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BLOGS 151 to 155 - Feb & June 2021

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Blog 151 - Images from Blogs 68-145 "recovered"

by keef & annie hellinger 20 Feb 2021, 9.24 am

Technically speaking Flash vanished at the end of 2020 at least for Google & Microsoft browsers, moonfruit have found a clever way around this via Firefox so I've been able to copy back all my hidden images, so I'm very pleased with that. I've managed to put all the images that are associated with that middle set of older blogs (i.e 68-145) into a batch of slideshows. They are also available via each of the those blogs directly from the indexes in the dropdown above. If you wish to look at the full picture slideshows, plus each individual batch of earlier blogs images and the rest for 2021 including a whole stack of lockdown picture quizzes to keep you amused, with answers all on this website, please click HERE.

Thanks for looking, folks.

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Blog 152 - Abandoned NC500, Harris-Lewis-Mull Trip, Scotland

by keef & annie hellinger 20 June 2021, 5.20 pm

Motorhome trip No 42 : Jun 14th-19th 2021

NOTTS->Birnam Perthshire Scotland ->NOTTS by 3 relay transporters (boo!) 497 miles

This was to be our 1st true motorhome trip outside of lockdown for a month to Scotland taking in the North Coast 500, Harris and Lewis and pals on Mull

After all the meticulous planning and wrestling to get campsites on the heavily overbooked NC500 sadly we only got to do 6 days , but what lovely six days visiting pals Mandy and Colin in the Lake District, staying and visiting Coniston Water, an interesting Caravan and Motorhome club site in the Coppice woods with now 350+ pitches (we stayed on pitch numbers 302 & 194, they also have glamping pods) with a lovely walk down out of the site across a farm to Coniston Water, revisiting reunion site at Threlkeld, and 3 lovely days in Glasgow staying at the Strathclyde Country Park (pitch 99) and using Park & Ride from Belshill to get into central Glasgow, a city we dearly love, the highlight of and there were many 2 days on the trot in Mrs Cranstons Charles Rennie Macingtosh’s art nouveau inspired Willow tea rooms, class plus some fab art by his wife Margaret MacDonald (esp. the gesso panel on the stairs) and the Mad Hatters tea party was a true delight, plus the Kibble glass house at the fab Botanic Gardens , in our humble opinion a true competitor of Kew Gardens.

We endured / listened (quietly to hide our accents) the Tartan army ready to travel to Wembley at the Central station and again in George Square, very loud of voice but happy and well behaved (maybe?) with liquid food (Tenants) for the journey.

Anyhow SADLY because on the way up to Inverness on the A9 to start the NC500 after seeing now both Perth’s (Scotland and Western Oz) our lovely Wendy house started to make the most incredible noise from the engine and power slipped, we pulled off on a side road sign posted Birnam and stopped it. I have had an experience with an old Cortina years ago where the engine timing belt snapped and knew it could damage the engine. We contacted the insurance folks who sent out a mechanic from Blair Atoll who said it’s the timing chain. Sadly no garage in the Highlands could do it and after ringing around getting it fixed in Perth / Glasgow would have meant upto 2 weeks in a B&B / Hotel, no fun so reluctantly we decided to get transported back home.

Bad news, but no one is hurt, we will get the van sorted locally (hopefully it doesn’t need a new engine but who knows) and will redo this trip next year.

If you would like to see slideshow of our “limited” fun please CLICK HERE, thanks

PS we now LOVE French Earl Grey tea, give it a whirl if you can find it

PPS the first transporter driver from Blair Atoll quipped "I love nothing better than deporting the English from Scotland" ;) plus remember after the England / Scotland 0-0 draw at Wembley in Euro 2020 (played 21 becase of Covid) the Scots TV station played Braveheart ;)

If you wish to see our complete set of UK campsites stays please click HERE

Thanks for looking, folks.

