Archive | May, 2017

Campervan dreaming.

31 May

Had lots of time to dream about our next trip away whilst painting the coping stones on our front wall. Very therapeutic !

Found these wonderful images to share with this in mind.

Click on the pics to zoom in.

Our next few nights away could be on a campsite adjacent to an old friend’s canalside cottage for their Summer party. A lovely little, child free, site, which is not in itself an important factor for us as we love kids, but at night you can hear the overflow from the nearby locks, gurgling gently and soothing you to sleep.

Got to turn the dream into reality. Get that site booked.

An electrifying Pickup and talk of Armour.

30 May

I recently showed some photos of some very Macho, XXL Pickup trucks from the USA., but here we have an E-NV200 pickup truck Lite. Does not quite hit the spot for me. A bit like drinking a Bud Lite on a cold “Gold Label” type of night !

Took a day off from repainting at home today to visit Chirk Castle near Wrexham. Having recently spent almost four weeks being chauffered around eastern coastal areas of the USA., it was brilliant to make the country drive in my prized NV200 once more. I genuinely enjoy handling our little camper, especially on the curving rural roads to the west of our home.

The head of the family which rented the Castle from 1911 to 1946, apparently was a medieval age aficionado and he had a suit of armour made for himself. It can be seen in the upstairs window below. He would wear this around the house and supposedly even ate breakfast whilst wearing it.

I did see some “armour” for the NV200 including a blingy stainless steel front grill cover and rear window armoured grills.

Will this become the norm for the Post-Election civil war between the “Dad’s Army” of  Brexiteers and the Liberal Millenial , Corbyn voters? LOL.

This NV200 camper van even has the stub of it’s own “Battle Tower”

NO !    This East Neuk Nissan Cub is far too good to be joked about. I would love one!

A reflection on Peace and where to search for Campsites

24 May

Looking back to the 1960s, during the Hippy movement and the promotion of Flower Power, the VW “bus” became a symbol of peace and love for many young people, both here, in the UK and the USA and beyond.

We are now back in the UK and starting a long haul of Summer chores around the house. Daydreaming of where to visit next with our camping “combo” of NV200 and small caravan. The horror of the Manchester Arena attack has me yearning for the anti-violence, but quiet,  campaigning of my youth.

Regular and frequent campers will know of times when , isolated on some remote campsite or beachside location, a fellow camper needed some help. From my own experience, the overwhelmingly vast majority of fellow campers are quick to pull out all the stops, give their time and sometimes money or wordly goods to assist.

I have seen engine repairs carried out at the side of a road, tyres taken for repair, spares collected from a local town and provision of food to the more forgetful. Toast anyone? How about bacon and eggs? Let alone giving unfortunate people lifts to and from a local hospital. Hoping we can return to those happier times.

             Where to look for that haven to stay for a few nights ?

ukcampsites.co.uk          In my humble opinion, one of the best places to search for a campsite !

see  http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/           Have a look for yourself. See you there ! Peace Man !

 

You cannot get further away from an NV200 camper van. The US., RV Scene

15 May

  Something smaller?

Smaller still?

If, you have a  4×4 Pickup, you can fit a backpacker or go “Fifth Wheel”

never mind the Quality ! Feel the width ! and as for the length……….

  Would you like to go large with your order Sir?

  Warning ! Driver training advisary !

Just throw the NV200 campervan on the little rack to the rear. We could use a little Kiddy House !

 

The final few days in Boston, USA. A great place to use an RV

14 May

We walked the Freedom Trail around the central section of Boston. The cops were closing the streets off to accomodate a protest rally. The trail was long and great fun. Spoiled for choice where to eat. Food available from every corner of the Globe.

This place had been on fire the previous day. There were still firemen in breathing apparatus investigating massive sewers beneath the street.

Contrast Paul Revere’s 1680 house with the modern tower blocks. I prefer the old timber places myself.

A little memorial garden on the trail. I gave away all of my change to an ageing Vet, living on the streets just afterwards.  A bagful of ignored, unspent quarters goes a long way.

This guy reminded me of an old biker friend and ex work colleague. Click on this Ian to zoom in. You know, the beard, the helmet and you on just one wheel……… LOL (Private joke, Sven. Sorry if it iritates you…….)

This is where we stayed. We had the ground floor. A bit noisy from traffic and visitors from the local bars but they all seemed pretty well behaved. The boiler was also like the one from the old Film ” The ‘Burbs”. Sounded like a Boeing 777 or similar about to take off ! We laughed a lot !

