The Devon and Cornwall Tour – W3P1 – & A Sad Passing

Wednesday 28th March 2018

We had a quiet relaxing day – cross stitch for me – satellite stuff for Nigel. We waited for the showers to stop and the sun to shine (that’s what the forecast said would happen) even if it was still windy.

After a light lunch we decided to take a scooter trip to Sandymouth Beach (nearest sea to us). We thought we would wrap up warm and go – use the back lanes for the 7 mile round trip.

So we set off no problems although Dolly was a bit slower than normal up hill. We got to Sibb which is about half way to the beach and as we started up a small hill she began to get slower and slower and then came to a standstill. Nigel thought she might have just got a bit hot so we rested for a few minutes. We had managed to just about get to the summit of the hill but we had to decide whether to continue or not.

The decision was made for us as Dolly had died – she refused to move under her own power even after a rest.

Nigel had to knock her into neutral and push me the near two miles back to Voyager.

Now you may remember we mentioned Nigel having a PPI ‘win’ back in December. I said it had encouraged us to make further complaints. Well when I checked my Bank balance online the other day I found an unexpected credit which turned out to be my own PPI ‘win’. So we have decided to buy a new scooter for me – all I have to decide on is a name.

Tonight Nigel did some Blog work while I did the chicken meal – he did do the washing up though.

TV evening as usual – then bed.

Thursday 29th March 2018

Again we woke to heavy rain and wind. What with the weather and Dolly being out of action we thought going to visit something inside was best. Nigel had picked up a few Tourist information leaflets in Reception so we decided Hartland Abbey would be the place for today.

First though we did a top-up shop in Morrisons Bude. It was a really miserable time – after not being able to find space for Voyager in the car park we found that the whole world wanted to do their Easter weekend shopping today. Going around with a wheelchair and trolley in a very busy supermarket is not an experience I wish to repeat.

Well we got the shopping stowed (everything has a place) drove into Bude proper and found a carpark near the beach.

A relaxing lunch while a hail shower pelted down outside – warm and toasty inside though. When it dried a little Nigel strolled out (taking a few pics for me to see later)

checking for anything we could do using the wheelchair. He didn’t find much and what there was involved some steep paths – too much effort required for such little return.

So we set forth for Hartland.

Good roads for most of the way with only a couple of miles at the end a bit narrow. The village roads are very small but someone thought about it and has made a one way system. We saw on their leaflet that coaches visit so we knew we could. The Abbey itself is a little further on.

Hartland hs1

We found the staff very friendly and because they had very few visitors allowed us in at reduced rate because as we have found in a lot of old places the Abbey is not very wheelchair friendly so we could only visit the ground floor which was showing several exhibitions in different rooms.

It was enough to keep us amused for an hour and for the time we were there we had blue skies and sunshine. We learned a lot about the Stuckeley family and their exploits through the years. Some very old legal contracts some with Royal seals. William Stuckeley in particular had some very odd ideas of diner party entertainment – dissecting animals during their meal. He also dissected an elephant on the lawn and formed the conclusion that the female elephant lay on her back for mating. He was a man of many interests and spent many years studying Avebury and Stonehenge monuments. He was also a friend of Isaac Newton and did experiments with electricity.

When we got back to site we found several more neighbours that weren’t there this morning. The weather turned rainy again and I have to admit I have had a couple of glasses of wine this evening – not really SW but what the hell I’m on holiday.

Friday 30th March 2018

We decided to have a restful morning (both of us had a lie in – until 8.30 anyway).

Breakfast and normal chores done Nigel had a look at Dolly. He got her going with a clean of the motor brushes but she is not going well. Definitely a new one when we get home.

I did needle work – it is a fine stitch with lots of little bits with different colours so it is a bit taxing.

After lunch we went for a breath of fresh air – me on Gordon with Nigel walking. Just around the site – with a quick stop at the Motorhome service point

Kilk MSP

but just to hose the scooter wheels as they had gotten seriously muddy. We got back as the rain started again so doing anything more was out.

The site started to fill up yesterday but today a lot more have arrived – both caravans and Motorhomes.

The site staff have been shifting a lot of vans around – this we believe is because they don’t want anyone on the grass pitches as they are so waterlogged.

Settled in for the night – more heavy rain – TV and blog work.

Saturday 31st March 2018

Today we moved to our last site of this tour at Little Torrington. We left Kilkhampton after another night of heavy rain but did not have any issues even with all the mud around our pitch.

First though was another trip to Morrisons Bude – a much better experience this time. Not as busy and therefore much less stressful. So we are stocked up for the last few days of our first tour of the year.