PLEASING UPDATE: 14/7/21 after 3 and 1/2 weeks in major surgery our beloved Wemdy House is now back on the road and as recuperation we took her out for a 40 mile spin to put the engine under pressure, I am pleased to say all OK so can now start planning a few local trips to continue her rehabilitation ;)

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Blog 153 - Replacing the Gas Struts in the Roof Vent

by keef & annie hellinger 18 July 2021, 4.50 pm

Hopefully a useful Hint & Tip

Sadly whilst we were away on our ill fated Scotland trip , until the engine gave up (see blog 152, now rather costly repaired but we would never give up on our trusty Wendy House) the roof would suddenly not stay open on full.

Lesson Learnt : re cambelt failure never entrust a Motorhome company to warn you your cambely may go, mine is every 4 years or 80k miles, Don Amotts general manager told me that sort of stuff was the customers responsibilty not them who i have entrusted our vans engine health to for 9 years. Not sure I will again.

The gas had gone from the gas struts that generally hold it open. I guess they eventually give up, they have been working fine for 18 years, anyhow I have 2 spare so set about replacing.

Not as easy as I had expected, just could not work out how to get the plastic caps off to remove the old one so I asked the ever helpful Auto Sleepers Motorhome Owners Forum (see our Blog 91 - join if it suits)

Besides getting sent the full repair instructions I found a very helpful person who had exactly the same problem as me, what a great idea screw in an appropriate screw then use pliers to pull out, hey presto, success

In the meantime I had cut 2 thin pieces of wood to keep it open to its full extent.

I attach the full script of my help, others may find this forum useful, I do hope so, share and share alike, just click on the button below to download the full transcript as a "secure" PDF

If you would like repair instructions for the full roof vent please CLICK HERE

Thanks for looking.

Download the ASOF Help (PDF)

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Blog 154 - Replacing the Waste Water Tap

by keef & annie hellinger 19 July 2021, 7.29 am

Hopefully a useful and helpful Hint & Tip

Sadly whilst we were away on our ill fated Scotland trip , until the engine gave up (see blog 152, now rather costly repaired but we would never give up on our trusty Wendy House) the waste water tap would not drain away properly. Overall it seemed to be a trip of multi repairs ;) beside the roof not staying open, the fire came off the wall after a heavy bumpy road and the sat nav broke free from its mouting on the dashboard. As they say these things are sent to try us.

Anyhow getting the old tap out wasn't too bad. The Motorhome company had put this one on in the past and it has always had too narrow a channel. It seems after all these years the inner flow channel had been clogged with gunge etc.

All you have to do was remove the outer edge sealant, rotate the tap anti clockwise, it fits into a screw channel inside the waste tank. This unscrewed quite freely, when examined it was full of what looked like congealed fat, which despite pouring hot water down the sink on numerous occasions obviously hadn't worked.

Having drained off the waste water from the tank, 2 bucket loads I then used a pressure hose to completely clean out the system from both inside (both sinks) and underneath directly into the tank. This worked a treat. I completed the cleansing operation finally with boiling water in through the sink.

Happy all ok and clean I attached the new wider channel tap (£4 via ebay - I note that Don Amotts charged me £80 last time the tap was replaced, what a rip off!) by rotation, screwing into the internal thread, making sure it was seated in the grooves properly. When attached I then applied 3 succesive securing layers around the outer edge of the tap to ensure no leakage. Each layer 24 hours apart to ensure true bonding. 1st Gorilla glue (a plastics super glue). Then no more nails for hardness when rotating the tap and finally white silicone.

As they say the "jobs a good un". I'm happy, much cheaper, I learnt something and hopefully good drainage for years to come, fingers crossed

Thanks for looking.

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Blog 155 - Victoria Farm, CL Site, Claybrooke Magna, Leicestershire

by keef & annie hellinger 30 July 2021, 15.28

Travel again, Yippee

Motorhome trip No43, Blog 155 : July 27th-30th 2021

NOTTS->Victoria Farm, Claybrooke Magna, Leicestershire ->NOTTS 161 miles

Hooray although costly our lovely “Wendy House” has been repaired, the whole top half of her engine has been “redone”… to include valves, pistons, gaskets, cambelt / timing chain, fuel pump belt etc etc… basically a whole stack of stuff that I don’t understand which Don Amott’s (our yearly motorhome service providers for the last 9 years) tell us is MY RESPONSIBILITY to have known about. Since I foolishly entrusted the health of our lovely motorhome to these “alleged” experts and they totally let us down we will not be using them again. Slim at Borrowash service garage is now our entrusted hero and he has done a great job!