  Another, wet day, we visited Boston Science Museum for almost the whole day. Great for kids, so perfect for me !

Lots of wildlife exhibits but some interesting things on “Space” and all matters scientific.

It must have been tricky getting this photo of the whole Universe though

  Another lovely day in paradise.

 

 

Getting back to NV200s and camper van stuff

14 May

The last time I wrote about the NV200 camper van was on the 22nd April. That is some 3 weeks ago, I admit.

Today, I had a comment from Sven in Sweden. He was obviously very upset about my extended holiday ramblings from the USA. He visited the Blog to read about NV200 Camper Vans! Disgusted, he actually asked me to recommend a GOOD NV200 Blog. Well Sven, if you look back into the Archives and actually take the trouble to see how the Blog works, I believe that you will find things to interest you. This Blog has been in existence for more than 3 years and there is a lot to read. Keeping people motivated to keep coming back is a challenge. So taking a break from “my holiday report”, here is a bit about NV200s and Camper Vanning. I still get a visitor , on average, about every 6 minutes of so, 24/7.

If you can afford a secondhand van and either have the skills to convert it yourself ,or have the  additional funds to get it done by mates or by a converter, you can get one of the cheapest beds per night to sleep in anywhere you like. If you can drive there, you can stay there overnight. One of my top ten reasons to have a camper van. ECONOMICAL HOLIDAYS. ( Try over 3 weeks in the USA and compare that !)

   You can tailer make your van to suit you and yours. Individuality.

Cheap and convenient dining. A sandwich near the summit of a mountain? No worries !

Reliable? Sweet Handling? Easy to park? Economcal? NV200. Put enough money down and I will prove the 60 mpg claim. Not day in day out but achievable. Expect 43 mpg unless you drive like a complete prat………..

  Convenience where and when you want it. We like our own loo with us as we travel. You want it, you got it. Dead Easy. A flick of the curtains and you have privacy.

Still need to haul “stuff” about? The school run? Only space for one car? NV200 does the job unless you haul for Chipperfield’s Circus.

  Meet new friends, that stay the course. With a camper van you have it.

Don’t want to spend almost half as much again for your compact camper van. NV200.

I am fortunate to be retired. Normally by choice, I would not venture too far overseas for a holiday, let alone for a long period of time. I love my cat too much for one thing. When you are away from home i can be very dfficult to write about camper vanning, especially when yours is the other side of the Atlantic.

Please, Delve back into the archives. Use the search facility or even pop your search details into Google. This Blog is usually PAGE 1 GOOGLE. Images and/or text   You will probably find what you are looking for.

 

Kennebunkport then Somerville, Boston. Sun and Mexican food

13 May

We had sadly left the friendly City of Portland and headed South towards our final destination of Boston suburbs and the airport. We detoured to Kennebunkport. It was well worthwhile. This rather upmarket little seaside resort was , for America, a jumble of pastel painted houses and shops, sprinkled with Hotels, Bars and restaurants. Seafood was evident and the Lobster in particular seemed to be singled out for culinary abuse.

We spent more than we should have in the gift shops, our travelling companions even having a stunning model of an ocean going yacht, shipped to their office in California. Eventually, we tore ourselves away and arrived in Somerville at the Northern end of Boston suburbs.

Our modern, pleasant and fresh , ground floor flat, in a centrally located and busy location was close to a variety of delis from around the world. We had a late lunch in a Brazilian mini-mart. I had home made Portuguese style sausage , french fries (of course) whilst our group had a selection of fresh salads, meats and omelettes.

Later that same night, we eventually ordered a selection of Mexiacan food from a take out just a few doors away. The place was full of Mexican builders, picking up foof on their way home. That said it should be good. It was !

I did however make an almost fatal error ! The jalepenos looked just like the green, sliced ones that I buy, pickled from famous German supermarkets in the UK. So, I bravely, without any thought, ate the first big slice that I found on my plate. Mind blowing. Talk about clearing one’s sinus’  …………

The place is heaving with a multi-cultural mix of people. The atmosphere at the childrens’ playground (with open air public swimming pool adjacent) was a joy to experience. We sat soaking up the afternoon sun and topping up our sunburn.

A Foody post.

12 May

Whilst away we have enjoyed a lavish family wedding. Hospitality to die for and unlimited opportunity for sampling novel food and drink. One day , however, literally took the biscuit.

