Bardsey near Leeds: The London visit was over once more, so it was back up to the Midlands to collect the camper. We checked out of the Aston and fought peak hour crowds on the underground to get to where we had to pick up our next hire car. In fact we could not both squeeze onto the train it was so packed, so I pushed my way onto one train and Russ had to wait for two more trains before he could find a big enough space to get on. Having a backpack and two carry-on bags each didn't exactly make it easy...
We were going to get the train up to Leeds which would have been a relaxing way to get there, but when we discovered that a one-way car hire for two days was cheaper than the train fare, there was no contest. Besides we knew that having a car again would be hugely advantageous.
We arrived at the factory to see the camper almost finished. A few bits and pieces needed to be done with our instruction - placement of some items and so on. But it was looking good!
While things were being finished off, we went shopping.
And shop we did. There was only so much we could bring with us - simply carrying lots of stuff was out of the question. We needed to equip the camper with just about everything - bedding, kitchen gear like cutlery, saucepans, tea towels and the like, food, bathroom and washing/cleaning equipment, tools, electrical stuff like heaters, toasters and so on.
Next day we collected the camper and headed off for our first night at a campground a bit north of Leeds at a little village called Bardsey. With more sorting and settling in than we had planned we stayed there three nights. One drama was a short in the central locking which meant that every time we locked the car the fuse blew - and so we could not lock the van. Not a good thing that. So another day with the camper in the factory while they sorted that out and while we had some extra bits and pieces fitted. The guys in the factory were terrific - friendly and helpful all the time, and they worked hard to get us off and away.
While the camper was at the factory for the last time, we went into Leeds city. We wandered through the Leeds Markets, a magnificent old red-brick Victorian structure, but now, as most markets are today, a shadow of its former self with much the same tatty stuff that markets sell the world over. The central streets of Leeds are the usual mix of ornate Victorian buildings and ghastly 60s concrete and glass. But what surprises and what are astonishingly beautiful are the arcades. Soaring ceilings of stained glass and wrought iron with gorgeous shopfronts of mahogany, glass and brass with mosaic floors - they are as beautiful as any arcade in London or Paris.
At last all was finished and we drove away for the last time. And so starts our next adventure.