Friday, 31 December 2010

Dont Fart In Here, It Will Collapse!

We arrived at our pub site - The Plough Inn at Manston. Set up in record time, we sure are getting good at this caravanning lark!

Ive been good and had a cup of tea, however, "M" has decided on a messy night and has hit the Vodka all ready!

A small 5 pitch site, great water point and the chemical disposal is purpose built! So all good. We are right up the far end of the field, reserved pitch for Mr Gulliver who is notoriously late, so should arrive hopefully sometime before midnight in his converted ex police merc camper van! He did the conversion himself, so will try and get some pictures of it!

Well the title of the post is in relation to the photos below. In Robs garden, which is where we just stayed, there is this old outside loo. In a very poor state, I wouldnt fancy trying it out, so thought I would take a few pictures of it before it falls over!





Held together with nothing but hope!

HAPPY NEW YEAR may 2011 be a fantastic year!!!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Just A Quick Note!

We are due to pack up and move tomorrow lunch time. We have been here at Woodgreen over the Christmas period for a total of 9 nights. We have seen record low temperatures of -9.5 and now its even risen yesterday to +9!

Its been a good Christmas, relaxing, with loads of good food, and I didnt over do it on the drink!

Tomorrow once "M" has finished her stock take, we aim to leave here around 2ish and head over to the Plough at Manston. Approx 30 miles away. Set up, well, legs down, and thats about it. We are there for 2 nights as there is no way I was going to tow on New Years Day. We are then moving back to Ringwood, where we are hoping to max out on the 28 day rule, this does depend on how wet it gets as the field is prone to getting water logged.

Since my last post Ive been asked what a Cadac is, best thing to do is go to http://cadac.uk.com/ where all will be explained, also if you pop along to http://geocaching.com/ this in detail will give you a far better idea about what its all about, rather than me trying to explain it!

Last night we decided that the pub next door, should benefit from our patronage, as we have been too busy drinking our own supermarket bought beer to drop in. All though we did have a sneaky pint Christmas Day! The pub is called the Horse and Groom and can be found at http://horseandgroom-newforest.co.uk/ It lives up to its village expectations being full of locals. The food was very good indeed, I had a mixed grill, good piece of steak, piece of gammon, liver, 2 different types of sausages, massive lamb chop, fried egg, 6 baby tomatoes still on the vine - grilled and a massive bowl of chips! All for £13.00 - Bargain! "M" had a steak with a to die for pepper corn sauce! We then sat by an open fire right next to the bar and had a few more drinks. A lovely evening.

Emptied the cassette for the second time since we have been here, which has involved lifting up a man hole cover in the middle of a patio! It was great, a long drop down, with no chance of any splash backs! Wish they could all be like that!

Well that about wraps up the year for us, I can imagine that tomorrow may well be a tad busy. So just for the record, in 2010 we have spent 128 consecutive nights in this caravan, and previous to that 21 nights in our old caravan. A total of 149 nights spent sleepng under a tin roof! Not bad going!

So Happy New Year to all, see you on the other side!

Till later.......

Time For Reflection!

Well what a year!

We have had a busy one! Starting back in Feb when I got so fed up where I was working, I made the decision, that I couldnt stand another day, so walked out, since then, and setting up on my own, its been touch and go at times, but still feel that we made the right choice.

We did a whole load of steam and vintage shows through the summer, which have been great, this year we hope to do more. Got to start thinking about applying for them now, and then the planning of where to go before and after!

The tail end of the summer was a bit frantic with packing up and selling everthing to do what we are doing now. Selling our furniture was at times a bit sad, especially our 6ft pine kitchen table and pine pew. We have with friends often sat around that table and had many a good night drinking, eating, talking and laughing. That for me was probably the worst thing about leaving the house. The kitchen to me is always the focal point of any house, we rarely sat in our sitting room! The sofa was virtually still brand new!

We set off on our adventure 26th August 2010, it seems along time ago now, but really it isnt. We have both learnt many things about what we can and cannot do, and how to overcome or get around problems. Nothing has stumped us yet.

We have had no major problems, all though many minor ones, such as, electric heating packing in. Water pipes freezing, water on site freezing, electric tripping for no apparent reason. Washing clothes and drying it. Torrential rain, low temps of -9.5, snow on the awning, the list could probably go on and on. But as Ive said, no real dramas.

We have had many mixed comments from friends and relatives on what we are doing, some are in total awe of us, others cannot see why we are doing it, even when it is spelled out to them. I still find it funny that people automatically say to us, oh, i bet it must be freezing in your caravan? Well, actually I bet its warmer than your house, and in most cases it is. We dont have to worry about how much electricity we use, so crank up that heater, it averages around 20 degrees which is certainly warm enough for us!

You should see the warm clothing and blankets "M" got this year for Xmas from her family, we actually gave a blanket away today, we just dont need them! Why dont people get it! Its not cold in our van!

We were at a family gathering on boxing day, one of "M"s relatives looked right down their nose at us after we explained what we were doing. Just because we choose to do something different, I really shouldnt be surprised that their are still so many narrow minded people about.

I wouldnt mind, but we are not on any benefits, and never will be, our carbon foot print is extremely low, we recycle, we both work, we wake up to some amazing views, see spectacular sunsets, and we have time to enjoy our lives! Why on earth would we wish to live any other way!

New Years Resolutions!

With only a few days to go, Ive started thinking about what I want to do next year. Ive never really bothered about resolutions before as I live the way I want to live and not the way your supposed to, but, there are a few areas which could do with some attention. As a portly gentleman of ample proportions, Im starting to think that it may be in my best interests to loose a few pounds. Now by losing a few pounds, I dont mean emptying out the change from my pockets! I think as we are living as we are, then a healthier lifestyle would not go a miss. So I'll polish off the quality street and other goodies, then seriously set about eating better!

I wonder what 2011 will bring us, I think alot more cold weather, but also hoping for a fantastic summer which will be great, cant wait to start cooking on the bbq, we will be getting a Cadac at some point, as soon as the weather warms up, there is nothing better than cooking outdoors!

Our other priority, is to get the freelander sorted out, its been making a few weird noises which I cant pinpoint. Its booked in for the 4th Jan to be looked at, just hope it lasts till then!

Our long term priority is to save money, after all this is why we are doing this! So far, we havent managed to save anything, but it has been a learning curve for us, and we are expecting that the new year will provide me with a better level of income which will enable us to put away for our long term goal.

In our spare time, we hope to take up geo caching, we have been meaning to do it, but there has always been something else to do!

