Sunday, 7 September 2008

Shockingly busy!

Ok, i've been slack about posting but I do have several reasons for being absent for the last month or so.

1 we've moved into a house
2 we've stored the van
3 we've collected 2/3rds of our possessions from various locations
4 we've started ebaying junk
5 mam and dad are 6 days away from moving and the house is nearly packed
6 work has been hectic

If you say all of these quickly it doesn't sound much but try living through it!

I promise to come back soon and update all. However, just wanted to say, we are still going back to a motorhome. After 6 weeks (ish) in a house, we are more sure than ever that that house living is just not for us yet. It is a stop gap on the way to a bigger motorhome although I am about to start a veg patch while I have the chance! ha ha.

Back soon! :)

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Abandoned, upheaval ahead!

I was just getting ready to blog again and catch up with the weeks events when my mam phoned to drop a bombshell. She and my dad have decided to relocate back oooppp north. Gulp .. i've been abandoned. It is all happening in the next 2 months too. Eeekkk, even gulpier! The good news is that the new house is on the sea front, the bad news is that it is a couple of hundred miles away.

It is a strange feeling knowing that mam and dad won't be just around the corner anymore. Even when we leave town for extended periods in the motorhome, their house is still home. Now it won't be ... sob!

Logistically it is now going to be a busy 2 months for us. A lot of our belongings are stored in mam & dad's loft and shed, our vehicles are registered to their address, our washing is done in their laundry room ... wow, it is going to be like moving home ourselves all over again, a huge task ahead. I don't want to think about it tonight, I don't think i'll sleep!

What else do I have to report?

Well, shower's not fixed. We set aside sunday to do it and it hammered it down with rain on a regular basis. Not conducive to having a body half in and half out of the thetford opening trying to dismantle drain hoses. This is now on the urgent list ... our interim shower is also moving north. :(

I know I said it would be fixed at the weekend come rain or shine - well I lied!

We ran out of gas a few days ago, just after the MOT on the motorhome ran out. As we have Gaslow refillable cylinders we have to drive to a pump to refill which is really handy if you are on the road, not so if you van hasn't left the same property in a while and the MOT has expired. It is now booked in for MOT on friday with the gas refill to occur immediately afterwards.

So far we have managed with an electric oven, camping gas burner, deep fat fryer, toaster, electric steamer and disposable bbq's so believe me we haven't starved. It is a good job the shower is not working, no hot water needed there then! We have been boiling the electric kettle to wash up - but we also have a gas one too to use on the camping stove in case of power cuts! Do we sound prepared? ha ha.

Our portable satellite also stopped working at some point about 3 weeks ago. We also have an indoor digital TV ariel so it there was no urgency to get it fixed. (- are you seeing a pattern here?) But with the TV ariel you have to move it around for different channels which really became boring especially if one of the dogs knocked it when you were watching TV. Luckily my brother is an ex satellite engineer and came round to take a look. Turns out the LNB had slipped and was upside down - don't know how that happened. All works now and it was repaired for free too! :)

My London exploring is going well. Last week I walked from Kings Cross to a meeting at Pall Mall and only had 1blister. When will I learn not to wear heels for hiking? I saw lots of places that I had heard of but never seen and am beginning to get a better idea of how London is laid out. I only made one wrong turn on the whole walk and that I only went a couple of minutes past my turning. Christopher Columbus eat your heart out :)

One of the unusual (to me anyway) things I saw was a scientology centre - I didn't know they actually existed. I just thought they were a fad for the rich and famous!

We have spent some more time photographing all our bits and pieces that we have for sale. The motorbike is in one magazine and will be in another this week, the surfboard and psp will hit ebay this week. I suppose there will be lots more on soon when we get in the loft to empty it out. Watch this space.

Finally, we have been spending a bit of time on the computer lately what with looking for a new car and selling what we have. I think Reef got a bit bored!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

98 miles a week

Today I worked out that I drive 98 miles a week to have a shower!!!! WOW! That is a third of a tank of petrol, no wonder our petrol bill is so high.

There is nothing else for it, this weekend, fixing our shower is the priority task. Come rain or shine it is going to get some tender loving care and it WILL be working by sunday.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Blog stuff

I finally got the shoutbox in place, although I am going to move it from it's current location at the bottom of the blog. Not had any comments yet though, I am hoping that people are just shy or haven't seen it! It was really easy to install, just register on the shoutmix site copy a bit of code to your blog and voila, instant box, could not have been easier.

