our breath away – once we’d decided we weren’t being abducted by aliens. You can read about it…

Here

What a fantastic sight!

Tuesday (New Years Eve)

We had a bit more of a lay in than planned as I was not feeling 100%. Instead of our planned walked to Sheringham along the sea, 2.75 miles, we caught the bus to Cromer instead and met up with mum who had her first day off since the day before Xmas Eve, for a fish and chips lunch. We had a beer in the dog friendly Wellington Inn before going for a fish and chip takeaway from No.1 fish bar – owned by Michelin starred Galton Blackiston.

They were delicious – we’ve eaten in their restaurant upstairs which is also marvellous if you’re passing – and we loved that they sold mini bottles of Prosecco and Galton’s lager to wash it down with, despite having a takeout. We popped to the butchers for some steak for dinner tonight, and venison for dinner tomorrow before waving ‘bye to mum onto her train and us picking up the last bus back to our site. We are so impressed with the Norfolk Coasthopper bus service – it’s dog friendly, reasonable in price and regular in service and the drivers have been friendly.

Once back at Ruby the VW we showered and got our NYE glad rags on. Otherwise known as our pyjamas- rock and roll! We cooked some party food nibbles and baked a Camembert in the Remoska, and fried up the steak to dip into the Camembert -all of which we washed down with a bottle or two of red and Keefy’s playlist serenading us. Perfect!

Around 11pm we stuck our head out the window to check on the stars – and couldn’t believe our eyes that we were being treated to an even more magnificent display of the night sky than last night. The mass of gas and dust that makes the inside ribbon of the of the Milky Way so spectacular was completely visible by eye and we saw a number of shooting stars. I always knew this area of North Norfolk is registered as a Dark Skies area, but whenever we’ve been visiting there has always been clouds above. What a treat. Unfortunately I didn’t have my SLR camera, as I had a tripod- that would have been a perfect opportunity for me and capture the sky. And because I was feeling ill I didn’t bother getting my telescope out either. Instead I settle for 6 layers and my hip flask!

I can’t remember a more perfect end of a year, let alone decade. As we watched the hands of Big Ben cross over into the new decade, our campsite was completely silent, which was bliss. We did a quiet Auld Lang Syne in Ruby before hitting the sack.

Wednesday (New Year’s Day)

Unfortunately I’d woken up feeling pretty rough – my lurgy was refusing to go away, and I had a really tickly and annoying cough, so a duvet morning was declared. We enjoyed a delicious New Years Day brunch of haddock, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on muffins, washed down with champers – yum – who says camping can’t be posh eh?

I then got the venison stew in the slow cooker on high as it’s was gone midday – before we went for a stroll along Muckleburgh Hill which was next to the campsite and backed onto the Muckleburgh collection of tanks and military guns and down to the beach.

We popped in for a departing drink at the pub, The Ship at Weybourne – our last pub visit for a while as we go dry for January. It’s a lovely pub and the staff were so friendly. Before dark we made our way back to Ruby to settle in – fresh Cromer crab salad and venison stew was our New Year’s Day menu and it was delicious.

This trip was really lovely despite feeling cranky – the sea air and huge blue Norfolk skies really cheered me up after a funny old couple of months.

The campsite; Foxhills Caravan and Motorhome CL – adults only – was a perfect escape for us. It had two showers (free) an outdoor but with hot water washing up area, two loos per sex and heaps of space. We paid £19pn with electric and hard standing which I thought was a bargain.

The coast hopper bus which links Wells next to Sea and Cromer everyday except NYD and public holidays had a stop just outside the entrance – (around 100 yards away). The North Norfolk Coastal path is accessed just down the road with miles upon miles of walks to be enjoyed. Next door is the largest private collection of Military memorabilia in the UK – sadly it was closed and doesn’t reopen until February so we will definitely be making a return visit. You can easily park up here for a week and not move your vehicle once.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – The whole area is probably the most dog friendly place we’ve been to – every pub, restaurant, bus, even many shops seemed to welcome our furry friends in with open arms. The bars are laden with treat bowls, water bowls under every table, it’s just brilliant.

