Monday – 15th August 2016
We left home on Monday at about 1100hrs having had a busy Sunday loading the van and finishing off and checking things before we left.
As some of you know, we were concerned about our weight issue (the vans, not mine and Sarah’s – however we are more than aware of that issue!).
Having weighed the van on Sunday night I can report that our weights were
Front axle:- 1533kgs
Rear axle:- 2345kgs
Total:- 405 / 4500kgs
The drive down to Woodhall Spa on the A1 was pretty uneventful apart from the last 30 or so miles where Sally (the sat nav) decided that she wanted to show us more of rural England than we needed to see. That’s something that we will have to monitor, especially as she set as a ‘bus’ in the settings. I wouldn’t like to take a bus down those roads. Note to self, discuss with Neil upon our return.
Another observation regarding these rural villages. There is nothing. Neit, Nada. Nout! None of them had a post office, corner shop or any facilities. Think I’ve been spoiled living in Scotland, knowing that even in the highlands there’s a good chance of finding a Chinese takeaway!
Arrived at the site in Woodhall Spa about 1830hrs, set up, dinner and a very nice glass of cider, then bed.
Tuesday 16-August 2016
Having up, breakfasted etc. we set off for a leisurely walk with Rockydog to the village of Woodhall Spa (about 2 miles) in 20 degrees (Celsius) of sunshine.
For those not already briefed, RAF Woodhall Spa was where 617 Squadron (Sqn); the Dambusters, were based. The village is steeped in WW2 history. It is also where the airbourne troops for Operation Market Garden (a bridge too far – Arnhem) were billeted and set off from. The village has 8 information boards dotted around it giving information about it’s role in WW2 and the men & women who were here.
This is the Petwood Hotel. Former Officers Mess for 617 Sqn. The history is that it was requisitioned by the war office in 1940 and was originally an Army HQ. Upon arrival of 617 Sqn. Guy Gibson and his Commanding Officer, Leonard Cheshire, (having previously stayed at the hotel in civilian times), thought it would be perfect to become the Officers Mess, and had recommended the requisition.
There are a number of statues in the garden. Previously there were more but apparently they were used as target practice by the Officers for both pistol and sten guns, during mess functions!!!!!
The memorials to 617 Sqn are both in Royal Square, in the center of the village.
On route back to the campsite, we felt obliged to pop into the village bakery and sample the fresh bread and cakes – told you weight would be a recurring issue J
Yesterday evening, Dave and Lillian Winship (friends that I’ve known for 30 yrs!!) came over and joined us all for dinner. Great evening. Always good company and although the first time Sarah and had met both Lillian and Dave, the evening was just as it should be. Only after they had left, I realized I hadn’t taken a group foto!
Wednesday 17 August 2016
So far today has been a lazy day, apart from the jet noise. If Sarah hears phrases like ‘that is the sound of freedom’ or ’that is the sound of democracy’ once more, I might have trouble speaking & drinking.
Well, the sun is shining and Sarah and I are going to take a cycle down to the village (what better place to cycle than Lincolnshire –flat, flat and flat) and have a cheeky wee pint of English ale in the bar of the Petwood hotel (which apparently is, as it was and has loads of memorabilia).
Rockydog gets to pull guard duty this afternoon, however, I think he’s a bit miffed.
As most of you know, Rockydog is a rescue dog so we don’t know much of his history. Occasionally he comes out with ‘stuff’ and I think really? He’s told me stories about when he was fighting in Yeman as part of a SAS troop on black ops funded by the CIA. He’s told me stories about singing in concert halls as a professional backing singer (those that have heard him sing can make up your own minds). Then this morning he announces, since we’re down this way, he wants to go to RAF Scampton to pay respects to his great, great grandfather’s cousin’s, sisters brother “Nigger” (Guy Gibson’s faithful hound!) who is buried there. I think we might have to just call him ‘Billy Liar’.
A dog like that is enough to drive you to drink and that’s where I’m off J.