Well, nobody likes driving across the UK on a Friday afternoon but sometimes it just can’t be avoided; Grand-parent duties and Liz having a mid-Friday morn GP appointment mean a late start: 1pm.
First hold-up, Salisbury. A place generally to be avoided but we are short of LPG and Salisbury Gas will fill our tiny Gaslow bottle whereas petrol station forecourts might not. £2.43 later and we are full of Gas - about £10 saving on a replaceable cylinder1. The downside is that Salisbury Gas is the wrong side of the traffic-choked dual-carriageway leading into Salisbury so we have to fight through the traffic to the roundabout, turn 360o and back in the opposite direction, fill with gas, and repeat at the roundabout the Southampton end - pain.
Still going via Salisbury meant taking the road less travelled, through Amesbury and the Vale of Pewsey into Marlborough before being stuck in a long line of traffic following a tractor all the way to Swindon. Gloucester at 4pm on a Friday is no-one’s idea of fun but Waze told us to avoid the heavily snarled-up ring road and take the heavily-snarled up city centre route instead. Looking at its prediction for traffic on the ring-road, it was probably a wise decision.
The Elms caravan park is a somewhat grandiose name for a field on the outskirts of Ledbury but it has a fantastic location and is a nice site, certified for just 5 units plus tents. £12 per night + £3 for electric is pretty reasonable. Pitches are on a fairly level plateau on top of a sloping field. Loos are limited - one male, one female and a single shower but clean and pleasant. Fred, the owner, is a really nice chap and we’ve been warned that marquee at the bottom of the field will host a band for his wife’s birthday bash tomorrow night and we are cordially invited to join them for free beer and food. Thanks Fred!
Talking of food, that sandwich at lunchtime has well been digested, so it’s off on the forage into Ledbury - a 12 minute downhill stroll with good pavements all the way. The Prince Of Wales had been recommended by CAMRA and Fred and a good recommendation too. Several real ales, mainly local and a couple of ciders plus excellent value food. Liz should have guessed the size of the faggots after being asked “one of two?”. As for me, after the first bite the Steak and Kidney pie went into the top 3 best ever list (along with Sid’s from Ellesmere and one from just outside King’s Lynn) and by half-way through I was contemplating awarding it the “Best Ever” rosette. Proper short-crust pastry, top and bottom (no dish with a pastry lid, masquerading as a pie), pastry firm atop but gravy soaked pliant below, steak in large chunks, kidney cut finer but still large enough to spot readily and plentiful enough to assert its presence, No herbs and very little (if any) onion flavouring. Perfect! Good chips too.
Of course two big meals, two pints later and we remembered it was a 12 minute downhill walk all the way here, meaning a 20 minute uphill haul of all that extra bulk. If you are planning a visit do remember to take a torch!
We needed that cuppa when we got back to the van. Finished my book too, Chris Mullin’s “A Very British Coup”, a light romp but with strong similarities between its hero Harry Perkins and Jeremy Corbyn and sadly I feel Corbyn would suffer much of the same Machiavellian treatment for threatening the status quo of the statussed classes.
In bed before 10:30!
Note: This blog comes courtesy of Classeur, the in-browser markdown editor. I must admit that writing on the Chromebook is easier than phone or tablet and Classeur is a nice writing tool. Test is saved automatically and hopefully once I get some sniff of internet I can set up a new blog on Blogger and this will upload directly from within Classeur
- Our Gaslow cylinder holds 2.9Kg, a similar size conventional Propane cylinder is 3.9Kg (I’m not sure if these measurements are before or after the 80% fill rule) but even so, we put 4.04l of LPG into the cylinder, pretty much exactly 2Kg (1.95l per Kg at normal temp is the conversion rate). This cost £2.43. The cheapest 3.9Kg Propane replacement we have seen is £15 and £20 is more often the going rate. So at least £10 if not £15 saving per 4Kg. OK we probably only use 10Kg a year and so its going to take 4-5 years to recoup our £130 Gaslow investment but having a fuel gauge telling us we are nearly empty is worth so much - I don’t function well if I can’t make a brew when needed ↩