1909 Bleriot X1, the world's oldest FLYING aeroplane and aero engine.

1910 Bristol boxkite replica built for the film 'Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines'

1924 DH51 'Miss Kenya' the first aircraft to ever fly in Kenya

'Grosvenor House', a 1934 DH88 Comet which won the 1934 England to Australia air race in 70 hours 54 minutes.

1938 Westland Lysander, used to deliver SOE (Special Operational Executives) in to enemy territory from the local  RAF Tempsford

1939 MG TA Midget

1941 Supermarine Spitfire

1931  Hawker Demon

1917 Bristol F2b fighter

1913 Bristol Scout Type C

1920 Huck's engine starter

1916 Sopwith Triplane

The Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden airfield, near Biggleswade.


We had a nice, and very filling, lamb roast yesterday evening at The Cock Inn (n52.072726° W0.291847°) having parked up in their field behind the pub. Problem was, it did lay a bit heavy last night as we lay in bed listening to the strong winds and rain outside.

This morning we didn't hurry too much to get up because we didn't have much to do.

Yesterday it would have been logical to take the M1 motorway south before enduring the M25 on our way to Farnham in Hampshire. However, I felt that if I took that route I was pretty much committing to doing the whole trip in one bite, which was something I didn't want to do given the weather forecast of high winds and very heavy rain, and so we came down the A1 stopping with the intention of stopping off half way.

Well honestly. Oh my, oh my, what were the odds that our pub for the night was only three miles from The Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome www.oldwardenaerodrome.co.uk (N52.090241° W0.322575°)? Well, since we were so close it would be a missed opportunity had we not popped in before we set off for Hampshire.

The great shame before leaving our field was that I couldn't water the grass with our grey water as there were a couple of sprigs of lucky white heather and wooden clothes peg sellers sat in their caravan close by. So we still have it onboard though with the current heavy rain me thinks it will be freed from its captivity in a one-hundred litre tank just as soon as it gets dark.

I was bowled over by The Chef's enthusiasm for visiting yet another museum. Personally I would have given it a miss, but I just didn't want to disappoint her.

I had been to the museum before many, many years ago and it seemed a lot bigger and more modern now. I shall share some photographs of the visit, but will perhaps add more when we get home, otherwise I'll be up all night trying to upload them.

When we left the museum we had lunch and then set off for the final leg of our journey to Farnham, an 83-mile or so journey. Given the appalling weather I decided to take it nice and steady and just tucked in behind the HGV's for most of the time, which resulted in a nice, safe, stress-free journey.

We couldn't locate the lay-by we used last time we were here but instead have planted ourselves in another. It's not as big or pee-smelling as the last one but I think it will do us for the night.I have backed the vehicle right in to the very beginning of the long lay-by so that any 'Jack the Lad' who aquaplanes in to the space won't hit us.

It is currently still raining heavily and the vehicles which pass us at speed are throwing up an awful lot of water from the puddles next to us, which splashes down the side of the vehicle. Hopefully things will quieten down by bed time.

So that's it - tomorrow is a private family day. Thanks for accompanying us on some of our tours. I hope the 'warts and all' view of a grumpy old git hasn't dampened your enthusiasm for taking up this lifestyle. All I've ever wanted to do is share our experiences with others. Before we undertook our two 90-day trips to America in 2008, I started with a blank sheet of paper. I took me three years to research and plan those trips, and wanted to share that information with folk who may be considering doing something similar, thus sparing them three years of hard work.If you're considering doing it -then do it. Just make sure you do your research (see 'chapters' covering those topics).

So long for now. Hasta la vista baby.

TUESDAY 19-9-23

After climbing in to bed last night The Chef said that if the weather wasn't going to get any better then she would be quite happy to go home. I said that we'd look at the options in the morning and then decide.

It certainly was a wet and windy night and when I climbed out of the vehicle this morning it was covered in wet leaves from the trees. I ask you, why on earth would anybody want to go to Spain with their motorhome?

