The Final Upgrade

In my quest to cut down Puffins body roll that has me clenching my buttock cheeks on right hand bends and roundabouts, I decide to go the whole hog and retro fit a rear anti roll bar.

Sunday Morning and I found some time to fit the rear anti roll bar to Puffin. It has been sat in the garden shed for a few weeks

The bar and fitting parts are still available from Volkswagen and researching the VW T4 owner’s forum produced a necessary parts list right down to the Rivinuts that have to be fitted in the chassis and trailing arm.

Fitting the bar was fairly easy. The hardest part was installing the extra long VW Rivinuts, as a special insertion tool was required that would cost approx £120. I managed to borrow a tool, as there were only 14 nuts to fit and I didn’t have any further use for it.

Once the nuts were inserted it was just a matter of bolting the brackets to the chassis member and bolting the anti roll bar to the brackets and rear trailing arms with the rubber bushes fitted.

VW T4 camper Rear anti roll bar

VW T4 camper Rear anti roll bar 

Rear anti roll bar mounting

Rear anti roll bar mounting

Volkswagen fitted the rear anti roll bar as standard to the T4 ambulances, so there must have been a need for it.

The results have proved to be impressive. Puffin holds the road so much better, not in a boy racer type of way (puffin is never going to be racing car), but feels sure-footed.

Definitely worth the investment

 

Advertisements

Harry Potter Studio Tour

August Bank holiday Monday and we travelled to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Bros Studio, Leavesden near Watford.

Harry Potter

This was an end of holiday treat for two of our Grandchildren.

Puffin was the choice of transport for the trip (after I had checked before hand that the car parks didn’t have height barriers). Puffin gives us nearly the same MPG as our car and having onboard cooking, eating and toilet facilities gives us so much freedom.

 

Ruby has missed out on this trip because dogs aren’t allowed in the building, but she did get her hair done on Sunday. She thinks it’s too short, but as she’s an active dog and not a Princess, she does get muddy sometimes. Short hair means a quick shower and she good to go again. She certainly smells sweeter.

Ruby new haircut

I was concerned that the holiday traffic might hold us up, but our booked time slot wasn’t until 3.30pm, so we didn’t have to set out too early. We hit some traffic on the M40 and arrived at 3.05pm.

The organisation of this place is excellent. We were directed to the Motor home/Coach parking area that was really close to the entrance.

Puffin at Harry Potter Tour

Puffin at Harry Potter Tour

All visits have to be prebooked which means that they know how many people are going to be there and it reduces any chance of long queues.

I won’t spoil it for anyone that hasn’t been yet, but I must admit I experienced some Wow!!! moments.

Ollivanders Wand Shop

Ollivanders Wand Shop

P1100130 (1320 x 990)P1100089 (990 x 1320)

Wand shelves

Wand shelves

 

Not the cheapest day out, but certainly worth it, just to give our Grandchildren a memory of a magic moment.

We were there for 4 Hours, but it didn’t seem like it

All Positives and no Negatives

 

We went to Seaton and noticed that a new large Tesco store had been built since our last visit. Tesco allow 3 hours free parking, so after doing a quick shop (baps, burgers and bangers) we took a short walk to the beach.

The Granddaughter emptied my pockets of any loose change to play the 2p cascade game in the amusement arcade. How addictive is that game?

Seaton has a wonderful tramline that runs beside the river, which is well worth the trip.

On the way back to the campsite we stopped in Axminster because the Extreme knitter had spotted a fabric shop.

Tea and cakes for the day were consumed at the River Cottage Canteen Axminster. One of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls three restaurants. It really was a good cup of tea. We each had a different cake, so that we could have a test nibble of each one. It was noticeable that my Lemon drizzle cake was being excessively sampled.

The restaurant also housed a shop/deli with mouth-watering pies and delicacies.

I think that I got off lightly that the E/knitters only purchase was a woollen throw considering what she could have bought.

River Cottage Canteen Axminster

River Cottage Canteen Axminster

Later in the evening we barbequed the burgers and bangers. I washed the feast down with a cheeky vintage Bacardi and coke.

Two Owls, hooting in the trees just above the campervan, woke me in the early hours. They were calling to another owl in the distance. One of the pleasures of camping is listening to nature’s sounds.

