Tuesday, 6 February 2018

It CAN be a Fantastic place to be.......

Yesterday(Sunday)...... after what seems like weeks of wet weather we had an absolutely stunning day... 
Yes it was cold but it wasn't raining and the sun shone bright for most of the day...
Oh... if only every winters day was as good as that we could be out enjoying walking on the moor every day.....


A great winters day at the Tavistock Site (our unit is on the far left)
 The trouble with lovely sunny winter days with clear blue skies is that the nights can be freezing cold and last night was no exception.....
The night was very cold indeed with a very heavy frost this morning.

Normally we have the heating set not much above the lowest setting but last night I actually had to turn it up a bit which is most unusual for us... Mind you we were really cosy tucked up in Eva the Eriba.....
One of the benefits of having a smaller caravan is that it makes it so easy to keep it really warm in the middle of winter....... 

We woke up today to another fantastic bright and clear day...  
According to the weather forecast I heard a short while ago the temperature feels colder than it actually is due to a strong north easterly wind but make no mistake it is very bitterly cold....

I have to say when the weather is like this Dartmoor is a fantastic place to be..... however when the weather is bad it can be a horrendous location. 

This morning looking up at the moor from the 'glamping' Ready-Camps on site...
 This morning the BBC's Breakfast programme even had a feature live from up on the moor showing everyone how wonderful  Dartmoor CAN  be at this time of the year when the weather is dry sunny and cold......
However... we were told that the dry, sunny but cold weather could well change with snow being mentioned in all the TV and radio weather forecasts....

With the possibility of snow in mind we headed off to the local supermarket in the town in order to top up our supplies.....
If we do get snow we want to make sure that we are able to sit it out if we get snowed in.... not that I actually believe that that is a real possibility.
Live cable left plugged in.......
Now for a bit of a Grumpy moan.....

Check out the picture above... this always amazes me.......
I see this happening a lot on the various sites that we visit throughout the year.....

The motorhome on this pitch has gone out for the day and left his cable plugged in to the power supply allowing the 'live' end to just dangle around on the ground.....

Both The Camping and Caravanning Club and The Caravan and Motorhome Club  have a number of information sheets advising people on the best and safest way to use the electrical connections....
Two of the points they make are :-
1) Remove your cable from the power supply first before disconnecting the cable from your unit.....
2) Do not leave a cable plugged into the power supply and not connected to your unit...

Obviously this camper either never reads the safety advice or he chooses to ignore it....
I wouldn't mind betting that when he plugs the cable back into the motorhome he will leave the spare cable coiled up as well ignoring yet another point of safety advice which is:-

3) Ensure that you completely un-coil the power cable when in use on your unit.....

I won't bother to bore you all with the reasons to follow this safety advice as it seems obvious to me......

Grumpy moan over..!!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Tempus Fugit....

 Tempus Fugit..  Time flies.... It certainly does!!

Irretrievable Time....

 Since my last post I achieved a landmark birthday.....


Now I am not one to celebrate birthdays really.... The thought of having a birthday party is a real turn off for me. I always prefer a quiet meal with people who are close to me, family or friends.
However this latest date in my life's calendar got me thinking...mainly where has all the time gone..???

Google told me that this birthday meant that I had lived for 25,568 days.....
Where have all those days gone? It seems that they have passed with the blinking of an eye. 

Later this year it will be ten years since I started this blog and ten years since cycling LEJOG. In a few months time it will be nine years since I took early retirement.
It is three years since we took delivery of Eva the Eriba..... all of this time has just flown by. 

When you think of it.. most of our life we find ourselves selling our time to the workplace and for a lot of people that means they spend most of the time doing something that they don't really want to be doing.....

In my case I always preferred to be out in the great outdoors either walking... climbing.. camping... cycling anything but working. It wasn't that I hated work... more that I liked doing all those other things better...

Luckily for me the last ten years of my working life I was able to have a job that allowed me to have plenty of time off...indeed for a number of those years I would go off on a weeks backpacking trip every three weeks with a longer trip of two to three weeks two or three times a year....

Mind you even that wasn't enough and after I retired I was able to engage in more trips both on foot and bike until it became obvious that Anne and I should spend even more time just following our whims wherever that took us.... hence our current mooching around in Eva.....

