Posted by: glenswatman | June 21, 2011

20110611-20 England

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FRIDAY 10 JUNE – We’ve spoken to Cordoba and told them that unless they got back to us yesterday we would return to Bradford today to get the lights fixed. Arrive and speak to owner Sid who says they are too busy and will book us in for 2 weeks time. No amount of pleading or explaining that we live in the van and need light makes any difference. Leave as very disgruntled customers. Stop off in Shipley to see our motorhome friend Pete whom we first met in Spain in 1999. He says we are welcome to park up overnight and offers to check out the light problem. Not only does he do that (and establishes that it is in the computer circuit board) but he also gives us some nice carpet and matting for the motorhome. Last winter he was on the Canary Islands and tells us about a cheaper ferry, Armas, from Portugal and coupled with his photos tempts us to go back there this winter. He’s going off flying this weekend so loads his motorhome then parks at the side of us by the river.

SATURDAY 11 JUNE – Pete leaves at 7.30am so it’s an early start which works well as we can do some shopping before getting to Sandra’s drive at 8.30am when Daz drops off the kids. They are both tired and within minute are asleep in different beds. We phone up other Rimor dealers and find a really nice chap down near Malvern who books us in for Wednesday so once again we have to re plan. Natasha has only just woken up and had breakfast when Claire arrives just after 12.00. It’s a sunny and breezy day so perfect for doing all our laundry and we manage to get 5 loads washed and dried. Steve goes off to Aireborough with Claire to watch Natasha swim in the evening.

SUNDAY 12 JUNE – Claire collects us just after 7am. They leave me at home whilst everyone else heads off in 2 cars to the car boot sale. I make use of my time alone to give the bathroom a good clean, do some washing and cook up pork Sunday dinner. We thought it was Fathers Day today and invited Mom and Dad for lunch but let it stand as we won’t be here next week. The car booter’s return well pleased with their sales with the exception of Steve who sold something of ours for £1 then spent more than that on buying things but Scrabble at 50p could not be resisted. Dinner goes down well and in the afternoon we christen the Scrabble with a family team game. Natasha stays in the motorhome with us overnight as her school is closed tomorrow for teacher training. She is not a bit of bother and enjoyed a few card games with us.

MONDAY 13 JUNE – Leaning on the ladder to make the bed I suddenly find myself falling to the floor. The clips that hold the ladder in place have sheared off and I end up on the floor on top of the ladder and bang my shin, another problem to add to our list. It’s cold and drizzly so we move the van down into town so Steve can go to the Doctors whilst Nat and I go to the shops. I visit the walk in hairdressers and give her the challenge of cutting my hair whilst leaving it in a style so I can grow it long; she actually does a great job with lots of layers. We drop Natasha at Holy Family School at 4pm for her netball match then set off for Stafford. We are heading to Malvern for motorhome repairs on Wednesday but can combine it with visits to friends. John & Shirley are preparing to leave England properly and having been on and off travellers for many years we have lots in common. John cooks delicious spaghetti bolognaises and we talk through future flans for us all.

TUESDAY 14 JUNE – Deep joy, a lovely hot sunny day giving me the chance to give a summer outfit an airing. John has left for work but Shirley invites us in for breakfast and showers. The Tomtom Satellite navigation comes in handy taking us directly to our friends Stan & Judy who live in Moseley. Judy is out but Stan is there puzzling over a problem with his motorhome. He reversed into a lamp post yesterday and the minor damage to the rear lights seems to have had a worse effect on his fuel pump! Judy arrives back and organises lunch which we eat sat out in the garden. The last time we saw Judy & Stan was when they travelled with us in Southern Africa in 2007 so again lots of catching up to do. At the moment they cannot travel much due to problems with relatives and Judy’s aging Mum but having visited India 6 times in the past we have plenty to talk about.

