Friday, 10 August 2018

London Calling

Its that time of year again to meet up with chums Pat & Jane for a few days of 'Adults behaving badly'
No dodgy activity you understand just folks of a certain age exchanging views, opinions, laughs, pub crawling and giving our tired bodies all the punishment they can take be it walking around a big city or consuming far too much alcohol
Oh well, someone has to have fun after all!

On the way down to London we are passed by another big RV pulling the company service vehicle
Small world it seems...

After meeting up at Thurrock services for a cuppa Pat & Jane head off to the Abbey Wood site with me following they wrong!
Trusty Sat Nav (who now really does need to be obeyed due to size, length, weight...etc) takes us somewhere else initially
Simples...It was still set up for motorways but NO tolls
(Only guys with bigger pensions use toll roads I've found 😊)
A quick reset and Dartford Crossing here we come!

On the largest (and best) pitches we are safely tucked away on the wooded site in the heart of Abbey Wood south east of London

Setting up is done and we are off in to nearby Greenwich via the new train station

An Airstream caravan (or similar)

Greenwich is reached!

Its a baking hot day and the hoards of tourists (Like us) are out and about near the Observatory

Actual pubs/drinks and any photos relating to them have been lost in a blur at time of posting this so if you want a blow by blow account feel free to visit Pat's precision recollection at Help! I'm being dragged around far too many pubs 😉

One of many...

An Arena

A Capital's skyline

Some Muppets

Part of a Monopoly board

Elementary my dear friends...

A Hound

A bus

A Regal house of residence

On the hour the horse guards change at the Household Cavalry

Some are not so keen to be brought to heel...

We were lucky enough to be allowed in to the courtyard and we felt quite safe with these guys nearby

Now that's a proper crane

Pity really but then restoration work needs to be done sometime

A Big Wheel

HMS Belfast in the background 
39 years ago I took Nina's photo on the ship when we were teenagers...

Yes the occupants were everywhere following their tour guides

A proper ship

An Iconic bridge

A big church....😃

The sunday was spent back in Greenwich again in baking heat wandering this lovely suburb and sampling various refreshments

A hour or so in the Maritime Museum went down well with me and my fellow chums were quite patient as I ambled along reading almost everything

With the days spent walking around the sights and the evenings sat in or out our mobile residences the time passed far too quickly
We'd definitely come again as its completely doable for us in the RV, the connections to the Big City are really good and the site is first class
Perhaps a little cooler would be better but there will be many years of average weather in which to look back on the Heat of 2018!

Next up is a visit to Kent to get the Dinitrol undersealing done...

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Moving 'House'

Shortly after getting off the ferry at Poole we meet up as planned with a guy who buys our 29ers (bikes) from us as they are simply not being used now as we prefer to do our exercise by walking the hills nowadays
They've served us well but no room 'on the bus' for them so time to part company...

Around lunchtime the same day we meet up with Nina's Mum & Dad who have made the trip south in their van and go and see this little terror
The new addition to Nina's nephew's family he is the centrepiece for the day stealing the show from proud parents Thomas & Victoria
We all meet up in Swanage on a very hot day and pass the afternoon in glorious sunshine in this very nice seaside town before going to the RV garage

Well this is it!
A long few months waiting to take ownership of our new home then finally we are here

Brad shows me the 'solar farm' up top and I'm impressed with his work
6 x 150w panels (space for two more he says) coupled to a Victron 3kw charger/inverter and Victron MPPT 100/85 charge controller
This is finished off with a remote interior control panel and bluetooth capability so I can wile away the hours studying my electricity production on my iPhone App (Sad Innit?)

So begins the two stage changeover in searing heat 

We remain on site for the weekend 'road testing' the on board systems which is a very steep learning curve and taking time out to unpack the goodies I've had sent direct to Empire RV to stock out the RV's essential kit

We return with our 'Eurobox' & trailer to the very dry Dethick and spend a couple of days grafting in the form of intensive tree surgery to the access lane
This is essential as there needs to be good clearance for the RV from overhead branches which have formed several tree tunnels down the lane
What I imagined to be a few hours work turned out to be a very full day with Nina's dad Terry, Mick the farmer and yours truly busting a gut each with the aid of tractor, trailer, chainsaws and lopping blades to create a path through
Terry & Mick worked really hard that day and without them I would have been really stuffed

On the wednesday of that week we take a very pleasant trip up to Sheffield for the wedding of Nina's brother Antony to lovely Sharon
A relaxed registry office affair with just a few family and friends and an amateur photographer.....Me

Completely not keen on being trusted to photograph an important event such as this I'm persuaded by Nina to step up to the mark and thankfully the shots, albeit quite amateurish, came out OK on the day I think

The deed is done...

