3 December 2023

Molly to JC again

A couple of weeks ago we had to go to Rye to JC Leisure to get them to look at the habitation door handle I broke.

They have since sourced the part and it's booked in for this coming Tuesday.

A little bit of pressure is off as the MRI scan appointment on the 8th means our Suffolking About trip is delayed.

Q: So what's in the box?

A: New mirrors.

We have also got to replace the broken left mirror, don't ask, and our friend Matt kept on at us to get the Peugeot short arm mirrors instead of the long arm type traditionally fitted to motorhomes.

He has them fitted on Suki. Yes. He bought our old motorhome! They work well. The short arm mirrors should make the overall width less.

The downside is that the replacement mirrors come with the electric adjustment but the left one doesn't have the radio aerial. We found this on Suki when I broke that mirror!!! 

I have checked a few forums and it seems transplanting the aerial from the broken mirror into the new one is doable but most have simply removed it from the broken mirror and duct taped it to the inside of the door rather than dismantle new mirror.

I'll pass this onto JC and hope for the best.

2 December 2023

Suffolking About!

Things change fast. I was out today when the mail arrived. In it was a letter with an appointment for an MRI Scan that clashes with this trip.

So from the luxury of the train to London I emailed both the CL's to change the date to a few days later. 

Instead of arriving on Thursday to instead arrive on Sunday. 

Later on I had the replies. One good, one not.

Sadly the Sibton White Horse pub is closed on Sunday and Monday evenings. We were looking forward to eating in the restaurant. 

So I am cancelling completely that leg. 

Instead I re-emailed Waterpump and booked an extra night there. It does mean we will have to eat in two nights instead of enjoying a festive meal in a pub. 

Bummer or what?

Arsenal vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Today was my first game for a few weeks. Since I started sharing my season ticket with my mate Phil it seems  long time between games.

When I left home for the 1201 high speed ūüöĄ train into London the car was showing -3°C on the dash. This went up or is that down to -4°C once up the hill from the coast to the station at Folkestone West. The free on road parking was full and so I paid £3.90 to park in the security camera covered car park.

It was still freezing. I was pretty well wrapped up with layers up top. What was missing were long John's. Jeans are not very "keep warming"!

The train was packed with those of us going to Arsenal and even a couple going to West London to watch Brentford play. The rest were lots of families going to London for a pre-Christmas visit. There were also a group of Prosecco swilling and very under dressed women wandering about. 

Once at St Pancras i met Helen and went for a meal-deal, she went to Boots and I went to Marks and Spencer!

It was still freezing. As it was early we had no problems getting on the tube. Even got a seat.

We met Neill (my brother) and had a chat before taking our seats.

Oh the game!

For once quick off the mark. After the demolition of Lens in midweek in the Champions League where we set a record for scoring etc.

By 14 minutes it was 2-0. Plenty of chances to make it more were squandered. 

Into the second half and it was more of the same, twice hitting the post from Martinelli and Nketiah.

Coasting to the end of the game and a mistake, no names, and Cunha pulled one back for Wolves. It was then five minutes of bum clenching before they announced 7 minutes added time. That 7 became 9 before the final whistle.

The train home was okay and once back at West the job of scraping the ice off the windscreen was easy enough. It was a foggy drive home.

1 December 2023

Phew! Molly started.

We decided that as it was getting on for two weeks since Molly was left on the drive, she needed a run out.

In that time it has rained a bit and lately has been very cold. A few days of 0°C on top of that.

Very little sun to charge the new leisure battery and we don't have electric hook-up at home.

So today we took all the locks off and went for a short drive to Capel le Ferne and Sainsbury's on the way back to fill with diesel.

Before the off I checked the meter on the TV socket to see what voltage the leisure battery was showing.

I was surprised at 14.3. 

At the fuel station I filled up to the first click as usual, and it took 42.03 litres. Putting it into Fuelly came out at 35mpg. One of the best consumption figures we had had.

Then back home. Locks back on. 

28 November 2023

Molly Warranty Transferred

Checked with Elddis and the 10 year warranty on the build system hadn't been transferred to us from the previous owner.

I had to send them a copy of the habitation check done in March and the V5 for the vehicle.

With that done I had to pay £60 transfer fee. 

That's all sorted. Let's hope it's worth it in the end!!!

26 November 2023

ZTE MF920 MiFi Router

I have been looking for a WiFi or MiFi device to use in the Moho since we had the TV installed and had the Amazon Firestick.

