Saturday, 30 April 2011

Abbey Hill Steam Rally Exhibits - Something For Everyone!

Ive just been reading through the programme for Abbey Hill Steam Rally, there really is something here for everyone.

There are 25 full size steam engines, ranging from the agrigultural type to the showmans.

18 miniature steam engines, total replicas of their full size cousins.

210 Vintage and classic motorcycles and trikes.

40 Landrovers

17 Emergency vehicles - From fire engines to ambulances

There is a craft tent full of crafty type things (not my cup of tea) but each to their own!

2 Old fairground organs

A model section including a collection of milk bottles!

Outside displays including a collection of teapots!

136 Stationary Engines - This is where we are no 133 if your looking for us!

Well over 300 classic and vintage cars - thats alot of cars

152 vintage and classic tractors, some still being used on farms today!

11 vintage caravans - just a little bit too basic now, but they do look good.

There is a vintage working area, with saw benches etc.

43 Military vehicles

65 Commercial vehicles

So with plenty to look at plus the arena which has a full programme of events which includes nearly all the above vehicles parading around it, this really is a family show.

Plenty of parking, and the weather is ok, so if you are reasonably close, come on down for a good day out!!

Oh and dont forget to come and say Hi!

Off to cook breakfast on the cadac!

Till later

Friday, 29 April 2011

Abbey Hill Steam Rally - Day 1

We arrived yesterday afternoon with the caravan, which we set up, complete with little awning and then we had to travel back to Horton to collect our stationary engine from the unit.

On the way back, we stopped off at Tescos and stocked up with supplies for the weekend!

We eventually got back to the caravan around 1930, I unloaded whilst "M" finished off unpacking the caravan.

A quick meal of pork chops on the cadac, and an early night, we were both shattered!

It rained during the night, but only briefly.

At around 1000 hrs I set about sorting out the new generator, so that "M" could watch the wedding on our TV. As the gene was brand new, I had to fill it with oil and learn how to get it going. A simple bit of kit to operate so was soon up and running.

However, we could not get a good picture, it just kept pixelating, so eventually gave up and "M" went next door and watched the wedding in their caravan.

I, in the meantime, had to get my stationary engine fired up! I havent done anything to it at all over the winter. Last time I used it was back in September at Berwick St John Vintage Fayre.

I filled up with petrol, checked the oil, and lubricated all the bits that needed it, primed the fuel and with a turn of the starting handle, up she fired first time! Not bad for a 60+ year old engine!

Its a Wolseley WDII 1.5hp stationary engine, designed for running sheep shears. However, it can be used for running more or less anything. Im currently running a Lister Domestic water pump that pumps 250 gallons of water an hour. Thats alot of water!

I pump it from a bucket back into the same bucket!

Everything was fine till late this afternoon, when it suddenly stopped running, thankfully, the guy I bought it from was just opposite when it stopped so him and his mate helped me to try and get it going again.

We cleaned out the fuel pipe, which involved me getting a mouth full of petrol, we removed the float chamber and checked to make everything was ok there, we checked the magneto, and gave it a good clean, a good spark was being produced so we knew it wasnt that.

We then tested the spark plug, and that was the cause of the problem, or so we thought!

I managed to find another spark plug up on one of the auto jumble stalls and came back and fitted it, but still no joy, so the guy next to me, took the plate off the magneto and we gave it another good clean out. All fitted back on, and it fired up!

So fingers crossed that it will go tomorrow.

Whilst we were doing this our friends from Shaston 007 Herbert and Cat Woman Jo turned up! It was lovely to see them both. Neither of them had seen the van, other than on the blog. "M" gave them the guided tour of the caravan and then we had a quick wander around the show, in search of spark plugs!

This evening a couple of beers as "M" russled up a spag bog, which tasted lovely.

The weather doesnt look good for tomorrow, but the forecast for today wasnt brilliant and it turned out ok, all though not as warm as it has been, with little sun and a bit breezy!

Ive added a few pictures that Ive taken so far below:
Cooking tea thurs night, note useful cooking implement - hammer!

Bunting up, windbreak up, and engine covered!

Engine running smoothly, China acting as foreman!
Day 2 tomorrow, it may be a bit busier as its been a bit quiet today, but thats really only to be expected.

Generator seems to be working fine, a bit noisy, but there are plenty of others chugging away, so not bothered!

Well, till later....................

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


To know that we have inspired others is a wonderful feeling, so thankyou to those of you who have thought through the whole process, weighed up all the options, taken flak from family and friends and gone for it!

I heard today from Mark and Cheryl, another couple just 11 days into full timing! Seems that more and more people and seriously thinking about it and then doing something about it!

I also heard from Christine yesterday who says shes been inspired by what we are doing, and do we have any tips for them with two young kids.

Well, my obvious thoughts are get a big van with the right layout and a big awning, the rest is just down to organisation and having the right mindset.

I was reading a forum post the other day (yes, one I havent been banned from) and it was from a couple with young kids, quite a few negative comments, and dont do its, coming from so called experienced caravanners and the like!

Whats wrong with it, will the kids dissolve if they get wet? Will limbs fall of if they get cold whilst enjoying the fresh air, will they grow up respecting and understanding the countryside with the changing of the seasons. Or would you rather they were wrapped up in cotton wool, left to vegetate infront of a tv or x-box?

If I had young kids, this is exactly the sort of life I would want them to have, right now I could be sat with them watching tadpoles in a pond, or whats left of it as the lack of rain is drying it out rapidly! or out walking in the forest looking at the ponies.

As Ive said before, anything, and I do mean anything is possible if you put some thought into it. Before we started this lark, we had only owned a caravan for a year and the longest time we had ever spent in it was 4 nights!

