It was late morning when I finally took myself off out; I was paying my annual visit to Christina, Sophie's 'other mum', but stopping off at Staunton Harold reservoir on the way. I'd gone there last year but it had been late in the afternoon and the sun was in the wrong direction for my photographs but this time it would be directly overhead so I should get some decent shots. Well that was the theory but the reality was totally different; by the time I got to the reservoir the blue sky had been replaced by grey clouds and the sun was only coming through in fits and starts.
The most interesting part of the reservoir seemed to be concentrated near the car park and as the parking fee wasn't exactly cheap I didn't intend staying too long (I really hate car parks which charge a fee for an all-day stay when I only want just long enough to take a few photos) so I left the van in the shade under a tree and went for a brief fifteen-minute wander. A playground and picnic area overlooked the water, with a visitor centre and wild flower garden to one side and an old windmill tower just beyond the car park; I walked round as far as the beach, then with a handful of shots taken I returned to the van and resumed my journey.
Unfortunately when I got to Christina's I found she wasn't in - her husband Steve told me she'd gone to stay with her son and wouldn't be back for a week. I was disappointed to have missed her as I would have liked her to meet Poppie and Sam as well as seeing Sophie again, but there's always next year and I can send her some photos meanwhile.
With no other plans I decided to just drive back to Elvaston, wander over to the show for the last performance of the dancing diggers, then spend the rest of the day relaxing. As I headed back north the grey clouds started to get less, the blue sky increased and the sun was shining properly; my route took me through the village of Swarkestone and as I crossed the bridge over the River Trent I decided to pull up in the car park of the nearby pub and see if there were any photo opportunities.
Across the road from the pub a footpath went down to the riverside and a private lane which passed a row of very nice detached houses, finally ending at the garden gate of another house. The lane was only a couple of hundred yards long but it was a pleasant walk and I got half a dozen nice shots before making my way back to the van.
Back at the camping field I took the dogs for a walk round, made a brew then gave Sam his daily grooming session. He has a very thick coat which really needs to be brushed every day but unfortunately he hadn't been groomed properly for a while before he came to me. Needless to say, his fur can be pulled out in handfuls just now - I'm sure I could knit another dog with the amount I've got out of him in the last two weeks.
Grooming over I fastened the dogs to their cables and left them to lie in the shade of the van while I went for a final quick look round the show and got a couple of sandwiches for later, then on my way back to the tent I stopped for a chat with my camping friends Gary and Amanda and Geoff and Ann. Early evening saw me taking the dogs and having a wander over to John's van where I spent some time chatting to him and his friend on the next pitch, then the rest of the time before bed was spent relaxing outside my own tent. With the show having finished and no noise coming from the show ground, and many of the weekend campers already gone, I was certainly guaranteed a very quiet final few hours before it was time for me to leave.