Sunday, 15 October 2017

Cold Feet Hopefully Getting Warmer.....

Some years ago when I was walking the Southern Upland Way I used a number of bothies as an alternative to my tent.....
It made a nice change when I found a bothy to sleep under a proper roof ...a bit of a highlight along the route.....
One thing that I seemed to suffer with though was cold feet.... walking on the solid floors of the bothy certainly didn't help and even though I wore a couple of thick pairs of walking socks cold feet persisted.....

These days winter riding on the bike can give me the same problem..... Makes no difference what I cover my feet with...waterproof socks..neoprene cycling shoe bootees.... I still seem to end up with cold feet.....

As we approach our third winter in Eva the Eriba I am not going to take any chances not that I suffer with cold feet in the van though..... No what I want is to make sure that my feet warm up again nice and quickly after a ride....

That's where these little beauties come in.......
North Face Nuptse Tent Mule 111
As my tent slippers needed replacing my recent visit to Exeter had the purpose of acquiring some new in caravan/awning/tent slippers or bothy boots.....
I ended up buying a pair of North Face Nuptse Tent Mule 111s.....

I have to say that these were the style that I had in the back of my mind when I went looking to buy some replacements....and as it was these were the only ones that seemed to be available in the various outdoors shops in Exeter.....

I realise that there are lots of various makes and styles available on the internet but one of the things that you have to learn to live with when fulltiming is that buying from the internet is not really possible.

The reason for this is a lack of a permanent address..... Yes I could have them delivered to my daughters address in Dorset but then I would have to wait till next spring before I could collect them and I wanted them now.... I wanted to warm my feet up this winter not next......

The North Face blurb tells me:-
Don't let the low profile and plush finish fool you..... The Nuptse Tent Mule 111 from the North Face is a hardy slip-on slipper offering incredible warmth and comfort and boasting a toughened upper made from recycled bottles....( I hope that means Cola Bottles as I have always thought that the best thing you could do with a bottle of Cola was to throw the contents away and recycle the bottle :-) )

The main features of these are :-

The uppers are made from 100% recycled PET with ripstop finish.
The sole is a nylon mesh base with rubber fine-mould traction lugs.
Insulation is Primaloft Thermoball (equivalent to 600 fill down)
Durable and water-resistant.
Die-cut EVA sockliner.
Slip on slipper.
Weight 220g
Note the Rubber Fine-Mould Traction Lugs.
I can't say how good these slippers are..... only time will tell. 
This post is not a recommendation it is just a report on what I have purchased......
If they live up to the North Face product description then I should have nice warm feet throughout the winter.... if I don't then you will certainly hear about it!!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Back in Devon..

A week ago we rolled out of Verwood in Dorset and are now back in Devon....
Before we left Dorset we said goodbye to family and friends again and on the Monday morning just before we left the site Richard the manager popped over to say goodbye as did Andy and his wife Jayne the site assistants....

Next year Andy and Jayne will be at the Veryan site in Cornwall ....Richard and his wife Angela will be staying at Verwood for another year and my old walking buddy Gideon and his partner Angie will be joining them for the season from spring to autumn at Verwood....

This is where we are now:-
 This was the very first site that we pitched up at when we set out on this fulltiming caper two and a half years ago....
We thought that it was time that we made a return visit and it is also just a short drive from where Anne's mother lives....

It had been my plan to drive out this past week and meet up with Howard a friend from the Backpackers club who was leading a three night backpack up on the moor.... 
On one of the nights they were planning on camping at Princetown and I was hoping to catch up with them at the pub..... 

However, as is often the case with a good idea the day after we arrived here I was struck with a really bad cold and had to spend a few days in bed.... It was a great pity because I haven't seen him for over two years and I hate the thought of losing touch....
Entrance to the Site (our unit can be seen 2nd on the left)
 We have another couple of weeks here and then we will re-locate again to our winter seasonal pitch at Tavistock....
Tavistock is only 26 miles away from here so it really is just a short hop to get there......

While we are here we will have a few walks along the Two Moors Way (TMW) as it passes the site just a couple of hundred yards up the road..... There is a nice pub at Drewsteignton which is on the TMW route..... 

I am also hoping to get a few rides in as there is a nice road route that appears to be popular with a lot of local road riders....