We are not experts, the hose and nozzle story proved that point clearly! But, we are willing to break the boundries of what is the norm, and thats to live in a brick box, shut off from the outside world, where stimultion comes from the tv and watching nature programmes. Hey, try something radical like getting fresh air, and seeing it for yourself! It really is all out there!

So what inspires me? Well, waking to birdsong, looking at the stars with little or no light pollution, freedom to live (within reason) of where I choose. To cook and eat outdoors on a regular basis, it always tastes better that way doesnt it?

To be able not to worry about cash flow, what bills there are, are paid with no problems and that is such a huge relief I can tell you!

Its almost to a stage now where we feel we are on holiday all the time, we come back to our caravan and its relaxing. Ok, we have just had our first experience of undesireables, but thats not bad in 8 months is it? I can put up with that.

Also hearing from others who are doing the same as us, and from those who are still at the "Im not sure about this" stage!

We have been full-timing for over 8 months now, its seems like ages ago we set out. We have learnt so much in that time. With a severe winter well and truely behind us, the question is knowing what we know now, would we of still done it?

Bloody right we would of! Its brilliant, the winter was a challenge, nothing more, we got over every problem that we had, not that we had that many, but, we did it. And if we can do it, so could anyone with a postive attitude.

If you are unsure and want further information from us, please feel free to email us at Ask as many daft questions as you like, we really dont mind. One of the reasons why we started this blog in the first place was to help others who were thinking of full-timing. We couldnt find anything much about it at all, hence the blog. So dont feel silly asking questions, thats what we are here for!!

Off to have a glass of vino and start cooking outside, oh yes!

till later........

Woodgreen - New Location - Simply Stunning

I managed to pack up yesterday and hot foot it over here to Woodgreen, we last stayed here at Christmas with the whole place covered in snow, and where we recorded our lowest temperature of -9.5

A bit different now! If you click on the link above to the right of the bus shelter (which you cant see) is a field gate leading into a large paddock which is where we are, note the convieniently placed pub within crawling distance, which I may add was made full use of last night!

I set up in record time, just ready for "M" to arrive from work, a quick shower then off for a bite to eat with Rob over at the pub called the Horse And Groom not a bad pub which served Stowford Press Cider not a bad pint but a little to sweet for me. Had a fair few to test for sweetness, and suffered with cider fuzz this morning!

The food wasnt too bad, wasnt brilliant, but nothing to complain about. The bill was ok as well, for three of us each having starters, main and desert (diet completely shot to pieces) plus drinks (which we had a few) only came to £90 so all in all not a bad deal. Especially as it was so close!

This morning, once the cider fuzz had worn off a little I took China for a walk around the village. It really is a lovely place with a real sense of community.
Theres the wood and the green, no prizes why its called Woodgreen!

New Forest pony, grazing wild

A picture postcard view

Horse And Groom Woodgreen
We move from here tomorrow morning, heading over to Yeovil and the Abbey Hill Steam Rally, this will be our 3rd time there and our 2nd time exhibiting!

The weather not looking too good for the weekend!

Not sure if I said, but our generator turned up yesterday as well, so that will be put to use whilst at the show, just to keep the batteries topped up!

I paid £94.00 for it, delivered, for a 1000w generator, ok, you get what you pay for, but if it lasts me a year then I will be happy, as I dont want to fork out £500 on a honda suitcase!

Will be firing it up tomorrow, so pics to follow!

Oh and guess what, Ive lost the bloody nozzle off my water pipe! After just finding out how not to get soaked Ive lost the key part! Typical!

I spent today, running around like a blue arsed fly trying to get work completed and getting ready for the show!

We have to make two trips, one to get the caravan down there, then Im coming back to get the engine, a bit of a pain, but its too much for the poor old Landrover to lugg the caravan and the engine in one go.

Tonight, Rob is coming over, we are cooking alfresco using our trusty cadac! Think Ill go easy on the cider though!

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

Home Lands Ashley Heath Three Legged Cross Site Review WARNING!

We moved last Tuesday to a little site called Home Lands at Ashley Heath, Three Legged Cross in Dorset.

We have stayed here before back during the winter, we said then we didnt feel comfortable with it, but we thought we would give it another go just in case we were being daft.

First rule, always go with your instincts! We should of realised when we pulled onto the site, that a van with no number plate and with a bit of rubbish around it could only mean one thing!

But, we gave it the benefit of the doubt, and pitched up, the first few days we didnt hear or see anything from them, which was because there was no one there, then the family arrived!

We overheard the couple in the caravan next to them saying they were off as they had had enough of the noise, then as the site thinned out after the weekend we were left with screaming kids, and mess everywhere!

This was it after they had tidied up!

I really dont want to look at that lot!

Dirty nappies and tampons litter the floor!
Yesterday, I phoned through to a couple of sites and they were all fully stacked out, not surprising due to the double bank holiday, but with no where to go we thought we would stick it out.

Then one of the kids starting winding China dog up by barking at her! I asked him nicely if he could stop it, and he said that as the dog had barked first he was within his rights to bark back!

Sort of sums up the mentality nicely! I also forgot to mention that the previous night we had one of our solar powered lights go missing. You wouldnt need to be Sherlock Holmes to solve that little mystery out!

So with the red mist rising rapidly, it was either throttle the little git, or go to the site owner. The site owner said he didnt know they were back and that he would ask them to leave as others on the site had complained to him!

Well as a site owner, not knowing who is on your site is a lame excuse, and to not see the rubbish either is a total disregard for others, not to mention health implications!

A total disgrace, and I would advise anyone who is thinking of staying here to think again!

Luckily "M" managed to get hold of Rob which is "M"s Mums partner and we have pitched up in his rather large garden!
View from the awning

No neighbours!

China Dog looking regal!
So, out of the two views, which do you think we prefer!

I drove back past the site today, so much for making them move on, as their caravan is still in the same place, so the site owner obviously has no back bone, either that or likes having them on his site!

