A lot of travel this week. Great Fun

30 Mar

Caught up with a best mate from schooldays via the wonderful Facebook and went to meet in the flesh on Wednesday. An absolutely heart warming day. Looking through old photos of his family, friends and cars (he’s a total petrol head like me) and I met  his delightful wife at last who is coping with an illness so well.

I arrived deliberately early so that I could have lunch in the Kampa right on the sea front. Llandudno looks so much like Nice in the South of France. All the Hotels are freshly painted and looked gorgeous in the spring sunshine.

I have fond memories of a school visit here after a trip to San Sebastion was cancelled due to a French Rail Strike in the 60s. Red hot sun, vibrant school girl friends and a posh cafe lunch near the Great Orme. Then there was spectating on th RAC Rally on the Gt Orme in the late 70s. Awesome ! If you have not been here, make the effort and go. A traditional old seaside holiday town.

I parked right opposite “Venue Cymru” with marvellous sights. A couple walking the Promenade stopped, obviously interested in the Kampa but I had a mouthful of my high protein, high veg and fruit diet so despite wanting to chat to them, I missed the chance They photographed the Kampa though and hope they find the Blog from the logo on the side. My friends reunion could not have gone better. His late father had been a navigator on Lancaster Bombers in WWII and I always had tremendous respect for him. It is a reunion which will continue as renewed friendship. I don’t forget friends easily.

Thursday saw me driving to Portsmouth and back doing a favour for a new friend. I took his Merc C230 Kompressor Auto for the return trip ( What hardship I endure these days……… LOL). Most enjoyable, all to do with an expensive motorhome purchase. He and his lovely partner will be bringing this new purchase on our forthcoming joint trip to France. Lots more to come. Keep visiting the Blog. What a great week and family over for Easter weekend too !


A Classic old Viva Pop Top on EBay

23 Mar

When I was just seventeen, I needed a job before starting my Engineering Student Apprenticeship. I got one, making aluminium TV aerials for Strombergs in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent. I was attracted to the job as it was described as a driver/operative.

My father, at the time, said that they would never employ a 17 year old. Anyway, I got the job. Driving one of these Vauxhall Viva vans, usually to and from Wrexham in North Wales with sacks of TV aerial fittings and attachments. Loved it !

This pop top Classic is for sale on EBay. see link below. I think it’s worth a look.

Thanks to my very old chum, Miffy , for pointing this out to me. That slide out is way before it’s time! They didn’t skimp on roof light either.

A roof bed and bijou interior . Great fun !

These were willing little engines with light controls, sweet gearbox and due to lightweight contstruction, a surprising turn of speed. ( I was only 17 , after all…..)

If you buy it, please keep in touch and report in on what you’re up to with it !

Just noticed that it is in Holywell, North Wales, only 20 miles from Wrexham.



Early Spring visits

21 Mar

Although I have not been posting a great deal on the Blog in recent times it does not mean that we have been idling away our early springtime. We have been doing the usual (enjoyable !) round robin of day tours to our favourite destinations in Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire.

This is Church Stretton, Shropshire above in early spring sunshine. We brought home some traditional “Salop” faggots which remind me of haggis without the oats. I added some oregano for a little “Continental” pizzaz ! Cheap, filling and tasty trad food of my childhood.

We have been enjoying many runs out to Market Drayton too. We have extended our lunchs to include Sundays as well as market day mid-week. The home cooked food at The Crown is so good that we have friends competing to join us ! Despite the added calories from pub lunches, I am at my lightest for a very long time indeed. My exercise bike regime is paying off and we feel fit enough to book a French holiday in the Loire Valley which will involve a lot of cycling. A new friend and his partner will be coming along in their RV. More about this trip later. After a lot of thought, we have booked both the Campervan and Caravan on this trip, the extra cost being  justified for us by the extra storage space and comfort factor. 

We have booked a pre- France trip to Portsmouth to celebrate a family event and will be checking out an overnight ( solo) stopover for the ferry to Caen later in the spring.

Got the MOT test very shortly and a minor service for an extra oil change and why not ? LOL. I shall NOT be using my usual national, family run, group of service centres due to recent disappointment in service level which has continued for a while. Again, expect a posting about the small, family owned little back street garage who have won me over.

A narrow miss but survived London in the Snow

5 Mar

Just returned from a week in London in the snow. I parked the campervan about one third the way down a hilly street on a sweeping curve in the road. It’s very wide and cars park, legally, on each side of the street outside their owners’ houses. The Kampa was across the driveway entrance to my daughter’s home, just in front of the dark coloured MPV pictured above.

One morning, a lady driving a white, convertible Audi, came up the hill rather too fast for the conditions. Another lady was driving down the hill and managed to stop just above where the dark coloured MPV was parked.