Our journey was uneventful but Nigel has decided he needs to check the SatNav setup because she keeps insisting on sending us down narrow B roads when the A road route is only a little longer. So a few miles of our route was tight down hills then slim bridges over swollen rivers followed by hilly hairpins up the other side. Very pretty but not the best route for a 4 ton Motorhome pulling a half ton trailer.

Still we got to site selected our pitch (again we booked grass but were upgraded to hardstanding) got Betty positioned and levelled Voyager before Nigel remembered we hadn’t dumped the grey. Oops – well at least it’s all done with the push of a few switches. So jacks up again and off on the peri-track to the Motorhome Service point – dump the grey and fill the clean tank. Then back to our pitch and levelling for the second time.

Of course as its Easter there a lot of kids about but they all seem to be well behaved so far.

Then time for lunch followed by sorting the washing into two loads (as the last site had no facilities) and Nigel strolled over to the Laundry with the first. So that took care of most of the rest of the day – two wash loads and then two drying loads.

We did go for a short explore around the site finding a nice walk by a couple of small lakes that apparently have otters visit (although we saw no evidence of them).

I rode on Gordon while Nigel walked – I did assist him up the hills though which helped his knees a bit.

tarka mar2

Back to Voyager –

smthym 2

finish off the washing and prepping the evening meal of sweet chilli prawns with rice. Nigel had his naughty Morrisons cream desert but I was good with just fruit and yoghurt.

Then TV, Blog work then sleep.

Goonhilly we Ain’t – Tech Update

It was another rainy windy night at Kilkhampton site but it changed to showery after breakfast.

So as we had decided it would be our chill day we did all the weekly housework stuff and then I got out my cross-stitch stuff while Nigel went out to ‘play’ with his new satellite setup for foreign use.

I tried hard not to laugh (promise) as he mounted his enormous dish on the tri-pod and hammered in pegs to secure it. It looked good until a strong gust of wind came. Time for a re-think.

He decided fixing it on the hardstanding area was the problem – he couldn’t get the pegs in completely. So a quick move to the grass area (very wet waterlogged grass area) and the pegs went in like it was butter.

He set it up with some meter thingy then connected with a wire to the Sky box. Final tuning looking through the window at the Signal screen.

Voy Sat

He tightened things up and came inside to warm up. We watched a few minutes TV. Then it went blank and a quick check showed the dish had moved again.

Oh well it was only a test – maybe we will have to do similar as on the Satellite farm we can see over the field.

Kkhst sats

The Devon and Cornwall Tour – W2P2

Sunday 25th March 2018

Last night the clocks sprung forward so this morning we are catching up with ourselves. Nigel cooked breakfast of Bacon, Sausage and Poached Eggs. Very nice and even better for not having to cook it.

The forecast says it’s to be a nice day so we intend to make the most of it. Although it was frosty to start with Nigel gets all togged up and with the immortal words ‘I may be sometime’ off he went to do the outside chores.

Oh and the kettle we bought yesterday was not very good – hard to fill, not easy to pour and the whistle is only just audible – so the old one is back on the stove.

We decided to go to Morwellham Quay – we didn’t leave site until 11.00 (blaming the clock change) but we only had about 10 miles to travel. Most of it is normal OK roads but the last mile or so is narrow steep downhill with a few hair pins – a bit hairy in a motorhome towing a trailer – but we are nothing if not adventurous – happily we made it to the car park with no more breakages.

So scooters out – off checking out all the exhibits

MQ carpk

– we enjoy these ‘living museum’ type setups – you may remember we did the ‘Black Country Museum’ on last years tour. Loads of photos taken and chats with the staff who were dressed in Victorian costume.

MQ dock PANO

While paying Nigel had booked us on the ‘Mine Train’ at 1.45 so after visiting Ruth’s cottage (from Edwardian Farm TV series) we scooted the hilly path to the station. We were a little early but it gave us a chance to get ourselves settled in the cage of the train and have a good chat with Rick our driver – who turned out to be a historian, miner and writer with knowledge in a lot of other fields.

The actual train journey along the riverside and then into the mine was very educational (if a little bumpy) – we learned a lot about the mining of copper as well as the lives of the miners and their families. Well worth doing.

We checked out the few remaining things to see when we got back to the village.

Nigel visited the shop for postcards and fridge magnet – and as it was a warm day some ice cream.

MQ shop

Then back to Voyager for lunch (in a Car Park) followed by the ices.

MQ carpk Mary

Uneventful trip back to the site and as we were manoeuvring Betty onto our pitch our neighbours turned up. They had to wait while Nigel unhitched but instead of making them wait longer we drove onto the grass in front of our pitch so they could pass. We won’t do that again as we couldn’t get traction to get off again. We had to get the site warden to give us a tug off with his 4×4 made a mess of the grass too – oops.

