Archive | April, 2015

A Health warning and a Denial (tongue in cheek!)

30 Apr

freedom microlite airship

Please read this in conjunction with the post immediately below.

Firstly, a big thanks to Libby and Martin for their kind comment.

The picture above is the Top Gear team flying the continental version (Predom N126) of our Microlite LE caravan beneath a superb Lindestrand “airship”.

The Denial: I have not, despite some suggestions from “friends”, started a new Xtreme Sport AKA Caravan  Base Jumping!  Plus: the holding up of  marking cards is just not  funny!       

  BASE-Jumping-at-Navagio-Beach1(Pic thanks to http://www.xtremespots.com/free-fall-sports/base-jumping/navagio-beach-zakynthos-island-ionian-islands-greece/  )

This courageous young man now makes me look like a scaredy cat!  Although I used to periodically work at heights up to around 1,200 feet (holes in the ground. don’t ask……) and having witnessed far too many accidents which make my own look very silly and trivial, I can no longer even consider a harness and safety chain. I could not do what this fella is enjoying.

As soon as my right arm is fully functioning again, I am going to remove the shiny cream, “skunk” stripe from my caravan roof by completing the polishing. Luckily my arm is strong enough for me to hold a glass of Vino for the weekly neighbours’ get together this evening.

Let’s be careful out there!

A small setback. A fall from grace……..

28 Apr

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When we recently returned from Anglesey, I realised just how grubby the Kamper and caravan were. Normally, before we head off for the first time in Spring,  I give the outfit a good waxing. The caravan may be 19 years old, but that’s no excuse for a lack of cleanliness and pride in your kit. Gave both units a good wash waxing but the caravan shine was lacking. I think that this was due to waxing and polishing it late last season in too much sun. A “bloom” had formed so it was out with the paint renovator chemical and a lot of rubbing rags. Yesterday, I re-polished the complete nearside of the caravan. Today, I “went for” the roof, working from a huge set of aluminium stepladders but struggling a little to reach the centreline of the roof. I had almost completed the job but got distracted, lost my grip and fell full length onto my back on the slate chippings. Totally winded and pain shooting through my bashed elbow and shoulder, I crawled inside the house. Eventually my other half heard my shouts for help and we got sorted out. Cleaning postponed……

wile e coyote

It was chilly and I was wearing a padded winter work jacket. “Luckily”, that , coupled with plenty of  self generated , internal, “Bio Padding”  helped prevent broken ribs and suchlike. A wake up call though to be more careful in the future. Glad that I didn’t bash my head on the wall, the railings (!) or one of the cobbles used as gate stops……………..

Ynys Mon. A short, sunny break on Anglesey

24 Apr

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With the weather forecast, for the week just gone, so good, we rushed to get the Microlite caravan ready. I pumped up and checked all the tyres and we went to fill up with Diesel. At the service station, I noticed that the caravan tyres seemed low. I topped them up and drove less than 100 metres to the tyre and battery centre. The guys there were great. Two valves were replaced, the rubber seats having been damaged by long term (18 months worth) rubbing from the wheel trims. I rechecked the pressures after a few miles and all was fine. I had to find a suitable place to do this as the first really big Shell station had appalling access to the air line. Access via the petrol pump area and then reverse back out. This was on a very busy location beside the M6 and A500.

Happy once more , we headed cross country to Anglesey. I had pre-booked last minute online via the Caravan Club website. A great site with good warden as ever but no shower or toilet block, which is OK with the tiny facilities within our customised “LE” caravan. The weather was superb with full sun and 20 deg C (ish !) and a light cool breeze. Perfect for walking off the winter’s excesses! We did a couple of marathon walks. One along the coastal path near to Moelfre, the other along the extremely long and undeveloped Newborough Warren beach. We basically wore ourselves out deliberately and now feel much better for it.

IMG_0293IMG_0296IMG_0300IMG_0301          We had a very pleasant few days, only returning for an important dental procedure to successfully save a couple of my “pegs”. Anglesey is great for ramblers. Now, where to next? Are we leaving the caravan behind on our next trip?

A pleasant day out in Shropshire

17 Apr

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Drove over to Church Stretton to pick up some stable doors to add a bit of character to the back of the house. Then diverted to the very lovely village of Acton Burnell to see the Castle and the Church. This ruined 13th Century fortified mansion has great history. It was the site for the first Parliament attended by all the “Commons” in 1283. The gable ends of the barn where it was thought to have been held are still present, but on private land. A truly delightful place with great atmosphere. There is a most impressive International College in the Village. The College looks like a very memorable and peaceful place to study. A great location to sit and read in the campervan over a cuppa.

