Sunday, 30 January 2011

Hurst Castle - A Day By The Sea!

We woke this morning to a good frost, but the sun was shining brightly so after a quick cuppa we loaded up and headed for the coast!

We parked up and took the walk out to Hurst castle  built by Henry VIII as part of his coastal defence system. Now owned by English Heritage.

A bit chilly as we walked along the spit but the views were fantastic, once out of the wind if was like a summers day! You could actually feel the wind burning your face!

It was hard work walking on the shingle but well worth the effort. Great views back in towards Christchurch and Lymington and across the water to the Isle of Wight.

I took a few pictures which Ive loaded up at the bottom.

Selling off of the forests!

Im not sure how good an idea this is, it doesnt sit comfortably with me, it really depends on what they are going to do with the forest area once its sold. At the moment you can park up in the many car parks around the forest for free and ramble across vast areas, if this was stopped then I for one would be mighty upset, but if they are going to start replenishing the forest with trees then this is a different matter. Im watching this with keen interest.

Ebook - Living In A Caravan

Certainly this has opened up a debate, which is interesting to hear, so please feel free to comment if you havent all ready!

Im still going ahead with it, just because, well, quite simply because I can!

As part of my research Ive posted on various forums different questions to see what sort of response I get about living in a caravan. Its amazing to hear that some people think you may have to tax a caravan! And others who think that as soon as it rains then the whole field will turn into a bog and you will be stuck for days. The best I heard though was from someone who was turned down by the caravan club as they only had a tent. Now, Im sorry, but doesnt the name caravan club give it away?

Now based on that very small sample, is there a need for a book or not?

Anyway, we hope you had a fantastic weekend as we certainly did!

Heres the pictures I took today
The spit is to the right, if you look centre left you can just make out the lighthouse. Behind is the land mass of the Isle of Wight

The lighthouse at the end of the spit

Hurst Castle, during WW2 housed a gun battery and search lights

On our way back from the castle, looking towards Bournemouth

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

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Living In A Caravan

Firstly, my apologies for not mentioning this before, but about a week ago, when I was stumbling around the settings of the blog trying not to delete everything I managed to find away to let anyone leave a comment on the blog.

I appreciate that not everyone wants to do yet another profile, so now you don't have to, I do however have to vet each comment to keep the spam down, but its hardly a hardship. So feel free to add anything you think is relevant, or indeed totally irrelevant!

I mentioned the fact that Ive been playing around with the idea of a book, to help people who havent got a clue about caravanning to become caravanners or indeed like us and to enjoy all the benefits of living in a caravan full time!

Must admit Ive been very pleased from the feedback from you guys, so its work in progress as we speak, Ive even given myself a deadline of March 31st for its 1st draft, just to make it all a bit more real as there is nothing like a bit of pressure to get those creative juices flowing!

Ive decided that the style of the book will be basically the same as how I write on this blog, probably wont be wandering off subject and talking about Lions, but hey, keeps it interesting!

Ive spent the last few days planning out the layout of the book, sections and subsections, even simple things such as EHU cables, orange and blue, lengths, plugs/sockets, let alone adaptors, safety, Ohms law, tripping supplies (oh yes bet we have all done this) then there are 12v/ 240v leisure batteries, blimey the list goes on and on, but it does make you think of all the things you take for granted. Just because you can do it or know it, doesn't mean everyone else does.

I was talking to someone the other day who didn't have a clue what was even in a caravan. Shocked him when I told him how luxurious our van was! Totally blew him away when I said our fridge could work either on gas, 12v or 240v!

The one thing that does still surprise me is that people still think it must be cold,  in one post I read on a forum, and this was from someone with their own caravan, they say that it was that cold their dogs water bowl froze overnight! What are they doing? Run the heater!!!! I wouldn't be too keen at being off electric this time of year but if I had to the gas heater would be on for sure.

We are never cold in our van, the electric heater is on, its 22.2 degrees in here as I type this - lovely!  Back at the start of the winter we changed over to the winter duvet, after two nights we changed back to the summer one which we have used all winter, even when its been -9 outside!

So hopefully this book of mine will also help those caravanners who just want to get the best out of their vans! There's always hope!

We have just completed our first 5 months of living in our caravan, must say on reflection its been brilliant, yes, we have had a few problems with the waste pipe freezing up, the circuit board failure on the heater, but nothing that has really bothered us. And, infact I know of people who have had more problems living in their house this winter!

Writing the book I have no difficulties with, other than finding time! The one thing I am having problems with is pricing? How do you price a book like this, and an ebook at that. I have a price in mind, but it would be really helpful from you guys if you were to put yourselves into the shoes of someone wanting to buy a book like this, how much or indeed what would you expect to pay?

Like I said, your help in this would be very much welcomed?

Well, as its the weekend, a stew in the slow cooker, thats what it looks like, probably something completely different will find out later when "M" gets back. Think now its time for a beer as its after 1800hrs, which makes it totally acceptable and thinking about it compulsary!

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

Friday, 28 January 2011

Now Dreaming Of Lions!

Now then, Im not normally one to remember dreams but last night I dreamt about being in a large building/factory unit with lots of rooms in it with other people and being chased by Lions. Being the hero that I am, I coldly shut others in with the lions so that I could escape! "M" came to my rescue with a pair of nail scissors!

Well, I put this dream onto a forum I now use and bugs came back to me with an explanation of my dream.

So Im now wandering around the camp site in the dark with a big stick incase Im attacked as apparently depending on how you look at things I could be in danger. Those squirrels have certainly been giving me the evil eye all day!

