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Published: December 19th 2017
The words "patience is a virtue "come to mind, Time has that strange habit of taking either a long time to pass or it flies by quickly. Motorhoming has the strange habit of making you sit around doing nothing. Doing nothing but think about holidays you have been on or thinking about holidays you are likely to go on. It is now the dragging of time that comes to the fore as we wait for Gabby. We wanted her early but there was a motorhome show to contend with and all the technicians and all the salesmen were going to be at the show . We were given a date to pick Gabby up and we sat and waited .
We waited .............no news of how she was getting on. Had any work been done on her we wondered? We waited ..............the tracker company rang up to say that the new tracker had been fitted. Did we want to start the contract now? Of course we did. It would give us the opportunity to track our new girl and see just what she was up to. We found her lurking around all different parts of the dealership as presumably her
solar panel was being fitted, her new Gaslow bottles too plus a new reversing camera. We patiently - no that is a lie- we frustratedly worked out how to get to Newark to pick her up. Free bus ride from home to Chesterfield . Thankyou government for our free bus passes. We picked up two cheap day single tickets on the train to Newark . A little over £6 each if I booked them straightaway. There were only two left at this price. Next lot for sale were over double the price. From Newark station to the showroom would involve a walk.
Slowly but surely the days ticked by. We got up , we thought of Gabby. We planned. We couldn't wait. It was like waiting for Suzy although not as long. Last time we read Motorhome magazines and blogs, we visited showrooms and shows for over 8 months whilst we waited. Patience does it . Good things come to he who waits.
The day dawned bright. Today was the day. Would everything fall into place?. First step walk to the bus stop Would the bus arrive on time? As we stood we wondered what would happen if
we could not pick Gabby up. We had given no thought to how we would get home. Surely nothing would go wrong. The bus rolled up, we got on , we chatted and when we got off we had time to go for a cup of tea and doorstep sizes slices of toast. A quick walk to the station followed. What would happen if the train was late? We had seats booked on the Chesterfield to Nottingham part and had 20 minutes to find the local connection at Nottingham for Newark. What would happen if our money failed to go through ? Our heads were full of everything that possibly could go wrong. The train was 10 minutes late. It was stuck behind a slow moving train. Not a problem we would still just about have time to make the connection and walk to the showroom for our 2pm appointment,
With butterflies flying round our stomachs we watched the train pull in. All the way I looked at my watch. Please don't let there be any more delays . We rolled in 5o the many platformed Nottingham station and looked for the board which would tell us where the
Newark train pulled out of. 6A but where was 6A? A long walk up the platform , over the bridge to the other side and there she was - the Newark train. A pretty journey followed and we came ever closer to picking up Gabby.
The walk from the station took fifteen minutes . Fifteen minutes of a conversation that went from wondering if they would be expecting us to what to do if it all went wrong . It didn't. We were greeted , sat down with a coffee as we were early. A dour Scotsman business like in his approach took us out to Gabby and walked us round her so that we could inspect her paintwork for scratches or dents or indeed anything untoward. Nothing wrong there. He told us as we had driven a motorhome before he would skip over some things. That was ok with us as we are no longer green when it comes to motorhoming. All we wanted to know was what was different in Gabby to Suzy. He opened the back doors, showed us the gas cylinders and how to work them. He pointed to the beds and all the storage
space. On the way round he showed the filling points for diesel and for the gas. He opened the doors and explained how the chairs swivelled, how the tables worked and how the lights could be moved along a rail. He opened every cupboard and drawer. He showed us the battery spaces , the fridge and the workings of the shower. All with no vestige of a smile on his face. The last job was to explain the reversing camera and the controls. All good and we moved on to pay.
There is always a worry with paying such a large amount. We could have sent it a few days before by BACS but there is always the risk the system is down or some silly fool puts in the wrong codes and the money ends up in someone else's pocket. We had the opportunity to drive to Newark with a cheque which would have taken 10 days to clear or pay part by debit . In the end we rang the bank , explained a large amount of money would be leaving the account and not to stop it. The whole process took rather a while to go
through but in the end we left the building the proud owners of Gabby the Globecar.
We drove home and went to park Gabby on the drive. We thoughts of where to take her on her inaugural trip Glenn put her into reverse. Over the pavement and onto the drive - crunch. The noise was deafening. We could not see anything in the way. What was the problem? Underneath we found that Gabby was rather low slung. Her steps made her even closer to the ground. We live on a hill. The pavement is humped to stop rain running into our gardens. The drive falls 4 feet down from the pavement and Gabby was going nowhere. She was grounded and we had to leave her a neighbours drive until we could sort out our problem. Our patience was being tested to the limit . We had to according to Anandamayi Ma an Eastern sage "Acquire a firm will and the utmost patience" Not an easy thing to do when you want to get on the road again.
So why am I writing about Shrewsbury when Gabby is still stuck on the neighbours drive? Well, I will return to
the parking of Gabby in another blog .
