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.

kinver rock houses (27)

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.

kinver rock houses (37)

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

kinver rock houses (7)


kinver rock houses (12)

kinver rock houses (19)

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.

kinver rock houses (14)

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

kinver rock houses (42)


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

kinver rock houses (52)


Cabin Fever & Rowdy Campers

The cabin fever is getting hard to bear.

Puffin has passed its MOT test, it’s been taxed and insured for the year and we are stuck here.

Next week the extreme knitter is having her plaster removed. She will hopefully be fitted with a walking boot and be able to start the long process of weight bearing. We will start travelling again in February with some short trips away and build up gradually. Destinations for the year have been discussed and North Devon, North Wales and Scotland have been added to the list.

The experimentation with the Omnia oven continues. I ordered a roasting rack to fit into the base and this makes baking potatoes and bread rolls so easy.

I’ve found that it’s better to bake four small potatoes rather than 2 large ones which take a lot longer to cook.

I ordered a pair of Upgraded Headlight bulbs for Puffin supplied by Regal bulbs. The bulbs are Philips Xtreme Vision that give an extra 130% more beam length and a much brighter white light. I’ve fitted these to our other vehicles and the difference is amazing. Regal have an offer at the moment to include a pair of higher intensity side light bulbs free when ordering headlight bulbs.

Anyone who owns a Volkswagen T4 will know how poor the original headlights are. This is particularly due to the voltage drop on the power feed to the bulbs caused by thin cable size. The new bulbs should make a difference, but I think I’ll have to fit a Loom upgrade to get the best from them.  Loom upgrade.

I bought a bottle of Elsil Drinking water purifier made by Elsan to add to our onboard 80 litre water tank. We’ve never used the water from this tank for drinking even though I regularly clean and flush it out just incase we might catch some bug or deadly virus from it.

We carry a separate 10 litre container for drinking water which seems silly when we have all that water onboard.

The Elsil is supposed to keep the water drinkable for several weeks. If it is successful I’ll post about it at a later date, if it’s not you’ll notice that my posts will stop suddenly due to us being struck down by some dreadful exotic disease.

I have been looking at the history of my birthplace and came across this shocking entry from a Parish council meeting from 1934:-

Arguably the keenest debate in 1934 was over the conduct of campers in the village. There were accusations against the campers for rowdyism until the early hours of the morning, wilful damage to gardens and property and – the ultimate charge – of parading half-naked, which led one person to declare that Kinver was “being turned into a nudist colony”. The parish council expressed strong disagreement about the allegations and that such statements were harming the good name of Kinver. The chairman said some residents had signed a petition complaining about the campers. If the supporters of the campers had acted on similar lines they would get about 800 signatures, he said. “Just because one or two people have come to live in Kinver, they think they have bought the place”. He agreed a few campers were rowdy but the way to deal with them was for the owners of the camp to get rid of them as soon as they became a nuisance. He had been up and down Stone Lane on several occasions and seen nothing out of the ordinary. Campers spent a good deal of money in the village.

Mr Massey looked at all this in a different light. “I think people who come here and pay rates should not be kept up until 12 or 1 in the morning by these rowdy people playing mouth organs, concertinas and gramophones”. The chairman said he got more nuisance from locals at his house than campers. Massey battled on. He wanted rowdyism stopped. “When a man has 100 people or more on his land, what are the sanitary conditions like?” Mr Biggs said that question had been raised with the sanitary inspector and he had said everything was satisfactory and in order.

Mr Williams asked what sort of reputation did Kinver get from press reports. A remark made about Kinver being turned into a nudist camp was the greatest mistake allowed to creep into a newspaper. “It made a stink in the nostrils of every self-respecting person”. Mr Fletcher said he had been asked in Stourbridge to what extent was nudism carried on in Kinver. He did not say whether this was to heap opprobrium on the issue or an eager desire to join in. All that had ultimately been seen was a man stripped to the waist and a girl in a bathing costume.

I hasten to add this was before my time and I was never rowdy, well not much. It’s funny how things never change, even after 82 years people are still complaining about noisy campers.