Nottinghamshire 17 - Welbeck and the stolen tiara/ Gabby is not well/ Butternut Squash and Feta Tatin / All things come in threes

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November 18th 2019
Published: November 18th 2019
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My mum used to say that all things came in threes. One good thing would surely be followed by another two. The first bad thing would quickly follow with two more. I am sure she was wrong as for us things seem to come in fours and fives. When something goes wrong it does it with a vengeance . Selling our house for example . We have three offers on the table . The first made before we left for Italy. The couple as lovely as they were had not even got their property on the market. They were convinced once they found our bungalow that they would sell theirs straightaway. Nope they did not . They had a flurry of activity and two people were interested but they had not sold their properties so nothing could happen there . Then we got a cash buyer. Great we thought - just what you need. However he had tried to buy before but he did not use a mobile phone nor the internet. Everything was done by snail mail . In this day and age it was not easy to see why any offer he made to buy a house was quickly rejected as time marched on but he did not. The third offer came in . A couple who loved our property. They came to see it twice. Their house was already sold subject to contract but just at the start of the process . They wanted us to move out and into Gabby for the winter . To put our furniture into storage and they did not care that we could find nowhere to live .

We went to see a house . First thoughts from the photograph did not impress me. The hairs on my neck did not stand on end . I did not think this is just right . We could live here. Glenn was more optimistic about it. I could see the advantage of a long drive with plenty of room for our girl Gabby. The next door neighbours both had motorhomes so we would be in good company. The owner was asking too much for the property . It was not far under the price the next door sold for a few months back. That was renovated . This was not. Far from it . The owner had removed the walls between the lounge and dining room. He had left a pillar up the middle . Ok it could be put back and a wood burner installed but it filled me with no enthusiasm. The patio door would not unlock . There was a new kitchen but it had no appliances apart from a cooker and hob . Both of which were cheap and nasty . A massive garage filled the back garden . An ugly thing that the vendor agreed to remove if the purchasers disliked it. Dislike it wasn't the right word . I was lost for words . The bathroom was refurbished and the bedrooms a good size however there were no doors anywhere . Apparently the vendor had a liking for open plan . This was taking it a little too far. The cupboards all needed new doors and a serious amount of work was needed on the wardrobes . All in all I was not that impressed but it did tick some of the boxes .

The third couple who wanted our house started to push . We headed to Wales again having seen another bungalow which fitted the bill. On the face of it I would say it looked OK. But pictures lie don't they! The garden and drive were too small for Gabby . The back garden needed a serious amount of money spent on it and a lot of TLC. We began to see why it had not sold. An extension that looked bodged. A series of small rooms each with artexed ceilings and walls . We quickly went off it and moved to the next one . Surely second time lucky . No that one which we loved had sold . Number 3 - lovely bungalow set nicely on a small estate . Small front and back garden but just enough to put a conservatory on it . A lovely new kitchen and bathroom and everything impeccably done up and clean. It had been loved and well cared for. Sadly it was out of town, on an infrequent bus route and with little infrastructure . The guy selling it was moving to be nearer his family and that summed it up for us . Too far from civilisation as you got older . Onto the last bungalow which was the one we had seen before . We wanted a second viewing so we could view with our heads not our hearts. Dirty hallway . Dirty mouldy inner door . You could take them out but it made me wonder what else was not quite right . The garden would be overlooked once the garage was taken down and it would leave an enormous dirty slab . What to do with that ? We had no idea . The bathroom grout was filthy and mouldy and the shower which looked new was dirty .. The floors inside wardrobes were black . A combination of mould and bitumen off the tiles . The thermostat for the heating was housed inside a cupboard next to red hot pipes. We quickly beat a retreat and withdrew our offer . As Gabby was poorly and we couldn't live in her we made the decision to take the house off the market and sit and wait and see what 2020 brings .

Gabby had been for her lithium battery . A long trip to Preston and an equally long journey home. Arriving home the 12 volts was dead. Nothing worked . The step would not work, the TV was off , no lights and no fridge and worse of all in this weather the door would not shut properly and the heating had failed . We had spent a lot of money and the darn thing was worse than before we had it done . The guy who fitted it called us back to say he would come out that night and fit a new battery which he did . It worked for a while until we drove to fill her up with gas . No 12 volts again . She is holed up and we are waiting for the fitter to try to find out what is wrong with her . The battery seems Ok but the brain seems to be switching the battery off when we drive . It empties to nothing for no reason and is not doing what it should be doing . Another one of those when something goes wrong it goes wrong big style . We are now waiting for him to try to find a solution but we are not hopeful . So mum wasn't far wrong when she said that bad things come in threes .

