Friday, 30 September 2011

Fantastic Hot Weather - Summer Here At Last!

The temperatures in this part of the world have been very high over the last couple of days, but you can still feel the nip to the air at night and in the early hours of the morning.

The last few days have been a bit hectic, as I've had three days of gardening, Wednesday was spent at a new clients doing a general tidy up of there grounds down at Branksome. Thursday was spent in Bournemouth at a nursing home and today was spent mowing the lawns of a pub in West Parley.

I couldn't of picked better weather for it, but it was sure warm today pushing a mower around for 5 hours. 

Back at the caravan, once I had opened all the windows it didn't take long to cool down. 

Our outside thermometer which does read accurately recorded a highest outside temperature today of 39.7 degrees - now I'm sure you will agree that's warm, even for East Dorset!

Plans for this weekend? Lazing around in the sun? Not for these campers, we are moving from our unit where we store all our gear to a smaller unit a few miles away.

It's further away by some considerable distance, but the cost of it makes it all worth while. At the moment we are paying £300 a month for our unit, our new place is £65 a month, so a big saving, and the way things are at the moment, every penny helps!

So that's our plan! Its going to take some doing, as our new place is alot smaller, so a few more tip runs, and condensing, which isn't a bad thing really.

I'm giving up selling on ebay completely, its just not a safe place to sell any more. I've been asked recently to start selling again on behalf of an antiques dealer, but said no, after seeing a friend of mine go through hell with regards to paypal holding onto his money I don't want to go through anything like that!

So ebay, fine to buy on, but for selling on, its not really worth the hassle! In saying that, we are having a final fling of things this weekend, just to see if we can raise a bit of cash!

Just waiting now for "M" to get back then we are off up to the unit to start the packing!

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

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Just Some Thoughts

I read today that a soup kitchen in Bournemouth which is run from a Church yard has been asked to  moved as the Church feels that it makes the place look untidy and generally lowers the tone of the area it is in!

But before I go any further, I'm not religious, I respect it, but its not my Christian principles that have been upset. It's what the Church is supposed to stand for which has been forgotten that bugs me.

If the Church isn't about helping those less fortunate, to show compassion, understanding, and guidance then no wonder it is in such a decline!

Here's the link here

What do they hope to gain by this, maybe its a better class of rich Christian through their doors, one's that want to forget the poor and needy! They only want to hear about the needy on the TV not actually witness it!

This is why I find the church so hypercritical, when the Church has to balance its requirements between the needy and an attractive church yard, and the look of the Church yard wins over the needy, then I'm afraid its a very sad day.

And then they wonder why our society is in moral decline! Cameron our illustrious leader said recently that some elements of our society were sick - you aren't  kidding fella!

Till later.........

Hollycombe Steam Collection Pictures

At long last I hear you cry!

Hollycombe Steam collection -  click the link - is a superb collection of Victorian and Edwardian steam driven fair ground rides.

As we did a bit of helping out during the week we got free entry. So "M" and I took good advantage of this and had a go on the rides!

I have said in a previous post, a great week with some fine and funny company!

Now the pictures!

Our line up of stationary engines just as it was getting dark on the Saturday evening, we had coloured lights strung across the front. Our caravan in the one on the far right.

Showmans engine

We went in here to see an old Black and White film

This set of gallopers date back to circa 1880

Steam driven big wheel

Engine driving the big wheel

Swing boats

"M"s new multi-vitamin tablets had some strange side effects!

View from the top of the big wheel

Looking down on the Haunted House

Peacocks, which seemed to be everywhere!

Its not cheap to get in, but on a fine day there is plenty to see and do, take a picnic and enjoy the place.

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

Washing The Caravan - Fenwicks Caravan Cleaner Review

Just for a change I thought I would write about the caravan!

I know, go careful, so I'll keep it short and sweet!

The caravan after doing a few road miles and a number of shows throughout the year was starting to look somewhat grubby. 

What we hadn't  sussed out though was what to clean it with, there are so many different types of products on the market, that we couldn't make our minds up and because of that it just never got done.