Also within Weybourne, the Sheringham to Holt steam railway passes through- there is even its own station stop, less than a mile away from the site entrance.

We were lucky enough to see their Christmas light special train every evening chugging through in the distance.

Picture not my own – belongs to North

All through the stay we could hear the choo choo of the steam train. What a glorious sound.

As you can probably tell – we’ll be back to this hidden gem on the Norfolk coast that’s for sure!

Until next time and HAPPY NEW YEAR

Lx

Adventures on the Weavers Way, Norfolk

Seeing as the weather forecast for this weekend was so good, we decided to jump into Ruby again for a cheeky night away on Saturday, two weekends away in a row – how lovely!

Our wheels we once again set towards North Norfolk, this time towards The Weavers Way at North Walsham. The Weavers Way is a 61 mile footpath – parts of which are disused railway lines – and it takes it name from the cloth industry that was once one of the areas major industries.

We were staying at another Caravan and Motorhome club CL site, this time with no facilities other than hook up, tap and disposal facilities. Old Bridge Farm is situated conveniently just off the Weavers Way- perfect for our weekend of walking and enjoying the weather.

After a quick lunch, which we enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine, we actually had a quick nap! Feeling much more rested, we don our boots and head towards Aylsham on the Weavers Way.

Less than a mile from the site we came across one of the most well preserved stations we’ve seen on these disused railways; Felmingham Station. Sadly it’s not in use- it would make a wonderful cafe.

The banks along the Weavers Way are steep in places and full of pretty butterflies. We really enjoyed our 3.5 miles stroll to Aylsham before doing an about turn and making our way back to Ruby.

Once again, Keefy found an appropriate blind spot to take a shower, although the wind was a bit fresher than last week so it was a bit cooler.

We sat for a while, enjoying the peace and quiet before moving inside for dinner- that wind was very fresh!

Dinner was teriyaki salmon, noodles and stir fry. I used the Remoska to cook the salmon and it was delicious.

We ended up going to bed at 8.45pm – what party animals lol! And slept soundly until 7am. Must have needed that! These CLs are wonderfully quiet though – a real place to relax and unwind.

The sunrise was spectacular

As we had woken up so early, and the forecast for later in the day was rain, we got up early and went for a walk in the opposite direction, to North Walsham. It was just over a mile, so we walked about 2.4 miles in total. The light was wonderful.

We really enjoyed our time exploring the Weavers Way and highly recommend this campsite – it’s location and serenity were perfect and at just £12pn, we felt a real bargain.

On the way back we stopped for some local potatoes at a nearby farm and then at a farm shop for some leeks. Leek and potato for lunch!

Until next time

Lx

Adventures on the Marriott’s Way, Norfolk

It’s been a busy couple of weeks back at school, stress levels have been high and I was itching to get away for a night for a change of scenery. We’ve been meaning to revisit the Marriott’s Way, a disused railway line now turned into recreational track, that runs 26 miles from Aylsham to Norwich. Last time we visited we stayed about half a mile off the Marriotts Way, but whilst cycling along spied a quirky little Caravan and Motorhome club certified site (5 van site) in an old station situated right ON the Marriott’s Way. We made a mental note to revisit sometime – it’s only taken us 4 years!

More info about the Marriott’s Way can be found here

We got a last minute pitch at The Station, Attlebridge, and on Saturday morning left ours around 10am, arriving at the campsite at 11am – we’d checked that we could arrive early. This CL has a small toilet, hookup, tap and emptying facilities, so we decided to make use of the solar shower. What we love about CLs is the flexibility to park however we wish, rather than the more regimented club sites. We took advantage of this and parked side-wards on, and within 5 minutes we were enjoying a cuppa and admiring the view.

The Station Campsite is host to the former platform and station buildings and has lovingly resorted signalling box and gates, and even a small stretch of railway line. It’s ever so quirky and it’s big grassy paddock is perfect for a small quiet campsite.

After lunch, we put our best foot forward, this time opting to walk the Marriotts Way.

