You may remember that while we were away at Shell Island Voyagers fridge stopped working on Gas.
Big Disclaimer– This is what I did to get it working again – it is not a recommendation that anyone else tries the same thing – in fact I suggest that any repairs to gas appliances be carried out by professionals.
As I spent my entire working life fixing things I did it myself.
The first thing I did was turn off the gas supply to the fridge which I found under the oven.
Then it was working out how the fridge was fixed. I found that there were four fixing screws through the side walls near the front.
With these removed (and that wasn’t easy – I don’t think that they have been removed since assembly ten years ago) and the gas pipe disconnected at the only accessible junction at the rear it was possible to start moving the fridge forward a bit.
I then had to free up the electrical cables that looped into the service area below the oven so there was enough slack to allow full removal from the cavity.
Conveniently both harnesses (one mains, one 12volt) had molar plugs I could disconnect so the fridge was totally free standing.
I had done a bit of research on the web (mostly YouTube) so had an idea what I would find under the covers. Basically there is a solenoid that allows gas through to the burner which is ignited electronically. Above the flame is a flue that passes through the heat exchanger and is vented at the top of the rear by the grill to the outside world.
Anyway when I got the cover off the burner box it was very apparent that a good de-coke was needed.
In fact I found that the flue was all but completely blocked. Two of the four burner slots were also blocked.
When I removed the burner it also looked bent so we decided to invest in a new one. Also a bottle brush from Wilcos to give the flue a good cleanout.
So a good clean out of all the soot and with a new burner fitted I reconnected the cables and connected the gas pipe with the fridge turned sideways. In this position I could see what was going on.
With the gas turned on I expected the burner to ignite when the gas got through. Unfortunately it didn’t.
Mary had had a Facebook chat with a work colleague of mine who mentioned he had previously had issues with corrosion on the solenoid contacts so I stripped down the control box and cleaned up all the contacts I found as well as replacing the fuses with new ones (they all appeared good but why not while there).
When I reassembled everything it burst into life – so thanks Pete for the info.
It was then just a case of reassembly. The foam used to cut down drafts around the fridge had seen better days so I replaced with new.
So hopefully (with annual cleaning of the flue) we will get many more years of reliable service for our now fully serviced fridge. Fingers crossed.
The forecast for today was being hailed as our Indian Summer ‘day’ – so Nigel and I decided not to waste it – a Day Trip to Weston-Super-Mare.
Now we know some residents of W-S-M are enjoying themselves further south – like Benidorm, Spain – but for today at least it looks like the weather is pretty similar.
I packed up a bit of lunch in the hopefully now repaired Fridge (today is its test run on gas) and we set off about 10.30.
A quick stop for fuel, then onto the motorway. The M5 southbound was a bit slow at times but at least it was moving today. We made it to our usual car park at noon. In fact the car park on the Beach is the only one which will accommodate us with Betty. We are too long for anywhere else. Today there was a sign saying that due to a high tide we must leave by 6pm and they had reduced by half the size of the parking area. We didn’t have any trouble finding a space big enough for us though.
Now a lot of people (including us in the past) have commented on the price of parking in seaside resorts. If you only want to stop for half an hour to look at the sea or get an ice cream then parking on the front looks expensive because its minimum is for 4 hours. With my Blue Badge I get an extra hour so for us now we are happy to pay £6 for 5 hours on a nice day.
Nigel got our ticket from the machine and then got the 2G’s out – he has that down to a fine art now.
So sun hats on we set off for a trundle to the Pier. Preparations for this year’s Hydrogarden Beach Race were underway (weekend of 19-21 October) – big sand moving machines and the construction of the temporary officials building was well under way. From the preview video on Youtube it looks like a lot of fun and I would have loved to have ago myself – if only I was forty years younger.
We headed back to Voyager for lunch. They were right about the weather (temp in the low 20’s) so we sat on our scooters on the beach, trays on the front and tucked into our olives and sandwiches. Nigel had an alcohol free lager while I had my special ‘lemonade’ – very civilized. We got a few glances but that’s OK – when you get to our age we put it down to others ‘jealousy’ even if it isn’t.
We had spotted a sign to Clarence Park earlier so as we went and checked it out.
