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Keef & Anne's Travel Blog

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By keef and annie hellinger, May 19 2020 07:52AM

During this Coronavirus / Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown why not break up your day by doing my “Where in the World “ motorhome travels quiz…every picture is a place we have visited and can be found here on the website. Answers are applied after a while so you can check back. Thanks for looking


If you want to look CLICK HERE


Below is also my take on whats happening, recorded for memories sake, troubling times, but it sure helps one focus on what is important and what & whom you miss!


In future when this appears in my memories, I will look back on hard times and will hopefully appreciate what are the important things in my life.


Living life in coronavirus times , which could be a while yet!


Prime Minister Boris Johnson started lockdown on the evening of 23rd of March 2020 On the 5th April he was admitted to hospital after 10 days self isolating with the Corona Virus On the 6th April he is in intensive care with deteriorating symptoms The Queen addressed the nation at 8pm on 5th April

Excel now known as NHS Nightingale and will be a hospital for up to 4,000 patients, most of whom are on ventilators. Similar venues being used in cities across the country. Opened by Prince Charles at 11am on 3rd April

Community support groups established, to support the vulnerable, elderly, immunocompromised and people in enforced isolation due to exposure, in their community

Petrol price close to home was less than £1… the first time since 2007, but when there is no where to go hardly surprising

Schools closed on Friday 20 March.Remote learning in place either via Home schooling or BBC Bitesize

Self-distancing measures required Don’t stand so close to me, i.e 2m

Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (2 mtrs) from each other.

Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, line-ups outside the store doors

Non-essential stores, pubs and businesses mandated closed People who can work from home should do, Boris decreed back to work 14 May 2020 for construction workers and folk who can’t work from home

Parks , trails, entire cities closed or restricted to locals only in their bubble.

Entire sports seasons cancelled.

Olympics postponed to 2021 Concerts,tours, festivals etc cancelled

Weddings family celebrations holiday gatherings even funerals cancelled, although relaxed to allow upto 9 attendees mid may

No masses, churches are closed No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, then 10 or more. Now, Don't socialize with anyone outside of your home bubble , but rather confusingly from 14 May you can see 1 person from outside your household in an open space BUT if your parents are your cleaner or buying your house you can see both of them, confuseddotcom!

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and all other TV networks are on in every home daily now Children's outdoor play parks are closed Reruns of the Chelsea flower show. Have I got news for you and just about anything else done via Zoom or Skype. Everyones bookcase as a background is the new Claim to fame, especially if you strategically place Stephen Hawkings a brief history of Time. We are to distance from each other. Shortage of masks gowns gloves for our front-line workers.Both NHS and Care Homes. Care homes sadly an afterthought. At least a 3rd are dieing there. Very worrying. Government main priority to “Protect the NHS” NOT surprisingly to “Save Lives” PPE (new vocabulary along with social distancing) meaning Personal Protective Equipment

Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill in many parts of the world.

Refrigerated trucks for the dead outside hospitals in the USA Italy Spain China and more. Sadly mid May UK becomes 2nd highest number of deaths in the world behind the US and highest in Europe 35k by 18 May although ONS figures show 3k higher (never explained rationally)

Panic buying sets in and we have limits on toilet paper disinfecting supplies, paper towels, staple foods (Eggs & milk become issues, definite supply chain issues as farmers say they are throwing away litres of milk) hand sanitizer Flour is hard to get because the packaging comes from China and borders are closed , interestingly not in the UK until 18 May announcement (and then not for allegedly selected countries Eire & France. Weird and inconsistent)

Manufacturers distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks hand sanitizer and PPE , Multiple hand washes per day becomes the “New Normal”, even allowing post to sit on the door mat for 3 days, the time for Covid19/Coronavirus to go from packaging

Fines are established for breaking lockdown rules Initially £30 then increased to £100 although some debate about whether or not the police can enforce them

Stadiums and recreation facilities overseas open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.

Public Park areas turned into caravan parks for stranded tourists to self isolate

Press conferences daily from the PM and other government officials (Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty becomes bit of a hero, Chief Scientist Sir Patrick Vallance the opposite after his Herd Immunity idea). Daily updates on new cases, recoveries, and deaths . Initial idea in March was < £20k deaths good target , by mid May it was £35k+

Government incentives to stay home. Barely anyone on the roads initially by mid May almost back to normal yet the death rate continues to rise steadily

People wearing masks and gloves outside . Mid May advice changes from probably not a good idea to YES it is a good idea. Especially on crowded public transport and narrow shop spaces

Also took months to lock down our borders (mostly) and that was only for airplanes, ferries and channel tunnel still OK… Hmmm!

Essential service workers are terrified to go to work with good reason

Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families , some great folk live in caravans in the front garden to protect their love ones. “Key worker” is another phrase to enter the English language. There is a national clap every Thursday evening 8pm for NHS & Care workers. Sadly teachers who kept schools open o mind the children of Key workers seem to have been overlooked. Also true of Boris’s 5% off for NHS & Care workers buying new homes in what he hopes will “kick start” the economy

A 99 year old WWII veteran Captain Tom Moore raised £33 million for NHS charities walking 100 lengths of his garden before he turned 100. His target was £1000. People from all over the world donated to his cause.

319K deaths globally so far.(19 May 2020)

This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, WHO declared March 11th, 2020.

Why, you ask, do I write this status? One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted We have so much! Be thankful. Be grateful Be kind to each other - love one another - support everyone , and enjoy your garden and your grandchildren and families and friends everywhere

We are all one! Despite what a US president may think!


To see a "where in the world" slideshow with some of the questions you will get, CLICK HERE





Phase 1 - March to May-Ish
Phase 1 - March to May-Ish
Phase 2 - Mid May
Phase 2 - Mid May
Phase 2 - Reality
Phase 2 - Reality

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, 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, 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