HB Site tracks

All in All it was a good day though.

 

Monday 26th March 2018

Eventually – A circular Tour of Dartmoor

Another day dawns – bit of a frost but blue sky – but shows promise. We have decided to drive a route through Dartmoor. Initially we were going to just take the wheelchair in Voyager but during breakfast decided to take Betty as well so we had the option to explore more.

So after our showers we set forth – dropped into Morrisons again (parked in the Car Park today though). Shopping was normal but as we left the shop a Security Guard ran out trying to stop a couple of women pushing a very full trolley. He shouted and they ran off leaving their ‘booty’. He asked us to keep an eye on the deserted trolley while he pursued them – he didn’t catch them but did get a look at what type of car they escaped in. When he returned he told us it was not the first time they have tried shoplifting around the area. Well that was a first for us – would the rest of the day be as exciting?

A fellow blogger ‘Lucid Gypsys’ suggested some places to stop on our tour – thanks for the help Gilly. Checkout – http://lucidgypsy.com/

We started our tour on the B3357 and headed into Dartmoor – over the cattle grid – and up the first steep hill. At the brow we met some ponies in the road – happily they moved to the side as we approached. Then a Car Park – with a Willy’s Ice Cream Van – well it was near lunch time so we pulled in parked along the side. Nigel got the scooters out – we intended to have a look about first – working up an appetite. It looked lovely through the window but when outside we found it was blowing a very cold wind and the ground of the moor was very soft and wet – after our experience last evening we decided not to risk it – just took some photos from the hardstanding of the Car Park.

Nigel did get ices for afters though – had to be done – we are English and think nothing of queuing in our overcoats and gloves to buy ice-cream from a spotty youth in a van.

Back in the warm – love that Voyager’s heating works all the time – our Mediterranean lunch of Olives, Chorizo, Iberico ham and Manchego cheese was followed by the ices.

Our tour continued – parts of the roads got rather narrow but not worryingly so – we took more photos stopping at another Car Park with good views.

Then we got to Moretonhampstead and joined the A382 – Nigel thought this would mean the roads got better but parts of this one were narrower than the B roads – which made passing a couple of school coaches quite interesting.

We didn’t stop any more as I was getting tired (snoozed a bit on the way) – got back at 4.30 and after getting parked up and connected I had a catnap before prepping and cooking our pork escalope meal. Had to use the Camping mallet as we haven’t been able to get a kitchen one yet – worked well though.

 

Tuesday 27th March 2018

Weighed today – I put just less than half a pound – must have been 4 packets of Wotsits, some cake and a few ices – Oh well, must try harder – I’ll be good today!

We are on the move again – it has been good here, a very nice site with good amenities – would recommend it to anyone (just don’t get stuck on the grass).

Voy Tavst

We got packed up, did all the necessaries and were on our way by 10.45 – SatNav said it would take about an hour and a half to get to Bude but there was a road closure near Okehampton so we followed the signed diversion. Well we tried to but after the first sign there were no others. SatNav kept trying to send us around again so we ignored her found a layby and dug out the map. Our new route must have added about 10 miles and over half an hour. Technology is great when it works – and a pain when it doesn’t.

The weather had been wet overnight with drizzle and showers while we travelled. The low flying clouds over the hill tops as we drove north from Tavistock again reminded me of our travels last year in Yorkshire. Not the same but still very stirring.

We found our site in Kilkhampton with no problems. Like on earlier sites the grass pitch we had booked was too waterlogged so we upgraded to hardstanding. The pitch is not as big as some but enough for us.

Voy Bude

We got setup (levelling, Satellite, water fill and electricity connection) had lunch and then got the scooters out. Went to Reception to get the WiFi password (free) and local information about beaches and places to visit. Also got a recommendation for a pub meal in the village.

We opted to go into the village

Khst 1

– found the said pub (looks OK so hopefully we will be having another meal out soon)

Khst pub

– not tonight though as we have steak waiting in the fridge. Nigel popped into the local shop to get postcards and maybe a fridge magnet (no luck try Bude) – he did come out with a coffee and walnut cake though. Oh dear.

We found the disabled access to the local church – I even took Dolly in for a good look at the stained glass. Good architecture and lovely craftsmanship.

Back at the site I didn’t manage to resist the cake – with a warming cup of coffee as we had got cold on our short trip.

I think tomorrow will be a chill day as I am getting very tired very quickly – I feel the need for some cross-stitch.