"With this ring"

The dress

The wedding ensemble on a very hot afternoon in downtown Sheffield...perfect!

The Jones contingent

Mother & Son

Scrubbed up well don't you think!

Lynda & Terry kindly take us back down to Bristol to pick up Tasca (thats 'Arvie' if Nina's talking) and we spend another weekend settling in before setting off on the monday down to Taunton to Vanbitz for the alarm fitting
The staff are superb being both professional and curteous and its my first drive anywhere of course of the 'bus'

I'd like to say its a breeze but I'm shaking like a leaf as its just SO big....
Its been ages since I've driven a HGV let alone one the size of this but I kinda enjoy the experience and look forward to getting in to the groove in subsequent trips
Its a beautiful ride, on air of course, engine in the back and almost imperceivable auto gear changes

We have BIG grinning faces....

Wetherspoons in Taunton gets a visit and we are shown the essentials of the 'Growler Strikeback' security system that incorporates 5 wailers and an immobiliser

We spend two nights on the adjacent Cornish farm campsite occupying most of the gravel hardstanding area

A more relaxed and pleasant drive follows as we return to Dethick and take up residence front and centre in the 'field with the view'

A better view and location I challenge you to find anywhere....

Friday that week sees us remove all our former household wares and personal effects (my golf clubs) from long term storage where they've been for the past 6 years using the van & trailer in two runs

Mick, our trusted host and friend provides temporary storage and off we trot on the sunday morning at 6.30am for what was to be a once only car boot sale

Our life on several tressle tables

30 degs of heat and the willingness to accept stupidly low offers sees us offload almost all my power tools and loads of household items
The genny was there to provide proof that the tools worked but I accepted a good offer early on by a guy who snapped up loads more bargains
What's left is destined for eBay and the charity shops...

A few days later its time to say a fond farewell to 'Billy'

Final clearout of the old van..

He's looking as good as new (well almost) and we take him on our final trip this time to Motorhomedepot the broker who he'll stay with until he's sold on

Mick and Deb come in their spanking new Mazda convertible to see the RV (and us I guess) and we promptly go walking to Matlock 
Spoons as ever gets a visit, rude not to really!

Next day we pack an overnight bag and Max it down to their gaff and they feed and ply us with quality home brew from the Brewmeister's personal stock
The inevitable Katsu curry is prepped by Mick and we are fattened up further with Deb's speciality cheesecake (I think we are going to put weight on whilst back here)

Another trip out for us albeit just the one night to Armitage Trailers follows the week after where we have the steel work sized and cut for the scooter rack on the back of Tasca
This will be a bespoke fit for them as the scooter is too heavy for either of their standard motorcycle racks and needs to made from industrial strength steel and fitted securely to the chassis
A trip back in a few weeks will be necessary for final fit

Back to Dethick then and we are greeted by hundreds of sheep now occupying 'our' field
After several days of avoiding the innevitable sheep poo and putting up graciously with their rubbing against the RV and getting under the body with the engine I seek a solution

An initial electric fence is installed and Mick the farmer works on coaxing the zapper in to action
With limited success and the lambs charging the netting (at this stage without the 12v current) we abandon the idea for an installation of barriers last used many years ago
Its perfect and with a gate! 

The sheep are well cheesed off with this and sit outside the fence with what I am sure are angry faces
Hudsons 1
Sheep 0

We settle down to a couple of weeks spending time with family and getting lots of new jobs done in and around the RV
During this time the trailer is sold on eBay and we are now busy selling off unwanted items where we can

Hank pays a visit one day and we do a pleasant walk through Riber down to...

Spoons... in Matlock where we team up with Kev Rhodes and mate John Savage for a couple of very entertaining hours chat and banter

Next up is 'MadPat' and a London sojourn...