Friday, 4 April 2014

Our 44th trip - CLDA rally at Park Fold Farm - Jumbles Reservoir near Bolton

Our 44th trip and another weekend away for 2 nights - the total is now 132 nights in our caravan since we bought it, 3 years ago.
We have been members of the camping and caravan club for 4 years (1 with our tent and 3 years with our caravan).
We have been members of the caravan club for 3 years.
We have been on 2 rallies with the caravan club and 6 rallies with the camping and caravan club.
Of all the friendly welcomes we have had with the c&cc, this weekend was the friendliest. Keep reading for more about our drinking evening later on Saturday.
We are actually members of the CLDA which is the Central Lancashire District Association and this is the first time we have met up with them.

We live within 15 minutes of the site and it made a nice change not having to drive for hours to get to the site.
As we arrived, at about 6pm, we were greeted by the steward who said we were lucky to arrive when we did because the site was almost full. He said that they were going to start refusing entry because the field was ruled out of action due the the heavy rain the night before.
Park Fold Campsite - Jumbles
We actually got quite a good spot, right next to the garden. I reversed it into the space in 1 go and I was relieved because I had an audience. The reason we had decided to come on this rally was because we have just bought a new full size awning and a new 100w folding solar panel and wanted to give them a tryout.
Well, the awning stayed in the bag because there was no room to pitch it, because we were so close to the garden.
I got the solar panel out on the Saturday morning and as soon as I opened the folding panel it started to rain.
I have given it a new name, from here on it is now known as 'The Rainmaker'.
The solar panel is a 100w folding solar panel bought new from Photonics Universe via ebay.
The rainmaker comes with 2 large red and black crocodile clips, now, these clips are quite bulky and I really struggled to get them connected. On the battery are large connectors which connect the battery to the caravan and they completely cover each terminal so the crocodile clips have nowhere to go. In the end I had to fudge it to make the connection.
So, the clouds are so dense that I cannot even tell where the sun is so that I can point the Rainmaker at the sun. The Rainmaker works in daylight, which is just as well, because we rarely see the sun.
Inside the caravan we have a 120w inverter which converts 12v to 240v so that we can plug in our phone chargers and laptop etc. I'm not sure why but the laptop is making the inverter beep with a warning light saying low battery. I'm not sure if the battery is the problem or the inverter isn't giving enough power out to charge the laptop. More investigation needed.

On Saturday afternoon we had a walk around the reservoir and took a few photos of the lake, trees, daffodils and ducks.
When we got back, we had a visit by a young lad inviting us to have a look around the farmers' barn.
When we got there, we saw lots of sheep and cows. Most of the sheep were with newborn lambs and the farmer was letting the children hold them and get a photo taken.
Just after this we were invited to the main room in the barn where the children were being encouraged to cook their own food using a camping stove.
Our 2 youngest (10 and 13yrs) made a good effort cooking vegetarian sausages and peas and sweetcorn, with only a bit of help from Tina (youth organiser) and us.
It wasn't long before the sherry bottles appeared and we were kindly offered a small glass, but we declined politely. A few hours later and the sherry had been drunk and the strong stuff was brought out so we decided to have a bit of food and start drinking as well. Diane disappeared back to the caravan and magically appeared back with fried egg butties and some lager and vodka for us. A quiz night had been organised and we had a valiant effort between us but didn't come anywhere near winning. Most teams had 6, 8 or more and we were only 2.
The evening had been designated as a 'Lanky night', but it wasn't a 'tall people' event but a Lancashire night. A supper had been prepared by the steward but we steered clear of the hotpot and black puddings (we are vegetarians) and a lot of the caravanners were dressed in old Lancashire style clothing, with flat caps and clogs etc. There were a few ferrets and a ferret racing event but I didn't see much of that.
After that, there was a raffle and we managed to win 5 times which was really good. Actually there were a lot of donated prizes so I think there were quite a few people with multiple wins.
We stayed in that room until gone midnight drinking and the CLDA members on either side of us were very generous in sharing their top shelf drinks. I can remember that I had a di saronno amaretto-like liqueur and some Sailor Jerry spiced rum from either side of us, there was another drink but my memory has become hazy about what it was exactly. Thanks to all who plied me with drink.

During the night the inverter was left with an iphone charging and it suddenly started beeping with a warning light saying low battery, I checked the volt metre in the caravan and the needle is showing yellow which is in between red and green, so we unplugged the inverter and went to bed.In the morning I went out to wipe the rain off  'The Rainmaker' and noticed that the outside light is on. I'd tried to turn it on when it went dark last night but it hadn't come on so I presumed that the bulbs had blown. So the bulb waited until my back was turned and then came on and drained the battery all night!
Sunday morning and I have a look at the back of 'The rainmaker' and there are 2 lights, one red and one green. The red light says that the battery has low power and the green light says that the panel is charging.
So to recap, the battery appears to have used more than I expected. I don't know whether the fudged connection or the outside bulb or the inverter or the battery has a problem. Further investigations are needed!
On Sunday there is a coffee morning, where we bring our own cups and there is a bit of a speech by various committee members saying their thanks.
All in all we were were made very welcome and will definitely join up with clda again in the future. We would have gone out with them again on their garstang meet at Cabus but we had to stay in for a roofer who needs to look at our garage roof and eaves. Our next trip is at Easter with slda (South Lancs District Association) and we have been on this rally for the past 2 years, so I'm not sure when we get to see clda again. Hopefully soon.
See the photos below to see this lovely area.

Grass is wet so we end up in the car park

Forgot to take my own photo, so I used photonic universe's pic.