The Devon and Cornwall Tour – W2P1

Wednesday 21st March 2018

After a night better than recent ones we awoke to another lovely day. We decided over breakfast to make the most of it and visit the ‘Eden Project’.

First though we needed to check out the site shower facilities. Unusually here the disabled shower is in the ladies loo – so I smuggled Nigel in (not tricky as there was no one else there) to help me as usual. The shower had a timed water button which was fun – had to press it again every 15 seconds or so to maintain the flow. OK when showering but a bugger when shampooing – OK for me though as I delegated button pressing to Nigel. By the time we were all done a couple of ladies had entered so I had to leave first and warn them that my carer was male – luckily they were fully dressed and didn’t mind.

We were packed up and left site at 10.00 – our journey to Eden was uneventful even though our SatNav did try sending us down some narrow roads – we ignored her and followed the well sign posted route.

Eden 1

The project is a brilliant setup – all the paths are tarmac (or some green equivalent) and they have made all areas wheelchair friendly. They have a lot of daffodil displays along the zig –zag entrance path and lots of educational posters to keep the young ones entertained.

It is a bit expensive to get in but you become a member for a year so can revisit as many times as you want.

We took lots of pics – there are two areas – first we visited the Mediterranean and then the larger Rainforest Dome. Both were very good with plenty to see and do. We spent a good 2.5 hours going around them.

We had lunch in the car park (well more like mid-afternoon snack really) and then travelled back to site. We say a thankyou every time we enter and leave the site by the single track access road – we’ve only met one small van so far and he reversed back to a passing place so we could proceed. Fingers crossed we stay lucky.

Nigel took me out to dinner –to the ‘Golden Guinea’ a lovely restaurant in Looe – got a Taxi down had fantastic food (we shared the Brie starter then I had the Sea Bass while Nigel had the seafood linguine) walked a short way to the ‘Salutation’ pub for a second spritzer. A proper old local with a log fire.

I’m not used to drink any more so I may have been a bit squiffy by the time we got back to Voyager but it did send me to sleep very quickly and for a long time.

All in all a great day.

Thursday 22nd March 2018

I had a lie in this morning – Nigel was up bright and early – I didn’t even hear him get the laptop out of the cupboard above me – I must have had more wine than I thought.

We did all the usual stuff but included a good clean and vacuum of the van before loading up. We proceeded to Morrisons Liskard – did a good shop and then input the postcode for Lanhydrock House into the SatNav. When we were getting close she directed us down a road with a 7ft width restriction. We were surprised bearing in mind that she is aware of our weight and dimensions (over 8ft wide) – as we had already turned before seeing the sign we had to ignore her further instructions and find our way back to the main road – only one minor issue with a tractor but this time on the flat so we got away lightly.

We decided to abort and have a look around Lostwithial instead. We went into the car park (no height restriction – but also no space big enough for us) did a reverse turn in front of the Fire Station and left again. We hoped to find somewhere else but were out of the village before finding anything. We were wondering what to do when we saw a brown sign for Lanhydrock – so we followed it.

It is a National Trust site (I am a member which makes it easy & cheep) and they have made parking easy with not only designated parking areas for cars, disabled and coaches but three designated spaces for Motorhomes. There were very few vehicles when we arrived so all was good.

We had lunch in the car park before getting the scooters out and riding on the well signposted paths to the Reception area. We did the admin bit – flashing the membership card and getting a map of the estate and explanation of its designated wheelchair friendly recommended route. We pretty much do what we like but it is nice to know.

We didn’t go into the house but did do the gardens where most of the paths were accessible to us.

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Nigel went into the Church and took some photos for me to see later – and also into the shop for  few postcards (inside house shots) and fridge magnet for our collection. There were several very brave Robins that got very close (within a few inches of our scooters) looking for crumbs I guess – but it was lovely to see them.

Lnhd Robin

As we completed the paths it was starting to get cold so we returned to Voyager and set forth to the camp site. Tonight I made the steak dinner (with fried onion & mushrooms Roast potatoes and veg) – not the same as eating out but I don’t think you would get better anywhere else.

 

Friday 23rd March 2018

After a night of wind and rain the day has dawned bright but cold. We move sites again today but have decided to try a train ride before we leave the area.

The car park at Looe station was very small but Nigel was determined – he manoeuvred Betty into a space and unhitched – then parked Voyager in the next space. He thought we would have to pay for two vehicles (which is quite normal for us) but my Blue Badge meant we only needed one ticket the very friendly parking attendant informed us.

We had to wait about 40 minutes for the train but used this time to take some photos and do a bit of videoing.

