Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What a day!!!!!

Today had been a good day, nothing at all to do with caravans, but never the less a very good day.

It was Welsh Rugby Union Schools cup final matches today.  There were three games to be played at U15s, U18s and Welsh Colleges.  Roids was selected to be in the squad for Coleg Sir Gar in the U18s final.  the venue for these matches was The Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.

Herself and I picked up the olds at 11.30am and we made our way up the M4 towards Cardiff.  I had pre arranged parking at the stadium because both Roids' Nannas are registered disabled.  I have to say, if there is one thing the WRU have got right, it's how they treat disabled patrons.

We entered via gate 4 and were allowed through the security barrier into the car park deep under the stadium itself where someone was waiting for us to direct us to our reserved parkng, from there we were ushered straight into the lft to level 4.  Staff were waitng for us on level 4 and took us to the wheelchar platform and settled us in for the games.

 Nervously we waited for our game to start as the presentations were made to the U15 boys.

The game flew by, and Roids came on from the bench early n the 2nd half to play the game out at hooker.

It was a bit of a ding dong game, which Coleg Sir Gar narrowly lost.  However to us that didn't matter that much.  We had got to see our Roids play at The Millenium Stadium.  He acquitted himself well, his throwing in  was spot on and he even got himself onto the big screens in the stadium a few times.

We could not have been prouder, and I'll admit to having a little grit in my eye when he ran on!!

What a day

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Towing Mirrors

I am a cheapskate.  I know this, and herself is always nagging me for it.

I bought my last set of towing mirrors back in September 2010, and admit to not paying much at all for them.  Within weeks the rubber retaining straps had snapped and the clamping screws have never been easy to tighten and untighten.

That, I've lived with, but last weekend I very nearly skinned my fingers trying to tighten them up, and horror of horrors, the extending arms now have some rust spots on them.

They had to go, but at £25 for the pair, I consider myself to have had value for money with them lasting me well over 2 years.

I vowed to buy a decent set and spend decent money on  a new set, and settled down infront of the laptop to trawl Amazon and ebay for the best of the best.

That's as far as my good intentions went.  Have you seen the cost of these things??  In the end I settled on a pair of Milenco (there's a name you can trust in mirrors) Steady View Flat & Convex Towing Mirrors.

Amazon bill them as .......... The ALL NEW Budget mirror from Milenco. Pack contains both a single FLAT MIRROR & CONVEX. Individual bags for ease of storage. Conforms to new 'E' mark regulations. Universal fitting which is quick and easy, fitting instructions included on the box.

The word 'Budget' sold them to me, and at the unbelievable price of £13.20, if I get 2 years out of them I'll have had my money's worth.

Monday, 1 April 2013

When the North Wind Does Blow......

Thursday 28 March

Well, the Easter weekend has arrived, and whilst the rest of the country is covered in a blanket of snow, South West Wales is just cold and windy.  With no plans to go very far this weekend the Caravan Club Site at Pembrey is our chosen venue.

The weekend was planned to be a bit of a shakedown with us having loads of new stuff to try out.  And that's exactly as it turned out, smoothing out a few glitches after the van's short layup since December.

We had planned to take our big awning to try it out, but with it being so cold and us being Billy no Mates again because Mr & Mrs Shag are stopping at home, that idea was ditched straightaway.  There was no way I was going to go to the trouble of erecting a full awning just to look at for a few days!

We've made a few changes since our last trip out, the first of which is that we now have a mover fitted to the van. Getting it out of it's little cwtch by the side of our house was a doddle, even if it left observers a little disappointed that no additional go faster stripes were added in the process!

Next change to test out is that we've changed the car. Regular readers will note the Miranda has a rather substantial rear end that sticks out a bit - well the spare wheel bit anyway.  Problems with 4x4 that have a rear mounted spare wheel and Alko hitches are well documented on the Internet, so it was with some trepidation that the mating ritual took place.

It all worked out okay, just, but I wasn't too confident of achieving separation the other end.