But, when we were up at Hollycombe a week or so a go (pics still to follow in next post - promise), a rather kind gentleman who happened to own a fair ground ride, popped in to see us and gave us some Fenwicks Caravan Cleaner.

He said that Bailey caravans had said not to use it on his caravan, now I've no idea why this should be and he didn't know either, so being the suspicious person that I am think that Bailey probably have their own cleaner and its some kind of marketing ploy! Please correct me if I'm wrong!

So now with our bottle of Fenwicks I really had no excuse! So out with the step ladders and gave the van a good clean - I tried to take a picture of the before and after, but to be honest you couldn't see a great deal of difference. In real life there is a major difference, the caravan now shines!

The only flaw to my plan was that the large awning was all ready up so could only do three sides of the van!

This cleaner certainly does exactly what it says it does, easy to use, and you don't even need to use alot of it either! So can recommend it.

As per normal "China" dog is in the picture.

Note the storm strap to the centre of the awning is a new addition. Lets hope that works if we have more high winds.

We have been promised a heat wave over the next few days, the sun has just come out as I'm writing this!

We have no plans for the weekend, which usually means instead of relaxing, drinking beer and eating we will be running around all over the place on errands!

Off now to compile and sort out the pictures that have been long promised from our trip up to Hollycombe Steam Collection.

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

Saturday, 24 September 2011

26th Signal Regiment Whitespear Troop July 1983 - Even More Nonsense

After a few comments about my previous post I thought I would jot down some memories of my first 10 months in the Royal Signals

On the 4th July 1983 I joined the Royal Signals as a Junior Signalman, I was still 15 years of age!

My 16th birthday was spent being shouted at and marching at a ridiculous speed around a parade square!

We were based at Ouston which is a few miles outside of Newcastle, along way from home for this Dorset born and bred lad! The camp itself was an old WW2 airfield which had a massive hanger which was used as the instructional wing and the gym.

If we all made it through we would eventually "Pass Out" in April 1984. 10 months of basic training. I really didnt know what to expect or even if I could hack the pace.

But with the help of each other 27 of us completed the training out of a intake of over 40 recruits to our troop.

Not only that but we managed to become the Champion troop as well, there was intense rivalry between troops, and to be the best was something amazing.

Im still in touch with a lot of old Army friends, some of which I joined up with, Im on facebook, not that I use it that much, but have 84 friends on there, the interesting thing is that 40 of them are ex services, I left in 1990 after serving 7 years. The thing is you know they are all there and you can pick up where you left off, not like civvy mates I'm afraid.

Basic training as a boy soldier is one of the hardest things I have ever done, many times I felt like giving up, the training was tough, there were moments when it nearly all got too much for me, but somehow found the strength to carry on.

But there were some brilliant moments, and looking back on it now, even the bad bits I can now laugh at!

"Change Parades" now these consisted of being in one uniform, lets say "Working Dress" you were on parade, then the staff would say, change to "Combats with webbing" so off we would dash to get changed as quickly as possible then back on parade, all the time being screamed at to move quicker. You were then inspected, to make sure all buttons were done up, buckles done up etc, and if not punishments were dealt out. This could carry on for ages, changing from one set of uniform to another. It was exhausting.

"Inspections" these were constant, either of uniform or of your rooms, anything failing inspection would be flung out of the windows, Ive seen a bed being pushed out of a window due to it not being made properly!

Within our troop we had Lt Thwaites, a really good officer who looked after us and wasn't afraid of getting his hands dirty, Sergeant Huges who looked like Windsor Davis from it "Aint Alf Hot Mum" and could shout just as loud, along with Corporal Taylor and a Lance Corporal who I cant remember his name (Mark help me out here)?

These guys bullied, shouted, beat and molded us into shape, and I thank them for doing so. Were we bullied? Depends on how you use the word bullying!?

If you mean, shouted at, verbally abused, psychologically tormented, hit over the head, made to run till you collapsed with exhaustion, then made to keep going then yes, we were, but I say again, I really do thank them for doing so. It changes you into some one, where by anything can be done, no matter what the odds.