Talking of big sticks or more to the point (excuse the pun) I came across a rather splendid example of a sword stick the other day. It looks exactly the same as a walking cane with a rounded top with a little brass plate which by the simple flick of the wrist out pops out a 4 inch blade! Now its not illegal to own one of these, but the boys in blue are not happy about you wandering down the street with one! Shame really, imagine the scenario "OK grandad, give us your dosh" reply "OK son, but first feel my steel"! flick - ouch!

Oh I wish!! I think I should of been born in the Victorian times when this was common practice!

Changing the subject completely, I found myself in today, put up a post about living in a caravan and you wouldnt believe the hits the blog took!

However, what I did find rather worrying was that some of the posts were not only negative but to the point of being so off the mark it made me chuckle.

Then, the whole thread was removed, as I had made a reference to my blog, surely these websites are about helping people and giving advice on what you know!

However I found out that they dont like refereces to blogs as you can apparently make money on them!? Well folks my days earnings so far to day are - wait for it - yep 1pence!!!

Managed to post another thread with no references and that has remained up - so far!!!!

Apart from Monday this week, Ive spent everyday at the caravan! Must say its been heaven!

Ive been working though, its not all bird/squirrel watching and taking China for walks!

Ive sorted and listed over 200 postcards which are up for sale as we speak, only around the same again to do!

Ive also been toying with an idea thats been kicking around for a while, which is to put all the relevant information about living in a caravan into words that are easy to read and understandable for the benefit of people who know nothing about caravans into a format such as an ebook, and market it.

In this economic climate I think that there will be a few more full timers taking the plunge, any thoughts on this would be most welcome!

Im in the layout stage, thinking about all the areas that you need to tell people about, Ive been asked before by people who dont caravan what an aquaroll is. These are the things we take for granted, but before you went caravanning did you know what it was? I certainly didnt!

Or EHU's or CDP's or all the other things that we do and use on a regular basis.

Well thats the plan, Ill let you know how it goes, and for those who have been with us from the start you will be the first to get a copy (free to you guys) so that you can evaluate it and tell me where Im going wrong!!! So watch this space ____________________ Ok, thats enough space watching!!

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

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Anyone For A Spot Of Lion Taming?

As I go through the hundreds of postcards that recently found their way into my hands I came across one which made me stop in my tracks and think about it.

Its of Captain G Sadlere an Animal Trainer at the Grand Hall-By-The-Sea at Margate in the very early 1900's. The postcard that I have is dated 1905. Now those were the days!

Here he is below!
Here is a man with no fear! With the rank of Captain he probably saw his fare share of Lions during his Boer War Tour.

However, this does take it to another level! What was he thinking of at the time?

"Shit if that opium wears off I'm lunch"! or maybe "I didn't sign up for this - Wheres the union rep" or "When they said would you like some pussy around your shoulders, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind"!

Perhaps you could make up your own captions and add them on the comments below.

What I also thought of was, would this be done today, in this land of political correctness and health and safety.

I can just imagine the health and safety rep, err, sorry sir, you cant go round with a lion on your shoulders. You might hurt your back lifting him up!

I can also imagine as he gets home, his wife says, Hi dear, how was work today? well, just a normal day at the office, had a full grown male lion draped around my neck, oh that's lovely dear, cup of tea!

Anyway, a cracking postcard which is up for sale on ebay this evening at my site "bakers-cottage" with a no reserve start of only 99p

So come on, add your captions!!!???

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

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Day At The Caravan

Its been a good day for me today, I managed to get loads done, Ive just got hold of a whole load of old postcards from early to mid 1900's. Ive been busy listing these on ebay today. Over the next few days should be around 70 a day going up, depending on interuptions!

Its been very mild as well, 10 degrees, cant complain at all, but looking at the forecast looks like it will get colder towards the end of the week. I hope we have seen the last of the snow, very pretty to look at, but not really my thing at all.

Many thanks to all, still, for all the messages that we have received! Its always great to hear from people and I do try and reply to any emails/comments we receive.

The power still trips every now and again, but never during the day when the other full timers are away, as Ive been here all day, its all been fine, but this evening, more or less the same time the power goes again. I think I know who it is, but what do you say to them? Thankfully I know and have access to the sites main fuse panel, a 2 min walk, trip the switch and we are back in business. But must say, a tad annoying. Surely you would realise if you plug something in and it trips your unit!? I know we would!!

It would also be useful to know when it goes off in the early hours, a little alarm on your control panel would be good, they probably have this on newer vans? Lunar if your reading, maybe an idea??

The van itself has held up well over the winter so far, no condensation at all. But, and I guess this is the problem with a light weight van is that when it gets windy we do feel as if we are in a tumble dryer! The van does seem to shudder well! Which is a little disturbing especially when trying to sleep.

The Woodpecker Ive been informed (thanks) is a Greater Spotted male who has since legged it, havent seen him or heard him since Saturday! We havent hung anymore fatballs up, seems a bit of a waste of time, the squirrels will just rob them. I did come across in a near by bush a proper plastic bird feeder, but its been chewed into! Rats or squirrels? So not sure what the answer is.

Off to watch a DVD, Ive been looking at this screen all day, and eyes are tired.

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

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Its The Weekend! Part 3

Sunday, woke to birds singing? no. Wind in the trees? no. The moo of a cow? no.

Bloody shotguns! There must of been a dozen or more all letting rip probably no more than 2 fields away! Must of been a shooting club shooting at clays as they didnt wander off. I enjoy shooting, havent been in years, but not 9.30am on a Sunday morning!

Once awake Im up, never been one for lying in bed all day. Took China dog out for a quick trip around the site and into the woods, told her off for trying to stick her head down a rabbit hole, stepped back and fell into one, straight on my arse.

Got back to the van, emptied out the loo, no probs with that, sorted out water etc and had a bit of breakfast.

This afternoon we went out for a walk, along a disused railway track, which on the map says its a footpath, but we came across two locked gates, so not too sure what was going on with that, we eventually gave up and turned to go back to the car. China dog was filthy, not good as we had the Fiat and that is our clean car. The freeland looks like we keep chickens in it!

