Because the new season is almost upon us, I thought I had better get this report of last seasons final game finished and posted
Campervan Adventures v2.1
I have, had two main subjects for my blogs recently. Wimbledon Away Days and Campervan Adventures. We are combining the two in this post.
I bought myself a campervan about a month ago (early April). Our final game of the season was against Bradford. It was a 17:30 kick-off, so that meant getting a train back after the game would be tricky. Getting the supporters coach would have meant arriving back at Kingsmeadow about one in the morning. So I decided to take the van and make an adventure of it.
We had given the van a try out last weekend after the win against Wycombe Wanderers. I took it down to Brighton for the night and it all went well, but this would be it’s first proper trip.
The plan as originally formulated was to have the van packed on Thursday night and leave my house about 9:30 so that I could get across to New Malden by 10:00 to pick up Diane (who would also have everything packed and ready) and be on the road north by 10:30.
Round about 11:30 I left Wallington
Diane was a bit more organised than me. We left her place about 12:30.
The journey north was uneventful. The Big Green Bus (BGB)* proved to be very comfortable and easy to drive. The traffic was fairly heavy with people trying to get away early for the bank Holiday. but apart from that no problems
We arrived at our campsite, The Esholt Sports and Leisure Club about half past six and found a suitable pitch. It’s an unusual site, in that it is run by the local cricket club and the showers and toilets are the changing rooms. It works though and it is reasonably cheap.
I don’t know how many Emmerdale fans read my blog, but Esholt was the village originally used as Emmerdale. We had a drink in this pub, which should be familiar to anyone who follows the show.
It is a friendly pub that serves good beer. There is obviously some Emmerdale memerobilia scattered around, but not that much that it feels like a theme pub.
We were up reasonably early on Saturday, because, althought the match wasn’t due to kick off until 17:30, we thought that we would like a look round Bradford before hand.
We found a reasonable pub for lunch, nothing special, but the food was edible and the beer was drinkable, then had a wander round the city centre. Because Bradford was a comparitavly wealthy place in the c19th it has a lot of impressive civic buildings, banks, churches and the like. It must be admitted that a lot of the banks are now pubs and a lot of the churches are discount furniture shops, but they still look impressive from the outside.
We decided to have a look round the Science and Media Museum. Entrance is free and it is worth an hour of your time. After which it was time to head off to the match.
Thanks to our win against Wycombe the week before, we were out of the relegation zone for the first time in 2019. Barring an unusual, but not impossible set of results a draw against Bradford would be enough to ensure safety. A win would have guarenteed that we were safe and even if we lost, provided the other results went our way we could still be safe.
Before the match there was a ceremony remembering the fifty six people who lost their lives in the fire that occured on 11th May 1985. The minutes silence was well observed by both sets of fans.
So onto the game. Well it was probably the least entertaining game of football I watched all season. I suppose that Wally Downes had done his homework and decided that Bradford didn’t pose all that much of a threat (which they didn’t) and that we could settle for a draw and possibly get a goal on the break. I was a bit dissapointed, not least because this was Diane’s first experience of AFC Wimbledon and I didn’t want it to be her last. We got the draw that we needed and stayed a League One team thanks to a better goal difference compared to Plymouth. Squeeky bum time, not helped by the fourth official failing to display the board for added minutes, so we had no idea of how much injury time had to be played. The referee finally blew his whistle after what felt like about five hours of added time, jubilation and pitch invasions ensued.
We watched the celebrations for a while (but didn’t join in on the pitch). After about ten minutes or maybe quarter of an hour we decided to walk back down to the station to get the train back to Shipley. We had already decided to have a curry at a restaurant we had seen earlier in the day. The Shimla Spice does an excellent curry and some of the biggest naan breads in captivity, but does not serve alcohol so we had to celebrate “The Great Escape” with Diet Coke and water.
We decided to visit Saltaire. Back in the mid c19th Titus Salt built a woollen mill by the banks of the River Aire. He was a philanthropist and also built a model village to house his workforce. The mill like many woollen mills in West Yorkshire is now redundant. It has been restored (or at least parts of it have) and it now has several interesting, high end, shopping outlets and a gallery dedicated to the works of David Hockney
The works on display were created on his iPad then printed onto large (A0?) sheets. I had seen them before at the Tate Modern Exhibition in 2017, thought they were wonderful then and still think they are wonderful.
As well as the mill and the village, Titus Salt also built what must be the flashest Congregational Church in the world. It is not up there with the likes of St Peter’s or St John’s in Valetta but for a Congregationalist Church, which are usually quite plain and functional it is out there.
After we had spent the afternoon in Saltaire we decided that because we were only about five miles from Ilkley that a visit to Ilkley Moor (ba t’at) was more or less compulsory.
It was quite spectacular up at the Cow and Calf Rocks, if a bit on the cool side.
Monday and it was time to head home. We had a good weekend. The Wombles were safe as League One club for at least one more season. We had liked what we had seen of West Yorkshire (including Bradford.)
We didn’t want to just blast our way backdown the M1 so we looked for somewhere that we could stop, have a bite to eat and a look round. Hardwick Hall fitted the bill. And because we are National Trust members didn’t cost us anything.
It was built by Bess of Hardwick,a remarkable woman, who became one of the weathiest and powerful people in Elizabeathen England.
After that we did blast back down the M1 .
*My other vehicle a Diahatsu Charade is known as the LLC, or Little Lilac Car because it is little and lilac coloured. So the obvious name for the Camper was the Big Green Bus, because it is big (compared to the LLC) and green.