Friday, 5 October 2018

Nobbies Reunion

Its been quite a while since 'The Nobbies' got together

Born in Portugal and affectionately used to describe the group of Russ, Lynne and Us, the term Nobbies springs from many impromptu tekky talks that Russ & I have had over the past few years
From Solar to toilets, waste gate valves to the quality of Alentejo wine, you name it we've disected it!

The good guys at South Lytchett Touring Park rearranged our weekend so that we could spend a couple of days down in Poole so off we trotted

No photos here but drama awaited of course!
Having assured us that they could take RVs easily I was agast as I parked up outside their entrance gate..

You're kidding me right?

"No worries, where's the tradesmens' entrance?"

"This is it Sir"

Amusingly we are now blocking the short approach drive to the site off the busy Poole road and a guy with an Autotrail MH towing a car insists he's gonna bend it around the front of our van and wind it through the opening at an acute angle
I watched as he narrowly missed ripping off the back of his van by just the one inch!
How I wanted the Prat to come unstuck!

Out comes one of the wardens and is so relaxed its unreal
I assure him there's no way we'd fit through there chum...
He assures me they've had several RVs through it and after he's doctored my mirrors all will be well
I'm a little agitated at this stage as he sets about altering the offside mirror with some allen keys he's produced. Didn't I just say its a non starter mate?

Oh well, go with the flow...
(not me I know)

A few minutes later and I am being cautiously led through the opening after the guy has scaled the ironwork to declare I have a foot spare up top
Mirrors are readjusted once they clear the gate and I see I have a mere 2-3 inches clearance either side of the RV and I'm watching the overhanging canopy metalwork the whole time

Phew! We get through and plonk ourselves on the big pitch next to the shower block and are instantly the source of much attention
This is something we are going to have to get used too I'm afraid 
After many years touring we prefer to park up out the way and keep a low profile but there's no where to hide now I guess and I will have to work out a cheerful patter when confronted with the now familiar obvious questions

Russ & Lynne are called and they soon turn up to get the party started and Nobby gets his guided tour

Next day they return in 'Bertie" and take us out for the day which is bright, sunny and very cheerful

A stop off at Corfe Castle sees us buying pasties and strolling around the tiny village

'The Nobbies'

The local train station on the Isle of Purbeck is a great find

Straight out of a Sherlock Holmes movie this station at Corfe had been lovingly preserved and is in full use today

We are blessed with the arrival of the steam train that runs this route several times a day

A lunchtime drink (or two) are spent at The Square and Compass at Worth Matravers and we take in the stunning views of the Dorset coastline

We have our walking shoes on and off we trot over the downs to the shore
The old Winspit quarry right at the sea's edge has us all amazed at how the guys extracted the stone from here years ago and didn't get buried in the process

Only the guys would dare enter the caves



Makes you think doesn't it?

A lot safer than hanging around inside me thinks

What a great day!

After another watering stop looking out to the estuary at Poole we are driven through the delights of Poole Marina after having taken the chain link ferry at Sandbanks

Russ reckons this is the fourth most expensive real estate area on planet Earth and we can believe that easily as there are many vast mansions that look too expensive for footballers tbh....

A hearty meal at the nearby Saint Peters Finger hostelry with complimentary wine courtesy of the touring park rounds off a lovely day spent with very good friends

As its not far from the RV garage in Somerset we make a note to visit this area again in future years as its just beautiful and there's lots to see

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Somerset for a week

So here we are plonked sideways in the yard outside the RV dealers 3 days early...
The weekend RV with chums 'The Nobbies' is put back a week after the site in Poole thankfully agreed to rearrange our arrival dates

We have lekky and water and Nick, a staff member calls to see we are OK next day

Monday arrives and we discuss the remedial work to be done to the RV which is minor really and Brad the Tekky gets on with the work

We walk to the nearby Old Down Inn, have a nice lunch and are advised that the bus stops opposite the pub that will take us to nearby Wells
Max is trapped on the back of the van and we are unable to release him via the ramp as we are next to the fence so we find ourselves paying a hefty fare for two return tickets to Wells

The cost was worth it!