Currently I use sitemeter to monitor visitors to my blog so I can also tell whether I am writing to myself or not - as long as I have one visitor a day I am happy :) However, from 18 June till today my meter showed zero visitors each day? I started to get a little paranoid until I realised that I had actually deleted the meter from the site accidently so it was not recording visitors! So please, anyone who visited during the last 6 days, come back and be counted - ha ha. In the few weeks that I have been going I have had 472 visitors ... woo, it feels a little strange that all those people are visiting my bit of cyber space out of curiosity!

I would really like to change my template in blogger to one with 3 columns but I cannot find one that really suits what I am looking for. I think you have to scroll down too far on my page when I post a large post. This is one of the reasons that I only show one post per page now too instead of the whole months worth at once. I would like a fatter middle column and a skinny one each side. Personally I have a widescreen so I do not know how much of a standard screen my current blog fills, all depends upon the resolution I guess. Is anyone actually using a 3 column template that just fits perfectly to their screen size?

Picasa is another of my recent discoveries. I first read about it on the geeks on tour website where they actually give video tutorials on how to use it. I looked at a couple of videos so that I knew that it would do what I wanted it to do before I spent time downloading it on a mobile connection. Wow it is easy to use. Within 20 minutes of downloading it, I managed to upload 2 albums of pictures and add 2 slideshows to my post yesterday - and they worked first time. I'm very proud of that one - big up to the geek too!!

Finally, my ad sense income has now reached a dizzying total of $6.06 - stunning! I was going to replace the adverts with the shoutbox but now I have decided to keep them and actually learn how to make them look nicer with pictures etc. Personally I never take notice of adverts on websites myself but I figure if I leave them there and I can make $25 by Christmas then I can blow it on a bottle of baileys (the starbucks I was saving for previously is so last week!) - all I need now is the roaring fire and christmas tree to drink it in front of. Hmmm, do RV's come with wood burners?

Monday, 23 June 2008

Been busy .....

I feel quite tired, there has been a lot going on in the last week or so.

the hen party in Cambridge. This was great. There was treasure hunt, followed by punting and pimms and then games ... what fun. I didn't stay on for the cocktail/vodka bar as although I would have loved it I didn't fancy travelling home on the train on my own after having a few drinks ... and in a vodka bar with 15 friend there was a sure chance I would have had a few drinks too many, I am so weak! The pictures are the Bridge of Sighs, the river Cam with punts, and our student punter :)

I also went to London
again for another meeting. My London navigation above ground it getting better - ya boo sucks to the tube. I have made it walking from Pall Mall, through St James' Park, via Westminster to Millbank where our offices are without getting lost. I even took pictures this time which involved me looking like a complete tourist .... only for you do I make this sacrifice. The wee house surrounded by trees is in the middle of St James Park in London, wouldn't expect it would you?

We are getting on with selling our bits and bobs. So far we have had had a few enquiries about our moped that we have for sale despite not actually having placed an advert for it yet.

I have set up a google picasa albumn for this and our Kawasaki ZX 636 Ninja motorbike which will shortly be advertised. This is my first foray into online photo albums and linking them into blogs so if it doesn't work i'll try harder next time! Please be gentle :)

I think our BMW may actually be sold. We have had an offer that will probably go through at the end of the month. It finally feels like we are getting somewhere.

This afternoon I had to go to the rheumatology clinic at the hospital for
continuing investigations into my spasming hand. I got as far as giving a specimen, getting weighed and measured (although I have no idea what this has to do with a suspect trapped nerve) and then found out that the doctor had just nearly feinted and could not see me. Great ... just love wasting time. Suppose it cannot be helped though and I would rather not be couped up in a room with a possible sick man though - he could have been contagious!

I ended up coming home early and relaxing outside. I asked Mr P to help drag a picnic bench through from the picnic area and I sat outside on the lap top, occcasionally throwing the ball for the pooches. I may have partaken in a tipple or too also. The weather is glorious at present, need to make the most of it :)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Google adsense .... humph!

Got to ask, own up, who clicked on an advert in the last couple of days?

I loaded Google adsense as an experiment when I relaunched the blog a couple of months ago. In the first month-ish my Google adsense income totalled $3.75. I found this quite amusing as it would nearly cover a starbucks latte (to which I am addicted) - hence using an american company to pay for my american drink.