Anyhow, rant over were ………..

So we decided to have 3 days away locally to check out everything was tickerty boo before any larger and longer trips. We don’t know Leicestershire, the rural heart of England, very well even though it has been on our doorstep now for almost 30 years now.

Booked a Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location site because as a CL it seemed to have fairly good facilities, unusual for CL sites in our experience. We were not disappointed. They have 3 fields accommodating 5 CL vans in each, loos with showers (£1 a pop via meter), Elson point , dish washing stations , electric hook up , gas bottle purchase (should you need it) and a lovely friendly reception.

There are a few “permies” on site but all very quiet and friendly. Indeed the owners are avid motorhomers themselves so understand what is needed.

Although the weather wasn’t great (thunder and lightening and lots of rain) we enjoyed ourselves. The Leicestershire round leading into the fosseway runs along the back of the site and I did quite a bit of this on my lonesome (sadly Annie’s knee isn’t great at the mo) until the heavens opened and I had to make a quick scarper back after about an hour. Luckily I had a brolly with me and discovered a short cut thru back to the bottom field of the site.

The first day we travelled around a lot of villages in the van to give it a run out. There are some very nice places, Lutterworth isn’t bad but Bitteswell village is now a firm favourite with a lovely old village green and large old farm houses. Click HERE to find out more about it's lovely St Mary's church. Claybrooke Parva is also lovely and the aptly named Bumble Bee lane surrounded by Sweetcorn fields a plenty!

Day 2 apart from my walk was a complete wash out , reading, listening to Richard Osman as an audible book plus music obviously via iPod classic. We did later on get treated to a double rainbow, not something either of have seen often.

Day 3 the weather improved immensely (no rain all day) so we took the van out again and even ventured as far as Warwickshire, Newbold on Avon is not bad with lovely barges moored up on the river. But the absolute highlight is a little place called Monks Kirby. The church is 997 AD, architecture of houses fab and a pub we will revisit when Covid is over. So nice and relaxing. With the sun shining we also visited and loved Burbage, quite and interesting town with a history trail and dedications to its famous sons and daughters. All in all a lovely day ended with cheese, bikkies , grapes all washed down with a lovely Chilean Pinot Noir my sis bought us recently. Bliss and a nice break from home.

Places of note on this trip that we visted were

Leicestershire: Bitteswell, Claybrooke Magna & Parva, Lutterworth, Ullesthorpe, Sharnford, Broughton Astley, Frolesworth, Wigston Parva, Wibtoft , Leire , Sapcote , Stoney Stanton (site of diving's Stony Cove) and thank god failed the wonderfully named Magna Park which is a massive distribution centre for the likes of Amazon, DPD etc etc (i.e lorries galore) 😉

Warwickshire: Monks Kirby, Pailton, Street Ashton, Willey, Harborough Magna, Newbold on Avon

Ones we will definitely revisit are Bitteswell, Monks Kirby , Claybrooke Parva

Tourist suggestions from the map we tried to find to visit but singularly failed DOH 😉 were Burbage common and woods, Stanford house (although we found it it just wasnt open - nice site next door we might try one day!), Newnham Paddox, Swift Valley, Coombe Abbey, Rainsbrook Valley and we didnt even bother with Coton Manor which we have tried before on a previous trip and found was closed to the public

We got up early and travelled back home by 7.30am (its only 40 miles away) to unpack before the rain.

Looking forward to the next short break. Our big Scotland trip we will reschedule for probably May 2022 now (see Blog 152 HERE for details)

If you wish to look at our complete set of UK campsite stays please click HERE

If you wish to see our slideshows for this Blog please click HERE, thanks

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