But... I am stunned at how quickly this time seems to have flown by....
I cannot believe that it will be five years in June since with friends I completed the 10in10 ride to Italy.....

I have not done any major rides since then which I think is a pity.... 

Actually I am quite lucky as despite having various medical problems which are being monitored by the NHS I do not appear to have lost any of my cycling strength or pace since that brilliant ride through ten countries and over the Alps into Italy and Lake Como and then on up to the Santuario Madonna Del Ghisallo.

Perhaps.... before too much more time flies by I should be doing another ride similar to that.......
After all I think that it would be a better way to celebrate the passing of 25,568 days than a party.....

We will see........


Don't blink...Time passes too quickly..

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Well that filled the day....

Yesterday I had an appointment for a scan at the hospital in Wimborne....
So the plan was that we would drive up early in the morning..... have lunch in the town...attend the scan....and then drive back.
This is a return trip of about 250miles along one of the slowest coastal roads that I know and it wasn't helped yesterday by torrential rain for most of the way up and most of the way back.
Not my favourite thing to be doing mid January but hey what can you do.....

A couple of days ago when I last closed the roof on Eva one of the roof retaining hooks snapped as I pulled it down...obviously I don't know my own strength..
The hook should look like this:-

What A Roof Retaining Hook Should Look Like.
 After I pulled it down it looked like this:-
After My Strength What The Hook Looked Like.
So I got on the phone to Automotive Leisure (AL) the main UK Eriba Dealer based in Poole and spoke to Paul the parts and service manager and he confirmed that he had one in stock and would put it aside for me.
It was decided that during our visit to Wimborne for the scan we would swing by at Automotive Leisure on the return leg of our journey and pick up the replacement hook....

Now I know why Eribas are so expensive to buy...the cost of the new hook was just under £40... I'm surprised that it wasn't gold plated..!!!
Anyway whilst we were there we also had a good look round at the various Eriba models and layouts that they had on display. 

Anne and I always enjoy a visit to AL looking at their stock... One thing I will say is that their second hand stock is always prepared to a very high standard.
Everytime we look at all the various layouts it confirms to us that our choice of layout was spot on first time....mind you we had given it a lot of thought before we placed our order.

Anyway..we eventually got back to Eva about half an hour after it had got dark....
Both of us were pretty tired by the time we arrived back at the site.. 

Guess what...we have got to drive up there again on the 26th to see the consultant. I hope that the strong winds and torrential rain has stopped by then.....

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Calm After the Storm....

Yesterday morning we arose from our beds to a very calm start to the day... hardly any breeze at all...birds singing... no rain just a great start to another caravanning day..

What a difference to the night we had just been through.
The winds coming from an easterly direction were hitting us from Merrivale further up the moor with gusts of 72mph according to the local weather station....

It is not often I feel that I should lower Eva's roof but I was troubled by two things..first the thought that the roof would get seriously damaged if I left it up or even worse get ripped off and secondly the noise of the wind and the flapping around of the awning was so bad that there is no way that we would have got any sleep at all if I had left the roof up..

It is surprising how much noise lowering the roof keeps out...under normal conditions noise is not a problem with the roof up but with 70mph gusts howling off the moor and sounding like a steam train we would have not slept at all with the pop top popped....

After a full inspection of our awning  in the morning all we had suffered was one peg that held the weather flap around the base of the awning had come out.... also one of the rubber ladder loops that are pegged out around the base of the awning had broken. A quick wack with my mallet solved the peg situation and two minutes later I had replaced the ladder loop.

This was probably the worst night of winds that we have experienced over the three winters that we have pitched here.
We have had some other bad nights but I think that this one must be right up there as the absolute worst.....


All calm after the storm with the roof down.
Unfortunately not everyone was as lucky as us.....
The new Site Assistant Darren suffered a broken corner bracket on his brand new £2500 Isabella Awning and throughout the night his awning pegs were popping out all over the place just like Champagne corks....

Apparently at 0300 hours he was running around his awning trying to hammer the pegs back in but as fast as he knocked one back in another one would pop out.

But even this was as nothing compared to one poor caravan owner who suffered total destruction of her awning...
She was off site at the time which in one way was probably a good thing but this morning Darren had to phone her up and tell her the bad news....