Ive also been toying with the idea once the warmer and drier weather comes to start selling books at carboots, and even thought about a market stall! Ive got in my lockup at least 3000 books, of all genres, old, new, paperback, hardback. But, im not doing it in the wet or cold!

There is a bit of an exciting project which I think is coming my way, but cant say too much about it at the moment, we will see what transpires over the next few months, maybe something, maybe nothing, at this stage its too earlier to say. But as they say, watch this space!

So 2011, we expect to be busy, with lots of adventures to be had, new people to meet, and to learn as we go. Exciting times! To be honest I still cant believe that we are doing this!

It is a unique experience, but you may well be surprised at how many other full timers there are out here! We have come across them at every site we have stayed at.

I will be in the New Year, be getting their stories, as Im sure everyones reasons for full timing are different, that is if they are willing to talk about it! I hope they do!

So heres looking forward to 2011, we both wish everyone who reads this a Happy New Year. Thankyou all for following us over the last few months, hope you stick around for the next installments which I promise will be frequent!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

Monday, 27 December 2010

007 Herbert last and final Asian Experience - For Now!!!!

After finally checking emails, I found the last installment from our intrepid chicken eating, beer swilling 007, who is safely now back in blighty.

Day 22/23 Hong Kong.


I remember the conversation as clear as anything. “Do you like the Hairy Crack?” she asked for the second time. There just had to be something wrong, that could not be what she said. Angie a respectable 50 something year old Hong Kong born and bred business woman who I had been working with for six years could not be asking what I thought she just asked. To make matters worse another five of her immediate family were also sat around the table, waiting for my reply, as we concluded a successful year’s business. I had no alternative but to ask again, “I am really sorry Angie, what did you say?” Fearing I would still be none the wiser. Travelling in Asia your ears do get tuned in to the way the way English is spoken, though it does take quite an effort if you are speaking in broken English all the time.

“Hairy Crack”, came back the reply for the third time. I was starting to get a bit embarrassed, a small bead of perspiration rolled down my forehead.

Opposite me sat the 23 year old niece of the family and while she could not tell why I was struggling, she could clearly see I was. She slowly leant back in her chair so the rest of the group could not see and pointed towards the restaurant entrance, towards a huge sign enticingly offered the seasonal delicacy of Hairy Crab!! . . . . . “Yes, YES”, I blurted out, “I love Hairy Crab”, my voice descending several octaves as the sentence went. So tonight I am prepared should the same question arise.

It’s a humid 23 Celsius here as I bimble in a small bus from Chek Lap Kok, which I suspect you can probably get a good cream for but is actually the new airport.

"Hong Kong" is the pronunciation of the spoken Cantonese or "fragrant harbour" and certainly parts of the well sailed stretch of water can still live up to that billing. To me Nathan Road area is my favourite part of the Hong Kong experience. It’s where I first came and stayed in 1998. Busy and a touch dirty by day but at night it really comes alive with Neon lit buildings and shops selling virtually everything. Space is obviously at a premium here. They can’t go outwards so up is the only way. High rise apartment blocks abound and from virtually every open window hangs washing. There is hardly any spare space and very little park land. Where there is greenery you can see people practising their morning Thai Chi.

Last night 7 of us, myself and 6 locals dined, in the wonderfully set Hutong Restaurant perched high up on the 27th floor looking out across the harbour. The high buildings on Hong Kong Island brightly lit and occasionally firing lasers back out across the night sky. I don’t expect my Blackberry photo will do it justice but very privileged to being there.

This morning had an amble around the streets. At the lower end of Nathan road is the usual nuisance of blokes thinking you need a new copy watch and a suit to go with it. The suits from the right tailor can be a good buy, however I have seen the fashion victims who have carried out their purchase and subsequent review of a partially tailored suit under natural light, at night and following a few vendor supplied beers. Some of the quotes when seen with purchases many thousands of miles away were, “It didn’t look that bright a colour last Wednesday”, or “If I stand like this it does actually hang quite well”.

It still amazes me that the material of choice for scaffolding is bamboo which is tied together as it has been for years. There are unsurprisingly still fatalities in the construction industry but am still impressed by people’s faith in the natural material. Think I have one photo which will capture it quite succinctly and if you look hard enough there is a one man on it.

That’s it you will be pleased to hear. I am off home for pie and mash. Goodbye.

As featured in James Bond and still one of THE places to stay

Bamboo scaffolding, but its ok as he has a Hi Vis jacket on!

View from Hutong restaurant to Hong Kong island

Well, I can only say a big thankyou to our 007 Herbert for these entertaining snippets of life on the road as one of her Majesties finest!
 
We wait with baited breath for next year, to find out what exotic parts of the world he will be travelling to, sampling chicken and beer in his quest for world peace.
 
Till later.......

Christmas 2010

Christmas has come and gone, we didnt wake that early, but when we did, we awoke to freezing temperatures once more outside.

Opened presents, apart from a coat that I actually got before Christmas, a new pair of walking boots were left for me, along with slippers and socks, I must be getting old as I actually secretly wanted a pair of slippers, and 3 new pairs of thermal socks is most welcome!

"M"s daughter and her husband came over with their campervan, along with "M"s son, as we were at "M"s mothers partners house it was a bit of a family gathering.

I drove down to Southampton hospital to see my dad, who is looking better, sat in a chair, he managed to walk down to the washroom for a shave this morning, but it tired him out a bit, so not ready to head for home yet. Have now found out he has had a quadruple bypass! He showed me his scar which is pretty impressive on his chest, but the scar on his leg where they removed a vein is massive, running from ankle to the top of his leg!

He is all ready planning the things he wants to do when he gets out, one of which is to start playing guitar again, and up to a level where he can put a band back together again! He used to have a country and western band called Sweet Country, at one stage he was gigging twice a week, sometimes more! I remember them as a kid practising in the kitchen, with the drummer shut out in the hall with the doors closed as he was too loud! I hope he does, as I was too young to see them play live back then, but would love to see it now!

It was roast venison for us Christmas day, it was roasted after and during with a whole bottle of red wine, and it was fantastic! Latter on in the evening the cheese board was attacked with some gusto. Thankfully, the TV was kept off.

Christmas eve I was subjected to torture by having to endure an episode of Coronation Street, now I know that some of you may well love soaps, but for me, I cant thing of anything else worse. I have enough dramas in real life without having to watch made up ones! Surely life is too short to watch programs like that? A book, or even surfing the net would be more stimulating, or, even better, talking to your partner!

