Archive | July, 2015

Two Beautiful Houses south of Birmingham

29 Jul


Another great day out today. This could easily be a French Chateau. It isn’t. It’s Baddesley Clinton House not far from Solihull. A Tudor home used for more than 500 years. A retreat for hidden Catholic Priests at times. A beautiful atmospheric pile. If you have not visited, then I recommend that you do. The guides were brilliant! Some interesting and at times risqué stories! The flower garden shown above, sits within the house surrounded by the moat. We were there a long time talking and laughing with the guides. We hopped back into the Kampa and drove the couple of miles to catch the last two hours of opening at Packwood House.

Packwood_House)packwood great hall

Packwood House and the Great Hall. A great deal of conversion was carried out in the 1930s to “restore” this originally Tudor house with “mock” Tudor additions using original materials salvaged from other properties. My description does not do justice to the place and before I got there, I was a little put off by a similar description that I had read. Don’t be! Based around a genuine Tudor house it’s another National Trust gem. The embroidered tapestries hanging on the walls again are very like those to be found across the channel. Again the guides were well informed and fascinating to talk to. A very memorable day out in the Kampa.

What a brave man ?

29 Jul

walter palmer US dentist My Blog is a non political site but I could not keep quiet about this.


Since childhood, when my mom told me about my star sign, Leo, I have been fascinated with these beautiful creatures known as Lions. Some of my family lived in Zimbabwe when it was known as Rhodesia. Peaceful farmers, growing much needed food and never hunting any creature. So when I heard about this fella, Walter Palmer, killing this Lion with a crossbow (!!!!!) , I just had to comment. He is a Dentist from  Minneapolis Minnesota, USA.

I wonder how a boycott of this gentleman’s Dentist practice would go down? If he was my Dentist, then he would be immediately consigned to the ” he used to be my Dentist” bin. I hope that you agree.

A wet July day out

27 Jul

rufford old hall Rufford Old Hall, not far from Chorley. A Liverpool postcode in West Lancashire. A great place to visit. The historic family home of the Hesketh family, who later moved out to inherited places new (I believe) in Northants. We had lunch as soon as we arrived in the old kitchen overlooked by a huge cast iron range.

lancashire tea“Lancashire Tea”, a cheese scone, a firm piece of Lancashire cream cheese that I have never seen before. Homemade fruit cake, chutney and tea. Very local, very pleasant. Oh and a cuppa. Although in the 1970s, a certain wealthy Lord Hesketh got into motor racing in a spectacular way, hiring James Hunt as an F1 driver with a lot of glamour, expenditure and as I remember it FUN with a capitol “F” !!!!!! A guide was very knowledgeable but there was not much official info about this part of Hesketh business life. Lord Hesketh was also the driving force behind the inline Vee Twin Hesketh motorcycles. You can still buy a new one, I am told, for about £35,000 ( and I thought campervans were expensive…….)

18 Oct 1974 --- James Hunt and best man Lord Hesketh before the wedding. (James Hunt wedding). --- Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

18 Oct 1974 — James Hunt and best man Lord Hesketh before the wedding. (James Hunt wedding). — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

hesketh 1976hesketh racinghesketh motorcycle

We chose not to attend a talk on the construction of the great Hall as we shall be visiting again shortly and we set off cross country to Bygone Times to binge on another of our passions , Antique hunting.

bygone-timesThis time we only picked up a candle making kit and some textiles for my wife to store. Is any one else drowning under seas of cloth, fabric and cushions? (Hope she doesn’t read this !). Avoided the  queues  on the M6 on the opposite carriageway on the trip North and then South. Remarkable. But wet.



France….. this month? No chance.

25 Jul

acton burnell castle 3DCFC0055.JPGcambrian antiques

We left it too late to catch the Tour de France this year. We did not like the look of the delays at the Channel either and the last minute crossings were very expensive and mostly unsociable hours. Instead we went out every day this week doing what we do for fun. National Trust visits, Antique hunting and light lunching in the Kampa. Had a great week , even with a bit of cloud and some rain. Next week we may be staying out overnight and travelling a little further. We even visited the old Don Amott’s caravan and motorhome sales place at Hilton, off the A50. I remember when it was called Eggington Junction ! The family bought a continental doored Ace caravan a long time ago.  Had a quick look at a Going Go-Pod , a MWB Symbol and a LWB Mondial “universal van conversion” and a huge panel van conversion from Lunar on an automatic Merc costing just under £70,000 …. Lovely but far too long for comfort in use for me !

ferry queue Could not face up to any of this! Time to re-group for August onwards!

