Sunday, 31 July 2011

A Hectic Couple Of Days

Its been absolutely flat out the last few days, its all been a bit of a blur what with all the things that have happened!

So Ill try and place things in some sort of order.

Whilst I was away helping Matt collecting their new caravan, "M" was off visiting an elderly friend, her car had a flat battery and she called out her mechanic who went beyond and above the call of duty to help her out and get everything working again.

Whilst he was doing this "M" had told him we were struggling to sell the Fiat 500 and we were desperate to get rid of it. He said he may know someone who may be able to help us, to leave it with him and he would get back to us later.

He did, and he made arrangements for a dealer to come to his workshop at 1000am on Thursday morning to view the Fiat 500 and agree on a price.

Thursday morning came and a price was agreed on the Fiat 500. We have lost out on the car, and we had to add nearly £800 to clear the finance but if you work that out over 3 years that we have had the car it's not too bad. The only thing he wasn't happy with was the service book hadn't been stamped! An oversight by the dealer who serviced it for me, so it was a quick dash back to Shaston to get the book stamped up.

We then went to the dealers to hand over the service book and the £800, we sorted out all the paper work, then he said that whilst we were away, the new "Glasses" guide came through in the post - this is the motor dealers bible with all used prices in it. He said that our car had dropped £400 since last month, but as we had all ready verbally done the deal then he would stand by the price we had agreed! Phew!!!!

It was a relief to get rid of the car. It was fun to drive, very economical but useless for us and how we live. So the hunt was now seriously on for a 4x4.

We had a fixed budget, which we have managed to raise slightly, the task was to find a 4x4 with reasonable mileage and that didn't look like a bag of nails!

We have been keeping an eye on things via ebay and auto trader for a few weeks now, and had managed to find a couple of vehicles which met our needs.

Our original plan was to get a Mitsubishi Delica but trying to find one is a bit like rocking horse shite, they are either far too much money or dog rough.

So our next plan was a Mitsubishi Pajero/Shogun again the same old problem, either high mileage, dented bodywork, or just dog rough all round!

However, we managed to find by late Thursday afternoon an extremely good looking Mitsubishi Pajero 2.8TD long wheel base.

It came in at the right price, it had 10 months MOT, 5 months tax, and best of all had been serviced the last 5 years at a Mitsubishi dealers with no expense spared! It really is in exceptional condition and has done just 107,000 miles, which on an engine that size isn't excessive.

So with a few calls to our insurance company we got the price down from the initial quote of £850 down to £340 including full breakdown cover! Now that was some haggling - well done "M"!

We then made arrangements to go and view it, which was just outside of Hereford. A bit of a journey but we felt that these don't come along very often so it was worth the trip.

First thing on Friday morning I had to go to give a quote for a gardening job, so as soon as I got back we set off.

We eventually found the place and the guy we bought it from looked after us and let us go out for a test drive. I must say we were both hooked on it as soon as we got in it.

Now to say its on the large size is an understatement! Its massive, but with a 2.8TD engine under your right foot its no slouch. It drives very well, everything works, all the switches work, and there are alot of them! The inside looks like new. It certainly hasn't had a hard life!

So we did the deal, and we paid £1750. Now some may say that's alot to pay for an 18 year old vehicle. But, as you can see from the picture its in very good condition, and after the drive back and over the weekend, we simply cannot fault it!

On the long run back it was even good on fuel, and as long your not flooring it at every opportunity then even running around isn't too bad.

I'm now looking forward to towing with it. I'm hoping it will be a dream.

Saturday, we took a little run out into the New Forest, just to put the car through its paces and as expected it performed well. We are both very happy with it.

Saturday evening "M"s mother came over, we wanted her to come over so that she could try out the awning pod. We thought this a good idea before our trip to Wales in August, so that she could get a feel for things, and better to know now if there is anything she wants to change or alter than when we are away!

Everything went well, and after a few glasses of red wine, I reckon she could of slept on a bed of nails and been happy - say no more!

This morning, we all got up, "M" and I cooked up a hearty breakfast, but "M" has been suffering over the last 6 weeks every now and again severe abdominal pain. But today it had her doubled over and crying, so a quick decision was made, and off I whisked her to A and E in Bournemouth.

After 4 hrs and some tests, she has been given a diagnosis of pleurisy "M" is not convinced on this as she doesn't have many of the symptoms,  so we now have to contact the Doctor to get a scan to see if that highlights a problem! She is a sickly child at the moment!

Back at the ranch, and it has emptied out after a very busy weekend, we now have the field back to ourselves, which China dog is very happy about, how dare other campers come onto her field!

We have finally booked our week away in South Wales, I cant remember who told us about this site, but thank you! Its Fforest Fields in Powys. It hits all the spots that we want, and now looking forward to it.

