So, two years late, Glastonbury happened this year.
While a slow and expensive form of travel, the van made a huge difference to the experience. It wasn’t just down to sleeping in a bed (sort of); there was a lot more space than on the campsites and no need to carry everything from a car park.
This was going to be my last Glastonbury, but I’m already wondering about the chance of a ticket next year.
Unfortunately, the van’s new oil leak became something of an issue as we drove through Bristol.
This resulted in a large amount of smoke and the need to have a lengthy break to let the engine cool down.
I’ve only been to Nottingham a couple of times in the past, so our eBay purchase of a van front end created the opportunity for a third visit.
It made sense to drive down yesterday and pick up the rusty lump up today. That gave us a chance to fit in some decent pubs, starting with the Doctor’s Orders, a pretty cool micropub I’d found on Mansfield Road the last time we were there.
It’s everything a micropub should be; decent prices too. Also discovered last time was the Crafty Crow, also run by the Magpie Brewery.
Naturally, we had to visit Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, allegedly the country’s oldest pub. I knew that the beer wasn’t going to be the best, but the building’s a real experience.
There were one or two other pubs, but I didn’t take pictures.
One minor negative was the £25 dog surcharge at the hotel, the highest of the three hotels accommodating the dog this year (£10 and £20 at the other two). So we made sure that the dog made the most of the facilities.
This morning, we collected the van front end. Fortunately, we managed to squeeze it in without resorting to the angle grinder I’d taken.
Yes, it has holes. But I love it. We’ll attempt to remove it from the van in the morning.
On arrival at our hotel in Liverpool, we found that the van would actually scrape into our usual long stay car park. While not actually a case of scraping, the height clearance was scarily slight.
Our luck changed when we were told by our pet friendly hotel that the establishment was no longer pet friendly. This was something of a surprise, since our reservation, which included the dog, had been accepted the previous week.
Fortunately, on walking into the Adelphi, we were told that dogs were welcome.
We celebrated with a drink in the Head of Steam, knowing that the chain allowed dogs.
There was, however, something of a loss of productivity in both this bar and the hotel, since staff took time out to play with the dog.
Talking of the dog, she felt the need to pose with landmarks.
We ate at Down the Hatch, a really good veggie/vegan cafe, which also – yes – welcomes dogs.
Followed by a good night’s sleep
(another micropub might have been involved too).
The following morning, we breakfasted (the dog had eggs), then set off for Keswick. we stopped off at Lancaster to stretch our legs and take refreshments.
We stayed at Castlerigg, on a site close to where I’d stayed with my youngest child 21 years ago.
We were soon joined by another T2, a year younger than ours.
We only spent a couple of days in Keswick; we regretted not staying longer.
The dog seemed to have a good time.
Enjoying cake at the Theatre by the Lake.
She also discovered a gem of a micropub, the Crafty Baa.
It was also good to see that a once really terrible little bar had become an excellent veggie/vegan bar/restaurant/hotel.
Although the decor hadn’t changed in two decades (the other room was busy).
And, this morning, we returned home. in a roundabout sort of way.
Over the last couple of weeks, the van covered over 800 miles without a single problem. That was something of a surprise.
The van has leaked a lot less than I’d expected today.
We’re currently in Shifnal, in a pretty nice pub. The dog’s making weird noises, as she often has done as of late.
I used to stay here often when in Telford for work, simply because it’s nicer. We’re here because it’s nice and it fitted in with our route.
We’re actually staying in a field, three miles away. It’s possibly the best ever field; there’s even another T2.
Anyway, Whitby was … well, you know Whitby.
And then there was Lincoln. Ish.
We’d actually forgotten where we’d booked. My beloved had a Lincoln number on her phone. She rang it and they said they thought we might be booked there. We arrived, a lovely place in the middle of nowhere, while it was gorgeous, we knew it wasn’t where we’d actually booked. On checking my email, I discovered that I’d actually booked elsewhere.
Peterborough (and Kings Cliffe) had to happen next. We stayed at Ferry Meadows. We almost didn’t. One of us had booked the wrong date, but fortunately they had a free pitch.
And then to Stamford (the birthplace of my beloved). After a week in the van, we opted for a hotel.
So Shifnal happened next. It’s literally a one street village, but a really nice one.
It’d been ages since I’d been to Ironbridge, so that was a must.
While the weather in Ironbridge wasn’t the best, we were able to shelter in a great little micropub, the Coracle.
We actually stayed at Hunger Hill, just outside Shifnal.
There was even another T2 on the site.
I’d like to say we’ll be back, because the site was great, but it’s pretty unlikely that’ll happen.