If I could turn back time

Puffin the camper van was fired up and off we set to visit some of our old haunts from the past. 50 odd years in our past to be precise.

Destination Kinver,  Staffordshire, where I grew up and spent my childhood creating havoc. If i hadn’t left when I was eighteen, I’m sure I would have been run out of town by a mob with pitchforks.

Kinver Edge

Kinver Edge was the the reason for our visit. In particular the Rock houses on the Edge. Now owned by the National Trust who restored the site having been gifted it in 1967. It was opened to the public in 1997. The Holy Austin Rock houses were cave dwellings carved into the sandstone that had been occupied from 1617 until the final residents were moved out in 1964.

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Yes you are reading this correctly, I lived in a village were people lived in caves. I went to school with cave dwellers. Once the caves were empty they became our playground. Being soft sand stone all the walls had names carved in them by generations of kids including mine, but I couldn’t find them.

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This is well worth a visit if your in the area. The restoration is amazing.

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As dogs weren’t allowed in the rooms we took it in turns to walk around. Of course once the Extreme knitter got into the the room with the sewing machine she was gone for ages.

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The Extreme knitter resting with Elsie and in there somewhere is Ruby.

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The trip was completed with a visit to Bridgnorth and a ride on my favourite funicular.

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Adventure Bear

We have a new member of the Escape route team

Yarg The Adventure Bear

Meet Yarg the Adventure Bear, named after the Cornish Cheese that is wrapped in Stinging nettles. Yarg is Gray spelt backwards named after the Gray family of Cheesemakers that devised the Cornish cheese.

Yarg the bear is totally hand made and I expect most of my vast readership will think that he was created by the Extreme knitter, but no.

Move over Extreme knitter and make way for the Wild Bear maker, yes me. You didn’t see that coming did you.

Ok, I did get a lot of sewing advice from the Extreme Knitter.

He is a little rough and ready around the edges, but not to bad for my first attempt.

Candle Power

The Extreme knitter gave me a candle lantern for Christmas.
Not just any old lantern, but a UCO camping lantern, complete with three candles each with a nine hour burning time.
Sitting below the wind out awning of the camper van at night, sipping a Bacardi & coke, Rhubarb & Ginger Gin or a beer under the warm glow of candle light is going to be bliss.

The Extreme knitter received a gift this Christmas that was obviously labelled incorrectly and must have been intended for me.
A white ceramic survival stove fuelled by a tea light candle.
Although the portions that I cooked were very small and I needed to eat each ingredient of the meal individually while I cooked the next one. It was surprisingly good.
It works at maximum efficiency with two tea lights.
The flowery box it came in contained some smelly wax type substance, which was probably just packaging, so I threw that away.

Bacon sizzling away

Baked beans simmering away and bread being toasted at the same time. Thats multi-tasking.

A mince pie that I managed to bake.

And at last after a lot of practice a complete meal produced on the survival stove.

This is definitely my go to stove if ever I get lost in the wilderness. I shall have to mention it to Ray Mears when I see him next. Not that Ive ever met Ray Mears, but if I did, I would certainly mention it.

For some reason the Extreme knitter wasnt happy with me commandeering her prezzy, ranting on about oil burners and wax melts for air freshening or something like that.

She was just the same when I used her black pencil for my colouring in book. How was I supposed to know it was for use on her eyebrows.

Lenser. Let there be Light

I rarely review equipment, but when a product excels my expectations I need to pass it on.

I had been using my LED Lenser P7 torch and a Lenser P3 in the course of my work to carry out safety inspections on machinery for many years. Perfect to illuminate those dark recesses.

When I saw a new Lenser P7 in a sale I purchased it and put my original work P7 torch in our campervan.

It has always been a reliable torch and when you run a 22year old campervan it is invaluable especially when trying to keep the old girl mobile.

Recently it had started to flicker, so I opened it up and a battery had leaked, causing corrosion on the terminals. These torches aren’t your usual throw away items. They are built to last, so much so that a quick look on the Lenser website showed that they offer a 5 year warranty with all new products.