Back at the van, Im banished to the awning whilst "M" is hoovering, and generally cleaning up after me! So keeping head down, even though its getting a bit nippy out here.

The other fat ball for the birds has gone! It can only be the squirrels!

I didnt manage to get the woodpecker today, infact I didnt hear him at all. Maybe tomorrow morning.

Its been a very lazy weekend, which has been lovely, its rare that we do nothing!

Next weekend, we may have friends coming over for the Saturday night, nothing definate yet, so will wait and see what happens.

Monday Im off up to Shaston for the day, Ive a day in Bournemouth and the rest of the time will be spent on site.

So till next time...........

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Its The Weekend! Part 2

The woodpecker has now been spotted! He has fantastic markings, black, white with red flashes, simply stunning. The only problem is I still havent managed to capture him with the camera. So tomorrow, I think Ill be on a bit of a mission!

"M" placed two fat balls for the birds on the trees near the caravan, one has completely vanished! I think its the squirrels, cheeky blighters!

Its been a cold day, very little sun, and a slight breeze, Ive been sat in the caravan listing books and gazing out of the window and watching the birds. It doesnt get anymore relaxing than this. "M" has been reading and is now snoozing with China dog curled up next to her.

In fact I cant remember a day when this is all we have done! Usually have something or somewhere to go, but this weekend - nothing!

Its certainly staying lighter in the evenings now, which Im mighty pleased about. It makes such a difference, just having those extra few minutes everyday. Roll on the summer!

Thinking ahead, we have to get all the forms sorted out for the various shows we intend on going to. Then comes the fun and games of all the planning. Last year we did the shows, but we always went back to the house afterwards, this time its on to the next place!!

When the shows finished on the Sunday evening, we packed up and headed home with heavy hearts, we use to say "wouldnt it be fantastic just to keep on going, and stay in the caravan" just goes to show, becareful what you wish for!!!!

We are both so looking forward to the summer months, it will be amazing to wake up in these types of surroundings. Im often found just stood outside the van, just looking about, taking in all the sounds, smells and sights. Even in the dark, its amazing, the moon over the last few nights has been spectacular, we have zero light polution where we are. You certainly get more intune with nature living as we do. You just dont have the same experience living in bricks and mortar. Well, I dont think so.

January hasnt been as cold as it was predicted back in December, which is good, but I'd rather it was cold than wet. It takes no time at all for the ground to become churned up, no matter how careful you are. The campsite here is holding up fairly well, it does get wet, but it appears to drain well.

Two years ago I got stuck in mud with the freelander going into a show, ok, it was wet and muddy, but the road tyres just didnt give any grip. So last year we replaced them with "All Terrains", which seem to work well.

Our first show will be the Abbey Hill Steam Show at Yeovil over the May day bank holiday weekend, its a 4 day show, both looking forward to it. There is something about the smell of the steam engines. Also to meet up with folk who you havent seen for a while, its a fairly close knit circle who exhibit, where everyone seems to know everyone else. This will be our 2nd year of exhibiting.

"M" wants a stationary engine of her own, but the one she wants is not a cheap version! We will have to see what happens!

Ill try and put together a list of shows on in this area, if you have never been to a show, do so. There is something for everyone, especially the kids! and the big kids like me!

It was these shows that got us into caravanning in the first place!

Well, enough waffle from me, tonight we are having grilled smoked haddock, and will probably have a beer to aid its digestion.

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

Its The Weekend! Part 1

Woke up this morning to a grey and cold start, but what actually woke me was the unmistakeable sound of a woodpecker. This has been around the 4th or 5th morning that Ive heard him, but, so far I havent been able to spot him. The colours on these birds are just amazing so Im very keen to get a good shot of him.

So, armed with camera, boots and still in my dressing gown, I venture out, a bit nippy around the trossachs but putting my discomfort aside I fearlessly ventured on. Trouble was by the time I had undone the zip on the awning, (you know the sound that makes) he was off! Only a robin, who wasnt that interested in me but more intent on the fatball "M" had hung in a nearby tree.

Back inside to warm up, just as well, 5 mins later its started to rain/sleet, it cant decide which.

I was reading this morning she mentioned something which stuck in my mind, not the fact she has a new tent, or that she was staying in a wonderful garden, nope, all to do with getting tents and awnings back in their bags! Ive never been able to do that, and on looking recently at the huge mounds of material of our awning and the bags we have available I am now firmly convinced they are packed by creatures not of this earth! I cant even get all the poles to go into the right bag! As far as tent pegs are concerned, they go into a plastic container complete with the rubber ladder still attached!

Last night we started to watch the epic adventure of Froddo Baggins in Lord of the Rings - extended version (as if it wasnt long enough) I read the book many years ago, but never got around to watching the films. So we watched the first 2 DVD's last night, as a result my back is hurting from being led at an awkward angle. The film is good and looking forward to watching the rest over however long it will take us!

On a recent thread at it talked about garbage tv. We dont watch tv at all, its not even connected up in the van at all. Back at our old house we did have a tv, but it was rarely watched, the odd documentry, news or film but that was it. We could go weeks without even going in the sitting room! Preferring to sit in our kitchen around the pine farmhouse table and talk, eat and drink. I always feel that the kitchen should be the focal point of any house, the hub where it all goes on. Probably why I like caravanning so much, the kitchen is bang smack in the middle of the van, so what ever you do its there. We both enjoy cooking which is a big plus, and we have cooked some amazing meals since being in the van.

When we bought this caravan, the one thing we noticed was that the cooker was virtually unused, this I really dont understand. Its got 4 gas rings, grill and oven, so no different to a home style one, all though it is a tad smaller, but not by much!

