Summer 2013 – Week 9 – Northumberland and the road south.

Monday 12th August 2013

We agreed to go on a bike ride. First Alice had to go to Berwick upon Tweed to fetch a couple of bikes that had been in for a service and to collect some spares, such as inner tubes and a new chain. Repairs to some tubes made, replacements installed, new chain fixed to replace a rusty one on Alice’s bike, some adjustments to gears and we were all loaded into their seven seater Discovery and the bikes put in a cattle trailer!

It was raining and the road was getting muddy. I was getting my new bike dirty! We headed inland along a little used road. Alice had a puncture. I was about to do a roadside repair but youngest son Atticus (5) was falling behind as he was the only rider with a single gear so Alice used her puncture as an excuse to turn back. Jo followed a little while later but the rest were keen to continue to the Hen’s Hole. We got to the end of the track and the boys just abandoned their bikes and headed up the grass track. I wasn’t going to just leave my precious new bike so I picked it up an carried it cyclo-cross style.

We went up the hillside for a couple of hundred metres but I had had enough. I persuaded them with a biscuit that it was getting late and we ought to be getting back. Mainly downhill going back. The two older boys, Clement an Boris shot off so I waited for Reggie. Back in the Land Rover with bikes firmly strapped in the trailer. Don’t scratch my bike!

Back at the farm all the bikes were cleaned and oiled ready for the next trip.

Tuesday 13th August 2013

Another day on the bikes but this time geocaching. We had taken the children caching two years ago on our last visit and they had certainly not forgotten the MO. As we had to stop every couple of hundred metres Atticus was able to keep up. Prizes were awarded to the finders. The caches were along a disused railway line so it was mainly flat but at one point we had to cross a steep field so I carried my bike as well as Atticus’ bike. Reggie also wanted me to carry his. I’m fairly fit but Charles Atlas I am not.

Wednesday 14th August 2013

Sadly we had to leave having had a great time and being well fed.

Next stop was Jo’s cousin Sally at Holme upon Spalding Moor in Yorkshire. Sally is having a splendid extension built on the back of her house which will have a sitting room and a studio.

We had a splendid supper and slept in the van as we didn’t want to get in the way of the builders early next morning.

Thursday 15th August 2013

Sally wanted to take us out for a walk so a quick look at the GPS and we found a couple of geocaches at each end of the village; a walk of about five km including a hike up a hill to the village church, All Saints, but worth it with two caches found and splendid views from the church whose cemetery contained a section for WW aviators. The RAF had a base there during the war. It was handed to the USAAF and was dismantled in 1957.

We left after lunch heading south again, this time for Rutland Water.

Jo has been a member of the RSPB since she was a teenager and had always wanted to go to Birdfair which is held at Rutland Water every year. We arrived at the campsite in late afternoon and decided to have a wander round whilst the exhibitors set up. Jo bumped into the organiser of the event who she worked with at the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust with Sir Peter Scott some forty years ago. They had a brief catch up and we were invited to the launch party later that evening.

Friday 16th August 2013

It had rained all night and was raining as we headed for the exhibition. The fields became a quagmire but we wanted to go to some of the lectures which, of course, were all under cover. I also wanted to look at some of the camera gear. I can dream, can’t I? Super cameras and hugely expensive lenses.

We soon found out that the lectures were mainly by tour company representatives an whilst they had some useful information and excellent photographs we could find all we wanted to know from their stands.

The rain gradually ceased an the grass started to dry but the mud remained. Some seeming VIP’s turned up in suits and shiny shoes only they were not for long and the bottoms of their trousers were equally muddy. Obviously not familiar with British weather.

We met a chap who had done a lecture about the Basque country, mainly promoting his own nature tour business but when we spoke to him on his stand later he didd tell uss about the raptor cages we ha come across on our Easter trip to Andorra. They were for training raptors for the Middle Eastern buyers who wanted hunting birds.

We both enjoyed the fair and will go again. It is difficult to see everything in one day and if we go again it will be for two or three days.

Saturday 17th August 2013

We noticed yesterday that there was a continuous queue of traffic arriving at the fair along a single lane track which is also used to exit the site so we got an early start before the days visitors arrived.

The journey south was just about 110 miles and we expected to be at Sara’s house at one thirty and all was smooth until we hit the M25. We arrived at Sara’s at three thirty. Enough said!

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