But first we have the Purbeck Rally to do, we are both looking forward to this one. Now we have the new car we can do it all in one trip! As its beefy enough to have the engine in the back and tow! Happy days!

Ive got a few pictures to put up that Ive taken recently, but being my usual disorganised self have managed to forget the cable for the camera. So they will have to wait.

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

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A New Caravan Hits The Road!

My sister Ali and partner Matt have been over a few times to visit us whilst we have been in our caravan, and  have always seemed taken by the caravan idea.

So much so that they have now taken the plunge and bought a brand new Bailey Orian 440/4 a good layout which suits there needs and requirements.

I went with Matt this morning to collect it, as his new car Kia 4x4 isnt ready till Saturday. So I was towing!

I had a good look around it whilst the hand over was being done, and can say that I was impressed by the caravan, and the handover which took place (it was alot better than ours and it was from the same dealer)!

I did notice that the fridge had a push start for the gas where ours is electric, but it did have an electric flush on the loo, and a cassette with wheels!

Once all the formalities had been completed it was time to hook up. Off we went with no problems, but I noticed that the white tray that fits over the sink appeared to be moving. In the handover we were clearly told that this fits snuggly over the sink unit whilst travelling.

Well, it wasn't snug at all, with 5 mins of setting off it had fallen onto the floor. We pulled over to in the next lay-by, and took a look. There was no way it would of stayed on,  so along with the chopping board safely stowed we set off again.

We got down to their storage place, and Matt opened the door of the caravan and like we all do sometimes left the key in the door lock. Thankfully I noticed this, but on this model the door opens with the hinges on the left of the door as you look at it.

With the keys still in the lock the door swings open and the first point of contact with the key protruding from the lock is the front side window! On ours at least it just hits into the metal work.

On a windy day or if you are just not careful I can see the window cracking with the force of the door banging into the window. I've got dents on our van through this, will a window take as much punishment?

Other than that it looks a well made van, and I hope they have as much fun in it as we have had in ours!

The other thing I noticed is how easy it was to tow! I could accelerate! It is a lot lighter than ours, and didn't I just know it!

They have booked a long weekend away in mid August, I don't think with a new van I could wait that long to try it out, I would be in it tonight!

So new members to the exclusive shed dragging club, and another caravan on the road to annoy Clarkson!

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

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Leaf Springs On Your Caravan??

For  a little while now I've been following Jenny & Robin who live down in New Zealand and their adventures with their caravan.

A number of the things that I've found intriguing about their caravan is the fact that its leaf sprung! Not only that but it has a diesel night heater fitted! I've mentioned these to Robin and he has said that this is fairly normal for caravans down there! 

Ive cut and pasted part of the email he sent me, I found it interesting hearing about his caravan, hope you do to. You can find him direct at

We do of course have European and English made caravans here and they appear to be all on Al-ko chassis which I under stand are a dedicated caravan and motor home chassis manufacturer.  If I understand correctly the suspension is a rubber torsion arrangement.

 For our home grown industry we do have a similar suspension available called "Trojan" and we have had a caravan with this configuration.

 To give a bit of history, the caravan industry in NZ has been in the doldrums for many years now.  Back in the 70s we have something like 20 or more caravan manufactrurers which was a lot even for our small population. But along came a Prime Minister who was also Minister of Finance and he slapped a Sale Tax (pre VAT OR GST) on all caravans and boats. Also at this time was I think the first oil shock and petrol prices shot up to about todays prices and we also had carless days.  This combination killed off any demand for caravans and hence we now have only about 2 or 3 caravan manufacturers in operation.

Boats bounced back quite quickly but caravans have languished until now and once again there is a mini resurgence.  This in some respects is due to the large Motor Home rental industry and therefore the continual availability of used rental motor homes coming onto the private market and the importation of used Japanese buses that have been converted into motor homes.  These have all increased the demand for camping vehicles.

 However manufacture of large trailers for carting horses, cars etc have still been made and because of the extra weight to be carried have traditionally had leaf spring suspensions.

Another factor for the continued use of leaf springs is our appallingly rough and uneven roads and also we still have a number of country roads that are unsealed.  Therefore a more robust suspension is required.  The Al-Ko Chassis is able to flex to much in our conditions, just my thoughts.  The best caravan I have towed was a Australian one we owned for a while; this was a tandem but had wishbones, coil springs and large shock absorbers on each wheel.  This was a dream to tow as the van in effect had four wheel independent suspension, was self supporting and had minimal effect on the tug.  It also followed behind like it was supposed to. It was built for the Outback!

 To summerise we have vans that have the Al-Ko chassis and suspension, full underfloor chassis and Trojan suspension and full underfloor chassis and leaf spring suspension.  And to make your mind spin even further some vans are made with foam sandwich walls and roof some with aluminium or fibreglass cladding, some with foam construction with aluminium struts inbedded in the sandwich and still others like ours built using a timber frame, polystrene insulation and aluminium cladding (of Fibreglass).  This of course makes for a heavy van ours is approx 1800kg empty.

