As our first stay in Vince was at the dealer’s site, we thought we could do with a trip a little further afield before the end of the year. This time we wanted to focus less on getting to know the motorhome, and more on having fun. A quick internet search turned up an interesting looking site near Ludlow. We’d heard that Ludlow is a bit of a foodie haven so we booked for two nights on 18th & 19th December – the last weekend before Christmas – so there was bound to be something going on in the town.
We plugged Vince into the garage socket a couple of days before we left (so that there would be ice in the freezer for our cocktails!) and Gill spent Thursday afternoon and Friday morning working out what things we’d need then packing it all away while Ken was at work. At 2pm we locked up the house, jumped in the van and…..nothing! Although Vince had been standing for only two weeks, the vehicle battery was flat as a pancake. Making a note to pick that up with the dealer (surely the battery should stay charged for two weeks – even with a fancy schmancy alarm?) Ken dragged a set of jump leads from the depths of the garage and jump-started Vince from the car. Fortunately the run to Ludlow gave the battery sufficient charge to ensure there were no more starting problems over the weekend.
When we finally got under way we realised we hadn’t tried driving on country roads yet, and Shropshire’s lanes were pretty narrow, very wet, and covered in slippery mud which had run off the fields eek! In all, it wasn’t too bad once Ken got into the habit of checking the mirrors constantly to make sure Vince wasn’t drifting over the line, although Gill could be seen flinching every time a truck came past in the opposite direction…just waiting for a clash of mirrors!
When we arrived at Ludlow Food Centre we tried a tip we’d read on another blog, which was to reverse into a normal space which backed onto a grass strip. This meant Vince’s huge rear overhang was over the grass so his front end didn’t stick out of the space. There wasn’t a lot of room either side but we were between the lines so no complaints from the parking attendant!
The Food Centre is a paradise for gluttons like us with all sorts of local produce on sale, from fresh game to award-winning sausages to honey roasted pistachios, to chutneys and locally brewed beers and ciders. We couldn’t resist buying a bottle of Monty’s Ding Dong!
As we pulled out of the car park we made the biggest mistake of the trip. The satnav offered us two routes; one which skirted the the town centre, and one which took us through the town. We hadn’t been to Ludlow for many years so without thinking we just pushed the button for the town centre, oops. All went well until we went down a cobbled hill and (luckily!) Gill spotted a six feet width restriction sign just before Ken wedged Vince under an arch. We pulled over to decide what to do. Traffic could just about get round us, but reversing all the way back up the street would have been a nightmare so we took a right turn and prayed the side streets weren’t too narrow. They were. Each subsequent turn meant shunting backwards and forwards a couple of times to avoid kerbs and parked cars, and one kind gentleman moved his van to let us through (to be fair he was parked on a double-yellow line). The joys of driving a twenty-three and a half foot home on wheels! Lesson learned.
Another lesson learned was at Ludlow Touring Park – we didn’t realise that pitches were right or left-handed. We couldn’t understand how the motorhome next door was perfectly set up for electricity, fresh water and grey water but for us everything was either the wrong way round or didn’t reach. Doh! All we needed to do was move to the next-door pitch and we’d have been fine but we didn’t twig that until the following morning…idiots!
We had a lovely day Saturday walking the mile and a half into town to the Christmas market in the square. There was a band blasting out Christmas carols as we wandered round the stalls sampling festive chutneys, cheeses and wines, and munching on a hand made pork pie at the same time. Sadly it started to rain so we had to adjourn to Ye Old Bull Ring Tavern for a couple of winter warmers. Shame.
On our return to the touring park Ken had his first attempt at cooking an evening meal – a pretty acceptable pasta in a freshly made tomato & basil sauce with a hint of chilli. There really isn’t a lot of prep space in a motorhome, is there!? We rounded off the evening by taking advantage of Vince’s previous owner’s generosity – and watched the Strictly Come Dancing final on our la-di-dah satellite TV!
After Gill’s special fry-up breakfast, Sunday morning was spent making a checklist of how to disconnect everything, stow it away and empty the grey, black & fresh water. We also both took advantage of the site’s amazing shower facilities rather than use the thimble of hot water provided by Vince’s own shower. I suspect we’ll only be showering in Vince when we have to!
Overall it was a fun weekend – lots of mud, lots of rain, but lots of laughs and some good food and drink. Our next challenge is to try a week away but that will have to wait until the February half-term when Gill is off work.