Friday, 10 February 2012

Ardingly and Back!

We set off at 6.0am on the Thursday morning in the dark and I had to get used to finding the light switches and other things like the heater and radio. We made good time to Exeter by which time it was getting light and we were only an extra half hour on the journey which was good going. I found that the van handled well and I was even able to overtake going up hill! Mind you the lorry I was overtaking was slowing down by the second as it struggled upwards! We left the good roads after Exeter and took the road to Honiton and then on to Dorchester. We were still making good time though the weather had become wet and misty. Just after Dorchester we were over taken by a small car which then slowed down in front of us. So I had a wee moan about that and wondered why he's bothered to overtake. Then I noticed he was waving and holding something up as I overtook him so I stopped and sent Graeme back to see what he wanted. It only turned out that we had lost our back ventilation cover from the roof of the van. What a kind man to pick it up and then bring it to us. I mentally castigated myself for having uncharitable thoughts towards him earlier! That was a bummer though as it was raining and we didn't want a flood in the shower compartment where we had boxes of fabric stashed. We pulled the blind over the open hole and hoped for the best! The fixings looked so fragile that I am amazed they stayed on so long! Must check the other two! The journey then continued without further incident other than worry of flood! I must say I am impressed with the way the van handles and find it a pleasure to drive. 
We arrived in very good time. Three hundred miles in seven hours. Not bad going! We stopped just before we reached the show ground and filled up with diesal and got some 'gaffer' tape for mending the roof.  By the time we had finished setting up the stand and got everything under control it was dark and I was exhausted. There were no hoses to fill the water tank so Graeme had to manually fill our two gallon jerry can and empty it in by hand. But the gas worked a treat and the inside was soon toasty warm. We found the cooking facilities good and we eventually retired to bed tired but happy! 

However the next day when we needed to re-plenish the water tank we found that the lock on the water opening wouldn't work! Most annoying as it meant that now Graeme had to fill the tank from inside the van! Arduous to say the least! And it was bitterly cold! Also the small lights over the table/bed wouldn't work which was a pain! But the shower was good. There was lots of hot water and we were only a step away from the show entrance. 
That night we walked down to the local pub come restaurant and had a drink and then meandered back. The next day several folk were complaining of upset tums and blaming the restaurant! More of that later! Graeme put more gaffer tape on the roof cover and we survived the frosty nights. 

We left to come home on the Sunday evening and eventually arrived back at 12.30. Not a bad run considering that we'd had to take a detour. On our journey up I'd noticed that several of the roads were due to be closed for repairs on the Sunday evening! So we came home via Andover and the 303. A bit longer and twistier roads and we had snow over the Black Down hills in Dorset and over Dartmoor but fortunately for us the gritters had been out and I didn't feel anxious about the van sliding around! Though I did slow down! The snow did look lovely on the verges and in the fields by the light of the moon! 

The gaffer tape held up well and now needs to be sorted. Unfortunately when we got home I succumbed to what I now know was the norovirus or winter vomiting disease! Not fun! This is obviously what everyone had at the show and the germs were spread around by the hot air system which was right by our stand! I am only now recovering and feel a shadow of my former self! There is a lot to be done on the van but each time we use it we find out more about it. It drives well and I have no complaints. It is warm and cosy but too many things don't work or don't work properly and it needs things mending such as the roof light. But on the whole it is good. Exeter is the next big outing! By then the weather should be improving! 

I was going to take loads of photos but somehow or other time got in the way! Next time! 

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