Its a shame as the site is handy for us, with a good pub opposite. But, we wont be going back there again.

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

Monday, 25 April 2011

Learnt Something From A 14 Year Old!

Well, its been a busy old weekend for us, here at "Three Legged Cross" so a bit of catching up to do!

Friday, what with trying to get as much work completed as I could, my daughter spent the day with us. She lives up in Preston with her Mother, so I dont get to see her as much as I would like. So anytime with her is good.

This was the first time she had seen the caravan, so I was wondering what she would make of it all! Thankfully we had glorious weather so a lunch time BBQ made things even easier!

She seemed to be impressed, and possibly a little surprised by it all.

We got her back to Shaston for around 1730 and then we dashed over to a little village not far away at a place called Child Okeford. This is a little village in North Dorset where I spent my early years, before moving to Shaston.

I had to collect a couple of settles and pub tables which I won off of ebay, I didnt pay much for the whole lot, £10.51 so hoping to make a bit on those as I intend to sell them individually.

Saturday "M" was at work in the morning, then came back and pottered around. I worked more or less all day, I managed to get alot done which was good.

Our friend Mr Gulliver came over that evening with his campervan and young lad Gully junior! We had plenty to drink and eat, so the diet went well and truely out of the window!

Sunday morning, not too sure how, as body coordination wasnt that brilliant I was staggering around Ashley Heath car boot, it was only 1 minute walk away, so as for a change we werent selling thought it a good idea to see what was around.

So at just after 0700 Im up at out there, hunting down the bargains, not that I found much! I did manage to find a couple of early C20th Newhall small plates, some early C20th Japanese decorated plates and a whole stack of Tram Magazines from the 1970's those sort of things always do well on ebay.

Talking of ebay, the drinks cabinet sold for a whopping £4.71 so wont be retiring yet! But, as I always say, its £4.71 for doing very little and Id rather that in my pocket than some bugger elses!

At just after 0800 "M" phoned me up to see what part of the field I was in, well Id nearly finished as you can scoot around fairly quickly with no china dog and no one else holding you up. So we met up and then walked around the whole site again!

Then back for a cooked breakfast on the Cadac with Gullivers senior and junior.

That afternoon we went over to "M"s Mum and partners house for a BBQ and had a leisurely afternoon sat in his massive garden, I do mean massive as well! Last time we were there was for Xmas and it was all covered in snow!

Today, Ive worked, not bank holiday Monday for me! Had loads of packing to get done, so managed to get it all ready for shipping out tomorrow. "M" has gone off to see her kids for the day, so just China dog and I here at the moment.

Now, when it comes to learning something, I dont mind who tells me as long as I can understand it. But, sometimes the most obvious and simple of things need to be pointed out to you.

There I was at the water point filling up the aqua rolls, now when you turn the tap on it doesnt just pour out, it gushes in every direction ensuring that your legs and feet are well and truely soaked. So there I was, having no success at all at getting the water in the little hole, so off I trot back to the van to get the hose and nozzle.

But, I had tried this before here and the tap was too small, which resulted in having to try and clamp the top of the nozzle over the tap, get cramp in your thumb and wet at the same time by doing so. There I was, getting wet, when this young lad said, if you peel or fold the hoze nozel back over on its self it makes for a tighter fit.


Something so simple, surely Im not the only one who didnt know how to do that? May be I am!!

Anyway, no more wet feet for me!

The site has started to empty out, with alot of the campers leaving. I think there is just 4 vans left now, so getting back to how we like things!

Waiting for "M" to return so that I can fire the cadac up, its Tuna steaks tonight!

Can feel a little cider coming on, I know, the diet, well bollocks to that, Im having a pint!

Till later.........

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Another Glorious Day Of Sunshine!

Well, what a way to work, sat out under the shade of a tree with just a gentle breeze and glorious sunshine!

This is what it is all about, the weather really has been lovely these past few days, and to be lucky enough to be able to sit in shorts and flap flips is wonderful!

The sun is just setting, its currenly streaming in through the awning door at the front of the van.

Im waiting for "M" to return from the laundrette when we will fire up the cadac and get some lamb chops on the go!

The site has steadily filled up during the day, not sure how many on site, but must be at least 9. Its a big site, so no one right next to us which is a relief.

China dog not being the friendiest of dogs tends to go off on one if anyone comes within 50 foot of the caravan! Good guard dog though so shouldnt complain too much!

I bought a small Hurrican lamp off of ebay it  arrived today, to say its small is an understatement! It looked bigger in the pictures - honest! So will be giving that a go later. Im not too hopefull about it giving off much light, but it will be pretty!

I hope that most of you are away this weekend, camping and caravaning! If not you should be, there really needs to be some major excuses as to why not!

I can imagine a couple right now, new to full timing who are probably sat outside grinning from ear to ear right now, relaxing in the glow of the evening sun!

Which is what Im going to do, but not with a glass of red, after getting through 3 bottles personally last week, I only managed to loose 1/2Lb last week! So keeping of the red wine from now on. They didnt say anything about gin though! So a cheeky G and T to kick start the weekend!

Full timing is the way to go!

till later...................

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Moved To New Site - Move Went Smoothly!

On Tuesday, "M" went off to work and left me the the task of packing up and moving off to our next location!

Managed to get everything bolted down, or so I thought, and broke campe around 1145 hrs, 2.5 miles later I pull into our new site.

After a quick chat with the owner I have the pick of the site, so opt for as far as my lead will reach from the central EHU box.

We have stayed here before, so I knew it was lovely and level, so no need to mess around with levelling blocks for the wheels!

Got set up in record time and even managed to get a bit of work done. There is only one other van on site, but not too sure what the score is with it, as there is no number plate on it and there is a right load of junk all around it. Its a new continental type van as well, fairly small! Lets hope my suspicions dont come true!

