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The 2 Tops

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  1. Our sentiments, too. Over time we have lost a few friends to the vagaries of age, and one or two have sadly passed on. Only this week two couples we are (were?) hoping to meet up with this season have informed us that they are not sure that they will be camping this year due to health issues, and one friend is wondering at the moment if it means an end to caravanning. Very worrying. We all know that it will come one day, but this knowledge does not help that dread. Best wishes, Gumdrop.
  2. We used to use Camping Cheques. About three years ago, whilst in France, I got talking about Camping Cheques to the man on the next pitch, and he loaned me his ACSI guide to have a read. For the six weeks we were there I discovered that, for exactly the same pitch and amenities, ACSI would have given me a saving of £106 against Camping Cheques. No prizes for guessing which we use now!
  3. Friends of ours have a large Bailey with fixed beds. I was surprised how cramped the remaining living area was, and the washroom was small compared to ours. The small amount of kitchen surface area made everything look cluttered. Everyone to his own, of course, but the situation wouldn't suit me.
  4. We changed from a Coachman Pastiche 460/2 to a Swift Challenger Sport 524. Two reasons for the change were that we wanted the dinette facility; and the circular shower in the Coachman was ridiculously too tight. But I think we lost out on quality. SWMBO has been hankering after a van with twin fixed beds to the rear - just before the washroom. I have resisted this for several reasons. (a) I like the long settees, which we use as twin beds, and Duvalays for the bedding. ( I won't give up the dinette. © I can't see the point in having a permanent bed(s) and lose all that available daytime living space - important when the weather is bad and there's not really anywhere you wish to go, and if you have visitors in for coffee and a chat at times when the awning isn't erected. As I pointed out to her, this bedding takes little time to unroll/roll up, is very comfortable, and the short burst of energy is good exercise. Think I'm on a winning streak at the moment!
  5. Haven't caravans changed over the years? Our first one had just 2 gas lamps for light. And only cold water which you drew out of the jerry can by means of a foot pump on the floor of the van, There was a hob (no oven) and water was boiled on the hob when you wanted it hot. Windows were glass - no double glazing - and the only privacy at night was fabric curtains. When we changed to a more modern van with electric lighting, the first thing we noticed was the silence - no hissing from gas mantles.
  6. WE mostly go for a hardstanding if available, but are equally at home on grass. On hardstanding, we put down a tarpaulin before laying the groundsheet. This keeps the groundsheet clean - rising damp during wet weather can otherwise make the groundsheet dirty. Sometimes there can be a problem in getting pegs to hold on a hardstanding, and even moderately windy weather can loosen them. On grass, a good breathable groundsheet is used, and pegging is more secure. For levelling we use a 6" x 1" board, and the large plastic feet on the steadies are essential to prevent any gradual sinking, particularly when wet weather softens the ground.
  7. Forgetting to unhitch the breakaway cable and wrecking it is inconvenient enough. But has anyone forgot to disconnect a 13-pin plug? I nearly did. Unlike the old 12N/12S plugs, the 13-pin one turns and locks into the socket. Forget, and the whole assembly is ripped apart, leaving you with having to buy new plug and socket and completely rewire them.
  8. Whatever time you travel, the best course is to plan for as much time on the journey as possible. It is usually easy to take more prolonged rest periods towards the end of your journey so that you can arrive on site within the appropriate time. The last thing you want is to be under any pressure to meet a deadline.
  9. Good choice. I had a Mammut mover which was "auto", and one side refused to engage. No way to sort it except to follow Al-ko support advice and take it to dealership. Not a practical solution, so scrapped the whole thing in favour of a new (DIY fitted) Powrtouch Evolution. Went for the "manual" version for same reasoning as yourself. Also, as I don't need the 'one side only' actuation, I left off the transfer bar (don't need it at home and not likely to set up that close on site). This makes the engage/disengage operation even less of an effort. The Evolution is much more precise. The Mammut had a joystick on the remote, and you could not be certain of a straight-ahead direction when starting to move - the slightest offset would cause a jerk to left or right. Not nice when between the high gateposts with only 40mm-50mm clearance on either side.
  10. SWIMBO not being a driver, I don't have the luxury of a changeover. I also set out in more than good time, and my average speed is of no consequence. The major plan is to arrive safely at our destination. In the event of making better time than expected, it isn't difficult to find somewhere for a rest period near to the end of the journey.
  11. Then that would explain why these doors make more sound when being closed. Most cars have "anti-drumming" compound painted on their inner panels which can make quite a difference. Makes sense when you think about it. The commercial chassis builders do not treat their assembly programmes any differently, whether a chassis is going to a motorhome builder or for general commercial use. It would then be up to the motorhome builder to upgrade the insulation qualities of the cab - some possibly do so, whilst others may not - it all comes down to cost and profit margins. The previous mention of the sliding door on panel van conversions - which our Rambler was - reminds me of how noisy this actually was, both in the sliding and final shutting of the door. Yet our daughter once had a VW Caravelle with electrically operated sliding doors and these closed exceptionally quietly. Not a cheap vehicle, and probably a result of high quality build compared to the more commonly used vehicles for van conversions.
  12. Most campervans/motorhomes are built on a chassis where the cab part is simply a standard commercial vehicle. I don't know if anything has changed since we "motorhomed", but the cab doors did seem to have a 'bong' to them and could not be closed as quietly as a car door. Some of the problem was likely to be due to lack of sound deadening insulation as opposed to car construction. Have the manufacturers addressed this issue in recent times?
  13. Very true - and yet there have been occasions when a driver has ploughed into such a vehicle on the hard shoulder with all its beacons flashing. A sobering thought if ever caught stranded on the hard shoulder. That's why the advice given is to vacate the vehicle from the near side and get as far back from the M-way as possible whilst waiting for assistance.
  14. I used to drive overnight for our regular trips from Leicestershire to Cornwall - between 300 and 330 miles depending on which part of Cornwall we were heading for. As I got older, the drive was punctuated by stops at M-way services for an hour's rest and a mug of strong coffee. These days I don't travel overnight any more - instead I book an overnight stop at Cadeside CC site in Somerset, getting a good night's sleep and arriving at our destination still fresh and ready to set up the awning, etc. For travelling to France, we allow plenty of time to arrive early at the port, and relax in the caravan whilst waiting. We do take an overnight ferry and book an en suite cabin. Shower then breakfast, and again arriving fresh at our destination. Age prevents the marathon drives of yesteryear - tiredness cannot be held at bay so easily these days, and staying alert and safe is of prime importance.
  15. Seems I'm not the only one who can't stand poorly carried out work. I may be my own worst enemy in some respects. I served my apprenticeship working in radar, and everything was subject to AID checks - every soldered joint checked and painted with an iodine coloured solution to indicate it had been inspected, and every nut and bolt, unless subject to a paint finish, was painted with a kind of varnish to protect against corrosion from scratching of the cadmium or zinc plate. They do say that what we learn in our formative years affects our attitudes for the rest of our lives. And I'm not quite done yet. Over winter I will be tidying up some of the caravan wiring, including the primary 20 amp fuse for the 12-volt system, which at present dangles at the end of loose cables. This will be mounted in a proper fuse carrier, and in a sensible and accessible position. It does seem daft, considering that the PSU fuses and circuit breakers, along with the road light fuses, are all located in purpose made fuse boards.
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