We had alot of personalities in our troop, too many to mention here, but when you live close to others like we did, and go through the training that we had to do, then you learn alot about others and yourself!

Some of the high lights of my time at Ouston was abseiling off the hanger roof.

Below is an old black and white photograph of the hanger, I abseiled down the front!

We also trained to do a static line parachute jump from 2000 feet. I'll never forget the time when it was my turn to get over to the door, and jump out. Totally forgetting all my training of shouting out "1000, 2000, (look up) Check Canopy" I think I managed a "aaarrrggghhh - (look up) - thank f**k thats open!

We went swimming in Kielder lake, I'm sure they were all sadistic. We had to swim out 100 yds, then swim under a canoe then swim back to shore. The first obstacle was the fact that the lake was thick with ice for the first 10 feet as it was January! All you could hear was 30 blokes teeth chattering!

Loads of sport, football, rugby, and the assault course, where we lost two of our troop through broken wrists!

We also played our own unique game of murder ball - as you can imagine by the name it was a violent full contact game involving a medicine ball, two teams and absolutely no rules!

Milling - a form of boxing where by you are placed in a ring, with a pair of gloves, and over a 3 minute period have to try and knock out your opponent before he takes your head off. I was paired with my mate Mark, I had a bit of an unfair advantage as he was well into his Judo! I think I may of got him a couple of times, but I came off worse!

Our Troop OC, used to enjoy making us run through ditches, knee deep in dirty stinking stagnent  water, and if we werent quick enough to crawl through it!

We took part during our training a number of field exercises, these basically consisted of getting very cold, wet, hungry and tired, walking for miles and then being kept awake most of the night with further patrols or map reading exercises. Once it was that cold that half the troop went down with hypothermia and had to be evacuated! Myself and my best mate Mark were one of the few that lived to tell the tale! We had the sense to bivvy up next to a dry stone wall, and weather the storm out!

The ranges were always good, where we learnt how to shoot a variety of weapons, 7.62mm Self Loading Rifles, 7.62mm Light Machine Guns 9mm Sub Machine Guns, 9mm Browning Pistol, 88mm Rocket Launchers, and Grenades. Days spent on the ranges were always good fun and it also meant that you weren't running around or marching up and down!

It was a tough time, being in the Royal Signals may seem to be a cushy option, but you are a soldier first then the trade comes second! I still think we had some of the best training you could possibly hope for.

During the final part of our training, the pressure to get things right increased, along with the expectations of the staff to push you hard, then harder still.

It was relentless, but looking back, so enjoyable, but at the time it was a bloody nightmare!

We had a Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) WO1 Tony Cartwright a true legend! He was reknown through out the whole Corps as being a real hard bas***d, but he was worshiped! (and still is)

Ive seen him jail, a blade of grass, the whole of the Royal Signals Band, and even his own pace stick! There are so many stories about him. A particular story I remember concerned a guy from another troop. Now this next bit is not politically correct at all, but back then you could get away with it, and you have to remember that this is squaddie humour!

The RSM was inspecting the Regiment, all on parade, when he comes across this guy who I think was called Wygwarram, or Wigwam for short, a coloured lad. The RSM who you have to remember scares the life out of you just be being close to him said to the lad "Whats your name"? Its Wygwarram Sir, was the reply, "F***ing What"? replied the RSM, "Wygwarram Sir" came the reply once more. "What sort of a f***ing name is that? - Where do you come from"? "Scotland Sir" came the reply "Scotland" screamed the RSM, "Your Black, have an unpronounceable name, next you will tell me your Catholic and you support Celtic"- "I do Sir" came the reply, "Well in that case son, you have f**k all going for you, now get to jail!" 

Another time he prodded Geordie F from another troop with his pace stick and asked, whats that piece of shit at the end of my pace stick? Geordie not having the brains to accept defeat replied after looking at the end "nothing at this end Sir" at which point he went apocalyptic , the fall out could be seen in Canada!

Even now RSM Cartwright has total respect from anyone who had the pleasure of being shouted or jailed by him. Having had many RSM's in my time, he is the only one who  I remember by name, wonder why!