Went to bed Christmas eve, feeling rather full! It was a good day. Back at the caravan, things had frozen up! walking back to the van, we both said, better get the water pump in, and guess what, both of us forgot. Woke to frozen pump and pipes inside the van. Temp reading was -9.5 our lowest recorded so far! Everything seems to be ok up to -7 but anything over that the van just cant cope. So we need to seriously think about lagging inside pipes. I did managed to get the pipes to the kitchen sink thawed out with the use of a hair dryer, but the one to the bathroom which runs around the front of the van was solid and for the most part, not easy to get at as it runs behind the chest of draws at the front of the van. A summer job, if not sooner to get all pipes lagged.

Perhaps I could specialise in winterising caravans and campers, sort of becoming an expert on where things freeze now!

Boxing day, after eating leftovers for lunch, which to me is just as good as the Christmas meal itself was spent over at "M"s relatives house, a rather large gathering of relatives, some I had met before, some not. A long day, as I decided to drive, but at least I feel ok today!

Monday, and the temp has risen to 4 degrees, which seems very warm, seeing how cold it has been recently! Everything has defrosted, all though we still have plenty of snow on the ground.

Today, the plan is to photograph, approx 50 items which I will then photoshop to make them look perfect, ready to add them to the listings that need doing over the next 48 hrs. No rest for me! Along with checking listings and answering questions.

I cant remember if I have said but our intrepid explorer made it back from Asia, and has now gone deep undercover to recuperate after his epic whistle stop tour, we expect to hear from him shortly, where he will be deciding if him and his partner aka "The Cat Woman" will be joining us for New Years Eve. All though where we are going has a Chinese theme! I can imagine that more oriental goings on will be probably the last thing he wants to do!

Well, must get on and move the tin of quality street from reach!

Till later.....

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve!

Well, its Christmas eve, and its been a busy week, as it has been for most I suspect!

So, the aim of this post is to try and catch up with the events that Ive forgotten to mention, but, as my memory is that bad this could well be a short post!

Now, on Monday evening, it was planned that we should all go out for a meal, at the expense of Bob & Katherine who I tap keys for and have done constantly for the last few weeks, so much in fact that I actually dreamt about a Chinese plate and dish the other night!

Just so that makes a bit of sense to everyone, Ive been listing on ebay, Chinese, Indian, and Asian antiques, you can find them all on ebay by either clicking on the englishcream link to the right or by searching for englishcream on ebay itself! There you will find 100's and I do mean 100's of absolutely amazing pieces. You should also take a look at another ebay site that I work on which is meissenandbeyond more Chinese antiques can be found there as well!

Anyway, Bob took us all out, we met up at a pub called the Drovers Inn which can be found at http://thedroversinn.biz/ another great pub, where you can sit and have an amazing meal, real open fires, great beer and still plenty of locals, which if you have been reading this for a while is the main thing for me. If there are no locals in the pub, then its time to leave! A great meal, and great company. So thanks to you both!!!

One of the things that the pub does, is called a hot rock, I have only seen it here, as its name suggests its a square stone which is the size of a plate, this is heated in an oven, and brought out to you with your meat/fish raw, so you can actually cook it to your own liking! How cool is that! Should of taken a picture, but forgot!

Even with all the snow we had, still managed to get into Shaston everyday, I think it was Monday, all roads in and out of Shaston were closed due to the weather! I made it in, ok, it wasnt easy, but still did it!

Ive mentioned the move, so wont dwell on that, but we are now in and settled for Christmas, 30 seconds from a pub! Which is where we are off tonight!

We are in a little village between Fordingbridge and Salisbury, called Woodgreen. It is very community led, they have even raised enough money to have a new all purpose village shop built! Not bad for a small community! I went into old shop yesterday as the new one is not completed yet, talk about small, not being a supermodel, and with my thick tweed jacket on, it was difficult not to knock stuff off of shelves either side of you! At one point I had to go back outside to allow someone to exit! Not too sure how the girl got behind the post office counter, I reckon they must do a week at a time, food being provided and kipping under the counter!

Thursday my niece Lucy came to stay, I met my sister Ali in Salisbury at the unearthly hour of 7.30am! had a mooch around the caravan, then went for a look around Ringwood, no matter which way you turned or walked the wind got you straight in the face, too cold for me, so when in that frame of mind, and in need of reviving headed straight for Marinas Bettola - a little Italian restaurent which never seems to close, open from early morning to late at night. Its a great little place, the food always good, "M" uses it alot, and often goes there for lunch so is well known, I got an apology from Sergie for not recognising me! Ive only been in half a dozen times! They havent got a web site, but if you are local, book a table on 01425 470380 its in the centre of Ringwood. You will certainly be well looked after. Whilst there we bumped into "M"s mum, Olive and her partner Rob. "M" arrived with her friend Daphne, Now Daphne is a very glamourous lady, who is very active, and full of life, dressed immaculately in fur coat and matching hat! You would never believe she was 84!

Christmas eve, another walk this morning, we did think about heading into Fordingbridge, but the last thing I wanted to do was look around shops! So we have had a bit of a lazy day, I taught Lucy how to play Pontoon, and the rest of the time we have just mooched about. "M" is working - who wants to buy bloody paint today? Hopefully she will be closing up at 2pm!

Ive got to meet up with my Sis later to drop Lucy off, then heading straight back to have a sherry! or two!!

So, not sure if I will get chance to write anything for a couple of days, so will take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading this waffle, I hope that Christmas is a relaxing time, if it isnt there is always drink (joke) stay off the alchohol kids!

No doubt, Ill write more after Christmas, stay safe and peace to you all, so till later........

007 Still Out East!

Our intrepid explorer is still out there, all contact has been lost, so we are not sure where he is at the moment! He could be anywhere between here and Japan, which really doesnt narrow it down a great deal! So we are hoping to hear from him soon to make sure he is home and safe, but untill then here is his latest update of his time spent out East!

In any event, and where ever he is, you can be sure he's eating chicken and drinking beer!

Day 20 Tokyo – 10.00am, 12 Celsius and sunny.


First I must apologise for the typos in the last report. English was never a strong point of mine and evidently proof reading is not up there either.

As suspected I have now developed a really bad Korean Kough, no doubt caught from my first taxi experience in Seoul. (probably not helped by swanning around in short sleeves in sub zero temperatures either). It seems every time I head to Asia that some global pandemic is happening. Bird flu several years ago, then the old swine flu. Thinking about it, being in an enclosed environment is probably a great way of spreading all sorts of pestilence. Plains, Trains and Taxi’s being prime examples and I hate to say it, getting back on some form of topic, Caravans!!