We walked as far as the Whitwell and Reepham railway, where there is a museum and cafe/bar – a distance of around 4.5miles.

The trouble with walking the Marriotts Way is that it’s linear, so we retraced our steps back to the campsite, clocking up 9 miles in total. We absolutely loved it though – it’s flat and easy walking. There are some old bridges and railway banks to admire, and at this time of year the tree canopies are really pretty.

Back at the campsite and Keith found a blind spot at the back of Ruby for his solar shower, which had heated up nicely in the sun on the roof of Ruby! We enjoyed a couple of (non alcoholic as we are doing sober September) drinks in the late afternoon sunshine, before knocking up a delicious pasta carbonara with some left over gammon. It was great to be able to cook and eat outside- we do love Indian summers.

We sat outside until the last rays of lights dipped behind the trees, reading and keeping an eye out for owls. We heard two but didn’t see them- before turning in for a early night.

Sunday morning dawned as bright as the day before so we enjoyed breakfast al fresco before walking in the opposite direction towards Norwich.

We covered a further 3 miles reaching Drayton before turning back to Ruby and waving bye to our perfect spot to relax for the weekend.

This campsite is perfect location for the Marriotts Way and at just £14 was a bargain.

We may well be back sometime soon!

Until next time

Lx

Ariba Mexico! 🇲🇽

We had a rather hectic summer, what with our trip of a lifetime to Canada and Alaska, and then a summer full of gigs, we decided as we’d got some dosh left over that we would try and grab a last minute trip somewhere hot and let someone else do the cooking and washing up! Remember when we did the same last year?

This year, we bagged another bargain courtesy of Tui and hopped on a plane from Gatwick to MEXICO 🇲🇽 Ariba!

We travelled with Tui, and were staying at an adults all inclusive, El Dorado seaside suites. Our objective for the week was to sit on the beach and do very little.

Of course, by our third day we were crawling the palm trees and craving some adventures, so got busy booking some excursions for the following days.

First up, we booked to go snorkelling with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. We were terrified and actually nearly didn’t book it as we were genuinely just too scared. But, not ones to let fear get to us we put our brave faces on and booked it! Pick up was 6am, and the mood on the minibus was anxious lol. An hour in and our guide got the call, it was too rough as a storm was rolling in. Back to the resort we went- deflated but secretly happy haha! We rebooked for our final day, and then booked straight onto a swimming with sea turtles adventure that left later that day.

This experience was amazing, despite it being stormy and the visibility not so good, it was phenomenal. See our video here. We were so close to the turtle it took my breath away. We were in the middle of the sea, and the turtles completely wild, not in captivity and it was just a magical experience. Afterwards we were taken to an underground dramatic cenote in the middle of the jungle, where we got to do more snorkelling in the caves. It was fab!

That evening was Mexican night at our hotel – there was a large mariachi band and lots of superb Mexican food. Yum!

Thursday dawned an early one again, we had booked to go for the day to UNESCO world heritage site, Sian Ki’an- a natural biosphere and area of outstanding beauty. We raced on speedboats through mangroves and travelled trough crystal clear water where we saw more sea turtles and dolphins and then got to snorkel on the second largest coral reef in the world. It was fantastic!!! See our videos here and here

Friday was the main feature; another UNESCO heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza. This was a 4am pick up! But by doing this we got there as it opened at 9am and there were no crowds at all. We spent two hours discovering the huge site of Chichen itza, which was just phenomenal. Words cannot do it justice! Afterwards we were taken to a small traditional Mayan village – we love excursions that allow us to get an insight into the country itself. We brought some hand crafted goodies and met some of the locals. It was brilliant. See our video here

Saturday arrived and it was the rescheduled whale shark swim day! We were very nervous AGAIN! And most of the 2 hour drive to Cancun was spent in silence 😂. We transferred to small boats and were taken out an hour into the open were warned that we may not see these humongous creatures as they are wild and here because they are feeding. But the ocean is huge and we may not find them we were warned.