It was with great pride and a sense of achievement that I passed out with 27 mates out of over 40 starting in April 1984. I was still only 16! I wasn't allowed to go to Catterick till my 17th birthday

It was then off to Catterick for trade training - but that's another story!

In the picture top row  I'm 5th from the right next to my old mate Mark who stands to my left. 

Good old days!!

Till later.....

Friday, 23 September 2011

Another Week Done And Dusted And More Nonsense!

I'm not too sure where this week has gone, I wake up on Monday, next thing I know its Friday!

Monday and Tuesday were spent gardening, I look after a pub with rather large grounds and on Tuesday I look after the grounds of a residential home for old folks.

Both different in what I do, the pub is simply mowing and strimming, so apart from muscle fatigue nothing too taxing.

The residential home is a bit of everything, from pruning, weeding, cutting back of hedges and reshaping  shrubs which have gone a bit mad to fixing a water feature which had stopped working.

The water feature was a three tier system, the water was like a swamp and the hose which came from the pump was creased. I simply changed the water, gave it a good scrub, washed out the filter and put a new piece of hose on and away it went. They now have the sound of tinkling water, not sure if that's a good idea for the oldies, hearing the constant sound of running water! It made me want to go to the loo and I was fixing it!

Wednesday was spent surfing the net, constructively I my add! My quest for a proper/regular job continues.

I have had an application form back from one, but not wishing to tempt fate at the moment will keep it quiet for now.

Big Awning Up

Wednesday evening we put up the awning, it's a job that I must admit I dislike, I'd rather empty the loo in the rain and dark wearing flip flops and a sombrero than put the awning up! Once it's up I love it, so much room, but even though we have put it up many times now, we still manage to do it different each time!

After it nearly blowing away last time, I have added an additional storm strap to the centre ridge roof pole, by using a ratchet strap and a metal stake. We will see if this makes any difference.

Thankfully only a few of the poles were bent, and we managed to use all of them, even though it was tough to adjust a couple. So some new poles need to be found.

We have a good camping shop just down the road, which is where I get my propane from, chatting to the guy in there the other day I asked him had they had a good season. Now, I expected for him to say yes, it was brilliant. I was a little surprised when he said they were 27% down on last year!

I thought that more and more people were taking up camping and caravanning as an inexpensive way of having a holiday. But by the sounds of it maybe I'm wrong. They are competitive on price and have had some good deals on, so you cant blame it all on buying from on line as its cheaper.

But then again as we appear to be entering a new phase in our economic climate, perhaps people are just not spending money full stop!

I know we are watching the pennies!

Thursday it was time to turn the awning into a laundry! Last year we bought a twin tub camping washing machine. You can wash four shirts at a time, and the spin dryer bit is awesome! So it got it all set up outside.

I managed to do 5 loads, not bad, and pain free - oh and cheap! So if you do have a bit of spare time on your hands, it certainly beats sitting in a launderette - I've done a bit of that over the years, and they are really depressing places. 

A number of times whilst serving in Germany we would go on a Sunday afternoon down to the launderette with a weeks load of uniform. Put it in the washers, then stroll across to the pub across the road, one thing leads to another and the next thing you know its 2300hrs you cant stand up straight and the bloody launderette is locked up!  

It was a mad dash for when they open up at 0700 to get back in time for parade. I remember my mate "Diggers" having washed both his green woollen jumpers and not having time to dry them, put one on spun out but still wet. Wouldn't of been so bad in the summer, he would of got away with it, but as it was January and -5 with a couple of inches of snow and ice on the ground, he stood on parade and slowly turned white as his jumper froze!

He stuck out a bit! The Sergeant Major asked him what the hell he thought he was doing wearing a wet jumper on parade and turning white, "Diggers" being the sort of person he was "barking mad" replied "Blending in Sir" How we all managed to keep a straight face I do not know!

Happy days!

Thankfully the Sergeant Major had a good sense of humour and he got away with it. He was the same Staff Sergeant  who before he was promoted was taking the Squadron Parade. All the troops were lined up at ease. He marched onto the parade ground, halted in the centre in front of us all, and barked out the command , Squadron, Squadron, Shun! (shun shortened from Attention)! This is the moment when we all spring to attention, standing perfectly still, not moving an inch! Poised and ready for the command we move as one.