The Japanese and Chinese seem to take more precautions than most by wearing masks. One recent flight looked more like an away day from an operating theatre. At most airports now they have heat detectors pointed at you as you enter immigration checking for a fever. Just as well I don’t travel so much this way in August or it will look like a bad case of Bubonic plague.

As it says at top am now residing in downtown Tokyo. Landed at Narita which just has to be the best kept airport anywhere. Pristine does not begin to describe it, well it does actually as that’s the first thing I have just said, anyway, very clean and very organised. Even the hedges have beautifully Topiary . . . . . . Or is that a long nosed marsupial . . . . That would be Tapir . . . . . or is that Tobermory . . . . . The clever Womble?? I have lost it now.

Anyway, very easy to get into town on the friendly limousine bus which does what it says on the tin and runs very much on time and the nice locals enter into lots of kowtowing as the bus pulls away from the stop. Don’t think that will catch on in the UK.

Later I shall head to the local convenience store to try and track down some Paracetamol which might be a whole lot easier said than done. The last lot of self head pointing in Seoul I think just conjured up pictures of lunatic on day release. I shall attempt to get reception to write on piece of paper to ease things along. Which reminds of some craze about 15 years ago when in Middle East. For some reason when looking around the gold souks (markets) of Dubai, the husbands amongst us thought a really nice gift for the spouses back home would be their name written in Arabic in 21 Carat gold suspended from a chain. (Hard to imagine that being quite such a gift these days). Anyway, I did wonder why my friend Peter asked the jeweller to write what he was going to make the pendant look like, then said Peter scooted out of the shop to next door and came back a minute later and said okay, “go ahead, Teresa will be very happy”. I enquired what that was all about and turns out it would not be the first time the loved one back home has had Camel Sha**ger or words to the affect draped around their infidel neck. Best hope that works with the paracetamol and instructions don’t call for insertion into opposite end!!

Speaking of opposite ends, the toilets here have more extras on that a well spec’d Ford Mondeo. Wish I took a photo of the one in Seoul as it appeared to have many options including water spraying, temperature, direction and pressure. Best of all the seat was heated!! Did think about taking a pillow in there and trying to kip!! You will have to make do with photo of lower budget job here in Tokyo. And as the immortal Alan Partridge once said when viewing a house with a posh toilet . . . . "I do like that toilet. It's very futuristic, isn't it? Very, sort of, high-tech, space age. I can imagine Buck Rogers taking a dump on that. In the twenty-first century".

Ended up in Popeye Beer Cub last night which is a cool little, dark wood panelled establishment not far from hotel. It has some 40 beers on tap from around the globe and is certainly a place the locals like to patronise. Getting in and finding somewhere to stand was extremely difficult. I did wonder how on earth the barman kept pace with what was being ordered and more importantly where it was meant to be heading. Well, each order was written separately on slip of paper and put in a dish. The barkeep would pick up the paper, dip them in water then stick them to his arm till he had about 10, then once poured he would transfer the paper to the glass. Simple and clever.

The strongest brew was 14.3% Iwatekura Barley Wine and it looks like the most expensive was Nasukougan Nine Tailed Fox Barley Wine at 525 Yen for 50ml, which even with my poor maths works out at £41 a pint!!

The Japanese Yen is a very strong global currency. Looking back at some records for 2007 show 234 Yen to the British Pound, at airport yesterday got 119 Yen. (Tourist rate is 130) So in space of 3 and bit years assuming no price increase, things have almost doubled in price. This makes doing business sometimes very easy as our goods are comparatively cheap against the locally manufactured product but the double edge sword is exports are fearsomely expensive.

While we are dabbling around the subject of business, the business card is very important out here. It’s always handed over with ceremony and presented with two hands. It should be received and reviewed. I did hear tale of some British chap who lost a very important customer by taking and pocketing straight away the company’s President’s card. Probably ranks right up there with that other Japanese faux pas, “This fish isn’t cooked mate!”

I have been pratting around with the TV remote here which is written in Japanese as you would expect. I had been stuck with Sharps finest leaping 10 channels at a time and having a grand total of 10 channels. Looked at the great oracle that is Google and the TV has only been out a matter of months so no manuals seem available. Call me old fashioned but one has to be a tad careful clicking buttons willy-nilly in hotels as before you know it you can have a dose of Frankie (Vaughn. . . . . !!) on your itemised bill.

Sunday is a day in Tokyo (and probably the rest of the country as well come to that) where the women, particularly the older ones like to wear the traditional Japanese dress and go out for lunch. Very smart they look as well. Minding my own business, slurping some Asahi Super Dry beer the couple next door struck up conversation by asking where I was from etc and why was I so far from home. She (a lady of advancing years and excellent English) asked if I had a family and would I be home to see them for Christmas. Turned out she was married once but widowed, so I jokingly asked her what she was looking for in her next husband. She said she would very much like to marry a ‘Constant Penis’. Well, I thought, you are not setting your sights very high and even I could be in there. Then she continued how much she had loved the work of Irving Berlin, ah the penny dropped . . . . . ‘Concert Pianist’.

Finally, I suspect from Tokyo, unless I happen to end up anywhere noteworthy tonight as being taken out by several locals . . . . It’s a really beautiful sunny day, almost like spring, the temperature is not too cool and the sun is shining brightly. What I will not miss from here are the incessant Christmas Carols. The Koran airline Triple Seven was playing Rudolf the Red Nosed Rein Deer as we taxied to the stand and I could not believe it when identical version was playing in the lift heading up to room after checking in. Outside my room is a speaker which is belting out numerous compilations 24/7. In all fairness I have not heard any repeat versions, though there have been many, many a rendition of the same song!! When I can’t sleep at night and if you listen hard enough it’s a good game to work out what is actually playing, luckily for the insomniac in me it’s as effective as counting the proverbial sheep.
Hotel Beer Vending Machine

In the heart of Sumo Town

Land of the rising, no its the setting sun.

Multi function toilet

Popeye Beec Club - Tokyo

Space at a premium in Tokyo if you want a garden

Tokyo Tube Map

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Finally Ready For Christmas!

Its been a bit of a hectic week, what with the weather!

We have been a bit concerned that we wouldnt make it to our Christmas destination, the roads have been bad, and with snow forecast again, we really didnt have a plan B, so to say it was shit or bust was an understatement.

The route to where we are now was snow bound up to yesterday, just about passable without 4wd. but getting into the field we thought may well be a bit dodgy, oh, and the 2 bridges we had to cross, one humped back, the other which is only single file and with a left handed tight 90 degree entry to it! Considering we are 38ft when hitched up, it was a bit of a task, I work on the internet, what Im not is a magician!