After scrubbing up we sat down and considered our options. The weather forecast was for very wet and windy days today and tomorrow followed by more wet days until next week. There was no point in our hanging around waiting for those days to arrive, and besides forecasts these days are nothing more than intelligent guesses and could very easily change again before then. We decided that we would come back up to visit Rebie in Uttoxter in the spring and tag on a visit to Ironbridge to make the journey worthwhile. She doesn't know we were up in her neck of the woods, our visit was going to be a surprise, so she won't feel we've let her down.

So that was that. We would  make our way further south heading for Hampshire to visit The Chef's sister who is in a nursing home, but we'd break the journey up, and so tonight we are parked in a field behind The Cock Inn (I wonder if the landlord is gay?), which is part of the 'Britstop' scheme. We have a table booked for 19:30, so my darling Chef gets a night off from the kitchen.

So that's pretty much it for this trip, though there may well be an entry for tomorrow. I for one will be glad to get home.

On reflection we had an enjoyable first week or so when the weather was kind to us, but it seems as if as soon as we entered the Yorkshire and Derbyshire Dales things turned very wet, and  if it's wet it's miserable with poor visibility thus the views which we would have enjoyed on clear sunny days eluded us. If I ever come this way again it certainly wouldn't be with the motorhome. I think those areas are best done in a car with bags and boots in the back and going bed and breakfast. Never mind, apart from a quick visit back up in the spring to see Rebie, this is us done now with Motorhome touring in the UK, it just isn't worth the grief. We can get better weather and value for money on the European continent.

This will also be the end of 'live' postings on the blog as we make our way round. Since having our site migrated over to One.com, uploading is very time consuming and seems to eat up much more data to do so.

As we've not been to Portugal before, and our likely final trip is to be Portugal and Spain next spring I shall produce the daily diary notes and take pictures as usual, but won't upload the trip until we get home. My poor darling Chef will at last get a bit of company in the evenings instead of reading a book whilst I play with the laptop. The blog subscription is due for renewal in about May and I will renew it for one more year so that the final trip can be recorded, and I can try and repair the damage to the site caused by the migration to One.com during the coming winter months.

In the meantime, thank you for being our guests.

Not too may people on the top deck today

MONDAY 18-9-23

On my 'outstanding jobs' list at home I did have 'become familiar with camera settings'. My little Lumix pocket camera is capable of all sorts of things, but I just leave it on automatic and press the button.

It was unfortunate I never got around to striking that task off the list before we came away, because yesterday whilst in a dark cluttered shop of curios I must have touched something I shouldn't have and instead of taking still pictures found myself taking video clips just one second long. It didn't seem to matter what I pressed and played with nothing changed. This meant that in order to salvage some of the 'pictures' I opened up my video editing software, put each 'picture' in a timeline and then capture a still image from within that one second. It worked quite successfully apart from the fact the One.com software didn't recognise the type of image file they have been saved as. So that was all for nothing. In the end, having downloaded what I took a deep breath and pressed the 'Factory reset' button, and that seems to have done the trick.

The other problem we have is that owning a left hand drive vehicle  means that our habitation (side) door is on the opposite side to Brit units. So over here whilst camping with the 'tuggers', or lucky white heather and wooden clothes peg fraternity, we have to park nose-in to our pitch to protect everybody's privacy. That wouldn't be a problem if the pitches were level, but for a mere thirty-seven pounds a night what we got was a sloping pitch, more signs to read than there is time to read, and our very own life-size garden gnome.

This meant the vehicle was nose-down and whilst in bed last night I spent most of the night trying not to slide out of the side of the bed. My half-asleep efforts were accompanied by the sound of heavy rain showers on the roof.

We didn't hurry to get up this morning as we knew the shower block wouldn't be busy. I do wonder sometime if campers come away just so that they can be skanky. Scrubbed up it was breakfast and then the long wait for the exciting opportunity to use our bus pass for a ride in to Bakewell on the first bus of the day at 10:50.

I was carrying the backpack with our waterproofs in and after the bus arrived in Bakewell  following a lengthy journey through the most isolated communities we were pleased to see there was a good sized brick bus shelter there. In we went to entertain the locals as we climbed in to our waterproof leggings and jacket.