I then decided that if the total didn't hit at least $200 a month (only joking - hugely optimistic me, did you know we are also having a long hot summer too?) I would remove the adverts and replace them with a shoutbox.

However, someone has now increased my total to $3.88 - an increase of 13 cents. I'm all of a dither now ... what if I can actually make about 20 cents a month, by christmas I could probably afford a hazlenut syrup to go to with that latte! Quite exciting!

The indecision .... ooo! Actually, I have decided that as I have not managed to figure out how to add a picture advert (to the side column) I will just replace the adverts with a shoutbox. It will be much more useful and I have used them quite happily on other blogs as it is great to be able to post to other blog owners and readers. I'll probably change it this weekend if you want to pop back next week and be the first to post in it to say hi!

Besides ... do google not realise I work in £'s and the exchange rate is horrific?!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Birthday boy number 2 and a lazy few days

The end of last week and the beginning of this week were beautiful. Sunny, relaxed and work free for me. Bonus points on every front!

I took part of the week off as my sister in law (who doubles up as our dog sitter as we will not leave the dogs in the van in hot weather) was having work done on her house and didn't fancy the dogs sitting and eyeballing the workmen - as if! As it was so hot Bodie and Reef just didn't want to move anywhere during the day.

Even getting up to drink was an effort. This was good for me, I got to lay in the recliner with my feet up and catch up on some reading ... bliss!

Really I should have been looking at fixing the blooming shower again but the spanish just kept on flooding back as it does quite regularly on hot days ... manana, manana I thought ... as I slathered on more sun cream.

I seem to remember there was one wet day which was just after the grass was cut - happens every single time without fail. Grass gets cut, it rains, grass ends up all over the van. Does anyone else suffer with this or are we just victims? The flippin stuff gets everywhere and the whole episode lasts for a least 2 weeks - by which time the grass needs cutting again. Bummer.

Last sunday, it was Reef's birthday, he was 2. He had an excellent day, walked lots, ate lots (mainly chicken) and took quite a liking to the birthday glasses in which he went exploring. He actually found a cat laying in the long grass and didn't know what to do, i'm not sure who was more shocked, him or the cat. He reverted to type after the cat had moved though and pursued it like a professional. He only wanted to play, not sure the cat saw it like that though. it was probably wondering what the hell type of dog wore glasses.

Just in case you think we routinely humiliate our animals by dressing them up, I would like to assure you we don't, they just wouldn't stand for it and they have a full range of expressions to communicate this - ha ha.

On wednesday it was back to work for me and the start of Mr P's day's off. I had to go to London for a meeting again so I have now decided to treat each trip as a chance to explore - rather than a chore - to see if this affects my willingness to go there. Usually I hit London, jump on the tube and get to the venue as quickly as possible so I never see anything.

This time I decided to walk the length of Oxford Street to see why everyone raves about the shopping there, followed by a walk to the meeting venue. Note to self: don't ever do this in heels again. I was ok, much better than the tube and I did see some great buildings but I didn't want to get the camera out and look like a tourist! ha ha. I did manage one picture of the Mall, that is Buckingham Palace in the distance. It is taken from just behind the meeting venue so I could run and hide afterwards. :)

I'm off to Cambridge tomorrow for a hen do. Treasure hunt, punting, picnic and vodka bar ... sounds like a plan!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Moving day

Today I moved the van.

This may seem like a small task when you say it quickly but as we have been stationary for some time, things have built up and moving becomes a major event! Mr P was at work so I decided to just get on with it. We were only moving from private land to a CL - a matter of a couple of hundred yards but it was a chore.

Personally I have moved

1 vw
1 moped
1 motorbike
2 pushbikes
1 motorhome

This was 6 trips, walking back each time. I could have just put the pushbikes back on the back of the motorhome and driven them up but I figured that the exercise would be good for me. I got soaked moving the motorbike. I just managed to cover it up at it's new location before it bucketed it down with rain. It was dripping off my nose, running down my neck and my hair was plastered to my head but I did manage to provide some amusement for those watching - dry people I salute you!

Today is only about the 3rd time I have ever driven the motorhome. It is not that I can't, it is just that I don't. Mr P automatically drives, as he has been driving longer and I just do not find the need. However, I figure that since we are selling it this year I have a bit of catching up to do. Actually, it is really easy to drive, even being a lhd. It handles really easy and just rolls along on its own.