Above is a picture of Figgy’s. It is a tiny, takeout and catering shack in Walker Street, Portland. Southern Fried chicken is the speciality and we had ordered a recommended meal.

Inspired by tales of New Orleans, Robert .E. Lee and Hoteliers making millions $$$$$, we ordered half a chicken, a quart of buttermilk mashed potato, broccoli  with biscuit and gravy. Not Lo-Cal. I think not. Why not top it off with a favourite dark stout beer? With a difference. All will power gone? Try this

The verdict.

Possibly the best mash ever eaten. (I sound like my late mom !)

Lightly coated fried chicken worth swimming the Casco Bay for (and you will need to , to burn off the calories!)

A Southern State “biscuit” which is really a savoury scone ( almost a dumpling) with light brown “gravy” sauce.

George Bush’s favourite vegetable . Broccoli.  (That’s it’s only downside….. a Bush connection LOL)

AND the Peanut Porter ?  Fabulous dahling !!!!!! A blast of peanut butter when you open the can, which subsides into proper chocolate malt stout flavours as you swig. Weird but it works. Please drink it in the English village pub style, room temperature, for the fullest of flavours. Hope I can buy this in the UK.

ps Pass the insulin…………

IMG_0898

For the non-foodies amongst you, here is a picture of a ferry. I lost interest in it as soon as I smelt the chicken !

Victoria Mansion, Portland.

11 May

Regular visitors to my Blog will know of our interest in preserved old buildings. We could not leave the delighful City of Portland, Maine without visiting the Morse-Libby Mansion House , otherwise known as Victoria Mansion.

Using great wealth from the Morse family Hotel business in New Orleans, the house was created from scratch in 1860 in an Italianate style. Not symmetrical and having all mod cons for the time. Coal fired central heating, flush toilets and beautifully decorated by craftsmen of the highest order. Later sold to an equally wealthy family named  Libby, this larger family of the two put it to great use.

Our wonderful guide (shown here below) showed her four years of experience during her tour. American chestnut was used in places but is no longer available due to blight in that timber. The Morse family was pro-United America during the civil war when they could not gain access to their house from New Orleans, even to escape the yellow fever which was rife at the time down South.

Morse was said to have watched as Portland burned in a great fire. A lot of the brick buildings which can be seen now were as a result in safety laws governing tightly packed streets of predominantly timber buildings.

An excellent way of spending a few hours looking back on American history and the wealth creation of the 1800s.

Despite beginning some seven years younger than Chateau Dinkum, the mansion has undergone a great deal of refurbishment and repair. Thanks goodness our refurbishment did not include such exotics as Parisian curtain accessories, delicately inlaid carpentry and vintage carpets. Not to mention hand painted walls in the Trompe L’oeil style. Shadowed artwork fooling you into seeing 3 D images. Expensive !

The local architecture of Portland is very impressive. Within a very short walk from the Victoria Mansion there is a huge varition in styles. From classic large Victorian era grand town houses to colourful rows of more down to earth terraces. Less impressive is the view of my famous photo finger hovering above the fire hiuse museum (above right)

The City of Portland, Maine

11 May

We had a very full day’s walking around the City, waterfront and Old Town area of Portland. On the way down to the seafront, we had a good “nosey” at the houses. Mostly timber and clad with cedar shingles, these were much larger than the quaint Cape Cod homes and more in keeping with what we saw at Camden and Bar Harbor. Many were split into flats over 3 floors.

When we arrived at the main road parallel to the Casco Bay, we came across the pickups and vans belonging to workmen building a new high rise building. One had a Nissan badged NV200 “SV”

It looked very familiar. The City itself reminded me very much of the Albert Dock area of Liverpool although I got a little bit of Glasgow flavour coming through here and there.

Our party lunched at an Asian “fusion” food bar. It was very popular indeed and all seats were taken within

ten minutes of our arrival. Some Vietnamese , Indonesian, Japanese and Chinese dishes on the menu. Very novel to me and most enjoyable. We walked miles and stopped for coffee a few times.

Altogether another pleasant day. although Cities are not my first choice of holiday destination usually.

This beautiful old Ford stepside caught my eye. My broken iPhone somehoe took over a dozen rapid shots due to the screen damage over the camera operating section of the screen.

Like in any City, there were homeless people around and many appeared to have mental health issues. There were less in this large City however than in just one of our six town centres. I am unsure as to what that may indicate and therefore make no further comment.

On our walk “home”, we saw an enormous truck being towed by an even larger tow truck. The driver was very skilled and cleared the intersection very quickly without drama.