However this was not the command he gave. What he actually said was, Squadron, Squadron - and after a slight pause said -  "Give me the moonlight, give me the stars", as he sung the song and skipped across the parade ground! The place erupted in laughter! as the Sargent Major came down the steps to witness this he bellowed Staff Marsh, your not f***king Sargent Major yet, so stop f**king about and get fell in!

Once under control we were all dismissed, talk about boost morale! Sargent Major Eddie Marsh as he was promoted just a few days later was a top bloke!

I once had a Sergeant Major come up to me on exercise and ask me and unusual question. He asked me "What can you see wrong with me"? Well, what do you say? This particular guy was certified mad, so I had to be careful what I said, so taking the easy way out I said nothing Sir. Nothing he bellowed, look at my face closely! So I did, but how do you tell a Sergeant Major he hadn't had a shave! He then omitted to not shaving that day and was off to give himself a good bollocking! He marched himself off to the next field and for a full 10 minutes shouted every obscenity you could think of at himself! 

A newly posted in 2nd Lt fresh from Sandhurst came up to us and asked us who he was shouting at. We then had to explain to him what the Sergeant Major was doing. He had the look of a bemused child! never forgotten!

He was the same Sergeant Major whilst on exercise we had to physically restrain by sitting on him or he would of seriously hurt a German farmer who after being upset that a load of British squaddies had come into his farm yard at night decided to get his tractor out and with the bailing prong on the front of his loader push it through the engine block of the lead Landrover and lift it off the ground!

Our Sargent Major saw this as a direct attack and wanted devine retribution! I must admit that having the order of "sit on the Sergeant Major and don't let him move" was one of the strangest orders I ever had!

I cant remember his name which is a shame as he was brilliant. We played mess hockey with him once in our bar, senior ranks vs junior ranks. Mess hockey is roughly played in the same way as normal hockey but in doors and with a few subtle differences.

Firstly the ball is replaced in this case with a large metal serving tray! The hockey sticks are replaced with 6ft ash poles! Yes I did say 6ft ash poles. The goals were two overturned sofa's Now if this isn't a recipe for disaster I do not know what is. The damage and injuries were quite high, several broken fingers, a broken arm and a fractured wrist if I remember rightly, I had a bruise on my thigh that took weeks to go down and a black eye! Holes in ceilings, walls with various light fittings taken clean out and the best bit was the same Sergeant Major as above fell (I say fell but I think was pushed) through an open window, thankfully a rather large bush cushioned his fall as our mess was on the second floor!

Our bar was a place not for the faint hearted. We had a pair of ski boots screwed to the floor in front of the bar where by new members to the squadron were strapped in and the only way you could leave was either by being unconscious or by out drinking the other members.  The only good thing about being strapped into the boots was that you didn't pay for any of your drinks!

So many stories I could tell, but as this is a blog about caravanning (well loosely) I'll leave it there for today!

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

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Our Old House - Sold!

Our Old House!!

We knew that our old house was up for sale, so not really a surprise to see that it shows sale agreed.

I rented it from an old school friend of mine, the house came available just at the right time for me, as the house I was renting was sold whilst I was still in it. The first thing I knew about it was when the For Sale sign went up! A couple of weeks later it was sold and I had to move quickly!

My old mate had his house up for rent, and after a quick look around it took it on. It was a lovely house.

A few weeks later I met "M" and within a very short space of time she moved in with me!

We had some great times in the house, and some mega parties, how we never had complaints from the neighbors I do not know.

007 Herbert and Mrs Herbert lived almost next to us and often said they could hear our music playing - what delightful neighbors we must of been!

I went and had look on the estate agents website to see if it had been sold, and noticed that it has a sale agreed marking on it. 

What did surprise me was the price! £149,950 for a 3 bed house!

I cant believe it went for so little, 3 years ago it would of been well over the £200k mark, guess this is the sign of the times!

Some one has a lovely house.

