Sunshine on the Norfolk Broads

Bluebell the motorhome is back home and emptied after a lovely weekend up on the Norfolk broads.

We had two meetings this weekend, one in Norwich on Friday afternoon and one in Hingham Saturday morning, so decided to turn it into a micro break- this is why we adore living here! Luck was on our side as the forcast was good too!

We set off Norwich bound Friday after a gig, and headed for the Toys R Us carpark just off St Benedict’s st, as we knew that had no height barrier. We left Jazz guarding the van and darted off to the city to make our 4:15 appointment (top secret) 😀

An hour later and we were back at Bluebell and heading round the ring road towards Wroxham. We consulted our ever trustworthy BritStops book prior to leaving and as luck would have it, one of our faves was listed in the 2014 guide and was right near where we needed to be for our top secret meeting on Sat morning. We arrived at Brit Stop 235 just before 6pm, double checked we were ok to stay and booked a table for dinner. After a quick shower and a leg stretch for the pooch, we hot footed it the hundred yards or so across the car park and got ourselves a pint of Nog each and the menu.

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This is one of our faves because it serves the most amazing locally sourced food- every time we’ve been we’ve had the venison pie, it is gorgeous and tonight was no exception! We both chose a starter too- I had black pudding Bon bons and Keith had mussels cooked in Ale. Both were mouth-wateringly good – the mussels working surprisingly well cooked in ale!

We managed to sink a few pints of nog in the process of eating and we both were mildly tipsy by the time we hit the sac a couple of hours later! We even managed to buy 4 pints of nog to takeaway 🙂 brilliant and another reason why we adore using BritStops. We paid far more than we could have for one night on a campsite, but enjoyed a great meal and some beer and don’t have to drive! The pub made £70 out of it- Win win

Next morning we arose with a slightly sore head I’m not going to lie, but a bacon bap soon sorted that and we hit the road towards Hingham, where we were meeting a man about a boat 😉

Hingham is a gorgeous little village and we spent a great 3 hours or so exploring and chilling in the beer garden of the Swan Hotel, watching the world and his wife go by (I was still hanging so was on the coca cola!) Keefy however was living by the “hair of the dog ” prophecy and enjoyed 2 pints of Adnams Broadside which he tells me worked like a treat.

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Around 2pm we checked our ever trusty Bible (ie the BritStop guide) and found a little pub not far away that we hadn’t been to before. 15 mins later we were installed into a nice quirky type pub and enjoying a cream tea.

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This, along with a 2 hour nap(!) fixed me so at dusk we took Jazz out for a leg stretch and to take in the sunset.

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We had a great nights sleep despite our two hour afternoon nap and awoke fresh as daisies this morning. We had passed a very pretty village yesterday, Coltishall, so headed there for an hour before heading home in the glorious sunshine.

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Until next time
Lx

A lovely day on the Norfolk coast

Bluebell the motorhome was parked in the huge carpark of BritStop 219 on Saturday night. On one side was a large field where we were lucky enough to watch the deer, on the other side was my dad and Jenny’s motorhome, behind us was the sea ( well half a mile walk away) and in front of us was a rather exquisite restaurant.

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We started the day with a good leg stretch (4 miles no less!) around the pretty village of Burnham Thorpe, which is where Lord Nelson was born and raised. There are some beautiful country cottages in this part of the world including a gorgeous refurbished manor house complete with moat! Gorgeous and a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so, drooling over everyone’s houses and debating on what we will buy when we win the lottery!!
Haha

The weather was bright and blustery and certainly blew away the cobwebs that had accumulated after the previous nights tipples in the pub!

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After our pleasant walk we drove the 6 miles to our next destination, Britstop 219 on the coast, and waited for Dad and Jenny to arrive. We’d planned to get supplies from the farm shop that we knew was nearby, but travelling out of season put a stop to that, as it was closed. So we ended up having our lunch at our host pub, despite being booked in for dinner also.

It didn’t matter- lunch was delicious and was taken in front of a roaring fire with a pint or two of Aspall cider. I can certainly think of worse ways to spend a winters weekend! Feeling slightly guilty after a couple of pints and a luxurious lunch, we went for another leg stretch, down to the beach. Unfortunately the recent high tide flooding had resulted in the access path being shut off so we wandered the mile or so circuit round the village, stopping at another pub for a wee break and a wee dram!

It was soon time to get our glad rags on and head to the restaurant for our dinner. Keith and I had fresh Brancaster mussels to start (yum yum) and then I had fish pie for main, whilst Keith had cod in red wine sauce (yes, red wine!) – Dad had the biggest portion of battered haddock I’ve ever laid my eyes on and Jenny had fish cakes. The whole meal was delicious and we enjoyed a good catch up.

