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Keef & Anne's Travel Blog

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By keef and annie hellinger, Feb 22 2020 06:40AM

Not the Motorhome trip No9 : Feb 17th – 21st 2020


NOTTS->Knockerdown Farm, Peak District, Derbyshire, DE6 1NQ ->NOTTS 103 miles


This was our 4th visit as a family to Knockerdown Farm, twice when the boys were younger and then for Annie’s 60th and now again during the half term break with Craig, Leanne and Edie. Lovely time although the weather as expected in early February was not that great being both very cold and wet, however this did not dampen our spirits one iota.


Our full list of visits is

1. 3-6 Dec 1993, Wisels Cottage

2. Feb 1996, Wisels Cottage

3. 3-6 Jan 2014, Farwell Cottage

4. 17-21 Feb 2020, Sabinhay Cottage


Left home about 1 pm on the Monday and went to Carsington water (see BLOG 49) where we had a bit of a damp stroll to the Visitors centre and a lovely cup of freshly brewed coffee in the mainsail café overlooking the lovely waters.


We could not get into the cottage until 3pm and were surprised how close to the visitors centre the Cottages were. This time we were in Sabinhay, the one over the archway. In the past we have stayed in both Wisels and Farwell.


Leanne and Edie arrived very soon after us and we all spent a bit of time unpacking the cars from in front of the cottage and then reparking them in the car park out front. Having settled in we went off for our daily swim. A ritual (including sauna for Grandpa) that we re-enacted daily, one of the real advantages of Knockerdown when the weather isn’t so great. Edie is really coming on in the swimming stakes, won’t be long now before she is a fully fledged dolphin ;)


The other advantage is the very close proximity of the Knockerdown Inn, 2 yards over the road where we ate on both Tues and Weds evening. A very friendly family run pub with great food and Edie loved their doggies. We also discovered they run a campsite with facilities at the back of the pub so we may well yet we back in the motor home.


Craig arrived after work at about 5.30pm. Grandpa cooked halloumi burgers with salad accompaniment for tea. We all retired pooped fairly early which was quite a theme throughout the hols , mostly a combination of fresh air and relaxing in my humble opinion.


On the Tuesday C&L cycled around Carsington Water, a distance of about 8 miles. We took Edie to the playpark, Stone Island, button pressing in the Severn Trent exhibition area and then for a massive slab of choccy cake in the mainsail café. C&L joined us there after their ride.


Wednesday we visited Matlock Farm park where Edie cuddled a guinea pig called Cinnamon. We saw lots of other lovely animals but it was seriously cold so we warmed up with lunch in their café then some indoor fun for Leanne and Edie in the Rainforest shed on the big slide.


Thursday Leanne left for her spa days with Claire and we headed off to the Crich Tramway museum only to find on arrival it was sadly closed. Maybe we should have checked first, DOH! Anyhow no worries we spent most of the day at the Unesco World heritage site of Sir Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mills, great fun and educational.Grandpa cooked Hunters chicken, Jacket pot , Cauli cheese and carrots for tea.


Friday morning we were all up early to breakfast and pack the cars, then we visited the National Stone Centre at Wirksworth where Granny bought Edie some polished stones. Quite an interesting walk around and somewhere we had never been before. We then returned to the Priory at Loughborough for a final family lunch together before heading homewards. All in all a fab family break. Annie and I loved spending time with family!


If you would like to see the slideshows and videos please CLICK HERE


Annie in the Kitchen, Sabinhay Cottage
Annie in the Kitchen, Sabinhay Cottage

Edie at Carsington Water playpark
Edie at Carsington Water playpark

Lovely Carsington Water, Derbyshire
Lovely Carsington Water, Derbyshire




By keef and annie hellinger, Oct 11 2019 05:55AM

Not the Motorhome trip No8 : Oct 4th- 10th 2019


NOTTS->Dorking, London:- Centre, Raynes Park, Clapham, Tooting, Wimbledon and Kent :- Chestfield, Margate, Sandwich, Whitstable, Meopham->NOTTS 397 miles


Left early on the Friday morning for London, M1 closed so used M42 amd M40 to get down to Surrey to visit Mum in her care home, she was bright and cheery and I fed her lunch. Annie packed away all her winter clothing we had delivered. After that we called back in at Mums house to pick up post, eat lunch, and update neighbours. Then it was off to the Travelodge at Raynes Park for our 2 night stay.


