Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sun At Last!

Its turned out to be a wonderfully sunny day, but at 0530hrs it certainly didn't look to promising!

It was a damp start to the day, and at one point we nearly packed all our gear away as it the air was so full of moisture.

We made it to Ashley Heath car boot sale for 0600hrs this morning, and it was a bit of a slow start. We did ok, we did ok today, but it was hard work.

"M" managed to put her shoulder out whilst we were packing up,a number of pain killers later the pain has eased off considerably.

This afternoon, we lazed in the sun, Ive done a bit of work on the laptop sat outside, and we have just finished eating.

Once more sat outside enjoying the warmth! This is really our first proper day of summer, so far its just been to chilly to sit outside for too long.

A busy week ahead of us, and another vintage rally to go to next weekend! So the clock is ticking to get everything done in the next 4 days!

Hope you are all enjoying the sunshine as much as we are.

Don't forget you can follow us on Twitter our user name is "caravanliving"

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

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Planning A Week Away To The Brecons - With A Twist!

Well it looks like we are going to be spending a week towards the end of August in the Brecons.

We hadn't planned on doing this its just sort of happened, and I'm not 100% sure how its all going to work out!

We have looked at many camp sites in and around the Brecons, but so far we have only come up with a few possibles. One we really like the look of but is mega expensive!

So if anyone knows of anywhere over  that way that is quiet, has views and its a small site with hookup and allows dogs then please let us know!

Our other choice would of been to head for Cornwall, but as I used to drive down their on a regular basis, the traffic at that time of year is no joke, I just couldn't be doing with it. So Brecons it is.

The twist - well "M"s mother is coming with us! It was her idea to do this. I get on ok with her, but a week? 

We are taking the large awning and the sleeping pod, which is where she will be sleeping. I'm just a bit worried that it could all get a bit fraught!

"M" seems fine about it all, so if she is happy Ill have to be.

It may be a struggle not to swear, belch, fart and scratch my arse, especially after a few beers!

Last night whilst "M" was at her Mums looking at campsites, I went back to Shaftesbury to see friends and to wet the babies head of Jim and Ellies at  Ye Olde Two Brewers Shaftesbury.

It was good to catch up with people I haven't seen for a while, some since we started living in our caravan full time!

As I was driving I stayed for a couple of hours then headed home, as I drove home I couldn't help think that I didn't miss any of Shaftesbury at all.

I'm so glad we are doing what we are doing, it really did feel like coming home as I got back to our caravan. 

Today being Saturday, "M" has gone to work, and Ive got to get a move on and get some work done as we have my sister Ali, her partner Mat and Loopy Lucy coming over this afternoon, along with "M"s son Vinney and his new girlfriend and daughter to meet for the first time. So a full house! or should I say caravan!

We also have to pack the car and trailer as we are off car booting tomorrow morning again, that's if the weather holds out. Its looking bleak at the moment!

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

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Picture Update

Ive found some pictures that you guys havent seen yet, so Ill put them up below -

Here we are at Canford Vintage Vehicle And Steam Rally on the Saturday morning, just starting to dry out!

Our set up which always looks the same, complete with China dog in a chair watching everything

Its not everyday you get steam engines driving by your pitch!

China dog feeling the cold!

You really expect me to get our 40ft outfit down there?

Are you sure?

A bit narrow and that tree on the left is very close to the van!

All set up! the tree to the right was where the wasps nest was! I managed to drive down, and swing between the two trees just to the right of the van, then reverse back further, pull forward and level up, a 3 point turn with a 40ft outfit, not bad!

Secluded and peaceful

Only the small awning, not alot of room for the bigger one!

Thats where we came from

Canadian geese and their young, they hatched 5 out and so far all survived, this is in the fields next to the track we drive down to get to the farm site.

My 100 year old tea mug (June 22nd 1911. Used daily by myself for the last 4 years, commemorating King George V coronation. Tea in anything else is just not the same!

Ill try not to leave it so long before uploading pictures next time!

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

Summer Living In A Caravan - What Summer?

Its now Thursday! Where has the week gone!

Tuesday I spent packing the items that were sold on Monday evening, and sorting out the unit, and getting my stock into some sort of order. This took most of the day, so all though I can now see what I'm doing it didn't actually produce pound notes in my pocket, so now that all the stock was in order I thought I would do a car boot/market on Wednesday at Matchams.

The weather forecast was for cloud with sunny intervals, so I took a chance and was up with a lark, got over there just after 0620hrs and sat in the que waiting to get in which was just before 0700hrs.

I haven't been since March, I stopped going for two reasons, the weather has been poor, and the number of pitches and people turning up to buy has been dismal! 

