Hertford (and Ware)

705 miles on the clock
Our third weekend away was spent in Hertford on a great Camping and Caravanning Club site. We arrived at about 6.15pm on Friday evening and were welcomed by a really lovely couple and escorted to our pitch. It wasn't the slightest problem we didn't like the first two pitches we were shown, and we ended up with a hardstanding near the quiet road we'd arrived on.

We've now got our arrival procedure down to a fine art and within ten minutes have the roof popped up with it's Cali Topper protective cover in place, front seats turned around, bed made and safely pushed back up to give us back our standing room, and the electric hook-up connected. This weekend has been calm and so we've also had the awning out.

Coffee by the canal
Within 20 minutes of arrival we were both wearing pyjamas and drinking our first beers, while researching what to do nearby the next day. I had the most success, having actually been searching for Hertford, while Tony searched for Hereford.

I had come straight from a work conference in London and knowing how I'd be feeling afterwards dinner was a kind of cheat's meal of curry made with sauce from a jar, with a bag of microwave rice stirred in towards the end. It did the job though, and we ate it while watching the final of Big Brother via 3G.

I slept the most soundly that I have so far, despite the double duvet being scrunched into single size over on Tony's side, leaving me the equivalent of two sheets!

One of the narrowboats
I woke at 8.30am and put the kettle on to boil while I went to shower. Tony stirred when he heard the spoon in the coffee cups. Breakfast was cereal which is proving the easiest morning meal to make. Then, without much of a plan at all we put on our walking boots and briefly consulting Google maps, headed for the town centre and river beyond.

The town is only a 15 minute walk from the campsite and is a mix of lovely little gift shops, coffee shops, restaurants and pubs. We opted for our free Waitrose coffees, taking the opportunity to buy a few bottles of real ale to enjoy later, back at camp.

Ware's famous gazebos
With the bottles of ale safely stowed in my rucksack we headed in the general direction of water. The river we'd seen on Google maps turned out to be a canal and we decided to follow the path for a while. Initially it's quite industrial, with workshops on one side and brand new apartments on the other. Narrow-boats are moored end to end and most had wisps of smoke coming from the chimneys, giving away their warm and cosy occupants inside.

After a while we left the buildings behind, the narrow-boats started to thin out and we were walking through meadows all the way to the next town of Ware. After such a beautiful walk the first sign of Ware is the rather ugly buildings that comprise GlaxoSmithKline, but once past this Ware is a little prettier even though it's town centre is nothing to write home about.

Blogging in the back seat
We found a fish and chip shop and bought small cod and chips each. There was nothing small about our meals and we didn't finish them. I made the mistake - even though a sign said not to - of feeding the pigeons my chips. I ended up with about ten sitting beside me on the bench and one even coming to rest in the hood of my coat.

Our route back avoided the GSK buildings and instead we found the 18th-century riverside gazebos that Ware is famous for. Wow - if you're going to have a summer house in your garden you might as well have one that extends over the river!

It was a lovely walk to Ware and back and in total, including mooching around Hertford's lovely shops, we were away from camp for nearly five hours.

Playing Port Royal
I made two cups of tea and, as I started to and write this blog post, Tony snoozed. A little later we played a card game, Port Royal, read some news and then cracked open our beers while we prepared dinner. Turkey fajitas with crunchy salad turned out to be another great one-pot meal perfect for camping.

I wore my pyjamas to bed which helped on the occasions I didn't have much of the duvet. After coffee and cornflakes we packed up and headed home. Tony drove while, for the first time, I sat in the back seat with the table still up and finished the weekend's blog post.

We've nearly got the perfect equipment set up now. We could still squeeze some kind of box between the coolbox and side of the van, so I'll try and find something, as every extra nook of storage is incredibly useful. But having had three weekends of practice we're definitely ready for our next destination - France!

Campsite visited: Hertford Camping and Caravanning Club (£18.85 per night inc. electric hook-up)
Miles on the clock: 705
Meals cooked: turkey curry (£4.10), turkey fajitas (£4.60)
Money spent: fish and chips (£8.40)

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