Easter break 2018

Posted by on Apr 6, 2018 in Featured, Trips & Adventures | 7 comments

Easter break 2018

Easter is usually the time when Spring really starts to show its arrival in the countryside around us. We’ve had great times camping during the Easter break, the weather has always been slightly dubious, but generally it’s been bright, sunny and full of Spring time promise.

Not this year. Nope, Easter was a washout. And for some that were away in the caravan, it was more than a wash out – snow was very much on the cards.

For us however, we were treated to some wonderful days of constant rain. Camping at the Caravan & Motorhome club in Longleat we were joined by the Hardhams’ for 4 days of relaxation and catching up.

Thursday.
Weather Forecast: mainly dry until I needed to be outside, then mostly wet.
Our trip started on the Thursday before Easter where I towed the caravan solo style while Angela finished at work. The plan was for me to take the ‘van to site, pitch it, set it up and then collect Angela from Chippenham who would have already completed the shopping for the break. This worked out well for us, as Chippenham is only 20 miles away from the site and our timings aligned perfectly.

Towing and setting up solo wasn’t the only change this time around, I towed for the 1st time with my car and not the X5. The 5 series towed okay, but it was not as pleasant as the X5, I think it’s down to the way we had loaded the van and the car and we struggled to get a nose weight of 85Kg. more work in this department. Another change (not by choice) was that we had an extra body camping with us. Smudge (7 month old kitten) couldn’t get into a cattery and so our only option was to bring him with us. This also worked out well. He settled right in to the caravan and spent most of the time asleep on his favourite cushion watching the world go by. In all honesty, I think we would take him again and save a fortune on cattery charges.

Good Friday.
Weather Forecast : Very Wet.
Our first full day was spent mostly indoors. Rain stopped play, but we did pop into Frome to buy Angela a cardigan as she oddly didn’t pack one. A nice pale blue number that wouldn’t look out of place on my nan was purchased along with some Easter biscuits and hot cross buns. We returned to the caravan for an afternoon nap after a failed attempt of watching black and white films above the sound of the rain. As we watched the pitch slowly flood around us I exclaimed ‘Im so glad we didn’t put the awning up” and I really meant that. We were quite badly flooded. I still managed to walk the dog who was going mad with cabin fever, no where near the boggy dog walk areas, but instead up the lane and back. I’m pretty sure Chops’ webbed feet helped walking in the rain.


Dinner was a moist grilled Salmon steak & Roast veg. As you can see from the photo – even in this weather, I will always cook on the Cadac.

That evening we ventured out of our caravans and joined the Hardhams’ and the site wardens (Gail & Mark) in the Family room on site where we were able to sit around with some space and warmth. We chatted, laughed and played pool late into the night. Well until 10.30pm – when we were all shattered.

Saturday
Weather Forecast: Dry (ish).
Saturday was a drier day, but still very damp under foot. My first task was to get breakfast started and walk the dog. Chops was certainly glad of a walk in the dry(ish) weather and it did feel great to get out and about. Angela & I had discussed about getting the Longleat annual passes reissued. We thought we would do this later in the year, but after working out what we had coming up in trips and adventures, we decided to walk into Longleat and get our passes re-issued.

A quick walk around Longleat, the animals and of course the Bat cave, we were glad we had the annual passes once again. Longleat will always hold a special place in our hearts with the caravan. It was the 1st “thing” we did as a family when we purchased the caravan. Okay, our 1st trip was Cirencester but the Festival of Lights was the 1st real adventure and we all loved it. We welcomed the brand new Penguins who arrived earlier that day and took a trip on the Jungle cruise to say hello to the seals.

Dinner was Teriyaki Chicken, stir fried veg, and Egg-Fried Noodles. Again, all cooked on the Cadac.

The Hardhams’ popped over to our ‘van later that evening for a small glass of gin, and again much laughter. Oddly we didn’t drink that much, instead we all opted for a cup of tea. Is this old age creeping in?