So I thought it may of got better as the year progressed. With only 19 stalled out and only a handful of people walking around, the organisers should be wearing masks! Robbing us of £6.00 to stall out! I'm not going back there again. I was packed up by 1030hrs made a couple of quid, had a bacon and egg roll, bought a packet of shortbread off the guy selling dodgy out of date biscuits and sweets etc, China dog got some chews, and I bought a rather cute looking cherub/child photograph dating to around the early C20th for a £1.00

Got back to the van, with intentions of a quick shower, then heading up to the unit, but failed, and ended up going to bed and getting up at 1400hrs! Feeling a bit better, quick shower (which is all you can do in a caravan) (5 mins) then up to the unit.

Unloaded, just missing the rain again! Then set about photographing some new stock.

These will be going up this Sunday evening for 7 days, you can find it all here "House Of Jeeves"  

I received a negative feedback the other day, its amazing what some folk expect, this particular person was unhappy as their wax barbour jacket smelt of wax and felt waxy, ok, let me think about this one? ITS A BARBOUR! what on earth were they expecting!

I offered a full refund straight away, as to be honest its not worth my time or effort to dwell on these things, but they still leave a negative!

Then  a guy from the USA leaves a neutral as the wooden planes that he bought required total renovation which he agreed with!? Whats all that about? Perhaps total renovation means something different over the pond?

I agree that feedback is required, but lets be honest about it! It really is biased towards the buyer, the sellers are stuffed, totally. A totally unfair system to operate. 

But with no other choice, we soldier on!

I've got some photos to upload of the entrance into our pitch, you would never believe I got a 40ft outfit down there! Or even attempted it! But, I did. Ill put them up tonight when I have more time, as I know how much you guys like to read something first thing in the morning and Ive been a bit slack this week you will have to have the above for now, and wait just a while longer.

Going back to my title, Summer Living In A Caravan - What summer? We were talking last night about how good it would be to be able to sit outside in the evening, but have we been able to, well, the odd night, but we should of been able to lots!

Its just not warm enough to sit outside in the evenings, unless your wrapped up like an Eskimo. I'm looking forward to sleeping with the windows open and a warm breeze coming into the van. No hope with that at the moment.

The sun is shining at the moment, but with a stiff breeze which takes and heat that there was right off. Shame, it doesnt do alot of good for the British tourist industry. Mind you it keeps the sites quiet, which is good for us!

We have been thinking about taking a week off towards the end of August and heading over to the Brecons, if anyone knows of any good campsites around that area please let us know. But, we are only interested in the smaller sites, as you all know, we are not into organised sports events, knobbly knee competitions or hundreds of kids running around! The smaller the site the better!

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

Monday, 20 June 2011

I Hate Wasps!

I have always had a dislike of wasps, do they have a purpose?

We arrived back at our regular haunt, we knew where we were going but we thought we would have a quick check just to make sure there was no one in on the pitch, as its down a narrow track, with heavy foliage, in fact that heavy with the caravan on the track you wouldn't be able to walk down the side! 

We had checked with the owners to make sure we could arrive early, just thought I would make that clear,

We have never stayed on this pitch before, and with us being 40ft long when hooked up it was a bit  of a gamble if we could get in and turn around!

I managed it with the minimum of fuss, (my driving/reversing must be getting better) and got the legs down, when I discovered a wasps nest no more than 15ft from from the caravan.

So up to see the owners who said that another of our favourite pitches was available later that day so if we would like to wait then as soon as the others leave we can have that one.

As I was early at around 1030hrs, no great shakes to wait till 1200. Well it got to 1400 and with no signs of life from the motor home I was a bit of a loss as to what to do.

Now, I don't like to hassle anyone over a pitch but I thought I would go and explain the situation to them, telling them about the wasps etc and seeing what time they thought they were leaving. If it was later, its not a problem, I can go off and get things done. Come back later and pitch. But I went to the motor home, and no one in!

So I walked around to see what the wasp situation was like as I knew that it was being sorted out. Whatever was put down, seems to have done the trick! The odd one flying around but the nest is dead! (well I think so)!

Up to see the owners, who said it was pretty much safe to go back on to that pitch, so legs up unhooked the EHU and drove around the top field as I couldn't get in with our rig from that angle! 

I managed to get in, 3 point turn and level in one hit, no messing around at all, but that's when the rain started!

It didn't take me long to set up, and its not as if Ill dissolve if I get wet, so no harm done, but wasps - you had better stay clear of me!

As for the others in the motor home, whats all this about staying after 1200hrs! They didn't even mention it to the owners! A tad cheeky!

