9th May 2016. Melchbourne, Bedfordshire to Derby, Derbyshire, England.

It was very peaceful in the pub car park.   In the morning the only sound we could hear was the sound of birds chirping and I enjoyed watching the horses grazing in the fields around us, we started the day feeling so relaxed (if you disregard the constant moving of the 50″ TV we were transporting which seemed to be in the way no matter where we put it!).

For the first time in ages we had a leisurely breakfast and sat and read magazines and thought, “Woohoo!  This is what it’s going to be like on our trip!”………..Unfortunately it didn’t last.

We received a message from our son Gethan saying he was out of his University meeting and were we nearly there yet!  That was when we realised it was going to take us over 2 hours to get to him.  There was a mad scuffle to clear up the van and put everything away and we started our journey up to visit him.  That was one of the many occasions when we realised we should have followed the packing up check list because not far down the road we could hear banging and crashing.  It’s surprising that every time I looked around there was nothing untoward to be seen (it was rather like a Pantomime with “its behind you”) eventually we found somewhere to stop and discovered we’d forgotten to latch the sliding bedroom door back and to lock the fridge door.

We’ve done that many times since and if we haven’t forgotten to close those we’ve forgotten to clip the basin in the ‘up’ position, put everything that’s on the basin worktop away or we’ve forgotten to latch the bathroom wall, lock the bathroom door or lock one of the cupboard doors which we only discover as it swings open as we’ve driven round a roundabout!  When we stopped we discovered that we’d left the glass kettle on the worktop which luckily for us didn’t slide off during the journey and we opened the larder to be greeted by a wave of cooking oil because I hadn’t wedged the huge bottle in before we started off.  Puddles of oil kept reappearing for a couple of days after we’d cleaned the original mess up!

As we headed up the motorway towards Derby, much slower than we would in our car, we received a message from our friend Carole saying she and her husband Dave were going to be late because they’d taken the wrong turning, I assumed that message was meant for someone else because we weren’t meeting them until the following day, however Carole and Dave had got the dates mixed up so there in ensued another “Aaaaargh!” while we tried to find an alternative place to meet up.

As it turned out that that mistake was very useful because not long afterwards Darren noticed that the lights on the air suspension controller were flashing madly so after emailing the German manufacturer for the names of some UK dealers (they proved to be very prompt with their reply, thank goodness) we discovered that the only dealer was in Telford.

We finally got to our Brit Stops stop over in Derby (it was called Highfield Happy Hens, and they certainly seemed to be!)

Gethan kindly drove over to collect us and took us to Uttoxeter where we drove around for ages until we finally found a car park so we could meet Carole and Dave and the little dog they were doggy sitting, she was a cute little King Charles Spaniel.  Unfortunately we didn’t have long to chat because our friends had a long drive home to the Wirral but we were so pleased that we’d been able to meet up with them, it was lovely to see them even for a short time.

From there Gethan drove us over to a swanky cinema complex in Derby where we had a quick meal and managed to go in to a late showing to see the film he wanted us to see, it was strange leaving the cinema when there were only a few people still around.   Gethan kindly drove us back to Highfield Happy Hens after the film where we unloaded the 50″ TV into our tiny Fiat Panda that he is car sitting while we’re away, it was touch and go as to whether it would actually fit.  We were wondering how on earth he was going to get it into his house but it seems that where there’s a will there’s a way!

I’m pleased to say we slept well once again, enjoying the peace and quiet until about 6.30 in morning when the cockerels AND a peacock all decided to announce the start of a new morning, thanks guys!


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