And whilst talking of that, Ive heard of people that dont use their showers in their vans, why not? Personally not that keen on standing in others dead skin and juices!

Id be interested to hear from anyone who doesnt use all that their caravans have to offer!

Best get on, plenty to do today, just thought Id write down things as they came to me, otherwise I would be sure to forget!

Till later........

Friday, 21 January 2011

Planning Ahead!

We have been ultra organised and just got ourselves sorted out till the 16th March! We plan to stay here until the 13th Feb, we are then going to go to a little site just down the road, but opposite a pub for a few nights.

The pub being handy for Valentines night as they do half decent food and we can walk there and back!

Then we are back here for another 28 days! Joined on the Saturday by a very, old friend of mine, Mark, Kate and his daughter. Ive known Mark since 4th July 1983, why does that date stick in my head? Well, its the day, we both met up at Ouston, 26th Signal Regiment, and joined the Army! Now anyone who has ever been in, the day you join is not a day you forget!

Its like nothing on earth, culture shock, system shock, and pure shock! We then spent the next 9 months going through our training as Junior soldiers, I was still 15 when I joined up! We then both went to Catterick to do our trade training, and later, within a month of each other ended up at the same unit - the infamous 21st Signal Regiment, 2 Squadron at Osnabruck. This unit was full of lunatics, and I do mean certifiable lunatics. It certainly wasnt for the faint hearted, and as a 17 1/2 year old, yes that young it was a complete and total eye openner! My, did we have some fun!!!! Trips to Holland and Copenhagen, the Aldstadt in Osnatraz was mighty relieved once our unit left there! So many stories to tell about our time there I could write a whole blog just on that!

From there once the unit was more or less disbanded and returned to its parent unit in Wildenwrath we went our seperate ways, to other units, only to meet up again shortly after at JHQ Rhinedahlen, it was here that I had one of the scariest car rides of my life in Marks Escort RS, on the autobahn, (no speed limits) we were that fast in the wet, the wipers lifted off the screen!

Anyway, Mark and family are coming down from up North for the half term week with their caravan and staying with us on site. The stories will be coming thick and fast no doubt! We havent seen each other for probably over 10 years now, and last time we met it was only for 30 mins! So alot of catching up and drinking to do! Cant wait!!!!!

The last time an old army friend came to see me, Paddy, we laughed that much my sides hurt for two days afterwards, and was hungover for almost a week, he was only here a night! A whole week I will be needing A&E!

On another note, the temperature has been down the last couple of days, barely getting above freezing today! Light snow forecast, depending on which forecast you look at that is! Who knows, what the weather will do it seems to be that messed up at the moment!

I will be getting "M" to blog over the weekend, as I know how much you enjoyed her last post! You also get a different perspective on "our life in a caravan", which gives it all a little balance.

We had a stew tonight which "M" set about this morning and has been in the slow cooker all day, well, what else could you eat on a day like today!

Till later.......
Swift & Sure - (well, sometimes!)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Home Is Where The Caravan Is!

Firstly thanks to all, for your comments either on here, via email or twitter, they are all really appreciated!

Today I spent at the caravan, our home since August 26th 2010. I love being here, its got everything we need, and with modern technology full mobile broadband. I use "3" which has worked everywhere we have been so far, its reliable, quick and inexpensive.

Spent the day getting books ready for listing onto ebay. Photographed 140 books, then edited the pictures, then did the listings using Turbo lister. Got a box done, only 3 more boxes to go in this little lot!

I also had books to post out, off to the local post office, closed for lunch, ok, off to the next village, yep, closed for lunch! So ended up having to go into Ringwood to send them off. Well no one can say that I didnt try to use the village post office, so if you close through lack of use, sorry but you were too busy scoffing your lunch!

Back at the caravan, emptied the loo, oh how good it was to have a proper emptying point, no splash backs, no smell, and a good hose to wash out with! Funny the things that bring you joy!

Other jobs consisted of getting out the portable washing machine and the tumble dryer. "M" is off tomorrow, so wants to do some washing. Normally we or I should say "M" goes to the laundrette, but as the weather is good, and "M" is off with no plans she has decided to do some here.

Once all that was done, I took some pictures of the caravan and, China dog managed to creep into some of them, got to look to spot here though!

You can just spot China dog bottom right of awning!

The windbreak is to protect the aquarolls from windchill

Note the orange storm strap replacement and China dog once again poking her head out bottom right!

Our trusty trailer, £80 from ebay!

Not sure what these are, but they looked good in the winter sun

Grey squirrels are fun to watch, but this is the damage they can do to the trees!

This is the view that I have when sat at my laptop in the awning! Can think of worse views!

Yep another sunset! Reckon Ive a sunset addiction!

Tomorrow Im off to Shaston for the day to do some ebay listing work, finishing at 4pm, as it doesnt get dark till nearly 5pm now it will be lovely to drive back with a bit of light!

Nothing planned for the weekend, so will be a relaxing one for us. A few beers perhaps, well, why not!

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

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Why Blog?

Thats a good question! Why do we blog?

There isnt a simple answer to that, so Ill try and explain why I do.

It all started off simply because we couldnt find any relevant information on living in a caravan full time. So the idea was to put down what we have done and how we have coped to hopefully enlighten others as to what to do, or rather what not to do!

However, it has turned into something a little more than that, its where I jot down my thoughts, observations, and comment on how I feel about certain subjects. A record or diary of who we are and what we are doing, layed open for all to see. Sometimes by doing things, it brings back memories, which are also noted down. These are my memories and absolutely no-one has the right to tell me they are different to how I remember them.

Now, if in my ramblings I touch on subects that you dont agree with or simply dont like, you have this highly techincal and complicated command you can use. In the top right hand corner on your screen is a red box with a white cross on it. Click on that and all your problems will be solved!