So I have had to write today off, Ive a sale finishing on ebay tonight, so that will keep me busy for an hour or so, but other than that I'm done.

Today Ive packed up the van, awning etc, legs up and away, arrived on site, pitched up legs down, wasp issue, legs up move to temp pitch, legs down EHU on, then legs up wrap EHU cables up, move to original pitch, legs down set up! Knackered!

I know I'm on a diet, but its a good job I'm not near a shop, a massive bar of Cadburys fruit and nut would go down a treat!

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

So What Makes A Relationship A Success?

Speaking as a bloke who has behind him two previous failed marriages, I reckon Im well qualified in talking about all the things that can make a relationship fail!

However, being the eternal optimist I refuse to dwell in the past, what is done is done, you cant change the past. So the only way is forwards!

You need to have an excellent relationship with your other half if you are to live in a caravan as we do. But what makes it work?

These thoughts have come about as a dear friend of ours Jo runs a company called Dear Mrs Herbert she is a relationship guide and mentor who helps women get the most out of life. Pop along to her website by clicking the link to get a better idea of what she is all about!

So why does it work for us?

Firstly some background on us, me, well as Ive said two failed marriages, and then a string of meaningless relationship until the time I met "M" We met through an online dating site!

Sometimes you just connect with someone, like two pieces of a jigsaw, a perfect match. Well thats about what happened with us. Within a couple of weeks, "M" had moved in with me, 25 miles from where she was living and working at the time!

When we decided that living in the caravan full time was the way forward, plenty of people said, "being cooped up in a caravan" it will never work, "you need space". Well after 10 months we can honestly say that if you "need space" from your partner then maybe they are not the one for you?

We both do our own things occaisionaly, but 9 times out of 10 we do things as a couple.

"M" knows the things I dislike, such as clothes shopping and goes with friends or on her own, same as I know the things "M" dislikes so would never make her join me.

Im so much more tolerant these days, far more relaxed, (to a point) but sometimes I can get rather wound up over silly things!

Being with "M" is wonderful, we both know that if either of us are wrong we can say sorry, and be forgiven instantly. No grudges or snide comments. No dodgy looks or the silent treatment. In fact it is very rare indeed that either of us get cross with each other. I  dont think we have ever had a proper argument!

We are both out spoken, me in particular, but we never get on each others nerves, all though I do know I wind "M" up every now and again. I see her getting frustrated with me, and I just stop, 30 seconds later you wouldnt know that I had wound her up!

I think that is the key, just being able to be yourself, totally relaxed in each others company. I still get excited if Im at the caravan and "M" is due back to see her!

Being happy also helps, now that does sound obvious, but how many people are totally and honestly happy on all levels. If your not happy with work, or worry over bills then that will no doubt reflect on your relationships. As we have more or less everything sussed now, then what is there to be unhappy with? We both have jobs which we enjoy, we live without the stress of having to find hundreds of pounds a month to line others pockets. And we live out in the fresh air, with wonderful views, a much more healthier existence all round!

"M" never complains at anything that I do, which is amazing, especially when Im working or tapping away on the keyboard like I do, but we do take time out for us, which is also important.

So what is the secret? If I knew I wouldnt be here, but a multi millionaire somewhere hot! But its got to be a combination of everything that Ive mentioned and of course total devotion and love.

What ever we have it works for us, its taken us both along time to find it, but, now that we have it, its brilliant, and to be honest makes living in our caravan full time very easy indeed!

Of course "M"s take on all of this may be very different, but somehow I dont think so!

So dont forget pop along and take a peek at Dear Mrs Herbert (brilliant name). I once made myself look incredibly stupid at a party at her house once by asking her brother how long he had known her. (I didnt know it was her brother -  no one told me)! Im still trying to live that one down! Everyone dissolved into fits of laughter and muggins here couldnt work out why!

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

Canford Vintage Vehicle And Steam Rally - Sunday

The weather has been better today, still a little overcast at times, but it has stayed dry!

Our engine has run all day without any problems, which is good, so its been a bit of a lazy day!

"M"s Mum came over to see us with her new dog, and stopped for lunch, which happened to be our breakfast (yes, that lazy).

By around 1500hrs it was starting to get a bit quiet, so I started to get things ready to go back to our unit.

One thing that always surprises me is that we as stationery engine owners are expected to have our engines running on show days between 1000 - 1600 yet if you own a classic car, you turn up around 1000 and go when ever you feel like it! We watched many cars and motorbikes leave from around lunch time onwards! Don't the paying public get to see these vehicles as well. If we are expected to run our engines then surely they should be made to stay till 1600.

