Archive | January, 2015

A very special day indeed

31 Jan

baby-hand

On Thursday night, we had a gathering of local soulmates to test out some wines. Our keenest wine drinker , however, had bought some super Organic Ales from the Duchy of Cornwall for the beer drinkers amongst us. We had a particularly pleasant evening, laughing, drinking and (ahem….. ) snacking on cheese and biscuits. Altogether a most memorable gathering of friends. We were woken by the phone ringing in the early hours and a good night got even better! My daughter and her husband had provided us with our first grandchild. All was well but we could not sleep with the excitement of this news, so we joined the cat , “Edward Scissorhands , AKA The Vandal”, downstairs for a cuppa.cat too much turkey

He looks like the above. BUT behaves like this one, below!cat wallpaper stripping

So, we may now need a baby seat for the Kamper. I will check which model my daughter has bought for her Nissan but the pic below shows what can be fitted in a camper vanbabt seat onebabt seat
The camper rental folk at http://www.strathpeffervwcampervans.co.uk/vw-camper-for-hire-scotland.asp
Strathpeffer VW Campervans have it sorted. They offer VW Trident hire vans to the North of Inverness. Could be a sensible option to drive up, then rent to experience all the joys of Scotland?

Anyway, we are buzzing with our new arrival. What adventures will we have together as baby grows up? If we can instil just a little of the joy of the outdoors, camping and excercise passed down from our parents, then so much the better. Did I see a smile on our Kamper’s face on Friday morning?
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A twin destination day out in the North West

27 Jan

My beautiful picture

After a taxing day on Monday filling in a last minute online return to the tax office and trying to complete . but failing to achieve some business this morning, we headed off in the Kamper to Bygone Times in Eccleston, Chorley, Lancs. see http://bygonetimes.co.uk      The journey there , mainly on the M6 was a bit frought. Lorries tailgating others within a car’s length and then one of them exploding a tyre right in front of us, blasting us with tyre debris. Check those tyre pressures chaps! After a good look around we could hear the auction at Grove Mill Auctions taking place next door. The partition “wall” is thin and I tried a top hat on adjacent to the auctioneer. My wife had to move as she feared that her laughs could be heard by the serious business folk spending their cash next door.
After more bad driving from white van men, (I am pretty sure that I am in this category, technically) , tailgating and merging in novel fashions, we cut West along the A556 to Blakemere Village for another break.
blakemere-village1
This place has a lot going on, including antiques, a range of shops and things for the children. see http://www.blakemerevillage.com/ . The drive back via “A” roads was much less busy than the M6 and we got home in time to gather winter fuel for the fires in advance of the forecast bad weather. The Kamper did it’s job just fine, swallowing some purchases and being a pleasure to use. It does take the stress out of travelling , but I was still weary when we got home. Must be getting old…………

A January day visit to Church Stretton and a Burns Night supper??

24 Jan

church stretton four

Awoke to a bright but cool day this morning, so ,tempted by the blue skies , we headed off to Church Stretton in Shropshire. We arrived just right for a warming lunch and falling victim to temptation we had burger and chips for lunch. Well the weather was chilly and we did have salad with it. The wife even went Veggie with her burger. We then popped next door for a browse around the Antiques Emporium for an hour or two. Suitably relaxed and full of nostalgia (and burger !) we walked around the town ,taking in the sights and atmosphere. Delightful.
church stretton two

church stretton five

We picked some shopping at the CO-OP by the car park and headed home to allow time for our Burn’s Night celebration. Breaking with tradition to allow for a preferance not to eat tatties and neeps (shock horror on my part!) we are going for an all day Scottish breakfast. Bacon, egg, haggis and black pudding. Favourite blended Scotch at the ready. Naughty but nice?DCFC0006.JPG
Kamper is filthy dirty and so posted this pic of the cleaner version. Here’s that Haggis “Dinner”

burns dinner for twoscottish breakfast

It’s NOT a traditional Burn’s Dinner but as close to those wonderful breakfasts I used to get at The Crusoe Hotel in Fife. After a night listening to the sea pounding against the jetty walls, you were ready for a “full Scottish” and you were not disappointed. I broke the egg yokes but the Haggis was lovely, especially having not eaten any for ages. My other half is not too keen on Haggis but I recall that she often ate  “Black country faggots” from the midlands AND “savoury Duck” when we lived in the Potteries. Both of these culinary delights are very similar to Haggis. Raising a glass to “Rabbie”, Scotland and a year’s camper vanning to come. Cheers! ps Savoury Duck has no duck in it whatsoever. I could not find “square sausage”, that other well known Scottish delicacy. The best I had was following a yacht race against BP Exploration off Tabbert, North of Glasgow during a training excercise. We won, but only because we were down wind and we deduced that they could not hear us switching on the auxiliary motor!

