Three days in the East

9 Jun

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On Tuesday we drove to Milestone Caravan Club Affiliated site at Cromwell, Nottinghamshire. Just off the A1., it had pretty good reviews on UKCampsite website. We were not disappointed. It’s a beautifully laid out site with hedges and plenty of decorative grassed areas and bushes between pitches. We were on pitch 17 ,close to the main toilet block and reception and supposedly the quietest end of the site. The facilities were spotlessly clean and the whole place seemed groomed.

Without the caravan, we took our little oil drain bottle and funnel to catch any grey water from the Kampa sink. It only holds about 8 litres but it does the job and takes up no space when stowed away.

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After lunch onsite, we visited nearby Newark in the hot sun. Two Antique shops later and carrying a superb M&S  book about Winston Churchill, a small doll’s head and some textiles we headed for Morrisons to pick up a picnic dinner. The weather remained baking hot until about 10pm and with the pop top up and windows and vents opened, it eventually cooled down and we set up the bed. Silver screens to cab for blackouts, with curtains drawn we were off to bed. We used the site toilet block for showering next morning and headed for the Newark Air Museum.

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The Air Museum is a charity and lots of volunteers work there. Once inside the huge collection opens up with 2 magnificent hangars full of interesting aviation “stuff.” Outside the hangars are even more displayed aircraft and bits of aircraft. There is a dedicated engine hall which alone justifies the entry fee. We walked around underneath the huge Delta wingspan of the Vulcan bomber above. It reminded us of a very dear friend who emigrated to Australia very recently , very late in life. He told some fascinating stories about maintaining these cold war bombers when it was all a bit secret. Alan Mawson, take a well deserved bow. He helped maintain the peace for a very long time. He also used to sneak off camp, AWOL ! to see the lovely Alwyn, who has been his devoted wife of many years. Storing a DOT motorcycle at the local pub under tarpaulin, he would ride off at weekends when he was not busy. In later life, a Bank Manager. I miss his company very much.

IMG_1108 This twin engined Cessna brought back memories too. I used to visit Meir Aerodrome in Stoke-on-Trent aged about 10 years. We would watch a much admired and heroic chap, named Eric Clutton, fly an experimental “foldup” aircraft “FRED”. I later met the son of the owner of a twin engined Cessna (I believe) in which his Dad, a well known Scooter dealer from  Broadway, Meir,Fred Holdcroft, would fly him for lunch to Paris ! The son told me how they would fly back in and often come across Eric Clutton, buzzing around at about 50 knots.. They would come up behind at up to 200 knots and scare the hell out of him! Not that Eric scares easily! Trust me, I personally witnessed him crashing three times. He smashed a propellor once, almost blinding himself. Another time, he smashed his undercarriage and once came in, looking rather like Sterling Moss, his googles covered in black oil having blown virtually all of it from his engine. Typical Eric, he got the plane home in one piece. Another time had crashed somewhere in Nottinghamshire (I think), left FRED on a school playing field and phoned for help to tow it home. When he got back to the plane, the fire brigade had hacked the fuel tank out of the timber and doped fabric plane “to remove the fire risk”. I cannot print what Eric had to say. Eric is in his 80s and still flies every day from his home in the USA.He was living adjacent to his Hangar on an airfield .

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In the afternoon, we visited Kelham Park, a Council HQ !!!!! Massive grounds with some caravan and camping pitches. After a look around the grounds we shot across the road for a night at Kelham House Hotel. Babysitting for my busy daughter and son in law, rooms cost what is 4 or 5 nights at Milestone with the Kampa. Having said that, the Hotel could not be faulted but we had a better night’s sleep in the Campervan.

Today we visited Peterborough’s Sacrewell Farm. An ideal place for children. There is a petting farm, Play Barn and good cafe. There are even pitches for campervans and caravans.  see  http://www.sacrewell.org.uk/   Don’t forget to see the restored watermill and bakery.

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