Easter Sunday
Weather Forecast : Dry spells with occasional sun.
OMG as the kids would say : The sun came out. Well, for a bit. With our new annual passes, we decided to venture into the safari. With the camera set and not in movie mode, we set off keen on capturing as much of the wildlife as we possibly could. (See the Album below) The timing was brilliant. All the big cats were out and about, and Anne the elephant was even outside. The first time I’ve seen her not tucked up indoors.

Oddly, the Hardhams were also on the Safari too, but they set off about an hour before us, yet ended up behind us on the route.

For the 1st time we used the CD that is offered when you start the Safari, this was narrated by Kate Humble and was brilliant. Well thought out and a great addition to the drive around the Safari.

Once back at the caravan and after I had browsed my handy work with the camera, we had a quick lunch then joined Iain, Zoe Grace and Lulu on a walk into the park. We enjoyed the Jungle cruise where we saw the illusive hippos and the gorillas. The Penguins had settled in since the day before and the Monkeys where being typically cheeky. We returned to the caravan just avoiding yet another huge downpour. It was at this point I realised why so many opted to put the awning down the day before…

Back at the van and dinner was a bit special. Before we had set off for the day I boned (insert joke here) a leg of lamb. And we marinated it in a wonderfully Moroccan recipe I’ve been cooking for years. Our plan was to serve this with some couscous and a green salad. Cooking once again on the Cadac in the pouring rain wasn’t a lonely experience. I attracted the attention of many other caravannners who were drawn closer by the incredible smell of the leg of lamb.

Lets just say, it was incredible.

That night we again visited the Family room on site, joined by a few others who wanted to say hello and supply us with immense entertainment with funny stories and anecdotes. It was hilarious.

another cup of tea night cap. With Anglea in her cardigan, me demanding a nice cup of tea and the attractiveness of zip up slippers, it’s fair to say we are no longer “down with the kids”

Bank holiday Monday
Weather Forecast: Wet again
A bit of a lie in after visiting the loo only several times in the night (another sign of getting on perhaps?) and we started the pack down and tidy up at just after 10am. By 11:30 we headed off site, and the washing machine started its 1st of many muddy loads by 1:15pm. So, not a bad run home and certainly well ahead of time. The car towed better on our return trip, confirming it’s the way we are loading the car / caravan. I will follow this up.

And so that was our Easter for 2018. Notice I didn’t film any of it. And that was by choice. I really needed to have a break from the camera, filming & editing. This break did just that. It got me back in touch with having a holiday with the family. It was great, with great company from the Hardhams, Gail & Mark and for the wonderful hospitality and kindness. It’s a small break we won’t forget anytime soon.

7 Comments

  1. Brilliant read lol xxx and fab pics x

  2. I can definitely agree that fun was had by all at Longleat. I’m not sure how but we went with 3 bottles of Gin and returned with 5.

  3. Now that’s a great read about a great campsite on a great website.

  4. I really enjoyed reading about your trip Dan and pleased you all had a relaxing time away. We visited the longleat site back in December for the first time and will definitely return. If it makes you feel better about “being down with the kids” I’m twenty something and will always opt for a hot beverage, I also wear grandad slippers!!!! Stephen

  5. I have fond memories of staying there too, took our very first camper there about 10 years ago. stayed for a week. I used to walk the dogs along that lane and then turned up a track and had a private view of the Giraffes. I can remember hearing the lions roaring and quite how far that sound would travel. Also, as residents of the site, we could amble round the estate on an evening when there was no one around which was lovely. I will send you a couple of photos when I’ve dug them out the archive!

  6. Sounds like a good weekend. I had booked a week off and picked up a new to us van on Easter Saturday and took it back to our storage yard. Tried to open the side locker to switch the motor mover on and broke the latch. When home to order a new one and fell in the garden and busted my ribs! Still haven’t go away in the van.

  7. Have been watching your videos to help me through the pain lol.

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