The big task was actually trying to get the van into move mode. When you have been stationary for some time you tend to build up so much rubbish and unnecessary items that if you move the van the suspension would probably collapse in surrender. That and the fact that flying debris is never good when driving across a grass field that contains ruts.

4 hours of tidying and binning papers, magazines etc and ta-daa, we are probably a couple of kilo's lighter .. ha ha. 30 kilos lighter if you count the tanks.

Also today I received a message from a regular on a motorhome forum I frequent. They were just letting me know that they read my blog and found it quite useful as they were considering fulltiming in the future. I think this is really cool, it is really nice to know that I am not just talking to thin air, my mam and Marie who sits next to me at work! :)

I also think it is a really nice idea to let someone know that you actually read their blog and what you think. With this in mind I am going to start contacting writers of the blogs that I read regularly just to let them know I am here and am reading :)

Please do take a look at Haganap's blog, for sure they seem to be getting around more than we do at present (green with envy despite the weather on their last trip) and we live in the van so visit for their story.

Note to self: must take more pictures. I promise to try harder in the future.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Birthday boy, fresh food and other bits

It is Mr P' s birthday today ... only 4 years left now till the big 40. Strangely enough the last 2 of our male friends to hit 40 have suddenly upped sticks and emigrated, the first to New Zealand, the second to Australia, I am really looking forward to 2012! :)

My friends landed safely in Sydney, checked on their pooch who is in quarantine for 30 days and have now headed north to search for somewhere to stay until they can buy land/property.

I need to set myself up on skype in time for them getting a regular internet connection so we can talk over the internet. Can anyone recommend a good webcam for use with a laptop and 3G/HSDPA dongle? I think I will need to investigate quite thoroughly as I don't want to buy a really super high quality webcam/headset only to find out that my internet connection cannot keep up with the picture quality. I assume this would be an issue anyway. I'll keep you posted.

We have researched the best ways of selling all our bits. I am going to create an online album containing photo's of the cars/bikes and then place adverts (online and in one issue each of Volksworld, Autotrader and biketrader) referring buyers to the album. Personally I hate calling up someone on the strength of a tiny picture in a magazine to ask lots of questions re condition and I would rather be able to access lots of pictures of what is for sale. Hopefully this will stop lots of daft questions coming our way too! :) The surfboard, kayaks and psp are going on ebay.

We've also spend some time looking at smart cars online. From what we can tell some of them have slightly more space behind the seats than others. We would need one with maximum boot space else the dogs are going to look garfield like against the back window. I think it is time to get out there and physically look at some as not many dealers are forthcoming about boot measurements on the web.

Big news for us ..... our local farm shop has just opened for the season. Wahheeeyyyy! It is always a big event when we can stop buying most of our food at the big supermarkets and start buying it really fresh locally again. It saves loads of money as everytime we go to the supermarket we come back with at least £40 of crap we don't really need - it is a habit that I just cannot break. I see a bargain buy it and then end up binning it when it goes out of date as we didn't need it in the first place!

At our nearest farm shop there is veg, fruit, fresh herbs, lamb and beef - nearly all sourced from nearby farms. You can also pick your own strawberries, not that I would, I mean there are already punnets there in front of you when you arrive ... why would I feel the need to get on my hands and knees and get them myself? I'm not that much of a convert. There is no stress, no crowds, no junk food (ok they have ice cream and cake too but I am in denial) and we also get to walk the dogs into the bargain.

If you are up our way, pop in and see Hill Farm @ Chesterton, and you'll get a warm feeling about not aiding the big chain store to push out the little local suppliers! Unfortunately I took a photo when the shop was shut ... it is open now ... honest!

If you can't get here, find out where your own local farm shop is, I promise the food tastes so much better as it is picked fresh that day (or the day before), has very few road miles on it. Even Mr P the extremely fussy eater does not have a bad word to say.

We spent the today relaxing - both having taken the day off work. Mr P polished the VW in preparation for the pictures to be taken and he also replaced all the petrol pipes. I went up town and picked up some dog bones, henna and a starbucks latte - I am such an addict. Although I do promise that if the farm shop had an espresso machine I would be right in there! haha.