Just a little gripe but if I was paying to come here I would feel a bit miffed to see the vehicles leaving as I arrived!

This appears to be common practice at many of the shows we have been to.

And on a safety note, traffic around the site should be kept to a minimum whilst there is the public around!

Talking about health and safety, I can now confirm that its gone mad! I heard that as of next year the tables in the craft tent have to be plastic and not wooden! Why, wait for it - Is it they present a fire risk? No. Is it that they are heavy? No, Is it that they have heavy duty metal legs and could trap or pinch a finger? No. Its because you may get splinters!

Ive heard it all! Some where in an office is a lunatic thinking all these stupid rules up. I just hope with all the cut backs that this idiot is given the boot, and sorry to his family, but never gets a job again!

So thinking about that little rule, does this mean an end to the wooden park bench? Wooden door knobs? Wooden chairs! Wood?

Just think of all the pubs that would have to close due to wooden bars! chairs, tables, beams, doors, windows, where do you stop! Ive heard of some stupid rules but this beats the lot!

Anyway, we got the engine and trailer safely back to our unit, came back and watched everyone else pack up.

I gave the stationary engine Marshall a hand pull in all the ropes and stakes, from a club with over 200 members they left a 70 yr old bloke do this on his own! I found this disgraceful and any club members reading this who wasn't here helping to pack up, which is probably around 170 of you I hope you are suitably embarrassed!

Its certainly put me off joining the club if that is the attitude of the majority of members. What does it take to stay behind after the show and lend a hand for a couple of hours.

The amount of work that goes into putting these shows on is amazing. But some of the little things can easily be done with the minimum of fuss and time.

Roast Pork with crackling was done on the Cadac, and very nice it was too, and by the time we had washed up and cleared away it was time for bed!

Its now Monday morning, "M" has left for work, leaving me behind to pack up, it wont take me long and I'm in no rush.

"M" just phoned to say that we were locked in. They have locked the gates as a security measure, which is fine, but not if there is no one to unlock the gates. What happens in an emergency? 20 mins later "M" has managed to get out!

Well best get on, its a little damp out there today, but not raining, off back to our regular camp site as soon as I've cleared here.

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

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Canford Vintage Steam And Vehicle Show - Saturday

A day of heavy showers, followed by light showers, and every now and again a bit of sunshine!

I managed to keep the engine running all day, when I first pri med the fuel line, the float stuck which meant petrol went everywhere, soon sorted by a knock to the chamber with the starting handle! Highly technical stuff!

"M" came back around 1400hrs and we had a bit of a lazy afternoon, just watching the world go by. I did a bit of work on the British Anzini, which meant freeing the spark plug and replacing it, then I removed the fuel tank which Im afraid is full of holes! Im not sure if it can be repaired or not, so thats to be looked into.

Friends of ours were due to come over for the weekend, but they backed out at the last minute, shame as they missed a great night.

A few to many beers at the caravan, then we headed for the beer tent to hear a band called Colt 45 A rock band in the true sense of the word, considering that the oldest is only 19 and the youngest is 16 they played an amazing set, most of the songs coming out before they were born! The drummer was absolutely brilliant, as was the rest of the band. I did hear that they have just secured a record deal. Not sure how true that is, but they certainly deserve it. So keep an eye out for these guys, if you like your Led Zep, then get to see these guys!

Woke up this morning, slightly worse for wear, but the sun is shining, so all good!

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

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Modern technology!

Isn't it amazing what you can do with modern technology. Here I am sat in a field at a vintage rally, engine chugging away out front and I'm able to blog from my mobile phone! Marconi would no doubt be impressed.
But are all advances good? Jury is out on that one.
Till later........

Friday, 17 June 2011

Please - not another wet show!

I managed this morning to get the awning down and packed away in the dry! That was a stroke of luck as its done nothing but chuck it down nearly all day!

I left our site at Three Legged Cross just after 1100hrs and made my way over to Canford Magna which is just outside of Poole in Dorset.

Got onto site with no problems and even got the awning up without getting too wet, I was all set up by 1400hrs so decided to dash back and get the stationary engine.

Loaded up ok, then went and got the trailer with the British Anzini cultivator in it, as, weather permitting I'm going to take a look at the engine and see if I can bring it back to life!

Once I was back on site, all I had to do was wait for "M" to finish work, so I went for a quick nap. 

China dog being the excellent guard dog was asleep next to me, and didn't move at all even when "M" came in the caravan. This nearly gave me a heart attack as the first thing I knew was when "M" was opening the loo door!

"M" had to park down in the car park, as they had stopped all vehicles coming onto the site!

