Countdown to our winter escape – 21 August 2014

7 days until we roll out to start the first of our retirement winter escapes to France, Spain and Portugal in Twernt, our AutoTrail Chieftain motorhome and we still have a list of chores to complete that would need an area ‘as long as your arm’ to be listed on (providing you use a large font size!). We will be travelling with Shakey, our 6 year old CockerPoo and Tilley, our fifteen month old Cocker Spaniel. No room for their best friend, Bonnie, our sons Labrador Retriever!

Here’s the stuff that comes to mind but the list is not exhaustive (unlike the one in Amanda’s head that burns into my ears as the hours diminish twixt the present and the real start of our adventuring future).

  1. Blood test, in position #1 because it’s the last thing I’ll do before we depart.
  2. Finalise mail opening, it shouldn’t be this cold on August mornings so I need some material to start a morning bonfire at my ‘smokers corner’ in the walled garden.
  3. Valet the car and hand over to Martin to sell on to some mug fortunate new owner – it’s actually a very good car, only broken down once (the other day) and that was because Martin and I jiggered about with the battery terminals the day before the breakdown when jump-starting the quad bike. It’s an 08 Renault Megane Scenic Auto 1.9 diesel, twin sun roof’s, 36K miles and has had only 2 careful owners – a vicar and me – OK, maybe just one careful owner – I can’t vouch for the vicar.
  4. Prep Twernt for the road – wash, diesel-up, LPG-up, fix cycles to rack and batten down anything that is not likely to behave itself in rumble mode.
  5. Make sure I’ve got an ample supply of Golden Virginia and Mintoes.
  6. If possible, listen to Amanda as she instructs me on the 200-300 other matters that need taking care of before we leave.

I was put in the fortunate position of catching the inaugral Celebrity Big Brother TV show the other night; it was a ‘wallpaper’ event until I noticed that Audley Harrison and ‘Kellie’ Maloney were in it – excellent, they’ll be able to compare handbags! Actually our son, Ed, majors in 3 sports – MotoGP, Boxing and Rugby (in that order) and he does boxing (Will is 2 belts short of being a ‘Black Belt’ at some karate type thing) so I was able to mark Ed’s card about this pairing on Celeb BB. I probably won’t get a chance to see the programme again as stuff like drama’s and soaps (access to viewing Downton 5 will be a BIG problem for someone very close to me!) take precedence in the hours before 10pm (my me-time then takes over once Amanda has retired to bed for her Kindle-time – do Kindle’s make a buzzing sound?). I’ll be relying on Ed for CBB ‘handbags at dawn’ updates. I do like Audley; very affable chap and it really was a big shame that what could have been never was. I’m still on cloud 9 from Carl’s last fight, they should have called it ‘Take that, you mother-critics’.

Football is my #1 though, more skillful than Rugby, more time to think about your evening plans than a Moto-GP rider and yet you still get a chance to lamp an opponent albeit without gloves. When I played I did get in trouble a few times for whacking deserving causes, but, looking back, it’s times like the game against a Ripley team when we won 5-0 and I scored all 5 that I remember most (Are you reading this Dave? – do you remember that?). There was much less ‘hoo-hah’ about such events back in the 70’s than there is today. Back then, the days match was quickly consigned to history and thoughts were quickly re-directed to which Saturday night venue would provide some lucky young lady with the event of her life (or unlucky young lady as 2 ex-wife’s would testify! – I just met the wrong people for the right reasons).

Well, that sporting diversion swerved an in-depth analysis of DCFC losing to Charlton – just effing win against Fulham on Saturday – bugger, another London team.

It’s 7:05am, time for smoker’s corner so ciao and here are some random images from the last few days:

 

 

Motorhoming may nean 'bucket & spade' to some but when you're fulltiming it's more like 'bucket & spin drier' on twice weekly 'washday' chores!  - we will use launderettes whenever possible once we get under way

Motorhoming may nean ‘bucket & spade’ to some but when you’re fulltiming it’s more like ‘bucket & spin drier’ on twice weekly ‘washday’ chores! – we will use launderettes whenever possible once we get under way

7 hours broken down when out doing final runaround tasks. The car refused to start and displayed messages like 'fuel inkection fault', 'handvrake locked' and 'steeriing fault'; Martin and I fixed it after identifying a weak batterry - we put another battery on that also turned out to be weak but it started using Martin's booster - Drove back to base, cleaned all battery connections and all is now good. The car will now be punished by being sold.

7 hours broken down when out doing final runaround tasks. The car refused to start and displayed messages like ‘fuel injection fault’, ‘handbrake locked’ and ‘steeriing fault’; Martin and I fixed it after identifying a weak batterry – we put another battery on – that also turned out to be weak but it started using Martin’s booster – Drove back to base, cleaned all battery connections and all is now good. The car will now be punished by being sold.

Our walled garden neighbours AutoCruise Chamois awaiting collection by new owners - Richard & Sue are returning to caravanning after many years MoHo touring.

Our walled garden neighbours AutoCruise Chamois awaiting collection by new owners – Richard & Sue are returning to caravanning after many years MoHo touring.

