Ynys Mon. A short, sunny break on Anglesey

24 Apr

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With the weather forecast, for the week just gone, so good, we rushed to get the Microlite caravan ready. I pumped up and checked all the tyres and we went to fill up with Diesel. At the service station, I noticed that the caravan tyres seemed low. I topped them up and drove less than 100 metres to the tyre and battery centre. The guys there were great. Two valves were replaced, the rubber seats having been damaged by long term (18 months worth) rubbing from the wheel trims. I rechecked the pressures after a few miles and all was fine. I had to find a suitable place to do this as the first really big Shell station had appalling access to the air line. Access via the petrol pump area and then reverse back out. This was on a very busy location beside the M6 and A500.

Happy once more , we headed cross country to Anglesey. I had pre-booked last minute online via the Caravan Club website. A great site with good warden as ever but no shower or toilet block, which is OK with the tiny facilities within our customised “LE” caravan. The weather was superb with full sun and 20 deg C (ish !) and a light cool breeze. Perfect for walking off the winter’s excesses! We did a couple of marathon walks. One along the coastal path near to Moelfre, the other along the extremely long and undeveloped Newborough Warren beach. We basically wore ourselves out deliberately and now feel much better for it.

IMG_0293IMG_0296IMG_0300IMG_0301          We had a very pleasant few days, only returning for an important dental procedure to successfully save a couple of my “pegs”. Anglesey is great for ramblers. Now, where to next? Are we leaving the caravan behind on our next trip?

A pleasant day out in Shropshire

17 Apr

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Drove over to Church Stretton to pick up some stable doors to add a bit of character to the back of the house. Then diverted to the very lovely village of Acton Burnell to see the Castle and the Church. This ruined 13th Century fortified mansion has great history. It was the site for the first Parliament attended by all the “Commons” in 1283. The gable ends of the barn where it was thought to have been held are still present, but on private land. A truly delightful place with great atmosphere. There is a most impressive International College in the Village. The College looks like a very memorable and peaceful place to study. A great location to sit and read in the campervan over a cuppa.

Not designed to transport things but………………

14 Apr

cat close to steering wheeldresser in camper

On Sunday, we made a trip up to Chorley to pick up a “welsh dresser” with a difference. A very solid and heavy piece of furniture. We had measured it and decided that we could save quite a bit in delivery charges by popping it into the campervan. Made of sheesham (mango wood?) , it took four good men and a wobbly trolley to dig it out from the depths of “Bygone Times” and get it outside into the rain…….

 

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As you can see, once it was safely wedged on top of the timbers of the bed structure, there was not a lot of space left! The cushions, fortunately, are easily removed to prevent damage. We used the chromed table leg as a roller and to lift the front corner of the dresser above the plastic cover on the passenger seat belt. It was that close! The cab seats were both moved forward but we could just get in and safely drive.

old lady close to wheel Now, when I see someone too close to the wheel, I usually comment on  another ” window licker”. A description copied from two young friends of my son’s when he was young, I thought that it beautifully described this rather unsafe driving position. Anyway, for fifty miles or so, I was that window licker. (I did not actually, lick the glass, of course……..). We did get home safely, without being skinned by an air bag and with our local friends and Antique dealers to help, we got the dresser back indoors once more. Not what the Kamper is designed for but………

dresser 1 Don’t try this at home.

 

 

A Vivaro LWB Drivelodge on ebay

5 Apr

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Just searched on ebay for a Lunar Vacanza whilst the OH watches Indian Summers, an hour late. Then searched Drivelodge on ebay. The very driveable Citroen “Joey” is still up for sale at a very competitive price  see http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2009-59-CITROEN-BERLINGO-DRIVELODGE-JOEY-2BERTH-POPTOP-WITH-AWNING-/191538475346?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2c98953152 for £13 1/2 K !!!    Then saw a very smart Drivelodge Vivaro at a bargain price too see http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2011-61-Vauxhall-VIVARO-2900-SPORTIVE-2-0-CDTI-LWB-CAMPER-VAN-NO-VAT-/321713393172?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item4ae79cce14   I can definitely vouch for Drivelodge conversions. Ours has been faultless. Why not grab yourself a Spring Bargain?

 

Success for NV200 based Campervans at this year’s Caravan Club Awards

4 Apr

Judged at the NEC recently, The Caravan Club ran it’s 2015 Motor Caravan Design Awards. Class 1 refers to Micro Motor Caravans. In my words “Campervans”. In first place, Class 1, the Hillside Leisure Dalbury E:-

dalbury e-nv200

Made by Hillside Leisure , based in Derby, this electric powered camper offers revolutionary camper-vanning if the range and method of use fits your leisure plans. I can certainly see a way of using this vehicle for very cheap, quiet and interesting touring. Stopping each night within the battery range and recharging via the campsite hook up, before setting off again. You could stretch the daily mileage by using the quick charge unit.