As the weather is rather good at the moment, I set up outside, and managed a couple of hours work sat looking over fields. Then watched the sun go down behind the trees.
Looking out across the fields

Just the small awning up, only here 10 days

Sunset looking from the front of the caravan

I get the crappy chair! "China" gets the Vango chair - Somethings wrong there!
Its funny the things that can annoy you, I know that sometimes I can go off on one over little things, but I do find that site owners who let their dogs come and mooter on the site, specifically next to my van is some what annoying! Im sure they would be the first to shout if China went and mootered on his lawn! The bins here are also overflowing, not a good sign!

That apart, the sun has been shining and Ive managed to get a lot of photos edited today.

Off to fat club tonight, I really dont think Ive lost anything this week!

I went to my local village post office this afternoon, shut! They shut on a Wednesday afternoon! What with closing for lunch they wonder why they are being shut down! You need to be open to survive! Its all very well saying, but they need a lunch break, but what about people on lunch breaks needing the post office! If you take on a franchise then be available and open! This is why the country is going to the dogs, too many folk being jobsworths, with no flexibility and with a union work to rule attitude - Wake up, your going to be unemployed soon!

Then, welcome to the real world! I do feel sorry for anyone who has been made redundant, but when I hear of some of the red tape that bogs down industry and institutions then quite frankly they only have themselves to blame. And, before anyone says, yes, but Im only a small cog in a big wheel, well, so was Ghandi, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandella!

Another Green Tea to bring me back down!

Till later.......

Monday, 18 April 2011

Abbey Hill Steam Rally 29th 30th April 1st 2nd May 2011

Our passes arrived for Abbey Hill Steam Rally today! Our first show of the season - so we are both very excited campers!

We are going to get down there on Thursday around lunch time, set up the caravan, then wizz back here to get the stationary engine. Its just too much for our poor old Landy to tow the lot! We have done it, but it didnt like it, and I was glad when the journey was over! So two trips all though a pain, has got to be done.

If and when we ever get to sell the Fiat 500 we can use our replacement vehicle to tow the trailer with the engine in it, or if big enough put it in the back!

We have also just bought a generator off of ebay. The one we were after is no longer available, which is a bit of a pain as it had a higher power output, but as we only want it for charging the batteries and running the laptop, then a 1Kva generator should do the job. The leisure battery on the van is an upgraded one, and lasts 5 days running the shower pump etc, but we dont want to take the chance, plus Ill get the shakes if I cant log on!

Its the Royal Wedding weekend as well, even though Im a royalist, I doubt if Ill watch the wedding, Id rather listen to the chug of my engine and those around me than two people taking vows.

Its a long show, lasting 4 days. But, cant see it being busy on the day of the wedding, mind you, it may well be with people wanting to get away from it all!

Either way, Ill be sat out in front of the van (weather permitting) watching the world go by and talking to other engine owners!

We will be taking the little awning with us, this time last year we did the rally in our trusty 1984 2 berth abbey 212GT with a £19.99 gazebo as the awning! A class act we certainly were not! It was a fun little van, but with no a working shower on board, a water pump which was so bad that even with using the foot pump you could get more out of the tap by sucking it up with a straw! It did have its limitations! It did serve us well,  we were sad when we waved it goodbye!

Abbey Hill Steam Rally is also our the first show that we used the caravan, as we had only bought it in March the same year. That was 3 years ago. Little did we suspect back then that 3 years later we would be living full time in a caravan and loving it!

Im not the only ones who are enjoying life in a caravan, we have just heard from a couple who blame us for inspiring them to do the same as we are doing! Hi J and T! hope all is well with you and that you are settling in to your new lifestyle!

It still amazes me that what I write on here, actually strikes a chord with so many and that it has actually inspired folk to do the same is really quite something. Just dont blame me next winter when your pipes are frozen and your up to your ying yangs in mud! As Ill be in the same boat as you!

But, seriously, this life style is not for everyone. In fact for the few. But those that have taken the plunge appear to enjoy it! I know we certainly do. Just being able to sit out of an evening with nothing but fields around us, oh, and no lawn to mow is rather lovely!

Well off to check ebay, then off to bed, busy day tomorrow, on the road again! All of 2 miles!

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

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Getting Ready To Move! Big Awning Down

Sunday morning and we were up early, which wasnt good as I managed to put away 2 bottles of red last night, so my head wasnt in sync with the rest of my body!

Off to do the car boot at Ashley Heath, selling just books and clothes. I wouldnt say we did brilliantly but the sun was out and we have £40 extra in the pot. So £40 is £40 and in this day and age, any money is good money!

When we got back to the caravan, a quick cuppa, and we thought as the weather was good and we move on Tuesday taking the large awning down was the thing to do. So that came down, and will be going up to the unit tomorrow evening.

We took the small one down from the other side and put it back up again over the door. Its an easy one to do and doesnt take long.

Once all that was done, we fired up the cadac and using the pan holder and roasting dish roasted a joint of pork complete with crackling! Roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, mange tout, baby sweetcorn, broccoli and cauliflower. Very good it was as well, ate outside in the last of the sunshine.

Tuesday we move down the road, we have stayed there before, neither of us were that keen on the site, but we have now put that down to the fact that we were the only ones on site and felt a little exposed.

There are a few more caravans down there now, so there is likely to be always someone around.

We are only there 9 or 10 days as we are off then (as long as the passes arrive) to Abbey Hill Steam Show at Yeovil for the long weekend. Our first show of the year!

As Ive done no work today, better try and do a little bit now, so,

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

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Antique Dealers - Lovejoy or Mad As A Box Of Frogs!

I was asked a question by Martin recently about antique dealers.

The question being are they like Lovejoy?