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The sea air and hearty meals (not to mention the booze) soon took its toll though and we all started fading at around 9:30pm, so we bid farewell and hit the sack. I’m glad we had an early night, as the wind really picked up and we* didn’t sleep too well, fearing we were going to blow over (* I say we
– more me – Keith managed to snore his way through the storm!) Luckily we didn’t blow over and the early night meant we woke up fresh as daisies ready for a morning trip to Brancaster beach.

We’ve never been to Brancaster beach before, I don’t know why- it’s gorgeous! There really is something about visiting the beach in the middle of winter, when it’s deserted and blustery don’t you think? We loved every second- the wind was doing its best to knock us over, the dog was going nuts running around and exploring, we had so many layers on we looked like we’d gained 5 stone each, but my goodness it was exhilarating and we couldn’t stop smiling!

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What’s your favourite beach to visit in the bleak mid winter?

Perfect pilgrimage to Walsingham Abby, Norfolk

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up in the car park of BritStop number 220
Her owners have been drinking in Nelsons local tonight after a very pleasant pilgrimage to Walsingham Abby today.

When we left home the weather was gloomy and wet, but we hadn’t even gotten out the village before the sunshine peeped out and the rain stopped.

We’ve visited Walsingham twice Walsingham Abby before and today’s trip was with the intention of visiting the grounds (£4 per person and dogs allowed on lead)

The snowdrops were simply spectacular, there were literally MILLIONs over the large site, all in full bloom- a real treat to experience

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The weather was really behaving, so we enjoyed a picnic in the tranquil but chilly grounds and then set off on a little saunter round the pretty village, which is like a time capsule (apart from the shrine building which is in contrast very new looking and made from bricks!)

We’d got a map of a walk from the village off walk4life.com and this took in part of the Pilgrims Way- a very well made track that apparently is ancient. We really enjoyed the walk, the weather was great and it was good to stretch the legs without getting too muddy!

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After a good 4 mile circuit, we drove the van the 6 miles or so to our overnight stop for tonight. We visited here back in July and enjoyed it then, and it’s close proximity to both the coast and Walsingham, along with its homemade Nelson’s blood rum (hic) made sure we would return.

We are online using our new gadget- the motorhomewifi directional antenna, which has not only picked up the pubs wifi, but also several bt hotspots. Not bad for a tiny village, so we should get on brilliantly with it on our travels.

Keith’s new favourite thing at home is checking the speed of our newly installed fibre internet, and he’s in his element to discover he can check the connection speed we are getting through the antenna too!

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North Norfolk- mini break to Thornham, Holkham and Burnham Thorpe

We had a fantastic couple of days away- I knew it would be a good un, as we planned it from the comfort of our………

Local! – in the beer garden…!

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We ended up picking one of our favourites- Holkham, North Norfolk. We used the BritStop guide, as we haven’t had chance to use it since our gaunt to a scotland earlier this year.
Sunday came and we set off on our way- our recent move means we can now park the motorhome right next to our back garden and therefore we can fill easily with water before we head off!

We had phoned in advance to both places to ask permission as they were both pubs…get in (!) and were warmly welcomed both on the phone and in person on arrival.

Our first stop- number 219 in the guide was 5 mins walk to a stunning beach. Shame the weather wasn’t as nice as it had forecasted, but nevertheless, we enjoyed a 4 mile or so wander, got the cobwebs blown well and truly away, and returned to the van to fall into a deep afternoon nap!

We had booked a table for dinner at the pub that was hosting us, we’d read rave reviews, and spent half an hour drooling at the menu earlier on! The meal did not disappoint. It was simply stunning. Best of all, we could relax knowing we were safe and welcome to park overnight, therefore the wine flowed freely and the whole evening was perfect. Despite being camped on the pub carpark, we were still treated to a lovely view from our rear view lounge.

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Next morning, and the cloud had thoroughly burned away, so we set off after thanking the staff at the pub. It promised to be a spectacular day weather wise, so we enjoyed a bacon sarnie over looking the harbour at Brancaster, bought some free prawns from the cabin there and set off the five miles or so to our next location, BritStop number 220, another pub 😉

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This pub was of interest to Keith (and not just because of the ale…!) as he is a history buff, and this pub is linked to Admiral Nelson. We once again were welcomed with such warmth and kindness from the staff, you’d struggle to replicate it on a campsite. We decided to walk to nearby (ish) Holkham, and take a picnic to eat on the beach. It was a lovely walk, which took us through the grounds of Holkham Hall, and on to the beach, which is thought to be one of the finest in the UK. The weather was not disappointing, it got up to 32degrees!