The weather has been awful . Heavy rain , flooding, frost in the mornings . We needed something to cheer us up . With the house saga weighing heavily on us we needed to do something . We have a holiday booked over Christmas but if Gabby has no battery working properly we won't be going anywhere soon. We did not know where to go but had been watching an old programme Flog It on the TV a few weeks ago . The ever bubbling nauseous presenter was at Welbeck and the Portland Collection . This was just up the road from us and we had never spotted it before when I was searching for places to go and things to see.

So today we headed off - 20 minutes from Chesterfield it was the ideal place to spend an hour or so. Welbeck is one of those great traditional landed estates. It extends to some 15,000 acres, much of which sits within Sherwood Forest, with Welbeck Abbey at its heart. The Abbey was founded as a monastery in 1153. Bess of Hardwick’s youngest son, Sir Charles Cavendish, acquired Welbeck in 1607, and since then the estate has continued to be handed down through the family. You can visit the abbey but only for 33 days a year and the tour has to be booked in advance . I doubt that we will be joining a tour as it is guided and we dislike being herding round a building stopping for too long in front of items only to be told things we didn't want to know.

Our trip today was to the Gallery which housed some of the house treasures . The gallery is one of two on site and is part of a garden centre and a far, shop. The gallery entrance is free . There was an exhibition of paintings on display titled "Men Women and Things " a collection that focussed on the extraordinary women in the family’s ancestry. One of which was the renowned Bess of Hardwick, We could not take photographs of the portraits we just had to look and gaze on them comparing styles over hundreds of years .

In rooms off the main area were the glass cabinets . There were cabinets crammed full of minatures. Beautifully painted they chronicled the family over the centuries . Other cabinets were full of the silver and gold cutlery and plates that the family needed to entertain. . How much wealth could one family hold? It seemed almost obscene. There was furniture in some of the rooms . Beautiful tables made up of different woods. Tables made up of tiny mother of pearl patterns. Books and a pearl earing belonging to King Charles II worn when he was executed . The one thing we wanted to see was not there having been stolen from the museum . In 1902 William Cavendish- Benthinck who was the 6th Duke of Portland commissioned the jewellers Cartier to make a tiara for his wife Winifred so that she could wear it at the coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The family decided to display the tiara in a thick armour plated glass case . However on the 30th November 2018 thieves broke in and took the tiara which has never been recovered.

After our visit we headed for lunch . How about something different ? Something Veggie. We headed for the nearby Van Dyk Hotel . Lunch was an unusual Butternut Squash sitting on top of a pastry base. Scattered feta cheese on top of the butternut squash. Accompanied by asparagus , leek, Brocoflower and roasted potatoes . What a nice end to the day . All we need now is our girl to be sorted .


18th November 2019

House selling!
Is hard work!! I just dont know why it is complicated these days. but it does seem that it is!! Nothing is co-ordinated in this day and age! We ended up living in our Campervan/hotel/whoever would have us for about 9 months. The whole experience was not pleasant at all!! Still, your lunch sounded yummy!!
19th November 2019

your trip
All I can say is wow what a trip you are on . It sounds full on and you have been really busy. What a shame you didnt get to some of the places you wanted to see. The weather can be a pain at times. We loved Valencia and enjoyed Marseilles. I have always fancied Palma . Perhaps we will make it one day. We are glad we have given up selling for the time being. We might come back to it next year. It just got too hard trying to find somewhere in the Ruthin area that suited . We can concentrate on ourselves for a while instead . We should be like Scotland - handshake binding . It might stop the mess we found ourselves in. Moved many times and never had it so bad before . How have you found the Air Bnb properties ? My hairdresser stayed at two - one in Split and one on Brac and they were both brilliant .Another friend went to some in India and they were of a variable nature as you would expect . You are missing some cold weather . Ice on the car again this morning -3 bloody cold . Not enjoying the weather at all and it is not even winter yet !!!!
19th November 2019

House selling
We are back in the UK now!! Its freezing!!! The Airbnb in Mallorca wasn't as the bathroom was separate, the roof terrace was up a load of stairs and the room was quite small! BUT- most of the time they are fine - read between the lines and then you know exactly what you are getting! Cheaper than hotels and usually much more comfortable with kitchen facilities for breakfast etc! Not sure I would stay in Airbnb in India!!! They have different standards and its a different culture so I would be a bit wary!! Hotels are quite cheap, I think, anyway!! Hope you have Gabby sorted now?
21st November 2019

