Real Time Update: Blog catch-up is under way – <picture comments now obtained by hovering cursor over the picture> <Live Map, Sites, Running Costs and MPG Analysis pages are now up to date>
Wednesday 10 September 2014
On our final day at Durdle Door we walked across the fields to West Lulworth village and then on to Lulworth Cove.
Thursday 11 September 2014
We were awake bright and early for the long drive over to Hastings (OK, maybe just ‘early’ – ‘bright’ being the domain of optimistic youth).
The site at Durdle Door included a fast internet connection, we therefore searched for an en-route ‘shop-over’ (a ‘stop-over’ for shopping) and Tesco at Axminster was chosen.
We had used 2 levellers under Twernt’s front wheels in an attempt to maintain an even keel on the grassy pitch at Durdle Door.
For us, the only negative at Durdle Door is that most pitches are sloping and the pitch that we were on belonged to that majority group.
I had noticed that there was more ground dew than previous days on our pitch and the warning words of forum members echoed through my mind – “front wheel drive and tag axle MoHo’s are bad news, my son” – “with that combination you’ll be bogged down if anyone as much as spits on the ground within 20 feet of your MoHo, my lad”.
I noted that the early morning dew evident on our pitch might just prove their case.
And it did!
Well, I had been warned – only myself to blame (too true….!).
Amanda was in her ‘ready to remove the levels’ location.
Twernt’s engine was fired up, reverse gear engaged, clutch slowly released and…………nothing!……OK, a few more revs…….still nothing.
No doubt the wheels had graduated from a gentle spin to numerous momentary rapid spins, and, quite possibly, a hole big enough to bury Twernt in was being developed; whatever the unseen disposition of the wheels was, we were stuck.
Bugger – those forum guys were right; these FWD tags should be banned and we need legislation to force all MoHo-ers to run converted ex-army trucks. We can’t have ‘proles’ – like me – living in the comfort and luxury of a 21st century motorhome when they don’t even have a house to pay taxes on – let’s make ‘em live in trucks – if they were good enough for the army lads in the last century then they’re good enough for 21st century ‘proles’.
After quite a few ‘jiggly’ forward/backwards attempts, I jumped out of the cab (as they say; – at 65 I don’t do jumping out of cabs anymore; it’s more like a very slow human spider movement) and surveyed our situation.
By now there was an audience that was made up of our near pitch neighbours and of passers-by that had no intention of complying with my description of them – they now ‘loitered’.
How come ‘MY’ passers-by suddenly felt the need to very slowly re-tie their shoe laces en-masse?
I needed to appear as though I knew what I was doing and that I had a ‘plan of action’.
So I kicked at one the levellers (the one that was only on the first ‘step’ of the leveller) and, beyond all expectations, it flew out from under Twernt’s wheel – OK ‘flew’ is the wrong verb to describe this action; the levellers don’t have wings; maybe ‘bruised’ would have been a better verb as that is what the leveller did to my big toe!
But………the striker from the 70’s strikes again!
I also kicked out at the stubborn 3-steps-high leveller under the right front wheel but had zero joy.
Having achieved some level of success, I returned to crawl back into the cab to re-try dealing with that pesky 3-steps-high 2nd level.
I could feel that the gathering audience were looking on with bated breath – ‘Will it? Won’t it?’ – I know which option they wanted; they were probably all forum members waiting to report back that the newbie was a proper mug for not having taken their advice
I restarted Twernt, did my usual checks and suddenly thought to myself, ‘I wonder if it would help if I released the handbrake this time?’
I know you’ll find this very difficult to believe but it had the desired effect
Twernt reversed off of the remaining level using the merest of throttle ‘tickles’, and, better still, I was now a HERO
Onlooker: “M’lud, I saw the vehicle was stuck and the lass did her best to free the levellers but the geezer crawled down, spider-like, from the cab, kicked one leveller away, gave the stubborn leveller a solid kick and then crawled back – spider-like again – into the cab and reversed Twernt off of the second leveller. The lass did her best but the geezer was the hero”.
The full facts were available ONLY to me – I decided to keep them to myself……..(I was planning to ‘fess all in this blog but blog delays meant that I revealed the truth to Amanda early – I just couldn’t take the hero-worship any longer; it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and unsustainable heroic actions do become tiresome and time consuming after a while – I wanted my old life back).
Amanda stowed the levellers in the garage, jumped in the cab (yes, ‘jumped’ – she’s younger than me!) and, as we drove off, I looked over to our assembled onlookers and forged a strikers goal celebration ‘fist in the air’ (back in the 60’s/70’s we didn’t kiss-hug-kiss-kiss-kiss all over our team-mates as they do these days – at that time even a ‘fist in the air’ was considered ‘new wave’ after the celebratory formal hand-shakes of earlier years).