 I have a mate with a Swift Carisma Tandem and he tows with a Toyota Highlander petrol were as I have to use a Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel. Both vans of a similar size in length.

 You now know as much about the NZ caravan scene as me.

Thanks Robin for that, I like the bit about the roads being uneven and bumpy, you should try driving around here! A coil sprung caravan, sounds just the job!

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

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Still No Decision On Wales Camp Site!

A decision of camps sites in Wales has still not been made, I'm keeping well out of it so that none of it can be my fault if it all goes a bit pear shaped! This I reckon is the best course of action.

Of course it does mean that the later its left the more chance we could end up in Lincoln!

Well it wont be my fault!

Have you ever used Gumtree? Ive used it twice now, first time when I was looking for a petrol lawn mower and the second time was yesterday when I advertised 17 tins of paint for sale, they were sold and collected today for the price I wanted. No listing fee's, no final valuation fee's, no one from Nigeria wanting them shipped out to them and cash on collection with no paypal fees - result!

So if you haven't used it before it may well be worth taking a closer look at.

On another matter, why do people feel its ok not to bother hosing down after they have emptied their loo's. Went to empty out yesterday, and met the guy walking away from the loo, got up to empty and there it all was. Its not as if there isn't a hose! Lazy git! So had to clean it all down before I even started.

I feel like saying, Oi, I live here mate, would you hose it down if this is where you lived! But of course I cant!

The other thing is the amount of rubbish that is dumped by folk away for the weekends, that itself is not really a problem, but when they leave the rubbish in bags by the sides of the bins late at night, and the foxes, rats, and all the other countryside animals that have a perfect right to be here decide to investigate and spread it all over the place. Many the time Ive gone and cleared up after thoughtless or rather brainless people!

It really does make you wonder why they bother coming to the countryside when they treat it like an inner city!

Perhaps I'm just too much of a country boy at heart!

Its a funny old world that we live in, and thankfully so, how boring would it be if everything was regulated and the same.

All though successive Governments/councils appear to be regulating many things that in my opinion require no regulation, just common sense.

Common sense, appears to be something that is lacking in today's society! What with all the phone hacking scandals that seem to plague the news rooms at the moment.

Whilst I'm on the subject of common sense, I heard that there were calls for all Police officers to have a university degree! What!?

I hope that doesn't go ahead, Ive a good mate in the Police and he didn't go to university, ok, he has more brains than I have, but his skills are life taught. This is the sort of copper we need more of. I wish there were more of his sort on the streets, I'm sure there wouldst be half the problems that there are now!

When I was a National Sales Manager I took a graduate out with me on the road, to see if he could cut it. I'm afraid it didn't go well, he hung his shirts up in the back of my car on a hanger and to my surprise he still had name tags in the collar! To say he was clueless was an understatement. Yes, very clever and could recite 15th century poetry, but what bloody use is that in this day and age.

He didn't cut it, not to my standards and I wouldn't take him on, shame as he was a nice lad, but just no common sense. Exactly the sort of person they are calling on to fill the ranks of the Police.

This just scares me to death, God knows what the time served coppers feel about this, I'm sure they are just as mortified as I am!

Just had a read through of what Ive written so far, I hope to any one new reading this you weren't expecting too many words of wisdom on caravanning! It would appear to be sadly lacking from many of my posts!

So will change that by talking about caravans, I know, a novelty!

I had a trawl through ebay earlier today, as I do, and found myself drawn towards the caravan section. On looking through it amazed me the number of caravans that were for sale. Which may mean a couple of things:

A) People are giving up their sheds on wheels for more exotic holidays with the risks of getting shot, stranded, robbed, or given food poison.


B) They are all buying new vans and selling their old vans privately.

If your wanting a cheap holiday, then caravanning is the way to go, I lost count of the amount of caravans that could be picked up for less than £1000 there really are some real bargains out there.

But, is caravanning for everyone? And, now, this may be a tad controversial  but I'm going to say it anyway, but is caravanning purely a white persons pastime?

Ive never seen a coloured family camping, and if you look through either of the camping and caravanning or the caravan club mags, I cant remember ever seeing a picture of a coloured family!

Please tell me I'm wrong, and I hope that I am, but from my own personal observations this does appear to be the case. But, why?

Its affordable, as Ive proved by looking on ebay, site fee's can vary, but if your wanting a cheap holiday, even at high season you can find a site at £12.00 per night, so not exactly breaking the bank.

So why aren't there more coloured family's enjoying the great outdoors?

Perhaps I'm completely wrong, but somehow, I just don't think I am, ask yourself the question?

Oh and let me know what you come up with!

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

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Rainy Old Day!