We had a quick cuppa then decided to go and do some shopping, another £100!

When we got back we still couldn't get on to site, so had to go and park in the car park as well!

Thankfully I had packed the sack trucks in the trailer, they came in handy to lug the 4 cases of beer back to the van. 

Its now 2145 and they are just letting vehicles onto site, I'm leaving the landrover down in the car park and Ill get it tomorrow morning. I'm certainly not unloading the engine in the dark, that's a recipe to loose a finger!

So here we are, in flaming June! Its far from flaming! Wet and bloody horrible.

Lets hope they don't cancel this show! We haven't got any where booked obviously, so fingers crossed.

"M" is working tomorrow, we are fairly close to Ringwood, so not too bad a drive for "M" in the morning.

Its now stopped raining, but the ground is very wet, not sure how it will dry out, and with traffic on the field it could get a bit messy. Thankfully there is a track that runs around in front of us, so at least we will have no problems in getting out!

Well, full of fish n chips and cider, so off for a quick shower, then off to bed,

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

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Stressed Out! But Karma Now Coming Back!

Its been a stressful few days! In fact its been a nightmare few days.

I wont go into detail, but for those of you who know me personally know only too well that I dont do stress, or hissy fits, nor do I take any sort of crap from anyone. It takes alot to upset me, but when I am, then stand well clear!

I found myself this week getting so wound up and uptight I almost exploded! Thankfully all is calm now, however it has left me with a few problems to sort out as a result of only trying to help someone out!

Ive managed to waste alot of time, which when your self employed can mean only one thing - and thats lost income! This is annoying as Im rather partial to a few quid in my pocket!

Id like to think that the worst is over now, I certainly wont be going down that road again, it has not been a fun ride at all.

But you dont know until you try, life is full of twists and turns, some expected some totally unexpected.

Over the years my life seems to of been a real roller coaster, Im managing to maintain that effect rather well! I dont seem to have to try hard at all!

But, who wants a dull life? Not for me, I wouldnt change a single thing that has happened to me, you learn from your experiences, well, your supposed to!

Anyway, we are hoping to get to Canford for the vintage rally this weekend, aiming to pack up here Friday lunch time and drive the 10 mile down the road. Not far this time, which is great.

Not sure if I mentioned that I have bought a pre 1954 British Anzani Cultivator. I havent got it running yet, so thinking of taking it to Canford so that I can have a play with it over the weekend.

I bought if for only £15.00 which I thought was a bargain, all though "M" thinks Ive lost the plot. After the last few days I think she may be right!

Tonight we went off to fat club for our weekly weigh in. Considering the last few weekends have been a bit full on, with a few to many pints, plenty of cakes and a whole packet of jelly babies, ice cream and various other lovely sweet things that Ive trained myself to forget about. Its a minor miracle that Ive only put on 1lb over the last 4 weeks!

So all in all, not too bad, but, I must try to resist. So tonight straight from fat club we went to the Indian and got a takeaway. Hows that for will power!

Mind you Im considering myself lucky my mate over the water (PB) is just getting over an operation to repair a ripped bowel! Now that must be the definition of painful! Ive yet to discover how it happened, and not sure I actually want to, but you know what curiosity is like!

I guess he wont be having a curry for a while!

So on that note, till later................

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Caravan Site Security - What We Have Found So Far

Securing your caravan is always an issue, especially if your like us and you live in it full time. Its not just your holiday home in our case it is our home!

I was asked recently what we have found and what do we do to make us secure.

Firstly as part of our insurance we have to have a wheel lock fitted at all times when pitched up. This we always do, and is one of the first things we do when we pitch up and the last thing we do before we move. We are also alarmed, and have all windows security marked. We also have an extra lock on our door that the previous owners had fitted. A right chunky affair but its extra peace of mind.

We have thought about a hitch lock, but to be honest if they want your van they will have it, no matter what security devices are fitted.

After working within the vehicle security industry for a few years, the lengths that the criminals go to ensure that they get your van are staggering.

Caravan theft is basically not done by your opportunist thief, in most cases they are stolen to order.

There are various tracking systems on the market, some good, some not so good, being biased I would have to say to take a look at TRACKER, a cracking system and with full endorsement from the boys in blue what more can you ask for!

Take a look here to see how good they are!

Camp site owners also do alot to minimise the problems, we have stayed on sites which lock their gates after 2300hrs and are unlocked at 0730hrs. We have also stayed on a site which kept their gates locked all the time and we were given keys to get in and out!

Some times you rely on the fact that you are off the beaten track, and I do mean a track, and you have to drive by the owners house to get to the site.