Footnote for Truck/Bus MoHo-ers: Next time you get bogged down just give me a call, I’m clearly the man you need and no monetary consideration is required – I’d be happy to watch them enjoy a meal of a print-off of their ‘advice’ (printed on cardboard) and they can swill it down with some rat-pee – that should do it on the recompense front
Joking apart, I’m writing this from an aire in Albufeira and we have so far seen 1,000’s of manufacturer motorhomes on the road but only about 5 or 6 truck/bus motorhomes; mind it was a bit unkind of us to not stop and help them when they were broken down!
Later that day, by way of our ‘Super Trouper Sat-Naff’ having directed us to Hastings via the M25 (how did that happen?) we arrived at the Caravan Club site close to Hastings.
It was a lovely peaceful site set in woodland ………….. but we soon put paid to that
I don’t mean that we put paid to the woodland (but only because we’d left the chainsaw back in the storage cabin) but the ‘peaceful’ bit was at risk as we had in mind a few beers and a BBQ.
Hastings is home of Amanda’s cousin: Alastair, his wife Jo and their daughter, Jamelia and they were coming over to say hello and ‘wave’ us off into the sunset (there’s that word again….sun ).
Our CC site neighbours were experiencing their first ever night in a motorhome so we needed to let them know that campsite peace and quiet doesn’t doesn’t always reign supreme – and certainly not the one they’d chosen for their first MoHo night!
As always, Amanda presided over the Cadac BBQ proceedings but only because most folk don’t like hospital visits – anyone ‘addicted’ to hospitalisation is welcome to come along and sample my Cadac offerings – it may well be the last thing you ever eat
With about 60 hours left of our 2014 ‘Blighty’ time we enjoyed our last social gathering whilst eating, drinking and chatting about family, photography and motor-homing.
Alastair is a BMW GS rider and also he’s a brilliant chef.
He politely ate Amanda’s offerings without any adverse comments – I can only imagine that all of Hastings have now been advised to give Twernt a wide berth the next time we’re passing through .
Funny though, we haven’t heard from Alastair & Jo since that night; here’s hoping that they’ve now recovered from whatever ailments may have subsequently been foisted upon them; I can only say that Cadac’s have a great reputation
Friday 12 September 2014
It was dark by the time we had said our farewells to Alastair, Jo and Jamelia the previous evening and we had stowed the outdoor gear in the garage in an ‘as was’ state.
This morning we ‘unloaded’ said outdoor gear, cleaned it to within an inch of it’s life and re-stowed everything in an orderly fashion.
We then pointed Twernt in the direction of our last stop in Blighty and ‘Super Trouper’ did the business with pinpoint accuracy.
I spent the day on Twernt cleaning duties whilst Amanda immersed herself reading cookery books. Can’t think why she felt this need to improve her culinary talents; 3 kids and a guy that ballooned to nearly 18 stone is testament enough.
Macadee’s have achieved similar results for millions of people and I don’t hear much about their executives having investigating many new recipes; a quarter pounder with cheese from 25 years ago looks pretty much the same today so why change a winning formula.
Food is just human fuel and, within reason, I have never understood the ‘new wave’ foodie explosion – must be something to do with humans having too much time on their hands, either that or they’ve nothing better to do with their time. Of course that doesn’t apply to food sellers (up to a certain level) whose role is to make an income from the supply of human-fuel.
Amanda kept muttering something about needing to meet ‘family’ expectations when cooking for them.
Ever-the-helpful husband, I offered to divulge my secret ‘uber chilli sausage roll’ recipe – uber refers to the chilli element! – in real-time (Albufeira) Amanda’s first recipe ‘takeover’ results will be ready today – about 6 or 7 blogs down the line!
Let the good times <sausage> roll!
Saturday 13 September 2014
More of the same for us today, we intended to have a quiet day completing our final chores before heading out for the tunnel crossing early tomorrow.
The rabbit infested CC site kept the dogs amused; the same couldn’t have been said for the rabbits had Shakey and Tilley not been restrained by their leashes.
Edward, Nicole and William made a ‘surprise’ visit to us, fulfilling Ed’s comment that they would see us before we’d had a chance to spend any euro’s. It was good to see them all and we look forward to seeing them at Christmas in Salobrena.
Steve called to let us know that he would soon be on the ferry and was on-track for our meet up in the morning in Calais. I hoped he wouldn’t be approached by any strangers during his one night stay-over at Calais – that actor chap from ‘Four weddings…’ seems to have spawned a lot of offspring and, oddly enough, he’s called them all ‘Immie’.
Apparently there are UK residents that don’t want them in the UK; they must be actors afraid of losing their jobs…….come to think of it…….
Sunday 14 September 2014
Today heralded the real start of our planned adventures to winter in warmer climes.
So, in the early hours of our 10th wedding anniversary and on the 32nd anniversary of us starting to live together – 32 years ago to this day we were starting out in Los Angeles – we ended our 2014 ‘Blighty’ time and set out for what would be good times with Steve & Ann but bad times for Twernt, our ‘Tech’ and for our time as Mozzie foddah………………