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We had a lazy afternoon on the beach and after a look on the memory map, we couldn’t believe it when it told us we had walked almost 7 miles!! Refusing to worry that we still had the walk back to manage, and feeling slightly sore and not fussed about trekking back, we nipped in for a quick pint at the Queen Victoria at Holkham to assess the best thing to do to get back to our home on wheels. After an unsuccessful ring round for cabs, and several encounters with unhelpful staff, we realised we could get the coast hopper the majority of the way back, which turned out to be our saving grace!

We enjoyed a couple of beers in the beer garden at our “digs”, which included sampling their infamous special spiced rum, made from a secret recipe handed down from landlord to landlord – and boy, was it good?!! We also were treated to some live music from a bunch of male singers rehearsing their sea shanty songs in the bar. We had a great time! The pub gave free info about a village walk that took in all the important sites linked to Nelson, so we wandered round at Dusk, enjoying the bird song and keeping an eye out for owls. We did see a barn owl we think, but not close enough to get a photo this time. 😦

We couldn’t quite slip past the pub towards Bluebell without one last nip into the pub for a sneaky night cap of spiced rum in their really cool snug bar. Unfortunately we didn’t drink enough to enable to us to sleep through the huge thunderstorm that hit around 5am! We had such a great time, we were only 40 miles from home, but it felt like a million miles away! We love Norfolk, we love motorhoming, we love mini breaks and we LOVE BritStops

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Celebrating Jazz’s 1st birthday and St David’s day in Castle Acre

We’ve nipped away for a cheeky night away- we are 40 mins from home just outside of Swaffham, staying on Breckland Meadows Caravan park

Today we celebrated our first proper 3 day weekend with a lay in, and about half ten chucked some bits in Bluebell and hit the road. We first visited Castle Acre back in 2010 in Daisy, but it was a stop off on our way home. We loved the village and wanted to revisit for a while. The castle ruins are amazing and there are also some priory ruins that are worth a visit. We did a 6.75 mile walk which took in part of the Nay Valley way, and we crossed several fords (pooch went through the last in an unsuccessful attempt to get clean). It’s lovely open countryside round here, apparently this part of Breckland is protected. There are several wind turbines dotted about which avoid being an eyesore- the one in Swaffham is massive, and has a viewing tower at the top. Think we shall give that a miss, just reading about it made me feel dizzy!

We got to the site around 3.30pm and were greeted by an overly friendly guy who filled our water tank for us- in all this time this has never happened before! He asked if we wanted papers for the morning (which i thought was a nice touch, despite us not using the service). He proudly gave us a tv aerial having clocked our aerial, a no frills standard aerial) and told us we would need to plug it in to receive tv as our aerial would only pick up analogue. Not sure where he has been hiding for the last two years, but as far as I’m aware analogue in this area has been off for a while now, and we’ve never had problems before, and unsurprising tonight we’ve managed to pick up 180 digital channels tonight without the cable! However outdated, another nice touch I felt.

There’s also free wifi here and a dismantled railway line footpath into Swaffham that we intend to use tomorrow. I’m hoping we may bump into Stephen Fry- according to the Swaffham walks booklet, this is his patch!

🙂 until next time

Lx

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First night away of 2013.. Cley Next to Sea

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Well after what has seemed a ridiculously long, depressing winter, we FINALLY got the chance to nip Bluebell out this weekend for a night away. We had been recommended this site as a perfect retreat for the night, and so back in January we got it in the diary and got the count down underway!

We invited our friends Tracy and Andy and their dog Murphy to join us in their motorhome, Dolly.

We couldn’t believe our luck when on Saturday we awoke to a glorious blue sky and sunshine- despite the weather intimating all week it was going to be wet and dismal! It just goes to show, you should always stick to your guns when it comes to the weather and holidaying in Britain!!

Despite a slightly stressful start- we needed to Jump start Bluebell, once at home and then once more 20 miles down the road after we had stopped for fuel. Amazingly we were rescued by the Shell petrol station manager in his MOTORHOME!! What are the chances eh?! Anyway, thanks to him and some jump leads we had inherited we were soon our way, albeit a little worried about the state of Bluebell’s battery, but nethertheless, nothing was going to dampen our weekend.

We arrived to the fab little site around 3 ish and were shortly followed by our friends. Quick beer and a ham butty later and we were ready to investigate the local surroundings. We made it as far as the pub a 10 min walk,and decided we definitely all deserved a quick drink! 3 hours later, we stumbled out, back up to the campsite, a bit wobbly and had a lovely chill in our van. Before I carry on, I must tell you a little story about what happened whilst in the pub.. We were sat minding our own business, putting the world to rights with Murphey and Jazz happily munching their rawhide under the table. Somehow- I managed to get my finger trapped in Jazz’s collar and he managed to get tangled with Murphey’s lead. A bit of a commotion followed, with the dogs howling and the pub being silenced. The next thing we know, the pub cat, a rather large ginger fluffball, called “Asbo”, wandered very cooly over to the our table- lifted his front law and punched both Jazz and Murphey on the side of their heads, then walked off! Very very funny!

