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England

Staycation - Painters Farm

So our first trial trip in the Van is not all that far. To Painters Forstal in North Kent.

The problem locally is that since the very wonderful middle east owners of P&O Ferries sacked 800 seafarers we have been pretty much stuck locally! With an estimated 4500 trucks queued up on major routes, all hoping to get across the France we are pretty much barricaded in to our towns!!

So before we go to Brixham we need to get some overnights under our belts.

If course as well as the trucks and ferry problem, we have shortages of fuel!! Who knows why!

I chose Painters Forstal Farm as it is near enough to get to with what diesel we have in the tank! Although we went out yesterday and the third station had diesel and we filled up.

Routing might be a problem with roads either closed because of trucks or unsuitable for a Van.

So I have downloaded an app for my phone called Co-Pilot. The search isn't as good as Google Maps or TomTom but hopefully it will get us to the village and camp ground okay. I have set the vehicle dimensions to be about the overall size of the Van. In fact I have rounded up to cater for height and width to avoid too many narrow country lanes or low bridges! The Van has an added TV aerial on the roof to consider over the published height of the Eldiss 115.

In the evening we have booked a table for three at the pub, The Alma, in the village. That's Claire, me and Reggie.

All we need now is for some decent weather....

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:27 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation - Three go to Devon Again!

Have Van Will Travel!

On the way back from Devon we have decided once again to have a few nights in a proper campsite. I don't think we are ready for wild camping yet. Maybe in the summer after a few trials we can have a look at it.

Although we have a loo and shower onboard it is for emergency use only! No one wants the job of emptying the cassette from under the loo! At least at home it's flush and forgotten!

So I have booked another site, once again to the south of the country on the Dorset "Jurassic Coast" near Chesil Beach. The site is dog friendly and so is the nearby beach. So we can go for a few long walks and chill. It will be May so I only hope that the weather holds up.

Our first week of Van ownership has proved less than ideal. It snowed the day we collected it, then it rained most of the weekend apart from a small window at Dungeness.

The site this time is called East Fleet Farm. This isn't adult only like we chose for the stopover on the way down. But hopefully as it is between Easter and Half-Term there will be fewer kids about.

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We'll need to look for more places to go as the summer progresses and hopefully the weather will look up! I am already thinking about a longer trip in June and early July whilst the kids are still in school. I have nothing against kids but sometimes you want to go away and not be plagued by them everywhere.....

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:38 Archived in England Tagged devon staycation three_go_to_devon_again Comments (0)

Staycation - Van with No-Name Practice Run!

sunny

Okay we have no gas yet.

Why is that?

- You may have heard the UK left the EU. Increased paperwork means it takes longer to get through the ports and the Chunnel?
- There was a worldwide pandemic called Covid-19 or something? More paperwork!
- P&O Ferries decided a fortnight before the Easter school holidays to sack 800 seafarers and reduce the number of ships on the channel crossing to France by about 25 a day.

So the roads around this area are full of the hundreds of trucks that would have been catered for. The only local LPG-Autogas fuel station is in Dover, about 14 miles away, and currently gridlocked with trucks trying to escape back to Europe!

So no LPG for the Gas-Low bottles that we have in the Van

The practice run therefore was in the opposite direction to Dungeness Nature Reserve. It was also the first time that we had taken Reggie out and tried out his new harness affair to stop him wandering about. That worked well in conjunction with part of his bed he usually sleeps in. Familiarity might have been the name of the game. He seemed quite relaxed.

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Boy does it rattle. No amount of tea towels wrapping up all the oven stuff can get away from the rattling. Maybe our roads in England are too terrible! If anyone has a solution, add a comment!

It drives well. As a student I drove Mercedes vans for about three years in the evenings and during the holiday/vacation weeks and so no stranger to a speed restricted and larger vehicle. Van as it's currently named is powered by a Peugeot 2.2 litre HDi engine and pulls quite well. We'll see how economical it is!

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After a walk around the shingle we cam back and had coffee and cake from a flask in Van. Reggie had some treats and even went to sleep on his bed. So that was a success.

Where next?

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Posted by InvictaMoto 17:33 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation - Three go to Devon Again!

No sooner had we paid out £400 as the balance on the holiday stay in Brixham did we then look at buying a motorhome. We had a look at a few at several different dealers in the south-east of England. We have talked about this before and thought maybe about hiring one for a week.

