Wednesday, 25 January 2012


At the crack of dawn tomorrow we are leaving for Ardingly where we are exhibiting at the Spring Quilt show. This is a new venue for us and a long trip in the van. Nearly 298 miles from door to door. The longest trip we have done so far is about twelve miles! So an experience!

Graeme has been getting everything ready. The van is packed; we've sorted out the gas problem; the fridge is cold; the food is in; the electricity has been made to work in the lights and all in all everything should be tickety boo! It was a bit of a challenge working out where to put all the boxes of fabric and stuff so that they didn't roll around as we travelled but I think we have it sussed. I was very organised and made lists of food, clothes, stuff to sell and stuff we'd need at the show such as curtains for the stand.

So at around 6 tomorrow morning we will be off. I will write about our experiences and include photos on our return.

Wagons roll......well eventually!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Our first trip away!

We decided to spend the night at Stithians reservoir as we were going to be there the next morning helping to clear brambles and stuff from the footpaths. This was a working party organised by CAST fishing club of which I am the Vice Chairman! Before I met Graeme I wouldn't have known how to go about catching fish but now I am actually the Vice Chairman! Amazing! :-)

We arrived in the middle of the afternoon not wanting to have to set up camp in the dark. It was very windy and the guy in reception suggested we park face on into the wind. I'm glad he said this as the wind got stronger and developed into a full gale. The van rocked but not as badly as if we had been side on.  We hooked up the electricity and gingerly plugged in the electric hotplate. The electrician who came and sorted out our previous problems had said it would be alright but I was still anxious. However it worked and we were able to make coffee after a while. I'd forgotten how long electricity takes! But coffee and cake was very acceptable!  We then found that the two lights over the dining table didn't work. Problem number one to be sorted at a later date.  

It was exciting getting dinner and very cosy with the heater working and subdued lighting from a small lantern we had bought earlier in case the leisure battery gave up! We were into trying all our equipment! The water heating was brilliant and the shower was ace. Really powerful though not able to really enjoy it as were saving water so showers were quick! Unfortunately the loo flush didn't work but we were able to get round that with jugs of water. But that is problem number two to sort out!   

The view of the lake was exciting as with the gale force winds waves had been whipped up and we might just as well have been at sea!

Before it got dark we went for a walk round the lake which was exhilarating and very cold!

We were toasty warm in bed and it was lovely looking at the stars through the window. The van rocked in the wind and I did wonder whether we would blow over but all was well. Up early the next morning and managed to get a good breakfast. I had porage but Graeme had bacon and egg! And then we were off to do battle with the undergrowth! 

A lot of things to sort out before we go to Ardingly in ten days time. Most important is to access the gas! But it is certainly fun living like this. But would I want to do it full time?  

Friday, 13 January 2012

The Joys of a Mobile Home in future to be referred to as the Van!

On December 1st last year we took control of a mobile home. A Pilote Debut 34 built in 1999. A lovely piece of equipment. We wanted a mobile home so that we could travel to shows throughout the year and save on accommodation costs. We needed to be able to transport all the fabric and stuff to  shows so a mobile home seemed the answer for living and carrying space. The Pilote is a very nicely set out piece of equipment.  It has a small loo and wash room with a separate shower! Plus it has gas hobs and grill and a small fridge powered either by gas or by the electrics.  There is an over the cab double bed and a small table and benches which also convert to a bed. All in all just what we need!

This is a view of the back of the inside with the door to the washroom at the back and the hobs and sink to the right. Below is the view of the front of the inside. The dining area is to the right. 

Below is a view of the washroom and the shower is to the right in it's own little room!

Well I drove it home from the dealers and was pleased to find that it was no worse than driving a tractor and trailer!  In fact in many ways better.  And I was chuffed to find that I could reverse it into our drive in one easy manoeuvre! Piece of cake!

And so it sat on the drive over Christmas and we did very little with it other than show interested parties over it extolling it's virtues! And then along came the new year and shows began to loom over us so we decided to get it ready and take a small trip to try it out!  This was when our idyll fell to pieces!

The first problem was when Graeme filled the tank with water and then put the pump on to try out the sink and shower. Water poured out underneath and the poor lamb cut his head getting underneath the van to try and find out why! Eventually he realised that he had not put the plug in the water tank! I wasn't there at the time so didn't have to bite my tongue!

The second problem was when he tried to access the gas locker to turn the gas on and found that the key wouldn't work. Everything had worked before we drove it away and we hadn't done anything to it in the meantime. So we took it back to the dealers who were of no help whatsoever! I was pleased to see that driving it was still no problem and the reversal into the drive was still easy peasy! We are still sans gas while we wait for a locksmith to come out and see if he can help us!

In the meantime we thought we'd use the electric mains to try out an electric hob we had. Well actually we had two and we put them both on at once!  Not surprisingly the electric blew and we were without electricity in the van (from the mains) and in the garage. As I write the electricians are working on it now. I hope when I get home from work that it will be sorted!

We are hoping to spend Saturday night away! Hope springs eternal. More on this after the event!