It is a difficult thing to know what to do exactly.

We have only stayed on one site where we felt uncomfortable leaving the van, we didnt stay there long.

When we take the generator with us, thats chained to the chassis of the van by a motorcycle secure padlock and chain, so they would have a job to get through that. I have once used two bike locks linked together to the aqua rolls and chained to the chassis, as well as the waste hog.

Generally we keep the blinds down when we are out, and the curtains or shutters on the awnings down. I guess we could padlock the awnings up, but where do you stop!

I would like to think that fellow caravanners and campers look out for each other, but some folk just seem to go deaf and blind when trouble brews!

I think the statistics for caravans being stolen from camp sites are very low, due to the prospect of being seen, they are mostly stolen from either peoples houses, or from unsecure storage areas. Easy pickings Im afraid.

If your vans on your drive, try and make it as difficult as possible for them. Security posts are a good idea, being visible, should put them off. No easy access to the hitch as well, ok, it maybe more awkward for you to move the van out before hitching up, but if its easy for you to hitch up so it will be for the thief!

Where we are now we feel totally secure, even though we are the only ones in this field!

If anyone has some good tips for securing their van then please let us know.

Specifically a cadac lock, if that goes missing Ill be heart broken - and hungry!

So dont have nightmares - till later...............

Sunday, 12 June 2011

West Bay Rally - Wash Out - Abandon Ship!

Catch Up!

Friday Mr Gulliver turned up with his young son, we had a few beers at the caravan then headed into town for a quick pint. We only had the one in town, as Gulliver Jnr at the tender age of 2 was starting to feel a little tired!

The temperature had dropped dramatically by the time we got back to the van and the heater was fired up to take the chill off.

We woke on Saturday to a bright but breezy day. But overall the day was sunny and we not only had a rather large mixed grill breakfast, but alot later the cadac was put into action and cooked a rather large joint of roast beef!

During the day I downloaded the geocache app for my new iphone and that evening we went into Bridport and found our first chache using the gps system on the phone! This was our first proper find on our own, our previous one being with Mark, Kate and girls back in feb/mar.

We had a wander around the harbour, it was starting to get dark so we headed back towards the rally. We did walk past the beer tent but decided that we had had quite enough over the weekend and as it was late and we were both knackered an early night wouldnt be such a bad idea.

Around 0200hrs the heavens openned and the wind picked up considerably. A bit like sleeping in a tumble dryer! The rain was blasting the side of the caravan. It was still raining hard when we woke up, this wasnt good. We could see puddles forming on the field, and shortly afterwards an organiser came around and said the show was being cancelled.

Now the choice we have is, do we go or do we stay? We were not due to leave until Monday morning! As the show was now off we decided to take the engine back then review the situation when we got back.

The field on our exit was well dodgy, but we managed to slither out, but we were a bit concerned that if we did manage to get back in then how the heck were we going to get the caravan out!

Well we got back in ok, the freelander doing what its supposed to do and waded through the mud and water.

Still not decided on what we were going to do, so decided to have breakfast. As we were cooking an organiser came over and asked us how long we were staying, why I said, and he said the river was rising rapidly and that as the field is prone to flooding it may well be a good idea to get out rather sharpish.

So the decision had been made for us. We ate up, and packed up rather sharply, hooked up then took the plunge. We had all ready seen a number of vehicles stuck in the mud and having to be pulled out by tractors.

With this size of van, we fully expected to get stuck, but by picking our way through, and some clever driving (if I say so myself) plenty of mud flying around we got through without getting stuck and needing assistance. I was amazed that we got through. I fully expected to need a tow out.

The journey back was tricky, the winds were extremely high and we were caught a few times by cross winds, which when aqua planning and it tipping it down with rain going down hill was rather fun! NOT!

On our way we phoned our camp site to see if they could fit us in as we were returning a day earlier than planned, thankfully they could.

As soon as we got back I set about the outside and "M" did the inside, we have it more or less sussed now, so it didnt take us long. We even managed to put up the small awning as we are off again this friday to another rally!

This time its only 30 mins down the road at Canford Magna its called the Bournemouth And Poole Preservation Club Limited Steam And Vehicle Show - Now thats a title!

Lets hope the weather is a little kinder!

I feel a bit cheated today, as we dont take a holiday, these weekends away are our holidays, so having to return early isnt good. Especially when you are in such a lovely place as West Bay.

Oh well, such is life, I get to do a full days work tomorrow which takes the pressure off a little so not all bad!

Ive got some photos of West Bay, which Ill put up either later or tomorrow.

Till later.........