Luck was on our sides, and before we knew it, we were told to quickly get our fins and masks on. We were to go in in pairs alongside a guide. Guess who got picked to go in first…..! Yup, us. S**T! We were warned not to dilly dally, when they shouted jump, we should jump! The whale sharks were 20ft long – they didn’t need to swim fast for us to struggle to keep up. It was now or never, in we went.

Watch our video here. I’m pretty proud of this video I must say!

Terrified is not the word! Incredible, awesome, mind bogglingly superb are not the words either. We could not have been prouder of each other – the experience rocketed up to one of the best things we’ve ever done- I know we have said that a lot recently!

Afterwards, we were taken to more section of the coral reef for a more relaxing snorkel before being served lunch IN THE SEA! Using life jackets as tables we were served fresh ceviche. What an incredible incredible way to finish our weeks relaxation (ahem!)

The food in the hotel was fabulous. There were numerous ala carte restaurants and you could eat there whenever you liked. The Mexican was our favourite.

The drinks flowed and the beach was great. The beach bbq was the best place to start our mornings for breakfast and mimosas.

What a brilliant week we had and what incredible adventures we’d found ourselves enjoying!

Adventures in Suffolk – a night away near Orford

Ruby the VW campervan is parked up on the beautiful and idyllic ‘Tumbleweed’; a Camping and Motorhome Club certified location situated 4 miles outside of Orford on the Suffolk coast.

We decided to avoid the club sites during the August holidays this year as even during the May half term they were packed and fairly noisy. We’ve been quite busy doing gigs and a handful of teaching since returning from our Canada and Alaska and fancied some peace and quiet. Tumbleweed (£14 pn) had a space free despite our fairly late booking and even better, it had a shower (£1 for a 10 minute shower) and toilet on site.

We arrived just before 1200 and instantly relaxed. The site, despite only hosting 5 vans, is a relatively large and beautifully landscaped site, nestled just to the side of the owners house. There are a couple of hard standing pitches and the rest are grass. We chose the pitch closest to the small stream that runs alongside the site.

We wasted no time in getting the bikes off the back of Ruby and pointing our wheels in the direction of Orford, just 4.5 miles away along a small quiet lane.

Seeing as we’d arrived at lunchtime, and the pubs on this this stretch of coast weirdly stop serving food at around 2.30 despite it being the height of summer, we decided to have our fish and chips lunch before our walk so we didn’t run the risk of missing out!

Orford is very famous for its Castle, a unique and fantastically preserved polygonal tower keep, which stands proudly above the small village and is seen for miles along the coast on a clear day. It’s looked after now by English Heritage and worth a visit. We visited a few years ago so didn’t go inside today. Dogs are allowed in.

Orford is also famous for its fishing – it’s been a fishing port for years and years and as such you can find the famous Pinney’s of Orford smokehouse shop here. They still fish on two boats from Orford quay and have a large smokehouse just behind. It’s the place to buy your smoked fish from round here.

In the Jolly Sailors, our lunch venue, they were selling a pint of Pinney’s smoked prawns, something we’ve not seen before, so we of course ordered a pint to share followed by two battered fish and chips.

Both were delicious and washed down by the local Adnams lager. It took all my strength not to order the adnams gin which is fab, but I’ve got a bottle at home so resisted.

After lunch, we moved our bikes to the large car park where there was ample bike parking and began our country walking route.

We followed the estuary for a couple of miles following the Suffolk coastal path. And then cut inland before following a good path back to the castle.

We would have had a drink at the other pub in the village but it was closed – I told you, weird opening hours! – so grabbed some Suffolk gold cheese, and cycled back to Ruby. The return journey was a little easier on the legs.

Back at Ruby, we had a quick shower set our stall out and made the most of the sunshine and peace and quiet. We sat out until gone 8pm reading. It was perfection.

Once the sun had gone down, we moved inside and had a simple dinner made up of some leftovers from a Mexican bbq we cooked at the weekend and settled down to watch a film, but we didn’t even make 20 minutes before our eyelids became increasingly heavy, so we called an early night!

We slept like logs for over 12 hours! It was absolutely silent here- perfect for our weary bodies!