Its been a rainy old day today, thankfully I got all the rubble shifted this morning in the dry, but this afternoon the heavens have opened!

Is it my imagination or did we use to have summers that were warm, where it almost felt as if you were abroad! Where you could feel the heat from brick walls and there was a shimmer on the road.

More leaflets to go out again tomorrow, as long as its dry! Lets see if we get any more calls!

The rest of the day has been spent up the unit, sorting out and listing books ready for auction.

All quiet on site, being tucked away like we are, we don't get to see who is coming in and out any more!

Last night was fat club night! It didn't go well! Ive managed to put on 4lbs over the last week! Not good at all, but as it was my birthday over the weekend (I like to keep it quiet) we did have a bit to drink! So that will explain things, we are now dry at the caravan, so wont be having a beer any night this week!

This is not good news at all, but I would like to see how much of a difference it makes - if any!

"M" went for her scan, and she has tendinitis of the shoulder and is due a steroid injection tomorrow! If that doesn't work its an operation! So fingers crossed the injection does the job.

Other than that, nothing else has really happened here at our peaceful location, in Deepest Darkest Dorset!

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

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

1st Batch Of Flyers Delivered

I was outbid at the very last second on the lawn mower that I was bidding on through ebay, how annoying is that, but with a budget that I had to stick to I couldn't go any higher.

So the hunt was on for another petrol lawn mower, "M" suggested I look on Gumtree and to my relief saw a couple of lawn mowers that would do just the job, a quick phone call, got £10 knocked off the asking price and for £40 Ive now got a briggs and stratton lawn mower, which starts on first pull of the handle! Result.

We went into Bournemouth on Monday evening to collect it, not only that but the guy selling it also does repairs, so that is handy to know.

I had made flyers up, very simple but effective and these were all ready to push through letter boxes, so yesterday afternoon, I set about with the first batch.

2000hrs last night I got a call, to clear a garden! So off later today to take a look!

Ive taken a look and Ive got the job! Clearing a load of rubble from their garden, a dozen rubble sacks should just about do it.

So that's my job for tomorrow morning! All should be fairly straight forward, a good start!

Off to fat club tonight! If I didn't enjoy a pint then it would be an absolute doddle to loose weight! but, and its a big but, I do enjoy a pint, so its a slow process!

The odd ice cream, and cake I know don't help, but to give up everything is no fun at all.

We are now seriously looking at replacing the Fiat 500, we have tried everything to get shot of it, so if anyone wants a Fiat 500 1.4 Sport with loads of extras then let me know, its at a knock down price of £6500 just to get rid! Pictures can be emailed or look back at previous posts for a whole set of them.

Looking on ebay, they are just not selling, come to that, nothing seems to be at all what ever you are selling. Ive noticed that, with the clothes we have been doing recently!

Ebay has changed so much over the last few years, its nothing like it used to be when I first started using it. They seem totally intent in doing away with the small sellers like me in favour of the big named shops.

Trying to compete with Amazon I guess, but forgetting in the mean time what they were all about to start off with!

Well better dash, so till later..................

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Landrover Inlet Manifold Refit

First thing on Friday morning I had the job of refitting the gasket. I gave the inlet manifold a good clean, refittted the new gasket, and slid the manifold back into place. The nuts were a little tricky to put on, but I managed it without dropping any, all tightend up and airfilter box back into place.

The next job was to refill the coolant system and pray for no leaks!

Thankfully, it all worked well, and so far everything seems fine.

I cant imagine how much that would of cost me at a garage, but I reckon I wouldnt of seen much change out of a couple of hundred quid.

As "M" still cant drive, we had to go shopping and to the laundrette, and that was our Friday! We did have one or two beers last night, well its the weekend isnt it?

Today, it was a bit of a rush to get out and into Bournemouth as we had some more equipment to pick up for my new venture!

As we hadnt had any breakfast, we decided to go to Tescos, but on looking at what was under the hot plate, walked out in disgust. Talk about dried up, scabby looking food that I wouldnt even feed China Dog!

I can never understand why supermarket cafes use the cheapest possible ingredients for their meals. They use the basic range of sausages, and bacon that is as tough as old boot leather. Why not use their finest range of products, this way you could taste them and say, those were nice better buy some. instead its those sausages are crap, best not buy them!

I dont mind spending money on good food, but no matter how cheap it may be, if its horrible its not worth the bother!

So as "M" knows the area we were in, we went to a great lttle cafe called "The Old Bridge Tearooms at Iford in Bournemouth, it over looks the river Stour.

I had a lovely cooked breaksfast for £5.50 it really isnt that difficult to cook good food. Tescos take note!

From here we popped into see "M"s Mum who lives just up the road, a quick cuppa then back to the caravan.

Mr Gulliver is coming over later this evening bringing a home cooked Moroccon Stew made with a good helping of Port! Sounds rather interesting!