WEDNESDAY 15 JUNE – 3 counties caravans is near the attractive town of Upton on Severn. After leaving the motorhome with Andy we catch a bus back to Upton. It is a really attractive old village on the banks of the river Severn. Motorhome friends Claire & Malcolm from Cheltenham are coming up to meet us and we have just about finished looking around when we spot their motorcaravan arriving over the bridge. They have also just bought a new motorhome and their Auto Trail does rather put Eddie to shame in being way bigger and more luxurious, but also more expensive. They park up down a side road and we sit inside chatting over lunch. Last time we saw Claire and Malcolm was when they visited us in Mexico in 2009 and since then they have been climbing up Everest and visited South America. Malcolm drives us back to pick up Eddie where the news is not good. According to Andy the lighting problem is probably due to the incorrect way the solar panels and battery have been connected.
We paid Cordoba to do all this for us but given our relationship with them at the moment it would seem pointless going back. Andy says it would take them about 4-hours to fix it at £53 an hour as it would not be covered by the warranty. They also won’t tackle any of the other jobs on our list. We are feeling really down and despondent when Malcolm suggests we follow them back to Cheltenham and he will have a go at sorting us out. I cook up one of my Indian recipe curries whilst Steve and Malcolm check out the problem and decide Malcolm can fix it, excellent news. Make the most of our time with them to look at some of their travel photographs.

THURSDAY 16 JUNE – Malcolm and Steve get straight on the job and concur that in fact it was wired wrongly at all just that Italian companies use the blue wire for positive instead of the red. What needs to be done is the 2 batteries made more secure and the one inside needs a vent plus the solar panel needs the wiring to the controller fixing. At this point we realise the converter is too small but a phone call to the company, luckily not far away, results in them offering to change it for the larger one if we call in. Malcolm is a brilliant handy man and also manages not only to fix the broken ladder clips but to make it much firmer than it was before. After an “English breakfast” lunch we are ready to leave. At the solar panel place they overcome a couple of snags to get us sorted out and on our way feeling more like happy campers. At Market Drayton we surprise Mum with a visit. She’s waiting for another appointment about her hip next week but other than that seems very well. A friend has offered us parking a few miles out of town on his land and Mum agrees to lend us her car so we can get back from there. We call round to see David who is keeping his flat really nice and clean and tidy and seems well. Relocate Eddie to our new plot and finally feel more like we are motorhomers again.

FRIDAY 17 JUNE – With use of Mum’s car it is easy to go back into Market Drayton to spend time with her and David. In the afternoon I accompany Mum for a drive up town, her driving seems fine but we may have to work on her sense of direction a bit but as she says she can always ask for directions. I phone the Doctors and find out that the biopsy results are non malignant which is great news. Based on this we make the decision to head off towards Italy with Bev & Norm joining us and leave my colonoscopy until we return in 2 months. Carol pops round in the evening and we have a good catch up. Netty & Ian also call in to see us and feel quite at home in Eddie.

SATURDAY 18 JUNE – Yesterday we picked up a load of shoe boxes so spend time finding the ones that fit into our wall cupboards and then deciding what to store in each one. This makes it so much easier to find things and stops stuff moving around during journeys. In Market Drayton we meet Miller, whose land we are staying on, and chat to him. He says we are welcome to pick the raspberries in his orchard. Pop round to Mum’s until mid afternoon. Netty & Ian join us for an evening meal and I find cooking in the motorhome pretty easy.

SUNDAY 19 JUNE – Pete gave us some new carpet so we make the most of the dry morning to lay it out on the grass and use the old carpet as a template. Unfortunately this way we bring a lot of grass into the motorhome but at least get the carpet down even though we end up leaving the trimming until later. Next we sort out the garage. David arrives on his bike to visit us; he’s looking really well and seems very happy today after chatting to Donna. Visit Netty & Ian in the afternoon then return to Mum’s where I start cooking up a beef pot roast meal. Steve drives to Hanley to pick up Bev & Norm who have been on the bus all day coming from Scarborough. Back at the van Steve & Norm attempt to change the connection to the new gas bottle but end up twisting the thread causing a leak. We empty the freezer then drive back to Netty who helps out by storing stuff in her freezer.

MONDAY 20 JUNE – Seems like Bev & Norm have again brought the nice weather to us. At Lazy Days in Market Drayton we manage to get a new gas pipe and the marina have the correct size spanners for connecting it up so we nip back and get the gas up and running again. Old school friend Lesley Roberts calls to say she is heading into Market Drayton so we meet up for coffee and spend a good hour catching up on our lives. We all meet up at Mum’s and also catch David there which is good as we can say our Good-bye’s. Spend time chatting to Mum before visiting Netty. She is already off work on holiday ready for setting off to Portugal tomorrow. We sit in the garden enjoying the sun. Book the P&O Dover to Calais ferry for 6pm tomorrow (£44) so call back to Mum’s to say Good-bye to her to avoid waking her when we leave early tomorrow. Back at the orchard we sit out enjoying a curry followed by freshly picked raspberries and cream and just get finished before the rain starts.


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