Derbyshire 173 - Chesterfield - Knighton/Presteign - massive car parks but no room for us /a night in Newtown/Is this what we are looking for?


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August 22nd 2020
Published: August 22nd 2020
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Day 148 Sunday - Week 33 of the year. Week 22 of Covid 19. 229 days gone done and dusted and another 137 left to go. We left Hay and decided to head for the tiny towns of Knighton and Presteigne. We ended up at Presteigne first and parked up on a small car park just behind the police station . The lovely town offered us free parking for 2 hours . Just enough to explore this small border town . Presteigne is in welsh called Llanandras and stands on the River Lugg. It has the title of the Gateway to Wales due to its position . Its border wraps round three sides of the town . We were never to see the town though . The police station was closed . The town deserted . The notice board told us that cars could park there but motorhomes were not welcome . I stood for a while and looked at the board . I couldnt believe just how unwelcome we were made to feel . We could have risked stopping but had no idea whether an over zealous traffic warden would arrive and ticket us. The town was not that appealing . As I walked back to Gabby another van drove in. A small Romahome . Tiny it would fit into a car parking space . Not big enough to stand up in but it did have a bed in it. The driver stopped me "Can we stop " he asked . I explained the free bit and then went on to moan about the fact the sign said we could not stop nor could we sleep overnight . He stayed . We did not . We headed away to have our lunch sitting in a very small exposed pull in just outside the town . Gabby rocked and rolled when a van went past . Not the most pleasant of stop overs .

Then on to Knighton . A massive car park on a wonk . We parked up . Free parking again . Thankyou Knighton . And we could stop the night if we wanted to . Thankyou Powys Council . We brewed a coffee and sat and watched the empty car park .Where were all the people ? The only visitors to the car park were about half a dozen Royal Mail red vans . They stopped , opened up their backs and passed parcels to each other . It was like an odd game of pass the parcel . Had they not been in red vans we might have thought they were drug dealers plying their trade on an empty car park . It looked a nice little town. Much like all the towns along the Marches . Hilly and with another clock tower identical to Hay .

Knighton had been a Mid Wales market town since 1230 and still had a thriving livestock market . We knew that because we were sitting opposite the market . Nothing was going on today. We were never going to see the half-timbered houses from the 17th century and narrow winding streets. Nor would be seeing the stone age settlement nor walk the Town Trail. If the weather had been better we might have even seen sections of Offa Dyke and one of the Norman Castle Mounds . But it was dire . Typical British weekend weather . Pouring down . All I managed was a walk to the chemist . I had something in mind I needed . On entering I had to queue . That was fine .There was just one elderly lady in front of me . She was talking about her tablets to the one assistant behind the counter . I waited and waited and then realised that I had left my purse in the van . I walked out , picked up my purse and walked back . She was still there ,. Still whittling about her tablets . Life is definately run in the slow lane in Knighton .

Our plan to stop the night was scuppered . The boy racers appeared . Where they following us ? A young lad in his bright yellow/orange Saxo . Loud exhaust and lots of revving and noise and showing off . He went out , He came back and then the tinkering began . Bonnets opening , bonnets closing . We gave up and moved on . Newtown was our night stop . Another huge car park . No-one on it . A bus station and when the buses came in we picked up their WiFi. We had our 2 hours parking and then settled in for the free overnight stop. We stopped under a tree . The rain dripped off the leaves drumming on Gabbys roof . The TV would not work due to the leaves and shade of the tree . We were joined by another white box . The occupants donned their waterproofs, locked up and took the dog for a walk . They returned with the dog and an elderly lady in a wheelchair . The driver opened the locker . The alarm went off . We looked expecting someone to be robbing their van . The driver successfully stopped the wailing beast only for it to start up again a few minutes later . It was a source of amusement to us to watch him trying to stop his alarm from sounding . The alarm kept winning but eventually he did master it . We slept well waking at 7. We had an hour to get out of the car park . We put on breakfast and before we knew it 8 am rang out from the church tower. We pondered whether or not to put money in the parking meter,. We get 2 hour free - but do we get it every day . If so then we could stop to 10 am . if not then I needed money . £2 for an hour. Our neighbours had not moved . They were not paying . Would a traffic warden appear ? In the end I popped the money in the machine. Safe in the knowledge that we were the right side of the law if the warden appeared.

Home - we had had enough of Britain on a wet and miserable summer weekend when the kids were off school . We could not put up with any more of it . We drove home but first stopping at two bungalows we had seen on the net . First thoughts the area seemed Ok . An area we might be able to live in. A small park and then the roads narrowed and the placed felt more like a rabbit warren. The first bungalow was in a cul de sac . It looked scruffy with uncut hedges . A corner plot with a garage round the corner out of site . It did not appeal . A mini was dumped in the corner . It was to be there a couple of days later . We drove off to bungalow number 2. This one was better but still felt overlooked. We eyed it up and down and decided it had more street appeal . We rang the estate agent . Sorry the agent is not working today . He is off tomorrow too. Can we view the property? No - he was dealing with it . We left it that he would ring and we would go home .

Was it good few days ? No - give us France , give us Europe any day . It is little wonder that we go abroad after the last few days .

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