Rocking and Rolling with Brian

The look after a storm

We had a rough time last night, as you can see from the picture we didn’t get much sleep. The wind was rocking us about like a boat on the ocean, Lisa was worried that the wind would blow us over. I tried to comfort her by telling her that we were heavy – 4.5t and our mass was low down and the wind was not that strong (only 50mph forecast at the closest village in the valley). That equates to a Force 9 at sea, however we are on an exposed peak so it was more like a Force 10.

I’ve never seen our barometer so low, in fact its off the scale! Together with the wind came driving rain on and off, but the sound was tremendous like being inside a tin can getting pelted with shot. This is the kind of weather hoolie was invented for!

I didn’t realise the need would go round that far

As I write this, coffee in hand, the weather is still angry and pelting us with everything it can find. We will try and move off here later, but its going to be interesting as the field as now even wetter than when we arrived and got stuck. On a positive note, we didn’t have any water ingress and as far as we can tell nothing has yet been blown off.

The life of Brian

We arrived late afternoon to our campsite on a hill in the Peak District, Hope Cottage Farm. The site is a small certificated location for the Caravan and Camping Club, with about 10 pitches. Three caravans had taken the high part of the field, with wonderful views, the owner had thoughtfully allocated us a slot between two caravans where the field was less wet. Lisa drove onto the grass attempting to get to our pitch slowly but surely and turning us around in the process to face the view.

About 10 metres in she slithered to a halt, wheels spinning. I had bought four Ground Guard Tiles from Toolstation specifically for such situations. They worked the first time and we managed to move another few metres before once again the wheels spun up and she stopped. The second time around we could not get the wheels onto the tiles and so we decided that we were going nowhere at this point and are now in a very strange orientation, the only good thing is we are somewhat level. This is a situation where an automatic does not work very well you can’t really feel your way, you much less control – with the wheels spinning easily. We are heavy and front wheel drive only and it just wasn’t going to work out on this site. We are now wondering how we will get out of here in a couple of days time!

This is exacerbated by the second named storm coming our way tomorrow – storm Brian. As you can see from the forecast, tomorrow we are getting heavy rain all day with winds in excess of 40 miles an hour, this is going to extend all the way through Sunday. We are on a hilltop, so we are battening the hatches and hunkering up ready for the storm, we have enough water, food and gas – we just hope we don’t sink further into this field.

Animals & Birds

Since we started our travels, we have seen some beautiful birds and animals but none stranger than an ‘Albino’ squirrel sitting on the edge of the road as we were leaving Rugby, munching on nuts!  A perfectly snowy white squirrel!  Such an event is indeed rare and the white squirrel has profound symbolism in folklore as all-white animals have long been seen as portents of good luck, symbols of purity and even visitors from the realms of gods and spirits. So we were thrilled to have caught sight of this beautiful white animal and hope we will be blessed with good luck!

We have been woken up to a peacock and a peahen strutting their stuff around the van in Emberton and even more strange was a Rhea being kept in a pen, which is quite a big bird close up and native to South America.  Whilst camping in a field in Rugby, the farmer had a Kunekune pig which hails from New Zealand. The name Kunekune means ‘fat and round’ in Maori and he was just happily eating grass in the next field.  He was gorgeous….the pig that is….cream with black spots.  Apparently, they are domesticated by the Maori’s and very human friendly.

I saw Marsh Harrier sitting on a bale of hay in the Norfolk Broads.  It was huge and very impressive. A beautiful Kingfisher flew straight in front of me whilst sailing on the water in the Broads. We managed to follow his flight path and spotted him sitting in a tree! This was only the second time I had spotted a Kingfisher in my life!

Another animal I caught sight of in the Norfolk Broads was an Otter.  It was swimming at the side of the river and was in mid dive as it past by our boat. Unfortunately, whilst Carlos did not even manage to catch a glimpse of him, I only saw his back & tail as he was diving under the water.


Derby – Carsington Reservoir & Dovedale

We arrived on Sunday 15th October to spend the next 10 days in the Peak District.  Our first stop, Carsington Reservoir where we are staying in a Caravan & Motorhome clubsite.

The site is wooded with pine trees and once again we experienced hurricane winds, this time it was Ophelia…..needless to say a lot of pine cones fell on our roof during the night however, the winds were not as powerful or as scary as Aileen!

We walked round the reservoir on the day of the ‘Orange Sun!‘  It was very eerie and the light levels were very strange. It did feel like the end of the world!

Carlos met the resident ‘one winged crow’ who followed him round Cosi until he fed him a dog biscuit. Archie did not take kindly to sharing his food!

We drove to Dovedale yesterday – 18 October – walking through fields of cows is not my idea of fun….I’m petrified of big headed animals! (Carlos does not count).  He thought it was funny but I was shaking and sweating and trying not to make eye contact with the cows…..wait till I have to catch the next spider!!!

Dovedale’s Stepping Stones…..I have a vague memory of visiting this place as a child….very surprisingly, it was really busy for a late October day and you have to ask yourself, what would this place be like in the summer!  We spotted our first Dipper sitting on a rock in the river feeding in the clear waters.  Archie enjoyed this 8 km walk and on the way back we took the alternative route…..the one which led up a steep hill to avoid the sheep & cattle in the fields below!  It would have given us glorious views if the mist had not decided to descend!


Today it has rained all day, so a day cleaning the van and catching up on the blog!

Our Motorhome has a name!

We have finally named our motorhome…..Cosi van Tutti….as yet we have to break a bottle of champagne over the bonnet!

It seems nearly everyone we meet has given their vans names and as such, we felt it only right to name ours.   We are calling it ‘Cosi’ for short….it’s certainly more refined than the ‘beast’ which is what we were calling it to begin with.  So Cosi it is and it certainly is cosy at night when we switch the heating on.