So today of moving arrived, "M" went off to work, and left me to pack up, which I did rather leisurely by falling back to sleep and waking up at 10am! finally got up and packed up, we left the site around 2.30pm, half hour trip up the road, and with a bit of shunting and a bit of a wiffy clutch we were pitched up!

Had to go back and get the trailer, so two trips required, but the only problem we had was that 3 bolts off of my sack trucks wheel have dropped out, and now have a wobbly wheel! So all in all a successful move, not bad considering the weather.

Tomorrow, my niece Loopy Lucy, is coming over to stay with us for two days and the night! She is 11, so her main task tomorrow is to decorate the caravan with xmas lights and tinsel!

Cant tell you all how relieved we both are to be here! Let it snow and do its worst, and best of all its free camping! However, we have decided to offer £5.00 a day to cover the extra electric used. Thats fair isnt it?

Looking forward to Christmas dinner, we have a haunch of venison this year!

I have a new update from out 007 H who I think is still in Japan. Havent heard from him for a couple of days, so lets hope he can get a flight back!

So till later........

Saturday, 18 December 2010

007 H - Korean Update!

Another travelogue from our entrepid 007 H in his quest for world peace, is drinking his way around Asia,  collecting important information on beer prices and the various ways in which chicken can be eaten! Well its a matter of National Security I guess!

A further update of his time spent in another dodgy watering hole!

Day 18 Korea:


Had a whistle stop stay in the Intercontinental airport hotel at Singapore that seems to really want to help travellers by keeping their luggage weight down. Think it worked at over £30 an hour for the time by head was actually led on the supposed ex-goose.

Landed in Seoul some 5 hours and one hour time difference from south Asia, at plus 9 hours Zulu (Or GMT if one prefers).

What a turn round in weather. Had gone from plus 35 Celsius to Minus 5 Celsius in fell swoop (What on earth does that mean, something to do with inept Golden Eagles??). Anyway, looked like the locals were dressed in converted bedding quilts, little Michelin people everywhere. Not that I had a lot of warm clothes anyway but it was really nice to walk around in shirt sleeves, which led to lots of pointing from said locals.

Got a lift to the centre of Seoul where as perhaps you would expect it’s busy. Hotel was okay and typically small room-wise if you don’t pay top dollar, you know, the sort where you could not swing a short eared Manx cat.

Next day, early and not so bright, 3 of us, 2 locals and me headed off via a cab to the main train station in Seoul to catch the high speed one (The KTX) and rocket down to the south east of Korea (That’s the south bit of south Korea and further away from their aggressive neighbours up north). Not much of note except very smoothly operated both on and off the tracks and unlike good old UK you do actually get a seat. It certainly shifts and the French origins of the French TGV high speed train, had no trouble getting to 300kph and at one stage saw 304kph which is about 188mph. Very speedy and slightly worrying as one rockets past you in opposite direction, making a closing speed of some 376mph and needless to say should two ever run into each other at that speed you had better be hanging on to your coffee. I am starting to sound like some duffle-coated train spotter so last of rail orientated facts coming up. While in Guangzhou, China, two weeks back; they had just run 486kph on high speed train from Shanghai. Oh god, now I am getting into this . . . . . . THE Record according to many is held by the French at 574 kph and the top dog (for which read Choo Choo!) is the Japanese who had a Maglev experimental one which hit 581 km/h (361 mph). Enough!!

Not much happened of note in Busan but late trip back into Seoul then to Ansan City, in locally negotiated cab, which actually turned out to be okay with exception of some dreaded lurgy the driver was suffering with, so being in a confined space with a habitual hacker would not be advised. Still, he did what he said he was going to do and charged the 65,000 WON and got me there safely. Some other less scrupulous baskets have taken me with a taxi meter which must have been plumbed in and running at 24 Volts and ended up paying 160,000 Won which is about £80.

Slightly horrified this morning at 3.00am as slide the noisy wooded shutters open on the 6th floor of the Top Hotel (yeah right!!) to see the petrol station opposite being blanketed in snow. Thoughts of my impeding departure turned to ‘oh no’, don’t say its Xmas here eating fried chicken!! (spent one Christmas day in Dhahran, which is Saudi Arabia, had a Jalfrezi as I recall).

Last night was eventful. Took myself into local chicken house, think it was called Two-Two chicken which sort of helped, or perhaps was just a precursor to same local game of chance. Anyway, there I was minding my own business, drinking some very pleasant HITE Beer and no that is not with a silent ‘S’, when a whole load of boisterous locals came in. They ordered 3 liters of the beer and continued to get louder in relatively good humour, which eventually (Inside an hour I hasten to add) turned to hostility and immense amounts of shouting, much to the bemusement of the owner who did know what to do. Then it descended into violence as some chappie from China rushed back in from the toilet (Where most of this shouting was going on) grabbed a small fork and rushed back into the toilet. What on earth was he going to do, prick him to death? Needless to say the police pitched up, some 8 of them in all and it all became quiet again. Bit disappointed I did not get a free beer out of it so might have to try again tonight!!
Best invention going, no need to get up - ring bell - beer arrives!

Could be anything!

Down Town Ansan Korea - Neon City

For everyone but he chicken I suspect!


Our latest news from our intrepid explorer is that he is now in Tokyo, last heard of at Popeyes bar!

More Snow!

I woke up around 6ish this morning, pulled a blind up and looked out, it was looking a bit festive, and I dont mean tinsel and flashing lights!

Another load of snow had landed, which meant that it was time to get up and clear the awning roof, so I got back into bed and decided that another couple of hours wouldnt hurt!

Eventually got up, and went out and with the aid of a step ladder and a brush, cleared the roof off.

Our plan for today was to go to Shaston and look at a new, well second hand, Mitsubishi L200 at a local dealer, the weather not looking too clever, but we decided that as we have a 4x4 we may as well give it a go. We got there ok, but it was a bit ice road trucker at times!

On site, before I cleared the awning roof, light snow!

Our neighbour, looking cold!

Start of the tobogon run!

OK, wheres the run exactly?

Just aim for the gap! then worry about the corner!

The trees looked great with the sun shining on them

The landrover once again, coped with out any issues with the conditions, its certainly 4x4 season.

We had a look at a couple of L200's both really nice, but not sure about the price! We then went over to where I had originally bought the Fiat 500 as they are also an Isuzu dealer, we took a look at their Isuzu Denver double cab pick up, again, great vehicle but a bit pricey!

We are waiting to hear back from the first dealer, to see if he can do us a better deal, I dont think so somehow.

So the search continues!