New Michelin Primacy 3s

24 Jul

michelin newkumho worn

At 24,500 miles we fitted a new set of Michelin tyres. The Kumhos were almost down to the marker pips within the treads. When the previous set got to that stage I continued to run them, hoping to get a little more out of them but a bit of wheelspin starting off uphill quickly shed a tiny section of tread on one tyre (they were NOT Kumhos by the way) exposing a  metal wire! I did not want to risk that again for obvious safety reasons and so this set were “sent down” a little early. I ordered the Michelin online from Formula 1 and got a significant discount by doing so. We have already almost completed a running in period, keeping to 50 mph or so for 100 miles. They appear to be somewhat quieter than the Kumhos but not hugely , which is a little disappointing. They do feel “smoother” in operation though but that may be just due to thick, new, 8 mm of tread. All four of the old tyres were evenly and equally, worn to the same extent and the re-alignment carried out when they were fitted did the trick. Poor aligment. due to kerbing, almost certainly contributed to the shredding which had occurred on the previous set.

New Tyres on order

21 Jul

michelin primacy 3

We have found the EHIC cards for health cover so we could now go to France depending on Ferry or Eurotunnel availability. Just ordered 4 x 205/45 XL Michelin Primacy 3s to compare against the outgoing Kumhos. mainly bought them as the Fuel (energy) rating and Handling (wet) are the same, according to the label BUT the sound rating of the Michelin is 69dB against a high for the tyre size of 74dB. There should be a noticeable reduction in road noise.A 5 decibel reduction in sound energy is very significant.  Michelin also claim a 20% increase in mileage life, like for like. I should hope so as the Michelins cost over twice as much as the budget tyres available. Always trusted Michelin in the past so Let us see !

tyre noise

3 dB means twice the noise. 6 dB is a whopping four times the noise. There are at least three types of noise from a tyre. Sidewall  ” pumping” noise. Tread “squirm” noise and road noise caused by differing road surfaces. A highly technically topic in it’s own right. Tyres are a very high tech product in every way.

Going abroad? Check your EHIC card now

20 Jul


The old E111  form is now long gone and for travelling in the EU you should have an EHIC card. Mine expired in 2011 and it takes 10 days for a replacement to come through! Most Holiday Insurances insist on you having a current EHIC to validate personal cover. You should have both for proper cover. Methinks that we may have travelled last time (or two times……… !!!!!!) with out of date cards!


I am currently awaiting some medical diagnostics (nothing drastic I hope LOL ) and would not want to take a gamble on what can be very expensive costs indeed. So, it looks like Tarka Trail  or Camel Trail in the South West rather than France, as our window of opportunity for a couple of week’s extended break is rapidly reducing. Just have to be practical about it. Gordon Bennett !!!!!! Medically, I need an injection of organisational hormone.

On a more serious note, we have experienced a holiday when my old dad, now deceased, fell off his bike into a river, knocking himself out in the process. Rescued by two unknown teenage girls, he was airlifted across Cornwall to  Treliske Hospital where he had his life saved once before, some  30 years prior. Goodness knows what it could have cost if it had happened abroad without insurance or NHS equivalent care.

cornwall air ambulance

Next time you see an Air Ambulance collection box, why not put “a few bob” in it?

STOP PRESS!  Now re-searching the darkest corners of the Dinkum dwelling for the EHIC’s which arrived in June 2013 ! Should not take too long to find ’em………. Any Ferries to France still with vacancies??????

Each snowflake is unique but the Kampa now has a village lookalike!

19 Jul

village nv200DCFC0051.JPG

Had a shock this morning. Still half asleep, I wandered downstairs to see my campervan disappearing down the lane opposite our house! Very alarmed and quickly emerging from my morning drowsiness I checked out our usual parking spot on our frontage and found my van still there. Later we went for a stroll around the village and came across ” our Kampa’s brother.” That’s it at the top above. Our’s is shown beneath it for comparison. The newcomer has a Drivelodge roof by the looks of it. Not sure if it is an unbadged ” Vacanza” from Lunar or more likely, a conversion from elsewhere. Anyway it’s great to see another NV200 campervan so close to home!  If it’s yours please get in touch with more info. I can also remove the photo if you object to seeing it here.

A pleasant delay-free drive home

17 Jul

A55 tunnel

We took the A55 North Wales coast road home. It paid off this time. Avoiding delays on the A5 and at Whitchurch. The picture shows the West bound tunnel in Colwyn Bay. We had great views of the just offshore wind farm. Some feats of Engineering to be seen for sure!


We did have just a couple of incidents of my favourite hate: tailgating by truckers. Not too bad so on a lighter note here’s a tongue in cheek poke at those who have no idea of stopping distances. ( Tailgating in the USA refers also to picnics ,using the tailgate on the back of your massive Pick up truck as a table.) Here, I refer to drivers following dangerously close to the back of the vehicle in front.


This made me smile! I could not bring myself to list seven secrets so I will leave that to your own imagination!



QR Code prize giving or what a small world!

16 Jul


Sneaked out at twilight to empty our old style porta potti and our neighbours on site commented on viewing the Blog and Using the QR code. A very nice couple indeed and travelling in a super smart Autocruise van conversion motorhome!

They have been awarded the prize as first people to notify that they have visited the Blog via the QR code route! I handed over a bottle of craft brewed stout and a bottle of craft brewed cider. They live only a short distance from Chateau Dinkum in one of our favourite Shropshire market towns. Life just gets more surprising! Welcome to the Blog folks.