Lets hope they have as much fun in it as we had, oh, and watch out for the ghosts!! - Its haunted!

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

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Last Day At Hollycombe Steam Collection

Its our last day here at Hollycombe Steam Collection, Liphook, Hampshire.

We have had a really lazy week, but have been in great company so a very enjoyable week has been had by us all.

Last night we ran the engines from 1900 - 2200, we had coloured lights all along the front of the display. It looked very pretty.

Today we are running from 1000 till 1600, but as its 1030 all ready and the covers are not even off the engines yet! A slow start to the day, well it is Sunday.

We had a wander around the steam collection last night, all lit up and running on steam it was lovely to see. We had a go on the big wheel, and got wet as it was raining, then had a go on the two sets of gallopers they have here. One dates back to circa 1880. 

I just love the smell of steam engines, if I had the money I would own one, but they go for silly money and I do mean silly money.

We aim to pack up this afternoon, so as soon as 1600hrs comes we can just load the engine into the back of the Pajero, hook up and drive the couple of hours back to our site.

We have just one more show to do now, and that's the season done and dusted! It doesn't seem that long ago that we were thinking about going to our first!

This summer seems to of flown by all too quickly.


I still haven't got around to lagging the pipes yet! I've got the lagging, just need to get on and do it! We will also be lagging the inside of the caravan under neath the seats and cupboards at the front of the caravan, and also under the bed at the back of the van.

I've seen the stuff I want to get to use, its a neoprene type of material which is reflective silver backed. Its only around 5mm thick so should be perfect for the job. We want to eliminate all the droughts this year.

We did not get cold last year at all, but depending on which way the wind blew, you could feel the coldness seeping in! Not this year!

As you may remember, the temperatures dropped here to -9.5 but we managed to maintain a steady 22 degrees in the caravan. So at no time were we cold. But by taking these extra measures, we can be even warmer.

Well, better finish off for now, as its off to fill the aqua rolls, I wonder how many times Ive filled them up over the last 12 months!

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

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Thieves Target Caravan Sites Across West Dorset!

 A news article in the Dorset Echo  shows that not even your EHU cable is safe in some places!

But surely this is a minority theft?

Since we have been full timing we haven't experienced any problems at all, but in these dark economic times, who knows whats around the corner.

Here's the article - CLICK HERE

Till later.........

Hollycombe Steam Collection - Show Day

Its bang on 1000 hrs, the sun is trying to come out from behind the clouds.

We are with a group of other stationary engine enthusiasts that are as mad as hatters! We haven't stopped laughing since we got here which was last Monday!

A special mention should go to Paul "Jolly" Roger and his wife Dee who invited us in the first place, we are also joined by Jim, Maurice, Fred with his wife Jill. Last night Phil and his son John turned up bringing with them Paul's brother Mike. Not sure if any more are going to turn up today or not. Guess that depends on the weather.

Its been a great week, of doing very little other than eating and drinking endless pots of tea!

Weather permitting we plan to run the engines till 1700 hrs, then have a break, then from 1900 till 2200hrs all lit up with lights which will look great.

The steam fair which is directly behind us will be up and running as well, lets hope that the public turn up!

"M"s mum is due to arrive some time this morning to collect "Buddy" dog, he has been no trouble at all and settled into our way of life very easily!

This week seems to of flown by, later afternoon tomorrow we will be packing up and heading back to our usual camp site at Three Legged Cross and back to reality and job hunting once more.

So fingers crossed for the weather today! Ill be taking pictures today, so will get them loaded up when I get a chance.

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

Friday, 16 September 2011

Honeycombe Steam Collection - Picture Catch Up!

Thought it about time I uploaded a few more pictures, some of which date back to last weekend at Harmans Cross Steam Gala!

Keith on his Fergie Tractor at Harmans Cross, just setting off for home!

The show ground thinned out a little now!

On our way back these fellows were in the road

Approaching Corfe Castle

Arriving at Hollycombe Steam Collection

local wild life - we have also seen deer as well!

Machinery lying around awaiting restoration or possibly to just rust away!

A lovely little roller, crying out for restoration!

