Archive | January, 2016

Getting ready for cycling from the Campervan

26 Jan


Having cut out alcohol completely until my B.M.I. differs from that of the Pilsbury dough man, I have started using my exercise bike to try to get ready for Spring holidays. I have fitted a frame to the exercise bike to take the Laptop and it looks not unlike this Peloton machine above, Except mine is in white. I also fitted a cheap, wi-fi cycle computer, calibrated to the flywheel size to show distance and  speed. Gardening wire can come in useful.I think that the Peloton machine comes with all singing, all dancing technology but mine is much cheaper but screwed together solidly. Essential…. for my “build”

To make it less boring, I listen to music and watch “virtual” cycle trails as I pedal. Up to now I have used my favourite trail around Lac de Maine thanks to YouTube but intend trying trails from Cape Cod Canal and if I can find one, a ride around Mohonk Mountain, NY State.

cape cod canal     Cape Cod Canal

mohonk bike trail    Mohonk Mountain

My kids have challenged me to get into shape for mid-year as a last ditch effort to stave off  “old campervan man” syndrome. How very dare they!

Burn’s Night. What’s on today?

25 Jan


Off to Heanor Antiques in Derbyshire today for one of favourite activities: driving around in the campervan and hunting for that elusive bargain. The Emporium is not too far from Kedleston Hall.

A National Trust treasure in it’s own right but got to check if the house is open in these wintery times.

It is Burn’s night again tonight. I shall be enjoying my haggis in my own non-traditional fashion tonight. Could not get the n eighbours that interested in a full blown party night ( some of them don’t even touch Scotch Whisky!) . A “Dinkum” all day Haggis breakfast for me then and a conventional one for my darling other half. Sadly, no alcohol for me at present, as part of a health campaign.. Sticking to it quite well at the moment!

Talking of hunting. Click on this small picture of an exotic, brightly coloured flying creature seen near  Loch Lomond by Martin. Shoot one of these and you would make millions ££££££

haggis in flight

Out and about. Biodiesel and NV200

20 Jan

flooding river dee holt

Recently visited Frodsham in Cheshire and Wrexham in North Wales. Here is a picture of the River Dee in flood near Holt, close to Wrexham. There was a surprising number of caravanners and motor homes pitched up despite the very cold weather and localised floods. It was so cold after walking around that we left the gas heating on and used the engine heating for just top up. The cab gets warmed from every angle.

With my Master Chemist son elsewhere, our bio-diesel “plant” is sitting dismantled in the shed. Must get it up for sale on EBay. If you are interested contact me via the comments box and I will email the details. Come to think of it, I should post the photos on the Blog. It may be of interest?

I have a couple of hundred litres of washed, dried and processed Bio-Diesel made from vegetable oil, ready to use. All I need to do is pump it into the tank via my super expensive filter system to give a last “polish” before use.

I would use it at around a 20% mix in diesel. Hard facts on the internet are difficult to find and judge but based on past experience with a late model  Fiat 2.3 Turbo Diesel  and the superb economy we got using Bio-Diesel, it may be worth a trial in the NV200. Any Couriers reading this with experience on NV200????

popular mechanics biodiesel

Something like this pic from popular mechanics. Pretty sure that my clean stock would also fire up my neighbour’s oil fired central heating but he’s not keen to try it , even as a test.

A Test Posting

20 Jan


Success ! I have managed to upload an image again. I used a different browser and….. Bingo ! It worked . This picture is a beach on Anglesey , chosen to tempt you to get out camping!

Technical Issues with the Blog .

15 Jan

I am currently unable to upload Media to the Blog. WordPress Forum has been most helpful but problem persists. I shall try to resolve this as soon as I can and resume “normal” posting. My apologies.

A slightly spooky, caravan related, story for the new (ish) year.

10 Jan

burns dinner for two

Some 5 years ago, we renovated two derelict cottages, ultimately, moving in to make it our home. We had blocked up the cellar, as originally the two cottages combined, were intended to become a rental for the local university.

We returned from one trip away in the campervan, to be greeted by a report from my son, that water could be heard running in the cellar, behind the walled up steps. I removed a ventilation cover and could just make out the certain sound of a small stream. Oh Joy ! It was quite a job to rip down the wall and make an access to get deep down under the floor. With much “potholing” and subsequent spadework under the yard , to the rear, I found an ancient and burst lead pipe which lay above the arched brickwork of the cellar roof but below the asphalt floor of the old kitchen. This was ripped out, blocked off securely and the water flow stemmed.

We decided to reopen the cellar. The concrete was removed and the quarry tiled steps were revealed once more. Lighting went in and the long job of drying out began.

All the brickwork was pointed up and painted and the cellar became a store for tools , timber and building materials.

Then, the popular local village pub closed and our social group had nowhere to meet up for a boozy night. I set to work again and converted the cellar into a little bar. During this work, I suddenly developed a major interest in old Romany, horse drawn caravans and began collecting parts to make one in the garden for my family to enjoy.I got lots of “comment” about my latest obsession.

It was quite a commitment. The timber hoops for the roof were expensive and decent wheels were difficult to find. I now only really need two more wheels and I can start building.It’s all stored away , ready to commence.


This is something like what I have in mind. It won’t turn a wheel but will be just a themed shed. I even found a very ornate ceramic electrical light which resembles a vintage “gypsy” oil lamp. There are components from as far away as London, Cumbria, North Wales and Shropshire.

As part of the the initial closure of the cellar, I removed an old work bench which had literally been built into a brick wall of the cellar. Stored in a greenhouse for a couple of years, it had dried out nicely. I felt compelled to fix it up and when constructing the new cellar bar, it took pride of place in one corner alongside timber wineracks all painted to match.

About 12 month’s ago, our respected friends and neighbours all got together and we had a grand opening in the candle lit  French style wine cellar. As we sat sipping our booze of choice, a near neighbour said how it was  around 24 years since he had last been in the cellar. I asked about the circumstances. He had visited  when it was previously the workshop for a retired joiner who used to live there. His name was Jack. I pointed out what I now knew was Jack’s old bench and the neighbour recognised it!  The neighbour then commented on how different the cellar was now. “Way back then” he said, “the walls all had shelves, covered with row upon row of little Gypsy caravans made from timber. ”  He went on

” Jack was obsessed with making them. he could not stop !”

Another neighbour, knowing of my own driven project, gave me a very wide eyed look and a pleasant little chill went through me!


No likey, no lighty !

6 Jan

corbyn take me out

Jeremy Corbyn, as a back bencher, apparently voted some  550 odd times against the Labour whip…………

I could not resist photo-shopping the “Toon” above. I wonder if he ever watches “Take me Out” ??????

Talk about “Don’t do as I do ! Do as I say !”. Where is the democracy in this?

Labour Reshuffle January 2016:   Corbyn rips apart a respected UK political party…………..

(Plus, never heard him mention the plight of motor caravanners once….)