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Previously: Time With Friends… Pt 1

Wednesday 9th April

We left Morn Hill around 10:40 and set off for The Old Oaks, F & R following in their motor home. Somewhere along the route we caught up with a police escorted wide load and for around 40 minutes remained at a slow steady speed which didn’t do much for our MPG!. However just before we reached Longleat, the load headed off in a different direction and we could continue at our normal pace. Passing Stonehenge I noticed that F & R were not behind us anymore… As we were coming through Pilton on the A361 I said to Sue “that looks like F & R’s motor home in front”. We followed it through West Pennard and debated on whether it was F & R a few cars in front of us. When they slowed and turned right into Wick Lane, it could have only been them… unless someone else had hired a motor home from the same company and were also staying at The Old Oaks. (I never did find out exactly where we lost them and which route they took).  It was exactly 13:00 when we pulled in so the 81 mile journey took us 2 hours 20 minutes averaging a little over 34 MPH

Pulling into The Old Oaks we spotted their new sculpture… what was a dead tree was now a pointy work of art!

The Old Oaks goes 'artsy' Fantastic new wood carving at the entrance!

The Old Oaks goes ‘artsy’ Fantastic new wood carving at the entrance!

We all checked in at reception. Unfortunately we could not be on adjacent pitches (the wardens did try their best to shuffle everyone round!). We were in the Walnut Circle and F & R were in the Walnut Terraces so not too far apart.

We had just about finished setting up and a chap came over to us, “Hi… could you help, do you happen to know anything about the water system on a Sterling caravan?” After a quick conversation I walked over to their caravan. It was brand new and they had only picked it up a few days earlier. This was their first trip out. After a bit of head scratching and a bit of water on the ground it was sorted. It did have me stumped though initially. I wish I could remember his and his wife’s name… both ever so nice, I think they were from Weston-super-Mare. I’ll put it down to old age and lack of grey cells.

A trip into Glastonbury for a spot of shopping and calling in one of Glastonbury’s best kept secrets – Stephen’s Butchers (2 Market Place) for 4 steaks had our evening meal sorted out. (Last time we were here, we stocked up on some great pork steaks and home made sausages)

"One Hairy Caravanner" strikes again... who is the man behind that apron of disguise?

“One Hairy Caravanner” strikes again… who is the man behind the apron of disguise?

Thursday 10th April

SPB-Wells_Moat_WalkThursday the sun was shining again and after a lazy start we headed into Wells, officially the smallest city in England. There is a great little car park just off Chamberlain Street that has easy access onto High Street. Last year we did a short walk round the moat following the directions on a leaflet we had picked up but didn’t go into the Cathedral. We retraced our steps and followed the walk again with F & R around the old moat…. starting in front of the Cathedral

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Above: The clock on the North Wall

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Above: Some of the houses in Vicar’s Close

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The moat round the Bishop’s Palace

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Above: Inside the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace

When we left the Bishops Palace we crossed the Market Square where the BBC were doing a bit of filming “Tom’s Lunch” for Countryfile. Not a clue when it is due to be broadcast though.

Tom Heap filming for BBC's "Countryfile" program in the market square

Tom Heap filming for BBC’s “Countryfile” program in the market square

Wells Cathedral is well worth a visit and for a small donation you are free to wander round. If you feel the need for a tea or coffee or even a spot of lunch the cathedral cafe is a good place to consider and not too expensive either. As I’d ‘lost’ Sue somewhere in the Cathedral and R had likewise lost F… we sat a while in the cafe and caught up on fish – don’t ask!. By the time Sue and F had appeared the cafe was full and we headed back outside. Not wishing to miss anything in the cooking utensil department “One Hairy Caravanner” headed for the “Kitchenmonger” shop in search of the perfect something or other kitchen gadget.

When in Somerset…. Have a Cornish Pastie !. Well who can resist stopping off for a cornish pastie for lunch in the “Award Winning Cornish Pasties” shop. OK that will be just me then. On the way back R picked up some chicken… for the evening meal (I know we were all still full of pasties – but you have to plan ahead don’t you!). We headed back to The Old Oaks and a lazy afternoon reading in the sunshine.. with maybe a siesta thrown in for good measure.