The return fare to Liskard was £9.20 for the pair of us which I found reasonable. The trip was very good (would have been better if it was a steam train but hey ho) lots of scenic views. I took a lot more photos and Nigel did more video – he’s getting better at it – but needs more practice with the editing. We stayed on the train at Liskard and did the return journey after their normal five minute wait.

We hitched up Betty and set off for Tavistock stopping in a lay bye on the way for our lunch. Unfortunately I forgot to latch the crockery cupboard door before setting off again and when negotiating a steep hill my mug and a jug and glasses spilled out onto the floor. Typically the only breakage was my mug so no coffee for me tonight.

We also seem to be losing track of our provisions as when I made our gammon and chips meal I found we had no sweetcorn or peas – so unusually we had baked beans and tinned tomatoes with it – tasted OK though and still SW friendly.

While I was doing the cooking Nigel was going back and forth to the laundry doing another wash load – and it started raining again so tested the waterproofs again.

Saturday 24th March 2018

More problems with the heating last night. Nigel found one of the hot air pipes off and the unit was blowing hot air at the wall that has the thermostat sensor on it. Nigel reckons the wall (wooden) heated up and stayed warm enough to turn the heating off. So the wall was warm but the room temperature dropped to 14 deg which is a bit chilly even under the duvet.

He thinks he has fixed it now by gluing a piece of rag around the pipe and jamming it back in the hole. Time will tell.

The day is cloudy and after another night of rain we decided to stay local – do a bit more shopping and exploring Tavistock – it’s somewhere I haven’t been before.

Morrisons was busy so we parked on the edge of the Garage forecourt while doing our little bit of shopping. They weren’t pleased – tannoyed us while we were at the till as they were due a tanker delivery.

We then went to where a sign said Coaches could park (we are about the same size and often use Coach Parks) but they had a notice specifically saying Motorhomes couldn’t park there. They did show a map to another Car Park where they were allowed so we went there. It was not that easy but we did manage to park over two bays (and payed for two) – had lunch (carpark again!) and then had an hour or so exploring the Town Centre on the scooters. Took a few photos as well as buying some new boots and a new whistling kettle as ours has gone silent. Also found some post cards and fridge magnets.

Back at the site for our meal we had lamb chops with veg (done perfect Nigel said).

The Devon and Cornwall Tour – W1P2

Saturday 17th March 2018

We are still at the Atlantic Holiday Park but what a contrast to yesterday – now we have rain but it’s not too cold yet.

We needed to get a bit of shopping so after breakfast and the usual chores it’s off to Lidl (just with Voyager and the wheelchair) for mostly fruit and veg.

We then went and checked out the harbour and beach – the tide was out again though so not very exciting but it looks a nice little place.

We have some new neighbours today – a young family with toddler and dog using a yellow van conversion towing a bright yellow trailer with the look of Del Boys three wheeler. We watched from the warmth of Voyager as he erected a quite large tent on the next pitch – Scot of the Antarctic came to mind – hope it is warmer inside than it looks.

We had Slimming world meatballs& sauce with pasta – didn’t have too much as not that hungry – but it was tasty (although have added Worcester and Tabasco sauces to the shopping list for next time). Nigel fell asleep while I was cooking but he did do the washing up after so I forgave him.

I started my Fairy cross stitch while Nigel videoed himself fitting the cab cover on Voyager. He then edited it – put an intro and speeded up the action, adding music. For a first attempt it was pretty good – he posted it on our new YouTube Channel https://youtu.be/1xSYYbn-lww and I shared it on Facebook – it got a couple of likes from friends.

 

Sunday 18th March 2018

Well we had a bad night – Voyager got cold – the gas heating kept erroring. Nigel is a bit worried about it – he got cold in the night but he only had his thin duvet on – I’m using my thick winter one so was OK. He was up early looking at the bottles and regulator mechanism. I tidied up inside and during breakfast we discussed what to do for the best. As snow is forecast for later in the day we decided to top up the gas bottles and dig out the fan heater we use for frost protection when at home and checkout how good heating only with electric is. I remembered from John’s driving days that gas freezes and as the heater is fed by the gas pipe that feeds under the van we thought that might be the issue. It did get very cold overnight – froze the outside water tap – so we kept trying the gas as it warmed in the day – it began to get better – so we reckoned a bit of pipe lagging may help.

After breakfast we went to the local Shell garage – filled the diesel as well the  Autogas – then onto Asda for a few things. Needed to make sure our evening meal could be a one pot wonder in case we only had the single electric ring available. I’m very glad Voyager is duel fuel for both heating and cooking.