I think that we are planning on a day in Exeter tomorrow.....
Evening view from Eva the Eriba.....
When we pack up the inflatable awning prior to leaving here we are hoping for some nice weather as it will be packed away for the winter so we need it to be nice and dry for winter storage.....
When we are at Tavistock we will be using our poled winter awning again......

Monday, 25 September 2017

A Ride with a Bike Mis-Match...

On Friday I met up with another old work mate and cycling buddy John Donoghue known to his friends as JD..... 
JD has ridden with me on numerous long distance cycle trips and it is always a lot of fun to go out on a ride together..... You never know what to expect when you are in the company of JD...

Having acquired a new touring bike in the last six months he was keen to use the new bike on our planned ride together as I had not seen it in the metal yet.....

In theory it seemed a great idea but the reality meant that the two bikes were a bit of a mismatch for a ride.... We had to laugh when we saw our two bikes together as they really were at opposite ends of the cycling spectrum.... 
Two very good bikes but built for vastly different disciplines.....

Check for yourself below......
A Bit of a Mis-Match for a Ride.....
My Felt was basically built for speed....it's full carbon frame and top end components and wheels reflect that....

John's bike is built for comfort and rough stuff touring .... But it's weight even makes my Revolution Tourer feel like a racer... 
It's a Thorn Mercury and built up to his specifications...it is a great bit of kit... It sports hub gears...a rear disc brake... built in dynamo for his fitted lights.... Good solid mudguards....Racks fore and aft... etc..etc... and most importantly JD has always wanted one and now he has one.... that makes him happy......

I won't go into blow by blow details of our ride together....you can probably imagine what it was like.......  it must have seemed as if I was floating up the hills compared to JD but all credit must go to him as he guided his sure footed HGV of a bike up the hills....slow ...but always confident that he would get there in the end......

It was a most unusual choice of bikes to ride but that's what made it a very interesting ride out together.... Riding the new bike obviously gives JD a lot of pleasure.. however I won't be trading in my own touring bike for one anytime soon...

One thing that we did both agree on was that next time we have a ride together (unless we are touring) JD will ride his Specialized Road Bike......

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Three C's....

After my last post when I was complaining about not having been out on the bike for about three weeks due to both dodgy weather and commitments..... since then I have managed a couple of tough days on the bike....

Yesterday I think that I must have pushed it a bit too far as on the last hill on my return to the campsite I 'bonked' in massive style almost grinding to a complete stop.
Thinking it through when I got back I came to the conclusion that after a three week break with no riding at all I was expecting too much to go out on the bike for two long and hilly rides on successive days... 

Unless I am in tip top form I normally like to give myself a recovery day between rides and this is something that on this occasion I didn't do...
The reason for this was because I wanted to make the most of the good weather..... at my age and with my cycling experience you would have thought that I would have known that it would be a ride too far..

The older I get I notice how much more important recovery is than when I was younger.....

Here is a picture of Eva the Eriba with a Felt bike in front..... The sharp eyed will notice that it is not in fact my Felt..... no this bike belongs to my old friend Jason Boynton-Lee who cycled over to the site for a coffee and a chat.....


Eva and Felt
 I had hoped to get out on a ride with Jason but following yesterday's 'big bonk' and bearing in mind that I have another ride planned at the end of the week common sense stepped in and we settled for just the coffee and cake.....

Talking about coffee and cake....when Jason was here we discussed the route that he would take on his way back home and I happened to mention a garden centre where in the past I have both camped and also stopped at when I have been out on cycle rides.... 

The attraction on the cycle rides was the garden centre's small cafe.... I knew that it would be too much of a temptation for Jason and about an hour after he left here he sent me this image....
Classic Bike Lean Image incl Coffee..cake..sunglasses and phone...
The message that Jason sent with the image was "Can highly recommend this chocolate and apricot flapjack!"

Cycling...coffee and cake......The three C's.... Classic...

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Autumn Weather..

Since we have been back in Dorset the weather seems to have turned dramatically into full blown Autumn......
When we were at the Theobalds Park site just two weeks ago we were sitting outside the caravan sunbathing.... we then travelled down here to Dorset and the weather changed overnight......
For most of the two weeks we have been here the view from our awning has been like this....