Needed to get some Blackthorn Cider in, but you try buying it! None in Tescos, Morrisons, Sainsburys or the Co-op. Something must be going on here, plenty of other makes which are all chemically enhanced and the only apples they have seen is on the label! But no Blackthorn.

Ive ended up with Strong bow, Ill be wearing a blouse next!

We stayed up till the early hours last night, thankfully the weather stayed dry all evening and even the wind dropped! It did get a little bit chilly as the evening wore on, but still, it was good to sit outside and have a drink.

We were warmed up by Mr Gullivers Moroccon Stew, which was amazing!

Slept like the dead, and this morning Im up and tapping keys here and thinking about going down to Ashley Heath car boot to have a wander around. Its dry at the moment but for how long is anybody's guess!

We are off out for lunch to Witchampton Club, there roasts are supposed to be spectacular! So looking forward to that.

The pieces of the jigsaw for my new venture are coming together, just one more major piece to win on ebay and we are ready for the off! Should know this time tomorrow morning if I've been successful.

Why the change? Well for a little while I've not been happy with ebay, as a seller the odds are stacked against you from the start. And recently more and more folk seem to complain over the slightest and daftest of things:

An example: "I would like to return the Barbour Wax Coat as it feels waxy and smells of wax"! Well no shit Sherlock! What were they expecting?

Another one said he could only return the jacket after the weekend? Why? so that he could wear it?

Someone else wanted me to explain what a full refund was? Are these people stupid?

So it is with no surprise that I get very frustrated and as the whole idea of living in a caravan is a stress free way of life, a change of direction is needed to keep my sanity in check!

Since we have gone full time in the caravan, I've loved being outside, I always have done, but this has brought us a lot closer to the outside as you can well imagine.

With this in mind, we sat and thought about all the jobs outside that I could do, but what ever they were, they had to meet certain criteria.

Ive done all sorts of jobs since leaving school, such as Army (7years) Technician at Marconi's (2yrs) Sales (many years) from rep to National Sales Manager for a Plc running a team of 12 guys and girls, debt collector in Glasgow, courier, driving instructor, ebay, and many other minor little jobs to keep some pennies coming in. I'm not afraid to do anything as long as there is money in it.

I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty, or grafting hard, but it has to be for myself, my days of working for someone are well over. I just cant do it any more.

Over the last week as I've mentioned in this and other posts, we have been out buying and collecting equipment for this little venture of mine!

Recently a number of experiences gave me the idea that we are now making real.

My Dad, not being able to do the things he used to can no longer cut the lawn or his hedge, so Ive been over and done it for him.

A elderly friend of "M"s pays a guy to come around and mow her grass and cut her hedge at £20 an hour and he does 2 hours a week.

Obviously there are a lot of older folk there who are in need of a little bit of help in their gardens, infact not only old folk, back in the day when I wore a suit to work, and I had a 4 bed detached house and large garden I payed a guy to come and sort my garden out on a weekly basis.

So with a budget of £150 yes that's all, I've managed to source a brand new Kyobi Strimmer and Hedge cutter, a complete set of garden tools, such as rakes, shears, edgers, loppers etc, and a mountfield lawn mower which Im bidding on at the moment! That price also includes flyers and business cards!

As soon as I've won the lawn mower, the flyers will be going out, and then with a bit of luck, and a fair wind we will see what happens! I'm not expecting miracles, but its worth a shot.

One thing is for sure, you will never know unless your willing to give it a go! And as you all ready know we are not afraid of trying new things!

So what experience have I got to do this? Loads, I've cut many a lawn and hedge. When I lived in Scotland I had 1/3 of an acre of garden which kept me busy, as it was full of winding paths, hedges and fruit trees. I've built patios and small walls, brick BBQ's, put up fences, so feel confident that I can do most things asked of me.

OK, thats fine, but its a bit seasonal isn't it? True, I'm not going to be mowing lawns in December but there are plenty of other jobs that can be done.

During last winter one of the full timers on our site was a gardener and he was out at least 3 days a week working all day, so its out there. Logs to be cut, gardens cleared, rubbish carted off, patios cleaned, any thing to earn a buck.

We think its worth a go, if it doesn't pan out then I wont be out of pocket, just sell all the gear again.

So the name? We have come up with the name of "Brother Nature" 

Well, that's the cat out of the bag!

Like I've said, you never know unless you try these things. We both think its worth a go and could turn out to be an enjoyable occupation.

Time will tell! till later....................

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Land Rover Freelander Inlet Manifold Gasket Problem!

On our way back home yesterday from fat club, where I some how managed to loose 1lb! I noticed that the engine ever so lightly started to get a little warm, only a little, but when you know every squeak and rattle, you notice these things.

Got home and had our traditional celebration of a take-away curry!