That shows confidence in their products.

For obvious reasons an old leaking battery isn’t a warranty claim. I really should have changed them before it got to that state.

In this throw away society I can’t get out of the idea that if a quality product is manufactured, it can be repaired if parts are available and I begrudge throwing anything away.

I had the opportunity to experience the Lenser after sales service. After a quick e mail to them asking if replacements for my corroded parts were available, they sorted out my problem without a quibble that day.

If you want light use a Lenser. Well worth the long life investment.

Lenser website

Lenser Sales website

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Adventure Overland show and Campervan show

Next April just got better, after the announcement of an extra campervan show along with the Adventure Overland Show at Stratford on Avon Racecourse. The whole event is supported by The Overland Journal.

Overland Journal

Adventure Overland show

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Announcing the launch of the INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW [ICS].

Covering mostly two-wheel-drive vehicles, the INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW is the sister event to the twice yearly ADVENTURE OVERLAND SHOW [AOS]. Now into it’s 8th year, AOS held at Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse has Spring & Late Summer editions.

The inaugural INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW will take place at the same Racecourse venue directly alongside the Spring edition of AOS … that’s 27-28 April 2019.

The result of this expansion means that visitors booking either show – AOS or ICS – will have unlimited access to both shows … basically that’s “two shows for the price of one”!!!

In conjunction with the world renowned adventure travel magazine ‘Overland Journal’, the INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW is a major festival of all things related to two-wheel-drive campers and “homes on the move”.

Much like the AOS, the INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW will span professionally-built ready-made motor caravans, companies specialising in build to order van-to-campervan conversions or simply ideas for your next self-build project.

Whether your preference is 4×2 or 4×4, the event now covers all types of overland vehicle!

INTERNATIONAL CAMPERVAN SHOW

Scarborough

Scarborough was a place we had visited briefly a few years ago and it hadn’t impressed us then. You have to give a place a second chance, so the following day we wound our way down to North Scarborough which turned out to be a vast expanse of beautiful beach with parking along the promenade. Elsie loved the beach, but still wasn’t keen on the sea, even when the extreme knitter went paddling. I can’t see her being a rescue dog, but we will persevere you never know she might end up loving it.

North Beach

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We then drove on down to the town of Scarborough and seaside resort. The town centre was a large pedestrian shopping street with lots of the big named stores. Elsie and I stood outside many of these shops, just waiting until I spotted a sign for a cliff railway, I didn’t know Scarborough had a funicular and my heart missed a beat. When the extreme knitter reappeared I dragged her to the cliff top station, all aboard and down the side of the cliff we went.

I love a funicular me, especially when I find a hidden one.

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The carriage doors opened and we were on the south beach promenade complete with all the seaside tat and amusement arcades.

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The bright lights, bells and whistles let us know we were outside Coney Island. Not the real one obviously, just an amusement arcade of the same name. If you’ve ever watched the movie “Big” with Tom Hacks you will remember that he was transformed into a 13 year old boy by Zoltar the fortune telling Wizard in a penny machine, well low and behold outside Coney Island was the same machine. When I looked at the wizards face it was apparent that he was cross eyed. Now excuse me for being cynical here, but if the wizard couldn’t look me straight in the eye, how was he going to tell my fortune.

Tom Hanks and Zoltar

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After a hasty wander up and down the prom we were back on the funicular heading back up to the main part of town. Elsie and I took our usual positions outside Marks & Spencer while the extreme knitter just popped in to buy food.

It was at this point that the reality of town life reared it’s ugly head.

As Elsie and I were stood outside M & S along with all the other waiting husbands I noticed a guy arrive and stand by me, No problem I thought, until after a while I realised he was slowly edging his way nearer towards me to the point I was starting to be wary. Then across the other side of the walkway a girl appeared and waved a purse at him and he shot off with her up a narrow alleyway. Then a policeman came running out of M & S giving chase. I really believe I was going to be a target for a pick pocket.

Undaunted we returned to the campsite with all the nice goodies the E / knitter had bought from M & S for our evening meal.