The Audi failed to stop and there was a low speed head on collision alongside the MPV and close to our Kampa. There was quite a bit of frontal damage. The lady coming down the hill reversed back up the hill in the snow but the Audi driver seemed to panic. The Audi slewed across the road closer to the MPV and then cut across the front of it, colliding (we think with the front bumper). The lady then drove onto a neighbour’s driveway blocking in their next door neighbour’s car and obviously blocking the private driveway. Out she got, carrying a suitcase. A heated exchange of words with the other driver and she was gone.

Three or four hours later and a little car transporter arrived to take away the damaged Audi. The debris from the crunch remained on the snow until a neighbour removed it.

So glad that nobody got hurt. So glad that they did not hit my Kampa. It takes so much time to get repairs done and it is always a huge hassle from my experience.

Coming home in thawing conditions we witnessed so many cars being driven by people, too fast, with no signals and obviously way beyond their actual capability. So glad I have forward and rearwards facing “dash cams”. I wouldn’t be without them. But they would have been of little use from a side impact whilst legally parked. Some unpleasant, selfish people about.

Eco Campers of Grangemouth.

26 Feb

If you are OK with using a pre-used base vehicle and decent ones at that, from the salt free roads of Japan, then Eco-Campers of Grangemouth can not only sell you a HYBRID campervan but also a TRYBRID campervan.

Martin again sent in news of these interesting advanced campervans. Thank you !

Prices commence at around £18,000 but for an option packed version like the one I selected in their on -line specification form you can get up to £42,000 or more.

But for that money, you can get an automatic transmission, 4 WD for those out of the way, all year round locations, 4 berths, blown air heating, LED lighting and lots more. Last but by no means least you will have a powerful 158bhp petrol engine, an LPG autogas conversion and an Electrically driven motor. They claim an equivalent to 80 mpg but with the prices that I know you CAN buy LPG for if you shop around then I think that you could maybe improve on that.

My wife and I are particularly interested in this Trybrid option. We are experienced LPG autogas users and I would not hesitate to purchase that option once more. (How does as low as 52 p/ltr sound?) An extra two berths for our fast growing grandchildren would come in handy as would 24 hour access to the toilet option. (you do forfeit a swivel driver’s cab seat but you still can sit on the cushion on top of the porta potti cupboard.

Speaking personally, we could sell our Nevada NV200 privately along with the little caravan and with a little added cash we are on the way to making a purchase. Still investigating at this stage but it could be a real possibility for us.

see http://www.campers-scotland.com/     and https://www.ecocampers.com/

You get to pick your desired age and mileage of the Toyota Alphard , high spec base vehicle then add in your options and stump up for your dream campervan.We have viewed Aphards before and the ones we saw were luxurious bits of kit, quite high end !

A trip to Leek. A review of a super little Shop called ERA.

23 Feb

We travelled out to Leek, a hilly old mill town to the East of Stoke-on-Trent for a lunch break and a look around one of our favourite little Antiques and curio shops. Regular visitors to the Blog will know of our obsession for interesting items made from tactile materials. Wood, stone, metal and so on. Whatever catches our eye and fits into place in our old cottage. We actually travel far and wide in our campervan to  quality shops such as Liz’s. From Ludlow in the southern end of Shropshire to Carlisle in the North beyond the Lakes. East to West , we have seen both coasts. So when we say favourite, it’s quite a statement.

Liz picks out her stock carefully. We trust her choice and you are sure to find something of interest. Liz prices things sensibly, to sell too, refurbishing many items herself.

Pop in for a warm welcome from Liz and say that Dinkum sent you.


We had lunch at the popular Hollybush in nearby Cheddleton. Home crafted food in large portions. Alongside the canal for rambling or cycling. Want more ? Try Tittesworth Reservoir out towards The Roaches and Buxton beyond. What better way to enjoy your campervan?

Jim Mason Photography. Pics from the Scottish Show.

13 Feb

Old mate , Martin couldn’t make it to the recent Scottish show. Unperturbed he arranged for Jim Mason to forward these photos, which came in live from the show!

please visit Jim’s website and see his fabulous work    http://www.jimmasonphotography.com

Thanks gents !

I do not have any detail from Caledonian campers as yet. I think the show van was completed at the last moment and things must have been very busy. For example, not sure if this van has the quick charger setup fitted or how the invertors are powered. Does it have a leisure battery fitted and does it charge in motion? Pretty sure that it is priced at a VERY competitive £27,000 or so.

From personal choice, I am not too keen on the veneer chosen for the furniture but that is easily put right if you order yours ! Otherwise , it all looks very familiar to me.

I am really excited to get more info for me to post on here. Watch this space ! Scroll down to see a little bit more on posts below.