When we bought Absinthe in 2011 we said that we’d wait until close to our intended travel date, look at the weather forecast, then decide where to go. Anyone who watched us on the Caravanner of the Year will know that Alison thinks I’m too anal and she’s right. I’m a planner – I like to know where we’re going, do some research and plan some things to see. This year, however, having retired fully, I’m trying to be more laid back, so, for the first time in ages, we booked the dates of our trip but not the venue.
We looked at Shropshire as a place to go, but when I checked the forecast, Norfolk looked better, plus, we’ve never been there in the van, so it was decided. I found a site that some friends had used before and we set off for Deer’s Glade in North Norfolk on Thursday morning around 10.15. It made a change to be driving on the M62 rather than the M6 and the traffic was relatively benign. With a stop for fuel, food and a Boz walk, we arrived at the site around 4pm.
I can thoroughly recommend the site. We got a self contained pitch with EHU, which was tucked away behind a low hedge, giving us a good deal of privacy. We soon had the Glawning up and were enjoying a glass of cider in the evening sunshine.
The evenings were still quite cool once the sun had gone so we were glad we had the stove in the Glawning. We’d taken a small supply of composite heat logs, but there’ll be more on that subject later.
The site itself has a fishing lake, Glamping tents and pods and a Shepherd’s Hut – it’s just about perfect (if only there was a pub in walking distance…). There are fire pits, a children’s play area, woodland walks and free WiFi too, plus the small shop at reception sells essentials (yes, that meant more cider!)
There are several National Trust properties in the area, including the Blickling Estate, which is where we headed on Friday.
The downside was that they don’t allow dogs near the main building but we had a lovely walk around the lake and tea and biscuits in the courtyard.
There are lots of places to visit in the area so on Saturday we headed to the town of Holt, where we (almost) bumped into another T2c owner, Paul and his pink Brazilian, Peppa. I say, almost, because as we came out of a shop he was driving down the lane. He did send me a photo of the two vans together in the car park though.
Sunday was England’s game against Pananma in the Wolrd Cup. Luckily, the TV signal on the site was good enough for us to watch and enjoy the result.
The rest of the week was spent pottering around the Norfolk country lanes and seaside, with obviously the odd cafe and pub thrown in for good measure.
Years ago, when Alison’s kids were little, we had a week in a cottage in Norfolk and used to drive to Mundesley for a game of crazy golf. We were delighted to see that it’s still there so, of course we had to have a go. The bad news is that Alison thrashed me all ends up!
It was great to see one of Martin Dorey’s, 2 Minute Beach Clean boards in Mundesley. It seems that at last people are starting to realise the damage that plastics can do.
I briefly mentioned the log burner earlier. We ran out of heat logs on Monday evening but I’d also brought some Coffee Logs which I’d bought a few weeks ago for the washing machine drum fire pit in the garden. They looked ok to use, so we lit the burner ready to chill for the evening. Unfortunately, the flue spark arrester became blocked very quickly and the smoke was billowing out across the site. There was very little wind so most of it was settling on our neighbours’ caravan, but the first we knew was when we heard murmurings from them with words like disgusting being bandied about. Alison went to apologise and we put the fire out as best we could with cups of water but, understandably they weren’t happy.
My advice, if you’ve got a burner in your Glawning, don’t use these:
I may have mentioned before that I’m originally from Yorkshire and also that you never need to ask a Tyke where he’s from, because before long he’ll tell you anyway. I was delighted then when our young tenting neighbours announced their county of birth by flying the White Rose – good for them.
We were very sorry when Wednesday arrived and we had to drive home – we’d had a great week and will definitely be back – with a bit more time next trip. We stopped off for food on the way home at a place that used to be a Little Chef – it wasn’t any better now, with surly staff and things missing from the menu. It was very much, food, for food ‘s sake.
As we got closer to home on the M62 we could see a huge cloud of smoke from the Saddleworth Moor fire extending for miles towards the Lancashire coast. By the time we passed Bolton on the M61 you couldn’t see the hills nor the blue sky, but, luckily for us, the smoke stopped about 5 miles from our house and it was back to wall to wall sunshine.
THINGS WE’VE LEARNED
Using the wrong fuel in the burner is a no-no
Boris is struggling even more to walk any distance (gulp)
Norfolk is a beautiful county
Alison is more competitive than me (wow, no one would have guessed that)
There’s a full set of photos here: FLICKR