We returned to the site had lunch and as it hadn’t started snowing (yet) we went for an explore on the scooters. It was bitter – very cutting wind that made our eyes and noses run – but we braved it as far as Gwithian beach (which is one end of St Ives bay) took some pics. It seems to me that surfers are even madder than us – or is it right that the sea is warmer than the air at this time of the year.

As we returned the snow flurries started and by the time we got back to the site there was a light covering. Nigel couldn’t settle – still worrying about the gas. Tonight’s meal was last nights sauce with Asda cooked chicken added (as well as Tabasco & Worcester sauce). I might have added a bit too much spice but it was very nice. TV for the evening (Sunday is currently the best viewing of the week).

 

Monday 19th March 2018

We awoke to a white scene still with the biting cold wind. The BBC news informed us that the A30 was closed between Bodmin and Exeter with a lot of stranded drivers having taken shelter in a college in Okehampton. The recommendation by Police was not to travel until later in the day. We decided to stay at Hayle for an extra night before moving to Looe tomorrow. Reception were happy to take our money for the extra night.

 

It became clear the gas problem had got worse overnight – luckily the electric heating had worked a treat – lovely and warm throughout. We had to boil the kettle for coffee on the electric ring as now there was not enough gas getting through to run any of the hobs.

Hob gas
Not enough Gas to boil a kettle

Nigel had found a Motorhome service garage just outside Hayle so we phoned them early and arranged to visit after breakfast. They said they were very busy but would try and squeeze us in when they could.

We left the site at 10.00 and found the roads to be almost clear of snow so no issue getting to Thomas Auto Tec in Connors Downs. They were very friendly and found us a place in their car park. We did have to wait for an hour and half before an engineer was available but he quickly confirmed our diagnosis of a faulty regulator. Very luckily he also found he had a new one in his stores so it was all fitted within twenty minutes. Ten minutes for the admin and we were on our way (£90 poorer but very happy).

Did a bit more Asda shopping (mostly fruit and veg) then on the way back to the campsite we spotted a ‘Bargain shop’. We turned into their car park and then noticed the height restriction. It stated 9’ 8” but it had a bar hanging on 6” chains. We are 10’ but Nigel reckoned we could make it with a bit of rubbing of the bar. It sounded dodgy as we passed beneath – probably looked worse from outside – but we got in and went into the shop. We didn’t find the wall clock we were looking for but as is usual we found a couple of things we didn’t realise we needed.  I asked the young girl on the till if there was anything good to see in Hayle (in case we had missed the must see something) but she said she didn’t know as she was from Camborne. I quoted that famous line of Jethro’s “The train don’t stop in Camborne on Wednesday” her reply was “Doesn’t it?” Nigel and I did laugh – Cornwall’s most famous comedian and the younger generation don’t know his work.

The snow had almost gone entirely by now but even so tomorrow will be better for travel and warmer according to the forecast. So afternoon chilling (appropriately) I did some cross-stitching, Nigel did a wash load in the site laundry, researched better video camera’s (with stabilisation)  and some blog work while the machines worked.

Meal was pork with loads of veg – all SW friendly. I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep – to make up for the last couple of bad ones.

Tuesday 20th March 2018

We had a much better night – slept better and it was warmer both outside and in. This morning the sky was blue again and the bitter wind had disappeared – spring like – and temperatures to match.

Voy blu sky Hayle

Nigel fried up some sausages for breakfast and possibly a sandwich at lunchtime – I did the scrambled eggs – he can do them but does tend to over salt – so I prefer to do them most of the time.

We were packed up and moving on by 10.00 – sad in a way as we liked this nice site.

We had no travel issues – stopped for lunch in a lay by near Dobwalls (or Dog Balls as Nigel calls it) with nice views across the fields. Just a little snow left around some of the hedgerows.

We followed the directions to our next site but didn’t go straight there – carried on the extra couple of miles to Looe itself. We parked in a large car park (coincidently spotting one of our neighbours from the last site there as well) got the scooters out and spent a good hour going around the small centre. Nigel bought a cake (I didn’t – being very good) and we looked at the various shops. Found a nice fridge magnet and a couple of postcards at the ‘Old Lifeboat’ shop. We noticed a lot of plaques about extoling the virtues of Joseph Thomas who was responsible for a lot of the improvements in the nineteenth century. He designed and built the Banjo Pier as well as the Arches and Turrets that hold up the new road he built to get out of the village.

The ice-cream Nigel was hoping for was aborted as it started to get a bit chilly –  but we did note a couple of restaurants that might be good for a meal out tomorrow or Thursday – by Taxi from the site.