Well in my experience, if you imagine a cross between a character in Monty Pyton, Faulty Towers, Alf Garnet and the Clangers you will be something along the lines of a typical dealer.

There is no such thing as a normal or sane dealer, they are all as mad as a box of frogs, some madder than others, but they all are bonkers!

I work for several so should know!

One dealer that springs to mind is so barking mad that even his Mrs thinks he's barking!

How to spot an antique dealer - usually in outrageous clothing, driving a Volvo estate with more strapped to the roof than is legally safe and the dashboard full of paperwork. (a daft hat is not a requirement but appropiate).

I kid you not!

Antiques dealers are a breed apart, they are unlike no other profession. They look after there own and to be honest it is a closed shop for any newcomers.

So a very difficult trade to get into.

I guess Im lucky working with a couple of dealers, gives me an insight into the trade and the malarky that goes on!

But it never does cease to amaze me that the lack of knowledge of some people who call themselves dealers.

One guy in particular we could lay bets on how much he is out when he comes to pricing items!

But, if you ever do the carboots, these are the guys/girls that are asking you straight away, any jewellery, gold or silver. My answer is always - maybe, even if I havent got any!

I can get a good price on silver due to an antique dealer that I work with having a good contact, paying London prices. Last weekend I had an old dealer say that they would only get £15.00 a Troy  ounce and that they wouldnt pay more than I was asking. I get alot more than that and Im a no one! They wouldnt have it though! Thought they knew best! There loss.

There is room for new dealers, but it is tough due to the TV programmes - what they fail to mention is the auction house commissions! 15% plus the VAT is not uncommon, plus a 15% to 20% sellers commission is not unheard of, this however is not mentioned in the programmes.

So they buy it in for £50 then sell it at an auction house for £50 and they break even according to the TV - Bollocks, they have just lost a minimum of 15%  in sellers premium!

They havent also had the cost of transporting the item from where they bought it from to the auction house!

The only winners here are the auctioneers!

Anyway, its a game, and an enjoyable one, so Ill keep at it.

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

Thursday, 14 April 2011

"M" Back Home And Full Of Cold!

"M" got home early this evening and is full of cold, so she has hot footed it off to bed, Im sat out in the awning.

Even though its gone 2100 hrs its still warm enough to sit out here with a fleece on, one of the bulbs has gone on the outside light above the door, Ive got spares so will have to change that tomorrow during the day.

Having such a large awning, the other end is like the black hole of Calcutta, dont venture down there alone! So need to think of a good eco way of lighting it up! Any ideas would be welcome.

Ive been up the unit all day today, its so good having all the things I need to run the business well in one place, easy to get hold of, and with plenty of room to work.

In the office Ive now turned one of the tables into a desk top photographic studio, Ive mounted battle grey paper off of a roll, down the wall curving onto the desk top and taped securely to the desk and over the front lip. This way I can get some half decent photographs taken.

My other desk is where I work from and Ive also managed to find my books on England and Dorset which are now for the first time ever in a book case!

I seem to be getting through stock rather rapidily as well, which is a good thing at the moment, plenty more to get through before I run out though!

Out in the warehouse, Ive a table for packing items which is next to all my packing supplies, and another table where I put stock once its up for sale, should make it easy to find once the auctions have ended. (should)!

The drinks cabinet which we got for nothing last Sunday at Ashley Heath car boot is now up for sale - heres a picture of it.
The front pulls down to reveal the mirrored bar area

Front down and up!
 Do you like the way Ive blended the two pictures together? This way I can get more pictures for less money on ebay. Ebay charge 12p for every extra picture, doubling up this way means I either save money or can use loads of pictures! I use photoshop pro to do the editing.

The drinks cabinet only went up this evening so it will be interesting to see what it does, 99p start and no reserve!

Its "M"s long weekend off, so she isnt at work tomorrow, but I think she will be spending it mooching around and sneezing lots! At least she can rest and not have to work, all though there are a million and one things she could be doing for me up the unit!

Well, thats another day over with, time to have a quick check through emails then off to bed.

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

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Home Alone!

"M" is away on a seminar today and tomorrow, and is staying in a hotel tonight! All though when I spoke to her earlier she sounded as if she was coming down with a cold!

Hope she takes full advantage of having a soak in the bath!

So Im home alone, well sort of, Ive still got China dog to keep me company!

As "M" is a bit of a light weight when it comes to really hot spicy food,I thought I would cook up a chilli con carne making it that hot that it strips the teflon off the pan!

Its coming on a treat with a combination of scotch bonnet chillis, Encona hot chilli sauce, with a liberal splash of tobasco, not forgetting crushed dried chilli flakes! I like it hot! Its tasting good, well, to be honest, Ive no skin on my lips, but it still tastes good!

I went to fat club this evening and I managed to loose another 3.5lbs this week, so thats over a stone in 4 weeks, which Im more than happy about.

"M" said that as soon as I lost a stone she would give up smoking! Not sure if she will stick to that one or not! Hope so.

I dont think she thought that I would stick to it, but not only stick to it, but actually enjoy it! So if you do need to loose a few pounds, and less face it, most of us do these days, then take a look at slimming world. If it works for me, it should work for anyone!

The plan this evening, as I was on my own, was to get weighed, do the shopping, cook my grub, then do some work, but that is out of the window, now that Im just about to have my 3rd glass of vino.

Can feel a dvd coming on!

It rained this afternoon, I was up the unit and as Ive no window went in with it being dry but overcast, came out with it hurling it down! I couldnt even here it falling on the roof from inside my office! Had the heater on as well, it was a bit nippy.

The office is now fully functioning, I managed to get the other desk in on my own, which was a job and a half! But, in it is, and it feels good. I also managed to get so much more done, so I dont feel guilty about having this evening off!