This is a personal view on our life, the way "M" and I see it, we hope you all are reading this as you have a genuine interest in us, and not to find or pick fault in who we are or what we do.

We are not here to be knocked, put down or taken for granted. My days of this are well and truely over. There is a point in everyones life where you say enough is enough. That point for me personally has now come.

Why am I writing all this down? Why am I telling you all this? Well, just so that I can look back and say, yep, it was on the 19th January 2011 that I drew a line under an episode of my life which has caused me much distress over the years.

Sorry for going on, but by putting it down like this it makes a very hard decision easier for me.

After all, the title of the blog is Our Life In A Caravan! and Im talking about Our Life!

Normal caravanning rubbish will be talked about from now on!

Till later........

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Sunrise! What A Difference Sunshine Makes

Woke up this morning for the 2nd time with no power coming into the caravan!

Yesterday when it was chucking it down with rain we woke to no power, it had been off for some time as the inside van temp was down very low. I first checked our circuits, all seemed ok, none had tripped, ventured outside to check the EHU box, and it wouldnt trip, so then went upto the parlour where the campsite circuit box is kept. As I approached, David who runs the site was busy digging out EHU cables. He said that he had noticed the power off at 3am, but waited till the light to do anything. He reckons that there is a join halfway down the cable so that could be a problem. So we joined a couple of the cables and ran them from another EHU box. Everything working fine again.

This morning, we woke to no power again, so off I trot upto the main circuit box, the trip was down, so reset it and we were back in action again. It wasnt that cold in the van, so we think it had only just gone off, around 6am ish. Then this evening, bearing in mind Ive been back since around 3pm, nothing extra running, the power goes off again, back to the circuit board, yep, reset the trip and back on! So we can only assume that its one of the other campers overloading on their return to their units! We will have to keep an eye on this, as if it trips over night with low temps we could wake to frozen pipes and Ill not be impressed!

As I was up, I could see that it was a lovely clear morning, the sun just coming up from behind the trees, so got the camera out and snapped a few pics which Ive loaded on at the bottom.

Ive been down at Bournemouth this morning, working for an antiques dealer, he had just driven from London, via Newbury Auctions then down to Bournemouth. I noticed on the roof of his car was a mug! it was trapped between the roof bars that run the length and the breadth of the car. He said he heard a rattle but couldnt make out where it was coming from since he left London!

Anyway, pics as promised.

I couldnt decide on which was the best, so in the end included them all!

Till later........

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Awning Down - Awning Up!

Well below is the message you get when you speak your mind on !!!!

You have been banned for the following reason:
No reason was specified.
Date the ban will be lifted: Never

So, go careful folks it could happen to you to! And they say that caravanning is a friendly pass time!

Thanks to all for your emails of support! It really is appreciated.
Anyway as life is too short to worry about their immaturity and pettiness, shall move on and draw a line under it all! Sad though - for them that is - not for us!!!!!!!!!

Our orginal plan was to take the awning down on Saturday afternoon, as it was "M"s turn to work on Saturday morning. But, the wind was just to blustery, and we decided that it wasnt worth the risk of damaging either the awning or the caravan if it did decide to take off!

So Sunday morning was shit or bust as they say, thankfully, we got the awning down and packed away in record time - 30 mins! So that has taken us upto the next level to Expert Campers! We set off for Silverwoods, leaving the trailer behind to collect later in the day.

But first we had to hook up and pull away on a damp field with just front wheel drive, once again, the landy pulled well with no probs at all. It really is indestructable! I was concerned as its not a small caravan as you know! We got upto Silverwoods 20 mins later, went into see the owners, such a lovely couple, and was directed by Johns wife firstly to the wrong pitch, then once we had re-checked where they wanted us to go, to our allocated pitch! This site is classified as a hideaway site, I think thats the right terminology! Spacious, we have our own little secluded spot, hook up not far away, and our own water point, 30 feet away. Fantastic!

We levelled up, threw out of the landy anything that "M" needed and I dashed back to get the trailer.

Once back we set up the awning, just as we had got the sides on it started to rain, so lucky we got that far in the rain, but putting in the pegs was no fun! We even have screw in pegs to speed up the process but the water was running off my water proof coat and straight down the crack of my arse - soaked!

Last time we put on the storm straps we noticed that the plug of the strap, one of the forks had broken off, not too sure how it happened, but we used it anyway, but today when we went to use it, it just wouldnt connect, so plan B, out with a ratchet strap! pulled it through the loop on the awning and it bloody ripped! So not impressed with that. We have now got it secure by securing it to the awning frame and using the ratchet strap connected to the spring to the heavy duty peg. So sorted in the end!

After a shower and a shave, as I was starting to look like the wild man of Borneo once more, I feel alot better, as this was the first time we had taken the awning down, and put it back up on the same day! Its knackering!

Sat now with a beer, and the Lasagne (home-made) is now ready, so till later..........

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Power Goes To Some Folks Heads!

Before we started this little adventure of ours, I did alot of research into the pros and cons of it all, what I found useful to some degree was various forums that were camping or caravan related.

These to me seem to be full of people who were caravanning, well that was the appearence, however, once I'd joined and started contributing to them I soon found out that it wasnt like that at all. There were and are some extemely lovely people on these forums, but every now and again it came across that a small minority were not interested in what we did as to them it appeared to be little what caravanning they did! Total nonsense of course, but what can you do?

Our first experience was with UKCS, they eventually banned me from posting, no explanation as to why, we are not derogatory, racist, or horrible to anyone, so for the life of me cannot explain why we were blocked, then only last night at another forum MFC, Im told to remove the link from my signature as it was against there rules. Rules??? Im not a business, Im not here to make money, Im just here to record our story for others to read, and hopefully enjoy, and also to pass on any bits of info that we come across!