This morning the first thing I did was top the water coolant up, over the last few months Ive noticed that it drinks a bit of water, but on an old freelander, you do expect a little loss, so didn't think too much of it.

We had the head gasket done around 2 years ago. 

As poured the water in I could hear water running out from somewhere, looked underneath and it was coming straight out! Now, this could either be very simple and cost very little if it was a split or loose hose, or serious bucks if it was the head gasket gone again!

I couldn't suss out where the leak was coming from as it seemed to be from the rear of the engine and high up, where no pipes ran. I feared the worst -  another head gasket!

Thankfully, Chris was on site, another full timer who is mechanically minded, he came over and together we sussed where the leak was coming from, but we didn't know exactly why or how.

A quick look on the interweb and all is revealed, the inlet manifold gasket had failed! Not as bad as it sounds, a quick call to my brother in law Mat and a part was sourced at under £10 which to me was a bargain!

We then set about taking off the manifold which was only a few bolts which all came off ok, and we removed the damaged gasket, which was well knackered! Thanks Chris for the help!!

We had to go to the Docs this afternoon, so that "M" can have her shoulder looked at again. She has been signed off for another week! Whilst I was waiting outside the Docs, Mat called me to say he was in town with the gasket, drove to me in the car park and handed it over, hows that for service!! Cheers Mat!!!

So my job first thing tomorrow is to refit the gasket, fill up with water, and fingers crossed all works!

Again I wonder how much this would of cost me if I had taken it to a garage! Before living in the caravan, that's exactly what I would of done, but now, its more a case of, well lets have a look and see if we can get this sorted!

Whilst back in town we popped in to see my parents, my Dad is looking alot better now they have changed his medication!

Then we had a quick coffee with 007Herbert, he is between missions at the moment, his only task being to ensure that Mrs Herberts cats don't escape, should be a doddle for such a highly trained individual.

A quick dash back to the van, then off to Frimley to collect something won from ebay, it was too big to have it sent, but cant say what it was at the moment, as there are plans afoot for a bit of a change of direction for myself, but as of yet want to keep it under wraps! Will reveal all shortly!

And so ends another day! Its been a day of mixed emotions!

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

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Monday - Another Day Full Timing!

Another day done and dusted and its been a tough day at the PC!
Well, that’s not all Ive done, had a load of packing to do this morning as we had a sale finishing last night.
We ship world wide, a lot goes out to America, and all over Europe. Recently we sent something out to the Ukraine! Nice to see a bit of British Tweed out there!
Ebay never ceases to amaze me, if you try put rhyme and reason to the sales patterns you would just drive yourself mad. It really is up and down and you cannot predict a single thing.
You just have to keep at it and ride it out. I did team up with someone recently but they were not happy with the sale prices we were getting, so we decided to call it a day and Im back working on my own again, which to be honest is a lot better.
Its a lot less stressful for me, I just cant handle anyone breathing down my neck, especially when Im the one doing all the graft.
But, since then the sale prices have gone up, so maybe they jumped a little to early!?
Next weekend
We were mulling over how we were going to do two trips down to Weymouth this Friday for the Portland Steam Show. Anyone who has ever driven along the A31/A35 will know it’s a terribly slow road, not helped by the amount of tourists towing caravans along it! To add to that misery on Friday is not something that I was looking forward to. So after a bit of a chat we have decided not to go!

A bit of shame, but two trips down and back on the Friday and the same on Sunday evening is firstly bloody expensive due to the cost of fuel, and secondly will take hours.

So we are staying put.

On my way out to the post office this afternoon, we spotted a greater spotted woodpecker, we have often seen it around the site, then on our way back in we spotted two green woodpeckers right next to our van, a lovely sight.

However, on the way back, a buzzard had been hit and obviously had a broken wing and was in distress on the side of the road. We called the RSPCA who considering they have a centre not more than 5 minutes away, said they couldn’t do anything for a minimum of 4 hrs! What is that all about? They also told us to phone the Highways Agency who said they couldn’t do anything either and to call the Police. Well, we did, I know its not a priority but to see a magnificent bird in distress is not good.

We don’t know the outcome, I only hope that another car hit it and put it out of its misery! As I cant see it being rescued. Shame, but there you are. Poor show by the RSPCA especially as like I said there is a centre not more than 5 minutes away.

Could I have done something? Well, if you have ever seen a buzzard up close, you would see that they have claws that would rip the flesh of your arms and beaks to snip a finger off! So without the proper gear Id rather wrestle a sheep! Sheep wrestling being an official sport in many of the smaller villages in the the West Country. Say no more!

We are still looking for a site in South Wales, thanks to all who have sent in suggestions, we are still deciding on which one to go for, all though I’m not getting involved that way I cannot be held responsible. Considering who we are taking this to me sounds the best course of action to take.

