Out comes Pod again. Off to see family down Bristol way and the great thing about having her, like any mobile home, we get to stay in the area we want and be in our own comfortable, cozy environment. Our ‘bubble’. No abiding by B&B rules or costly hotel bills.Within a few minutes we had her out of Pods Place, there’s a slight gradient but not an issue and between the two of us she was soon hitched up to the back of the car.
Rear lights were checked as always and off we set to Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park, adults only apparently something never experienced before and didn’t really expect it to be any different. Site is situated below Bristol and to the west of Bath, just outside Bishop Sutton.
Off we set and were soon on the motorway heading south. There was a little bit of drizzle to contend with but nothing too bad, the weather forecast warned us of minus temperatures over the next few days and possible snow so anything was possible but we liked to think we were prepared for anything.
3 ½ hours later we rolled into the site, for the last 100m it was a one way system so we had to keep our eyes peeled for the site entrance, there was no need to worry as we were met by a a large green sign informing us of our arrival.
20 metres in we were met by a barrier and another sign instructed us to park on the left and make ourselves known to staff on the other side of the barrier.
This was done and we booked in without any problems, we were then informed that they would be sighting Pod on the designated pitch, not us. Now, we had read the literature before booking and it did say this was done, but foolishly we believed it to be an optional thing, you know, for those who may not be that confident at reversing. No, it was mandatory, company policy.
Speechless and slightly taken aback we stood and watched a small motorised tractor crawl through the barrier and pull up beside Pod and its driver began to unhitch Pod from the rear of the car. At this point we both woke from our frozen state and MrB strode to a position where he could monitor and observe every move, this had never happened before, so we were at a loss of how to deal with it other than to let the warden get on with it.
We waited in the car and watched Pod drive past us and at this point we followed it through the barrier and up the site the 25 metres to our pitch. Very surreal moment following Pod up the path.
It was however slightly ridiculous to watch, the poor embarrassed tractor driver reversed Pod in and at this point MrB could’t take it anymore and jumped out of the car, thanked the warden but asked him to unhitch and we would finish off sighting Pod.
Pod was levelled off with our little spirit level and we began the process of ‘moving in’.
First off the thermal wrap went on, then the awning. We decided not to use the guy lines which fit down the side of Pod and rely totally on the popper system we had devised. We had to do it one day, just to test it properly, so this occasion seemed as good as any.
Bed was made up with the slats and cupboards filled with food. Ariel and TV were soon up and running too. The clothes had already been placed in the wardrobe before we left, that definitely saves time.
Aqua role, water waste unit, table and chairs were set up and within an hour it looked like we’d been there for days.
After a spot of lunch in Pod we decided to go and investigate the local pub, The Red Lion. Our mission on this occasion had a purpose, as on booking the site we were given the option of a reduction on our stay or a free main course from the local pub aka The Red Lion. We decided on the the meal as on reading reviews via tripadvisor the food seemed to have a good rating.
We walked back up the one way road and at its junction, across the road, was the above said pub. Looked inviting enough from the outside, so in we went.
To the left was an area for the TV and to the right the main bar area with a dinning area set further back with a lovely open fire, the pub had about half a dozen people in but whilst we perused the small selection of guest ales it slowly started to fill up as Rugby 6 nations was on the TV, Wales v England.
We sat on the only bench near the bar, enjoyed our pints of Fullers London Pride, Gem and Sharps Doom Bar and people watched as more and more poured in, they were all geared up for the battle which was due to commence on the TV. As the game began to build and after a few more pints we decided to finish watching the game back at Pod. The pub had a great vibe but it just needed re-jigging a little, would loved to have walked in and seen comfy old sofa’s and chairs up near the fire place with a little subtle lighting to add to the mood. As it was, it was nice, it was definitely a local mans pub and we would be back to check out the food.
Quick dash back down the unlit one way road with torch in hand we were soon back inside Pod, for those that have read our past blatherings, this is a lesson learnt.
TV and small fan heater on we sprawled ourselves across the bed and settled in to watch the last half of the game, and boy what a game. England pulled it out of the hat and won (sorry Wales) !
Shower time came around and after putting a hot water bottle in the bed we set off with towels in hand to try out the facilities. Eight doors leading to eight individual wash rooms, looked good so we each went into one and were met with a shower cubicle, sink, toilet, hand dryer and hairdryer, quite a lot to pack in and depending on which door you walked through you either had lots of room because of the small hallway or a suitably sized large cubicle.
All worked perfectly well and we were both soon back at Pod, that hot water bottle had worked wonders as we climbed into bed. We didn’t use the heater either as the thermal wrap seemed to be working a treat at keeping any chills at bay. Weather was checked just before lights out and it threatened to snow as temperatures had dropped below zero.
Would be great to wake to a foot or so of snow and it was a nice thought to fall asleep to as we snuggled down under the duvet.
Sunday morning arrived, but no snow, some may say that’s a good thing but it would have been fun.