So a bit about Bakewell:

Bakewell is known for Bakewell pudding, a jam pastry with a filling enriched with egg and ground almond. Bakewell tart is a different confection, made with shortcrust pastry, an almond topping and a sponge and jam filling. Mr Kipling also made "Cherry Bakewells", often also known as Bakewell tarts. The origins of these are not clear, but the popular story goes that the combination began by accident in 1820, when the landlady of the White Horse Inn (now the Rutland Arms Hotel) left instructions for her cook to make a jam tart with an egg and almond paste pastry base. The cook, however, spread the eggs and almond paste on top of the jam instead of mixing them into the pastry. When cooked the jam rose through the paste. The result was successful enough for it to be a popular confection at the inn. Commercial variations, usually with icing sugar on top, have spread the name.

I'm not sure quite how to describe Bakewell. Nice, but totally touristy I suppose. We had no reason to be there but we couldn't just sit in the vehicle all day playing 'I Spy'. We felt sorry for the market traders who weren't very busy, in fact they were spending more time poking a stick up to the canvas roofs covering their stalls resulting in a deluge of water running off them, than they were serving customers.

After an amble round we thought we'd have some lunch. Naturally enough everywhere was busy as folk looked for somewhere to escape the rain. In the end I fancied a hot pork bap with stuffing skipping the apple sauce. The Chef didn't fancy that and settled for a bag of chips from across the road. The bap was fine, and cost just four pounds, however if we had gone next door in to their busy cafe, all part of the same business, sharing the same kitchen, the same bap would have cost me £8.95. Well sorry, but I didn't need to sit down that bad. So having stood under cover munching our on-the-hoof lunch we made our way to a pub where we ordered two latte's, and excellent value for money they were too. It was lunchtime and the pub didn't fall over themselves to provide us with a table but I think they must have felt sorry for us, well me certainly, because when The Chef went to order the drinks at the bar and was asked where we were sitting she said 'the table with the man with white hair on it' - bloody cheek.

Eventually we had to make a break for it and we arrived at the bus stop soon enough. The bus was bang on time and it was the same bus driver. I had a chat with him and it seems his working day consists of plodding backwards and forwards between Castleton and Bakewell. Given the roads he has to travel on and the hazards therein, I think they should give him a medal. In fact, if I'd thought of it I should have asked him if he was free tomorrow, and if so could he drive our motorhome for us until we are clear of such roads.

When we arrived 'home' it was off with the waterproofs, shoes, socks and anything else that got wet and in to the bathroom where my wooden rod, placed in situ before we went out was waiting to hang much of it. The drying was aided by our trusty French/Chinese ceramic fan heater.

The Chef and I, have mulled it over have decided to give Uttoxeter a miss. Our friend Rebie was on the same guided tour of China we went on a number of years ago. She was accompanied by her husband John who was a lovely man but sadly Rebie lost him only three years or so ago. We know Rebie has had replacements which haven't been too successful, and we couldn't be sure how mobile she would be, coupled with the fact we'd be inviting her to join us in town for lunch or something in forecasted dreadful weather. So we're not going to tell her we're up here and will instead make contact with her nearer the time with a view to coming back up here next summer and spending time with her.

Tomorrow we are again scrubbing planned destinations given the crap weather, and are going to make our way to Ironbridge, and a pub there which is part of the Britstop scheme and which has bus stops outside. We're electing to do as much of the journey as possible on motorways as the weather tomorrow is supposed to be very wet and windy indeed. And to think we do actually carry sunscreen in the vehicle. it makes me want to weep.

So before I leave this posting I shall relate to you a little tale we experienced back in Goathland (on reflection I should have relayed in sooner).

We were parked there next to the first of twelve soldiers images who had an oaktree planted in their memory. We have a row of PIR LED lights mounted on the steps which would be used to climb in to bed should we have the single bed layout. They are a safety feature and particularly helpful in the middle of the night when some people of a certain age need to go to the loo in the middle of the night. These lights have been on the vehicle for ten years or so and have worked faultlessly. However each night we were at Goathland those lights kept coming on continually all night to the point that I would eventually lean over and remove the unit and take out a couple of the batteries. Since leaving Goathland they have reverted to working faultlessly. Spooky eh?

As we leave tomorrow morning I shall expect nothing less than a guard of honour by the garden gnome and his little old lady.