Just had a pint of Cocker Hoop which was rather good, I managed to sink a few on Saturday night whilst “M” was up in London drooling over Robbie Williams.

She had a great time up there and said the concert was amazing. They stayed in a Bed & Breakfast, well I say Bed & Breakfast, they had a bed, but breakfast wasn’t an option! There wasn’t even a kettle in the room! Hows that for looking after your guests! And it was £48 for that! Talk about easy money! The landlord should have been wearing a mask and changed his name to Mr D Turpin, the robbing b@st@rd!

But thet again, it was only a mile from Wembley so for that money what do you expect. (a bloody kettle)!

“M” has got an appointment back at the Docs on Thursday, to have her shoulder looked at, as it hasn’t got any better at all! So not good, I think her days of lugging tins of paint around are numbered!

Well time to fire the Cadac up, getting hungry, so till later……………..

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Living In A Caravan Full Time - Day 320 !

They say time goes by quickly when your having fun - well we must be having a ball!

This is our 320th consecutive night in the caravan tonight! We missed the 300th night, not sure what happened there!

But as we approach the end of our 1st year in the caravan, what have we learnt?

Well, that depends on what you mean by learnt! We have discovered things, such as there are many more full timers out here than we realised.

Its funny how people react when you tell them you live in a caravan. Some are great and really interested, some cant understand it at all and think we are mad, and some totally look down their noses at us, as if we are the lowest of the low, which wouldn't be so bad if we weren't related to them!

We have met some great people since we have started this adventure of ours, which is always a good thing, and we have had a lot of laughs.

We have also had a few low points as well, such as when the snow was building up on the awning roof and I was up several times during the night scraping it all off. Not fun at -3 and blowing a blizzard! The water on site froze up, which meant daily water trips, which was a pain, but it had to be done. And, to be honest I knew of people who lived in houses and their water froze up, so we were not unique in this.

When the heating packed up, and when the waste pipes froze, all character building stuff.

Moving is always a challenge, we tend to move often, so getting old hands at it now. I can only remember a couple of times when I've got completely soaked through setting up the awning, the rest of the times have been fine. Hitting in tent pegs in below freezing conditions is also not what I would call fun.

But, would i change anything? The answer has got to be not at all.

This is a fantastic way to live and would recommend it to anyone to give it a go. It really isn't that difficult to do.

We have proved that it can be done, and done with a minimum of fuss and hassle.

Some of the perceptions that people have about us and how we live make me chuckle. These questions are from people who have never stepped foot inside a caravan, let alone stayed in one. Questions such as where do you go to the toilet? My reply is normally I take a shovel and find a hedge! Recently I was asked how do we do the laundry? Laundry, we don't, we just buy new clothes all the time, and during the winter we wear the same gear! Faces are a picture. Not too sure what they think launderettes are for, poor people?

All that apart, we are still enjoying living in our caravan full time, and we cant see that changing for a long time yet!

I totally accept that its not for everyone - and thank goodness for that! Our peace and quiet would be wrecked!

August 26th will be a full year, and its only next month! In fact its a year since I started to write this blog! I really didn't think that people would come back week after week and read about our life.

Looking at the stats, the interesting thing to see is that month on month we are increasing at a rate of 30% the number of new people visiting the blog! With this the actual viewing figures are increasing rather rapidly as well. Amazing!

This time last year we were at the early stages of thinking of doing it, in fact tomorrow will be the day a year ago that made us go for it. It was the day our old caravan managed to turn itself around and head down a hill and through a hedge, all on its own! That for us was the final straw and we knew we just had to do something. Here we are!

So a big thank you to all of you who follow us, those that have been with us from the early days, and to those of you who have recently joined us.

Don't forget you can leave comments here without being a member of google and you can also email us direct at It really is great to hear from folk so don't be shy!

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

Picture Update And Other Nonsense!

At long last I hear you cry! I seriously think I'm living in another time zone, where does it all go!

The days are flying by far to quickly for my liking, not sure if that's because I'm enjoying life or just too busy to enjoy it!

Anyhow, the important thing is we are here!

So here's a few pictures that Ive taken recently, ill add to them as they go.....

Hold on...........

Whitchampton Steam up, that was the stationary engine line up, you can just make "M" out sat with her hat on, the fence is to keep the exhibitors safe from the general public!

Can you guess which car this belongs to? The air horns should give you a clue if you haven't scrolled to far all ready! A lovely sounding V8.

Yep, its those "Good Ole Boys" The car is lovely and sounds amazing.

Here's the show, told you it was a small event! To the right behind the cars are around 6 or so tractors.

Our engine, we were fairly close to the club house!

The village church, the cemetery was peaceful and very well kept.

Here's the tractor after going through total restoration with many parts having to be specially bought from Canada, behind are the three wise men putting up their home for the weekend!