I ended up ordering this one that comes with a free SMARTY SIM card.

It arrived today. I'll play with it in the week and see what performance I can get out of it.

It's quite small and they reckon battery life is about 8 hours. Plenty for an evenings TV viewing.

25 November 2023

Day Visit - Great Dixter Christmas Fair

A shortish run out today. Entry to the Fair was pre-book and a good job too. 

Restricting numbers meant there wasn't the crush that can be found at free for all events.

We set off about 12.30pm. The Fair opened at 1pm and we didn't want to be there first and stuck in a jam as the access road is narrow and has houses along it. We arrived around 1.30pm.

Parking was tight but well managed by the staff working on site. 

The stalls were from lots of independent artists and small businesses and were spread around the outbuildings and inside the house itself.

Claire's first stop was the mulled wine and we both had a complimentary shortbread biscuit. Yep. Something for nothing.

It was then into the garden to check out the stalls by the oast houses. And then continuing to other stalks. 

Claire bought some pottery items and then a bowl of hyacinth bulbs.

At lunch we had a coffee and a really nice locally produced sausage in a brioche roll. Very tasty.

Of course during our walk we took some photos of the buildings. Claire's show more than just the buildings.

We ended up in the house. A lot of the crafts' prices would make me blanch! Wow!

The route there was seemingly a long way around and not one we had done before. So going back we went the usual route.

Maybe a mistake as Tenterden was holding its Christmas Market!  Traffic was heavy.

We arrived home around 4.15pm.

Photos from today.

24 November 2023

MAG South-East - Action: Please sign open letter to Camden

You may never ride into Camden. You may never ride into London at all with the #ULEZ and the difficulties parking. This affects you as much as London riders.
This sets a precedent that if it gets voted through, other councils will see it as a way to restrict our rights to own and ride motorcycles. And of course, earn money to pay for all kinds of other schemes that they should be funding from the council tax!
Please read the post and follow the link.

Thank you to everyone who responded to Camden’s consultation on their new proposed motorcycle parking charges. They are now looking at your responses so it's vital we keep up the pressure.

Save London Motorcycling have written an open letter to Camden against the charges and we need as many people as possible to sign it!

Go to "Save London Motorcycling - Camden" and scroll to the end of the open letter to sign, it should only take a minute of your time!

Last time Camden tried to bring in charges our open letter stopped them in their tracks. Since then the Council has made some changes to their proposals so we need as many people as possible to sign our new open letter to make sure they back down again.

Please sign and share this with everyone you know who cares about motorcycling in London. We need to show the strength of feeling against Camden’s plans, and that riders aren’t just going to go away!

18 November 2023

Oldham Athletic @ Woking FC

With another game in the South-East, that doesn't clash with an Arsenal season ticket home game, my brother Neill was able to come along too.

We decided to meet at our Aunt's in Maidstone and take one car. As I paid for the tickets we went in his car. The financial jiggling can come later. Tickets for us fogeys are £15 and for that we had a seat in the main stand behind the goal. Parking was nearby and two hours is free. We just paid for the extra couple of hours.

It was a short walk to the ground. We were there just after 2pm. The kickoff was 3pm.

We managed to munch down a 10" German sausage and a coffee the temperature of lava before the teams came out. 

If results were based on the warm up and shooting into the goal then we would expect 6-0 scores every week.

The game was pretty even. Woking had a chance to go ahead but Holden saved well. 

0-0 at half-time.

Second half was a vast improvement and Latics came close a few times, but the shot at the end of the move was weak.

In end the substitution of Green for Ward changed the dynamic. Within minutes is paid off and Norwood controlled the ball and slipped it past the keeper.

Latics out on the pressure and almost immediately struck the bar with a shot from outside the box from Gardner.

The game fizzled a little with Latics trying to manage the game out.

It made for a pleasant drive back to Maidstone and onto home.

Pictures above taken from the official Oldham Athletic AFC social media.

These are my pictures taken on my phone. Quality is poor!

So what's the next awayday?

16 November 2023

Staycation 2023 - Christmas Market


As expected the weather was terrible from the moment we set off.

Our mood was one of optimism that no matter what, we'd enjoy the trip.

Even a prang that broke the left mirror couldn't ruin the "midweekend" entirely. It looks as though we will need to splash the cash... How about a Just Giving appeal?