Not designed to transport things but………………

14 Apr

cat close to steering wheeldresser in camper

On Sunday, we made a trip up to Chorley to pick up a “welsh dresser” with a difference. A very solid and heavy piece of furniture. We had measured it and decided that we could save quite a bit in delivery charges by popping it into the campervan. Made of sheesham (mango wood?) , it took four good men and a wobbly trolley to dig it out from the depths of “Bygone Times” and get it outside into the rain…….

 

dresser incamper 1dresser in camper 2

As you can see, once it was safely wedged on top of the timbers of the bed structure, there was not a lot of space left! The cushions, fortunately, are easily removed to prevent damage. We used the chromed table leg as a roller and to lift the front corner of the dresser above the plastic cover on the passenger seat belt. It was that close! The cab seats were both moved forward but we could just get in and safely drive.

old lady close to wheel Now, when I see someone too close to the wheel, I usually comment on  another ” window licker”. A description copied from two young friends of my son’s when he was young, I thought that it beautifully described this rather unsafe driving position. Anyway, for fifty miles or so, I was that window licker. (I did not actually, lick the glass, of course……..). We did get home safely, without being skinned by an air bag and with our local friends and Antique dealers to help, we got the dresser back indoors once more. Not what the Kamper is designed for but………

dresser 1 Don’t try this at home.

 

 

A Vivaro LWB Drivelodge on ebay

5 Apr

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Just searched on ebay for a Lunar Vacanza whilst the OH watches Indian Summers, an hour late. Then searched Drivelodge on ebay. The very driveable Citroen “Joey” is still up for sale at a very competitive price  see http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2009-59-CITROEN-BERLINGO-DRIVELODGE-JOEY-2BERTH-POPTOP-WITH-AWNING-/191538475346?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2c98953152 for £13 1/2 K !!!    Then saw a very smart Drivelodge Vivaro at a bargain price too see http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2011-61-Vauxhall-VIVARO-2900-SPORTIVE-2-0-CDTI-LWB-CAMPER-VAN-NO-VAT-/321713393172?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item4ae79cce14   I can definitely vouch for Drivelodge conversions. Ours has been faultless. Why not grab yourself a Spring Bargain?

 

Success for NV200 based Campervans at this year’s Caravan Club Awards

4 Apr

Judged at the NEC recently, The Caravan Club ran it’s 2015 Motor Caravan Design Awards. Class 1 refers to Micro Motor Caravans. In my words “Campervans”. In first place, Class 1, the Hillside Leisure Dalbury E:-

dalbury e-nv200

Made by Hillside Leisure , based in Derby, this electric powered camper offers revolutionary camper-vanning if the range and method of use fits your leisure plans. I can certainly see a way of using this vehicle for very cheap, quiet and interesting touring. Stopping each night within the battery range and recharging via the campsite hook up, before setting off again. You could stretch the daily mileage by using the quick charge unit.

dalbury e instrumentsdalbury e control

In second place , yes ! another Hillside Leisure vehicle, the Dalbury Action. A conventionally powered version of the “E” seen above. The layout is similar to the classic VW style, side cupboard, roll over bed which is becoming the favourite of  NV200 converters

hillside-dalburydalbury action bed

dalbury action 1

In third place, the Lunar Vacanza Camper Car. From the Preston based caravan manufacturer, this novel campervan has a very useable rear kitchen layout. With the bed made up, you can still make a cuppa or use the porta potti at any time. Useful if it’s raining heavily or “muggers abound!” (We did, once, become surrounded by drug dealing vagabonds whilst “wild camping” near Orleans, France but that’s another story)

lunar vacanza camper carlunar kitchen

The Lunar’s front lounge utilizes the four ,forward facing seats with those in the cab swivelling to provide pic nic for four. (We have dined with 4 people in our Kamper most sussessfully with the host hopping about a bit to serve everyone but dining for 4 DOES work if you are organised. )

lunar loungelunar bed

The bed is inflatable and I bet it’s comfortable. There is an electric pump.  We have had many comfy nights on a good quality inflatable mattress in a tent whilst touring France by sportscar. Do you have to have the front doors open and stand outside to put the bed up though? There is a child roof bed too , so theoretically the Camper Car sleeps four.

The NV200 is without doubt, an excellent base for a campervan. It is good to see recognition from such a well respected organisation, The Caravan Club. There  are several other converters, producing superb versions of these small campervans. (I find the  “Micro” description a little too small, if you excuse my phrasing!) But credit where it’s due. Well done to Hillside especially. A pioneering move!

I would love to try out the Lunar bed and layout. A fresh approach. Without these innovations where would we be?