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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 18 2019 03:44AM

Motorhome trip No40 : Oct 14th- 17th 2019


NOTTS->Greetham, Rutland and Surrounds ->NOTTS 247 miles


This was our second trip to Greetham after a failed attempt with Craig and Edie in August because of too much rain.


Having packed last minute stuff we headed off initially to Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire where we did the Treasure Trail quiz similar to that which we did in Whitstable. Sadly it was raining so a brolly for our walk around the town and parks was essential. The trail quizzes are a great way to get to know a town better and although we had been through Melton on many occasions it is not a place we really knew. It is a lovely place with many blue plaques celebrating the famous, especially Thomas Cromwell, Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII amongst others. Ye old Pork Pie Shoppe for which Melton is famed allowed us to buy at a reduced price a huge chicken, ham and pork pie, just so yummy!


By the time we got back to the van after our 2 hour quiz it was very dark and what can only be called a dramatic storm, which sadly was to continue for the rest of the day and night causing some rural flooding. Back at the van we had pre made sandwiches and some of our lovely pie.


Then it was onto the campsite at Greetham. Although we have been there before in November 2017, Blog 120 (CLICK HERE to view) we had forgotten how to get to the site as the SatNav coordinates don’t work. Luckily whilst pulled up opposite the Plough Inn Terry from the Camping and Caravan site rang as they wished to close early because of the weather and gave me great directions. It was almost 5pm. We will not forget if and when there is a next time. We were on pitch 25 for 3 nights,in the adult only area. All pitches have all 3 services i.e electrics, drinking water and drain for your grey waste, there is a mixture of grass and hard standing pitches


We went out each day, the weather being slightly better on the Tuesday and much better, indeed some sunshine on the Wednesday and typically full sunshine on the way home on Thursday.


We visited amongst others Apethorpe Palace, Northamptonshire – closed after English Heritage sold it to a French Aristocrat for a snip, Peterborough Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, Rutland Water, Eyebrook resevoir, the River Eye (very swollen), Lyddington Bede house, Lyddington, Rutland plus lunch at the Old White Hart , yummy and most of the villages in south east Leicestershire, the best of which in our humble opinion are Great Easton, Tur Langham and Carlton Curlieu.


All in all a very relaxing 3 days away in our lovely Wendy house.


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



Best Chicken, Ham and Pork Pie Ever
Best Chicken, Ham and Pork Pie Ever


Peterborough Cathedral
Peterborough Cathedral



By keef and annie hellinger, Sep 9 2019 06:51AM

Motorhome trip No39 : Sept 6th- 8th 2019


NOTTS->Swiss Farm Touring and Camping, Henley-on-Thames ,Oxon->NOTTS 290 miles


Almost 260 years around the table and 30+ camping years under our belts collectively , you could call us the Master Campers *smile*


We visited Swiss Farm Touring and Campsing with our dear pals Pete and Joy. A very well laid out site with good amenities, camping ground for tents, café and swimming pool (heated outdoors). If the weather had been warmer outside I would have gone in but on Sunday morning chickened out as 10c but it certainly warmed up later in the day.


We were on hard standing pitches 37 & 29 respectively on the same row but sadly not adjoining as we had rather gate crashed their weekend away and booked later, also we were on a 6m(etre) pitch and Pete & Joy on a 7m pitch. The lady on reception however had done a good job of getting us reasonably close.


After setting up we all walked into town , about a 20 minute walk at my slow pace. A lovely old market town on the river Thames with some amazing architecture. We had a few bevies in the 3 Tuns pub and a good catch up. In between it bucketed it down, just glad we were inside. Henley seems to have more pubs and dogs than people and the dog of choice for how shall I say this , “the somewhat wealthy” is the pug, not the most beautiful dog in my humble opinion. Stands back to deflect hurls of abuse *smile*


We then strolled down to the old river bridge sandwiched between the angel and red lion pubs, see what I mean about the number of hostelries and surprisingly they are all still trading, great views, great stories, great pictures.


We then moseyed back to the site along the edge of the boating Thames, well as best we could. Between Henley and Hurley is the Leander club, home of some very famous rowers. More chatting and supper of lasagne, garlic bread, salad followed by cheese and bikkies and some good wine, #bliss


Saturday we made our way back into town for a slightly longer explore and a bit of retail therapy. Asquiths world famous TEDDY bear shop was a real hit. Amazing animals in there as well as the very expensive Stief bears under lock and key. We then strolled along some of the back streets , half timbered houses, Georgian palatial abodes down to the river and back up to the Angel Inn on the bridge where we had lunch and ale / wine / soft drinks. Pete Joy & I had seafood chowder and very good it was too. Annie had terrine salad and rustic toast. The place was packed!