Well, chillie cooked, better eat it before it eats its way through the bottom of the pan! Thankfully I emptied the cassette out earlier today, probably just as well!

On that note,

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

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Caravan Club Design Awards 2011 Special And Mobile Broadband Comparison

Just taking a look through Aprils edition of the Caravan Club Mag and included is their Design Awards pull out.

Now, there appears to be a theme going on with all the winners, its something that I find rather strange, yet all the makers seem to be doing the same thing!

Perhaps its just me, thinking like this, either that or Im staying on the wrong camp sites.

Just take a look at the seat covers, they all have cream in them! Great if you happen to want to pitch up on a sterile tarmac or concrete area, where you cant get dew on your shoes, the dog doesnt get wet feet, and the kids are certainly not to get the slightest bit of mud on them!

What sort of planet are they on? Im forever bringing mud in, so is China Dog, and "M" does her fair share as well! Let alone dropping your dinner over the seats, or spilling something onto them! I can get covered just swapping water rolls over and would probably benefit from wearing a bib at meal times!

The only one with dark seeks is the Freedom Sunseeker Classic at £6995. All the rest have cream and both the 5th wheel rigs have bloody white seats! What the hell is all that about!

Or maybe Im missing the point, perhaps they dont actually use them, they just sit them on their drives so that people can admire them?

Am I the only one who thinks that this is as practical as a chocolate tea pot!

In the same magazine I couldnt help noticing that there is a little article on WiFi, and the cost. This I find rather poor, as so many places offer free WiFi, that to charge I find rather insulting. The other thing is, ok, Im the first to want to make a penny or two, but the prices!!!

Lets compare:
Caravan Club
£5 for 5 hours
£15 for 20 hrs
£40 for 100 hrs

£2 per day
£10 - 1GB Month
£15 - 3GB Month
£25 - 7GB Month

Im with "3" and it works for me! Go get a dongle!

(Thats me on the Caravan Clubs hit list now)!

Back to our day to day life, I collected another desk for the office today, but didnt have the strength to get it out of the trailer, so thats for tomorrow. I spent the day taking photographs of the next lot of items that are going to be going on ebay shortly! All the editing has now been completed, just got to get the descriptions done and uploaded.

Ive also got around to downloading the pics I took when I moved into the unit. Ive yet to take any now that Im almost set up, will do that once the last desk is in!

I cant get the car or the trailer in now!

I just hope thats Tea stains down the wall!

Not a pretty sight when I moved in!

Now thats the definition of grim!
The office has been fully painted now, the toilet waits to be done, its functional and thats it. But I wanted to get the office done first as thats the bit that earns me money, the loo Im afraid does not!

"M" is away tomorrow night, she is off on a course and staying in a hotel. She is hoping to get a room with a large bath!

So Im off to fat club tomorrow on my own! I dont feel like Ive lost weight, but I thought that last week and lost 4.5lbs, so will find out tomorrow. Ive only had the one Chinese takeaway and a bacon and egg roll this week, last week we ate out as well!

I would be happy with a 3lb loss, will find out soon enough!

China dog is snoring on the seat, even though she has two wicker dog beds up the unit, one in the office and one outside and she has been dozing all day. She does like her sleep.

Tuna on the cadac tonight, a little g and t as well in a minute, "M" and I have been together 3 years now today. I had to be reminded of that fact! Why is it the blokes never remember these things. Im terrible at birthdays as well, if it wasnt for the fact that "M"s birthday is 9/11 I wouldnt remember that either!

I guess its because I dont do birthdays for myself, never have done, I think thats the fault of the Army, its just another day, all days are the same!

Tuna steaks were done to perfection, with corriander and lime, cooked on a high heat, with loads of salad. Lovely!

Well another day another dollar behind us,

till later....................

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Goodbye Shaston - Last Ties Cut!

We cut our final tie with Shaston (Shaftesbury), called Shaston by Thomas Hardy today!

We cleared out the garage, all though I am back their again first thing to take all the rubbish up the dump. Im totally amazed at how much we managed to cram into such a small space! Ok, it was packed from floor to ceiling, but never did I imagine that somehow, we have managed to fill a 500sq ft unit with it all! There is hardly any floor space left!

So over the next few weeks, alot of reorganising to be done!

We were up early this morning, off to do Ashley Heath car boot, we did well, and got rid of some old tat which we had laying around the old garage. Still loads more to go! But, towards the end, one of the sellers, started ringing a bell, and shouting, "everything here free, come and get it" So "M" dashed over to see what was worth grabbing! We bagged a couple of little cups, which are rather pretty, a pewter tankard, 6 chairs and a carver, a 1930's oak drinks cabinet and a large refrectory table!

We sold the carver chair for a fiver whilst we were still there! The other 4 chairs and the drinks cabinet will go onto ebay, and will be started at 99p no reserve and the table Im keeping up the unit as its a handy size. The cups will go onto ebay as well, the pewter will be scrapped, its worth more that way.

It does seem a bit of a shame sending things off for the melting pot, but, if I tried to sell it, I wouldnt get the same amount of money. So, off to be melted it goes! The same goes for any metal these days, gold, silver, copper, brass. All off to be melted!

Thankfully we sold the monks bench that we took, otherwise it would of been a bit of a squeeze getting it all back!

Cooking on the Cadac tonight as Im typing this! I know, a bloke multi tasking! What ever next! Sorry guys!

Dinner over with and all a success, Ive got a real taste at the moment for Chilli Sauce, and seem to have it with most things! Lips are now burning well!

Off back to Shaston tomorrow morning early, a) to clean out the garage of rubbish and b) to do some descripting work for an antiques dealer. Aiming to be back at the van tomorrow evening for around 1900hrs, another long day!

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

Friday, 8 April 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I was up the unit early today, had a load of packing to get done and off to the post office.

