Posted in Beginning

20th – 25th January

20th & 21st January

In preparation for our first trip abroad in our motorhome, we were advised that we would be unlikely to get Calor Gas, but LPG was commonly sold in garages. With all our future plans to travel abroad, we decided to get an LPG twin gas tank system fitted and this was completed in Warminster on 20th January.

img-20170121-wa0000From here I drove up to Wheathill near Ludlow, where we spent a very comfortable night with Emma and John. Their woodburner was blazing and with G&Ts in hand,  we quickly forgot the freezing temperatures outside.  Next day Mum & Dad came up to see The Beast parked on the driveway and later we all visited the Three Horseshoes for lunch.  During our chatting, Emma reminded me that we had mentioned calling our motorhome Della as she is an Autotrail Dellaware.

From here on, she will be called Della, she is not really a beast!

After lunch we started off on the drive up to Houghton in Staffordshire and set up alongside another motorhome and a caravan. Another grey, leaden sky and temperatures dropping like a stone.

22nd January

It was a freezing morning but we had been warm all night. Alison, Chris and my grandsons, Jago and Ned arrived around 11am and the boys were very excited to see inside our Motorhome, they looked in all the cupboards and drawers, and were occupied for ages with the concertina door!  jago-lucy-nedAfter coffee, we walked around to see the animals on the site; goats, llamas, ducks, geese, rabbits and guinea pigs which the boys enjoyed,  and managed to find some unfrozen muddy puddles to stamp in.

The next drive was just over 78 miles south to Morton in Marsh.

23rd January

We were lucky to pick our plot on this lovely site in the Cotswolds. Located in a corner with a large oak tree in the hedgeline, we had birds feeding close by and views of sheep through the hedge. We had a long and peaceful night, it was 8:50am when we woke up!  With the day to ourselves, and after a slap up breakfast of bacon, egg, mushrooms and tomatoes we felt fit for a walk and set off over fields and lanes, around in front of Batsford House and back into Morton in Marsh.

There were birds everywhere, the best being hundreds of fieldfares and redwings, a lovely little goldcrest and male bullfinch.  The dry stone walls were beautiful and a herd of red deer with two magnificent stags were lying down in front of the house.  Once back in this lovely old market town, we found The Bell Inn on the High Street and had a few well earned beers whilst chatting to the very friendly and knowledgeable Landlord. There was a terrific sunset which seemed to last ages and nicely finished off our day.

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24th January

Today we met up with Jennifer and Leo at Birdland in Bourton on the Water.  I remember coming here with my Granny and now I’m showing my grandson – where have the years gone!

His favourites were the penguins swimming so close the glass sides that you could touch them, quite solid and very cold on this day.  They swam so fast they splashed water all over us but it was fun.

We spent a few hours looking at all the birds and walked back to Della to have a hot drink and our lunch in comfort.

Having gone our separate ways, I drove us back home arriving just before it got dark.  After nearly 400 miles round trip I was looking forward to relaxing.  Unfortunately the house was absolutely freezing as the pressure in the cental heating system had dropped and it must have been off for a couple of days.  It took two days to thoroughly warm the house up again!

Posted in Beginning

19th January 2017

20161225_135244Christmas seems a long time ago and now our thoughts have now turned to escaping the grey, foggy dampness.

An occasional blue sky with beautiful sunshine is wonderful, but it usually crisp and cold in January.  We would like some warmth without waiting until late Spring.

However, we still need to practice using The Beast before disappearing overseas to Spain.  With this in mind we have planned a four night trip into Shropshire, Staffordshire and Gloucestershire to family and gain some much needed experience.

Sites have been scheduled and booked in advance for a few days time and I am looking forward to driving greater distances, getting out and about and relaxing into our new life.

Posted in Beginning

December 2016

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7th December

We discovered this morning that The Beast has a flat battery and we don’t own any jump leads – must get some.  Called the AA and a ‘man with a van’ came out and started her up very quickly. After leaving the engine running for an hour and a half there was enough power put into the battery to be confident and switch off.  Then we plugged in to charge up fully overnight to make sure we could start her engine again.  Next day, off to Warminster to get an evaluation on the state of the battery for our peace of mind.  Within a few minutes the mechanic was back, we had two duff batteries – the leisure battery was shot too.  An expensive little trip this turned into.