I heard on the radio this morning that Bournemouth police are giving shoppers jingle bells to attach to their bags, so if they happened to be snatched the sound of bells will be heard! Now, I can see where they are coming from, but, Im afraid as every shop in town is playing Christmas music with the usuall dose of bells included Im afraid it may not be noticed. After all if you heard jingle bells would you automatically think - Yes its a bag snatch! Or would you think, oh thats rather festive! Now, jingle bells in July, that may just work! I bet the copper who thought that one up got some sort of a pat on the back as well! If your out about and you do hear jingle bells, dont go and floor the person and make a citizens arrest, you may just get it wrong!

Mind you, if it were summer, then I wouldnt want to be a Morris Dancer!

Back at the van, the temp is dropping rapidly, at 1655 on sat evening it is now -4 and with a clear sky we expect it to get alot colder.

Tomorrow the awning comes down! Should be an experience!

Well, as we are not venturing out again, as the weather conditions are just to bad, its time for a beer!

Till later.....

P.S. 007 H is now in Tokyo! propping up Popeye's bar in no doubt the seedier side of town!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

007 Update - Singapore to Jakarta! (not in a caravan)!

Our good friend and international jet setter 007 H has written to me with his latest update which I thought it only fair to share with you all!

So here he is 007 H!

Not sure I am going to keep this up as have work to do!!

Day 15 (that’s for me in Asia and not for unsuspecting people who have tuned in expecting to find caravanning and life at its finest):

Singapore to Jakarta.

Currently sat at Singapore airport, which is still called Changhi and a hark-back to the glorious days of Boogie Street, of which the original was sadly was demolished some years ago. For those who want to know it’s when Trannies were proper Trannies and not just a big van made by Ford.

Outside the tinted windows of the air-conditioned splendour of terminal Two are many of Singapore’s finest jets resplendent in their gold and dark blue striped livery. In the distance are two of those behemoth A380 jets (airbus), which just has to be the Bumble Bee of the aviation world, it looks like it shouldn’t fly but apparently does!!

What is even more incongruous as many people rocket past in front of me on automated walkways is the music, which I thought it was just some nice soothing piano based stuff until I found myself singing along to a rendition of Frosty the bloody snowman! (Which reminds me of an old joke . . . . . What goes “plink plink fizz”? That would be Richard Clayderman in an acid bath!).

Must say it’s all been rather pleasant flying Singapore. The hostesses are really smartly turned out and attractive in that oriental way and really do look like the proverbial “Trolley Dolly’s”, which is certainly a step in the right direction over some of those ropey old buzzards doing the “tart cart” thing on British Scareways.

I had not paid full attention to the geography of this trip but looking at one of the moving map displays on a bulkhead I noticed we have popped over the equator to land at Jakarta. So when I get to where am staying I am going to fill and drain a sink of water and see if jolly old French chappie Gaspard Coriolis was right about the effect of the earth’s rotational forces, both above and below the equator on the water as it supposedly whizzes down the plug hole in the opposite direction to back home. That’s probably demeaning the old garlic muncher a bit as it was his findings which eventually helped aircraft navigation systems to become a lot more accurate.

Jakarta is a sprawling city with a mixture of high rise buildings punctuated with what can only kindly be described as slums and it’s all intertwined by ribbons of black asphalt. The motorcycle reigns supreme and herds of them like rabid wasps buzz madly away in swarms from traffic lights. The roads are at best chaotic with the proverbial “why use the marked lanes when you can squeeze in a few more” type of driving. Saying that it all seems remarkably patient and they drive with the sort of self restraint that just would not exist in the UK.

Despite what the normal author of this blog thinks I do attempt to hold down a day job. When overseas I tend to pick hotels which I know or the people I come to see decide are appropriately located. Normally I reside at a swish establishment (The Aryaduta) buried in the middle of Jakarta City. A medium rise block of 20 floors from memory which is nicely appointed with clean rooms and buckets of attentive staff. As mentioned the volume of traffic, compounded by rush hour (Which as normal around the globe means no one can rush anywhere) meant it would be the proverbial Western-Super-Night-Mare to get to. This obviously was a real shame as the 2 hour free bar was positively excellent value if one can drink quickly enough during the allotted opening hours. The only downside is some noise, the aforementioned motorcycles out the front and several Mosques out the back, who in this neck of the woods are starting to call the faithful somewhere around 4am onwards.

So this trip was holed-up in a slightly lesser establishment to the west of Jakarta called the Horison. It was okay though the rooms were a tad tatty to say the least, almost but not quite “Hot and Cold running rats” and of the 3 stars it had 2 could be observed through the hole in the roof. One thing which was all out of kilter was the price of beer. A Nasi Goreng (that’s food by the way and not some goose stepping German chappy with a penchant for ambling into Poland without being invited.) was £5 and a very small draft beer was £6!!

Mosquitoes have always been a bit of a concern in Asia. The old low flying hypodermics have given numerous acquaintances the dreaded malaria. I have taken the Chloroquine and Nivaquine to prevent the effects but used to be out here so often was nearly permanently on them, and the side effect of one I seem to recall was . . . . . . Potential liver damage. Which is where I will stop now and go and cause some on my own accord.
Hand pulled water taxi - all of 40 feet!

Dont think this is recycle day Jakarta style!

China On The Beach!


On Sunday we decided that as it was still rather good weather, we should make the most of it and head for the beach, seeing as more severe weather has been forecast!

We headed for Southbourne, which is about a mile up east from Bournemouth. There wasnt alot of folk about, so we let her off the lead and she acted as if the devil was after her arse! Talk about mad! She wasnt too keen on the water, but sand, she loved it!

As the sun was setting I managed to get a few pics, which I was rather pleased with.

Ive added a load below!

I do like a good sunset!

Southbourne Beach - just east of Bournemouth

I like this picture, the ripple effect gives a real texture to it

China Dog, Stocky little thing!

China, a bit puffed out, after running mad on the beach

China & "M"

Heres a picture of my beloved "M" already wearing her Xmas present (coat)

News on my dad!

Its been a bit of a hectic week, but the good news is that he has had a bypas operation, (yesterday - Weds) and from what we can make out, appears to be doing ok!

The weather is set to be against us yet again over the next few days, we plan to take the awning down on Sunday! and move on Weds to our Xmas pitch which happens to be "M"s Mums, partners house in Woodgreen, which is between Fordingbridge and Salisbury. Lovely big garden, very secluded, just a bit tight getting in, we havent attempted it yet with this van, so will be an experience!