So thats enough for me, Im out of there, and have posted that. However, the person shall remain nameless, but I received a lovely email from someone telling me that perhaps its because others are jealous of what we are doing! Jealous of us - you have to be kidding! Why? But then I began to think about it - We are better off in so many ways, financially and mentally! So maybe there is truth in it after all.

The power to be able to go - Nope - dont like them, they are doing things that I cant, so I, as I can, Ill just hit that block button or remove the link button, that will teach them to be enjoying themselves!

Anyway, if your jealous of us attempting to take the awning down in a gale with it raining then you are sadder than a sadder troop of clowns on a sad day out!

But.... seem to of embraced us, we even have a direct link from their forum page! A new forum, I think with only 6 members, but, remember - little acorns etc.

From now on that is where we will be hanging out!

Will do a new post tomorrow, as this afternoon will involve alot of swearing, and getting "M" or myself out of buses and trees as we attempt to take the awning down. Tomorrow we move!

Till later.....

Friday, 14 January 2011

Travellers - Grrrrr.

The sun came out this afternoon! So, decided to take China out for a bit of a stroll around the lanes, got up the end of the track and a guy in a car slowed down, wound his window down and said, F****ing Gypo's moved in up the road at the empty farm! Then drove off!

Not to sure what he wanted me to say or do, but with that in mind thought I may as well walk up and take a peek. Not so much Gypsies as travellers! You know the sort, long hair, grimey and enough scrap metal through various parts of their bodies to set off security at heathrow. I got there and blocking the entrance to the farmyard was a 4x4, didnt look like a traveller he said he was the Estate manager and they had cut the lock off of the gates over night and got in, not only to the yard but broke into the house as well! He was sat there in his 4x4 stopping an old battered van and caravan from getting in. The Police had been informed but they were next to useless!

What is wrong with folk! Why cant they pull up on a verge or common ground, why destroy property? I appreciate we each have a right to live how we wish, but not at the bloody expense of others!

If it were me I would be up there with a couple of tractors, tow chain onto the nearest vehicle and drag them all over the nearest field, then out onto the road!

Just been speaking to the campsite owners, we are being blocked in, incase they head this way! Tractors across the entrance to the site and gates all closed and locked! Ill be pulling in all aqua rolls inside tonight just in case they have a wander around! They are only 5 mins walk away! Thank God we move on Sunday as I dont like the idea of leaving the caravan and awning unattended!

We take the awning down tomorrow afternoon, ready for our move on Sunday! So tomorrow morning Im emptying the awning, it will all go into the trailer or the back of the Landy, so no real trouble in getting it all stowed away. We are both really looking forward to going back to Silverwoods, it is a really lovely little site, and the owners are great!

Apparently now a court order has been served on them and they have 7 days to move! 7 days, they have damaged property and broken into an empty house! What is the world coming to! 24 hrs locked in the village stocks would be a starter, then in a dark damp cell for at least 6 months! Followed by a public flogging just to leave them with a momento of their errors! Now thats my manifesto if anyone wants to vote me in!

Will update tomorrow if we hear anymore, off for a beer and spaghetti bolognese, all home made, not a packet or jar of sauce in site!

Till later........

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Fantastic New Piece Of Kit!

I came across this just the other day, I havent seen them before, they may of been around for a while, but I certainly havent come across them.

Its a high density foam like square, multi-coloured with a little grab handle at the top, they weigh next to nothing  and measure 35cm wide, 30cm tall and 3cm thick.

As Ive got knackered knees these are perfect for when you have to kneel down, like myself, when Im praying for forgiveness or when Im fiddling around on the floor. Also great for sitting on during the summer! We are now using one to place under the aqua roll as insulation for when the next frost hits us!

So if you do suffer from sore knees, then this is the bit of kit for you!

Where do I get said item? From me! If you are interested can get one in the post to you, for £4.49 sent 1st class. But as they say - Hurry whilst stocks last!!

You can email me at and happy to take cheques, postal orders or good old paypal.
So many uses! Kneeling when begging for forgiveness, gardening, sitting on, insulation, stopping things rattle when moving, A caravan step seat cushion or seat, it could be used as a lap tray! It floats, what a bit of kit, you need to own one with so many uses it will bound to come in handy!

Till later.........

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Talking Cobblers!

Its important to check the soles of your shoes!
Why? because if you dont, how will you know when they are going to wear through, and in this weather it could mean a wet foot!

Thankfully I check my soles on a regular basis, which "M" finds rather strange, in fact Ive just been given one of those looks, you know the one! Hence this inspired post. But as I come from a long line of cobblers, and thats real cobblers and not talking a whole load of it I think it must be in my DNA. Mind you, for those that know me, talking cobblers is an art that I am well skilled at!

Now the term "talking cobblers" comes from Cockney rhyming slang - and, Cobblers Stalls - Balls. Another piece of non caravanning related information!

However, after a bit of research, a cobbler is not only a shoe maker, but also a type of food, either savoury or desert, a mountain in Scotland, a piece of software, a fish, a ship - USS Cobbler, and the Nickname for Northampton town football club! Blimey, didnt realise there were so many different types!

The other thing that I always comment on are those people who leave the sales stickers on the soles of their shoes! Dont do it - take them off! Why do they do it? If you bought a new jumper you wouldnt leave the sales ticket on it!

Wonder how many of you are guilty of this! and how many of you are now actually checking!!??

Finally, a piece of caravan information - we use a cobblers last to stop the door flap from flapping up on the awning door. OK, its a bit heavy, but it certainly does its job, and we feel its worth lugging about with us.

See, you all thought I was just talking cobblers, but it was really leading you to this vital piece of awning equipment!

Till later.......

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Amazing Ice!