Just rusting away!

A sad and lonely Lister engine - makes me cry!

This ERF is slowly blending in to its surroundings 

Steam Crane

Steam Loco "Commander"

Essex Fire Brigade Engine

Scammel with box body to rear

Plenty of peacocks around here! I didn't realise they could fly!

Entrance to the collection, these pillars came from a London train station, but I don't know which one!

Same pillars, sun setting

Engine and caravan line up!
That's all the photos for the moment, I'm hoping to get more tomorrow when everything is up and running, and of course if the weather holds for us. So far it has been lovely, but it's getting colder in the evenings!

This week I've received three emails all from people that have shown an interest in full timing and the rules and regulations etc. Not that we are any experts, but I hope I've at least pointed them in the right direction!

Living in a caravan full time does appear to be a grey area, with many full timers not wishing to talk about the pro's and con's of living the way we all do. 

I must point out there is nothing illegal or underhand in the way we live at all. Some times we have to do things in an around about fashion to get around red tape, but that's all.

With winter approaching, we are thinking about our winter locations and where we want to be. We think we have more or less sussed things out, the only thing we haven't planned out is Christmas and where we will be for that, so get your thinking caps on, all suggestions welcome!

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

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Hollycombe Steam Collection

Its now Thursday!

Once we had set up here on Monday evening, there was very little for us to do other than relax!

"M" has taken the week off work, so we are treating this as a bit of a holiday.

Tuesday, three of us walked the railway line here at Hollycombe cutting back branches, and brambles, the deal with us staying here is that we help out, which is fine by me!

Like I said there are hidden treasures everywhere, and if you like your old metal machinery then this is the place to visit!

Yesterday, (Weds) we ventured into Petersfield as it was market day, a small town, with plenty of small independent shops, but within the town centre 3 pubs have all closed and are boarded up. A sad sight, but guess that's the sign of the times.

Not too sure what it planned for today, we are just taking things as they come. The only day we are planning to run the engine is Saturday. I'm looking forward to seeing the steam fairground up and running! Especially in the evening with all the lights on.

So if you are in the area, (Liphook - Hants) then please come along, this place is run on a voluntary basis, without your support places like this, which are very few struggle to survive. All this fantastic heritage will be lost to the scrap heap!

The sun is shining, the peacocks are all out and strutting about, and the dogs "China" and "Buddy" are still sleeping, "M" is still in bed with a cuppa!

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

Monday, 12 September 2011

Harmans Cross Steam Gala - Day 3 - Day 1 New Venue!

Day 3 and its "M"s birthday!!!!

Even though I knew it was her birthday, come Sunday morning I still managed to forget! It wasn't till we were sat down and she started opening her cards that I remembered!

Later on in the day her daughter Jodi and her husband Jack came by with more cards and presents.

It was a busy day at the show, with a massive turn out of vintage cars on display. Once more we were lucky with the weather, a bit windy, but it wasn't cold.

By late afternoon, people started to pack up, but not us, we were staying another night! I hate having to leave on a Sunday, it spoils the day. We just had a relaxing day, watching everyone else head for their homes. How lucky we feel as we are in our home here!

Last year on the Sunday evening, the Swanage Steam Rally hitched all their engines together and did a run up and down the line with their whistles shrieking. An amazing site, 4 engines took part last year, so you can imagine how good it was to see 7 engines! Talk about make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! So very lucky to have seen it, as its not everyday you get to see 7 steam loco's like that!

We had an early night, the site was more or less empty with around 8 or 9 caravans left.

But, the wind picked up overnight and really rocked the caravan about! It rained hard as well, so we both ended up having a restless nights sleep.

We didn't get up till 0830 hrs and by the time we were ready to venture outside the rain had stopped. There was still a strong breeze, but this did help to dry out the ground.

We finally got ourselves all sorted out, hooked up and headed off to our next destination.

We had been invited by Paul "Jolly" Roger to an event which was near Liphook. That was all the information we had, we didn't know anything else than that! So we set off this morning just heading for Liphook!

We got close by and gave him a bell for further directions, just follow the brown signs for Hollycombe Steam Collection. So we did, and this is now where we are pitched up!

