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

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The pressures on

We use a large 8 litre capacity pressure cooker at home that is great for large quanities of stew or soup to freeze. Large meat joints are so succulent when cooked this way. 8 litres is big and also a bit of a hassle when you only want to cook a small amount.

We started looking at small pressure cookers that would serve as a useful everyday size for the kitchen at home and double up as a utensil for the campervan.

The advantages of using a pressure cooker are low running cost with a vast reduction in the gas used and the food retains its flavour in the enclosed pot as it is steamed rather that boiled.

Research highlighted the Indian manufactured Hawkins range and I started to look for a 2 litre capacity Hawkins original cooker as made by the company since 1959.

hawk

Luckily, the guys from the Betty Bus Blog told me about their Hawkins Futura model and that’s what I purchased.

https://bettybus.wordpress.com/

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http://www.hawkinscookers.com/1.1.8.hawkinsSS.asp

Although a 3 litre would have been a good size for home use unfortunately it wouldn’t fit in the campervan.

The quality is exceptional, with its hard anodised finish and clever mounting of the pressure weight. It’s flowing modern design has earned it the accolade of being the only pressure cooker in the world to have been displayed by The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

We use it on a daily basis at home as it’s ideal for two people, so it will be ideal for our campervan trips.

I am a Cider drinker

This holiday post is a little late. We actually went away on 13th August. Better late than never.

The camp site had been booked months in advance because of the school holidays. Ruby was sleeping over at The feral daughters house.

The camper was packed to its limits with stuff that probably would not be used or required.

The reason for all this extra stuff was? We were going to Chard in Somerset taking our Granddaughter along for a week long camping trip. It’s been two years since she last went away with us and eleven year old girls need lots of stuff, or so I’m told. We will see.

Heading south on the M5 on Saturday morning is never going to be a pleasant affair and the usual travel time of 2 hrs 15 minutes turned into 4 hrs 30 minutes.

We had opted for a well tried and tested campsite. Alpine Grove is an excellent camp site set amongst the trees that we have visited many times before with our grandchildren and it has never failed to keep them active and happy

Alpine Grove

The first day always means a lot of fettling and resetting as I tweak the awning to get it just right. I’ve noticed that I’m not the only man on campsites that does this. The male species are builders of camps and if we were given the go ahead by our wives the next step would be hunting for our dinner. Luckily for the local wildlife we brought our own food.

Yes, the first night specialility made an appearance. Meatballs in a home made tomato sauce.

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Being the gentleman that I am, I let the girls have the comfort of the camper and I rediscovered my wild man roots and kipped in the awning. My back could regret that decision later.

I lay in the awning on the first night listening to a concert in the park blasting out from nearby Chard. The main group for the night were the Wurzels who played into the night. They had three encores and in each one they played “I’ve got a combine harvester” and “I am a cider drinker. Luckily, probably because of their age the concert ended at 11pm. I expect their beds were calling and before anyone calls me ageist, I’m about the same age and my bed had already called me.

The Wurzels

The week was spent relaxing whilst our granddaughter spent most of her time either in the swimming pool or making friends in the play area.

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We did some day trips out, but it soon became apparent that the parking facilities along the Devon and Dorset coast had changed since our last visit. Virtually all the car parks in the various towns banned any motor home/ campervan parking day or night. Our first visit to Lyme Regis was aborted as we couldn’t find any parking. I later searched the internet and eventually found a temporality park and ride for Lyme Regis on the Charmouth Road, which proved to be an excellent service for a later revisit.

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Six nights sleeping on an air bed in the awning was taking its toll on my aging bones and the weather forecast was for heavy rain on the Friday. We decided to leave the camp site one day early to avoid the rain and the Saturday morning traffic.

The rain arrived earlier than forecast and we had to break camp in the rain with a soaking awning.

After a fairly uneventful drive we arrived home and emptied all the stuff that we took with us and didn’t use.

 

Having a Ball

Look away Deb, this is going to be boring.

Just Kampers delivered the gear linkage bushes as promised and I set about changing them this weekend.

Firstly I removed the Swivel head by releasing the two 6mm bolts that hold it to the Selector lever on top of the gearbox.

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Once the Swivel head was removed it was obvious that the nylon ball on the end of the shaft was badly worn. The ball came off the shaft with little effort.

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The old and new ball

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Once everything was cleaned up and the replacement ball was soaked in boiling water to soften it. I managed to lever the new ball into place. (no photos as I needed both hands)

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The Swivel head was refitted with a dollop of grease to aid lubrication.

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A quick test drive around the area was a delight. The gear change was so smooth and easy. Better than it’s ever been.

To do the job properly I should have got underneath and removed all the gear linkage from the gear lever and methodically replaced all the many balls and bushes, but I didn’t have time to faff about with any major work as we are going away next weekend and I was looking for a quick repair.

I had checked the ball and the bush on the opposite side of the linkage rod for wear and it was Ok, so I just replaced the badly worn ball. A full replacement of the other bushes is on the cards for autumn/ winter.

 

Who ate all the pies

If your body is a temple that is only fuelled on lentils and beans then look away now because this isn’t for you.

On the Isle of Arran she promised me a pie to match the Scotch pie we bought locally.

Today the extreme knitter delivered to goods, now also known as the extreme pie maker.

A pie made of puff pastry and full of slow cooked pulled Beef brisket that had been marinated in whole grain mustard with gravy.