Glad you are back
Good to hear that you got back OK . Hopefully the weather will return to damp and cool rather than cold and miserable . We took Gabby to Preston and asked for the system to be taken out and have our money back . Plan get it right to go to France Christmas and then try Road Pro to fit another one , We were sitting in a pub and got the call - the fitter thought it was the regulator . It was taking power in from the sun and from the alternator and instead of stopping the battery overheating it was shutting it down completely . Stopping it giving out power as well. It should have just stopped charging . He refitted a new regulator and we got home and everything was working . Still got 12 volt after three days so hopefully it is fixed . Going out to Teversal for a night out on Sunday to test it out . Just have got fingers and toes crossed that it is finally fixed . Have you any plans now for any trips ?
21st November 2019

Glad you are back
Fingers crossed for you that the solar panels work ok now and that it was the regulator. Its horrible when Campervans go wrong - you kind of lose trust in them and it takes a while for you to get it back! Well, thats what I found anyway!. The weather here is horrible, its so cold, damp and grey!! Nothing else to do except book trips away!! lol Today we have booked a 3 week cruise around South America in Feb and Vienna for a week in December for the xmas markets!! I feel more trips coming up for Spain in January and March next year as well!! Happy travelling!
23rd November 2019

south america
Wow sounds like an experience South America . Would love to go there . Would like to go to Patagonia for obvious reasons . Glenn does not fly and hates cruises so unlikely I will make it either way . Vienna is nice . Been twice . Cold and wet both times. I prefer it but Glenn wasnt fussed . Think he saw it in the wrong light . Another time he might have enjoyed it . Gabby still OK , everything crossed it stays that way . Planning Christmas trip as we speak . Not much open and it is a gamble but should get some seaside walks , a few Christmas markets and some lovely french towns which hopefully will be decked for the festive season. Need to start planning northern Germany and Denmark - so much to see and hopefully we will get back some of our wow days . I think travelling in a motorhome for 6 years has left us having seen most of the big WOW things and perhaps we have to do somewhere completely different . Have a good weekend .
23rd November 2019

Heavy rain , flooding, frost in the mornings .
Oh to have the rain in Eastern Australia but flooding and frost would result in further disasters. That part of Europe is experiencing unusual flooding, other parts of the World experiencing unusually extended periods of dry, Greenland and the Arctic and parts of Antarctica melting. In Oz there are constant debates whether it is climate change contributed by human intervention or not. Forget the philosophical arguments as they progress nothing. Yet is anyone doing anything to see if humanity can do anything about it?
25th November 2019

climate change
Over here there is much being said about climate change and our behaviour . We are getting more windfarms and more renewable sources for energy which cannot be a bad thing. However across the Pond - Trump does not believe anything is happening . We are being encouraged to ditch our diesel vehicles and go back to petrol or electric power and are being charged more to drive environmentally unfriendly vehicles . Things have changed since I was a child . We no longer have seasons that feel like seasons . Springs are no longer lovely, summers either wet or boiling hot , winters odd . More rain , more floods . What to do about it who knows . We are even stopping eating meat to try to make a change to the way the world is . I dont know how things will change when China and India still produce so much in the way of greenhouse gases . we wont have a planet if we carry on the way we are .
24th November 2019

South America
Im hoping that Vienna will be snowy with lots of xmas markets!! We shall see!! Looking forward to reading about your trips over xmas and next year also! Happy Travelling!! x
26th November 2019

Climate change
We too had distinct seasons in Sydney when I was a child, Jennifer. Now the seasons overlap, summer seems to be longer, some years I don't wear a jumper at all. If you go to high ground over a city and see a grimey line called smog, do you really think its OK to breathe it? Then when the World is talking about severe unusual climatic events, how long can we ignore it and pretend it will pass if we do nothing to try to improve the air we breathe. And let's not forget the quality of our food and water. I am not a climate activist. I am just a guy who shakes his head and wonders why can't governments actively try to make to make the air we breathe better rather than just act dumb. Just because China and India don't seem to want to, is that a reason why we should not bother? Plant a seed and something grows. At the very least we can broadcast seeds and hope they grow. Yet words are just words. I reckon I will shake my head until it drops off!
26th November 2019

climate change
I think I too will shake my head off with the intransigence of the public in general and the politicians . We are too fixated with Brexit at the moment . Everything else has gone down the pan . Our prime minister talks about a deal being oven ready . I would love to shove him in an oven and turn it on !!!!! The kids here are talking about climate change but they use electricity and batteries as if they are going out of fashion , their mums take them to school in 4 x 4 's . They protest but honestly if you look at what they do they are less environmentally friendly than we are . I swear we recycled more and cared for the planet than they do despite all their talk. Interesting to hear about the way climate is affecting you in Oz.

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