Both Bodie and Reef were chilled today and lay outside of the van. I managed to snap a picture of them looking like they are joined at the hip. In reality they both just did not want to relinquish any space to the other on the wee mat they were laying on on the gravel. It is quite a feat getting good pictures of them as they are both usually see the camera and run. This time I fooled them and used my phone. I also got a picture of Reef the frog tucking into to a new bone.

I'm going to stop rambling now .... till the next time :)

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Plans afoot

Today is a new day, we have plans afoot.

After discussion over the last few days we realise that we have way too many vehicles and possessions to be truly mobile which as fulltimers is our ultimate aim. As we have not moved very far in the last year we have built up on everything and it is just too much. So, as a starting point for operation ‘new life’ we have decided to slim down.

Within the next couple of months we will be selling all of our vehicles and half of our leisure toys, eek!

This month we have decided to start with the 1971 Beetle that we have owned and loved for about 10 years (very tough decision), my Kawasaki ZX 656 motorbike, our 2 inflatable stupidly expensive Sevylor kayaks, 7’ 2” mini mal surfboard and the Sony PSP. A Smart car will then be purchased, allowing us to sell our 1999 BMW and then Yamaha Tieo’s, 125 cc scooter.

Does this sound decisive? I hope so!

I am currently monitoring the flight arrivals at Sydney airport … friends land in Sydney in 2 hours 18 minutes with over 26 hours travel behind them. New life beckons ......

Friday, 30 May 2008

Sad today.

That is it, they have gone.

Went to say good bye this morning before work and just wept for the following hour. I am not entirely sure why, I mean, they are happy, healthy, heading for a new life so I should be wishing them well (and I did). I just cannot help being sad though. I will miss them dreadfully. Does this make me selfish?

On another note. Managed to flood the van yesterday. Shower drain failed. First the shower would not empty then I noticed a trail of water heading for the front footwell - about 6 feet from the bathroom. This meant travelling under the bathroom, under the battery charger, under the fresh water tank, under the fuse box, under the drivers seat and engine battery before finally arriving at its destination.

I bailed the shower out with an espresso cup (only thing small enough to fit into the grooves at the edge of the shower tray - took ages) and then stuck towels down and went to work. Sod it, decided it would wait till the weekend, I have had enough this week ... I feel a wee bit down. :(

Monday, 26 May 2008

Plans going awry and emigrating friends

I don't like planning. I am more of a take it as it comes and fly by the seat of my pants kind of person. Whenever I do make plans they always seem to go awry.

This weekend we had several plans.

1 Remove lots of crap from the garage
2 Recover photographs from storage
3 Have lunch at the local pub with friends who are emigrating to Australia this week (sob!)
4 Have lunch cooked for me by another friend who I haven't seen in over a month and am missing dreadfully
5 Go see British Superbikes at Donington
6 Relax

Aims achieved - I found my photographs and the pub lunch turned into a whole afternoon/evening session.

Everything else has gone by the by due to the usual lousy British weather and washing machine mechanics. Mam's washing machine has finally given up and I have been hunting for another likely suspect to take over the chinese laundry duties on a temporary basis :) I had a generous offer from a friend at work but she is about to become the youngest grandma on the block (any second now) and turning up with a laundry bag just didn't seem appropriate during childbirth!

We nearly made BSB at Donington but when we woke up this morning, the strong winds and dark skies gave us second thoughts. The racing very likely went ahead but the enjoyment goes out of watching when you have an ice-cream headache from the wind and you are trying to keep your brolly the right way out!

I think that the overriding thought for me this weekend has been that there is something horrible about counting down to saying goodbye to your best friends. Going from seeing them 2/3 times a week to seeing them once a year if we go out for a holiday is going to be hard. They have been constant fixtures in my life for nearly 20 years. Ok, it will be great to visit and we can combine it with a visit to New Zealand to visit our other friend who emigrated 3 years ago but it is hard to say goodbye with only skype to look forward to!

I think this has given me more pause for thought than anything else that has happened recently. I now realise that we need to make a loose plan for our future rather than just drifting as we have been. Currently we are working towards getting an RV, this involves having a house for a few months whilst we sell our current van and import a Safari Trek from the USA but what do we want to be doing in 5 years? Travelling, working, have a house, have a motorhome, be in this country, emigrate, have own business?

We don't know ... it feels like a huge blank canvas with an undefined point in the distance that we are hurtling towards ... clarity is definitely required .... along with a bit of sunshine! :)

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Getting happy clappy in London :(

I need to grumble.