Friday, 10 June 2011

West Bay Vintage Rally 11th - 12th June 2011

Well, its been a hectic week, trying to get work completed so that we could head off to the coast! To the West Bay Vintage Rally.

We left our old site at Silverwoods, on Thursday evening and drove the 48 miles which took 1 1/2 hrs to West Bay in Dorset.

Set up then after a couple of quick pints at the van, decided to head into the little village/port of West Bay to sample the local ale.

Our first port of call, was The George a pub right in the centre of the village. Its been recently refurbished to a high standard, but you cant help feeling that the sole has been ripped out of it as well! Its an old pub, that just looks too new! Shame. Some folk call it progress!

We then went into a pub called the The Quarter Deck this is part of the Durbeyfield House Hotel. The bar is a very small, used by many locals, had that lived in look and was much more to our liking, whats more, even though it was late and the kitchen closed, they still managed to sort us out with some much needed grub and at a reasonable price!

From here we ventured over the road to a pub called The West Bay Hotel they have the biggest fish menu I have ever seen, everything from line caught mackerel straight off the beach to lobster! Again, not that expensive either, well worth a visit.

We finally staggered back to the caravan, and woke this morning with a furry tongue and a thick head!

Poached eggs and tea soon revived us and off we set on the 100 mile plus round trip to get the stationary engine. This took us most of the day, as we had to stop off at tescos and a farm shop to buy some meat.

Back here on site it is now chucking it down with rain, which shouldnt be a surprise as it has been forcast. Lets hope it drys out a little and hopefully stops raining all together!

Ive added some pictures, there are a few later on that were back at our old site, but as Ive been slacking recently in getting pictures up have included them now!

Firstly West Bay Vintage Rally

The clouds are looking threatening (Thurs evening)

Our van being that bit longer than most had to be right up into the water reeds, another couple of feet and we would of been in the river!

"M" trying to sell lucky heather and wooden clothes pegs! And of course China dog had to be in the picture!

Silver Woods, looking to the left of our van

Looking to the right

As you can see they pack you in really tight here!

Looking from the front of our van as the sun set behind the firs

Not sure if I have mentioned but both "M" and I have upgraded our phones to iphones, it was cheaper to do it that way then to stay on our existing contracts. I havent upgraded my phone for nearly 5 years, so was looking a bit tatty! You can sure do alot with these phones!

Back here on the rally field, we are waiting for Mr Gulliver to turn up, he is staying in a posh camp site around the corner at £25.00 pn. I hope they are bringing him breakfast in bed and a paper tomorrow morning at that price!

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

Sunday, 5 June 2011

All Quiet Back On Site!

Over the weekend the site has been packed, not that it makes any difference to us, as the pitches are huge! Our nearest neighbour being over 100ft away! There was also a caravan rally taking place in another field.

Looked rather posh, the organisers had pegged out all the pitches, all in lines and close together, which considering they had a 3 acre field to themselves seemed a little strange. Perhaps that's how they like it? Personally, you wouldn't get me doing it! But, each to their own!

We were up early and went off and did Ashley Heath car boot, we did ok, considering it was overcast and windy, which made it rather chilly. There certainly wasn't the people selling or buying.

It did more than pay for a meal out this afternoon with friends Julie and Rob, who first recommended us to The Stocks Inn at Furzehill, Wimborne. We gave them a quick bell to see if they were free and we met them out there. We had a 3 course meal, the food being of the highest standard plus drinks and coffees at the end for a grand total of just over £110 for the lot!

I cant stress how good this pub is for food, take a look at the website to see their menu and if your ever in the area, its definitely a place to stop for food!

A busy week this week, again, trying to get everything done in a short space of time as we are off to West Bay for the vintage steam weekend on Friday! I also get a phone line installed into my unit on Wednesday, broadband with super fast connection - yeehaa!

Mark, my old friend has posted me a book on Mac as I'm still trying to get my head around the differences between PC and Mac. I don't think its difficult, just that being used to PC takes time to learn something new. Ive got a Mac up at the unit sitting there just waiting to be used, no point till the broadband is up and running.

Back to West Bay, its an amazing place, right on whats known as the Durassic coast, plenty of dinosaur fossils have been found, but it is suffering badly from coastal erosion which every now and again large chunks fall into the sea!

Well its been a long weekend! "M" has all ready gone to bed its 2122hrs! I don't think Ill be far behind!

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

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Roasting On The Cadac! Our Experiences

As you all know, we use the Cadac on a regular basis if not on a daily basis!

Its great for cooking all sorts of meals, quick, easy, no fuss and we reckon it uses less gas than the hob/oven.