Friday evening I went up to meet Chris in London for his 65th birthday. We went to a blues bar in Kingly Street just off Oxford Circus and then after to a Lebanese restaurant.


Saturday was the 3rd White Horse Bent reunion at initially the Windmill on Clapham Common, then the Spice Village Indian restaurant in Tooting and finally the pub at Tooting Bec with Chris, Allyson and Kev, the rest having to get away to various things. Lovely to see David and Cathy over from Canada. Annie got to finally use her new bus pass as we rediscovered the delights of London travel, over ground, underground wombling free bus pass ;0)


Sunday morning after our mega breakfast for the 2nd day at the Travelodge we went to see Mum again via Wimbeldon where Keef took family residents pictures, then onto Kent to stay with Brian and Gina. Had a lovely time with them visiting initially Margate, Turner contemporary and seeing entrants for Turner prize 2019, weird and wonderful! Plus a Earl of Sandwich sandwich in Sandwich. Nice circular walk around Sandwich,a very interesting place. We had a quick walk around Chestfield the next day and finally a quiz walk around Whitstable, all great fun. Loved Ginas home cooking plus a fab Thai meal in Whitstable. The odd laugh thrown in *smile*


On the way back home we called in at Meopham for Keef to sell some old concert programmes and to see Craig and Leanne, all in all a lovely week away.


If you want to see the slideshow of pictures please CLICK HERE





By keef and annie hellinger, Jul 15 2019 05:11PM

Motorhome trip No38 : 12th-14th July 2019


NOTTS (home)->Sherwood Forest Holiday Park, Nottinghamshire ->NOTTS (home) 59 miles


A fab time with all the family at the campsite, in a lovely setting with many amenity blocks and playgrounds for the grand daughters. Also a lovely raised stream walk around the edge of the park backing onto Sherwood Forest. Outside the far end gate is a fishing lake and inside a duck pond and stream for kids to paddle in.


Nearby is Sherwood Pines and the Sherwood Forest steam railway and associated playpark both of which we visited.


We camped on pitch 1 and 2 at the far end of the park, lovely large grass pitches but the place was heaving , not a slot left so well done to Craig for booking. It was the first time they had put up their 8 person tent with awning so that was a fun family experience with all chipping in. Mostly good weather except overnight Saturday. We had lasagne and garlic bread for Friday eve, BBQ Saturday and lunch old at the nearby fab Dog & Duck Inn in Kings Clipstone.


We did the Gruffalo orienteering course thru the Sherwood Pines woods with varying degrees of success… the girls loved the assorted wooded play parks, and minus granny and granddad they all did the Green route cycle track.


It was so nice having Doug and family over from Singapore to be able to do this.


If you would like to see slideshow of our fun please CLICK HERE, thanks


If you wish to see the rest of the fun we had whilst they visited CLICK HERE






By keef and annie hellinger, Jan 13 2019 08:37AM

Not the Motorhome trip No7 : 10th December 2018 – 10th January 2019


NOTTS->Gatwick to Singapore to China to Singapore ->NOTTS 19,346 miles


Spent Christmas and New Year with Doug , Phoenix & Charlie in Singapore and China. Wonderful times and so nice to be able to spend so long with them all.


It should be noted that the concept of Motor homing in Singapore (not big enough, but tent camping is possible in East Coast Park) and China (just culturally so foreign to their nature) is unlikely but who is to say in the future whether or not it will happen. When our daughter-in-laws parents visited us in the UK way back when and I showed her father around our Wendy House he asked if English people lived in them. This trip allowed us the opportunity to repay the visit by spending time with them in their home town of Foshan, Guandong province, China and most welcome they made us too. It is fair to say that language is a barrier but Phoenix and Charlie (as interpreters) and a snazzy app on the iPad meant we could communicate just a little. We loved China, what an opportunity, not somewhere I suggest westerners try without some language skills and WeChatPay and Alipay or a whole stack of cash. Most purchases are via the aforesaid app via your phone!