I work for a company whose head office is in London. Twice a year they send out an employee survey and then hound you for a couple of months to fill it in. From the last survey they appear to have decided that we are an unsatisfied bunch and have 'invited' (not actually allowed to refuse the invite!) us to participate in a 'team building' exercise. The last one coincided with a change in bonus allocation - no wonder everyone was peeved.

At our Christmas do, a restaurant was hired in London, a seating plan was arranged so that no one actually sat with anyone they knew, liked, or would ever see again (except at enforced do's like this) - just to ensure you felt really comfortable. Nothing like eating a christmas dinner with 9 strangers whilst stone cold sober to start your christmas with a bang.

This new team building exercise involves all the regional staff travelling to a London venue (240 mile round trip from our office) to hang with the London staff, having lunch and then being forced to particpate in tasks for the remainer of the day - it is going to be painful.

When watching the London staff interact with each other it all appears rather 'stepford' ... strained happy faces and an odd sort of desperation in the air. Throw in the regional office staff who are altogether more laid back and completely pissed at having to travel so far for this and it just becomes plain horrendous.

I just can't wait to sing 'kum by ya' around the boardroom table with people I have absolutely no dealings with and who just happen to work for the same company.

To cap it off, today I found out that this part of the event does not finish till 5.30pm - great. Not only am I going against my will, I have to travel during rush hour and won't get home till 7.30pm which is well into my own time as I usually finish work at 4.30pm. If I want to stay for the optional part of the event (bowling) I will be lucky to be home by midnight - woo hoo - not.

Whatever happened to paintballing as a team exercise? At least you got to shoot people you didn't like.

Friday, 16 May 2008

The bathroom is back :)

Result .... the shower is back where it should be. :)

Last friday Mr P came home grinning from ear to ear with the shower tray wedged in the back of the car. If you have ever been without a bathroom for over a month you will understand the excitement of that moment.

Shower tray mark II is truly an object of beauty ... no holes (except the plugholes) no cracks, no scale, no yellowing and it is so smooth. A lot tougher than the old one too. This is made of fibreglass whereas the old one was like a thick plastic type material. Ok, i'll stop now, I am well aware how odd this may sound to those not shower deprived!

On saturday, the excitement was no less but the enthusiasm for installing it waned a little as the thermometer in the van crept up to 28 degrees. It was not a job to be tackled on a rare day of british sunshine. So we chilled and lapped up the rays ... mañana, mañana being the general consensus.

Unfortunately this cunning plan was ruined when sunday dawned hot and sunny too - damn and blast! There was nothing else for it but to knuckle down and get on with the installation.

First we set about emptying the bathroom. We had to take one of the fuses out to remove power to the thetford and turn off the water so we could remove the sink. The sink was originally duck taped to the window sill but it fell down so many times in the middle of the night that in the end we just stuck it upright in the middle of the floor and danced around it when we needed a wee!

It took quite a while to get the shower tray in place as we don't think it was designed to be removed once in situ. The reach on the waste pipes was so short that the tray had to be virtually in place to get the jubilee clips onto the waste hoses and plug holes.

Luckily Mr P managed to reach in through the thetford door to connect one of the plugs or we would have been really schtuck!

It was just after this point that things started going a little wrong.

As we lowered the shower tray into position, there was a loud crack as the shower plug snapped underneath - 4 years of continuous use had made it brittle.

A swift dash to the local caravan shop ensued and the last 2 remaining plugs they had in stock were purchased. The floor was raised again, new plugs inserted, sink plumbed in, thetford installed and rewired then we realised that the shower drain pipe and the sink drain pipe were the wrong way round and the pipe would not reach the underside of the sink - arrrrgghhhh!

The last hours work was undone again, pipes were swapped and it was all put back together again. This time all was good!

The shower walls were installed, all screwed back into place then that was it for the night. We had started early afternoon and it was now about 8pm ... and felt like midnight.

Monday evening saw the beginning of the sealing, tuesday evening saw more sealing, wednesday evening would have been first shower but the stench of the sealant and tiredness proved too much and it was delayed till thursday morning.

