Archive | February, 2017

An unplanned trip to Liverpool. Where’s me shirt ? I am a shirt short………..

16 Feb


Following advice on what I shall be wearing at an upcoming Wedding, I needed to get properly measured for a decent shirt (or dozen.)  We headed for  T.M. Lewin at The Metquarter, Liverpool One. Although we have a number of relatives living in Liverpool, it’s an area that we have rarely visited. We took a different route from usual, heading North from Chester, up through the Wirral and used the tunnel to get into the city centre. A nicer route than the usual M6 and M56 or M62.

Following the signs for Queen Square car park, we almost immediately went wrong, taking a sign left into the very full, Museum car park. Did a “Huey” and quickly found the multistorey car park. I had double checked our height, 1.93 metres including the pop top, so the 2 metre warning limit did not deter me. Ho Hum…………….


A short distance from the warning barrier, the roof seemed extremely low indeed. So I proceeded at a crawl. Our centrally mounted roof aerial flexed down as it does in these places and we carried on.

Feeling rather like an Antique electrically powered Fairground Dodgem car, we proceeded slowly


With a “waffle” concrete roof, the aerial rattled on and off all the way to floor 3a where we found a generous spot and we parked up. Make sure we have the barrier ticket to pre-pay before leaving! and we left for the shops. I had another Harry Worth, Mr Pastry or Mr Bean moment and we walked up towards Lime Street Railway Station having exited via the Marriot Hotel entrance of the car park. Signs for pedestrians were very poor.

We did a walking tour around the area before being directed towards The Metquarter. We did a full circle and outside the entrance to the car park once more, we were actually in Whitechapel, our destination. We then swiftly found TM Lewins where we had superb, knowledgeable advice and service like the old days of Gentlemens’ Outfitters. For the elders amongst us, like Dunn & Co., used to give for example.

Back at the car park, we searched for the Pay Before You leave machines. None to seen and no signs anywhere.

Another user told us to pay on exit . Before we could reverse , I had to unscrew the aerial to avoid trapping it in the “waffles” in the roof and off we went. The car park has something called “Q” Park system


Again, no signs explaining one’s options, until we get to the exit barrier. No amount of ticket fiddling, inserting debit card or what have you allowed us to pay. Hazards on and irate people behind having to use the second exit barrier (at our exit. There were others too). Eventually I got advice from the machine speaker to Pre-Pay before leaving in the Lobby. No advice on where the Lobby was until I got annoyed. Floor Zero, says the voice. No signs for floor zero but I glimpsed the machines through a gap in the concrete walls and a glass panel.

We paid and escaped into the City Traffic, roof intact and aerial safely stowed out of harms way. For Quality in Parking, I would suggest putting in some extra signage. For a first time visitor this car park not user friendly at all. Avoid.


Valentine’s Day

14 Feb


To read how Valentine’s day started see


“Combi Camping” is for us. Tow a caravan with your camper van. The best of both worlds!


In the four years that we have we have “been together” the only fault, which was found during servicing, was a leaking rear brake cylinder. Never let us down on the road.

elddis pikup m1kampa mattress from nearside sliding doorIMG_0376IMG_0300

IMG_0026drivelodge work in progressDCFC0001.JPG

DCFC0055.JPGDCFC0058.JPGdrivelodge bed one

Just a bit of fun today. So I chose a random few pics to show off my Kampa. Here’s the real love of my life:

DCFC0007.JPG You thought that I was going to show a picture of our cat didn’t you ?

(Don’t forget to scroll down to see more  recent posts. Also see the Bow Top Blog   )

Mostyn, Flint and North Wales

13 Feb


The weather was bright and clear blue skies all around this morning, so we set off for the North Wales coast road and Abakhan Textiles at Mostyn, not far from Flint. We arrived at lunchtime and most of the shoppers were in the cafe so we joined them for a rather expensive lunch. I got quickly bored with fabrics and textiles and left my wife to shop and went outside for a nosy round. I quickly came across a couple of motorbikes. One, a Honda Goldwing and the other something quite special indeed. A trike, with two front wheels. At first, I thought that it was a customised Gold Wing but a closer look and a chat with the Lady owner proved otherwise.