The Ohrex (the satnav) decided to avoid the Dartford Crossing and go what I always think is the long way around the M25 via Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

It saves us the £2.50 toll and maybe a lot of sitting in traffic.

We were on the road early, for us 9am is early. I had set a departure time of 8.30am but that was simply to get us moving. After the heavy rain there was a lane near Ashford and another near Maidstone that had the hard shoulder (emergency lane) flooded. later I read on Google that the flood near Ashford had spread across the entire three lane highway. 

We were making good time at our regular 55mph on the GPS driven HUD (Heads Up Display) and stopped as usual at Cobham Services on the M25. Reggie walk and pee time and us to get a coffee. Once again we went to McDonald's. Usually the coffee is good. Cheaper than other outlets but this time too watery and weak.

Maybe I need to buy an inverter so we can run the Bosch Tassimo when parked up?

Once back on the M25 the rain got harder and harder... By the time we approached Heathrow it was tipping it down so hard the wipers could hardly copy.  The overhead message boards said surface water and to slow down. Most sensible drivers did, but there were still others that ignored the water.

We tried another stop at the M1 services at Watford Gap.  I think this maybe the oldest service area on the motorway network. It used to be called the "Blue Boar" many years ago and was "famed" for its terrible blue plastic furniture, both chairs, tables and padded sofa-like seating.

Sadly there was no room for a 7m van. The parking is pretty tight and so we went back on the motorway and went to Leicester Forest East.  Can't see much forest though.

We eventually parked. Note to self. Ignore the "caravans this way" signs and go to the car parking. It's easier and actually exists.  The "caravan" parking is generally full of trucks in any case.

Arrival at Chatsworth Caravan Club site was around 3.30pm. Still daylight.  Luckily the River Derwent was behaving itself and staying inside the boundaries of its banks. There was evidence of the previous week's flood with the huge and deep puddles.

We checked in and setup on Pitch 112.  Nice enough. By the time we had all the electric setup it was time to take Reggie to find the dog walk.  It's enclosed between two walls from the original stables and dogs can run off lead.  Reggie seemed to enjoy himself sniffing about in the leaves.

In the evening we had homemade bolognaise and cauliflower rice washed down with a fruit cider from Sweden, bought at Aldi! I managed to get the TV tuned in and we watched a few things. Internet at the Chatsworth site is not very good at all though.  Even with a 50% signal at 4G it was slow, but was fast enough to get YouTube working on the Amazon Firestick. We watched a few motorhome/vanlife vloggers.

Wednesday morning

Reggie was unsettled all night and I ended up taking him out for pees and generally wandering around evert two and half to three hours.  We changed the bed configuration three times! From extended single, to single to double to accommodate him. He likes to sleep not in his own leopard skin bed but on the settee side of things next to Claire's feet!

After breakfast he had a walk and then we locked up the van and left him with his licky mat and peanut butter. And off we went to the market.  Using the back gate key we were on the way. Various campers had said on the forums that wellies were a necessity. It turned out there were maybe two others that had wellies on! Walking boots would have been sufficient.

The walk was maybe twenty minutes to the house and the market alongside it.   In the course of the day we bought a few gifts for neighbours and ourselves. A coffee and hot chocolate and then later a bratwurst with cheese for me and a local farmhouse sausage for Claire. We were probably there and then walking time about three hours.  Reggie was waiting when we got back. Ready for his dinner!

And of course we had to buy a Bakewell Pudding!

Here are the photos I took. Many of these can be seen on our Instagram site.

Reggie had another walk in the dog walking area. More sniffing. More piddling.  Then a couple came in with a pair of Labrador bitches.... Wow. Reggie has in heaven. Chasing around with them most unlike a 13yo dog!  Eventually we got him back and headed back to van.  

It was fish and chip night at the site and the van had set up by reception. Reggie and I went and we had chips and gravy. Really nice non veggie meaty gravy!

A bit more TV and then it was bed time.  This time Reggie slept through the night until about 7.30am. We had an alarm set for 8am. Maybe chasing the "girls" had tired the old boy out?


Hometime. We were up early as weather forecasts weren't good for the drive home especially in the south. In the end we were almost home when it started to rain heavily at times.  Even the Dartford Crossing went smoothly.

We arrived home in rain and unloaded the van.  I messaged our friend Matt to get the Amazon link for the new mirrors. Like he has, we will fit the shorter armed ones. less likely to bash them against posts and oncoming vans and trucks!

We need to get this sorted before our next staycation in December.