What an amazing place, click on the above link to see more of what this amazing place has to offer. Needless to say I am in heaven!

There is only a few of us here, and they are open next Saturday, so we have got the whole week to just chill out and do very little. 

We thought we would be running our engine everyday, but that is not the case, so looking forward to some good walks and possibly a bit of geo-caching! Oh and job hunting!

I've taken some pictures of here all ready, but will add them later on.

There is only a few of us here, a small event, similar to the Witchampton show we did. In fact its even smaller there are only 5 engines!

Obviously the main attractions are in the Hollycombe Park, we are just an added extra!

Off now for a cuppa and a chuckle with the rest of them, we have taken the dogs out for a stroll around the grounds, they are both now fast asleep and content.

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

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Harmans Cross Steam Gala - Day 2

Day 2 here  at Harmans Cross Steam Gala to give it it's correct title.

The caravan is still on the lean, but we have decided to put up with it, plus we have run out of bits of wood to help level it out! So it will have to do.

The weather has been kind to us so far, it did rain a little in the morning, but with a stiff breeze, which isn't thankfully cold, soon dried out the grass.

In the afternoon, using our free steam train tickets, we boarded the train and headed for Corfe Castle. We had a look around the small village, then went up towards the Castle where we found that it was free entry! Our luck is in, so we had a good walk around the castle, which must of been very impressive when it was first built.

After the castle, we sat in the gardens of the National Trust Tea Rooms and had a cream tea whilst looking up at the castle, the only down side to this was the amount of wasps, loads of them, cream, jam and wasps do not make for a relaxing time, so scoffed the lot rapidly and made a quick exit!

Off back on the train, and into Swanage. Had a walk around the town, along the sea front then as it was Swanage Folk Festival, had a look up at there and had a listen to some mad bag pipe playing celtic rock band! Pretty impressive!

We caught a packed steam train back to Harmans Cross, fired up the cadac and had a bite to eat.

We then headed over to the beer tent, but as I had rather over done it the night before was more than happy with my cup of tea in my thermos cup! Must be getting old!

Talking of old it's "M"s birthday today (Sunday)! she is 40 - something. Her daughter is coming over to see her later, they are camping at Kimmeridge around 8 miles away.

Last night we were woken by torrential rain, it really did throw it down, the wind picked up as well. I was half expecting on looking out this morning to see a few awnings and tents down, but thankfully all remain standing.

There is still a fresh breeze blowing which is drying everything out nicely.

I've took loads of pictures yesterday, so I've added them all below. Enjoy - 

Keith and his engine running on the Friday evening busy repairing Tilly Lamps

Left to right - Donna, "M", Chris

"Buddy" dog - Mother in laws dog

On a bit of a slope, you cant really see how bad it is in this picture, but you can see the length of the grass! Our van is the one on the far left.

Choppers! I had one as a kid, bet you didnt know there was a 10 gear version! My old one was dated to 1969 as it had a gear knob rather than a red barrel gear shift.

"M" in her biker chick days had one of these, its a Triumph Tiger Cub

Every thing thought of at this show, if you happen to snuff it, off you go, boxed and ready!

A classic! I like the thought that some one has bothered to do this with this Marina Van.

Ransome Crawler, just looks the business! I want one!

Rugged Robin - Yes it is a half track! You should see it go!

Outboard motor fitted to rear!

Another example of an everyday vehicle being well looked after

Our engine - Wolseley WDII with a Lister Domestic water pump. Thanks to Phil the plumber who kindly soldered the "U" shaped copper pipe on the pump back on to its fixing. This being done in his caravan kitchen sink!

First of many photos of steam trains that Ive taken

On the train, heading for Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle

Taken from the castle looking down onto the line

Holder her hat on - a bit windy!

Taken from the steam train you can just see our caravan on the back row, just to the right of the Dorset Flag.

At the Swanage folk festival, pixie van!

From the other side, if you look carefully you will see that the wheel is floating free! Obviously this owner has mystical powers!

Swanage sea front looking right

Looking left

Mad bag pipe player