Whitby

The campsite we were staying on was clean and regimented, but not the type that we would normally stay at with its neat pitches in straight rows and lots of “do not do” signs. When you’ve been staying off grid for a while it rankles being told what you can and can’t do, especially when the commands are just common sense things you wouldn’t dream of doing. One even said “do not wear walking boots in the shower” I can’t remember the last time I showered on walking boots.

Anyway we were there and that was that. Nice, but It lacked a soul.

It was bright sunshine when we set off to visit Whitby; by the time we had found somewhere to park it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale. Luckily a man just leaving the car park gave us his ticket with six hours parking left on it. We were hardy tourists and we all wrapped up in our rainwear including Elsie. Touring the town proved difficult, looking in shops and trying to keep upright at the same time. It was that windy it was a struggle to cross the bridge to the Scary part of Whitby.

whitby harbour

 

To get some relieve from being battered by the wind, we shot into a dog friendly pub that served local fish and chips. We found a table and ordered our food just before the rest of Whitby descended on the pub all with the same idea.

I was going to run up these steps. really!

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Back on the harbour and the Extreme Knitter saw a sign that brought back traumatic memories of one holiday we had in St Ives, back in the 1990’s. She had just purchased a clotted cream Ice-cream, when a rogue seagull swooped down and snatched it from her hand before she had even licked it. Was she livid that day? You bet she was and she still has flashbacks to this day. She even reckoned that if she saw it again she would recognise it. The seagull that is, not the ice cream.

whitby gulls

When we left Whitby I gave the parking ticket to another happy parker with three hours still remaining.

Puffin’s wiper blade decided to start shredding itself in all the torrential rain, so a trip to the local Halfords was called for and a pair of new wiper blades were purchased and fitted in their car park. Luckily it had stopped raining long enough for me to avoid getting soaked while fitting them.

The rain had set in for the rest of the day, so we spent the remains of our time in the camper reading, eating and generally lounging about until bedtime.

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On Top of the World

The wind and rain had died away in the morning and what a view to greet us.

It doesn’t get any better than this. Well, I suppose it does, but not at that particular moment.

Our Overnight Spot

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As always when we are on tour our morning starts get later and later. On to the A68 and heading to Bishops Auckland, in particular the local Morrison’s . We needed fuel, Propane gas and the use of their facilities. After getting lost in the one way streets of Bishops Auckland I eventually found a Calor Gas depot  behind Morrisons to get a replacement bottle of gas.

After our fourth night in a row of staying off grid we were starting to stink. It was becoming obvious that the Extreme Knitter was getting tired of washing with wet wipes and a flannel and my suggestion of a hospital type bed bath didn’t go down well.

Ohh er Matron !

“We’ll not have any of that malarkey ” she said.

With a swarm of flies following us down the road we headed in a sea ward direction.

We found a campsite just south of Whitby near to Robin Hood bay and booked ourselves in for three nights. The showers were clean and hot. It’s amazing how hot water can make you feel invigorated

I looked at a map in the evening and realised how close we had been to ” High Force Waterfall” the previous night. I could kick myself for not visiting. I really must start looking in more detail when doing my research.

 

 

 

 

Adventure Overland Show Sept 2018

Saturday morning and I’m making my annual trip to the Adventure Overland Show at Stratford on Avon racecourse.

Adventure Overland Show

The weather forecast wasn’t good, predicting rain at 4 pm. Well they lied, it rained at 12 pm. In typical British spirit, a drop of rain wasn’t going to put me off, especially as I paid an entrance fee.

I find it difficult to judge whether the show is bigger or busier than the previous show as the layout varies each year.

It’s always a good show with a laidback feel and some interesting characters. I must admit after a long conversation with an overland travel writer he showed me places off the beaten track in Spain that were stunning and accessible in our campervan.

There is always something in the car park that catches the eye and this VW T4 Doka certainly did.

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I managed to meet up with fellow blogger Mike Brailey the director and editor of the Overland Journal European issue.

Overland Rover

Overland Journal

Overland Portal

The Overland Journal is a massively popular publication in the States and finally the UK has its own edition published 5 times a year and edited by Mike.

It’s easy to think of it as just another magazine, but it is a journal in the truest sense, imagine an oversized paperback book and you would be nearer the mark.

It’s not all about size though; the content gives a fascinating insight into travelling the world by various means of transport with superb photographs.

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The Overland Journal Landrover

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I’m a glutten for teardrop trailers and this example made by Boondock Trailers was perfect. Comfortable and rugged.

Boondock

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The Mercedes Sprinter 4 x 4 van has really taken off here and in the States as the must have campervan.

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This Ford Transit by Lifes Adventure Overland had the best Raptor paint finish I ever seen and their bespoke fabrications were top quality.

Lifes Adventure Overland

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Gull wing side door, a powerful BMW engine and large split rim wheels make this Renault Traffic van a jaw dropper

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Unimogs galore this year

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The Camper Van Culture Managon

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And finally the arse end of the post A bumper dumper and a rifle case, just what every camper needs.

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The Cheeky Monkey and a Toad in the Hole

Our latest cooking gadget is a Toasted sandwich maker or Pie iron made by TF Gear, but more commonly know as a “Ridge Monkey”.

