Wed 18th Aug Hertford. We decide, having searched the net, to purchase another porch type tent to fit on the side of the MH. We were getting fed up with having to take the awning and its associated walling down evertime the wind got above a puff. We were shit scared of waking up one morning and finding it flipped over the roof of the MH. We drove to a camping shop near Royston and bought one. It is a 3m square semi dome affair that attaches to the side of the awning when stowed against the side of the MH. I was initially sceptical as there is a large gap either side where it meets the MH, but, it is growing on me. I will think of something later to deal with this.
|Chilled out Leon.|
We also spend hours trying to book a campsite over the bank holiday weekend. Stupidly, we should have done this much earlier as most places were booked up. We eventually managed to get one for 5 days in the Southern side of the New Forest and then another for a further 5 days in the North.
Fri 20th Aug We had a very lazy day and sat in the MH all day watching telly and generally milling about, that evening, I went to fisit the other two older offspring, Zoe and Trula, at Zoe's house. Trula had been given a driving lesson my Zoe and went to Bishops Storford to collect Naomi too. A scary experience for Zoe by all accounts. Rosie was by now at the V festival busy losing her phone again. Karen spent the evening getting fleeced in the local Hertford wine bars with some of her old friends from work, Zelma, Marrietta and Laura.
Sat 21st Aug We strike camp (?) and set off towards Eagle Heights (more on that later) and on the wasy decide to pop ion to Hoddesdon to visit our old favorite pub, the Rye House. We call Peter, out previous next door neighbour and have a pleasant chat over a pint. At about 4pm we again set off and after the M11 on the M25 we are halted for an hour or so by a car on fire about 500m in front of us. Deep joy.
Eagle Heights is a bird of prey centre with many other animals on display including 2 tame cheetas. The place is run by Alan Ames who had arranged a meet up for old friends. On arrival at Eagle heights we park up and walk the mile from the center to the local village where I think they will be drinking, following a tour of the pubs, a quick phone call reveals that they are partying in the centre that we have just walked from. Another walk back up the mile long hill (Karen was, unsurprisingly, not very happy with my organisational skills). A good night was had by all with plenty of loonies talking bollocks all night long. Two old mates, Yan and Jim spent the night camped up in our MH.
Sun 22nd Aug. The next day we popped over to see another old friend, Robert and his wife Terry, who live neat Caterham. There house was undergoing renovation so we popped to the local pub for dinner and a beer with Terrys son Will. Robert, I regard as my best friend, we rarely see each other but have had a special relationship for over 25 years.We then drove back to Eagle Heights and I went to the pub (again !) with Alan.
Mon 23rd Aug Today we intended to drive straight to the New Forest but decided to delay till the evening and have a proper (i.e. sober) look around Eagle Heights. It was brilliant, aside from being a normal mini zoo the displays were fantastic we saw two run buy John Ames, the owners son, who firstly gave a very good bird of prey display with birds wings hitting the public (including us) in the face and head. The second sisplay was with one of the cheetah's that John had hand reared, chasing a dead rabbit on a lure, that was doing about 50mph) and the cat doing 60-70 mph to catch it. The cat then chomped in to the rabbit and when about halfway through, they relesed the vultures who skillfully stole the dead remains from the cheetah. Amazing and real close.
|Who is on first watch..|
|Bad picture of a rescued porcupine "Fred" (its parner is Wilma - go fugure). When told to, it calmly walked back into its box.|
|Sea Eagle swooping for chicken in a small sea (OK a pond).|
|The cheetah "Max" catching the rabbit - it was very fast and fortunately tethered to an overhead wire.|
|Dinner time, until these guys turned up.....|
|...and pinched the entrails etc. It was gory but interesting.|
|John Ames and his pet cat !|
We then drove to a noisey campsite with some truly unruly kids causing mayhem....
Tue 24th Aug. With the weather being OK, went decided to go for a cycle ride. We came across a bunch of pikeys camped in the forest in one of those old style Gypsy caravans. As is expected, we got chased by their dog. They pathetically tried to call off the completely untrained mutt without success and gave me a hard time when I fended it off with my large boots. Anyway "D'ya like daags".
|Looking for punctures|
|Oi, Shergar, you cant just lay down, you have to hide behind a bush.|
Wed 25th Aug The next day was raining fairly hard so walking was out of the question. We decided to ride over to Southampton to see an old friend, Yan, who is both a psychiatrist and a power boat racer (oh and completely nuts). He was prepping his friends boat for a race at Cowes on Sunday. He showed us around his and another of his competitors boats. If you are a petrol head, you will like this.
|The boat Yan uses.|
|Unfortunately onre of its engines was still on the boatyard floor !|
|A competitors boat belonging to "Vee" who I think is a Turkish guy..|
|With both engines where they should be.|
|How sexy does that rear end look !|
|The Ford Anglia. Karens first car, and fond memories for her. For some reason the camera did not focus. This car brings back bad memories for me, I was ran over by one when aged 11, I broke my femur and nearly bled out on the road.|
|The Hillman Imp. My first car that my Dad got for me, I learned to drive it on my own (illegally of course). We eventually took this car all over Europe.|
|The Honda CB750, my first big bike.|
|Karen in front of the "Top Gear" Cool/Un-cool board.|
We then braved the apaulling weather and rode back to the campsite. It took ages to dry out despite the bike gear performing admirably.
Thu 26th Aug Another rainy day - not as bad as the previous day but we decided to chill out in the comfort of the MH.
Fri 27th Aug In the afternoon, Karen wanted to do some shop browsing in Lyndhurst so that what we did. It did not live up to its expectations so after a couple of hours we beat a hasty retreat and on the way home decided to go for a walk just South of Lyndhurst. It was a beautifull place.
Sat 28th Aug. We struck camp and drove to the northern campsite of the new forest. Once in place and level we jumped on the Wallace and rode to Southampton to a large camping shop and bought some essentials.
Sun 29th Aug We decided to go for Long walk through the forest. We had a good walk and saw some wild deer and I found a willy mushroom (as you do). Not the generic name, but good enough never the less.
|Karen says "I wish", Ray says "me too".|
My map rerading skills took a bit of a battering. It had nothing to do with the ability to navigate, more to do with the fact that I had forgotten my glasses and could not see the tracks on the map. Not good in a forest.
|I can only see the orange lines and large green bits !|
Karen was particularly unimpressed with my map reading. Using comments like, "you may be clever but you have'nt got the common sense to remember your glasses". "You silly old fart" etc..
|I thought you said you could map read.|
Once home, it was, sat dish up, telly on, watch the bike racing, get drunk. Luverly.