Since finally getting down to writing this blog I have been desperately trying to get caught up to the present time. Problem with that is that as fast as I add items we are going to more places and more things are happening to us.
With that in mind I am going to change tack a little and get things down as they happen and look back every now and again to fill in the blanks as I go along.
We are currently at Shamba Holidays just north of Bournemouth in Dorset having arrived here last Sunday just as it started to rain again. All the pitches are grass and completely water logged so they had us park on the gravel road along side the pitches. This was not an issue as there was only one other motorhome on the site along with several caravans dotted around the site all of which are seasonals and unoccupied at present.
The following morning our one neighbour moved on leaving us alone with 6 staff to look after us. It was like this until Friday where some other motorhomes turned up along with a few of the seasonal residents bringing with them some much improved weather which was set to improve more over the week end. At long last, I am really starting to get bored now with the wet and the wind and sooooo looking forward to next winter and NOT being in this country.
The site is very well maintained with the very best in laundry and washing up facilities. The showers and toilets are the absolutely the very best, very warm and spotlessly clean. It also has an indoor swimming pool with a sliding roof to make it an outdoor pool when the weather permits. A large club house, open only Friday and Saturday during low season where a good range of food is available to eat in or take away.
I had arranged to pick up my eldest son from his halls of residence at Bournemouth on Saturday morning for a day out and to explore a local attraction or two maybe.
Sine I have a great fascination in steam trains I had opted to visit Swanage Railway which was about an hours drive away. The railway, unusually, runs all year round but only on weekends during the winter months, between Swanage and Norden. A google map check revealed there was a large parking area at both ends and seeing as you had to pass Norden to get to Swanage this is where we headed for.
Alas Norden is for cars only with signs telling you No Caravans and unsuitable for large motorhomes. Oh well, never mind, on to Swanage where, what is called, the main beach long stay car park has 10 or more long bays supposedly for coaches only for just £4 for 24 hours. Now the odd thing is it also says no overnight parking. So having paid for 24 hours I am not allowed to stay there for 24 hours. How the hell does that work and is it actually legal?
Leaving Ann in the van with the two dogs, off me Nat go to find the station but seeing as there is a serious lack of signage in the car park we had to guess. Not too difficult as the blow of a whistle and a plume of steam rising in the air gave us a clue to direction. Trapesing down a muddy track, climbing a steep bank, cutting through the local church graveyard and over a bridge with no footpath we found the entrance to the station.
Having managed to miss the train, which was leaving nearly 10 minutes late, by literally seconds, we had an hour to wait and enjoyed a drink and a bacon roll in the cafe they have set up there in an old pullman carriage permanently situated at the end of the platform.
A carful examination of the timetable reveals we have a choice of a two hour wait either at Corfe Castle or Norden where there is a Mineral and mining museum. We opted to stop at Corfe Castle as this seemed to be possible the most interesting and more to do.
The journey to the castle under a perfect blue sky was a mere 20 minutes and passed through some beautiful views and landscapes. We also passed a camp site with several hard standings almost right next to the track and made a mental note that next time we are in the area its right there we must stay so I can sit out in the sun and wave at the trains as they pass, very Railway Children. Ann is not really convinced and is not keen (Women really just don’t get it).
The village sitting below Corfe Castle is beautiful little village has a long history dating way back to evidence of a settlement here 6000 BC. There is a tiny free museum, the smallest I have ever seen, with various artefacts found in the area to bear this out as well as some recovered rocks with dinosaur foot prints in them. There is also a couple of pubs, hotel, post office, souvenir shop and church.
The castle itself very impressively overlooks this village high up on the hill and is owned by the National Trust. The walk up the hill to the castle is roughly paved and moderately steep but well worth the effort as once up there you have some amazing views of the surrounding county side and down to the village.
We rejoined the train and continued on to Norden passing round the castle which towered over us up on the hill and can easily image how imposing it would have been in its day. To be honest it still is very imposing and impressive.
After a brief pause at Norden the train headed back to Swanage where we worked out the correct way back to the car park without having to cross the Graveyard.
The car park on our return was quite a bit fuller also with now 4 other motorhomes in the coach bays. Ann told me at one point there were about 10 of them, so seems a popular parking spot for us motor homers.