Woke this morning to a bit of a frosty start, but the sun was shining with amazing blue sky!

First task was to swap the aqua rolls over, learnt the hard way, never take a shower without checking first as you can bet that it will run out when your covered in shampoo! Thing is it was "M" in the shower at the time of the incident, so yes, learnt the hard way - ears still ringing!

Walked out to change things over but noticed that the Fiat was covered in frost, not unusual, but the patterns looked stunning! So got the camera and the best results are below!
Looks like a stone chip, but its all 100% natural ice on the side window!

A blanket of ice on the car roof!

The curve of the car roof!

Its been a lazy day today, my sister, Ali, her partner Mat, and Loopy Lucy came over for lunch, "M" did a cracking roast beef lunch! And that has been about it!

Next weekend wont be so restful as we are off again to our next location! A quick statistic for you - this is our 137th consecutive night now in the van!

Talking of statistics - Google, who runs this blog provide me with some interesting statistics, of how many hits we recieve, where they are coming from and a load more other geeky info, so hi to all those who are dropping by still from UKCS (yep, the ones that blocked me from their forums)! Still dont no why!  and thanks for looking, oh and dont forget I realise that not all of you subscribe to the blog so dont leave comments, but our email is if you would like to drop us a line, as I can always cut/paste any comments onto a post!

Anyway, enough all ready. Till later.........

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Crash - Bang - Wallop!!!

Walking back to the caravan last night after an early evening stroll with China Dog, we heard a thud, imagine hitting a wooden door with a hammer!, I couldn't make out what it was, but guessed it was coming from the barn, I was just at the awning door, and heard some loud cracks, again coming from the barn, I shouted to "M" quick, come here, I think the barn is collapsing! I pointed my head torch in the direction of the barn and watched it as the end section fell! "M" just missed it.

Going back to a previous post when we used this camp site for the first time I took a photograph of it, in its original state, so Ive put them both below as a sort of before and after shot!

Going, Going..........................


"M" phoned the campsite owners, who didn't sound too surprised! (funny that)! I took the photo's this morning! I really don't think its going to be long before the next section falls down! That will make a racket!

So far this week, we have both been very good, eating healthy food and enjoying it. However, we blew it last night as we went into Ringwood for a pint, we started off at The Star which has a reputation for fine Thai food, so we booked a table for later, had a couple of Black Rat Ciders 6% jollop and then headed over the road to see Sergie at the Italian restaurant called Bettolla's Marina, had a couple of Peronis washed down with a Strega I love Strega but "M" thinks its nothing more than toilet cleaner! Back over the The Star, where I had the best hot and sour soup ever! "M" had butterfly king prawns with a chili dip, and for main, I had Kung Po Pork, and "M" had a Chinese curry, which although very good, she felt was a little bland. We then adjourned to the bar where the Bombay Sapphire was attacked with Gusto! So a bit of a blow out really!

High wind last night, which had nothing to do with the cider! The caravan was rolling around, it was like sleeping on ferry with a rough sea! A fair bit of creaking from the awning, "M" got up once to check, and I got up a bit later, just the centre pole required re-tightening. But it was a fairly rough night!

Today, Ive been tapping keys, and for myself as well, which is a bit of a change! "M" went off with the laundry, and that has really been our day!

There was a good sunset this evening, and as I love a good sunset, had to get the camera out and take a few shots, so thought I would share them with you! The last one looks as if it should of been shot from Mars! not Ringwood, mind you after walking around the town their are a number of folk who look as if they come from another planet!

That's all folks, till later..........

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Healthier Eating!

For the last couple of days we have been eating alot more healthily! Instead of calorie ridden lunches consisting of crisps, sandwiches, chocolate etc, they have been replaced by a massive container of salad, with a big chunk of chicken (yesterday) and tuna (today)! Also had loads of fruit, nuts, a yoghurt and an actimel drink! Breakfast is a bowl of cereal, and the evening meals have been full of goodness!

Yesterday, by the time I got back to the van, I was that hungry I could of eaten a fly blown donkey, but today, its been ok! I think what "M" has done is basically copied slimming world, but I dont need to go to a draughty hall, and humiliate myself infront of others with those talking scales that say "Only one at a time" And "Who ate all the pies - You Did"! So we will see how it goes! Ive been good, no chocs or crisps at all! And I didnt get to finish off the Quality Street! They have disappeared!

Took the car into the garage, as there was a droning sort of noise coming from somewhere. It turns out to be the rear propshaft, an easy replacement you would of thought, it certainly was on my old Suzuki SJ413, but oh no, this is a Landrover Freelander with a permanent 4wd system. Replacement cost is, hope your sat down? Yep, close on £2000  AAARRRRHHHHH!

So no longer are we 4wd but 2wd! Being the cheapest option of just removing the prop all together! A new back box was also fitted, and also we had the curious case of no brake lights! The mystery being that the electrician could find no live feed to the back lights at all! No wires!!!! Well they were working! So not too sure what is going on there! Anyway, no longer do we sound like a V8, the brake lights now work, and we only have front wheel drive! The best bit was the cost! £136.00 I thought the back box alone would of been that! So thanks to Chris Rose at Motcombe Garage for sorting it all out! Another fellow caravanner!

"M" bought a new hoover! A dirt devil, well thats what it says on the box, it sure does suck up dog hair! Our old hoover was a bit asthmatic, and to be honest was on its last legs, but this one is that good it will strip paint!

Back into Bournemouth tomorrow to complete packing antiques that were sold over the New Year period. They did ok, making good money. Most of the Chinese antiques are on their way back to their original home!

Off for a cup of tea, so till later........

Monday, 3 January 2011

Awning Up - All Records Broken!

We put the awning up today. Not one of my favourite pastimes, one of those things that you dont like doing but when its done your mighty glad you did it! A bit like going to the dentist with toothache!

