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Stuff which doesn’t have a home!

A New Day, A New Van

This weekend we’ve taken our first baby steps in our new van. After over four years with the Chucklebus, which felt as comfortable as an old glove, stepping out with the new van felt a little like a leap into the unknown. Chausson are French and the handbook that goes with the vehicle is….now how should I put this? Ahh Yes, Crap! It’s the type of instruction manual you get with flatpack furniture, so you just throw it back into the glovebox and crack on. This first weekend was going to be a journey of wonder and discovery!!!

We chose “Daisy Banks” a tidy little touring site near Churchstoke, nestled in deepest Mid Wales.

The first issue was “space”, basically there’s too much of it. Within an hour of parking up at the site, the inside of the van looked like a teenagers bedroom, with kit spread out to the four corners, my structured well defined method of packing and living within the van was being ruthlessly discarded by the “other half”. She threw off the shackles of four years of austere small-van living and was now doing the equivalent of spending like a sailor! It couldn’t last!

After the sugar rush subsided, reality struck and we started trying to make use of the new space and also learn what buttons did what!

I’m pleased to report everything works, and the luxury of having a double bed within the van is a joy to behold. This weekend I’ve certainly pushed out the zzzzzz’s. On our next trip the Other Half wants to try the ladder on the electric bed, so the bed is higher up, me…..mmmm I’m not so sure, not with my back! I’m a martyr to it! Plus, what about the Mutts? He likes to climb aboard at 0600 every morning.! I can’t imagine him being too impressed with a four foot ladder!!

Another outstanding task we dealt with this weekend was the Vans name. We’ve had a few suggestions, some music based….Halen, Morrison, also Jean Claude…you get the idea. Eventually we settled on “Georgie” as the van model is a “BEST of 10″…. As a kid, I was privileged to see him play for Man Utd at Wolves in the late 60’s with the Old Man, so a nice touch. The suggestion came from the Ponciau Princess👸 who has a knack for moments like this…so Georgie it is.

On the Saturday we climbed up to the Montgomeryshire War Memorial, above Montgomery. It was absolutely freezing, but the visit was really worthwhile. The memorial is perched on an exposed hilltop and it’s really well located. Many of the men who served in both world wars from the county would have had some working link to the beautiful countryside that they were born and raised on.

The location offers fantastic views towards Caer Idris and Snowdonia to the West, with closer views towards the Stipperstones and the Long Mynd in the East.

Corndon Hill in the distance.

After 48hrs we have a list of todo’s, including the fitting of hoses to the waste water tanks, more hooks, and other bits n pieces.

Hopefully we’ll get another run out in Georgie in a couple of weeks time.

Georgie

That is All!

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Farewell Chucklebus!

Tomorrow we wave goodbye to the Chucklebus, yep she’s sold. After 4 ½ brilliantly reliable years, travelling the UK and bits of mainland Europe, we’ve decided to sell her. WHATTT….I hear you cry! yep, basically we need something a little bigger now. When we started off on our first trip on the weekend of the 16th March 2013, there was only the two of us…plus Mutts. Now, we have a couple of grandkids, we need some more space, in order to entice the rugrats to come along with us on the odd trip!! We would also like a separate sleeping area if possible. The search is on…I’m liking Chausson’s and Adria’s coachbuilts, 6-7’m’s maximum. Maybe a decent 3 berth.

Van front L

In her best bib n tucker!

We were complete newbies when we bought the van, we’d never even caravanned, and the Chucklebus was the perfect vehicle to start picking up the skills, and she handles like a car, which is a bonus. So tomorrow we are meeting up with her new owners Stephen and Sophie at a nearby CC site and doing the final handover and showing them how everything works. I hope they get as much pleasure and fun in her as we’ve had.

Here is a link to our first trip in the old girl, back in 2013.

That is All!

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#LeCercle17 – La Avance! 

(466 miles) We’re here! Chocks were away at 1900hrs yesterday evening from North East Wales, followed by the mother of all drives, finally reaching the Champagne region at 1400hrs today.

Firstly, let me get the initial low-blows in! The barely missed total wipe-out on the A26  between Calais and Reims was entirely the fault of the “Johnny Foreigner” lorry driver!  My use of Alan Partridge leather driving gloves, “ten to two” steering, plus the superior quality of the British driving test saved the day. If anyone whispers anything different, it’s a damn lie!!!  I shall also being increasing the size of the xmas tip to the lads at Moreton Garage, Chirk, who fitted new brake pads 😊, they worked!

Secondly the fact that the ChuckleBus is currently in France, whilst the two pin French hook-up adaptor and spare cable is in our shed at home in no-way implies any fault in my administration! Even the most talented individuals can sometimes let the pressures of command weigh heavily on their shoulders…….sniff, resulting in easily made errors! But I’m not taking the blame on this, rather it’s a shared” experience!

The “Other Half” contemplates that shared experience!

So with that neatly tucked away and forgotten about FOREVER, we are currently at an aire called Mutigny, south of Reims, right in the heart of the champagne region, like Wiltshire, but with wines!


A one night stop here, then moving further east, towards the Alsace Wine Region, where we intend to spend the weekend!

That is All.

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Upcoming Xmas Jaunts

With Christmas nearly upon us, we’ve casually been planning a couple of trips for the festive period. For the first time in many years, myself and the “Other Half” will be sharing Xmas dinner as a solitary couple….Just me, her, a free range chicken and of course “The Mutt” eyeing each other up over the sprouts and pigs in blankets!. The Other Halfs strong irish arms and sense of competitiveness means I’m virtually certain to lose every cracker pull. Normally I just bully the kids (22 and 25!) into handing victory to me…Also….We’ll have to have.. like a proper conversation at the table..Eh!….No TV Xmas dinner on a tray in our house 😦

Oh well!

BUT THEN! A couple of days after a proper chrimbo, Team Motorhomedreamer climb into the chucklebus and head in the 4 o’clock position to  Salisbury Plain, staying at a campsite nearish to Stonehenge along the A303.

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We are staying here for about 3 days and really looking forward to doing some walks on Salisbury Plain, looking at the map, I’ve already identified Tilshead, Fox Covert, Imber and Chitterne close by, names that strike a chord in my memory having worked on the Plain constantly over a two year period in the early 80’s and then on further occasions in the late 80’s and into the 90’s.….For those of you who don’t know this part of the world, the Plain is a huge expanse of open country and has been used by our military for training for over a hundred years.

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In the 20th Century it was not unusual to see large-scale tank formations training on there. I’m not sure if thats still the case although Wiki notes the following:

Military personnel from the UK and around the world spend some 600,000-man days on the plain every year.

I do remember all the ancient burial sites dotted about the Plain, as I drove about the training area back in the 1980’s, they were normally marked with a white star on a post, and were out of bounds to all exercising troops.

Because of its military usage, civil access has always been limited, which meant as a benefit many species of flower, fauna and wildlife have flourished without interference. Over the last 30 years the military have had to adapt to changing attitudes to our environment, which is reflected in an even much tighter management of the Plains ecology. See here for more info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salisbury_Plain

I’m really looking forward to this jaunt, its many years since I spent anytime here, certainly my first trip back as a civilian. We’re then intending to spend New Years Eve in Dorset, with friends, before heading north towards the Lake District over a couple of days.  Anyway it’s christmas, so here’s my favourite song, which never fails to make me smile:

Finally wishing all our occasional followers and fellow bloggers a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

That is all.

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