Positives and Negatives two

Our activities for the days fell into a routine of a late breakfast and then the Extreme knitter and Granddaughter went in the swimming pool until lunchtime whilst I cleaned up and fiddled with bits and bobs on the camper.

We would go off driving to various places in the afternoons, returning for supper and the granddaughter would play with her newly made friends on the trampoline until dusk.

 

We visited Seatown, Chideock after driving down the single-track road we emerged at Seatown situated at a dead-end, right by the beach. Seatown consists of a car park, a shingle beach, the Anchor pub and a toilet block.

It initially looked good, but following a incident with a rude, sarcastic car park attendant I was stressed to say the lest. I tried to ignore it, but it left me festering. The only words I spoke were “ where was it best to park?” so I don’t know what set him off.

After parting with £4 to park all day we had lunch and walked down to the beach, used the grotty toilet and decided not to stay. It was one of those situations when with hindsight I wish I had told him to stick his car park up his arse.

I had chosen to visit Seatown as I wanted to take our Granddaughter fossil hunting and this was supposed to be the best place.

We headed for Lyme Regis and spent time looking in the fossil shop.

There comes a time in the day when tea and cakes are required, so we headed for a small Deli/café and placed our order. Unfortunately for me, but much to the amusement of the E/Knitter and Granddaughter, the waitress spilt a small jug of milk over my trousers. This day was getting worse.

When we returned to the campsite I adjusted the passenger side door mirror downward, to be able to see the awning markers when reversing and the mirror dropped out. The swivel had broken, so a temporary repair was made using insulating tape and soft toy stuffing (yes, the extreme knitter had actually packed a bag of toy stuffing material just in case she wanted to make some woollen toys).

I had a Bacardi and Coke and went to bed hoping that nothing else would occur.

Next morning I noticed two small chinks of light in the awning wall. Closer inspection showed two small burn holes caused by sparks from one of the neighbours fire pit.

Oh happy days.

Positives and Negatives

I do try not to let the cynical / negative side of my nature control my life, but sometimes events just force me down that road.

Saturday morning and we are rushing about loading Puffin in readiness for a weeklong holiday in Chard with our Granddaughter.

We set off in light rain, so I put on Puffins sidelights and a puff of smoke rose from under the bonnet.

I stopped straight away turned everything off and investigated, but could not see any thing obvious. All seemed fine, so we continued with the trip. About ten miles from home we stopped at Morrisons for essentials and I decided to have a closer look under the bonnet.

I spotted a melted cable coming from the side light bulb holder. This was not good and I had to make the very unpopular decision to return home and fix the problem.

Back at home I started the frantic repairs. The two batteries were removed to get access and the problem became obvious. Puffin has a non-standard battery tray designed to hold the starter and the leisure batteries. The cable from the sidelight had been chafing on it and had shorted out. I followed the melted cable back through the loom hoping to find a good section. No, it had burnt straight back to the fuse box. Why hadn’t the fuse blown to prevent this happening? Because the previous owner had obviously had problems with the fuse blowing when turning the sidelights on that they decided the best way to over come it was to replace the 10amp fuse with something bigger, Ah yes, they thought a 40amp should do it.

I worked on until 9pm being beaten only by the lack of light.

 

Up early on the Sunday morning and I finished rewiring the burnt loom, but it meant we wouldn’t have a front sidelight, as I needed to get a new bulb holder. By 10am all was finished and we repacked the fridge. The trip was back on although for days after my paranoia had me checking and questioning every new smell.

 

We arrived at Alpine Grove campsite near Chard at about 1pm and were greeted by the owner who showed us our pitch. We have visited this site several times over the years and seem to come back when we are camping with children. It is ideal site with pitches situated in woodland with a small swimming pool and playground.

Alpine Grove Chard

The site owners are very accommodating and flexible when it comes to how you pitch.

They hire out fire pits and logs for the evening along with local sausages.

First job was to erect the new Vango Kela Airbeam awning for the first time. Being an inflatable drive away awning its is supposed to reduce the build time. It took a while to put up, as it was our first time.

Alpine Grove

Once all the fettling and adjustments were finish the awning proved to be ideal for our longer stays.

Vango Kela Airbeam Awning

Ruby was left out of this trip and stayed with our daughter. We realised that if Ruby came with us we wouldn’t be able to visit cafes, shops and attractions, which suited me, but would have restricted our granddaughter’s holiday.