Once that was done, I did some more unpacking up there, then hooked up the trailer and headed for Shaston.

I got down to Bobs, loaded up with our three chairs, which consisted of 2 large swivel chairs and a large armchair, which not doubt will be back on ebay shortly. All though the large one has found its way into my new office!

We loaded up the van, and Bob drove upto my old lockup and we filled it up, along with my landrover and trailer, then we headed for my new unit. I reckon another 3 trips should do it, along with a trip to the dump!

This evening "M" came up to the unit to have a sort through some of the boxes, which was good as we have now thrown out at least 3 boxes of old paperwork etc. And, found a rake of stuff to sell on ebay! So a long but productive day. Havent got around to cleaning out the loo room or painting it yet, but there is always the weekend.

Tomorrow morning Im back up to Shaston to get another load of gear, then back to sort through it and get it stashed away.

Thankfully the roof of the office has been boarded out for storage, so all our long term storage items will be heading up there and out of the way. There is masses of space, so we should get it all up there ok!

On my way to Shaston today I spotted my first bluebells, Ive heard its supposed to be a bumper crop this year due to the warm weather we are having at the moment.

As I mentioned yesterday, everything is greening up rapidly around here. This is my favourite time of year, a time of fresh starts and new beginnings!

Our awning is definately looking empty! All my clutter has gone (apart from one box)! then its free of all my doings!

We got the cadac out tonight and cooked up a wicked pork stir fry on the flat pan. Took all of 10 minutes!

I havent had a beer/cider now in over 3 weeks, but could of walked on broken glass for a pint this evening, but I didnt give into temptation! I didnt even have a cheeky little G and T. A nice cup of tea instead!

It is paying off, my shorts which last year used to nearly cut me in half are now constantly falling down, Im forever hoiking them back up!

Well, I hope you are all out and enjoying the sun this weekend, anyone out camping?

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

Mr Shifta - Thats Me!

It took me back yesterday, surrounded by boxes and painting! It reminded me of when we were leaving our house and setting out to live full time in a caravan!

Im amazed at how I managed to get so much into an old Victorian garage, its about the same size as a double garage, and crammed to the rafters. But, spread out in 500 square foot it seems to be taking up alot of room and Im not in half way through yet!

Im borrowing a van today, as my chairs have been in storage, since we moved, (thanks Bob) and I think he is relieved to have rid of them! Hence Im borrowing his van!

I managed to complete the painting in the office yesterday, I did take some before and after pictures, but left the camera up the unit last night, so will add them in the next post.

The unit was previously occupied by steel fabricators and the office looked liked they had been welding in it whilst making tea and throwing it over the walls!

"M" got me some Sandtex (I will check the name)? as the walls are a type of rough block. Painting these was not fun! But it looks alot better now! Its a proper masonary type paint, and I must say, one coat covered up some really bad stains. So its the one to go for if your thinking of painting exterior walls or like myself interior!

Both awnings are looking empty! Planning on bringing the bikes back, and leaving them in the little awning, got to try and locate the bike pump. All they tyres are flat (but only at the bottom) so not too bad!

Here on site, the sun is shining and the trees and shrubs are starting to green up quickly! This being our first spring in the caravan. Its amazing being this close to nature how it changes and how quickly it does it!

The fine weather is set to continue over the weekend, which will be good, not that Ill get much chance to enjoy it as we will still be busy getting everything moved over. But at least we wont get wet doing it! Always a bonus.

Well, better crack on, 0748 hrs and still sat around! "M" all ready at work! So,

Till later.........

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Slimming World Going Well (Fat Club)!

I went to Matchams Car Boot sale this morning, it was very busy with sellers, but no buyers!

With 3 times more sellers than last week, the sun shining I was expecting a good morning, but it was pretty poor, a late rush at the end with a lady buying a dozen books and I sold a framed print which made up the money.

I managed only one trip up to Shaston as well, but I took the trailer and loaded right up, so on target for cleared by Sunday evening!

It was weigh in night tonight! I wasnt expecting much as this week Ive had a Chinese takeaway, a bacon and egg roll, and a meal out last Sunday, (starter and main course). But, I still managed 4.5Lbs which brings me down to 18 stone 12.5lbs a loss of 12.5lbs in 3 weeks. Im rather pleased with that! Plenty of fish and plenty of fruit! Im aiming for a stone a month, if I do that Ill be happy.

"M" lost 1.5lbs, bringing her total weight loss to 8lbs. "M" has told me that as soon as Ive lost a stone she is giving up smoking! Guess her smoking days are numbered!

Im actually going to do some work tomorrow, all though moving the stuff down to the unit is important, whilst Im doing that its not actually earning me any money!

Ive not put anything into the office yet, one of the jobs for tomorrow is to get it painted, but Im going there to work tomorrow, will be a novelty! And to sit in my beloved cream leather swivel chair will be good as my back is starting to play up.

As always time is getting on, so,

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

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Day 1 Of Being In The Unit!

What a day!

I half expected when I turned up at the unit this morning to find it still full of rubbish and junk as that was how it was when I viewed it on Friday. But, they did as they said they would and cleaned the place out!

The office is remaining empty untill its been given a fresh lick of paint, which Ill start tomorrow. Ive been backwards and forwards to Shaston 3 times today. Filling the car to the brim with boxes of books! All of the boxes so far today I havent even looked into yet. So hopefully there will be a few little gems in there waiting to be discovered.

Tomorrow Im off to Matchams Car Boot, but Im not going there till 0700 as last week I got there at 0600 and they didnt let us in till 0700 and its not a seriously busy place so Ill hopefully be able to cruise straight in (famous last words).

Then back to the unit, unload the trailer and take that upto Shaston and fill that as well!

Ive also got to try and find time to start listing items - not enough hours in the day!!!