Autumn Weather..
So far our time here has been spent having the car serviced..... attending medical appointments..... sorting out kit for the winter..... shopping and best of all catching up with my daughter and her family......

The day after we arrived here Anne had to shoot off down to Devon to attend a funeral and also to visit her mother who has had a bad fall and been hospitalised.
Anne got back here last weekend but on Friday had to go back down to her mothers again...... I couldn't go due to commitments here in Dorset. I am not expecting Anne back here till next weekend.

We are intending staying here in Dorset for another couple of weeks but due to the situation with Anne's mother we will then relocate to another site at the northern edge of Dartmoor for three weeks before heading on to our winter seasonal pitch at Tavistock... 

In the past we have spent September and most of October in Dorset but we feel that it would be more sensible to get back into Devon earlier this year for the reasons I've mentioned...

Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I will be able to link up with some of my friends who are based here in Dorset....

With everything that's been going on plus the weather I haven't managed to get out for a bike ride for about three weeks.....
Looking at the forecast for this coming week it seems that there could be some nice days for bike riding and I have already been in touch with my old cycling mate JD to sort out a ride together later in the week.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Four Days at Theobalds......

After our quick visit to St Neots the next on our list was Theobalds Park at Enfield and just a few hundred yards from the M25...
Now those of you who know me well will also know that I try to keep away from London but this was a special visit to meet up with my old friends Gideon and Angie who this season have been HSA's (Holiday Site Assistants) based at the site.....

Both Anne and myself were pleasantly surprised with the site....although very close to the 'road to hell' (M25) the site itself has a very rural feel to it and as per C&CC standards everything is kept very neat and tidy and the toilet facility block is first class....

During our visit as you would expect we shared a couple of evenings with Gideon and Angie sampling a few beers and other drinks and sharing tales of camp life and the various people we have met and places we have visited.

One of the places that Anne and I found less than a mile from the site was Myddleton House Gardens. This was a real gem of a find made all the sweeter by the fact that entry was free.
Anne and I enjoyed a nice lunch here followed by a few hours wandering around the very attractive gardens.....

Here are some images of just a little of what we saw....
Free Entry- Always a bonus.


Years ago this was the Market Cross in Enfield but has been moved to the gardens.

Lot's of Lovely Pears....

A view of the house.





 We really enjoyed our four nights stay at Theobalds Park and it was great to meet up with Gideon and Angie again.
They finish their seasons contract at the end of October and in early November they will be off to Spain and Portugal for the winter...

We won't see them again until next April when they will be based at the Verwood site in Dorset for the 2018 season which is where we have now re-located to for the next four weeks....

Monday morning saw us pulling out of the campsite and heading on to the M25 and then the M3 for our journey down to Dorset.....



Thursday, 31 August 2017

It was a quick visit.....

Yes it was a quick visit to St Neots...just two nights which for us is just the blink of an eye.
We managed a couple of walks...a couple of pub visits....a visit to a superstore....and a walk around the town.

The day we arrived the weather was very warm and sunny.... the second day however was a day of gloomy skys and rain however that didn't hinder our enjoyment of  the short time we had there...

One of the things that we saw in the superstore car park was this VW Beetle...
Lowered VW Beetle
 Now I've seen many lowered vehicles over the years but never one quite like this.... Look at the running board...there is hardly a gap between that and the road. 
No, this wasn't an abandoned car I saw it arrive in the car park and watched as the driver parked it...I asked the driver if he minded me taking a picture and he laughed and said go ahead....
I wouldn't mind betting that it is a pig to drive with no handling at all and as for driving over speed bumps...well I shouldn't think that goes too well.......

In the towns market square these bollards attracted my attention.....so much more interesting than the normal bollards that you see.

Unusual Bollards in St Neots
 Finally here is a view of the river (The Great Ouse) from a bridge overlooking the terrace of one of the pubs we managed to visit......
Pub Terrace overlooking the Great Ouse
So yes it was a bit of a flying visit but enjoyable just the same and the C&CC site at St Neots is one that we will probably visit again so that we can do the area justice....... 

We have now re-located to the C&CC site at Theobalds Park near Waltham Cross..... The site is just about 200 yards north of the M25 so that puts us approx 15 miles from the centre of London.
We are here to meet up with friends Gideon & Angie who are site assistants on the site and also Anne can get into London and meet up with her son and granddaughter who live there.....