Monday 6th June 2016

A very Happy Birthday today to our Nephew Colin and also to Richard P.

Relaxing in the sunshine was the plan for today but after an early morning phone call we met with James, Frankie and Scarlett-Louise in Eastbourne. We had a trip around the shops with them. James then wanted to call in at Ministry of Phones in Susans Road, Eastbourne and while there Dorothy had her phone checked by very nice young man, so let's hope that it is working better now.

We then called into McDonalds where we were surprised but pleased to see Tinnu again. McDonalds wasn't the best of experiences and shortly afterwards James, Frankie and Scarlett had to return home because James was working later in the afternoon.

We finished what we needed to do in Eastbourne, rang the motorhome dealer to see if they could fit us in to sort out our water pump which had failed, stopped by Wetherspoon's for an early dinner then made our way back to Seaford to call on Mum and then settle down for the night.

Tuesday

Special Birthday wishes go to Allan's sister Sheila because today is her 80th Birthday! xxx She is on holiday at the moment and so we will be celebrating with her on Sunday.

We decided to take Mum out today to Nymans - a National Trust property at Handcross. Dorothy said that it was near Haywards Heath and so quickly that was put in the satnav and off we went. Along the journey the satnav was taking us on some very narrow roads and when Dorothy looked up the actual address on her phone it turned out to be no where near Haywards Heath. With the correct address we were on better roads and soon at the National Trust gardens.

By this time the rain had started and on entering the car-park there were parking cones where we would normally have parked. Thinking this area was reserved for visiting coaches, we drove round the carpark but couldn't find anywhere to park our motorhome easily. Luckily a volunteer came running out to advise us to park in the coach parking space as there were no coaches expected.

We spent the first part of the afternoon in the part of the house that survived the fire that destroyed most of it.

There was an exhibition of the life and work of actress Vivian Leigh. Miss Leigh played Scarlett in the film "Gone with the Wind" so I wonder if this is where the name of our grandaughter came from? When we left the house the rain had stopped and the sun kept coming out and we had a lovely walk around the gardens.


These gardens were quite splendid and were able to enjoy them along dry footpaths.


Then it was time to make our way back through the rose gardens and back up past the house to the inevitable gift shop!

Outside the gift shop there was an area of plant sales and Mum was excited to find a particular plant that she had been searching for. Allan whipped out his credit card and it was "in the bag" before she knew about it!

On the way back home to Seaford we stopped in Burgess Hill, West Sussex where we took Mum for a meal at the "Six Gold Martlets" which is a Wetherspoon pub. Mum mentioned that she had never been to Burgess Hill before. (Dorothy couldn't believe that) So, next visit over, Burgess Hill must be on the trip list for her!

We took Mum home and then went to spend the night in Seaford. On arriving at our usual place there were six motorhomes and stealth campers already there so we decided not to stay just in case the people in nearby houses got upset. So we went to South Heighton instead. We have only stopped there once before as it is close to a Caravan Club Certified Location that costs £16 a night and they may be upset if we are nearby for £0.

Wednesday

Yet another Birthday today! Happy Birthday June (one of our motorhome friends).

We found that adjacent to the sports field at South Heighton it was rather noisy during the night because it is close to the A26 main road from Newhaven to the A27. Together with the busy day yesterday we had a little lay in this morning.

After some shopping at the local Sainsbury's Dorothy said what about lunch. Love some said Allan but where, you decide said Dorothy. Racking his little brain it was decided to go to Tarring Neville. It was where we were married all those years ago. There is no way to overnight here as it is too exposed but as we are only picnicking, hopefully would get away with it. The sun was hot and the view was good, if only you can ignore the continuous traffic on the A26 which we have already explained is a very busy road.

After a lovely lunch that we enjoyed whilst sitting in the sunshine, we decided to leave and be on our way to Johns Cross Motorcaravan Centre which is a few miles north of Battle. It is where we intended to stay overnight before our time in the repair garage first thing tomorrow.

Thursday

Today we had an appointment at Johns Cross Motorcaravan Centre for the first part of our repairs at 9 am, so it was an early start for us. Because the water pump is under the wardrobe we had to take everything out and store it elsewhere. Rear Ladder lock, leaking tap and new water pump were on the list today. Writing this in the waiting area, Allan is a little apprehensive of how much all this is going to cost. We know the cost of the crash repair as that is just the excess to the insurance and a bit of travelling and a lost day or two, but these jobs are a bit extra.

Bit extra I said but wow! How can a new tap cost sixty-nine pounds?! I wrote it, wondering if it sounded less but it didn't, £69 is a lot of money. Don't they replace washers anymore!!!
The total bill is £243 and the taxman gets over £40 of that! Then Allan noticed that they had not repaired the lock. A new lock is required and it is on order!!!!!

After the work had been completed we travelled back to Abbots Wood near Hailsham to sit in the sunshine and reflect on all that money. We even had to PAY to park in the Forestry Commission woodland and Allan didn't even complain about that as that was a mere trifle to the earlier £243. Dorothy got upset because they charge us to park in the car park but do not clear the entrance so we ended up with the usual damage caused by overhanging trees and shrubs not cut back enough for us to pass. Grrrh!!

We made a call to James and Frankie this afternoon to see how Scarlett-Louise was as she had had another set of jabs this morning at the GP's surgery. Thankfully she seems to have coped much better this time. It was a good job that James realised that the surgery were about to give her the 2nd lot of jabs again instead of the 3rd. It is quite appalling that this error could have occurred if James had not been "on the ball". They should have taken the utmost care for any baby, and particularly with one who had been "blue lighted" to the hospital after the first time and had the 2nd set in hospital under close supervision.