The verdict .. bliss .... absolute bliss .... :)

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Feels like summer

It has been a beautiful bank holiday weekend with 4 very warm days of sunshine, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

The motorhome really comes into its own in the summer. The windows are thrown open and everything gets aired, the porch awning gets put away and the fiamma awning gets wound out. Relaxing chairs are exposed to the sun and everything seems to slow down a pace. Unlike the winter when we batten down the hatches and hibernate.

We had our first bbq of the year yesterday, it was only a wee disposable jobbie but it tasted and smelt wonderful. Just can't beat corn on the cob from the barbie ... mmmmmm. I was considering breaking out the cadac grill for the rest of the week but I need to get a new gas bottle for it before I make the effort to dig it out of storage under the floor in the garage.

Tonight we are having a onepot dinner of pinachelty (absolutely no idea how to spell it!). It is known as onepot as it only takes onepot to cook it in. We have a whole range of these recipes as cooking on a 3 ring hob makes it necessary! Pinachelty is like a corned beef stew and I have seen loads of different versions of it on the internet but my version just involves throwing all the spare veg and potatoes you have in a pot with a stock cube and some boiling water - cut them up quite small to cook quicker and save gas. Simmer till soft, and add a small can of lean corned beef - broken into small pieces - and some marrowfat processed peas. Leave this to simmer for a few minutes then add a wee bit of gravy powder and stir in for another couple of minutes. Ta - daaa .. tastes lovely. Ok, it is not summery food but it sure is easy!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The week has flown by ..

Ooops, I nearly neglected the blog again, one week in and I almost stopped posting. It is funny how time seems to slip by.

Saturday was really busy. We went to collect the Bug - guy didn't show. NOT HAPPY! Then went to the motorhome show for a few hours. Isn't it funny how much crap they sell at these shows. By crap I mean non-motorhome related items. Items that wouldn't even fit in a motorhome. Who takes garden ornaments on holiday or water features?

We were after bits for the van like roof vents, window catches, cooker grommets etc. We couldn't find many stalls selling this type of thing and the odd ones there were didn't have the bits we needed. We came away having bought a 'dinner in a yorkshire pud' and an ice cream, oh and some shoelaces. Cheap day really :) This could be a good business opportunity for someone though, have a motorhome replacement parts related stall at a motorhome show - now why hasn't someone thought of that before?

Anyway, did see a couple of Safari Trek RV's that we are interested in and have got a general idea of trade in values for our van versus selling it privately. Either way, it is happening this summer, we need more space now that Reef is on board. After 4 years, it is probably about time too. Not sure what we'll do with more space, probably get separation anxiety and start living in the bathroom to be closer to each other ... ha ha.

Talking of bathrooms, we still do not have one. Should be this weekend though. I'm really bored of the 14 mile round trip just to have a wash. If it was warm I would just stand under the hosepipe.

Anyway, back to saturday. We also spent some time trying to find people from the and forums although many were actually looking round the show when we popped round. (Security wouldn't let me back in when I tried later in the day - my name wasn't down so I wasn't getting in!) We had a long chat with Artona and had a viewing of his new RV - so much more space, it has given us incentive to get everything sorted with our current van and just go for it. We can't wait to get ours now. Artona has a daily blog on

Sunday does not warrant a mention, I didn't get up till the evening due to an excess of birthday celebrations at a wedding party the night before. I haven't felt that ill in years and that is all I am going to say on the subject! The Brides dress was stunning though - handmade locally by Susannah Ross - check out her website if you are considering getting married and are in the market for a one off.

We finally managed to get the Bug back on monday, with a knock down price of £532 - which although not cheap is still £400 less than we were originally quoted. We were fierce. Glad that is over, it is always a worry when things like that are hanging over you.

The rest of the week has gone by in a haze. Working, working and more working. Happily, I now have tomorrow off .... unfortunately I am going to spend half of it in the xray dept of the local hospital. I have tremors in my right hand and they are going to xray my neck to check it out. Go figure!

Roll on the weekend, the weather prediction for Saturday is getting better every time I look. We may even get the hammock out in between showers. :)

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Motorhomes, motorhomes everywhere!

We have been invaded. The National Motorhome show is at the East of England showground this weekend and motorhomes started to arrive in droves yesterday. Last night every layby for a five mile radius was full of motorhomes packed in like sardines. Our home CL started filling up earlier in the week which feels a little strange after having it to ourselves for the most of winter.

