Sunday 12th September. Mainly a sunny day with pleasant, if not hot, temperatures. We are heading for the CMC site called Northbrook Farm just north of Worthing today for seven nights. We got away around 10.00am but had to detour via our eldest son to drop off a key. We joined the M1 at junction 14. It looks as if the conversion to a “Smart Motorway” is almost complete. We decided to travel on a Sunday because we thought the traffic would be quieter. Unfortunately, that proved to be not the case! The M1 was busy but the M25 was at a standstill going in the other direction. We stopped at Cobham Services but it was pretty busy and where we parked was so far from the shops we didn’t bother with coffee. A fairly decent caravan parking area although we pulled through the regular parking. We left the M25 at junction 9 and headed down the A24 which varies in quality. Probably thinking of  a different route back?

When we arrived at the site, I was surprised how busy it was given that Northbrook Farm does not have a toilet block or at least a functioning one. Apparently, it suffered from subsidence and given that the site is on a short lease, reviewed each year, it is not worth the Club putting in the investment. The site is in two parts and it seems the local Council want to develop the front section for more houses and it is rumoured that they are willing to sell the main part to the Club for redevelopment.

When we were setting up, we couldn’t get the electrics to work. The bollard was a new type where you have to the reset the circuit breakers. I was concerned that I had turned off the electricity to the van next door, which I had!!! By the time I got back from reception, the guy next door had sorted us out. It seems that the action of disconnecting your electric lead will trip the circuit, so we had better get used to resetting when arriving on a site with these new type of bollards. What is a little confusing, at least to the non-electrical professional, is that when the circuit breakers show red they are on and green when off? Intuitively one would have thought it would be the other way round but I suppose the rational is that red indicates live and green means off? Oh, for the plug in and twist bollards!!!

Monday 13th September. The day dawned bright but with quite a bit of cloud cover. We were a bit lazy first thing with no rush to get up and out. The trials of the M25 must have exhausted us!!!. Strangely, we saw on the news that several groups of protestors had reeked chaos on the M25 today by setting up protests at several junctions around the Orbital Motorway!!! Perhaps it wasn’t so bad yesterday?

After breakfast we decided to have a wander around the site which is surprisingly large. We also wandered outside the gate to check where the buses depart from which is conveniently close to the site. We also worked out the footpath that would take us to a nearby garden.

It was nice sunny in the afternoon so we sat out. Not hot but perfectly pleasant. A few more have arrived on site today to replace those that left earlier today. Seems to be a few outfits here that are perhaps owned by people who don’t have bricks and mortar and perhaps move around from place to place where they can. Northbrook Farm has the advantage of being quite cheap, about £14.50 a night with the VAT reduction so is no doubt attractive. One guy near us with a large Hobby caravan had obviously been parked up somewhere and been a victim of a graffiti attack. Yesterday he was applying a large Road Runner sticker to the side of the van to cover it up! Next door to the site is a Tennis Club. We watched a motorhome arrive in its car park and then leave as soon as he arrived. He had clearly mistaken the Tennis Club entrance for the campsite entrance as minutes later he turned up at reception.

Tuesday 14th September. A very wet day today which made us decide to have a quiet day in the van. The sun did make an effort to come out later in the day.

Wednesday 15th September. It was a dryer day today and we had more sun. We decided to walk to the local Tesco Extra which is about three quarters of a mile away from the site as we needed to top up supplies. The site has thoughtfully provided instructions of the quickest walking route. It is a large and spacious shop with other outlets. We split the load between us and made our way back to the site. When loaded with shopping it seems much longer!!!

Thursday 16th September. The day dawned bright and sunny and with the feel that it was going to be a warm day. For some reason we were a bit behind with our preparations for the day so decided rather that heading for Worthing on the bus we would instead walk to Highdown Gardens which is not far from the site. I say not far but it depends if you misunderstand the instructions provided by the campsite. We walked too far beyond where we should have turned right to cross a road to take us to the Gardens. There was further confusion because we seemed to have to transverse a Civic Amenity Tip with lorries going in and out all the time. It turned out that just to the left of the tip was a path leading up to the Gardens. I say up and now understand the meaning of Highdown as it was a steady uphill climb. At the top there were wonderful views out over the surrounding countryside with the odd glimpse of the sea in the far distance. However, none of this was appreciated until we had regained our oxygen levels!

Highdown Gardens was the creation of Sir Frederick and Lady Sybil Stern between 1909 and 1967. The Gardens are free to visit and not overly large. Many parts of the Gardens would not be suitable for people with severe mobility problems but the central access would be suitable even for wheelchairs. For those that don’t arrive by foot there is a car park. Next to the Gardens is the Highdown Restaurant and Tea Rooms where we refreshed ourselves after our mountaineering exploits. As is always the case going back seems so much quicker. Not sure if that was because it was downhill or we just knew where we were going?

Friday 17th September. Just shows how fickle the weather forecast can be as we were promised a sunny day today. It did come eventually but not until later in the day. We took the bus into Worthing today. As we have been here nearly a week, we thought we should at least try! Reasonably comfortable on the bus but is seems a fair proportion not wearing masks, mainly but not exclusively people of a younger age!

We alighted in the Town Centre which is surprisingly near the sea front. Worthing seemed quite busy and had a good selection of shops. Although the likes of the old Debenhams are a bit of a blot on the landscape. There is work going on in the centre and I noticed that, what once must have been a shop, was being converted into apartments. What really caught my eye was the promise of a free electric bike on purchase! Quite an effort had been made with flowers around various lampposts.

We wandered down to the seafront and found the Pier which we walked along. Piers are always a good place to get a look back at the town and along the coast. There was some interesting art work along the centre of the Pier celebrating various elements of the Town. They looked a bit like stained glass but could have just been painted glass. Because it was cloudy, although quite warm, we really didn’t see Worthing in its full glory which is a shame. After our trip to the Pier, we crossed the road to the  M&S. Is this the only M&S on a seafront anywhere? We were really more interested in their café where I enjoyed a bacon ciabatta and a strong coffee whereas Margaret opted for lemon drizzle cake and a cappuccino. A bit of shopping before catching the bus back to the site where by now miraculously the sun had come out!

Saturday 18th September. We must have been tired as we slept in quite late, well quite late compared to home! It’s been a lovely sunny day today although it starts to cool down around 4.00pm unless you happen to be in full sun. This is our last full day here in Worthing so we have to think about preparing for the journey home, so packing things away when we can. Otherwise, the rest of the day was spent enjoying the lovely weather. This is the second time this year we have spent a week in one place, unusual for us. It does allow you a bit more freedom as it gives you a few more options. So, if the weather is not so good one day you can put it off to the next! Been thinking about the route home as we don’t relish the idea of heading back to the M25. The only real alternative is via the A27 to Portsmouth which can be a notorious road in its own right. From there we would join the M27/M3 and finally the A34 for the journey north. It’s about 30 miles longer.

Sunday 19th September. We were up at 7.00am and off site by about 8.30am. The chosen route worked well despite being busy for most of the way but no hold ups. We had not realised that our leaving date coincided with the Goodwood Revival Meeting. There was a bit of a queue  to get off the dual carriageway but nothing that delayed us. We stopped for a coffee about half way and filled up with fuel just before getting home at around 13.00pm so quite a long journey! So far this year we have spent 30 nights in the motorhome, way more than the 8 we did last year!