Archive | September, 2014

Dudmaston Hall and Bridgnorth

30 Sep

dudmaston hall and gardens

We left home, yesterday morning, in drizzle under grey clouds but arrived in Quatt, in bright and very warm sunshine. Just in time to have a quick and healthy tuna baked spud with salad before we toured this National Trust treasure. Still resident to a family steeped in military history but owned by the N.T., there is a collection of modern art and other galleries to see. Very different inside from many other stately homes.When we approached the main entrance after lunch, I imagined all the vintage and veteran cars arriving with a sense of drama. The picture below shows a 14.5litre Lafrance at a recent classic car show at the hall. The pistons in the engine are almost 6 inches (150mm) in diameter.

lafrance 14.5 litre at dudmaston

Following a leisurely and most enjoyable wander round. We bought a couple of secondhand books and some local craft beers to try at Christmas.Back at the campervan, surrounded by 3 or 4 others, mainly VWs, we were approached by a chap asking about our Kamper. He had recently bought a rather nice, long wheelbase, Renault Master. This had been self converted by an elderly gent whose cabinet making skills could clearly be seen. With a “U” shaped rear lounge and forward kitchen opposite a full wc/shower room, it was a very usable, spacious conversion. The present owner was into wild camping, avoiding expensive sites, preferring to spend his hard earned savings on pub dinners! And why not? We chatted for some time , then we headed off into Bridgnorth town centre, parking adjacent to the library.

bridgnorth townhall
The town hall is currently shrouded in scaffold, undergoing renovation. We found a very well stocked wine , beer and spirits shop , no! emporium and bought a few more craft beers for the family get together at Christmas. We had a relaxing drive home, avoiding motorways and the busy A5 near Shrewsbury. Another memorable day out with the Kamper.

A little information about the blog

27 Sep

bel ami VW
What are people viewing on the blog? Most popular is the comparisons of the VW variants with the NV200
nissan nv200 dimensions
Next is the information about swivel seats for the NV200??????????????????????
capital seating universal swivel base
KDR seat rails for for and aft adjustment
The best numbers of viewings we have seen is one viewing each 3 1/2 minutes over a 24 hour period. The site is hosted by and in this format is free of charge. People also often view the pages about the blog and about the writer, flags
Viewers are from all over the world. This is perhaps the most surprising things for me. There is a clear time zone viewing pattern. For example, overnight (in UK) we get a lot of clicks from USA. The NV200 is very popular indeed in many countries. From our own experience , with the almost daily use of Dinkum’s Kamper on the roads of the U.k., we are seeing a growing number of converted NV200s. WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS ! THANKS !

NV200 Combi or Evalia rear seats still wanted.

22 Sep



CAN YOU HELP PLEASE? We are still looking for a 3 seater unit from an NV200 Combi (Evalia) for my brother’s van. Had no luck with a salvage yard online search. Please comment immediately below if you know of a set and I will email you directly. I can travel almost anywhere in UK (possibly France) to collect. Thanks!

ps. Still got a complete cab bulkhead. Free to collector , in person. As new. SORRY NOW DISPOSED OF.


An admirer stops to chat

19 Sep

isn't she lovely


Out shopping in Market Drayton today. We were stopped as we were about to leave a car park by an ex VW camper owner. He just loved our camper van. He said that it immediately had an impact on him and his wife. He thought it was a lovely little van. It was really pleasant to get such a strong reaction, especially from an obviously seasoned VW bus fan. We chatted about the NV200 for a while and he eventually left with a smile on his face.

Scotland decides and a time when a campervan would have been of great use……………..

