Archive | December, 2014

NV200 . Tough vans for tough (but tired) guys

27 Dec

Just had a text from my brother. He has had 3 seats fitted in the back of his working NV200 van to take friends and relatives to his place in France. He got to the Channel Tunnel ( we must have passed each other going in opposite directions on the M1) and drove under a 1.8 m “concrete roller” height restriction. The van is fitted with a builder’s roof rack similar to the one above. The van was pressed down onto the suspension BUT NO DAMAGE WAS DONE ! I bet the ladies in the party were shrieking a bit quite apart from the males shouting warnings a bit too late. Gordon Bennett! Not recommended.
Modern suspensions on all sorts of vehicles are now much stronger…….
modern suspension

Look who viewed the Kamper on Christmas Day

26 Dec


This well fed and fearless Fox came to visit us just before dusk on Christmas Day. For a while he cleaned and preened with his back to us, nibbling at his tail. Then he turned and stared at us without flinching. A welcome sight to us and more frequently seen here in the ‘burbs of London than in the semi rural homestead. Delightful! I hope that you agree? Click on picture to enlarge and see his annoyed expression at the papparazzi intrusion.
To continue with the cute animal theme. Here, just for the sake of it, is a much loved pussy cat who ate rather too much left over Turkey. Hopefully whilst you are feeling warm and cosy why not give a little (what you can afford) to SHELTER or The Sally Army and feed some needy people too. There is a lot of poverty out there.
cat too much turkey
Also today, Boxing Day, both my wife and I witnessed an urban, rare, Black Fox in the nature reserve behind the house. Incredibly, according to the Daily Mail only 2 sightings had been made in and prior to 2008. There is definately one living in South East London. It looked like this typical example. “ours” had no white tip to the tail
black fox

Winter sun in London

24 Dec

dartford bridge

Made it to London without a hitch or major delay. We did get dash cam footage of two nutters on the M6 Toll southbound vying for space in the fast lane (I should say “overtaking lane”). One of them actually took to the central reservation to get past! see more later.

horniman museum

Walked around the spacious and sunny grounds to the Horniman Museum before a superb Italian lunch shared with a multitude of families enjoying the start of Christmas. “Rocca” in Dulwich village. I cannot recommend this place more strongly. Not expensive, a genuine friendly warmth. What a fine beginning to Christmas
rocca dulwich village

ps It was much quicker through the Dartford crossing without the queue for the payment kiosks
Merry Christmasjpg

Do you ever use the Dartford Crossing?

21 Dec

I cleaned the Kamper today to get ready for a quick visit to London. Did you know that from the end of November, you no longer pay at the time consuming kiosks at the Dartford crossing on the M25 to the North East of London? You now use an online, telephone, postal (!) or open an account to pay. Either in advance or by midnight of the following day of crossing. You get picked up by registration number cameras. If you do not pay on time, the fine starts at £70. Perhaps at midnight your vehicle turns into a pumpkin?
bastille day paris
So if you are heading off to Dover ,Paris and beyond or indeed coming North from the continent, then best pay in advance for the cheapest rate. You can pay at a Payzone point in loads of shops etc but if like me you forget, as I did with the congestion charge….. pay up that £70 fine. go to for more information. You do not get charged for a trailer/caravan but call charges can be as high as 40p per minute to the 0300 telephone connection on some mobiles. For our many foreign readers, you use the bridge heading south and one of the twin tunnels heading north. Charges apply in each direction.

We were reminded this week why we prefer a campervan holiday

20 Dec

Early this week, my son jetted off to North America for Christmas with his lovely American girlfriend. Or at least they tried to. Following a delay at the airport the plane departed but soon hit problems with cabin pressurisation or rather the lack of. Consequently the plane had to divert back to the UK. Firstly, however, it had to burn up the full fuel load aboard. That took five hours of low level circling above the ocean. Eventually safely back on terra firma ( it’s near London!) and following more delays and much queueing , they were put up in a hotel overnight for another attempt at crossing the Atlantic the following day
emigration aircraft
Now, we have had several pleasant, delay free flights over the years but I have also had many problematic journeys by air. Probably more than statistically likely but then I did travel a lot on business during the winter period. In contrast, touch wood, we had far more pleasant and trouble free trips by motorhome, caravan and campervan. Indeed, when we did once hit a huge tailback on the A55 North Wales coast road, we managed to pop onto a layby, set up motorhome for relaxing and enjoyed a leisurely lunch and used the bathroom facilities etc etc before rejoining the traffic when it again got moving. Totally refreshed and ready for more adventure. Is it just me who cannot take the queueing, the waiting around and the “crowdiness” of airports? Camper vans. You just have to love ’em!

Tribute to a recently departed aquaintance.

14 Dec


Very recently, a very close friend and frequent business aquaintance of my brother, passed away after a short but serious, sudden illness. I had myself carried out work for this much loved, very popular man.He was full of life especially for his age which everyone always underestimated greatly. He used to send me extremely funny and usually slightly naughty gags and jokes by email. I always looked forward to receiving them as I am not particularly “PC” myself.
He and his equally charismatic wife were motorhomers and they recently swapped for a Chausson model withan electrically powered bed which descends from the ceiling. To illustrate the immense good humour of the man himself, here is a short story he told.
The couple tried out the motorhome for the first time and when it was time to descend the bed he pressed the “zapper” button. The bed dropped by a few millimetres then stopped. Again and again, he pressed the button but each time only a few millimetres of travel. So he sat for literally a couple of hours, watching TV and slowly but unsurely the high tech bed crept down the runners. He knew that it was designed to click into place and he awaited the moment. At about 10pm the bed clicked into it’s position for use. A sigh of relief BUT THEN the bed immediately reversed and shot back up to the ceiling at a rate of knots!. Laughing at his own misfortune the couple returned home to try again another day.
Sadly he was taken ill shortly afterwards and the motorhome has not been used.
What a man! He was an inspiration to almost everyone he met. “Frosty”, you will be very sadly missed.
The picture below reflects just one of his talents.

Drink driving? Think again………

6 Dec

glasgow carlisle

Scotland has lowered its drink-driving limit.

The legal alcohol limit has been reduced from 80mg of alcohol to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.

It equates, roughly, to a reduction in permissible alcohol from two pints of standard-strength beer to one pint, or from one-and-a-half glasses of wine to one glass

The pics illustrate what you should never consider if you over did it with the sherry in your trifle!
run for the borderroad runner

At the moment, I am not partaking of any alcohol at all. I normally keep a drop of Scotch in the campervan for those quiet evenings on-site but a fightback to fitness prevails! Wish me luck ! If you want to drink, don’t drive. Get a taxi or better still, camp up alongside your favourite Hostelry , well off the public highway and enjoy the Winter season in safety. Cheers! see: