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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Overland Wild Party

Come to our Wild Party, the Face book post said, so we did. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we are open to something different.

The Wild Party/Festival was being held at a farm in Ailsworth, Peterborough which is the headquarters of Nene Overland, the suppliers of all things cool and adventurous.

Nene Overland

Nene Overland had organised the event to Coincide with the Land Rover show at the Peterborough show ground.

picasso no claims 2018

The long drive on Friday afternoon to Nene Overland led to the campsite in a field beside their offices and workshop.

We were the first to arrive and had the choice of pitches in the vast camping field. A Big top marquee hosted the entertainment along with the obligatory beer tent and Kids zone tent which I was barred from as I was rubbish at colouring in.

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In the evening we dined on our usual Meat balls in home made tomatoes sauce then tottered over to the beer tent to sample the beverages on offer, well it would have been rude not to.

trident nene

Saturday was the main festival day with food, drink served all day and entertainment in the evening. We had a very chilled out day just lazing about reading and eating. Elsie had a massive field to run around , so she was in her element. We had a wander around the Nene Overland displays and their 1st Class workshop facilities predominantly catering for the Land rover owner. The Land rover sales pitch was full of stunning vehicles and the showroom displayed their range of overlanding equipment. The list of vehicles that I would have happily driven home in was vast, but I particularly wished for the Ex Army ambulance as they make an excellent off road camper. Sadly it had the sold sign on it. One day perhaps.

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Sunday morning and most of the campers headed off to visit the Land Rover show. We had leisurely drive home.

This was the first time the festival had been staged and it’s pretty obvious that the future ones will be a popular venue once the word is out there. We are certainly looking forward to next year’s event.

I will probably meet up with them again next weekend as Nene Overland will be attending the Adventure Overland show at Stratford on Avon racecourse on the 22nd & 23rd September 2018.

Adventure Overland Show

 

And today I made a Ukulele

I’ve fancied a German made Risa stick travel ukulele for some time to just throw into the campervan when roaming around, but the £250 cost has always put me off, so I decided I could make one. A quick google and I found I wasn’t alone in my quest. Several websites had free plans and dimensions available using bits of scrap wood, odds and ends etc.

A stick travel uke is solid and doesn’t have an acoustic body, so it’s quiet. However they usually come with an electric pickup allowing it to be played through an amplifier turning you into a rock god. With visions of becoming the Eric Clapton of the Ukulele world I quickly printed off an accurate template and found a nice piece of Oak in my man shed ( I keep off cuts and oddments just in case I need them later and here I am needing it).

The solid Uke body was cut out using a selection of hand saws, electric jig saws and a Router.

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This project was on a tight budget, so I started searching for bits and pieces that were required on the internet..

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Four friction tuners came in for 99p from china, fret wire for £1.50. I could see my budget being eaten up at a rapid rate. Then the most expensive part was needed to complete the project and it never pays to scrimp on the quality of Uke strings. I parted with £9 for a set of good strings and in total spent £11.49.

In the future I shall fit a electric pickup ( costing a massive £6 ), but for now I’ll just enjoy the novelty of playing a uke I made myself.

My lucky Morrisons trolley token embedded in the main body with clear resin

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I’ve decided to call her Dora the Explorer.

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Dubs in the Middle 2018

This was our second visit to Dubs in the middle. Our feral family consisting of me, the extreme knitter, our feral daughter, equally feral granddaughter, Ruby the Yorky and Elsie the Cockapoo were loaded into the campervan and we sped off to Evesham.  This years show seemed busier than last year, helped by a break in the wet weather that provided us with plenty of sunshine. We highly recommend this show. The camping area was massive and there was a good turnout of day visitors. With the entrance fee only £5 each and children free it made a cheap day out. There were plenty of trade stands and live music

Puffin holding her own in the car park

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VW Crafter conversion

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Crafter Interior featured Copper piping and reclaimed wood

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VW T4 cab interior

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VW Golf engine bay

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Rat look

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VW T3 Gypsy motorhome

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Adventure Overland Show 2018

Sunday morning and I was off to visit the Adventure Overland Show at Stratford on Avon Racecourse. The Extreme knitter decided to opt out of this one.

The show had suffered from heavy rain on the previous days leaving the walkways claggy with mud. But being a hardy bunch, people just carried on regardless. The show was due to end at 4pm, although some stall holders were packing up early. That is understandable if they have a long way to travel home, but when traders and campers start leaving at 12.30pm and the show only opened its gates at 10am we weren’t getting value for money.

This was the first time the show was staged in April and there weren’t as many stands as the main show held in September which is usually well attended.

There were some interesting vehicles there so as usual I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Adventure Overland Show April 2018 (7)

Adventure Overland Show April 2018 (6)

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Adventure Overland Show April 2018 (2)

Adventure Overland Show April 2018 (1)

 

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.

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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).

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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.

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The experimenting goes on.

 

 

 

Downwards to Uphill

At last we were rolling again after a long period of inactivity and we were heading down to Weston Super Mare or the Uphill region to be precise.

I quickly popped into Morrisons at Weston to get some bits and pieces.

Uphill Boat Centre have a campsite at the Uphill Marina. The large pitches are set around the perimeter of a salt water lake. The site facilities were closed down for the winter period to stop the water freezing, so we used the showers and toilets at the reception building. These were clean and immaculate.

We were only staying for one night as this was Elsies first trip away in the campervan just to see how we all got on together.

Uphill Boat Centre

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It was just a short walk down the road to the beach passing a small café/shop that has good reviews. The beach links to Weston Super Mare and it’s very popular with dog owners. Ruby and Elsie just ran and ran. As usual with Weston it is rare for the sea to come in, so Elsie didn’t get chance to swim.

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Elsie stationery for one minute.

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After the breezy walk along the beach we settled in for the evening and had our old favourite first night meal of Meat Balls, Pasta in a home made Tomato Sauce and I had a nifty Barcardi and coke. Heating on and we were all cosy for the night.

Elsie needed a wee in the night, but she woke me to let her out, so we are getting there.

 

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I think the girls enjoyed their short break.

We had to vacate the pitch by 10.30am which is early for us so we hastily packed our gear and headed to Wells, where we parked up and cooked Bacon baps before hitting the city.

Wells is always a pleasant City to wander around taking in the sights particularly the cathedral. We bought a Cornish pasty and a cake for lunch then heading home.

All in all it was a successful trip the dogs enjoyed the run around on the beach we needed the break away from our commitments.