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Sure that everything was now fine we returned home and upon switching off the engine, an alarm sounded.  Oh no, the new leisure battery had no power in it.  We plugged into the mains overnight and in the morning – no power in the leisure battery.  We ended up driving a 50 mile round trip back to Warminster to discover that the battery was a ‘dead’ battery and had mistakenly put with ‘live’ batteries.  The mechanic who had helped us out initially was so apologetic as he has assumed they were both new batteries.  Anyway, we are now sorted on the battery front and waiting for the next problem to surface ……

15th December

Post arrived this morning containing a demand for our Road Tax.  What!  Why we were not advised it was due to run out less than three weeks after we collected it, goodness only knows.  May be it was our fault but you would think they might have mentioned it. Another lesson learned, now she is taxed and legal AND the batteries still work!

23rd December

Busy planning our getaway to Spain at the beginning of February.

Going to dodge France and grab a ferry straight to Bilbao so we can motor on down to the warmer south coast. Getting close to sorting out a route and searching online for campsites or Aires that will do for a one night stopover.

Sick of this weather and longing for some sunshine.

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It’s 19C and sunny in Almeria today and 11C here with yucky dull grey, wet and windy conditions, and more forecast …….

Posted in Beginning

November 2016

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11th November

Guy Fawkes night has been and gone but fireworks always look exciting. We were pretty fired up as we traveled to Gloucester by train to collect our motorhome. Someone showed us how everything worked and how to set various pieces of equipment, we bought extras bits and bobs such as the red and white warning square to be attached on the back when driving abroad, leveling blocks and bits for the kitchen.

Image result for learner driver motorhomeAfter much trepidation concerning driving ‘The Beast’, we rolled out off the premises and onto the public roads.  It was quite straight forward to drive in the end, as long as I was going forward, and after 15 minutes or so I started to relax into it and took the islands and turns at an easy pace.  By the time we had gone over the M4 heading south down to Marlborough I was looking over the hedges and admiring our new found height advantage. The roads had changed from dual carriageway to regular roads and this required more judgement especially when lorries and buses approached.

By the time we got to Salisbury and the dreaded roadworks on the London Road, I was starting to get stressed about getting onto our estate and more importantly, onto our drive! Normally the journey across town would take 10-12 minutes – it ended up taking 45 minutes and nearly going dark before I got to home.  With utter relief, I saw there were no cars parked on either side of our road, and even better than that, our neighbour’s car was out too!  I swung ‘the beast’ wide and drove in forwards, all ideas of reversing in had vanished, I was close enough to our wall and off the road, so with relief I switched her off.

So pleased to be home and parked,

Image result for gin and tonic glasses – now for a large gin and tonic!

19th November

Our first planned trip out in The Beast is close to home at Lytton Lawn near Milford on Sea so we can test things out and see how we get on.  After studying the route on Google Maps, I had convinced myself that the roads and lanes were ok, nothing to panic about.

The day has dawned and we got on just fine, straight onto the site with no problems, filled the water tank with a newly purchased hose and fittings, hooked up to the electric supply and sorted out lunch. Patting ourselves on the back we set off on the ten minute walk to ‘support’ the local pub!  The beer was not brilliant so after only one half I moved on to continental lager but Chris stayed with the beer, someone had to do it and he is well practiced!  A brisk walk back as it was now raining, we knew it was coming along with high winds for the entire night.  Our first trip away coninsided with the first storm of the season, Storm Angus.

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Back with The Beast, we found that the water tank was now empty, how?  We hadn’t been there.  So in the wind and rain we had to start again, read the book about taps and things, turned a valve under the bed and eventually the water tank was refilled and stayed filled. Relief!  So now we turned our attention to cooking our dinner to try out the facilities.  This was uneventful, delicious spicy sausage, peppers and pasta with a couple of cans of liquid refreshment while we played UNO and watched TV.  We were snug as a bug all night, 2C outside and 20C inside, a little buffeting by the storm but otherwise peaceful.

In the morning we discovered there was a powercut, not really surprising, and it came back on again really quickly.  So after breakfast and nothing but a dismal day weatherwise ahead of us, we headed back home.  Sorry no photos due to the weather.

A very successful first outing and looking forward to another in January. Hope the weather is kind for us.