What a beautiful traditional old English City

Barely big enough to be called a town but its Cathedral makes it the smallest City in England

Preserved and mostly lived in by professional singers and vocalists, this street near the Cathedral had us admiring the work of the masons

On the Tuesday the half shaft is reconnected and Tasca is driven in to the workshop with trepidation before we head out for the day locally on Max

Later in the day we discover a failed jubilee clip is the cause of the coolant loss and our unfortunate breakdown. Chris the mechanic sets about replacing other clips and giving the engine a tweak after Brad discovers the source of annoying fault codes that have shown up on his diagnostic check

Valve extenders, new burner electrodes, toilet valves and the like are fitted and Brad spends a day rebuilding the door lock internally to correct a problem
The fault list gets smaller with each passing day

The big reservoir at Cheddar

Wookey Hole gets a brief visit but we don't stay as its for kids really

The days are spent out on Max touring the local area with visits to Bath, Wells and the Cheddar Gorge which was good fun to buzz through

More Wells, more strolling...

We take a jaunt to Bradford on Avon on the Saturday to meet up with Emilja & Richard and their friends who have made an appointment to see a renowned wedding dress designer

The whole episode has Emilja and the girls in rapture discussing at length the merits of a 'perfect' dress she tries on...
The Boys went to the pub.....

The bike cover fits nicely on to Max and its a relief it fits so well

The slit up the back was the main issue but easy peasy for the guys at Bags4Everything
Paul the boss did all the vital measurements and his staff came up with a bespoke heavy duty PVC cover completely fit for purpose

I have the obligatory warning sign (to my knowledge only mandatory in Spain & Italy) ready on bungee cords for use in those countries later
 I didn't want a clear plastic holder built in to the rear to hold it as these break down early and don't hold up to the UV light and rain too well
Paul says we'll get many years of use from it, not cheap at £300.00 but better than the Fiamma equivalent of which I've had 4 that all end in shreds....

So we are mobile...
We are currently sat on a great site at Thurston near Emilja & Richard after a very easy pleasant drive across country from Poole (see next post) with no issues

The real test of Tasca awaits now
He's been stood unused for 6 years and now he's being put through his paces, but gently of course
I'm fully expecting further issues, who wouldn't? but will cross them as and when they occur
We are in this for the long term so anything that goes 'bang' now (under warranty) although annoying should see us better future proofed for the years ahead

The ferry to the Hook of Holland is on Saturday so guess thats when part two of our travels take off in earnest

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Our first breakdown

Had to come didn't it!
Anything mechanical that stands unused for years is the subject of much nervousness by new owners when its flexed appropriately
Our new to us RV is no exception!

Having said our goodbyes and covering just a few miles the dash starts to sing a song and flash persistent warnings
We are en route now to Poole and a welcome RV with Chums Russ & Lynne having booked on to their local campsite that can take big rigs
The engine goes in to 'Limp Mode' and its apparent I have a coolant issue as the temp gauge is very high and the word "Coolant' won't go away....
Thankfully we make it to a place of relative safety and the call is made

After a very prompt attendance by the rescue guy his diagnosis, and partly prompted by the amateur mechanic (thats me), is that the explosion of coolant from the rear of the RV engine out the pressure release filler cap is probably due to a seized thermostat
I do hope so!
There's coolant everywhere and loads on Max which I wash off

A three hour wait for the big boys ensues as they are in Sheffield on a job

The first wrecker is too small so reinforcements are called just as the heavens open
The plan is to recover us to Empire RV by towing method with front axle raised
Its on the way to Poole and we were due there after the weekend anyway

I'm informed that one of the half shafts needs to be removed from the rear axle to enable towing of the rear wheel drive RV

Strewth thats big, I thought and really heavy

Bizarrely after a lot of prep and quite pleasant trip down the motorways we are handed over to another crew at Strensham Services who have a beast of a truck to take us on the final leg to Emborough south of bristol

Disconnect one truck, bring in another

Simply lifts under the cross member and chained for security
Brakes disconnected manually again but no auxilliary air from the tow truck on this leg as they don't see the point
My thoughts later were that the air is there to keep the ride height correct but what does this amateur mechanic know right?

We are smiling for the selfie but in reality we are drained of enthusiasm and are finally laid to rest in the yard at Empire RV at midnight
Not bad from a 6.00am start....