The tow to Pembrey is a short one for us, only a little over 10 miles, so it was hardly a stern test for Miranda. Nevertheless she bosses the caravan through the traffic and gave the impression of being a very competent tow vehicle.

Check in was effortless  apart from handing over the best part of £100 (they sure do ramp up the prices for bank holiday weekends) and we bag a hard standing pitch in a quiet cul-de-sac close to the service points.  We have no awning with us so setting up is completed in almost no time whatsoever, and separation from the car was achieved only with a little coaxing.

No time to hang around though because Herself's car is in for a service and has to be collected........ from Bloody Swansea!!!!!

It's getting dark by the time we get back, so pick up a Chinese takeaway from Burry Port on the way back to site to spend the rest of the evening in a very toasty warm caravan.

Friday 29 March

Herself was a very good girl this morning.  I'd had a bit of a rough night, but was woken at 9.45am by the smell of bacon cooking in the pan.  Is there a man on this planet who can sleep through the smell of sizzling bacon?

It was a superb breakfast, and I just wish I could have done it justice - still feeling a little rough see.

The inside of the van is lovely and warm and the sun is shining outside, stepping outside to fill the aquaroll tells me it's still bloody cold and I'm cursing the piss poor water pressure on the tap!

Last night when we got back we noticed that out toilet flush was not working, so this morning I got on the blower to Leisure Medic to have  a chat.  He tells me he's not working today but will call to the site tomorrow afternoon to take a look at it and the problem hitch.  He also tells me to check the fuse in the tank compartment as that sometimes gives issues.

The fuse was in a hell of a state, so a replacement was needed.  We headed off to Carmarthen where I got a pack of fuses from 3As Caravans and we got a new dog lead from Pet at Home to replace a mislaid one.

We get a phone call from Roids to tell us he's on his way down to site to visit us on his push bike, so we head off back.  He's like a block of ice by the time he's completed the 13 odd miles (he comes the scenic route) and he wolfs down a meal prepared by Herself and watches some TV with us before readily agreeing to a lift home in nice warm Miranda.

A new fuse didn't sort out the bog, so it'll have to wait until Leisure Medic arrives tomorrow.

Herself sorts out some Pork Chops and oven chips for supper before we hit the sack very early.

Saturday 30 March

I wake up feeling great (about time Herself says) and the sun is streaming through the blinds.  I take the dogs out and head up towards the view point in Pembrey Country Park.

It's a great spot and I apologise for the appalling quality of the picture, but the whole of the North Gower coast is visible and I spend some time using my 'Pervert's Glasses' to watch the waves crashing over the Worms Head causeway and the sandbank mid channel, before the wind picks up and it's suddenly no so pleasant up there.

It's strange how things creep up on you.  Cerys, our eldest dog, is coming up to 9 years old.  Don't get me wrong, she's still quite agile, but 3 times in the last 2 days she has had trouble getting up into the back of Miranda, and it was troubling her, and she was not herself.  Lifting her in and out is not an option either, because this is Cerys we are talking about, and being lifted is soooo undignified.

A doggy ramp was needed, so that was the mission for the morning.  Pets at Home was the first port of call, but we quickly turned around when we saw that they wanted £100 for the one on the shelf.  Next stop was Pampurred Pets in Pontardulais where we picked one up for a fraction of what Pets at Home wanted.

We took the dogs for a stretch in the country park before returning to the site for lunch.

I am feeling a whole lot better today and actually have some energy, so the caravan got the good news with Showroom Shine from me, and is no longer the shame of our cul-de-sac, whilst Herself gave the inside a good clean before clearing off to get some provisions in leaving me watch the rugby in peace for the afternoon.  Very pleasant it was too with the sun streaming through the windows and fresh air circulating through the half open stable door.

Late afternoon, and as promised Leisure Medic turned up.  Within 15 mins he had diagnosed and fixed a dodgy connection block in the toilet and shown me how to get over the Alko hitch problem.  This bloke is really good, so if ever you are in South West Wales and in the need of a Caravan repair man, give him a shout.

