It's raining outside, and getting colder, so I'm thinking it's best to stay indoors and get on with things I can do in the warm. One item now ticked off is booking the caravan sites for my Big Northern Tour in June. After a session this morning on the PC, it's all done.
I'm taking no chances. I'm using only Caravan Club Sites. I'm not experimenting with out-of-the-way farm sites with picturesque names on a tour like this, no matter what scenic views they may have. I really do like the farm sites - they are much more intimate and peaceful - but the Club sites have reliable standards and lovely hot inviting showers, and these become important when you are in the middle of a longish holiday. And especially if the weather is wet, as it could easily be even in June and July. There's no need to wade in mud and wet grass on a Club site!
Certain financial, meetup and travel-time requirements have influenced when and where I can go.
For instance, I've booked so that the greater part of the site costs are payable on or after 22 June, and therefore will come into my 'July Pension Month' - which helps to spread the overall cost better.
As for meetups, at least one of the friends I intend to see will prefer a choice of weekdays, and not a weekend. I also need to contrive many days entirely on my own, to explore the surrounding countryside or nearby cities in my own way.
And not least, I need to keep the towing distances manageable. Whether you take the High Road or the Low Road, it's a very long way to Scotland and back from Sussex! That has fuel and fatigue implications. M--- always thought that more than 100 miles between sites was a bit too much for enjoyment. I'd agree. Admittedly, since getting Fiona in 2010, I've done some big hops, such as Sussex to Cornwall, and Sussex to Yorkshire; but these left me very tired, despite proper refreshment breaks every two hours. So in planning this tour, I've kept in mind that I can't go everywhere in the space of three weeks, and some destinations have been dropped to keep the time away, and distance covered, both sensible. So Durham, the Peak District and Suffolk - or alternatively the Welsh Borders and Suffolk - couldn't be included without extending the holiday towards four weeks (unaffordable in any case) and wearing myself out from all the driving. I'm sorry not to make it to Suffolk, but it would be a stage too far. On another occasion, certainly.
I do get to see Northumberland (four nights), south-east Scotland, including Edinburgh (eight nights), and the Lake District (five nights). A reprise, then of scenes like these (and a chance to discover plenty more not yet seen):
The cost of my three weeks? 21 nights booked for £266. Plus at least £500 for holiday fuel. Not too bad.