Week 1 - The UK Bit.

26th September - 1st October 2017

Well, we have been back from summer Adventure No Eight for a few weeks, both car and caravan have been serviced, our teeth checked and eyes tested so it’s high time we were away again. We had been planning to be on our world tour this winter but this was posponed yet another year to enable us to save some more pennies so, what to do for the coming winter?

Both of us would dearly love to go somewhere new but all our available information tells us that of all European countries with warm winter sun only Spain and Portugal are set up to exploit the “grey pound”. In all the other warm winter European countries camp sites close along with many restaurants and other facilities that us wrinklies desire, so it's back to Spain and Portugal again.

People often ask us if there is any thing new left to see there?  Both are such diverse countries that there is always something new, besides during the last two years we have spent three months of each in the same place so there is, we hope, still much to see.

We have a family wedding to attend at the end of October but not wanting to wait till after that to head off we decided to start moving south through France then fly back for the wedding after which we would fly back and continue with our journey. Well that was the idea.

Having decided the where, we set about sorting the how, setting a route through france to Gerona, the Bay of Roses and Barcelona an area we have yet to visit. Unfortunately come the middle of September France’s campsites, generally, close. We have been told (but are unable to confirm) that site owners face large additional local tax costs if they remain open for more than six months per year. We eventually found some camp sites open till the end of October but then couldn’t find fights back for the wedding. We did eventually find an airport with flights back to UK but at a price we were not prepared to pay.

So! we stay in UK till after the wedding. We have toddled off to Southampton today, not that far down the road just about 150 miles to Hamble le Rice on the River Hamble, just a few miles from Southampton. We would have been happy staying where we were at Little Henham but tend get a bit too comfortable there and if not careful finish up doing nothing and going no where.

The site Riverside Tour. & Hol. Park is pleasant but , at the moment, very wet after the bad weather we have had recently. It seems this is an old problem as the facilities block has been built on stilts and the mobile home type caravans on the higher ground. Only the tourers pitched up in the wet.

We had a walk around Hamble le Rice today, took all of 15 minutes. Pretty village though, I remember in my sailing days eating at The Bugle the main pub in the village. It was very good though expensive, apparently its still the same today.

A place neither of us have visited before is Calshot Spit a long shingle spit that has protected Southampton water since the building of Calshot Castle in Tudor times by Henry IIIV. From 1913 to 1961 Calshot Spit was the home to an RAF flying boat and seaplane station.The huge main hanger remains and is currently used as an activities centre.

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Calshot Castle

Leaving Portsmouth Harbour on a ferry to Spain or Brittany it is impossible not to see and be impressed by the Spinnaker Tower, so while here we decided to go have a closer look. The entrance fee is not particularly cheap at £10.50 for a standard adult ticket (as genuine wrinklies we paid £8.50 per ticket) and if you have the extras, souvenir guide book, photos, etc ., etc., it gets expensive. However the lift whisks you to the top at 4m/sec taking just 30 seconds and all the staff are friendly, knowledgable and all able to make you feel you are the most important visitor they have ever had. Whoever trained them did a great job.

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Spinnaker Tower - Portsmouth

The views from the top are stunning and there were staff available whose entire job is to answer all visitor questions and to help them in anyway possible. It was difficult not to feel like royalty!!

Having spent our four days in Southampton area we were pleased it was time to leave Riverside Tour. & Hol. Park. Although a pleasant site the rain has been fairly relentless the last few day so where the site had simply been soggy when we arrived now it had transformed into a 2” deep paddling pool with a soggy bottom. Very unpleasant and without a 4x4 I’m quite sure that where we were placed we would have been unable to move the car on and off its parking space and although, in normal times, I would have hitched the caravan up and towed it off the pitch, today to save ploughing trenches I 4-wheel motor-moved the caravan onto the tarmac road before hitching up. The drive to our next site, Wood Farm Caravan and Camping Park, was short and sweet, just 85 miles that was done and dusted in not much more than a couple of hours. Now that we have arrived we can batten down the hatches and prepare for the high winds and torrential rain forecast for tomorrow.

© S W Ghost 2017