We were extremely lucky travelling with Norwegian from Gatwick to Changi that we got a Premier economy upgrade, the extra comfort and luxury made the 14+ hours journey to Singapore a whole lot better. Top films in my humble opinion – Hoover by Clint Eastwood (way out), Bad times at the El Grande (way back)

We went to Balalaki Greek Taverna in the historic Tiong Bahru heritage area for Doug’s birthday, and very nice it was too, plus a revisit to Muddy Murphy’s for Xmas dinner, although a new venue this time at the other end of Orchard Road.


We flew out to China the day after Boxing day and spent time in Foshan, Guangzhou and Zhuhai (on the border with Macao). Such an experience, loved every moment. We celebrated Annes’ 65th birthday there at a local village wedding and the Western New Year (clearly not Chinese New Year.. 2019 being the year of the Pig).


We returned to Marine Terrace, Singapore on the 4th and made good use of the pool etc at Nora & Michaels at Cote D’Azur near Parkway Parade before sadly saying our good byes and returning home to a somewhat cooler UK. Singapore was 34c, China sometimes 3c and UK 6c


Among the many highlights in Singapore apart from seeing family were the Q8 at SAM , Singapore Art Museum's spin off for new Artists (the old colonial art museum is currently closed for refurbishment for 3 years), this is located at Bras Basah, The Singapore Heritage Museum, Muddy Murphys in Orchard Road, The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Chinatown, Parkway Parade, the ever wonderful East Coast park, Cote D'azur pools, Tiong Bahru heritage area, Gardens by the bay, Asian civilisation museum, Cavenagh bridge area of the Singapore river and the Paranakan Museum and restaurant in Armenian Street.


Among the many highlights of our time in China I would list shop and chop house establishments, Starry Four Seasons Hotel, Lingnan quarter, Lion dancing, old orange peel, turtle soup, Zumiao museum, firecrackers, Titian village family wedding, Annies 65th, Nanfeng ancient kiln, Ming & Qing pottery, the Canton or Pearl river, Guangzhou south station (so busy), High speed trains, Yuwenquan hot springs resort, Macao boat trip, MGM studios (Macao),Tea, Dim Sum, cantonese food, deep fried scorpion, gooses intestines, worms, beef knuckle, Hong kong-zhuhai-macao bridge, Cold and Warmth, Rickshaws, Paw-Paw & Gong-Gong, straw hats, Air B&B, Chen Clan academy, Starbucks, Guandong museum, Fans & western trade historically, Canton Tower, young chinese girls wanting their photo with me (what an ego boost ;) ), Buddha in many forms, chinese weighing scales, crocodile and goat, buttons and zips.


Looking forward to the next family meet up, “missing you already”

Longer term 2020 Beijing for 600th anniversary of the Forbidden city but hopefully also before then!


If you wish to see the SLIDESHOWS CLICK HERE, thanks



So Guangzhou, China
So Guangzhou, China


Near Tiong Bahru Heritage area , Singapore
Near Tiong Bahru Heritage area , Singapore

Chinese New Years
Chinese New Years


By keef and annie hellinger, Jun 15 2018 05:53PM

Not the Motorhome trip No6 : 26th May – 12th June 2018


Doug and Phoenix and Charlie visited from Singapore to the UK in May / June 2018. Luckily Craig, Leanne & Edie were off for the 1st week so were able to join in. Such lovely family times. We visited amongst others Supernan, Legoland Windsor, White Post Farm, Twycross Zoo, Strawberry Fields Forever, Heights of Abraham, Bolsover Castle, The Luminarium, Sawley Marina.... such wonderful family times !!!!


If you want to see the full saga of events CLICK HERE, thanks



The Luminarium Nottingham
The Luminarium Nottingham