We’ve been on our travels with our caravan throughout the UK. We had a few adventures with the caravan which I won’t bore you with (all solved eventually by our hero.) The caravan is very comfortable and we like using it.

Our first stop was on Derwentwater in the Lake District which, save for some owls was the quietest site I have ever visited. Our previous stopover which was at Tebay at Westmorland has ceased to be a caravan site which we were rather disgruntled about (no-one asked us!) but this site, although pleasant is too far from the M6 for us to use frequently, We explored Keswick which is an attractive town, and also visited the house where William Wordsworth grew up which is a very elegant and attractive Georgian house in Cockermouth, and Dove Cottage in Grasmere, where he lived. which was dank, dreary and horrible. I personally thought Wordsworth was an indifferent poet. He was Poet laureate for a number of years, accepting a quite substantial payment for his services and never wrote a single poem as laureate. We visited the coastal towns of Maryport and Workington but did not find them attractive. There is no doubt that that the Lake District is a lovely place (each lake and valley is quite different) with some good-looking towns and villages, but I can never get used to how parts that appear to be fairly remote are invariably teeming with bands of walkers lurking behind every tree.

We then installed the caravan on the Edinburgh site. One does not expect quietness on a city site, and this park down in Granton near the river was convenient(an area of Edinburgh I did not know at all) but the whole of the North part of the city must be severely affected by aircraft noise. We were on the flightpath of incoming aircraft I think – we had some quite windy nights and we could hear their brakes squealing and became quite anxious on their behalf. I thought aircraft were halted between the hours of midnight and 6 am but this was certainly not the case here where they were still coming staggering home at 2 am and started up again at 4.30.

We visited Joanna and attended her birthday party, and spent a few pleasant days in Glasgow, and visited my brother in Fife, crossing over the new road bridge to come back in to Edinburgh. It is slightly disorienting to revisit a city which was once yours but is no longer. You think you know it well and in part you do, but you can suddenly find yourself ‘lost’ in redeveloped areas. It is fun to be a tourist though.

We took a bus tour on an open-topped bus and were surprised how close together the famous buildings were. Edinburgh is a beautiful city.

We toured Britannia. It is surprisingly modest and attractive. The queen’s choice of furniture and soft furnishings, while not fashionable (it was fitted out in the fifties) was elegant and could have been lived in quite comfortably today. The ship was very well adapted for sightseers and good provision was made for disabled access. Considering the queen’s long service, her age and her reputed enjoyment of the vessel, plus the use the Government made of Britannia, it seems very churlish and short-sighted of Blair’s government that he did not prolong the ship’s life while the queen lived. I felt however that the accommodation provided for ratings was disgraceful, and that in a 20th century ship it should have been possible to provide a comfortable private space, albeit small, for everyone.

We visited the town where I was born in Angus from Edinburgh, but I will write about that separately. We visited friends while here and met friends in Edinburgh. Alexandra came through in the train and we showed her the university area and the different sections of the city. We went with her to Holyrood Palace where we both visited the Palace and saw an exhibition of Canaletto paintings bought in a job lot by George III. They were not perhaps the artist’s finest, but a Canaletto is not to be sneezed at! We had lunch here.

And so we left Edinburgh and came down the East Coast road to Berwick on Tweed. The site faced the sea. We looked at Berwick and then drove to Kelso. We also visited Floors Castle, with which I was decidedly unimpressed. It is vast, like Versailles perhaps, (it is in the French style). No-one could possibly require this much accommodation. It was supposedly adapted for wheel chair use but the paths were gravel; there was only one accessible toilet a long distance (over gravel) and the care of visitors did not seem to figure high in their priorities. Also what was available to the public was a series of rooms in one of the needless wings furnished lavishly in a very extravagant French style, with extra-ordinarily elaborate and ugly French furniture. Apparently the castle had been restyled by an American heiress with unlimited funds and very poor taste, part of whose family were French. These rooms although furnished as ballroom, dining room, etc (there were no bedrooms or kitchen on display) had never actually been used for the purposes they were dressed for and one rather got the impression that the owners had decided to benefit from the financial advantages of having visitors and complied with the requirements to the lowest standards, and from their ugly collection of awful furniture had thrown together a couple of rooms. They can keep Floors Castle as far as I’m concerned.

We also visited Lindisfarne which is lovely but was very busy at 10 am and as we returned across the causeway, battalions of buses were fighting their way over.

A long day down the M1 and then, seeking entry to visit our last site, Moreton-in-the- Marsh in the Cotswolds. Here we visited John’s sister and her husband and son, and then took Helen out to lunch in Stow. The next day we visited friends in Iffley in Oxford. (Will write more separately). We chose NOT to visit Highgrove, garden of the Prince of Wales. It cost £150 for 2 people to visit the garden and have lunch, which is daylight robbery. We went instead to Burford, and to a mill that sold throws and tweeds, although we did not buy any(this time.)

So back to our site and then the short journey home where we got here by lunch time.

The weather was mild and often sunny; there were storms but they were mostly throughout the night. We enjoyed our new caravan. It was lovely to see so many friends; and if we didn’t get round to you, I hope we’ll be back in years to come.

About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

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