Archive | February, 2015

It’s that time of year. Where do you want to go ?

28 Feb

angers evening

I am not absolutely certain but my hopes are, that Spring is in the air. On our walk, yesterday, we saw buds on the hawthorns and the sparrows (yes, they appear to be thriving once more!) were loudly chirping their enjoyment of the extra sunny days. So, putting aside our self induced workload, our thoughts are turning to where to go next. We act on impulse with these matters and at the moment, I feel drawn to our old favourite Camping du Lac de Maine in Angers, France. The 4 star campsite is within walking distance of the scene above. The walk takes you along the footpaths alongside the River Maine, across a bridge and you are there.

camping du lac two

I love the familiarity of the place. We have always found the energy to cycle there and come back fitter than when we arrived. We have met people from all over Europe there. A great place to start the year’s camping season. The site opens on the 25th March. My wife still wants to visit Scotland but our worries over her severe reaction to midge bites does put a dampener on it. There are ways round this, though and so we are not ruling out a trip to the North.

camping du lac

Straightaway, our thoughts turn to whether or not we take the caravan too? Do we travel solo with the bikes on the back rack and take the Tunnel awning? The benefits include faster travel, cheaper ferry and possibly reduced stress? When at Angers, in the past, we have usually NOT travelled out from there, using the site instead as a single resting place and not using the vehicle day to day, preferring to cycle to the hypermarket and into the city centre. I would not hesitate to leave the bikes there whilst visiting the Chateau or the markets. If the weather is on top form, the large awning would be ideal, coupled to the Kamper. We shall see. LOL

It’s an exciting time. Full of anticipation.


More on an Electric Theme

26 Feb

electric nv200 cutaway

Following on from the previous post (see below), the picture above (thanks to )
shows a cutaway view of the modified Nissan leaf drive unit and suspension fitted to the e-NV200. The van comes in a variety of specifications including a 5 seater combi (7 seater on the way?). A fast charge socket , additional to the standard socket adds £555 to the price:

fast charge £555 nv200

Costs of only about 2p per mile are promised. To monitor and partially operate the charging system, you can get an App for your phone.

carwings app

The “carwings app” shows a lot of useful info for your electric van. Thanks to John at for the info. Please visit the site for much more interesting articles.
I wonder if the carwings app could be modified to monitor my own calorie requiremments and energy output. Perhaps a screen on my forehead for my wife to read………..

Another little diversion of interest?

24 Feb

sir clive sinclair C5

Are you old enough to remember the electric Sinclair C5? I was at University when it was released and I loved it but all my fellow Engineers saw it for what it was and declared it impractical. Pretty sure it was £399 at the time. Then this came along:

bmw c1 city

BMW’s C1 City. A petrol engine scooter with weather protection, seat belt and in my opinion a much better way forward. Well, we now have this about to be put into production:


From L.I.T., or LIT ,San Francisco, it’s an all electric blend of motorcycle and car. It uses Gyros to remain upright and aid steering. With lots of computer power to keep it safe. For anyone who has used a motorbike, they know that it’s narrow width will allow “filtering” through traffic jams. A 0 to 60 of 6 secs will allow for making “good progress” and a range of 200 miles or so makes sense. The safety and comfort of a car with the freedom of a motorbike? see a video of it here Pity it’s too heavy to hang off the back of the Kamper! Estimated price is $24,000  and you can pre-order now. It even looks pretty stable in a side impact RTA

Service Done but………………..

24 Feb

lego grandpa simpson
Now, I am officially a Grandad but I can “Google” with the best of them. So, how is it that a National Vehicle Servicing company cannot reset the service indicator on a Nissan NV200? Here’s how it’s done:

INTRODUCTION: When your service is about to come due, a spanner motif appears on your dash panel and warns of how many miles until Service is Due. Mine came on at about 184 miles before. Then as you get closer to the service mileage, on switching on the Ignition, a larger Spanner comes on to tell you that the Service is now due. After you have had a service done, this then needs switching off to be reactivated for the next service period.

1. With doors closed and Ignition ON
2.Using the Left Hand button seen above
3. Press the LH button multiple times until “SETTINGS” appears on the dash panel
4. Twist the LH button to Scroll to “MAINTENANCE”
5. Press LH Button once
6. Scroll to “SERVICE”
7. Push and hold in LH Button until “CONFIRM” appears
8. Release and press once again . The service indicator is reset and the “Spanner” disappears.
9 Scroll back to exit. (Mine did this automatically on reset.)

NOTE When scrolling through the Menu, under Maintenance/Service is “OIL FILTER”. I had to reset this on my system before it would let me reset the service indicator. It may be because Nissan did the previous service ??

Now there’s no readers out there willing to cheat on their service are there?????? Please be decent.

An old Question arises again

23 Feb

snip k and c mod 20130807_194919 Regular contributors and Web Buddies, the “McDs” have been in touch with pics of their previous Freedom Microlite caravan and a lovely LDV motorhome which they owned previously. Due to conflicts on my ……… laptop with Outlook, I have been unable to show the pics here. However, they are considering towing again, this time with their super Drivelodge camper (seen above). We have always enjoyed the flexibility of towing our tiny Microlite LE. Regular viewers will know about it’s secret wet-room with shower and porta potti. see top picture above. Our Kamper has been used mainly, to date, as a day van. It’s in constant daily use, taking us to various locations and offering home from home convenience which is hard to beat. We can enter the most convoluted of medieval town centres without fear of getting stuck or being unable to park. When we have the caravan in tow, we have a fixed base plus the use of the day van. Do you tow with a camper van? Please add your comments below. I know that this is a repost but we have had loads of interest.You can see the shower room here on YouTube Yesterday we had an average of one viewing of the Blog every 4 minutes.