17 Sep

cement powder tanker

In the late 1980’s, to fill a gap in my career, I worked for a (good) company as a Field Engineer (Sales). We ran lean and mean, so when I had to visit a Cement Haulage company at their base in Wishaw, near Glasgow, I was requested to not stay overnight but to drive up in the early hours and meet a cement powder tanker there. Being young and stupid< I did as requested and arrived feeling very tired after 240 miles of motorway at 6.30 am. I was met with a security gate and a roaming German Shepherd , which was very fierce! I made it into the commercial vehicle garage and was offered a welcoming cup of tea. A young man came into the tea cabin and launched a verbal attack on me ( a complete stranger). The older guys translated the dialect and told me that he was saying (no shouting….) that I was ” one of Maggie’s Yuppies because I had a ………. car phone!
At one point, the young man had to be restrained physically by my tea drinking chums. I did not know whether to fear the German Shepherd or him ! Incidentally, the dog had his back fur covered with gear oil from crawling under the big lorry differentials. He looked like a hound from hell. Still not sure what was wrong with his two legged “brother”
Billy Connolly in Edinburgh
At about 7.30 am a powder tanker arrived, driven by a Billy Connolly lookalike. I jumped aboard and set off with him, for his full shift picking up and delivering bulk cement. He was a lovely person. Endearing and warm hearted. I enjoyed my working day with him and advised on how to operate a higher pressure blow off system on his truck. I then ran the gauntlet of bypassing the German Shepherd (I think the young man had gone home due to drugs issues……)
I drove a tiresome return trip home, catching a few winks somewhere near Lockerbie. It was snowing. When I returned back a few weeks later, the dog had been shaved of all his oily fur and his dignity. He was a baa lamb to his former hell hound. the young man was gone. Quite sad really.
scottish referendum
I love Scotland. It has produced some superb academics, Engineers and marine specialists, oil men, explorers, soldiers, airmen and women and more charactors than you can count. I was named after our Scottish Doctor and oh how I wish we had more of these now!
I had a strange reaction today though when I heard a chap on TV say that England had rode on the backs of the Scottish for too long. It made me angry and I thought……. Sod Scotland. If they want to leave, I will redirect my holiday ££££££££ s towards Cornwall and keep our money in England. But then I calmed down and remembered, Cilia, Mr and Mrs Mackinnon and Ian, all the Mining Scots with whom I worked. Doc Baxter and the guys at the oil companies where I worked. There is no place for anger in this. I want Scotland to remain part of the UK with the rest of us.

How is this relevant to the blog? Well, I recall that trip to Scotland and know why a camper van can be so bloody comfortable and a joy to have. Far better than a chilly reclining seat in a Rep’s Ford Mondeo Estate, even if it has a huge 1980’s car phone!

Like me, the United Kingdom is not perfect. We need to change things from inside. You cannot save a marriage through divorce. It reminds me of the book “Animal Farm”. How long before the “new” leaders become just as bad as the “old” ones. I do not trust anyone seeking too much power.

Request for information on an NV200 bodykit

17 Sep

evalia  kaskus

The picture above was first shown here on 21st September 2013. Sadly I do not know where the bodykit can be bought. I suggest the following. 1. Try a Zhengzhou Nissan dealer for their version of front spoiler, side skirts etc or 2. Try a US Nissan dealer for their version. UK “van style” type dealers offer very few NV200 custom parts, which surprises me somewhat.

custom car elemental motorsports

This picture from Custom Car magazine was posted in May 2013. Scroll down to see the original posts. I have found that the Staff at these magazines are very cooperative and keen to help out usually. (An old mate works for a custom motorcycle magazine). You could google for contact details of Custom Car and see if they can help with NV200 custom body kit suppliers? Hope this helps. In the meantime, I will repost any new info I can find.

Lake Vyrnwy . What better way to spend a sunny Tuesday

10 Sep

On the spur of the moment we decided to take our bikes to Lake Vyrnwy for the day. It’s a bit of trek for “just” a cycle ride but it is really worth making the effort. I could not initially find the keys to the bike rack or the chain locks but eventually we set off in the Kamper in bright sunshine, which was to last the entire day.
In the early afternoon, with no breeze to speak of, we gently joined the other dozen or so people cycling around the entire Lake. It’s about 10 to 12 miles in all.Cool in the shade from the trees, particularly on the side opposite the grand Hotel Spa complex but extremely pleasant.It was very quiet and every now and then as we progressed on our travels, the waterfalls could be clearly heard above the purr of rotating bike chain and high pressure cycle tyres on tarmac. Until !!!!!………………..

With a huge roll of thunder, a Eurofighter Typhoon screamed down the valley. Flicked instantly onto a wing tip and shreaked up and over (just !) the hilltop above the village end. Incredible piece of kit.The skill of the guys (and gals?) flying these spaceships can only be applauded.

Shortly afterwards another jet repeated the whole show but we could not see it through the foresty. I am pretty sure that we also saw an Apache helicopter but could not swear to it. I really would not care to be on the receiving end of these machines. Thank goodness that we have them in these strange political times.


