We arrived at Beechwood Grange CAMC Site yesterday in the bright, blindingly low winter sunshine. The sun visor had been up and down like a tart’s knickers on the trip here. Due to lack of rain over the last few days the roads are drier than they’ve been for the rest of the trip so far. The caravan arrives, not mud splattered as in previous arrivals but definitely sporting muck from grit covered roads. The site is well spaced out and we choose a pitch, out on a limb, away from most folk who’ve arrived before us and clustered their white boxes around the toilet block.
An innocent trip to the Post Office to post a letter (surprise), apart from the man before us in the queue who talked on his mobile continuously while queueing ‘and’ being served, The Boss said was it wrong that he wanted to beat him to death with a ‘Special Offer Toblerone’ … “Deep breaths husband, deep breaths”.
Snuggled down for the evening, we listen to the hum of distant traffic and set to trying to put a plan together for the next few days.
Up at 5am the following morning, I’ve joined Timmy Mallett and the Wide Awake Club and no amount of tossing and turning and keeping my eyes tightly shut will send me back to sleep. Up and chucking veg into the slow cooker, I must be ill, I’m never up and this organised. Normally you have to drag me out of my pit. Slow cooker plugged in and performing its magic beneath the lid I pull my jeans on, wrap my coat around me and head over to the loos. The air is bracing as I round the front of the van and am treated to the most spectacular Yorkshire sunrise. Back to the van for my phone, to complaints from The Boss that I’m letting all the cold air in, he turns over and wraps the quilt around him still mumbling.
The Park and Ride is going to, hopefully, teleport us into York. I hate public transport. Normally as unhealthy as sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. People snuffling, coughing and sneezing. Handrails full of years worth of germs, I wonder if they ever get a wipe down… today, our bus is quiet, still the transporter of coughing and spluttering folk though.
The bus has no ‘ticker tape’ display, we had no idea where we were and the driver had no desire to shout “City Centre”. In other words, we missed our stop, The Boss presses the bell and stands up assuming the next stop is around the corner. About twenty corners later we reach the next stop.
We are down by the river, The Boss suggests we are near the National Railway Museum and might as well visit while we are here, oh joy of joys. Did he really miss that bus stop in town. It is a voluntary donation ‘free’ entry fee with well positioned reception counters to make ‘not volunteering a donation’ look bad … we look bad and walk in. My interest in museums will ensure we don’t stay long.
To his credit, he decides today is not going to be a ‘read every word on every exhibit’ day and we whistle through it. He says it doesn’t hold the same magic as when he came as a ‘spotty teenage trainspotter’ in the early 80s. His inner anorak still surfaces when he repeatedly informs me what this and that train were famous for … I’m as gripped as the class of primary school kids that run straight past all the trains to reach the play area outside.
We spend some time on the impressive City Walls walking to the southern end of town before turning our attention inwards past York Castle to the City Centre. Then we see it…
… Specsavers, like a beacon burning in the distance, my day is complete. A screw fell out of my glasses last week in Bolton, I would have looked like Jack Duckworth off ‘Corrie’ if I’d fixed them, so forlornly carried them in my bag in the hope we might find a Specsavers … ten minutes later we are mended and back pounding the pavement.
We mooch around the usual ‘must see’ sights in York and numerous Christmas Markets. Expensive portion of chips with a dip each, where I somehow ended up being mugged by the stall holder as he slipped an old tenner into my change. Whilst munching on the salty snack a chap marches over towards us announcing that he’s going to talk to us. I always attract the nutters, I don’t want to talk to a stranger whilst savouring expensive, hot chips on a cold December day, with an old tenner in my purse that I’ve still not noticed. He then announced he’d spotted the Bury hat pulled down over The Boss’ ears. The Bury FC hat that 20 years ago I found in a puddle on an Asda car park in Bolton. It turns out, he was a staunch Bury supporter as mad and upset as The Boss about their current predicament. Half an hour later, I make our excuses and drag The Boss off. Trains and football and wall walking, in one day, I had visions of mulled wine and Christmas shopping. Should’ve realised those things weren’t going to be on the agenda. For some reason, as much as we love Yorkshire, the City of York just doesn’t seem to do it for us and we are heading back for the bus just before the rush hour masses.
We have a lazy day in the caravan on our final full day, venturing five miles up the road to a caravan dealer to see if they sell our preferred caravan step. They do, £25, which turned into £20 when scanned at the till, hurray, we celebrate by picking up a six inch screw in the tyre on the way out. Explaining the Tap .. Tap .. Tap .. on the road back, and the TapTapTapTapTapTap on the dual carriageway.
The Boss rises from his slumber at least two hours before he wanted and selects a suitable Tyre Centre. Top Tip. The north section of York’s ringroad is utterly useless, he reckons they built the City Centre to bypass it. The southern section is way, way quicker, he chooses a Tyre Centre on the south side, York Tyre Sales, and is back at the caravan in just over one hour, £20 lighter but that seemed reasonable under the circumstances.
An hour later we are rolling out of the site .. heading south.
For more blogs relating to this trip, click the links below
Bury and Bolton – An annual pilgrimage