Had we realised that after several visits to look at one, that on March 12th we would get out the MasterCard and put down a £1000 deposit on one. At the time of writing we are looking to collect it on April 1st - April Fools Day!

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If we had thought about it sooner we may have saved the £400 and used that to pay for sites to visit in the new (to us) van.

It's a 2013 Eldiss Majestic 115. It's two berth and considered a starter motorhome for couples. Although we have seen on a few forums that it is also a good one for those downsizing from a bigger one. If we had cancelled the holiday home we would have lost the £118 we paid as a deposit.

So instead of the car we will go in the van (still to be named) and get used to it. I have to insure it this week before we collect it and it will need to be road taxed for use on British roads. I have already added it to the Dart Charge system to get us across the infamous blockage across the Thames from Kent to Essex. Luckily it is the same charge as a car.

For the trip to Devon I contacted the owner of the holiday home and she is happy for a motorhome rather than a car but she thinks it may be too wide for the gateway onto the drive. There is however unrestricted parking outside the place where we can park in the street.

There is so much to do before we go anywhere and I am looking forward to getting it and having a play. We have been watching a TV programme with comedian Paul Merton and his wife, Suki Webster, where they are novices and have a bigger than van than ours. They were a bit too much like Claire and me! I might have to start calling Claire "Suki" instead!

We have already started collecting some of the bits and pieces we will need to have when we "camp". First thing was a hook-up cable for when we are on a proper site with hook-ups. Plus some lightweight plates etc so we can eat. Gas is a problem. The previous owners kept the two Calor Gas bottles and so we decided to have a pair pf permanent LPG bottles installed. Not cheap but they will mean there's no need to unhook and replace one when it runs out. Apparently there is a shortage of new bottles as the lockdowns meant that more people bought them (I have no idea why!) and there's is a shortage. Now we will have to find an LPG garage to fill them up.

Of course we plan a few days trips to places we know we can stop to test out how it all works away from the experienced campers eyes. I remember being a regular and experienced camper watching others struggling to put up a new tent and wondering if I should intervene.

On the way to Devon I have booked two nights in an adult only campsite called "Back of Beyond" in Hampshire. it's about halfway between home and Brixham. It means our journey will be far shorter each day and or course gives us a chance to try a proper camping ground with electric hook-ups etc.

It might restrict us on some of the drives out in the week we are in the cottage as it is wider and longer than a car. But we'll cope with that as it happens. What it does mean is that we can stop where we like and brew up and not worry about a café or town!

The freedom of the road? We'll see!

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:45 Archived in England Tagged devon brixham back_of_beyond three_go_to_devon_again Comments (0)

Matlock Staycation - Day 5


View Matlock 22 on InvictaMoto's travel map.

Home day. After a really nice time away, we were up bright and early to get packed up and away

We had to be out by 10am, but with super speed we were off at 09.18am! We decided on the M1 route home and then the west side of the M25. There was a bit of confusion as we headed east as the satnav wanted us to head away from the signposted M1 (South). We followed the signs and joined at J26.

Progress was good with the cruise control at 70mph for most of the way. I do wonder why some drivers wait until you are in an overtaking lane, then speed up. This leaves you stranded! A minute later you sail past them.

First stop was at the Watford Gap services. There is some grass for Reggie to exercise his feet and have a pee. Claire bought coffee. We were there no longer than 25 minutes.

Then off. There is a reduced speed limit on the M1 from there to almost Milton Keynes. They are obviously building a smart motorway. But for thirty or so miles no actual sign of work. Not even any equipment. Another show of how crap Highways England are.

With the M4 closed miles away and it feeding back to the M25 we decided to take the eastward loop and the Dartford Crossing.

Traffic crawled to the junction, then we got back to 70 and the overheads announced a vehicle fire. Traffic stopped completely for about 15 .inutes just before the A1 junction. Sadly someone's car was totally destroyed.

Our next stop was Thurrock. Not my favourite services. I go there every year for the Ring of Red on Remembrance Sunday. I found new to us grass and Reggie once again watered the flowers.

And we were off again. The next stop at my Aunt's to pick up her Magimix to take it to the repairers. That's not far from where we live. A job for tomorrow.

That done and we were home about 2.45pm. car unloaded, Reggie fed. Time to unwind.

Posted by InvictaMoto 15:26 Archived in England Comments (0)

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