Back to the cycling. We had a fabulous tour around the lake. A healthy tuna sandwich in the Kamper , lots of exercise and fresh air. We didn’t leave until about 5 pm and it was still warm and sunny. We returned through Shawbury visiting relatives who were caravanning there. A fish supper for dinner on a moonlight layby in the kamper, on the final stretch, polished the day off. We had to get home to “service” our pussycat, otherwise we could have had a boozy night at the caravan site. Another super day out.

To see a short video showing my trusty lightweight ,20 year old, all aluminium, classic (?) “Top Bike” and my wife’s rather stylish lady’s shopper, parked up by Dinkum’s Kamper at the Lakeisde.     Cut and paste or click for Vimeo  link                                                      Both bikes were brought back seperately from French holidays. They were both from Carrefour supermarkets. I am on my 3rd set of tyres. It has done big miles along canal towpaths, circuit after circuit of Lac de Maine, Angers and mile after mile in the St Austell valley and Padstow section of the Camel Trail. 

Some Tour of Britain Snapshots and a recommendation

8 Sep

The breakaway explodes into Wrexham this afternoon

One of many service barges surges through

A local school gave wonderful and loud Welsh support. It made the event fun and special for everyone

Arrival of the peloton

peloton swiftly disappearing through the “ASDA” roundabout

Service barges bring up the rear. A fantastic sunny day out!

Then we visited Erddig Hall near Wrexham and Marchwiel. It is another must do !
ancas pic of erddig
This beautiful photo is from Anca’s Blog. please visit to see much more. I recommend it.

and finally……
Erddig’s very own National Trust Citroen Type H van. I really do want one. What a great characterful camper van one of these would make!
erddig citroen type H

Some follow up photos of the Vulcan from Martin

7 Sep

vulcan photo two
vulcan photo one
vulcan camoflage trim

please see comment below from Martin. Super pics from Scottish airshow yesterday! Thanks !

My friend, who flew off to Australia for good, today, was a maintenance ground crew on the then quite secretive Vulcan bombers in the 1950’s. His work, along with thousands of others, in my opinion, helped to keep the peace during the cold war. The Vulcan had tremendous distance capability and was designed to carry Nuclear weapons .I have only ever seen one once at an airshow (in the ’60s?). It flew low over a landing strip. Awesome! I will forward the pics and info to my old chum to keep him interested when the jet lag wears off.

A repair completed and an emotional day

6 Sep

nv200 interior mirror mount

The picture above shows the interior mirror mount for an NV200. If you look carefully you will see that it is designed to detach when struck from within the cab so that you do as little damage to your self as possible.
Even so, when I leaned across the cab to return the exterior mirror, on the passenger door,to it’s correct position and then bashed the interior mirror with my right elbow, I was a bit surprised to see the mirror fall off in slo-mo style to my shout of noooooooooooooooooo……. Like that moment in “Full Metal Jacket.”
I repaired the tear off section with Epoxy resin twin syringe type. A bargain £2.99p from our local parts shop.I managed to stick a penny (used as a spacer for the repair) to the plastic assembly but luckily it did pull off in order to refit the mirror. Left it the full 16 hours to set and the job looks a good one.Not sure what a replacement bracket costs but at least it’s fixed for the moment

emigration aircraft
emigrating to australia

The emotional bit ? Well , following completion of this minor repair, we threw a Pub Lunch for our elderly friends and their available family, who emigrate tomorrow to Australia. Now, Alan is in his 80’s and his darling wife not far behind in years. I love his stories of Vulcan bomber maintenance. He wrote love letters from within the bomb bay to his then girlfriend.  He also witnessed the tragic crash at the end of the record breaking flight of a Vulcan to New Zealand and back. It was also witnessed by our Queen (I believe at Heathrow). He lost friends  aboard the stricken plane.  see He also used to sneak off his RAF base to see his love (now his wife) on a trusty DOT 2 stroke Villiers motorcycle, which he hid under a tarpaulin in a the yard of a local public house. Technically AWOL methinks but I don’ think he will be extradited after so many years. It’s a brave and bold move, typical of their generation. They will be missed dearly but may the power of Skype be with you old mate. Here’s to a safe journey. Kisses to Alwyn xxxx

May be we shall take up the chance to tour Oz by motor home? All the reasons for it are there now.