Before the owner arrived to catch me taking pics of her pride and joy, I noticed the belt drive , the very comfy looking seats with back rests and the obviously high specification. Before I had chance to actually read the little poster on the inside of the windscreen, I got a verbal explanation from the Lady pictured on the poster itself. Her husband had just left on the black Honda Gold Wing.

They had been all over Europe to “Wing Dings” and I told her of my trip to the Bol D’Or in 1998 on my Yamaha FZ 750. I had seen many trikes at the Bol. Most were converted to thumb throttle and highly modified for disabled and accident amputees but this Can Am Spyder RT Limited was manufactured  as a trike and not a conversion. It came from BRP and shared quite a lot with “Ski Doo” snowmobiles made by them. This one had a 3 cylinder Rotax engine of almost 1.4 litres. A six speed box plus reverse gear. A whopping price tag of £27,000 and a WOW factor of immense proportions! Searching the web produced lists of jargon based features but these were serious things to have on a sophisticated trike with a hefty power to weight ratio. 400 kg and about 115 bhp anyone?

Featuring  A.B.S.,  Traction Control, Stability Control, Dynamic Power Steering and a Digital Security System, you want for nothing! You Tube has this :

This incredible piece of kit is from my late fathers homeland of Canada. There is some link with Bombardier of military trail bike and railway engineering fame, I believe.

Coming soon, you will be able to read of my adventures to the Bol D’Or . Details of the book to follow.

I chatted with the owner for some time, mentioning my very recent post on my Bow Top Caravan Blog about the Morgan 3 Wheeler and a test  ride in a manic JZR Pan European.  see

I thanked the Lady for her time and wandered off to take long distance pics of the old “Funship” which is anchored nearby and used to be used for selling bargain basement items and latterly, Antiques I believe. Pretty sure that Salvage Hunter, Drew Pritchard has been seen visiting on his TV show.


To continue the self imposed embarrassment that I seem to create. I also mentioned to the Can Am owner that there used to be a “similar looking, Classic British Leyland Mini based trike ” called as I claimed wrongly as it turned out a “Scorpion. ” Investigation this evening showed my memory had let me down and I was thinking of the ” Stimson Scorcher”. Gulp ! here’s an example:


Bloody Hell ! It’s only similarity is three wheels! It looks like something that Fred Flintstone got rid of for being obsolete! I offer my humble apologies to the Lady owner of the Can Am Spyder. My face is bright red right now……

Postscript : I think that I may even have been thinking about THIS “Scorpion”. Maybe I am forgiven?


The weather held out all day. What a day it was too! I love the unusual and I certainly found that today!

From the Land of “Micro Compact”, Japan

11 Feb


Whilst taking a break from prepping his own caravan for Loch Lomond, Martin took time out over a coffee to send some links to YouTube about the TENTMUSHI Japanese micro campers. They even have a tiny model of their tiny model including a Campervan towing a caravan in the “Dinkum Manner”. I am going to call this Combi Camping from now on.


Regular readers will know that I am an advocate of Combi Camping. An all singing, all dancing, well equipped caravan as a base, coupled  with a day to day mobile unit for those beach trips or forest foraging. ( Do not confuse this with Nigel Farage, although I always try for a quiet, “soft exit” when closing the camper doors on site especially at night…………) 


There was also a link to Japanese made NV200 Camper Van:


The Tentmushi range is the most popular of RVs in Japan. Here’s some more:


There’s even a 6 Wheeler !


Tentmushi sleep up to four people, two in the roof, which must be reinforced? I always took the weight restriction on the NV200 roof as 100kg? so two in the roof is probably too much.

I am off to get some Sushi in my Tentmushi. Bye for now.