Anyway, we got up and got it done first thing which Im also glad that we did as it tipped down with rain this afternoon, and its cold at just over 2 degrees!

We got the awning up in 1hr 15mins, which is our quickest yet, but the one trick that really helped was, when we took it down, we kept all the poles together and didnt split them down. So it was dead easy to sort out where they all went.

The awning always looks so big with nothing in it, but it doesnt take us long to fill it up!

Ive put up a windbreak around the water containers, they are lagged as well and off the ground on a wooden plinth and sat on two sheets of foam. So fingers crossed they shouldnt freeze, all though its the pipe that tends to freeze and that is lagged and wrapped!

We have spoken to the site owners, we can only stay here for two weeks so we are off again a little sooner than we expected, so we will probably go back to Silverwoods if we can get in! Will find out in the next couple of days. If not, we will have to think again. Thankfully there are still a number of sites we havent been to yet, so we do have at least another half dozen or so options.

Ive been tapping keys this afternoon, I havent done as much as I would of liked, but there are only so many hours in the day! "M" went off grocery shopping, which enabled me to get on without distractions.

We are still eating left overs from Xmas! Mince pies and custard this evening!

Forgot to say that when we arrived here, "M" went to open her wardrobe but it had jammed shut! we managed in the end to prize it open with no damage. The centre latch and top latch were free but the bottom latch was jammed shut. It was caused by a thin wooley cardi falling off the shelf and getting caught up in the hook mechanism! So watch out for that folks! we have also noticed that the bottom latch on my wardrobe has been removed, guess the same thing happened there!

The Freelander is off to the garage tomorrow morning! fingers crossed it wont be too expensive!

Anyway, off to watch a DVD then chill with a book, so till later...........

Sunday, 2 January 2011

1st Move Of 2011

Today we moved from back to the site we were at before Christmas which is just outside of Ringwood, right on the edge of the New Forest.

The move went well, with no dramas, all though we ran out of time to put up the awning. We had to go back to Woodgreen to collect the trailer, which added another hour onto the journey, especially as Ive a slow puncture on one of the trailer wheels and it required pumping up. Luckily I have a pump that runs off the cigar lighter so didnt take too long to get it back up.

So tomorrow, first thing we will be putting up the awning, Ive also got to start tapping keys, as Ive alot to get up for sale on ebay!

We plan to be here for 28 days, so will have to start thinking about our next port of call!

This morning I started down loading all the application forms for the vintage rallies and steam shows for this year, I think the summer is going to be a bit hectic!

This is also our 130th consecutive night under a tin roof! Realy dont know where the time goes!

Anyway, till later......

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Years Day 2011

Well thats another year done and dusted! We had a good night last night. Mr Gulliver true to form arrived alot later than he anticipated, but after a few beers here in the caravan headed over to the pub when Barry and Gemma (who recently got engaged)! turned up with one of Gemma's friends.

The band was not as advertised, it was a hard rock band which were ok, but nothing that special and by the end of the night were having to play the songs they started with, so obviously a limited set! However, it was a great night, with plenty of drink consumed. We didnt go for the Chinese buffet which was being served up as we had to pre-book and we thought it rather expensive, so not really a buffet? I thought a buffet was help yourself? "M" between gulping vodka did a good meatballs with spaghetti to get us off to a good start.

Walking over to the pub, Mr G said, looking forward to my kebab later, - Kebab? Your not going to get one of those around here! Its ok he said, I had one delivered to home last night, I can nuke it in the microwave later when we get back - He is so just so wrong!

We woke early, I was suffering from all over body ache, no headache thankfully. "M" seemed ok, a lazy day, I suggested a walk up Hambledon Hill, but then thought better of it.  So we drove into Child Okeford, which is a small village where I grew up and lived to the age of 6. We parked in the Church car park and had a wander around the graveyard, I found nearly all my relatives who are buried there. Apart from one, My Godmother, but Ive a funny feeling she has an unmarked grave, something which I think I will have to remedy. My Nans headstone has sunk on one side, giving it a squiffy look, which I thought was rather apt, as she spent alot of her time squiffy! She liked her Cider!!!! This is the church of St Nicholas, built on the highest part of the village. The buildings on the right are the old pig pens, I remember as a kid looking in through the windows at the piglets, the smell was ripe! Now its a house!

I then took "M" to where I used to live, I havent been back in years, all though nothing much has changed. The house a number of years back has been totally renovated, but I have seen it since they have done it so no further surprises. The one thing that amuses me  and is rather a nice touch is that they have named the house cobblers cottage. My Great Grandfather was the cobbler! If you look closely at the picture below you can see the old lintel where the large shop window used to be and the shop door. I remember these being in place.

Opposite was my Aunty Mabels old house, which is looking rather sad and neglected, she did the best ever bannana custard!

We then had a walk down to where my aunty Lil used to live, the house has been totally renovated and the two houses have been knocked through into one. Doesnt look anything special at all, and to my total horror and disgust it looks like they have cut down the very old yew trees that were at the bottom of the garden! I didnt think you were allowed to do that!?

The butchers in the village has closed and been turned into a house, however, they have called it "Joint House" so someone has a sense of humour!

Down the road is my old school, which has been turned into a house, the playground which was tarmac is now grass and a well established hedge and bushes are dotted around! I spent my first year at school here.

So there it was a trip down memory lane, must admit to shedding a tear as I stood looking at my Nans grave, she was only 52 when she passed away, I still miss her!

Back at site, the two other caravans are still here, having the same idea as us and deciding not to move on New Years Day. Wise move!

Taken from the steps of our caravan looking down towards the pub, we are right up against the hedge at the bottom of the field.

Finally a couple of China dog looking as if she knows what she is doing and checking out Twitter!

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