Summertime? Who would have thought that the best weather we have had so far on our trip would be at the beginning of October? Ah, the quirks of the British weather – you just don’t know what is around the corner.
Firstly, apologies to everyone for the spoiler alert in Aussie Dad’s comment on our ‘Just Checking In’ post – it’s like those TV programmes that tell you what you are going to see next week!
By now, you’ll have read D’s post on the Euros so will know how his championship ended. Yes, Walter took a lot of photos of cars, but there is a good reason. The local Skoda dealer lent the club 4 brand new Skoda Yetis to be used as marshal vehicles on the beach – in return, they wanted photos to prove that a 4×4 could be used for something other than runs to the supermarket. Admittedly, one of them got bogged, but so did the fancy-pants Land Rover that went to rescue it! The ancient club tractor saved the day. It was a smart move on Skoda’s part – everyone who drove a Yeti was impressed and several were seriously considering buying one, despite the six month waiting list.
I had a great time at the Euros – much better than I expected. I wasn’t looking forward to 9 nights camped in the club carpark, but it was great being in the thick of things and I certainly didn’t get bored, helping out with pilot registration, race scoring etc. I met some great people and, much to D’s delight, would be very happy to go to another European event. Who knows, we might even aim for the 2014 World Championships in Nevada!
The mums have both asked recently how the vegetarian thing is going. Short answer is great, but the Euros were interesting! The first social evening was a hog roast. Pat (she and her husband were the main organisers) had told the caterers and we were promised Thai vegetable curry. When D went to get our food, he was told that they hadn’t had time to heat anything up for us so we could have the baked potato and bread roll that went with the hog roast. He explained very politely that that wouldn’t be acceptable and that we were prepared to wait for them to heat something up now. They must have felt guilty because they gave us two main courses each – Thai curry and veggie chilli. At the second social, I was told the vegetarian options were lasagne or quiche. Veggie lasagne – yum! Actually, no – the vegetarian option was beef lasagne. I took it back and we ended up with plain quiche. Not quite so yum. On the last night, we told the waiter that we were vegetarian – he offered us salmon fishcake as a starter. No, vegetarians don’t eat fish!! He brought us mushroom terrine instead and apologised if he caused offence – he said he often had customers who said they were vegetarian but ate fish or chicken so he didn’t really know what to serve!
After we left Hoylake, we headed back to Cheshire. We were surprised, driving through the town closest to our campsite, to find a McLaren shop. Hang on, we thought – these cars cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. There must be money around. Turns out that we were in footballer country, where all the Manchester United players have their homes. Ronaldo/Ronaldinho/Ronald or whoever had a house just down the road from the campsite for a while. I kept my eyes peeled for someone famous until it occurred to me that I didn’t know who played for ManU and probably wouldn’t recognise them anyway.
It was a great site – less field and more landscaped lawns. The owner had set up a little bric-a-brac & books stall in her barn to raise money for the Manchester Children’s Hospital, so I had the chance to read a couple of real books, made of paper. She had also put together an information booklet about their farm, local attractions etc. The farm had been intensive arable in the days of her father-in-law, but when her husband took over, they decided to do things a bit differently. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, where the government pays farmers to stop farming, they were able to sow meadow rather than crops, break up the enormous fields with new hedging, introduce unploughed nature strips around the edge of each field, put in footpaths for locals or campers to use, plant more trees etc. I had always thought the idea of paying farmers not to farm was a bit bonkers, but reading their side of it made more sense – their land had had a break from intensive farming and a chance to recover, essential habitat like hedges were created to the benefit of wildlife and the farmer still had a chance to make a living – it is unrealistic to think that any farmer would be able to do that without someone continuing to pay them. Funding for the scheme stopped last month though, so they were renting their fields out to graze dairy cattle – I just hope that all the other good things that they did are able to continue.
The site was also in the perfect location for a couple of great days out – more to come on that tomorrow. Apologies for the lack of photos – that will improve tomorrow too!
AUSSIE DAD AND JAN
Oops – sorry!
I wonder how McLaren would feel about your suggestion that someone would go to a ‘shop’ to buy their product. Next you’ll be suggesting that you can order one of their F1s from Amazon