I know the Scotch ones were round, but trust me the shape doesn’t affect the taste.

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I will point out that the pie is on a small side plate and just an individual portion. Sadly it’s not a giant pie on a dinner plate.

I love a Pie.

 

One for my tea and a load in the freezer it doesn’t get any better than this.

Tomorrow we are off for a couple of nights on a fairly local camping trip to try out a new awning.

Hopefully I’ll be able to connect with the Mifi. Wow!!! internet on the road.

 

Dogs, Day trips and Eating

Just a few exciting highlights of our life over the last few weeks.

A big day for Ruby. She visited the vet to be neutered/spayed. We have waited 4 years because she always seemed too tiny for the procedure, but we know it had to be done for her own good or so we are advised. It’s not a decision we have taken lightly.

This was the second attempt to get the procedure done as the first time we took her she was sent home because she had an upset tummy.

Thankfully everything went as planned and we picked her up in the afternoon. She was obviously feeling shook up and sorry for herself.

There was no way she was going to wear the plastic neck cone that the vet supplied. We had bought a small inflatable neck collar, but that didn’t suit, so she had to wear a babies all in one vest for a few days until her stitches healed.

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The Extreme knitter hadn’t been feeling very well over the last few days, so a trip out in the campervan was called for to blow the cobwebs away. No work today, so we headed to Broadway Tower in the Cotswolds which is only about 15 mile from home. Broadway Tower is sited on the top of Fish Hill and Puffin chugged her way up to the top without any problems. We didn’t fancy paying the £10 to look around the Tower instead we admired the view across the shires and had a cup of tea in the café. You can reclaim the £2 parking fee in the café if you have a drink there.

We left the tower and drove back down Fish hill to Evesham. It can be a pain in the A**se trying to find somewhere to park a high top camper in Evesham with closed car parks and height barriers. Luckily we found a spot and had a wander around the town. Oh dear, Evesham is becoming a dead town with more and more shops standing empty.

We were getting peckish so we popped into the “Word of Mouth café”. Slightly quirky, with really happy, friendly staff. The food was exceptional and I highly recommend a visit just for the experience and banter.

http://www.wordofmouthcafe.co.uk/

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A few days later another window of opportunity opened for a day trip, so into the camper and we travelled south on the M5 towards Weston Super Mare (we do hit the high spots). On the way down we stopped at the motorway services to let Ruby have a wee and then Puffin wouldn’t start (dead battery). Out came the jump leads and I jumped the power from the leisure battery to fire her up. This wasn’t going to stop our trip out, so onward we went.

Weston is one of those places we visit at least once a year and we always have done for no apparent reason.

The sea was in (this is a very unusual occurrence) and it meant no parking on the beach, which perhaps was a good thing as being stuck on the beach with a camper that wouldn’t start with the tide advancing might have been foolhardy.

We parked on the promenade and wandered up and down the beach as only the British do. Ruby had a good run on the beach playing with any dog she could annoy. Obviously she is fully recovered from her medical ordeal and is back to her normal self.

At the top end of Weston sea front away from the busy part by the pier we found a seaside café called “Cove West” that actually welcomed dogs. In we go, Ruby sat quietly under the table and we devoured fish and chips. Not just any old fish and chips, but a really nicely cooked meal.

On the way back we called into “Battery Megastore” in Tewkesbury and purchased a more powerful starter battery.

http://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/

Having a campervan from the nineties means that some of the interior fittings can be a little dated. We are gradually changing some things in an attempt to give the old girl a makeover on a budget.

Sticky back plastic better known as Fablon gave a boring cream vinyl side panel a hint of texture and colour all for the outlay of half an hours work and a £2.50 investment. I ought to get a Blue Peter badge for this.

Before

Puffin wooden wall (2)

£2.50 later

puffin wooden wall

We might even get away for a few days next week to try out a new drive away awning.

What exciting lives we lead.

 

Winner, Winner, Chicken dinner

I’ve won, I can’t believe it. I know everybody says the same thing “I never win anything”, but I don’t.

Our prize is a Cadac Grillo Chef BBQ.  I won it by entering a competition run by MMM Motor home Magazine.

MMM Motor Home Magazine

 

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5600-20-EU-Grillochef

We are just waiting for it to arrive from Cadac, and then I’ll do a review using my amazing cooking skills.

Cadac

Well, if I can cook something on it without it burning to a cinder it will be amazing.

Ruby has had a miserable week. Last Thursday she visited the vet to be neutered/spayed. We have waited 4 years because she always seemed too small (2.7kg) for the procedure, but we know it had to be done for her own good or so we are advised. It was not a decision we had taken lightly.

This was the second attempt for her surgery. She arrived at the vets the week before to have it done and she was rejected as she had an upset tummy.

We dropped her off at the “Your Vets” surgery at Wythall at 8.30am and we picked her up in the afternoon.

Your Vets

We have been going to Your Vets for many years and can’t fault their skills and service.

Thankfully everything went as planned. She was obviously shook up and feeling sorry for herself.

She had to take things easy and not lick her wound. Trying to stop a dog from licking is impossible. She hated the plastic cone supplied by the vet, so we bought an inflatable neck collar, which she also hated.

The solution was a baby vest that she wore for a few days until she healed.

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It’s always amazing how animals recover so quickly when humans would be playing on the sympathy vote and milking it for what it’s worth.

Not that I would do that obviously.