Some of the things that we have cooked so far are, stir frys, every type of meat and fish imaginable either on the griddle or on the BBQ.

We have cooked some great fish dishes as it cooks fish very well, we have roasted pork, chicken and beef all turned out extremely well, along with the roast potatoes and parsnips!

Oh, and not forgetting the yorkshire puddings, they turned out great!

Full breaksfasts consisting of bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms etc.

Chips worked well, big thick chunky chips being the best!

Tonight we cooked chicken fajitas, which again is easy in the cadac as the dish pan is so large.

"M" wants to try and cook a cake on it! And Im up for doing a curry, all though we have done chicken tikka easy enough.

The cadac we bought comes with the reversible griddle with the ribbed side and a flat pan side, a BBQ dish, a pan stand and a lid.

We have found so far that we can cook ok with just these. I guess the skillet would come in handy, but there is nothing to stop you using the pan stand and a normal wok to cook. We have just used the flat griddle and that works just as good.

The roasts have all been in a normal roasting pan, sat on the pan holder with the heat deflector on to give a more even heat. Of course the lid was on.

We fire the cadac up, and then spray the roasting pan with a low cal spray oil, place the meat into the pan, stick it on the cadac, and put the lid on. That simple!

The chicken was cooked for the first 30 mins with the breast side down, then flipped over and left till cooked.

The Pork worked well, we even got crackling! The beef, was amazing, both liking our meat on the rare side, it cooked it a treat.

Ive even stood out in the rain with an umbrella cooking on it! A really good investment, and easy to use and move around which for us is obviously important.

I appreciate that with a cadac you dont get the smokey and in some cases burnt taste that you get with a traditional BBQ but to be honest Id rather have well cooked food than over cooked food.

I guess if we were looking for a down side, its not so easy to clean, caravan sinks not being the largest it does make it a bit tricky getting it washed.

The inside is also a task to get clean if the fat drips into it, and we have had a flare up which was fairly spectacular!

But, that aside, we think its great and worth every penny, so if you havent got one, start looking around for some deals.

Any questions on it or if you have any suggestions of things to try and cook on it, the more outrageous the better. Ill give anything a go!

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

Thursday, 2 June 2011

All Clear Given On Breast Cancer Scare!

Its been a bit of a stressful week!

Last week, "M" discovered a lump on her breast, so next day she made an appointment at the Docs, off we trot back to Shaftesbury, not knowing what it was, but as you do, suspecting the worst!

The Doc, immediately referred "M" to Salisbury Hospital, which is where we have been this afternoon.

After a mamogram and an ultrasound, "M" was given the news that it was a cyst! Phew, she had it drained which she said hurt a tad, but the all clear was given.

I cant begin to tell you how relieved we both were! You just dont know do you? Cancer lurks its ugly head everywhere today.

Needless to say after that good news we went off for a bite to eat, as "M" hadnt eaten anything today through being so nervous, and me, well Ill eat any time.

We had a late lunch at the Old Mill Hotel at Harnham, which is a part of Salisbury with views across to the cathedral and in a lovey setting.

The food was great and we spent an hour just sitting and enjoying food, the view and life!

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

P.S. after lunch we found an ice cream kiosk I had rhubarb ice-cream and "M" had rum n raison, but dont tell Emma our Slimming World Consultant!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Lost Keys Saga!

We packed up first thing on Tuesday morning and headed back to Three Legged Cross.

Around half way back I said to "M" have you seen my keys? No, came the reply, well, thats them lost then!

I havent a clue what Ive done with them, so after much discussion, I pulled over and had a quick look in the most obvious places but no luck.

Got back to our camp site, set up real quick and then had to drive all the way back to the rally site, which without the caravan takes around an hour!

I got back to the rally field, and found exactly where we were parked, but no luck. No keys had been handed into the organisers either. So there is hope that they are around somewhere.

Today, "M" went and got a set of caravan keys cut, but last night I had to have the padlocks on the unit cut off so I could get in, and then go buy some new padlocks!

What a palaver!

I cannot for the life of me remember what I did with them, my memory is bad at the best of times, but not being able to remember is a bit scarey!

On Bank Holiday Monday, seeing as it was a bit quiet, we both had a look at upgrading our phones. We both ended up going for iphones. Now, not sure how, but they arrived tuesday morning! Hows that for service!

Just getting used to it now, its a bit different from my old flip phone!

Work is manic, with not enough hours in the day, I shouldnt complain, but it is rather busy at the minute. Good to have a few extra pennies in my pocket!

My good friend 007Herbert popped in for a cuppa today, good to see him hobbling around!

Well, keeping it short and sweet.

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