Bit more shopping as we strolled back to the campsite, sitting outside for a bit until the chill set in. Lovely evening BBQ steak, halloumi, kebabs, burgers salad and cheese and bikkies. Yummy! Thanks Pete & Joy.


Sunday after breakfast of croissants, pack up time and fond good byes until the next time. We went via Beaconsfield in search of Annie’s granddads grave in the historic Jordan’s Quaker burial ground 1688 and with the help of John in the Quaker meeting house found it easily. After that we returned via M25 / M1. All in all a lovely weekend and would recommend campsite and area. We will be back


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



Friends lunching, Angel Inn on the bridge, Henley on Thames
Friends lunching, Angel Inn on the bridge, Henley on Thames


Portrait time
Portrait time





By keef and annie hellinger, Jul 6 2019 04:38PM

Motorhome trip No37 : May 5th – July 3rd 2019


NOTTS (home)->Faroes & Iceland via Holland, Germany & Denmark ->NOTTS (home) 5257 miles


What a fantastic 2 months away, scenery to die for, lovely people, couldn’t have asked for better weather in Iceland, as an example the preceding June it rained non stop for 28 days. We had 16 consecutive days of 24 hour sun. You get used to the sun falling and then re-arising moments later. It just never got dark in either the Faroes nor Iceland so it was really weird when returning to Germany via Denmark when it did go dark.


Besides 6 countries, 5257 miles by road (wendy house was amazing up some of the mountain sides) , snow, sun , fog, polar winds, more sun we also spent 7 days at sea so it was like throwing in a mini cruise as well on both Stena lines Harwich-Hoek Van Holland return and Smyril lines MS Norrona from Hirtshals top of Jutland, Denmark to initially Torshavn in the Faroes then Seydisfjordur, East Iceland return. Smyril line is a Faroese owned passenger and cargo ferry / transportation company.


The ferry goes right past the Shetlands, indeed when we were younger it did stop there but as not enough traffic now Smyril stopped it. Bad news for Brits as you now have to go all the way thru Europe to get there!


It is worth saying that the Faroes has 18 islands connected either via Ferry, Bridge or undersea Tunnel. Some we weren’t able to do especially Sandoy… ferry over subscribed and the far north islands as the tunnel at 3.1m was a little too low for comfort when taking the van thru. The Smyril line provide you with a booklet for download of the Faroes campsites. A selection of our fave places where Gasadalur on Vagar, Torshavn campsite views of Hestur, Kaldbak on Streymoy,Vestmanna, Gjogv on Eysturoy, Hosvik, Saksun (both Streymoy),Vikings at Leirvik, Trollanes on Kalsoy. See the pictures to get a feel. We loved it , a week and a half is probably enough but you are guided by the ferry timetable! Also glad we went there 1st before Iceland, I think on balance it’s the right order.


Iceland is a magnificent place to visit. Absolutely bowled over by it. Apart from my scary 2nd day morning climbing over the mountain out of Seydisfjordur in driving snow and winds where you could barely see the road, much less that it was surrounded on both sides by frozen lakes… it was all a joy! Get an Iceland camping card if you are staying more than 2 weeks, sites are plentiful in the east, south west, western fjords and the north… not so in big stretches of the southern coast. Sites are not great but mostly adequate with the exception of Reydarfjordur, Isafjordur and Siglufjordur which are wonderful. If you are not using the card it can be very costly. Reyjkavik for example is not part of this scheme and about £39 / night. Take as much canned food, rice, pasta etc with you that you can fit in your van to control your expenditure. Sadly whale watching for us at Husavik was off, foggy and blowing a hoolie! A selection of our fave places were Reydarfjordur (east) and areas out to Nordfjord, whole of the western Fjords, Vatnajokull NP, Jokulsarlon Lagoon Icebergs,Porshavn (north),many of the lovely fjords and Waterfalls, the Kerfla active volcano area (north west) , Siglufjordur (north),Husavik (north), Grindavik (south west) and as a city Akureyri. See the pictures to get a feel.


If you would like to see the slideshows of our fun in the Faroes please CLICK HERE, or for Iceland please CLICK HERE thanks


For the videos please CLICK HERE


The calendar here shows our day by day activities / whereabouts… enjoy x


Siglufjordur, North Iceland
Siglufjordur, North Iceland




inside the van (panorama) gjogv, esturoy, faroe islands
inside the van (panorama) gjogv, esturoy, faroe islands


funningur - lovely village, esturoy, faroes
funningur - lovely village, esturoy, faroes







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