Below are a couple of images of the poor woman's awning literally torn to shreds....
In the second image you can see Darren trying to tidy things up a bit and make it all safe.....

Hopefully that will be the end of the winds for the time being but it certainly shook up our calm quiet and peaceful existence....

Awning torn to shreds...


Darren trying to tidy up and make safe after the winds..

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Kickstarting 2018.....

Well that's it for another year and now we are into a new one.....
Today (the 2nd) is probably the day that for most people means kickstarting the new year by a return to work after having a nice break over the festive season....

We enjoyed three functions on site over the holiday period starting with a small gathering in the reception office on Christmas Eve... 

We then had a  party laid on at Dave the Dog's caravan and awning last Friday so that we could say goodbye to the Managers Craig and Caroline who will be leaving the site this week... 
They have been here for almost three years and have been brilliant managers. 
In the time that they have been here they have improved the site many times over and all the seasonal campers are sorry to see them leaving...

We all got together and presented them with a very nice printed book of images and words covering their time spent here in Tavistock....
Whoever takes over from them will have their work cut out to maintain the very high standards that Craig and Caroline have set here...

They are not leaving the Club but will be moving to the Club site at Canterbury where they will start their duties at Easter this year....The Club likes to move it's managers to a different site every three years....

New Years Eve saw us having yet another party to see out 2017 and celebrate the start of 2018.... 
Although the weather was wet during the last evening of the year it didn't dampen the spirits of everyone who attended...... this was helped of course by the use of a giant gazeebo which was loaned to us by a local builder.....

For Anne and I this coming couple of weeks will see us with the maps out planning the places that we will be travelling to this coming year...
We will be staying here at Tavistock until just after Easter and then we will start our touring season again..... one of the places that we may well be visiting could be Canterbury so that we can drop by at Craig and Carolines new site........ 

Saturday, 23 December 2017

It's that Special Season again.....

No it's not a rave it's Eva in Seasonal Mode....
I know the above image breaks every photographic rule known to man but I rather like the effect.....
My daughter tells me that it looks like a rave but I can assure you all that is not what it is...

It is Eva the Eriba decked out in her seasonal finery...

***Wishing Everyone A Very Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year*** 


Monday, 18 December 2017

Disappointed.....

When I was undergoing treatment for cancer back in 2009/10 one of the things that gave me strength was the Lance Armstrong story.... (This of course was before the truth of his doping 
was confirmed.....)

I had read a couple of books about him and seen him ride and wanted to believe that he was riding clean... 
I wanted to believe the story of how after being diagnosed with cancer and suffering through all the treatment he went back to cycling even stronger and won the Tour de France multiple times....

As my own treatment progressed the Lance Armstrong story kept me going and helped me to see myself continue to ride when my own treatment finished..... 
I came up with some riding objectives to aim for and following treatment went on to do some great long distance rides....

When the truth about his doping finally came out I felt really badly let down....
I was really disappointed..... 

I know all the signs of possible doping had been there but as I have said I wanted to believe his story and with hindsight I am glad that I did because I gained a lot from it at a difficult personal time... 
But I was still very disappointed when the truth came out.....

As time moved along I was impressed by what Bradley Wiggins achieved on track and road.....
There then followed an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky...

It was alleged that a package delivered to Bradley Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 contained a banned substance. The doctor involved, Dr Richard Freeman, said that it was the legal decongestant Fluimucil. 

It appears that due to a 'lack of accurate medical records' held by British Cycling the contents of the package could not be proved and the case was dropped.

There has also been a lot of discussion regarding the fact that Bradley Wiggins had sought therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to use the banned anti-inflammatory drug triamcinocione for allergies and respiratory issues before the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France and also the 2013 Giro d'Italia...
All of this was enough to create doubt in my mind and again I felt disappointed.

I have followed Chris Froome's career with great interest and have admired both his achievements and his cycling style. 
Watching him ride in this years Vuelta really blew me away... I was so impressed by his riding and I enjoyed that race even more that the TDF this year. 
But now news has broken that he had returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.

The UCI has referred the case to the Legal Anti Doping Services....
Team Sky will need to explain (if they can) the reason for the elevated levels.... If they can't do that Chris Froome could face a 12 month ban and could possibly lose his Vuelta title for 2017.... 

.........and me....

I again feel disappointed !!!