We wondered where to go for our first trip out. We needed to try her out and find out how to work things in her. She was different to Suzy. I had little idea where anything was kept. There was not room to pass each other. We needed to sort out a plan and the only way to do that was to get in her and book somewhere. As we had to take to wreaths to Wrexham and Telford and visit my daughter in Shropshire it made sense to find somewhere closer to them where we could stay a few days. Love2Stay came up trumps. A new site attached to Salop Leisure at Emstrey near Shrewsbury. We arrived with no expectations. The site was bulled up as something special. It was new and had over 100 plots. We got a cheap two day deal and it was on a bus route to Shrewsbury. What was there not to like?
The reception and poshly named concierge was well ........posh. Lovely staff who issued me with a brochure, a map of the site, two keys for the shower block and bus time
table. The building was covered in light wood and blended in beautifully with the surrounding countryside. When the trees mature it will be lovely. Attached was a café all decorated for Christmas. The colour Shrewsbury seem to have chosen was orange and green. Pretty they looked too. We ate a bacon sandwich and drank coffee in the café. Outside is an army assault course, glamping tents, holiday cabins, an ice skating rink, a lake to swim in and a shower block that was impressive., Music played , the décor was splendid, the taps silver and worked by touch, huge shower cubicles, areas for dog washing and even baby baths. If you can think luxury it was all there in bucketloads. In the massive kitchens was a pizza oven. There seemed to be everything you could think of.
So how did we get on with Gabby the first night. It was odd. The step goes out but is not automatically retracted. We had no T.V. We thought about an aerial but decided to wait and see how we got on. Plenty of books to read. We can't work out how to get the waste water out. It showed 50% full
but opening the valves did nothing. The remis blinds are a treat. Cooking is odd as I only have two gas rings. No oven, no microwave. The fridge is far better than Suzys fridge and gets cold. The beds are comfortable and warm and the gas heating is hot. We found ourselves comparing and contrasting the two vans. Some things are going to take a while to adapt to. We no longer have a separate shower/toilet. This one has a tamboured door which juts into the passageway. All in all though Gabby is a treat to drive, is easier to park and looks good. Well I hope you think she looks good too. How good was it to find out that the company who fitted the Gaslow system filled it for us as part of the price unlike the company who fitted Suzy who left it empty. Still things to learn but we will learn and hopefully will get used to the difference from a motorhome to a panel van.
Our first trip into Shrewsbury was started with a walk to the bus stop. A bit of trek and no pavement . It was cold as we walked .
It even seeped through our heavy winter coats, our scarves and our gloves. At least it was not snowing so some mercies to talk about . The number 96 turned up just a tiny bit late. Cost us nothing to get in to town and before long we found ourselves in the bus station. What we hadn't expected was that it would not turn up in the afternoon and we would have to resort to getting a taxi back.
Shrewsbury is a lovely town nestling on the River Severn which meanders around it. Walking up through the closed Shropshire Archives we found ourselves on the road outside the castle and regimental museum. Shrewsbury is on a hill so everywhere you go you have to walk up and then back down again. This gives it some character. The castle and museum were closed. Had we visited yesterday they were open and there was a street market no doubt selling mulled wine and hot chestnuts. The castle was built as a defensive fortification for the town, which was otherwise protected by the river. There were town walls but little now remains. These radiated out from the castle and surrounded the town. The colour of the castle is rich red due to it being built of the local sandstone. It is a castle that was besieged briefly by King Steven in 1138 and also held by the Welshman LLewellyn ap Iorwerth , Prince of Wales in the year 1215. Shrewsbury is very much a market town on the border between England and Wales and shows its precarious position. Oddly the castle was purchased by Shropshire Horticultural Society in 1924 and given to the town. The town is well known for it Shrewsbury Flower show which is still held to this day. It houses the spectacular Shropshire Regimental museum which has according to the blurb a wonderful collection of memorabilia which includes pictures, uniforms, medals, silverware, weapons and other artefacts from the 18th Century to the present day. On site there is is also a Modern Army display (including information on The Rifles), items from the collections of the Lords Lieutenant of Shropshire and a history of the Castle itself. The castle looks old and was built between 1067 and 1074, during the reign of William the Conqueror and, gradually rebuilt in stone, it became a major border fortress in the Middle Ages. After the conquest of Wales by 1300, the Castle fell into disrepair but in the late 16th century it was revived to become a domestic residence. At the time of the Civil Wars (1642-51), the Castle was returned to a domestic use under Charles II. In the late 18th century Thomas Telford remodelled the Great Hall as a private house, which it remained until the end of World War I.
Our next stop was the Charles Darwin Trail. One of Shrewsburys famous sons he was voted one of the most outstanding Britons. Born in 1809 in Mount House in the town, Charles spent 27 years of his life in Shrewsbury. We are on Castle Street standing in front of the library and the statue of the man himself. The statue was designed by H. Montford and erected in 1897 to celebrate Shrewsbury’s most famous son. The building was previously Shrewsbury School where Darwin attended school after leaving the tutorship of Reverend Case. It is another of those lovely buildings that stands amongst the black and white magpie and cream, buttermilk and oak medieval structures.
Our walk took us down to the Market Hall set in a picture perfect square. The old market hall stood in the centre. Shrewsbury is so full of interesting buildings and also interesting shops. Independents with goods tempting us inside. Our final stop was lunch, milky hot chocolate and panini full to the brim with turkey, cranberries and stuffing. Tomorrow it is the jail and the abbey.
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