It has been a mixture of lovely sunshine, rain and hail today so the ground is not great, I imagine the showground will be a bit boggy but sunshine is predicted for the next 2 days so it should dry out nicely.

The picture is of the showground at the end of the rainbow this evening - the large white blob in the distance is the new exhibition centre. The dinky white blobs are the closely parked motorhomes.

We are off to the show on Saturday which is fast become a very busy day. The beetle will be collected, the bill will be argued over, we are visiting the show and going to a wedding do. Its also my birthday ... I am about to hit the next marketing bracket - gutted!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Showerless :(

Our motorhome bathroom is currently in disarray. There are no shower walls, no floor, the sink (which is suspended by masking tape) has no drainage, no running water and the toilet is balanced on polystyrene and plywood. Humph!

The cause? A cracked shower tray. Welcome to the joys of home repairs whilst full timing.

We carried out a few temporary repairs to it over the last year when the crack appeared and kept reappearing but finally enough was enough. One morning the crack became a gaping chasm and no amount of sealant was going to fix it.

We spent a fun sunday dismantling the entire bathroom. To take out the shower tray we had to remove everything above it, except for the light, which was the only thing that did not get in the way! Even with an empty room, the shower tray was still a sod to remove as electrics and pipes actually passed through it.

The tray is now off being used as a mould for a new one, we had the option of repair but as the van will be sold later this year, we didn't want anyone else having to go through this again.

It has been 3 and a half weeks since our shower tray left home - I miss it.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Beetle woes

We have owned a 1971 VW beetle for around 10 years now. We bought it in a reasonable condition and have gradually done it up to how we wanted it.

Our beloved bug went to the garage 6 weeks ago with the instructions to fix the bonnet catch, give it a service, fit an exhaust that we supplied and MOT it. Nothing else. They were asked to call us if anything else cropped up that needed doing for the MOT.

Get a call today saying the bug is ready to collect and the bill will be just over £900. Mr P decided to take a trip to the garage in his lunch hour to view the £900 worth of work that had been carried out, just in case we were really now the proud owners of a gold plated car.

As soon as he saw the bug he decided to leave and go back at the weekend. The mechanic had stuck the front number plate onto the bonnet - yes physically stuck the number plate onto our perfect paint job with sticky stuff - and the guy professes to love beetles. Wow, hate to see what he would have done had he not like them ... stapled it on?

Watch this space! £900 my arse.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Can dogs tell the time?

6am. That is the time I opened my eyes and stared blearily at the clock this morning. During the week the alarm is set for 6am, I get up shortly afterwards. However, at the weekends the alarm is off and I go to sleep dreaming of the long lay in I am going to have the next morning ... woo hoo, no alarm, just acres of warm duvet.

Dreaming is as far as I get now that we have young master Reef in residence.

We have not had Reef for very long, about 10 weeks. 10 weeks ago was the last time I had a lay in at the weekend. He has the most uncanny ability to wait for the time to hit 6am then he starts yawning and stretching. If that does not elicit a response he'll yawn a little louder and add a little whimper. If that fails too, his yawns become operatic (really hits the high notes) and he sits there moving from foot to foot so I can also hear the tapping of his claws on the floor and the shuffle of his butt.

At this point, Bodie joins in. When I peer from under the duvet they are usually sat like a couple of bookends just staring at the bed. If I happen to move at all, 5 minutes of frantic greeting, wiggling and stretching ensues. At this stage I am not allowed to retreat back under the duvet .. it is morning walk time.

Roll on the day I manage to wake up before Reef and launch myself at his sleeping self for a bit of revenge ... I just can't wait. May have to set my alarm for 5am next sunday just to throw his internal clock out. Snigger.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Forget the past

Today I happened upon this blog that I started last year. At first glance, due to the lack of posts in the last 6 months - in fact due to the lack of posts full stop! - it looks like one of those blogs started with good intentions on a wet sunday afternoon and then dumped as soon as it looks like becoming a chore.

However, this is about to change ... sort of a late new years resolution you might say. I am still not smoking so the resolutions do occasionally work and I am trying only to partake in alcoholic beverages maybe twice a week (thats a toughy) so I do need something to keep me occupied.

I have decided that I will do my utmost to make at least one post a week. I'll not back date the posts to follow on from the oct07 one but I will start writing about the here and now - forget the past. So dear reader, you'll not hear about our travels to date but you will hear of our lack of travels at present and our shower woes. Sorry!