Thursday, 23 July 2015

Our first Cumbrian campsite and a petition for chocolate-lovers

We didn't have to drive very far yesterday to reach our next campsite. We
A warm welcome to Appleby! 
are now pitched up at Croft Ends Farm, just outside Appleby-In-Westmorland. There are actually two campsites here, each of five pitches. One is the official Caravan Club CL, a pretty green field with hardstanding pitches. The other is more of a caravan storage area surrounding a large grey space and electric points and taps along one side. Guess which we are in?! We are disappointed as we were told over the phone when booking that both are the same, and they are the same price - our most expensive CL yet at £16 a night. £2 of that is for the awning which is definitely cheeky considering how much effort it took to bash tent pegs through the hardstanding. If you stay here and want an awning up, make sure to bring heavy duty steel pegs and a proper metal hammer. The standard mallet made no impact at all!

Croft Ends Farm campsite 
On the plus side, each pitch has its own water tap and grey water drain
The locals are curious 
and there is a nicely planted corner with a bench from which to gaze and ponder. Waste and recycling facilities are close by in the CL field next door, and there is also an Information Hut there with lots of leaflets, walking maps, DVDs to borrow and a small selection of books. We have a pleasant view across a field of cows and calves up to hills that are invitingly close by. The wind is blocked by a caravan storage barn too, which is a relief after the gales of Gilsland.

We took a wander around Appleby town on Tuesday afternoon. It is
Picturesque bridge in Appleby 
steeped in history - the first settlement here believed to have been Viking - and contains several buildings of Elizabethan times and older. In common with many towns hereabouts it used to be fortified with walks and gateways. Doomgate has to be my favourite street name so far! We have missed the annual horse fair which happens in June and the town has had a market charter since the 1100s. Nowadays there is a good range of independent shops and cafes including a good greengrocers and butchers. We got jam and cheese at the bakery-grocer which has an interesting range of products but is distinctly pricey! We noticed property in estate agents' windows is suddenly much more expensive than Northumberland and the Borders.

We have lots of potential walking here to evocatively named places such
Duck and her ducklings in Appleby 
as High Cup Nick, High Force and Low Force. We are also within easy reach of Penrith where there is the Lonsdale Alhambra Cinema amongst other attractions. We took our seats there last night to see the RSC broadcast of The Merchant Of Venice. I wasn't sure if it would be able to match the fabulous inventiveness and spectacle of last week's NTlive Everyman, but it's not a play I have seen before and the synopsis was certainly intriguing. We were very impressed with the venue itself and the seats are wonderfully comfortable. Plus no rip-off refreshment prices in the interval - an Expresso Magnum ice cream was £1.60. We both loved the play. A surprising set of bronze back wall and floor gave it an unusual appearance and I liked the three caskets dropping in almost as if in an old episode of The Adventure Game. (Remember that?!) I can't say I liked any of the characters. Their portrayals were superb, especially Antonio, Portia and Shylock, and the suitor Aragon, but what a bunch of devious self-serving hypocrites! There's much to think about and the introduction was so right in saying how uncannily accurate this four hundred year old play is in showing us our own world today.

On Tuesday I signed a Care2 petition speaking out against Cadbury's
unsustainable palm oil usage, the deforestation it causes and their procrastination on moving to sustainable sources. Cadbury know there is a problem in their supply chain and have vowed to make their palm oil deforestation-free, BUT not until 2030! Why not NOW, Cadbury? The rainforests of SE Asia are disappearing at an alarming rate due to the production of unregulated palm oil. This is causing extensive habitat loss and extinction of critically endangered species. Will there still be anything left to save in fifteen years time?
Please add your name to this petition asking Cadbury to act now.

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