It wasn’t hard to find – it is more green space than flower beds but there is a massive hanging basket display (past its best now but it would have been beautiful a few weeks back).
There were good paths, a childs play area, a fountain and pond.
An old Victorian looking café – tempting but we had just eaten. There is a park lodge at one corner (now boarded up) upon which a Heron was perched looking down at the fish
in the pond – waiting for all the humans to move away so he could get his dinner no doubt.
We proceeded into town on side roads we had never used before – you never know what you will find – often nothing special but today I found a plaque on a house commemorating Arthur Eddington
(Wikipedia describe him as ‘an English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician of the early 20th century who did his greatest work in astrophysics.). I’m not sure how long that will stick in my brain but it peeked my interest for a while – hopefully things like this will hold off any slow slide into senility for a bit longer.
On through to the town from a different direction – found some street art we’d not seen before
– and a Costa we had seen before but our different approach raised the question of what it was before it became a coffee shop – very art deco in design.
Nigel did have a quick google about it but couldn’t find anything. Anyone know?
Further on, back onto the prom to our favourite ice cream parlour – a vanilla strawberry mix whippy tub each – up to our expected standard – yummy.
Moving on we did notice that a team of young men were demolishing the sand sculptures – shame but we did get to see a few without having to pay. I did wonder if one of the lads was Alfie Two-Buckets but quickly realised he was too young – maybe his grandson? (You need to be a fan of Jean and Lionel to get that one!)
Is this Alfie Two-Buckets I wonder
I suggested we go back to Voyager by way of the beach, but we weren’t sure so stayed on the prom for a bit. Then we saw a guy on a mobility scooter on the sand with no problems – so we got on at the next ramp.
This gave us a different view of the Tropicana
– it looks more like a fortress from the sea side, and a lovely view back to the pier as we trundled on the compacted sand. We got a big wave from the builders as we past them – I think they were quite surprised to see two old fogies trundling on the beach – we smiled and waved back.
Back at Voyager it was all too soon time to make tracks – we’d had a lovely day but were both tired out by the time we got home.
Oh and the fridge ran fine on gas for the few hours we were there so Nigel is going to complete its refit ready for our next little expedition – to Devon for a few days next week.
Another fine day, a bit more cloud – but that just made it a bit warmer overnight. After the usual chores and breakfast Nigel started to tackle the bearing.
He made good progress to start with but found the inside race was seized onto the stub axle. He didn’t have tools man enough to shift it, just a screwdriver and claw hammer.
We needed a mobile Mechanic.
A quick visit to Reception – I cannot praise them highly enough – they recommended Simon and gave us his card. We gave him a ring at 11.30 and he said he would be able to come about 5 o’clock – and I was expecting days (maybe even having to extend our stay).
We decided not to go out today (in case he was early) as the wind has got up and it feels very chilly. I did a bit of sewing, Nigel finished off the outside jobs and then had a bit of a read for a while.
After lunch we were getting a bit stir crazy so thought we would get some air and go over to the beach and along to our local Martello Tower – one that has been done up. Took a few photos, as you do.
Simon came at 5 o’clock and got right to it. Didn’t take him long to get that pesky race off mind you he did have a good chisel and a big lump hammer.
He fitted the new hub and as we had bought a set we got him to do the other one as well (although it looked OK it’s better to be safe I think – we’ll keep the old one for any future emergencies).
Nigel is going to check how may miles we have done and make sure we change the hubs routinely to avoid it happening again (well as much as you can).
The Fish & Chip van was around tonight, and I was tempted but resisted and we had gammon and chips (SW style of course) for our meal. The ice-cream van did a tour of the site but we resisted that as well – well we had had a little tub from the site shop earlier.
There have been a lot of campers arriving for the weekend all of the hardstanding pitches around us are full and a lot of the grass ones as well – not too many children though thankfully.
We settled down for the night – watched a bit of TV did a bit of Blog work.
Saturday 29th September 2018
We awoke today to find the sun shining again – not a cloud free sky but pretty good and the wind has dropped so it feels a lot warmer. The usual chores and breakfast sorted I made another picnic lunch as we are off again for the day.
A couple of miles away in Pevensey village is an English Heritage site ‘Pevensey Castle’. As we thought (from looking at Google maps) there is a good footpath all the way there and it’s easy to find as the village is not large.