All is now well with the world.  I am feeling better, the sun is out, the Scarlets won and our bog mow flushes!

I get into JFO mode and tea tonight is a superb effort.  Rump steak served with onion rings, mushrooms, saute potatoes and homemade cheesy garlic bread (Herself did the garlic bread).

The dogs get one last walk in the country park before herself and I have a very pleasant night back at the van.

Sunday 31 March

The clock went on an hour last night, and whilst I can accept (just) that my smart phone knows this, I cannot fathom how the dogs do too!!  My body still says it's 6.45am but Cerys knows somehow that the clocks have moved and it's time for their walk.  I take them back up to the view point, but my eyes are watering in the wind too much to bother with my 'Perverts Glasses'.

I get back to the van as Herself has finished her shower and is looking all sparkly clean.  She had decided that we shall visit a market today, but I must first tidy myself up a bit!  I have 5 day's growth on my chops that needs sorting before she'll be seen in public with me.

I've not been looking forward to this as we only have cheap razor blades in the van, but never the less I start hacking away.  I step into the shower and the tray looks like a slaughterhouse floor as the stinging shower spray attacks my open wounds.  Edward Scissor Hands would have done a better job!

Showered, I resist the urge to use aftershave, but use about half a sheet of toilet paper on the cuts and with a face like the metal grid on a sewerage outfall I step out of the bathroom and Herself almost pees herself laughing.

We head west to the Sunday Market at Carew.  It's quite high up there, and bloody freezing cold.  We pick up some sports supports for Roids, some mats for the van and a set of star keys so I can attack the Alko hitch on our return to site.

Saundersfoot is rammed when we stop at Tesco Express there to get some sandwiches for lunch, and there are some brave souls sat on the beach.  Herself has decided that she has got cold once today, and has no intention of leaving the comfort of Miranda to get cold again.  We take the coastal road over to Stepaside and then onto the packed Wisemans Bridge where we find a lovely picnic spot (Smokey and the Bandit Stylee) for lunch.

Herself does not get out of Miranda whilst I freeze my gonads off with the dogs.  All fed and watered we continue on through Amroth, and Laugharn before returning to site where I attack the Alko hitch after pegging the dogs out in the late afternoon sunshine.

We've not been back long when Roids, Ronnie and DD show up.  They eat all our sweets and chocolate, drink all my soft drinks and extract £20 from my wallet for Kebabs before leaving us on our own again.

Neither of us fancied cooking so a takeaway curry is collected after another visit to the adjacent country park again to walk the dogs.

Monday 1 April

With not much to pack away we are all set by 10.30am except for hitching up.  This now requires a new routine for us because once hitched up we are unable to open Miranda's boot to put the dogs in.  So I positioned Miranda on the site road, dogs safely inside I wind the van legs up and engage the mover to move the van off the pitch.  I press the magic buttons on the remote and it lights up like a Christmas tree, I press the forward button and ......... nothing!  I press the back button and ...... nothing! Side buttons are also dead so I check the battery and that is good.

I do what any man does in this situation ...... stand there looking puzzled scratching by bollocks!!

Herself sheepishly asks "Have you done everything?"

"Of course I have" I snap back.

"Are you sure?" she asks with a little too much confidence for my liking, before pointing to the place where the cut out key should be.


It's been a strange sort of weekend.  Being so close to home, and it being far too cold to sit outside, we did a lot of the things we would have done from home anyway.  We had bright sunshine for the most, but the bitterly cold wind played its part.  I suppose we were lucky the site was open as quite a portion of it was under water just after Christmas.

Just last weekend an old friend of mine stayed down there and although it had dried out a little there was still enough water for her children to be making a splash on the site roads.

That area is now clear, but at least one third of the pitches are still unusable.

We really will have to start looking at using Certified Locations as again this weekend we did not step foot inside the facility blocks, instead using out own on board shower and toilet.  Those are facilities that we are paying for but not using.  That money could go towards Herself's wine fund!!