It’s good to get out and about again. Although this last winter hasn’t been especially hard, it does seem to have been a bit of a long slog. So, this first trip of the year in the ‘van’ has been eagerly anticipated and we’re hoping that we’ll get some decent weather in which to enjoy our Great British scenery.
We’re never stuck for interesting places to visit but I’m not sure that we’d have considered the Isle of Mull as a destination if Denise hadn’t received an invitation from her friend Diane who’s recently taken up residence there. But I’m getting ahead of myself – we’ll get to that part of the trip later and no doubt have some tales to tell and pictures to show.
Anyway, knowing that we’d be travelling pretty much past his front door I arranged some time ago that on the way north I’d drop the Stag off with Cliff Griffiths in Wolverhampton for it to be fitted with a new hood. The old one was getting pretty tatty and the folding mechanism had become a nightmare, so I’m hopeful that by the time we call in to collect the car on our way back home it will be resplendent with a new roof and it will no longer be a three round wrestling match to put the thing up and down.
We’d originally planned to spend a couple of days on the way up with the family in Bramhall, but unfortunately the girls went down with bad colds and chest infections, so we decided to defer our visit and call in to see them on our way home. So, with a couple of days to spare we opted to fit in a few visits, the first of which was to Biddulph Grange near Congleton. The National Trust gardens have fairly recently been returned to something like their Victorian splendour and are themselves worth a visit, but I was also keen to see the house where my mother spent the first part of her nursing career in the early forties. Sadly the house isn’t open to visitors and anyway much has undoubtedly changed in the eighty intervening years, but it was nice to establish a link with her past and to see something of what she experienced as a sixteen or seventeen year-old living away from home and family for the first time.
Leaving Biddulph we Googled a few local campsites and eventually ended-up at Berry Bank Farm at Wildboarclough just south of Macclesfield on the edge of the Peak District National Park. A little bit on the basic side but perfect for our needs: cheap, scenic and not exactly crowded – in fact when we arrived we were the only guests (perhaps that had something to do with the fact that we were at 1,250 feet and it was blowing a hooley). By the time evening came there was just us, 250 sheep and their lambs, three ponies and a young Polish couple who spent the first part of their stay trying to pitch their tent in a Force 8 gale – so we weren’t short of entertainment.