dalbury e instrumentsdalbury e control

In second place , yes ! another Hillside Leisure vehicle, the Dalbury Action. A conventionally powered version of the “E” seen above. The layout is similar to the classic VW style, side cupboard, roll over bed which is becoming the favourite of  NV200 converters

hillside-dalburydalbury action bed

dalbury action 1

In third place, the Lunar Vacanza Camper Car. From the Preston based caravan manufacturer, this novel campervan has a very useable rear kitchen layout. With the bed made up, you can still make a cuppa or use the porta potti at any time. Useful if it’s raining heavily or “muggers abound!” (We did, once, become surrounded by drug dealing vagabonds whilst “wild camping” near Orleans, France but that’s another story)

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The Lunar’s front lounge utilizes the four ,forward facing seats with those in the cab swivelling to provide pic nic for four. (We have dined with 4 people in our Kamper most sussessfully with the host hopping about a bit to serve everyone but dining for 4 DOES work if you are organised. )

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The bed is inflatable and I bet it’s comfortable. There is an electric pump.  We have had many comfy nights on a good quality inflatable mattress in a tent whilst touring France by sportscar. Do you have to have the front doors open and stand outside to put the bed up though? There is a child roof bed too , so theoretically the Camper Car sleeps four.

The NV200 is without doubt, an excellent base for a campervan. It is good to see recognition from such a well respected organisation, The Caravan Club. There  are several other converters, producing superb versions of these small campervans. (I find the  “Micro” description a little too small, if you excuse my phrasing!) But credit where it’s due. Well done to Hillside especially. A pioneering move!

I would love to try out the Lunar bed and layout. A fresh approach. Without these innovations where would we be?

An informative Tour of Sussex Campervans, Horsham.

26 Mar

western diner

Got up quite early this morning to replace the Sat Nav. Must have been first through the door at Currys. Even though the route follows some of the London to Brighton route, we did not want to drive down to Sussex Campervans at Horsham without guidance from above. An £80 Garmin filled the gap in my life. We left  London as soon as we could but too late to make a morning visit to Polesden Lacey. We still got to Horsham in time for lunch. We chose a Western “Tex Mex” diner. It reminded me greatly of a little corrugated roof  Bar we used for a 3 week spell some three decades ago. Located at Englishtown, USAF base, New Jersey. The place was rough, tough and a bit of a man cave but served ice cold beer which kept us alive in that summer’s heatwave.

englishtown fleamarket NJ

I cut my teeth here driving a huge V8 Dodge Rental Truck , back and forth, filled with china pottery. The bar , like the Western Diner in Horsham was full of men wearing Cowboy hats. One place where you most certainly WILL NOT find any cowboys is at Sussex Campervans. 

sussex campervans

Based at Graylands Gateway, Langhurstwood Road, this company recently expanded and produces innovative and well thought out, campervan conversions. We viewed, Nissan NV200 versions, Vauxhall Vivaro variations as well as the ubiquitous VW models. All were very well finished, attractive and offered excellent value for money.

With a comprehensive range of textiles and colour combinations on offer, you are spoiled for choice as to whether you remain conservative or go funky with your décor and Pinterest palette.

There’s a lot of skill and  dedicated experience in evidence plus attention to detail and customer responsiveness.

We particularly liked the Vivaro Paradise Twin and Manhatton layouts. A beautifully lime green and very high spec , new version Vivaro definitely captured my imagination. Perhaps more importantly, my wife was also impressed. For her, the upholstery, trim and neat curtains stood out. see the photos below and make your own mind up. Visit their site here http://sussexcampervans.com/    A big thank you to Daniel and the team for the invitation!

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You can read more about the Vivaro Sportive, built in Luton and supporting British Industry by clicking here https://www.first4auto.com/first-impression-vauxhall-vivaro-sportive-l1h1-2900-16-cdti-biturbo-16v-120-ss-ecoflex  

Another trip to London

25 Mar

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How things repeat themselves. In June 2013, around the 23rd, I wrote about transporting some IKEA furniture to a relative’s, in the unconverted van . I also wrote about the 7 inch screen sat nav I bought, to stand in for the NTec built in version which should have come from Nissan.

ikea drawerssat nav 7 inch screen

Well, we have just repeated the process, this time taking a wardrobe and two chest of drawers to North London. I found out that these are known as “dressers” in “American” which caused some confusion as an English dresser has a table top mirror or , can indeed, mean something else completely……

As we approached the City from the North, the sat nav started to warn me of low battery. The charger seemed to be malfunctioning. The maps were buried beneath mounds of Nordic timber products, so I was a bit alarmed at “human” navigating to the colder side of the River Thames! I had stashed away a multi-function emergency charger from Sainsbury’s petrol station. It did the trick, the new micro USB connecting like a space station power point. I was so pleased. Phew! We dropped off the furniture then cruised past the unexploded bomb site near to the Tower Bridge before heading south of the River for a joint Birthday party and new Baby celebration . A tiring but enjoyable trip in space-ship Dinkum.

 

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