Richard & Sue - farwell picture with their MoHo. They have a great set-up in the walled garden and many adevntures ahead of them in their Sorento & Coachman VIP. Good luck both!

Richard & Sue – farwell picture with their MoHo. They have a great set-up in the walled garden and many adevntures ahead of them in their Sorento & Coachman VIP. Good luck both!

A visit from the crew: Nicole, Edward & William - plus their Labrador Retriver puppy, Bonnie - I wouldn't like to be their neighbours when Ed & Nicole return to work when school's back in! She's a lovely hound though.

A visit from the crew: Nicole, Edward & William – plus their Labrador Retriever puppy, Bonnie – I wouldn’t like to be their neighbours when Ed & Nicole return to work once school’s back in! She’s a lovely hound though.

Ed on his penultimate visit to us in the walled garden - Did I mention that Amanda has ditched her laptop for the Nexus tablet? She checks the weather forecast about 6 times a day and won't risk visitors getting their mitts on it - hence the smug look that says 'They're here and they're not getting my Nexus'.

Ed on his penultimate visit to us in the walled garden – Did I mention that Amanda has ditched her laptop for the Nexus tablet? She checks the weather forecast about 6 times a day and won’t risk visitors getting their mitts on her tablet (it used to be ‘ours’) – hence the smug look that says ‘They’re here and they’re not getting my Nexus’.

Nicole. "Is that a tablet i espy in your hand?"

Nicole. “Is that a tablet I espy in your hand?”

William, thinking "If I had a tablet I could be on WOW now"

William, thinking “If I had a tablet I could be on WOW now”

Tilley, "Nah, you don't want a Nexus my son, you need an Apple like mine, I'll call this one that I'm padding 'i-pad'". New command for Tilley - 'Kill'.

Tilley, “Nah, you don’t want a Nexus my son, you need an Apple like mine, I’ll call this one that I’m padding ‘i-pad'”. New command for Tilley – ‘Kill’.

Tilley in her den "I've got this Apple thing licked"

Tilley in her den “I’ve got this Apple thing licked”

 

Bonnie "Please, I need the Nexus to email my Mummy"

Bonnie “Please, I need the Nexus to email my Mummy”

Shakey, "I'm finding it difficult to stay foxussed' - you and me both my boy.

Shakey, “I’m finding it difficult to stay focussed’ – you and me both my boy.

Speaking of which, my 'new-to-me' GX-1 camera is lens range limited and a 150-200mm lens would cost more then we will get for the Sony HX200V. So we're keeping both. Might get better shots of a Buzzard, like this one that flew directly overhead in order to demonstrate this camera strategy fail.

Speaking of which, my ‘new-to-me’ Lumix GX-1 camera is lens range limited and a 150-200mm lens would cost more then we will get for the Sony HX200V. So we’re keeping the Sony for it’s lens capabilities. Might get better shots of a Buzzard, like this one that flew directly overhead in order to demonstrate this camera strategy fail as I struggled with only the Lumix GX-1 to hand.

 

10 thoughts on “Countdown to our winter escape – 21 August 2014

    • Thanks Maggie, I hope you have safe and happy travels as well. You will actually be crossing 2 weeks ahead of us, we’re going to spend a couple of weeks or so in the Cotswolds before visiting Chippenham and Hastings and then it will be 2 weeks or so around Normandy and Brittany before heading down to Spain/Portugal. Roy

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  1. That buzzard was really high up so not a bad photo considering. Went and did the snagging on the house today. Pick up the keys on Tuesday so let me know when you can make it over to take a look before you set off on your adventures!

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    • The Panasonic Lumix GX-1 has a 14-42mm lens, the Sony Cybershot HX-200V has a 4.8-144mm that can be pushed to 60x but effectively 27-810mm, so a big increase where usable; I’m not a camera geek more a ‘point and shoot’ type of user. The GX-1 is closer to being pocket sized and fits into my ‘man-bag’ whereas the HX-200V needs a separate shoulder bag to haul around. I didn’t get what I wanted; I may revisit in the future but it hurts my head just trying to suss out the different offerings! What I wanted was a credit card sized camera that will shoot anything and everything at uber megapixel clarity. Should have bought the latest smartphone?!!? Sort your new house bathroom and we’ll bring our stuff over and test out your bath!

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    • Thanks both, apologies for late reply for some reason wordpress keeps putting your comments into spam, I unspam them expecting them to then be OK and now find they’ve done it again! xx

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  2. Hi guys, good luck in your travels. We’ve sent an email to your btinternet address but not sure if you’ve received it.

    Kind regards

    Paul & Jill

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    • Hi Paul & Jill, yes, got your email! Will reply this evening – we’re inundated with daily tasks to complete before ‘launch day’ – today we booked campsites through to leaving the UK having decided to blow the budget and stay ‘upmarket’ so our costs will rise in the next 3 weeks – ouch! Should be good for blog pictures and to launch in style though (he says more in hope than expectancy!). Cheers now, Roy & Amanda

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    • Oh! just found that the next message is also from you Paul- my fault – I only check that email address once every few days, got it on a resident browser tab now so that should sort it! Cheers, Roy

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