Sunday 20 March 2022
Nido's parked up at the Ridgeway Farm CL in the village of Hemingford Abbots, in Cambridgeshire. This is our first van trip this year and it coincided with my best friend turning 60. I have been taking the p*ss out of him for hitting the big Six O, but he quickly reminded me it's my turn next year!
Hemingford Abbots is next to the village of Hemingford Grey, which is the village where I was born and grew up, leaving at the tender age of 16 to join the Royal Navy. It's where I spent my youth with Chris Turner - affectionally known as 'Mr T'. We (mostly) stayed out of trouble by spending all of our spare time fishing. We had a clinker-built crabbing boat called Fuga and spent many happy hours rowing up and down the Great Ouse, fishing and laughing. Sadly Fuga sprang a leak one trip and we had to abandon ship...she was never recovered. He was my Best Man when Cathy and I married in 1983 in the beautiful St James Church next to the river and our son is named after him. Anyway, the plan for this trip was to meet up with Mr T and then head off to Suffolk for a few days before returning to Anglesey.
We left home yesterday in warm sunshine and a very strong wind and pushed 5 hours East. On arrival, I stopped to have a chat with the CL owner - John - he also knows Mr T well. The site is a couple of acres I would guess, with plenty of room to spread out, with EHU and the usual facilities. It's not far off the new A1307, which used to be the A14, which used to be the A604 - they like changing the roads around here! Mr T still lives in Hemingford Grey and drove over for a long-awaited reunion, catch-up and a cuppa. I'd pre-booked a table in the village pub just down the road - the Axe and Compass - and Mr T picked us up later to drive us down (Salty had the van all to himself). It was strange to be in a pub and even stranger to see so many people not wearing masks, which are still being worn at least in our part of Wales. We had a good meal and chat and later in the evening another old friend and his partner turned up for a drink. Rather than being in our 60s or close to it, we were back to being 18 years old again...at least in our heads! A lovely evening with lots of laughter, before returning to the van to sleep off the food and, in my case, a few pints of Doom Bar.
This morning was bright and sunny, but with a bit of frost still around when I took Salty out for a walk. We'd kept the heating on low all night and that helped to avoid the worst of the chill, but it soon warmed up. After breakfast, Mr T drove over and we all jumped in the van to head for Grafham Water. This is a man-made reservoir built in 1965. I remember first visiting there from Primary School, where we went sailing with one of the teachers. There are three different car parks, all suitable for motorhomes, and the parking fees are charged on exit, depending on how long you stay. There's a couple of visitor centres, cafes and a bike hire place. It's just under 10 miles all the way around, with a path shared by cyclists and pedestrians, so keep your wits about you! It was fairly busy, as was the road, which freaked Salty out a bit, especially the very noisy motorbikes and boy racers. But we had a decent walk before sitting outside the van with a cuppa and some Welsh cakes. We returned to the CL and spent the rest of the afternoon sat in the sunshine, sheltering from a chilly wind and chatting.
It was lovely to meet up with Mr T, Graham and Lyn and we promise not to leave it so long next time. But they also have a standing invitation to come and visit us on Anglesey. Tomorrow we head for the Suffolk coast. The weather is looking good for the whole week - sunny but with a cool, easterly onshore breeze.
|Plenty of space on the Ridgeway Farm CL|
|Mr T at the Bar and with his wallet open, so I needed photographic proof!!|
|Watching out for those pesky rabbits!|
|Spot the Patterdale|