The TF Gear iron is identical to the Ridge Monkey, so we have nicknamed ours “The Cheeky Monkey”.

TF-Gear-Sandwich-Toaster

I was hoping that this would be the camping nirvana after all the good reviews I had read. We don’t have an oven in the campervan, so it limits our possible menu.

I tried the Omnia oven, but I couldn’t get on with it and it was a little oversize for our campervan hob.

Omnia Oven

We have a similar sandwich toaster called “The Diablo” that toasts sandwiches, but they were small and you had towaste a lot of bread cutting it to fit the round shape. The TF Gear is a square shaped pie iron that makes toasted sandwiches using a gas hob, open fire or barbeque. It is very popular with fishermen who cook breakfast on the river side. So far I have cooked Bacon, Burgers, Eggs and a small Pizza, well warmed one up. As the cooking process is enclosed, the top gets a chance of being cooked.

A Chicago pie pizza approximately 3 “diameter fits nicely. I heated one side of the iron until hot then turned it over and placed the defrosted pizza on the unheated side. The theory being that as the pizza base was directly on the bottom of the iron, preheating the top would give the cooking of the pizza top a head start before the base burnt. It actually worked. I did turn it over once just to brown the top. I shall be asking the extreme knitter to make some homemade pizzas that fit the Cheeky Monkeys shape and size. If they are thinner they might cook quicker and more thoroughly.

I’ve tried McCann’s frozen oven fries as they were thin. These cooked perfectly. I think the trick with frozen food is to thaw it out first, so that your cooking time isn’t taking up having to defrost first.

The next try out was Toad in the Hole, an easy to make quaint English recipe that is basically sausages cooked in a dish of batter mix using a very hot oven. The batter would normally rise in an oven enveloping the sausage in a crispy Yorkshire pudding. Cooking it in the Cheeky monkey was going to be a challenge.

 

Start by cooking 3 or 4 sausages in the Cheeky Monkey. I like to butterfly mine to make sure they are thoroughly cooked.

 Monkey toad in the hole (2)

While the sausages are cooking make your batter mix

1 cup of plain flour

A pinch of salt

300mls of milk

Whisk these ingredients until you’ve got a smooth liquid (without any lumps)

This will make approximately 450mls.

Boil some water.

When the sausages are cooked take them out and pour a good glug of veg oil in the Cheeky monkey and heat until smoking hot.

Pour a small layer of the batter mix into the hot oil that will seal the underside, them place the sausages in and pour some more batter mix over them. I used about 250mls. If the mix is too deep it will burn before the middle is cooked. I cooked it on a low flame for 20 minutes turning the Cheeky Monkey over regularly to stop the mix from burning.

 Monkey toad in the hole (5)

Monkey toad in the hole (6)

Monkey toad in the hole (7)

Make a small amount of gravy using gravy granules and the water that you boiled earlier. (yes, I know, but we are camping so short cuts are allowed).

 Monkey toad in the hole (9)

Much to my amazement it worked out and tasted good. I didn’t rise as it would in an oven, but because it was thinner it cooked all the way through.

The batter mix could be made at home before setting off on your camping trip to save time.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll be asking what about the 200mls of batter mix that I had left?

Well that’s for pudding, three Pancakes to be precise. Even though it was Sunday I like a Fat Tuesday

These can be made in the Cheeky monkey by pouring in a small amount of veg oil and pouring a third of the mix on top. They can be made sweeter by slicing some bananas into the mix or possibly pineapple chunks. The beauty of the monkey is that you just turn it over to cook the other side.

Monkey toad in the hole (12)

The experimenting goes on.

 

 

 

Adventure Overland show 2017

 

 

The end of September again means only one thing for me. My annual visit to the Adventure Overland Show held on Stratford upon Avon racecourse. This year I visited on my own some. The Extreme Knitter had other commitments.

The show gets better each year with many varied trade stands, displays and so many interesting vehicle in the camping and parking area.

As always, I will just leave a few of the photos for you to digest.

Landrover 1963 Series 2A forward control camper

This beauty was a work in progress. It just oozes classic Landy.

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Just a little electrical work that needs tiding up. One of those five minute jobs

wiring

Nice Arse end

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Xplora Overland were showing their new Ford Transit conversion. If only I had the money.

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I’m trying to convince the Extreme Knitter that we need to tow one of these buggies behind our campervan.

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VW  T5s LTs T4s

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Ex Military Trucks were well represented

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Series One Landrovers

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Our Old Series One Landrover

I do regret selling our Series one Landrover. The beauty of hindsight.

Landrover series one

45 years and we still don’t know each other

Our kitchen sink has a draining board and on that draining board sits one of those draining trays that you can stack the cups, cutlery and dishes to dry off. We’ve had several replacements over our married life.

Today I plucked up the courage to ask the extreme knitter why we had one.

She said “because you wanted one”.

I said “I never wanted one, I hate the dam thing”

She said “I hate it as well”.

45 years of married bliss and all this time I thought the E/knitter wanted it and she thought I wanted it. Lack of communication I think, but we are still getting to know each other.

The dish tray is now in the dustbin and all is well in the household.