Back to our stumble back up to the campsite – we cooked a spag Bol in our van, got into our p.js, drank an awful lot of red plonk and had a flipping lovely night. To say we were slightly merry doesn’t come close- poor Andy achieved the most spectacular exit of Bluebell we have ever witnessed- he literally fell straight out off the van and ended up in a heap, breaking his watch in the process. It was funny, sorry Andy!!

Next morning, after a blissfully quiet nights sleep and unbelievably escaping a hangover (get in) we enjoyed a big full English brekkie in Tracy and Andy’s van and then headed down to the beach for a walk to blow away the cobwebs

You can tell it was a boozy night, first time ever where I haven’t taken at least one pic!

Here are some pics of our walk – does anyone know what the bird is?

Until next time….

Lydia x

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Our first taste of “Wild Camping” – North Norfolk Feb 2012

One of the things we were rather excited about when we picked up our new pride and joy (Bluebell) was the prospect of having a go at “wild camping” – since our leisure battery seemed to hold its charge more we figured we could occasionally last a night or so parked up somewhere other than a campsite.

Unfortunately England isn’t quite as geared up for Wild Camping as Scotland or even the Continent.. in fact technically it’s classed as not legal, but of course, there are all sorts of loopholes and as far as we were/are aware it is tolerated as long as you are not breaching any public order notices/traffic orders or similar, or blocking anyone’s view, on their land etc etc.

For us the appeal was to be able to park up where we like and when we like. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy staying on campsites, but sometimes we leave them thinking “flipping heck, that was a bit noisy for our liking” or “25 quid to stay for a night?!” We found ourselves sometimes paying up to £30 per night and then begrudging spending any more in the local pub for a meal or whatever, cos we aren’t made of money and if we’ve paid £30 to stay a night in an area it cuts into our holiday spends budget so are more likely not to spend as much money in that local area…

So after A LOT of research on the internet we found this website called http://www.wildcamping.co.uk. WHAT A FIND. We quickly joined for £15 and in return downloaded over 4000 gps coordinates of spots where you can park overnight to our trusty sat nav. We decided to give it a go one night at the end of February, and decided to head towards the North of the county. We visited Walsingham Abby to see the glorious snowdrops (my favourite!) and then headed north towards Wells Next to Sea. There was a spot in a little car park near to Wells that we had read about so headed straight there. When we arrived it was a fantastic location, right on the sea and in a harbour carpark. We spent the afternoon walking up to the main beach, chilling out and enjoying the view. It was glorious. But there was something niggling me. We had seen a small sign saying “no camping” and although we were fairly sure we would get away with it, we both decided that we would rather not risk it as we didn’t think we would be able to relax. So, we watched the sun set over the sea and decided to head into Wells Next to Sea. We found a quiet secluded road and parked up, then went for a walk around the town. We had a meal in the local pub and a few drinks around the town. We wandered back to Bluebell about 9pm and settled in for the night. We set the alarm for 7am and after a great nights sleep we just got straight up and left. We went and had bacon butties back at our spot from the day before and were thoroughly chilled out by the time we headed home to work that afternoon!

From our first experience, we took the following things..

1) If you don’t feel comfortable in a spot, don’t stay

2) Have more than one option of a spot to stay for each area you go.

3) We really enjoyed our wander around the Wells pubs, even though I didn’t have a drink “JUST IN CASE” we were moved on

All in all, we had a great time, and couldn’t wait until the next time.

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Twixmas 2011 – Daisy’s finale voyage…

One of the drawbacks with being a musician is that November and December turn into absolutely CRAZY times! It was this, and the fact that Daisy was having a new water pump fitted, that following our October jolly, we weren’t able to get out again until in between Xmas and New Year. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was to become our finale voyage in dear old Daisy, as unbeknownst to us (until a particularly large amount of rain one afternoon) we discovered the thing that most motorhomers fear…. the DREADED LEAK! 😥 We were staying on a nice little site just outside of Cromer, Norfolk , with my Dad and Jen, and we started noticing the tell tale signs. We tried to justify it, saying it was condensation at first, but as time went on, and the walls got softer and softer, we soon realised we were dealing with the real macoy – a proper Talbot reknowned leak. Still, we managed to grin and bear it, and had a lovely time. The site was lovely – http://www.moorlandpark.co.uk/ and we had a great walk all the walk to Sheringham for fish and chips and a pint, then shared a taxi back. 🙂