The Roman Walls of the castle were huge (high and thick) built about AD 290.
In 1066 the ruins where refortified by William the Conqueror and a castle built within them about a third of the size.
The towers within this Norman Castle were used for billets and a machine gun post during the Second World War.
After looking around the Castle and having our picnic lunch within the Roman enclosure we continued on to the next village of Westham. Nigel had seen what looked like an unusual weather vane on top of the church he wanted a closer look at.
We found a pretty little village with a wedding taking place in the church. We watched as the bride and a good group of bridesmaids and flower girls arranged themselves on the path before proceeding down the aisle.
A couple of old Tudor buildings added to the interest so we took a few photo’s before retracing our steps back into Pevensey for a look at its church (St Nicolas – built 1216).
Nigel took photo’s outside and in while I checked out the gravestones.
There is also a Museum in the village but its entrance is on the first floor – so we didn’t bother.
By 3.30 at this time of year it starts to get cooler, even on a nice day like today, so we headed back to Voyager which took about 45 minutes.
A warming cup of coffee hit the spot. Then food cooking which really warmed us up.
Nice sunset tonight.
Usual TV and relax before another good night.
Sunday 30th September 2018
We have decided to go out in Voyager today to give Betty’s bearings a little test run before we head home tomorrow.
Exploring TripAdvisor we settled on Michelham Priory, House and Gardens. Its only about 10 miles from the campsite so we set off about 10.30 – stopping briefly at ASDA for some fresh fruit and bread.
The Priory is a really lovely place to visit with a large car park (and Coach Park which we used) and easy access to all of the grounds with ramps placed where required.
It is, in fact, the only house we have been to that I managed to tour the entire ground floor on Grace – only one door way was a bit tight.
Loads to see – I loved the kitchen where I had a good chat with one of the guides about how some of the kitchen gadgets worked. Great the way the spit was turned by a falling stone!
The gardens are extensive and still had a fair amount of colour (mostly roses and dahlias) but I suspect that July would have the best displays.
But with more things dyeing back the sculpture has come more to the fore.
And when you find a big wooden chair what else can you do!
We had lunch in Voyager before going back to complete our exploration, finding the Bronze Age Roundhouse (circa 2016) – but well-made and a good example of how it was done.
The Forge, Great Barn and the Mill were the last things to visit.
Unfortunately the mill is under repair – the teeth of the pit wheel need to be replaced (the 1997 ones having worn out) and are being made of English oak – costing £25 each. They need 84. When they have them each will take 1.5hrs to fit and adjust. The miller hopes all will be done by next March. We wish them luck.
All in all a very enjoyable day.
The journey back was uneventful – Betty’s new bearings working perfectly.
Pitched up again there was time for a little rest before cooking our roast chicken dinner. Followed by a naughty little ice cream tub, nice though.
Monday 1st October 2019
Home today – using the A27 to Southampton then north to Newbury and onto the M4 – we didn’t like the long lumpy concrete section of the M25 when coming. Nigel thinks it may have weakened the bearing that failed on us.
As it was it only added six miles to our journey – took a bit longer but the scenery was much better. I think we will be staying somewhere closer to Chichester maybe Arundel on a future trip. There are some lovely looking Castles and Churches that need visiting – I’ll start planning.
Well that’s the end of planned trips – but we will be off again before long and will keep you updated on plans and how the fridge repair goes.
After our experience last week in North Wales our next adventure will be to the south coast – a much better chance of some late season sun and warmth.
We got Voyager loaded with all the necessary yesterday, with the last minute stuff this morning. So after attending Slimming World for a quick weighing and chat we set forth at about 1 o’clock.
The weather was glorious – the sun shining so the going was good. We decided to go between the M4 and M3 via Bracknell so we could stop for a bite of lunch in a lay bye. This all went well and we made good progress on the M25, M23, A23 and were happily going around Brighton on the A27 when suddenly a van past us tooting at us and pointing at Betty – a quick look in the rear view camera showed she had a bit of a wobble (understatement) so we pulled over to the side of the road (luckily there were a few chevrons so avoided blocking a lane). On with the Hi Viz and venture out to find the problem.
Betty’s offside wheel bearing had collapsed leaving it precariously balanced metal to metal.