F wandered down to our caravan… “R wants to know how to turn on the oven in the motorhome?”.  Ahh right….hmm…. after a bit of kneeling and peering in to the dark abyss that was under the sink we decided that the ‘oven’ was a grill. Not what was advertised on handover apparently. Right – now’t like a crisis and a peckish feeling to galvanise people into action. R had prepared the chicken wrapped in bacon with cheese and breadcrumbs in a tray… this was going to be two centre cooking. Sue and I went off to put the chicken in our oven. So top tip: If you are hiring a motor home and you want an oven… check it’s not a grill. That’s another story to add to the long list that may get told sat round a campfire one evening.

Friday 11th April

Friday morning started out misty. The temperature overnight had dropped under the crystal clear night sky and as the sun started to rise, the warmth turned the overnight dew into a light mist that soon disappeared.

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SPB-Fleet_Air_Arm_Tickets copyWe visited the Fleet Air Arm last September but F & R had never been and it is well worth a second visit anyway. If you “Gift Aid” your entry you get free re-admission for the next 12 months and in the tourist information centre at The Old Oaks they had discount tickets that got a few pounds off admission for F & R. It’s only a short drive over to Yeovilton to the museum from the site.

The museum is packed with naval aviation heritage and if you have a passing interest in either the navy or aviation it’s got lots to see. The highlight feature is the “Aircraft Carrier Experience” and tour round the “Island”

Something else not to be missed is the walkthrough of Concorde 002, one of the test aircraft in Hall 4. Although this Concorde will never fly, there is an active campaign to restore one of the Concorde’s back to flying condition – possibly G-BOAC, Aircraft 204 at Manchester, which since 2011 has been powered up (electrically) on multiple occasions and all its systems returned to working order. To find out more visit www.saveconcordegroup.co.uk

 

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Friday afternoon was spent doing a couple of chores on the caravan ready for our departure the following day. We had all ordered “Fish & Chips” from the new delivery service from a local shop started by Tara at The Old Oaks. As F & R needed an early start in the morning, and we had over 200 miles to tow back home an early night beckoned. We said goodbye to F & R and promised to catch up with them later this year on the Isle of Wight.

Saturday 12th April

We didn’t see F & R leave….I did have every intention of getting up in time to wave them off but sitting up watching something on TV scuppered that. We went through the by now, well rehearsed routine of breaking camp and by 10:25 we were leaving The Old Oaks. Four hours twenty five minutes and 215 miles later we arrived back at the storage compound to drop the caravan off. So that was our “Week With Friends” over.

All in all a good holiday made even better with great friends. Just got to sort out where we are off to next.

The Old Oaks

It is easy to see why The Old Oaks picks up so many awards. This was our third stay and the standards are still high in every respect. From painting and photography courses to the private fishing lake thought has gone into every aspect of your stay. However a couple of things on this visit – I had originally made the booking for ourselves and F & R via email and asked if we could be on adjacent pitches. The staff did do some shuffling round when we arrived but unfortunately couldn’t arrange for two pitches side by side. But as the site was full, I can understand why. The second thing was the Friday night “Fish & Chip” service – absolutely fantastic they have managed to sort this out ( I know Tara has been trying a while to arrange this), but put your oven on to warm them up. Still early days and I’m sure that once a few deliveries have been done, they will come up with a way of keeping things hot. 10 minutes in the oven soon got everything piping hot again.. and gave us chance for another glass of wine while we waited!

As F & R had to return their rented motor home by 10:00 Saturday morning, it meant they would need to leave at 6:00. The gates are not open until 7:30 so credit to the team, they found a solution and F & R were able to depart early for their trip back to Chichester.

Places to visit:

Fleet Air Arm Museum
Haynes International Motor Museum - Yeovil
Montacute TV, Radio & Toy Museum -  One for children of all ages!
East Somerset Railway
West Somerset Railway
The Helicopter Museum - Weston-super-Mare
Cheddar Gorge