/ England2014

Back Home after ...

.. lots of excitement.

Just been away for nearly 3 weeks in the minute Romahome R20 campervan. After calling in on my sister in Shropshire, primarily to take her to her hospital appointment we started at Moira Furance Folk Festival .

Moira is a small run event, no really huge names, just giants of the local folk scenes. Because of that it is a delightful family event, everyone stops and talks (performers and attendees alike), the sing-around in the bar is always a delight (and what a great bar it is too, with 3 real ciders and about half a dozen very local ales, some brewed especially for the festival). Far too many highlights but celtic rock band "Something Nasty in The Woodshed" were pretty dymanic (sic) and a counterpoint to the wonderfully lugubrious Fake Thakeray. A personal favourite was the Canadian singer/songwriter Zoe Mulford. And of course, the Sunday morning skiffle session gave me chance to join in with ukulele a-blazing to such favourites as "Does your chewing gum" and "Freight Train". Of course the experience is always greatly enhanced by sharing it with many of our friends from the Smallmotorhome Forum.

From Moira on to Peterborough. We knew that the Ferry Meadows camp site was a good choice, because within a couple of hours of arriving we joined the park rangers for a bat walk around the lake/riverside listening to soprano pipistrelles & daubentons bats. Of course the real reason for going to Peterborough was the UK's largest outdoor beer festival which we attended on Weds afternoon. It was so good that Thurs saw us there again!

From Peterborough to Cambridge - hmmm Bank Holiday Saturday is not a good day to try and fight through the tourists (mainly oriental) to catch the sights, although Peterhouse quad and gardens were open for free and curiously empty so a pleasant stroll. The next day was spent almost in its entirety wandering around the Botanical Gardens which started off very peaceful and despite growing numbers of other strollers remained a delight all day. Well, almost all day - it was only a mile or walk to the Cambridge Blue pub and its annual cider festival - seemed a shame to miss it.

Bank Holiday Monday - a synonym for "raining all day" if there ever was one. Amazingly some traders at the Huntingdon Amateur Radio Rally had outside stalls in what could only be described as heavy drizzle in the lighter spells. A few goodies acquired though before moving on to Wimpole Estate for a trudge around what to me was an uninspiring house with probably the best vista of any English stately home.

We enjoyed Peterborough and hadn't really had chance to explore the country park to the full nor to ride the Nene Valley Railway. So a change of plan found us back at Ferry Meadows for a day of geocaching and walking the park followed by a trip on the railway. Unfortunately we did these in that order so missed the steam haul engine on day 1 and had to settle for diesel haul on day 2. Brian's tip to drinking friends, take the train, go all the way to Yarwell Junction, walk the mile or so along the footpath into Yarwell village and visit The Angel Inn. A most curious experience helped with the choice of a couple of real (local) ales and half a dozen real ciders.

No some folk might not think Peterborough the most exciting place to visit, so we upped the adrenalin level for the next stop and went on to Milton Keynes! Actually we were just outside the concrete cow town at EMF Camp. What's EMF Camp - well it's computer programmers and makers living in tents in a field for a weekend. As you know such folk can't live without their technology so the field was strewn with long (50m in some cases) ethernet and power cables snaking from tents to specially adapted toilet cabins which housed power and ethernet as well as a wireless access point. When I say specially adapted - these toilets had a large ethernet hub balanced on the loo seat and a WAP strapped to their walls. All this power and networking meant the field could then host the tens of 3D printers, at least 2 industrial laser cutters, a full blacksmithing workshop, a silversmiths giving attendees a chance to forge their own One Ring, a locksmiths to teach the art of lock-picking, a wood turning lathe, several hundred computers, a retro-gaming lounge with ancient pinball and arcade machines et al. Robots everywhere, quadrocopters confined to a flying field for safety reasons, a high altitude balloon launch, ham radio shack, field kitchen cooking manned by the Dutch contingent cooking native Stroopwaffel et al - and those were only the things we actually found. Three lecture stages and a workshop tent hosted a huge programme, which was eventually wirelessly sent to the camp badge - a Kindle style display with wireless content delivery, built in LED torch and a couple of games - ever tried playing Tetris on a mini Kindle?

Like most of our trips we need to be back home for the rest!

[photos to be added later]