We got to the site with no problems (luckily not meeting anything on the single track access road). Nigel had booked a grass pitch but we upgraded to hardstanding as we were told all the recent rain had left the grass pitches very soft. As we arrived a day late they didn’t charge us any extra.

Meal of roast chicken and re-heated veg from last night. While it was cooking we sat and watched the beautiful sunset we can see from our window – tried to get a photo but doesn’t show it as good as it was.

Looe Sunset

The Devon and Cornwall Tour – W1P1

Wednesday 14th March 2018

Today we start a new year of our travels. For the last few days (maybe weeks) we have been getting Voyager ready – making minor adjustments – flushing and filling the water system checking everything works OK. We went out and filled the gas bottles on Monday as well (we are definitely going to be using some on this trip). Packing up clothes and food has gone well – the fridge and freezer are stuffed as well as the ‘pantry’ – supplies for about a week at a guess.

We were on the way at 11.00 – it would have been 10.30 except for the little problem with the brake lights on Betty not passing the ‘pre-flight check’ – turned out to be dirty contacts on the plug so no big deal.

The weather when we left was cloudy but dry – the sun even broke through the clouds for a few minutes while we motored along the M4 near Bath. We stopped for lunch at Taunton Dean Services on the M5 – we park in the lorry park which makes us feel small when compared with the juggernauts surrounding us. The rain and wind had arrived by the time we had eaten and it only got worse as we continued to our first stop near Exeter.

The CCC Teign Valley Barley Meadow site is quite small and we found several of the hardstanding pitches were already under water. We opted for pitch 7 which was up a small incline (so hopeful that we won’t sink). Nigel got us set up with his usual efficiency – filling the water tank and getting Betty & Voyager placed on the hard standing without going on the grass edges – then connecting the electric cables. By the time he came in I had a hot cup of coffee made – very welcome.

 

 

Thursday 15th March 2018

After the miserable weather yesterday we awoke to bright sunshine but still a bit chilli. The new screen cover worked well – no condensation to clear up this morning – maybe we won’t be needing the Karcher window vac anymore?

After breakfast (usual scrambled eggs) we got packed up and by 10.00 we were ready to go. We did have a small issue with Betty – we had to use the mover quite a bit positioning her last night and the batteries hadn’t fully recharged by the time we wanted to move her again this morning. She was a bit jerky and kept cutting out when fine positioning her for hitching. Nigel left the batteries being charged by the solar panels while we continued our journey westward.

There was not too much traffic on the roads and only minor hold ups for roadworks so we made good progress arriving at Hayle about noon. We skirted the northern edge of Dartmoor as we travelled and I managed to get some nice photo’s through the cab windows as we passed some lovely scenery.

 

We decided to have lunch and have a dolly around before we went to our site. We found a layby with a view of the sea across some sand dunes – got the scooters out, wrapped up well in coat, scarf and gloves and ventured out in the bracing wind.

Hayle Pano

We didn’t get too far – had to dodge lots of rabbit holes in the mainly grass area we had picked as our route closer to the sea – but then the rain came again – we headed back to Voyager and enjoyed the views through the window as we had our lunch and a hot cup of coffee.

We are staying at the ‘Atlantic Coast Park’ site which has a mix of holiday static caravans and chalets and a small area with a dozen fully serviced pitches (only 4 of which are hard standing). We are on one of the grass ones with sand dunes directly behind us. The site has all we want though – clean amenities and free WiFi.

Voy Atlantic 2

The weather picked up later in the afternoon so Nigel did some videoing around the van and of him fitting the cab cover – maybe in his first Vlog when he has done the editing.

I got on with the evening meal of gammon and chips – no change there then.

Friday 16th March 2018

Wow, what a beautiful morning – the sun is out and the sky is blue – almost Mediterranean (if you ignore the chill in the air). We can cope with the cold OK – much better than the wet.

All the usual things – after breakfast the outside chores for Nigel (rubbish, recycling, toilet cassette emptying and getting the scooters ready) – indoor stuff for me (washing up, decanting Pepsi for the day, cleaning and tidying).

We have decided to explore local this morning so get togged up and venture out on the scooters – might find some photo opportunities and a hot cup of coffee.

A couple of miles down the road we found the town centre – well a few shops any way – did get a few pics and do a bit more videoing. The tide was out but we did find some things to photograph. Some wading birds and an old bridge. Popped into one shop and bought new tumblers as we had one crack yesterday.

 

We returned had our lunch and then ventured off on a coastal drive via Lands End to The Minack Theatre. Some of the roads were very narrow in places – had a close call with a Big Wheel Tractor with Muck Spreader behind – but managed to pass with less than an inch to spare. I saw a calf being born in a field beside the road as we passed. Loads of good views of the coast and old Tin Mines – mostly falling down.