Bizzare Behaviour ? Is it just me?

10 Feb


Some gestures have a very clear interpretation. This is Elizabeth Hurley in Bewitched. I would be pretty certain of what she intended if she signalled to me. More on this below. Please keep reading.

Today, after a week almost wholly  taken with staying home to get a new combi boiler fitted and my wallet emptied, we made the short trip to Market Drayton for shopping and some lunch before heading across country to Dagfields emporium to unwind , looking at curios, antiques and collectible assorted junk.

I say “almost wholly” . One day we did get to take our dear friend and her daughter out to lunch at a busy pub in Woore. Our friend was over from Australia, having recently lost her husband of many years. It was a sweet and sour reunion for us. Her visit drove home the finality of losing a very close and valued friend but we got to see someone, whom we thought we may never see again when they headed off to Brisbane a couple of years back.

It was good to be able to relax again today. Then, when we left the emporium to return home, we got to a tee junction by the Boar Inn, which has recently closed. I hope it’s for a refurb and not yet another good country pub lost to developement. This junction is on a very fast, country road. It’s a staggered cross roads and demands respect at all times. We were turning right out of the “tee”. From our left, came a posh car, which stopped back from the junction. It just stopped. I waited for the male driver to make his turn right, in front of us and then into the road from whence we came. No. He just remained still. No flash of headlight .Contrary to the highway code, I know. But also contrary to common practice from several decades past. I checked for other vehicles and then noticed his black leather gloved hand. One finger. Yes, one finger, was motioning for me to come out! It was just visible and thanks to my prior tuition in micro searching visually, from a Golden Eagle, I just spotted it! Puzzled, I pulled forward and got safely away.



The driver immediately turned from man of tiny movements into road rage leaping ape. I had taken too long to respond to his quiver of a gesture. Perhaps, if he had also brought his eyebrows into action, Roger Moore style, then I could have reacted more swiftly. No wonder confusion reigns. Maybe he spends too much time messing with a touchpad????


We drove the rest of the way home, passing Bridgemere nurseries and our favourite pub at Woore. Arriving home, I signalled to make the tight hairpin into our frontage and a car coming the opposite way stopped to let me cross.

Yes ! You guessed it ! He was giving the magic micro movement, one finger , ” please go ahead with your manourve” gesture. It looked as if he was picking at a scab or trying to peel a screen protector off his mobile phone.

Is it just me……………. ??????


Hot News from the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

4 Feb


Looks familiar?    Think again !   This is the single bed version of the East Neuk , Touring Cub from the father , son and  seven strong team based in Fife, Scotland.    see

Martin has yet again sent in the latest news , this time from the Glasgow Show, which is on this weekend. This high top NV200 has been shown prevously on the Blog, again thanks to Martin,  but news and photos were scarce. Here’s another view


I cannot wait to see one of these in the metal. Knowing the size, feel and scope from our pop top camper van, this first (?) high top NV200 conversion has got to have a spacious “Tardis” atmosphere with it’s walk through “corridor” from the flat floor cab to the rear doors. I would definitely use twin, or a single swivel cab seat to maximise that feeling of space which must be present in this very compact vehicle. Remember the advantages of a level floor right through the vehicle. You can make use of the cab as part of the habitation section. Many people use Nissan NV200 camper vans solo, sleeping alone. One has visited our home to pick up the original wheels and tyres left over from our conversion by Drivelodge. That pleasant chap was using a canoe almost daily from his van. We have also had several communications from both men and women who use NV200s without a companion or with a pet. Most were self-converted but not all, by any means. One lovely Lady bought from Sussex Campervans after contacting us, I believe.  I wish East Neuk every success! Here’s a fresh look at that high top


At the present time, that’s all the information I have but will post updates as they come in. Thanks Martin for these pictures of this innovative high top compact and very useable camper van. Dare I call it a mini motor home? 

Yes, I think so.

see the very first pictures from Martin by clicking on “related” post shown below in red.