Van still holding up well, we left the heater off in the awning the other night, and the shirts and washing which was hung above it was crispy frozen by the morning. We only have an oil filled radiator on low out there, but it does make such a difference. Water supply on site seems to be ok as well, mind you, we havent had the cold temperatures that we did have.

It could only happen to us that the worst winter for years, we choose to spend in a caravan!

Roll on the summer, all those BBQ's and beers in the warm evenings! (keep that dream in my head)!

Till later........

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Guest Blogger - 007 H - Singapore Style!

Well, we have a real treat for you today, a very good friend of ours who is currently out in the far east, doing what ever 007's do has provided us with todays post.

So without further a do, I shall hand you over to 007 H!

Morning,



As you are keeping me entertained with your blog I thought I would share my travels, in the short term at least.


Buoyed by the amazing amount of white stuff back in blighty I just had to share the humid 28C of Singapore. It’s the wet season here apparently and it does chuck it down quite a bit, obviously adding to the humid atmosphere. You can tell the temperature is not always easy to deal with by the odd air-conditioning unit strapped to whatever wall space is available. (See attached photo)



Life here is relativity laid back. Staying in a modest Best Western hotel which is just behind Boat Quay. The Quay is a great place for a few wets and something to eat. The choice of nosebag, as the UK, gets worse in proportion to consumption of Tiger (That’s the beer and not the stripy thing from Winnie the Pooh). One normally starts off the evening thinking something with a little chicken and steamed vegetables would be the healthy, sensible option. Though when knee deep in the aforementioned beverage I seem to, with monotonous regularity, end up with something containing a plethora of Chilies. Though it has to be said chilies here are many and varied, ranging from “that is quite a nice zing dancing across my tongue”, to “these will definitely be needing ice cubes in the toilet prior to any morning constitutional”.


Still can’t say I sit to happily with rows of tanks with fish, crabs and the like waiting to be selected and unceremoniously bashed about the gills and chopped up, though of course one does know it’s quite fresh. At least the stuff here is slightly more appealing than some of the things in China (Guangzhou in this case a week ago), where there are many things that look like Beaks, Trotters, Lips, Fins and Eyes. How was I to know in Taipei (yes, there after China), that Goose Feet was a delicacy. It certainly did not look appealing . . . . . Give me chickens feet any day! Which indecently you can make move by pulling the tendons. Doesn’t sound very appetising now I have written that at 09.37am after breakfast but I can assure you at the same time pm it’s most amusing.


As you would expect here an eclectic mix of locals, ex pats and tourists. Many spend hours in the shopping centres looking at merchandise that appears to be a tad exorbitant on the price front. Though last time I was here there was one bargain which caught the eye as I strolled past the Levi store. “give us your old jeans and we will give you $50 Singapore Dollars (Roughly £25 of our British Pond Newts) off the price”. True, there was a small commotion as I removed them in the shop entrance but that eventually quelled as it would appear I was going to keep my underwear on. So, being a man of habit I walked back to said store and the same offer was still running. Though my enthusiasm for new strides for £30 GBP was tempered by the fact they no longer carry 36” waist and above 501’s! “we don’t have a demand for them sir”, was the courteous reply, when I could actually tell he meant “we don’t cater for bloaters in this complex sir”.


It’s possible to get a feet massage here and the more traditional sort as well. Not really my cup of tea so to speak. Though was enticed into one particular establishment that looked reasonably respectable by an attractive young woman who offered to examine me and make me feel “really good”. Free beer is never to be turned down. Anyway I was sitting there while she started to give me the once over. She looked me straight in the eye and said “sir, you must stop masturbating”, I obviously enquired why? she said “because I am trying to examine you”.


Its Saturday here so will head off for a walk along the river and probably pop into Raffles Hotel (a wonderful colonial style building resplendent in bright white paint outside and dark wood panelling inside) for a cup of Earl Grey which will be sipped with the obligatory finger at a jaunty angle, just to show I knew the commonwealth when natives recognised the old baked bean and pith helmets were ‘the’ fashion accessory to have and I-Pods were something to ease the bowels, which actually listening to some of the music leaking from Skull Candy Headphones today they probably still do, so maybe life is still all good and well.


Regards,


Por Kum Yung

Thankyou for that 007!

Not to be out done we thought that our aircon, all though not the same is of a reasonable standard to be included!


Taken at Bistro On The Beach - Southbourne! This afternoon!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

A Wintery Tale

We are both feeling rather pleased with ourselves after surviving the coldest temperatures we have known for ages! The lowest we recorded on our weather station was -8.2 which is way to cold for us Southerners!

The only problems we encountered, was that the electrical part of our heating system packed in and we are still awaiting the part to arrive. But problem solved with a convector heater, which works just as well. The other problem we had was that the waste pipes froze up. The water on site has also frozen up, so we have been having to take the rolls to "M"s work to fill up!

Our aquaroll sack that "M" made has worked a treat, the water has only started to freeze when its really low. Everything else has worked well.

We couldnt move the Fiat 500 for a few days, we couldnt get it out of the field as its so low to the ground! But the Landrover came into its own, and I couldnt of got to Shaston without it.

Below Ive add a few pictures I took over that last week or so. Apparently there is more bad weather on its way!

The ice was rather thick!

I got up here, but it looks dodgy going back!

Another slippery drive upto Wingreen

Standing on top of the world!

Wingreen Trees

Looks like Im in a plane looking down onto clouds, but its grass!

Wingreen looking East

Looking West

We went to Drusilla's Inn http://drusillasinn.co.uk/ on Thursday for a Christmas meal with friends, It was packed, and the only thing I can say is that all though the food was really good considering the amount of people there, it was a bit of a novelty eating a Christmas dinner out of a pasta bowl! They had run out of plates! Not bad £15.00 for three courses!

"M"s brother in Ireland - Hello Ronnie! is now reading the blog, along with Lou Poo's ! a friend of "M"s. Our very own 007 who as we speak is in down town Shanghai regularly logs on to catch up with the latest news of dear old Shaston and other Blighty related waffle. Also hello to Ian the painter in Ringwood and Katherine from the Donheads.

Bought something rather unusual this week! A gold tooth, or rather the gold from a crown, complete with the tooth still attached. Gross, but, I can get a rather good price on gold at the moment, so if you have any old teeth, or better and more hygenically, gold or silver jewellery kicking about let me know, and Im sure a deal can be struck! Will certainly give you a better price than all these rip off merchants on the TV!