We had thought the bad weather last week was our third bit of bad luck – apparently not – This was definitely it.
What to do? We couldn’t stay where we had stopped for very long and luckily there was an off ramp about 200m ahead. So we proceeded at 20mph, got off the dual carriageway took the first exit off the roundabout and stopped in a lay bye after 100m.
There was a sign saying waiting was restricted to 5 mins. We ignored that one. We were just outside the campus of the University of Sussex.
Out with the laptop – get the detail for the Breakdown Recovery – phone them up. They were extremely helpful (and I was extremely grateful I had specifically added trailer cover) so they arranged for a local Recovery firm to load Betty on the back of a Lorry and take her to our Campsite.
We had less than 25 miles to follow the truck.
We had called the Norman’s Bay CCC site while we were waiting for the lorry so they were aware we would be late – they were very understanding – and helped by letting us skip the usual booking in process when we eventually got there at 7.15.
Betty was unloaded off the lorry straight onto our pitch (exactly as Nigel would have positioned her had she not had a problem), Voyager next to her, levelled and electric connected all within half an hour.
What a relief – I rustled up some food – you guessed it ‘sweet chilli prawns’ – we are here for six nights so time enough to get Betty repaired.
So we started our relaxing break watching the TV and talking about what to do tomorrow.
Wednesday 26th September 2018
Surprisingly we both had a good night’s sleep so it was a bit of a late start. The weather is as forecast, blue sky, sunny and warming nicely.
Nigel went off to explore the site and do the full booking in process with Reception while I made breakfast.
Then it was down to phone calls to find some wheel bearings for Betty. This turned out to be easier than we imagined. A call to Tickners Trailers provided a phone number for Rob at ‘1 Stop Trailers’ who could send us a complete hub set (both wheels) by next day courier.
So after the other chores we trundled off to look at the sea from the top of the shingle bank
and then on to explore the local village of Pevensey Bay. Quite small with just a few shops, takeaways and pubs – I drooled over the motorcycle I will be buying when we win the lottery.
We returned after a couple of hours for lunch before venturing out in the other direction to a recommended pub to investigate if it was worth going there for a meal. Unfortunately it was a meal deal place with mostly pies and burgers – not our thing at all so we decided not to have that – instead returning to Voyager for a nap before our home produced evening meal. Trouble is I’m too good a cook – maybe if I fluff a few meals it will encourage Nigel to look harder for a nice restaurant to take me out to.
TV and relax before bed.
Thursday 27th September 2018
The forecast said that today will be the warmest of our trip (a nice 22deg with only a light breeze) so despite the bearings being delivered today we didn’t want to hang around waiting. We thought it was best to have a word with the Wardens – check they were OK to accept delivery for us – but as it turned out when Nigel popped into Reception to chat with them the package had already arrived. We quickly put them away in Voyager and then set off for Eastbourne.
Its nearly 6 miles to the Pier but there is pavement or cycle way for the entire length so it was a lovely little trundle (all flat too).
On the way
We spent a lovely day by the sea,
there were still a lot of people around looking at the sights and resting on the many benches – that’s one benefit of the 2G’s, we don’t have to look for seats we have our own. Another is we don’t have to pay the inflated café prices for lunch
– I had prepared our picnic earlier and had it all packed in a cool bag within my back pack.
We ate it on a boardwalk in the exact place that the Bandstand was (per old photo on a postcard shows).
Watching the folks on the shingle beach, some throwing pebbles into the sea, others laughing and chatting and a few brave ones sunbathing as we ate our olives, sandwiches and fruit with yoghurt, washed down by our special ‘lemonade’ (small sherry).
We trundled about on the promenade and had a nice whippy ice cream before slowly making our way back via Martello Tower #66 – couldn’t get too close due to construction work but did get a good photo.
It was a really lovely day – exactly what we had been hoping for when we booked this little trip.
We picked up a menu from one of the Chinese takeaways in Pevensey Bay. They did free delivery to our site so we phoned our order through when we got back and the food was there within half an hour. Nice not to have to cook and not too off plan (saved syns should cover it).
Relaxing evening – with a few photos of the sunset – bit of TV and blog writing.
Well thats the end of part one – join us soon for the continueing story of Betty’s Bearings and more exciting things we got up to!