Must admit Im looking forward to having an office and a dedicated place to work out of. It will make life so much easier! But it does mean being stuck inside with no view of the outside world! Mind you, tapping keys Ill be sat back at the van or out in the awning!

Ive got to be cleaned up ready for tomorrow nights weigh in at fat club! (Slimming World), I dont feel as if Ive done that well this week. Will find out tomorrow!

As its nearly 2200hrs and Im shattered, with another long day ahead of us tomorrow, Im off to bed, so

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

Its All Go Here! Manic Times!

Sunday we were up at 0600hrs! This getting up early lark is starting to become a habit!

We did Ashley Heath car boot, and did better there then Saturday, what made it even better was the fact that it was only a 5 mile round trip!

Later that day we headed off out for a meal with "M"s kids just outside of New Milton, a lovely little pub called the Royal Oak, they dont seem to have a website, which is strange in this day and age, but the food was very good, so highly recommended.

"M" had a few glasses too many, you know its going to get messy when the pink tequilla comes out! I was driving!

Before we went out to the pub, I went upto to finalise the deal on the unit! We are going for it. We worked out that with all the travelling backwards and forwards to Shaston, at £10 a round trip then we would be better off saving time and paying the extra for the unit. Its alot bigger than what we currently have at 500sq ft with a built in office and loo etc. So all in all, we felt we would of been daft not to take it.

So this morning Im off up there in a bit to take the first car load up!

Just got to make it pay now! We should be ok, as its cheap enough, and having the space will make life so much easier as alot of time can be wasted by packing/unpacking and trying to find things! Its only 5 mins drive from where we are now.

"M" also gets the awnings back! No more boxes, books, bubblewrap and the like filling the place up!

So it was just a quick update, will write more later once Ive been up there!

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

Saturday, 2 April 2011

0300hrs Start!

Up at 0300hrs this morning! Not good, "M" surprised me by getting up and coming with me, but I think she regretted it as the day wore on!

Got to Ford market, at around 0530 then had a 2 hr wait before we were let in to run the gauntlet of people as you drive down through the market to set up!

We didnt do too well today, just about covered expenses and a bit on top. Certainly not worth getting up that time for!

So not sure what the plan is from now on, its a long way to go for nothing, it could of course just of been a one off, but, time being valuable not sure I want to waste it!

Ill go again on Thursday I think, depending on the weather! We took the trailer today and it was £15.00 to get in!

Tomorrow morning we are up early again and off to Ashley Heath car boot, its only 10 mins down the road so at least not too far to go. Ford market is a round trip of around 140 miles.

When we got back today, we had a quick bite to eat, checked email etc and then around 1630 we crashed out. Trouble was we didnt wake till 2100 which means we are wide awake now!

"M" just sorting out some grub and I think we will try out the new TV and watch a DVD!

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

Friday, 1 April 2011

Busy Day Shopping! - Laptops and TV's

Its "M"s long weekend off, which always means I get nothing done! So off we went shopping this morning, into Castle Point Bournemouth, famous for its crumbling multi storey car park!

We wanted to take a look at small flat screen TV's for the van, not because I have a burning desire to veg infront of a TV but we do like to watch a DVD every now and again. Our current portable TV, they call it portable but it weighs a ton has started making some wierd noises!

Went into argos and got a 16" flatscreen freeview dvd etc for £99 which I thought was pretty good.

"M" just received a bonus from work so the money was put towards that. Once we had done the shopping I suggested that we take a look at Currys and see what laptops they had on offer.

It didnt take long to find a laptop reduced from £399 to £229 now thats what I call a bargain, so with another dongle "M" has now got her own laptop! No excuse not to write on this blog!

On our way back we popped into see if we could catch up with the owner of some units that are up for rent. We are after somewhere closer to us than Shaston and not expensive. Thankfully we found that the units available are of a decent size and cheap and I do mean cheap! So we are taking the weekend to think about it and will get back to him on Monday. I think we will end up going for it. Its secure, with an office and toilet, and electric and water bills are included.

It does look like we will be going for it, it just seems to good an opportunity to refuse. Units like that dont come on the market that often. It would also mean we would have storage near by, and somewhere for me to work from. Which would be a massive bonus!

It would also mean I could deal in larger items! Just got to make sure that its right for us!

The weather is looking ok for Ford market tomorrow, so as long as "M" can crawl out of bed at 0300hrs then she said she would come with me! I wont be holding my breath as she doesnt like getting up at 0630hrs for work let alone 0300!

Thankfully it doesnt bother me getting up, thats the Army for you I guess! But come 2100 tomorrow night and Im off to my bed!

The cadac was used again this evening, salmon was on special offer, so that was done on it whilst "M" sorted out some wild rice with stir fry veg. Very nice indeed and extremely healthy!

Ive been good all week, not eating anything that I shouldnt of. Ive even got into a pair of trousers I havent been able to for a while!

Im aiming for a 3lb loss this week to get me down to 19 stone! fingers crossed!

Ive also got to say that this is all from someone who loves his food, and enjoys eating good quality grub. We have never been into eating pre-packed micro wave food. Its just not what we are all about. Cutting out ale/cider has helped! Oh and bread and all things sweet and sticky. But you are allowed these Alpen fruit bar type things which are rather nice! Ive found it fairly easy so far. Must admit I dont think Ive ever eaten this much fruit before in my life!

I once did the Atkins diet, but found it difficult to do, its not the easiest of diets, but with slimming world it is straight forward. I do keep asking "M" if we are supposed to be eating the things we are eating, but she assures me that we can. I guess the weight loss speaks for itself!

Ive also cut right back on milk, black coffee now and its been rather enjoyable! Strange thing is, Tea doesnt taste that good anymore! I used to drink gallons of it, but being off the milk has changed that.

Well, thats enough from me for one day, an early night tonight so

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