After a very chatty start to 2018 I seem to have reverted to not writing for a while. It’s not as though there hasn’t been plenty going on since Oli picked up his new van at the end of May – there has! I sometimes find it more difficult to write when I’m struggling in general.  Hopefully my upcoming change of employment will help on that front – after five years at Maples I’m moving on to another law firm. Whilst that is most definitely a positive thing, we all know how well I deal with big life changes! In a nutshell, that means we have got a few months of good stuff to catch up with.

Violated – and not in a good way

One of my achievements this summer has been to climb all three of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, admittedly not all in one go! Frankly it has been far too hot and I’m not sure that I would enjoy it. Doing them individually however, was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the morning before we conquered Whernside (the biggest hill in Yorkshire), I went down to the underground car park at the flat to retrieve my hat only to find that both the bug and the bus had been broken into.

The only damage done was to the bug’s paintwork and the only things they stole were of minimal financial value. Annoyingly they did have my old headtorch from my D of E days and also the storage bag for my old tent – again something I’d had for over 25 years. W*ankers. Because I’m planning on having a go at some of the surface rust that seems to be coming through in a few areas, I did have a go at repairing the damage and I don’t think I did a bad job at all. Just need to put a couple of days aside to deal with the bigger paint issues now.

With the heatwave over the summer the flat has been horrifyingly hot so I took every opportunity to get out in the evening for a bit of a pootle and found a couple of nice loops into the countryside north of Leeds.  And now that the bug has had its wheel alignment sorted out and the bus has a fresh anti-roll bar fitted, the pair of them are probably driving the best they ever have. The bug only needed a new pair of front tyres for its MoT, thanks to the wonky wheel alignment, and the only other physical changes I’ve made is to add a shift extender and to replace the locking fuel cap with a non-locking version on the bus. That locking fuel cap was, without doubt, the most irritating piece of cr*p I have ever come across.

Big hills denied

We’ve also had a couple of weekends away in the bus in the latter half of August, up to the Lakes and Masham. The original plan was to head up the National Trust site at Wasdale so that we could have a go at Scafell Pike but the forecast was for such torrential rain that we decided to relocate to Coniston (obviously) to potentially have another go at the Old Man. We would then have the option of taking refuge in a certain hostelry if the weather put pay to our efforts.

Putting up the awning in the rain sucks. Especially after the summer we’d had up to that point. Not only that but we pretty much had to run the mile from the Park Coppice site to the Black Bull so we could get there in time to order food (and enjoy a good few pints). The following day the weather wasn’t a whole lot better so we decided to stay relatively low rather than try to get to the top of the Old Man. In doing so we worked up a decent thirst, having had a really good walk up to Levers Water through the old copper mines. Scafell Pike and the Old Man are peaks that still elude me – one of these days!

The bank holiday weekend that immediately followed saw us meet up at Masham with the Frenchs and the Pageant 7, with Matt driving up from Kent. The grass pitches at the Old Station are so much easier to get the awning pegs in than those at Park Coppice in Coniston! The sun made an appearance on the Saturday so we did a nice 8.5 mile loop finishing up at the White Bear Hotel in Masham to enjoy some of Theakston’s finest. With the weather taking a turn the next day the decision was made to do the brewery tour on the Sunday. Naturally we had a terrible time…….

And that pretty much brings you up to date. The wind is howling outside and summer feels like forever ago. That’s probably not been aided by the lack of time off work, but that is nonsense best forgotten.

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