 

 

We couldn’t do much when we got to the Theatre but we got to a Balcony area where we had some good views of the stage area and terrific cliffs surrounding. It is well worth a visit if you can do steps – not sure it’s worth the £10 it cost us for the half hour we stayed – but it’s ticked off my bucket list.

 

 

We put the site postcode into the SatNav and set off back. Thinking we would be quickly onto the A30 but she took us on another B road which again had very narrow parts. Everything was OK until we met a double decker bus on a narrow corner going up hill. We had to get into the hedge and got mud embedded in the near side tyres. This would have been OK if we hadn’t encountered an uphill hairpin bend a little further on. We lost traction as we went around and held up traffic behind and in front for several minutes as Nigel rolled back and edged forward on a wide arc around the bend. I seem to remember a lot of panic and a few screams but I’m not sure where it came from.

We did join the A30 a little later so the rest of the journey was uneventful – so we got back safe and sound – but in need of a bit of a hosing down.

 

Voyager Update

Well although we’ve been quiet on the Blog site we have managed to get some upgrade work done on Voyager herself.

You may remember we had issues last year with condensation misting the rear view camera while we were in Northumberland. As well as buying a replacement camera I have applied sealant around its joints – hopefully this will avoid a repeat this year. There is also now a Perspex dome around them both which will provide additional protection – and it looks good too.

Rear Cameras

I’ve been up on the roof again and fitted three 100W solar panels – one rigid one at the back and two flexible ones over the Luton lump at the front.

Solar Panels

The wires go through the existing box – so no more roof holes needed drilling which was a relief. They all appear in the ‘Technical Hub’ or wardrobe which now has another fuse box and controller fitted just above the Snipe satellite dish controller. Conveniently Swift have provided a connection for Solar panels on its distribution panel at the bottom of the wardrobe which made that connection easier.

We are hoping that 300W for Voyager will be enough to enable us to be self-sufficient for wilding (abroad) or Camp sites without paying for hook-up in the UK. We can use the existing 200W in Betty to keep the scooters charged. Well that’s the plan – we will see if it works. We have booked a 3 night weekend in June with no electric which will be the first test.

Tech Hub

With all this charge power it seemed prudent to fit some extra leisure batteries. Now an extra two 75Ah ones are fitted under the forward dinette seat – this was where Swift originally had a dual seatbelt system. I removed it last year and as we would never use it – in fact I doubt we will ever use the extra two travel belts we still have. There was just room in the freed up space for the batteries as well as the two baskets we use for cloths when we are travelling.

You may remember that last year I replaced all the habitation bulb type lights with LED ones – this did however leave 5 fluorescent tubes which totalled 50W or about 4A when all on. I have replaced them all with LED light strip tape which only uses about 0.5A for the same light level. As it came on a 10m reel I had enough left over to add some fancy up lighting above the high cabinets as well (not really necessary but it has the extra advantage of lighting the insides for when hunting for that little something that you always need in the middle of the night).

We also realised that we would need extra tech charging connections when off grid so I added 4 USB points inside the cabinet above the kitchen worktop (so we can shut the door on them to cut off their rather bright glow when in use).

Switches Open 1

As mentioned on our last blog entry we will be venturing across the channel soon. I have been researching satellite reception in France and beyond and found that the Astra footprint will degrade the further we get away from the UK. The little Snipe ‘squareial’  is not going to pull in a good enough signal for us to watch so I have invested in a large 1.1m dish and a good LNB which I will erect when on sites abroad. I have made a copper pipe storage arrangement in Betty for transit. We will see how easy it is to set up and how well it performs on our French trip, although I plan to test it out somewhere in Cornwall pretty soon.

Satellite Dish

Along with that I have fitted our old SKY HD box (left after we upgraded to Sky Q) again in the Technical Hub. It requires mains power so when that’s not available we can use a little invertor – it only needed 45W so I got a small 100W model from Ebay. At the moment it only receives the same channels as the FreeSat TV but we have the option of getting a proper SKY card when we are away for a long trip. Obviously with it being enclosed in the ‘Hub’ I had to fit a remote sensor so we can use the zapper to control it from our comfy seats.

Sky Box wires

TV cushion
Sky Box Remote Sensor and new cushion Handmade by Mary

 

Mary mentioned that I have treated ‘us’ to a drone and upgraded our Blog so we can post video. Well the weather hasn’t been any good for flying lessons yet but I have done a quick time-lapse video of me cleaning Voyagers carpet so I’m using that to see how it looks on here. All I can say really is the next video will be more exciting (probably).