On the 7th December we set off on our Christmas holiday, a four week trip in total covering both Christmas and New Year.
Prior to my Mum deteriorating in health, we had planned a weeks holiday at Longleat Caravan and Motorhome Club Site in Wiltshire. When she passed away we decided to continue with our trip but make more of it.We packed the Rexton with clothes and Christmas presents and set off with enthusiasm, and of course our dog Fudge. We had a long drive back down to Dorset to pick up our Adria but we arrived at the storage yard safely. The weather was awful, high winds and driving rain, we hitched up and had a short tow to Ernie’s Plot at Bridport in Dorset. We arrived at this little CS to find we were the only guests. We got set up in the monsoon rain and fired up the Alde heating. Our first night was wet and windy but we were warm and cosy. We had missed our Adria and it felt like being back home.
The next morning we decide to explore Bridport, we found the town had a good choice of shops. Over the next few days the weather improved and the view from the lounge window, from our pitch, was beautiful. We had many trips out, including fish and chips at West Bay and a lovely pub lunch in Sidmouth. We loved the local area and Ernies Plot made for a good base. It was excellent for Fudge as it had a huge secure field for dogs to charge about in, the only downside was the pitches were very sloping.
After a week it was time to pack up and head to Longleat Caravan and Motorhome Site. As we arrived at the site we noticed the approach lane could be tricky if you were to meet larger traffic coming the other way. We arrived at reception to be met by Gail, the Warden.
What a lovely welcome we received and we were soon on our way to pitch 159. For the second part of our holiday we had arranged to trial a Bailey Phoenix 640 to conduct a downsizing experiment. At 9” narrower and almost a metre shorter than our Adria, it was sure to be interesting. We got settled in and set up and were soon on the way to Asda at Frome to stock up. We had already realised the fridge in the Phoenix was a lot smaller, about 37 litres in total. We have to be careful not to buy too much fresh food or frozen items. Once stocked up with food and the obligatory chocolate we headed back to Longleat. That night we settled down for our first night and it wasn’t long before the Lions began. We laid in the dark listening to the roar of the Lions from the safari park, only a short distance away. The noise could only be decided as sounding like dinosaurs, it was amazing. As I drifted off to sleep I did think what would happen if one got out…We spent most of next day vlogging on the site and producing a review for our channel. We spent some of our time visiting Warminster and Frome and popping out early doors for breakfast at The Bath Arms. We arranged to meet with a great couple who we met earlier this year, Ann and Gary Brooks. We met for lunch at Trowbridge and it was nice to hear about their Christmas plans which included their own caravan trip to Dulverton.Whilst at Longleat we met, by chance, Phil and Lee from Top hat (click to see their you tube channel) with their Hobby Premium caravan and their little dog Roman. It was nice to chat with them and meet more of our online friends.We also had time for reflection of how 2018 had turned out. It had been a difficult year with us both retiring from the Police, selling our house to move further south and then Mum passing away from Cancer in November. As we counted down to Christmas Day we both felt a bit down but would see how it went. Christmas Day arrived and we started with the ritual of Christmas present opening. As always my friend Sam had come good, chocolate for us and treats for Fudge. The day ticked past and I prepared our Christmas Dinner in the Bailey kitchen. Despite the limited room in the Phoenix, the kitchen worktop space was an outright winner for cooking a meal. By late afternoon we sat down to eat the offering, mostly that had been cooked in foil trays to save on the washing up. I spent the rest of the night eating chocolate fingers to the point of no return and then we headed to bed. That was Christmas Day 2018, not quite like the previous 39 Christmas Days I had known before but fun nonetheless.
Boxing Day and we were up early and headed down to The Bath Arms at Warminster for a breakfast, pancakes and a full breakfast were ordered and soon gobbled down. We headed back to Longleat, excited that our friends would be arriving later that day to continue our holiday and New Year celebration. It wasn’t long before we were joined by the Trudgian, Hardham and Morley family and we stood back to watch how the experts really do it.The site at Longleat got busier by the day in the countdown to New Year and a few more of our friends began to arrive for our arranged holiday. All I can say about what happened next is that we haven’t laughed so much, probably ever. Most mornings were spent having breakfast with the Caravan and Motorhome Gossip family and also Jan and Nik Ban, two lovely people who let nothing stand in their way. What a fantastic time we had and an amazing New Year. This included watching an amazing firework display from the site courtesy of Longleat Estate.Most of the group packed up and headed home on the 1st January but we had one more thing to look forward to, Ann and Gary arriving to join us for a few nights. I had promised them one of my finest roast dinners and thats what they got, as we gathered in the Phoenix lounge. Bless them, they ate it and thankfully were still with us the next day.
It was a good job too as we had arranged for the four of us to meet up with John and Tina Cooke for a pub lunch. We headed out for the day and spent a lovely few hours chatting and eating more food.When we got back to Longleat we started to pack up ready for our own departure the next day, the site was almost empty by now and the lively atmosphere of families celebrating had now left behind a stillness. Once again as we laid there in the dark that night the Lions began to roar….We were up early on the 3rd January and headed out for one last breakfast at McDonalds with Gail and Mark Cooper, the Wardens. We thanked them for all they had done to make our stay so enjoyable and we felt genuinely sad to be leaving our home for the past three weeks. We returned to the site, hitched up and said good bye to Ann and Gary. We dropped the Phoenix back off at Bailey and then began a long drive back to the Yorkshire Dales where our trip had begun almost four weeks before.We both agreed we had one of the best Christmas and New Years, despite missing Mum, and that caravanning at Christmas is the future. Heres to 2019…and some healthy eating and lots of caravanning.