The Cost of Servicing

22 Feb

nissan logo express service

We have now owned the van since April 2013. It took quite a while before the conversion was completed and we actually got to use the Kamper in it’s full “top hat and tails”. The first service was carried out by Nissan at around 6,500 miles. They did a good job and I did not concern myself too much with the cost because I felt that a Dealer stamp was worthwhile, especially for the first service.
cycling weekly the tour of britain
We have been getting around on our own “Tour of Britain” and have recently clocked up nearly 19,000 miles. The service indicator came on, so I booked a service with our local Renault garage. I was a little concerned that they could not tell me what service would be needed. Obviously a 12,000 miler but was this a part or full version?
Even though it’s a 1.5 DCI Renault engine they could not find out and so I booked a full service. Details of what they would actually do were a bit “woolly” too. They quoted £265 for this. I shopped around with previous service centres which I have used for our other vehicles. Formula 1 Autocentres quoted £139 for the full service and could tell me exactly what would be done. Enough said, guess where I am going to take the Kamper?

Retrofit rear seats for NV200 van.

11 Feb

retrofit nv200 seats one
My brother recently had 3 seats retrofitted to his works van. They are a pair of two, side by side and a single rear seat , right at the back of the van. He has already completed a two thousand mile round trip to France with 5 people on board, in comfort.
retrofit nv200 seats three
The seats are complete with inertia lap and diagonal belts. Cushions are firm in the Germanic style, but high backed and comfortable. They look very smart and leave some workspace within the van. His insurers have accepted the fitment for his work use too.
retrofit nv200 seats two
Total cost was around £1500 which includes fitting and VAT. Not cheap but if you consider the cost of say a single “Rally/Race” seat plus mechanisms, seat belts etc it’s not too high a price if you need that extra capacity. I believe that they were fitted by VanBitz, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Busy times and a flurry of input for the Blog

10 Feb

martin bambi
Martin and Libby, who are very regular contributors, sent a couple of pics of their Bambi (also see post below.) I must admit to having a fondness for the Bambi. I drove the Bedford base van at the Vauxhall test track at Luton in 1990, in the faster company of GSI Astras and a Lotus Carlton ( remember them? ) . I got laughed at by my more “macho” chums but I thoroughly enjoyed that little van and it’s easy handling style. Plus no one set a faster time in GSI Astra before I got pulled in by the Vauxhall safety car. Spoilsports!
martin bambi one
Martin and Libby also sent 3 pics of an NV200 campervan live from the Glasgow Caravan show but posting got delayed by our round trip to London. Apologies for the picture size but still noteworthy. Are they secretly thinking of changing to an NV200 themselves? LOLglasgow show nv200 one
glasgow show nv200 twoglasgow show nv200
Currently awaiting some photos from the Stantons of their brand new NV200 conversion mentioned in an earlier post. Really looking forward to these. I shall be posting very soon about the retrofit rear seats fitted to my brother’s NV200 works van. Not cheap but very effective

The Evans’ Bambi. Nostalgia at it’s best!

6 Feb

We were contacted recently by a very dear, long standing friend of the family. She had seen the posting about our new arrival and becoming grandparents. I am ashamed to say that with all the excitement I forgot to email the news directly (or Dreckly as they say in Cornwall.)
To make amends, somewhat, here is a dedication to “Family Evans” and their Autohomes Bedford Bambi! The video below is not the one they owned, loved and enjoyed but it gives a super impression of what is actually crammed into these fabulous little ‘vans see with thanks to the real owners

Many a full day was spent by mom, pop, the dawg and our friend at Godrevy in Cornwall. Not too far away but their tiny motorhome also travelled as far as Ross and Cromarty in Scotland! That’s a more than adequate performance. Cornwall to Cromarty!
cromarty harbour
The willing little engine also travelled to East Anglia and was much loved by other family members too. Pat and Rae particularly. What fantastic memories have been created by using this Bambi motorhome. It’s putting our travel log to date, to shame. Better get cracking on the 2015 holiday schedule!

Trip to Market , a long walk and cold work.

4 Feb

Firstly this post is the 300th published on this Blog. Today we drove over to Market Drayton which has a Telford postcode to sample the delights of outdoor winter shopping.
A simple day out. Took as much as we could carry to Charity Shops. Some shopping, a carvery pub lunch (well , this IS a bit of a milestone for posting) then a walk to the nearby canal and a long straight walk in the sunny but freezing cold winter.
We parked at first in the Town Centre car park but moved to on street free parking after lunch. By the canal we passed several friendly folk, dog walking and came across a brave soul rebuilding the 4 cylinder engine of his narrow boat. I call them barges. It was bitterly cold but this chap found time , still holding onto a chilling chunk of cylinder head to explain his work. The engine ran it’s main bearings and crankshaft big ends due to diesel dilution of the engine oil. I filled with nostalgia and recalled a time when I rebuilt a Ford Transit 2.4 “Yorkie” engine in a field outside a friend’s farmhouse in the depths of wintery snow. The chap seemed to appreciate the bonding between fellow nutter machanics and he was smiling as we walked on. It’s a wonder that his face did not crack like ice……. What a stalwart fellow !