Someone the other day suggested that I give you my email address as without a google account you cant leave comments or ask us questions, so please feel free to email us at bakers_cottage@btinternet.com you can also find us at Twitter our user name there is caravanliving

On a final note, my Dad was rushed in to hospital this morning after suffering a rather large heart attack, he all ready has a pace maker fitted, we are awaiting news now to find out when they are going to operate to perform a bypass. So it was off to Southampton hospital this morning. I got there as quickly as I could, but it then took me 35 minutes to locate him, as the main receiption was closed! Why? I asked and they said it was because it was at the weekend! So according to Southampton NHS Trust no one needs help over a weekend! I was also asked as I went in through the door if I would like to make a wish and write a card and hang it on the tree in the foyer. I gave them a pound, got a label and wrote on it, Open the bloody reception at weekends! On a positive note, at least my Mum can now watch strictly come dancing without Dad moaning about it! best you make the most of it Mother! All things going well he should be out just before Christmas - Fingers crossed!

Till later.........

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Another Day - Another Freezing Day!

So when is it going to warm up, Ive looked at the long range weather forecasts on at least 3 different websites, all saying the same thing, its remaining cold!

Thankfully, we havent had too many dramas, the only problem we have is no water on site, luckily "M" only works a couple of miles away, so every morning Im off in there with the aquarolls, filling up!

The roads havent been too bad either, all though one stretch of road is still an ice rink, if you have ever watched ice road truckers, well its a bit like that, but getting better everyday!

Ive been up onto Wingreen the last couple of days, 4 wheel drive is required,  you wouldnt get up there otherwise, the Landrover hasnt batted an eye lid at any of the conditions we have had to deal with. Thankfully we dont live in Scotland or up North, it may of been a different matter if we did!

The caravan and awning have both coped well, no probs other than the heater packing in, but we have managed to get around that until the part arrives!

We are now starting to think about the what if questions, regarding Christmas! We are planning to go to Woodgreen which is a little village half way between Salisbury and Fordingbridge, but the roads will be untreated, as they are here! As they are it wont cause us a problem, but any snow, then it does throw the whole plan into the air! So we will be playing it all by ear. This also goes for our trip to Manston for New Years Eve! So who knows where we will end up!

Its been a bit flat out for me recently, as there is a deadline to get everything done for Dec 22nd! Im actually looking forward to a few days off, now, this is unusual for me as Im not a great lover of Christmas! I just find it all too commercial. Im not religious at all, but surely we have forgotten about what it is all about?

Well, off out to "M"s works Christmas do, all four of us! And only two out of the four work there! We are off to Drusilla's, we have been there before and had a good meal, so decided to go for it again, so will tell you what it was like later in the week.

So till later.... Stay warm!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Boozy Sunday Lunchs!

That wasnt the plan at all today, but its how it turned out! Not that Im complaining!

We got up late, around 10ish, mooched about and had a leisurely coffee, as we had to be back at the vets at 12 noon to get China looked at and signed off after her op.

11.30 and "M"s mum and partner turned up to see if we would like lunch out, well, it took us all of 30 seconds to decide on that one, so another quick brew and we made plans to meet them at the pub later.

At the vets, China was looked at and given the all clear, her wound has healed nicely, no infection, she certainly hasnt been bothered by it at all.

We then stopped off at Castle Point Shopping Centre, a place that sends shivers down my spine, due to having to come into contact with so many people all out shopping. Hustle, bustle, is not my thing, nor is shopping. But, this was special as we were getting "M"s Christmas present.  A new jacket! So after a couple of shops we found exactly what "M" was looking for, it certainly will keep the wind and the rain out, no excuse now not to walk China dog when blowing a gale!

We then headed for the The Fish Inn http://thefishinn.net/ a large pub set on the outskirts of Ringwood. Plenty of real ale, and Thatchers Gold on draught. The food menu was extensive, I ended up having Swordfish steaks with a salsa sauce which was fab, and "M" had duck breasts, the others had roast beef etc. None of us could find fault, so hats off to the pub and its staff. The other thing I liked about the pub as all though it was a foody type pub it also had space at the bar to sit and talk and have a pint. They havent forgotten their locals who just want a pint. This is always one of the things I look for in a pub.

We didnt have to drive, so a few Guinness were consumed and "M" hit the red wine, but she is now suffering and has headed to bed all ready!

Got back to the van, and swapped the heaters over, we are now running a convector heater in the van instead of gas untill the part arrives, hopefully next week! Temperature has dropped again this evening to -3, but once again, currently at 22 degrees in the van!

Oh and all the water on site has frozen up again!

Another busy week back upto Shaston everyday next week.

So till later.........

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Extremes of temperature!

Well its been a cold couple of days with the coldest day recorded at the van being -8.2 degrees, now thats cold for the South Coast!

The only thing that froze was the waste pipe outlets from the kitchen sink and the shower, the one from the toilet was fine!? I was kneeling in snow last night trying to defrost the pipes from the outside back up with no joy, infact I think I had a complete and total sense of humour failure at that point!

I can now see how it happened though, so hopefully it wont happen again, the pipes come out through the floor of the van, through the chassis, then bow down and then back up to the 3 outlet connectors mounted to the side of the van. So as the pipes bow it collects standing water which froze solid, and at -8 even pouring boiling water into the sink it still doesnt shift it! So from now on during the winter, Im not connecting the pipes to the outlet sockets, just straight into the hog. Its perhaps something that the guys at lunar may want to take a look at as I know you read this!

Whilst Im talking about Lunar, we have had a problem with the vans heater, but most of the labour charge was in the guy having to remove the heater so he could get at the bits at the back, how about an inspection hatch, either from outside or from the cupboard next to it, or even from above? I realise that they dont go wrong that often, but, when they do, its usually when you need them the most! Thinking about it even our old 26 year old van, you could lift up the panel ontop of the heater and get to the back of it, in a matter of seconds!

Dont get me wrong, we are still really pleased with our Lunar van, and it appears to be standing up well to full time living, which has got to be the ultimate test for a tourer.

There are a few other little things that could of been done better, but Ill write about those soon.

Im off to list more antiques today on ebay, I seem to eat, think, and sleep ebay at the moment, but you got to grab the £££'s when you can. More items for Christmas, as its a good time to sell, more people have time off, get bored of tv, eating and drinking and surf the net!

Back again!

Its been a rainy, but mild day, nearly all the snow has gone, it has now turned into a marsh outside! We even have water on site again!

Forgot to mention that last night was our 100th consecutive night in the caravan! It sort of came and went without it being noticed! It sounds alot, but really its only just over 3 months! It sure does feel like we have been doing this for a while!

A few beers tonight, "M" is all ready on the vino, so will have to go and dig the murphys out of the awning!

Till later...........