It’s almost Burns Night once more.

21 Jan

burns night supper

I can hardly believe that another year has fled past. This Sunday, 25th January is the official observance of “Burns Night.” The great and well known Scottish poet and his works, sometimes quite bawdy ( read suggestive and potentially naughty) , are a superb excuse for celebrating with a Scottish themed supper. So far, our plans are not cast in stone. Regular readers wil know this, if you know “Dinkum”. However, with the weather as it is we are more likely to hold a supper somewhere more spacious but dare I say, just as atmospheric as the Kamper. Perhaps somewhere like this ?

cellar bar brandy cornercellar bar seven

Although this secret location has a strong French theme. On the night, which may be Saturday evening to allow visitors time to return to their “clans” around the country on Sunday, the brandy will be replaced by Scotch whisky (s). The plan has to develope fast , but we shall update as we go.

robbie burns

Not sure that my son will manage a Cullen Skink , fish soup starter but a properly prepared Haggis with a Whisky sauce…… who can resist it ? Must buy a Kindle version of Burns’ poems pretty sharpish and pick a real “rude” one to shock the gathering.

A Computer Generated Modified Nissan NV200

19 Jan

digimods diving

I have been searching around again, looking for interesting stuff for visitors. I found quite a few other websites which are now referring viewers to this Blog. I will cover some of these referrals at a later date. For now though ,I hope you agree that this customised van design is simply outstanding. It takes a skilled person with an eye for that “Golden Cut” to produce such an attractive design, Bravo ! A job well done! see http://www.digimods.co.uk/ . Sorry to the Vee Dubber hardcore but I think this version above is right up there!

A Quiet News Day ( but with Loud Music if you are Adventurous!)

14 Jan

house of japan ny taxi

I thought that the introduction of NV200 Taxis to New York City was a done deal. Apparently not. It is from April 2015 when the real push to replace most of outgoing NY Taxis with specially prepared Nissan NV200. I have written about this topic before but spotted news releases from Nissan outlining the plan in more detail. Many of the cabs can carry wheelchairs. Something which the conventional but charismatic older American cabs sadly lack.
The first delivery of these wheelchair friendly versions is on it’s way to New York see http://www.nwitimes.com/business/local/braunability-filliing-big-nyc-order/article_46f49d08-8602-53e8-a357-5fb1b8c7766f.html and from Nissan http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/channels/us-united-states-nissan-cv-nv200-taxi/releases/new-york-city-sets-start-date-of-april-20-for-taxi-of-tomorrow-with-nissan?la=1

Now , a close friend and neighbour is a Taxi driver (that’s the link…….) and he is the very proud grandfather of 17 years old musician Finn Chilton who does the vocals and plays guitar in the “hardcore rock/punk” band STRAINS.
They were recently referred to as The Band to Watch in 2015 by New Noise Magazine. So, on a completely different Note ( Geddit……??? Note.) click on this link and be amongst the first to hear this talented and creative band. I think that they will have a remarkable future. see http://newnoisemagazine.com/strains-may-be-2015-best-new-band/

A bit of a Spring clean

3 Jan

canned food

We were making a longer than usual motorway trip and I had noticed the fuel consumption on our last London trip had dropped to about 49 mpg. I checked the tyre pressures. All OK. So I removed the clear plastic box of tinned food which we keep under the bed seat to reduce weight a little. Oh dear ! I found a couple of items out of date. Now usually, I don’t take much notice of use by dates. If food looks OK, smells OK and tastes OK then in my book it’s probably OK. I then had a look in the caravan cupboard. Being a bit of a pessimist at times, I am also a bit of a survivalist ( that’s optimistic right? I see a future even after the disaster.) and so we keep quite a stock of foods in the little mobile “cave”.Again, some of it was out of date or near to it. Some tinned sprouts and lovely little carrots and peas from our last trip to France. The French can lots of interesting stuff. I once bought a whole canned chicken that was so tender you could eat the bones! Also we bought some corner shop canned food near Bergerac which was labelled by ordinary local people using their meat, pate , vege etc but canned by the shop owner. The labels were so ornately written that I could not make out what was in them. I took pot luck and got some quail in a fabulous sauce. Some meaty pate with herbs and a mixed game “block”. Scrummy!
We also keep a few small bottles of red wine and usually some small bottles of sparkling wine such as Cava, Prosecco and Champers for our close friends “Bubbles” and “Stoddy” in case they trek out with us for a picnic.

mini sparkling wine
Now these items never get the chance to go off! Easy to dispose of. I drink ’em even if they are on the turn.LOL
The other thing about camper vans and caravans is the build up of what seems to be the content of Christmas crackers. You know, all those bottle openers, mini playing cards, dice, whistles, mini torches and misc “junk”. Are you like me , unable to throw any of this ……. stuff away?
misc items