Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Northumbria the beautiful

It's National Camping and Caravanning Week and we've been at the Camping & Caravanning Club's delightful site (shame about the lovely lady in charge though) at Bellingham on the edge of Kielder Forest and the Northumberland National Park since Saturday. We've enjoyed peace, quiet and some great walking so far. Here we're yomping south along the Pennine Way just above Bellingham with Kim, Hamish and their daughter Lois. I was out of sight and Tilly took the piccy. Yay!

And a nice, smiley photo of the love of my life:
Hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Independence day!

It's strange really. In over two and half years' adventuring with the van we have never camped wild for three consecutive nights without moving the van during the stay. So we didn't really know how our leisure battery would cope without a charge. Well, this weekend we did just that. With Chrissie not working on Monday we shot off up to Malham on Friday afternoon and found ourselves a nice little spot near the tarn and had three days of walking before returning on Monday afternoon. It rained on Saturday morning but I made the most of this and caught up with some article writing and we walked in the afternoon. In contrast, Sunday and Monday were delightful; spring having finally arrived. We took an extra 25 litres of water in a container, stashed in the washroom en route and we did need this. We all had a fantastic weekend. We do so love our van. Here are some piccies.

Happy travelling!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Something should be done about it; a rant.

Something should be done about it!
The weather I mean.
It's absolutely flippin' ridiculous and I'm seriously thinking of writing to my MP AND my MEP.
Dixie, our boxer is demanding access to the computer to email the RSPCA, so sickened off is she by the cold.
Even our furry choccy lab says she should have shed her winter coat yonks back. She says she needs more food ... to keep warm. Mind you, she ALWAYS wants more food.
Just this morning me and the hounds went for our daily consitutional over Lantern Pike, our local, pocket-sized hill. Just as we emerged onto the flat open space below the summit we were hit by an Arctic gale. And as for the gusts on the top. Well ... I just don't believe it. It's the 13th May for goodnesss sake! What is going on? It's an outrage. It's only a month or so to the longest day!
At Easter, we were hit by a snowstorm on the Isle of Lewis.
A couple of weeks ago we had snow again on the North York Moors.
It's enough to make my blood boil ... except it's too bloomin' cold.
Grrrrrr ... I'm sick to the back teeth of it.
Here endeth the rant.
That feels much better.
Dad ... Dad ... WHEN will it be warm again?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

It looks much bigger in here now ... like a TARDIS in fact

We'd coveted these Remis cab screens, so, with a bit of cash to spare, I ordered 'em and fitted 'em.

The least said about the fitting, the bettter. It was a bugger, and I'm a reasonbly competent DIYer. The main problem was the instructions, which had large, very significant gaps! Seriously though, if you want any detailed info, get in touch and I'll share my experiences in the hope it might make your life easier if you're up for this modification. To be fair, despite the problems, it's worth it. They look really neat and give a real feeling of space now the curtains have gone. The pale interior of the blinds also reflect light inside (like white painted walls) and really do make the van feel bigger, especially in the study (the front of the van).

These photos are mostly self expanatory:


Again, despite the difficulty, the finished product is high quality and looks great. And, before anyone asks, they cost about £490 including delivery.  I know ... expensive ... but they look good so what the heck? Can't take it with you.

Happy travelling to you all.

A short trip to the North York Moors, May 2013

The sad passing of Chrissie's Aunt saw us heading up to Middlesborough for the funeral. In an effort to brighten this event we went in the van and spent a long weekend on the North York Moors. We had four, fun filled days of walking, wild camping and two nights at the Caravan Club's site near Whitby. Here's a few piccies:


God bless Anne and our sincere sympathies to Christine, Peter and the rest of the family.

Is it me or is it cold in 'ere?

Now three winters into living with our lovely van it had become apparent that the rear doors were a source of cold air; not so much draughts as simply cold being conducted through the metal.

I reckon I've fixed it though. Removing the trim panels from the rear doors I found this paltry bit of insulation fitted by the folks at A/S.

More importantly, there was absolutely nil insulation behind the reinforcing bits of the door panelling, nor up the pillars. So, I went and bought some standard, 50mm thick, loft insulation slabs from Wickes and set about filling every nook and cranny with the stuff. I shoved it up the blind bits (oo, er, missus) with the aid of a cunning bit of stick until I'd filled every orifice, if you'll pardon the expression.


Then, feeling smug, I attacked the side door in a similar vein. I needed a touch of ingenuity cos I couldn't remove the whole trim panel without taking the door off, (which I wasn't prepared to do), but I managed, with the aid of my trusty shoving stick.

I then turned my attention to these little trim panels on't rear door pillars. Took 'em off and shoved away with insulation ... and my stick. Gosh it was fun!

By then I reckon I'd filled pretty much all the bit's of metalwork at t'back o' t'van (and the side door) with toasty warm insulation; mmm, cosy!

What about the front doors? I hear you ask. Well, I think, given the room you need for the windows to drop down inside there's not a lot of point in insulating the remaining bits. Anyway, mind yer own business! This posts about insulating the back doors ... ok? Sorry, that was a bit rude ... sorry.

Anyways. SWMBO reckoned there was lots of cold air coming in via the gap twixt the back doors, where there's only a thin bit o' metal between you and the big, cold, wintery world outside. So, I put on my thinking cap and came up with this.

The following sequence of pics shows how I used pipe insulation, a bit o' rubber, some stick'n'sew velcro and the fabric we'd used to cover our overhead locker bonce-protector (see Van Info) to make an effective seal between the doors, all kinda Barry Bucknell-like. Bits of velcro hold it in place when you open the doors. We think it's great!


I'd seen a similar idea done by one of the smaller panel van converters but theirs seemed to press stud over the gap whereas we've filled it with insulation ie fabric covered pipe insulation.

We already had the draught excluder at the bottom of the doors but now we've got the whole flippin' lot sealed up. Yet to be tested in the cold (never thought I'd be saying that this year!).

Only complaint ... it's bloody hot in here now (just kidding).

I couldn't be bothered explaining every step but if you'd like any detailed info on any aspect, just let me know and I WILL try to help; I'm only cantankerous on a few days each month.

By the way, Chrissie did all the lovely stitchy and sewy bits; she's a love. That sounded patronising didn't it? Wasn't meant to. I love her really; kissy, kissy, kissy xxx. We make a good team.