Monday had been set aside to visit family so we chose today to have a look on foot on what was on offer in the area. The site was situated not too far from Chew Valley Lake so big coats, scarfs and hats were donned and off we went along the road. We soon came to a side road and within a few metres we were amongst the trees and over a small footbridge and within sight of the lake.
We eventually reached ‘Salt and Malt’, a café and fish & chip shop. We loved the recycling approach; everything, also not cheap but the battered sausage and chips were extremely hot, tasty and warmed us through nicely whilst we sat on the picnic bench and watched the world go by.
Kettle on once back at Pod and prep began for our evening meal. On previous trip we’ve opted for quick cook food, that is stuff out of a jar, you know, sweet & sour, spaghetti bolognaise, chuck the protein with the sauce in one pan and the carbs in the other. Well, this time round LB had a change of heart and decided to take on the challenge of cooking a decent meal on a two ring burner with all fresh ingredients and she did it. Worked out cheaper too. On offer on this trip out we had Quorn Singapore Noodles, Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff and Quorn Chicken Rice Stir Fry.
Night before we had Stroganoff and it was deliciously creamy, tonight’s delicacy was Singapore Noodles, again tasted great and it just went to show what’s possible in Pod.
You’ve probably noticed the vegetarian theme, one of us is a meat eater and the other pescatarian, whilst away in Pod the carnivore becomes a flexitarian in reverse. Google it, you’ll get what we mean.
Dinner out of the way showers were had and once in bed we fell asleep whilst planning our next day out.
Wind had picked up through the night, we woke occasionally as it buffered against the awning but by morning light it had died down. The poppers down the sides of Pod and the awning had worked brilliantly, the awning hadn’t budged once so we were extremely pleased with our little modification.
Today was family day but before meeting up we drove to Ashton Court and went for a wander through the grounds. The sun made an appearance between the ever present clouds and as we walked along the heat could be felt on our backs as it seeped through our clothes and warmed our bones.
The house looked splendid in its bright mustardy colour as it sat high in its grounds peering down the hill taking in all of Bristol. This was a weekday and there were still plenty of people around, could imagine the weekends being packed and why wouldn’t it be, fabulous place to have on anyones doorstep.
Tuesday arrived and off to Bristol Museum. Free to enter, but donations welcome, most seemed to be around the 5 mark. Absolutely love museums, so many lives lived, stories to tell and history to be seen. The draw on this occasion was an original gypsy caravan kitted out in its original interior. Cast iron hob and fireplace, beds and storage, must have been very heavy to pull and a very different way of life.
After a few hours of immersing ourselves in the past we moved onto Bristol Cathedral, again free to enter. Beautiful architecture and so peaceful, a wonderful place to stop for a few minutes and collect your thoughts, you have to look up too, you don’t know what your missing, there’s more than you think up there.
Our last evening arrived and it was the perfect opportunity to use our discount voucher at the Red Lion, table was booked for 6.30 so off we went. Once through the door all heads turned and it went quiet, we had the distinct feeling we’d interrupted something but no matter, in we went and up to the bar to order a pint of Sharps doom bar and Gem. Conversation soon struck up again between the locals and we sat ourselves down in the bar area to enjoy our pre dinner drinks. More people began to stream through the door and it became quite clear it was the locals local, everyone new everyone, it was great to see such a close community.
Meal time approached so we moved to a table near the fireplace and ordered. The menu was limited but we always see this as a good thing, you just know its freshly made and not chucked in a microwave in order to feed the masses. Pork belly for one and risotto for the other followed by cheesecake with the thinnest base ever seen and a chocolate trifle to die for, good food and great value for money.
A few more pints later we stumbled our way back to Pod, before climbing into bed we checked the weather for the following day, nothing worse than taking down a wet awning, the forecast promised differently but only the morning would tell.
Guess what, it rained, but on a good note the re-waterproofing of the awning we’d done a few weeks earlier had worked a treat, no drips which was excellent.
Due to the rain it took a little longer to pack up, nothing major, we just like to wipe everything down before its packed away. That way next trip is ready to go, see, always planning the next adventure.
Last thing to come down was the awning and low and behold the rain had stopped. So with a dry cloth and due to the reproofing it didn’t take long to get the rain off and the awning packed away.
Now, at this point we were supposed to try and catch one of the site wardens and get them to move Pod to the carpark, we didn’t. Within seconds we had Pod pulled out onto the main path, minutes later she was hitched up and lights checked so we were off. We didn’t do a total runner, conscience got the better of us, once in the carpark an attempt to find a staff member to explain and maybe take a telling off was made but no one was to be found, so we said our goodbyes to the site and hit the road to head home.
Bristol is MrB’s birthplace and somewhere LB would never of thought to visit. It had always been seen as a city just like any other, but how wrong. It would seem no city is the same as any other as they all have a story to tell, some history hidden somewhere, also Bristol was much greener than thought.
So, although wandering through the UKs wonderfully treasured countryside can never be underestimated, the mistake would be not to consider touring cities to find their own hidden gems.