And here it is after rolling off the lorry! Ok, it doesn't look too bad from a distance, but there is alot of damage done to it.

Fridge repair - how you get that grey top panel off is still a mystery, it was the round dial on the far left that broke. The one that switches from Gas/240v/12v. Behind is a black box containing all the switches and connections, three screws to the lid, off it pops revealing the shafts of the dials.

Centre of the picture is the barrel with the lines on it, it had broken just below this, so was just spinning freely. Pushed up tight a dab of super glue, and hey presto, fridge repaired. Which we were both mighty relieved about! I wonder what it would of cost us to have an engineer out to do this?

Well that was it!

"M" spent last night (Sat) up in London with her daughter seeing "Take That" it was amazing she said, I'm sure it was, but call me old fashioned but would rather listen to the sound of that V8!

Today, I'm cleaning up after a few beers last night and cooking a curry! The sun is shining at the moment, but plenty of cloud about.

Next weekend we are off to The Portland Steam Show, looking forward to this as its being held at a new location due to the Olympics which is costing millions to stage at Weymouth has thrown the event off of Portland as they sold the ground! Cheers!

Some of you have asked about the weight loss. Well to be honest over the last few weeks, what with all the shows we have done, losing weight has been the last thing on my mind. However, as we eat totally differently to how we used to, Ive only put back on 1Lb over the last 6 weeks, so to me that's a result, considering what we have eaten!

Some of the changes that I have made, is no milk or butter, no bread, apart from the odd bacon sandwich! No crisps or snacks. Tons of fruit and fish and very little pasta, which is difficult as I could live on it.

Ive lost almost 2 stone so far, which I'm happy with, and can even fit back into shirts that I thought I never would again!

Along way to go, but as I'm not worried about it, and do treat myself to an ice-cream when I want one. Its not too bad at all. I know what stops me from losing, but I'm not giving up having a pint when I want one either!

Anyway, enough nonsense from me, got to get the washing up done before "M" gets back!!!

A mans work is never done!!

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

Friday, 8 July 2011

Awning Pole Finally Recieved!

When we bought our caravan from Lady Bailey we bought a full size awning to go with it. Its roughly the size of the O2 arena when its up.

We also bought the sleeping pod to go on the end of it, but the first time we put it all up we found that there was a small curved (No 7) pole missing! We did manage to cobble it all together for the night, but a call to the dealer at the time ensured that a part was found for us and waiting our collection.

OK, that was back in September last year! Now, as we are planning a few days away in Wales later on in August complete with "M"s mother, we thought we could put her up in the pod! Ah, no pole!

A call to the dealership and they couldn't locate the pole, but they said they would look for it and call us, which they did saying they had it.

So off we trot to get it, to find out they didn't have the right pole! So another one was put on order and we finally picked it up last week.

Where we are now there isn't room to put up the large awning so we will have to wait till we have a bit of space to make sure everything is still there and over the last 10 months we haven't lost any more poles!

Hopefully it will all be there and "M"s Mum will have a place to kip whilst we are away, and far enough away so that she cant here me belching, farting and making other bodily function noises!

To say that I'm not too sure about this forth coming holiday is an understatement, but, we will give it a go, what could possibly go wrong?

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

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Im Losing Track Of Days!

How can it be Thursday evening all ready!

I just don't know how another week could of come and gone all ready, one minute its Monday, next thing I know its almost the start of the weekend!

Well, what has happened this week?

"M" is still off work and isn't likely to be going back for a while either! She still hasn't heard back for a date for a scan yet?

Ive been flat out with work, all though this week for some reason I haven't had a lot of enthusiasm to get things done. This is not like me at all, I hope it doesn't last!

One thing I have done this week is start to build a website -  based around the blog. For a while now Ive been thinking of ways of expanding the blog so that it can give out more information. In its present format its impossible to give the sort of information I want it to.

Nothing will change on the blog, but the website which is now registered as will be active in a few weeks, if not a months time. But if I feel its not ready it wont go live until I feel comfortable it will add benefit of some kind.

I would like the website to show contact information for all and everything to do with caravaning and camping. So a lot of work to be done.

I have the facility for an online shop, but to be honest not sure if that is the route I want to go down  yet, I can always add that at a later date.

As I'm no expert on this I will be including all the companies and information that I wanted to find out more about when we were starting out, and indeed as a full timer, the sort of information I need on a week to week basis.

But, this is where I could do with your help. What sort of information do you look for on a regular basis?

Please do get in touch with me either via the comments section on the blog. You don't have to be a member to do this. Or feel free to email me direct at with anything you would like to see or hear more about!

I still haven't got around to uploading the pictures from last weekend yet. Promise Ill do that over the weekend.

"M" is off on Saturday to London to see "Take That" she seems very excited about it. I'm not going, instead I'm staying here and cooking the hottest kick ass curry ever, and generally cracking on with work!

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