We then decided to do a few of the geocaches close to hand as we found that the series we had previously done has been replaced. This gave us a good appetite for our evening meal which we were looking forward to.

In the evening we met up with Yvonne and Kevin who are a couple whom we met in France last year and have seen when we were previously back for a visit. We met in a pub that was near to Abbots Wood called "The Old Oak" at Arlington. We went into the pub quite early to enquire about the parking arrangements. We were not "welcomed" as we entered and went to the bar. The young lady behind the bar could not have been more disinterested in us. The woman whom we believe to be the owner (or possibly Manager) could barely take her eyes away from her phone to acknowledge, even though we said we would be dining there that evening! She wouldn't let us park our Motorhome overnight in their car-park, which is usually allowed in country pubs if you are having a meal and a drink and spending money in their premises. At this point we would have left but we were meeting our friends here in a couple of hours. So we made our way to a small lay-by down the road from "The Old Oak" which was suggested to us by one of their customers who had overheard our conversation.

We returned later and had a good time with our friends. However, the reception we had from the staff was only marginally better than this afternoon. Although the food was reasonable, it was oddly presented on square plates, which I always thought was to distract you from the food. The few chips were in little metal buckets and the gravy was in it's tiny little jug on the plate. And even for all the weird presentation it was only pie, chips, peas and gravy and very expensive for what it was. There was more to add but, needless to say, we will not be going back.

We asked the waitress to take a photo of us but even these did not turn out too well because of the gloomy surroundings. These photos are the best we could salvage!!!

However, despite all this we had a lovely evening with Yvonne and Kevin and look forward to meeting up with them again when we return later in the year.

We spent the night back in the lay-by!

Friday

From the lay-by close to Abbots Wood we went to visit James, Frankie & Scarlett-Louise in Hailsham and then went to the National Trust coastline at Birling Gap. The clifftop here is being eroded by the storms and winter frost and washed away by the sea. It is quite extraordinary to see how much of this part of the Sussex coast has disappeared, even since we were here last year.

We found out today that Mr. Hatrick has decided to operate on Mum's other shoulder and she is relieved to hear this. Hopefully a date will not be too long coming.

Dinner tonight was in the Toby Carvery in Eastbourne and we already knew from a previous visit that there is a private road nearby where overnight parking is tolerated so we are looking forward to having a drink (or two!) with our meal. We were dining with Bridget and Richard tonight and afterwards we all went back to our motorhome for a glass or two but Richard just had coffee because he was driving them home. It was a lovely evening and we look forward to seeing them again when we return to England.

After they left and not having to drive anywhere, we settled down for a very peaceful night.

Saturday

And another Birthday today! Happy Birthday Pete. (June's husband and so another motorhome friend). We hope you had a good day.

We moved up to the seafront this morning to ensure a parking space as it was the Eastbourne Sunshine Carnival today. As the usual place where we park for free is where they were starting the parade from and parking was restricted there, we had to park closer to the town and pay to park. Never mind though as tomorrow there will be a triathlon and as it starts quite early in the morning we will also stay for that as well.

Before the parade we went to the carnival market where we came across the Pinky Boo-tique stand which was being manned by the adult children of our friends Dawn and Martin P whom we had enjoyed the company of for 6 months on Newhaven West Beach two years ago. We have also toured with them briefly in France. Hope we can meet up again sometime soon.

We strolled back to the motorhome for a quick lunch and then went up to the start of the carnival parade where people were setting up and the drummers entertained us.


Whilst watching the parade setting up we were fortunate to meet up with Wendy P who was representing her swimming club.

We have spent many wonderful East Sussex Centre of the Caravan Club rallies with her. We were even Rally Officers for a few rallies with Wendy. We all certainly get around.

And then came the Carnival Parade, led by Carnival President Stephen Lloyd.....


The campaign to save the DGH still goes on









The Tea Party!





After another long day we settled down for relaxing night beside the seafront road in Eastbourne.
In fact we are between the Grand Hotel and the beach, our mini bar is a maxi one, we have on suite facilities, a sea view and the promenade at our feet without having to cross the road.

Sunday

We were woken this morning by the setting up of the Eastbourne Triathlon. This is a 600m sea swim, 25km bike ride and a 5km run over Beachy Head.
Preparations started yesterday evening and resumed at 5 am for a 7am start and we were parked near the start line. Needless to say our day started early!!

We watched the preparations.................


And then the start of the race, the swim.................

Quite quickly followed by the bikes....................

Then the run to the finish....................


And then the interviews....................

We had watched the preparations and the race until the last guy set off on his final run. This man was 75 years old and it was his very first Triathlon!
Allan said to his sole supporter that he may be last in this race but he is number one to me in my rules.
We think that his name is Mr Sam Gray and in the final scores he did not come last. A huge achievement. Well done sir!

After the race we set off to Mum's in Seaford where Dorothy picked up some washing and we had a coffee and a filled roll.

Later in the afternoon we went to a barbecue at our niece Sharon and her husband Jon's house in Brighton to meet all of their side of the family for the surprise birthday party for Allan's sister Sheila.

Happy 80th Birthday celebrations Sheila.

We were pleased that James, Frankie and baby Scarlett-Louise were able to make it as well.

After another hectic day and a big week we made our way to Saltdean and crashed out for the night!

 

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