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Everything posted by PeteG

  1. Mail delivery generally seems to be a bit erratic at the moment. We've posted cards second class to our daughter that arrived the next day, yet other items that I know have been posted first class to me have taken over a week.
  2. Same here, I've been topping up our batteries while the cars have been sitting largely unused for the past 5 weeks. One car is 5 years old, the battery on that car (Mercedes) seems to hold up a lot better than the other car (Ford) which is only 6 months old. Ironically, the best charged battery of the lot is in our caravan, where the solar panel on the roof keeps it charged.
  3. Modern cars are often very sensitive to reduced battery voltage and if you suddenly get warning messages about various system errors it is always worth checking the battery status first before looking at anything else. This will be happening a lot, not just with VAG but with almost any make, as our cars are sitting around doing much less mileage than normal for many of us. Remember that when your car is parked up unused for a while, it is not "off" as such - alarms and other systems are using power all the time, thus depleting the battery.
  4. Drove past Perthshire Caravans yesterday and thought it looked very quiet but didn't realise they had actually closed. Understandable I suppose - can't imagine anyone buying a caravan at the moment, and those of us who do have them are unlikely to be using them in the near future and therefore won't be needing much in the way of accessories. I had my caravan serviced last Friday. Needn't have bothered!
  5. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you as well - for all of us in fact! Hopefully you will make it there this year, but if not you can still plan for next year, and as said but Andy, you will enjoy it. All the best Pete
  6. I take it you haven't been watching the news the past couple of weeks?? While I have to admire your optimism I don't think I would be planning a trip abroad this summer.
  7. Same here, we too have a series 3 Valencia with a Kampa Rally Air 390. There is just room to fit one end of the awning between the front window and the caravan door and the other end will be between the rear of the caravan and the bedroom window.
  8. It costs very little and is quick and easy to obtain, so it is hardly worth going to France without the sticker. Even if you don't plan to be driving through cities, you never know what is going to happen so you might as well be prepared. As Andy says above, a quick search on Google, or earlier threads on this forum, will provide the detail you need. Pete
  9. I have a steep drive - just a bit less than 1 in 4 - and a long caravan - 7.3 m overall. I use a motor mover to get the caravan up the drive, which is monobloc. The main problem is that the rear overhang of the caravan can ground on the road as the front of the caravan hits the slope of the drive. I bought another jockey wheel with a smaller diameter to allow me to get the front of the caravan as low as possible and I made a couple of ramps from plywood to lift the wheels a little as the caravan comes off the road on to the drive, reducing the likelihood of grounding.
  10. Not a Black Edition but we have a 2015 Valencia that we are overall very happy with. Had to get the roof strap replaced last year when it developed a very minor leak but that was done under warranty with very little hassle. We were at the caravan show in Glasgow last week and had a look at the Black Edition Valencia, which was certainly very nice but really only superficially different from our 2015 model. We like the layout of the Valencia - doesn't seem a very popular layout now judging by the models on display at the show but it suits us. We tow it with a Mercedes E350 estate. Excellent tow car, we have been all over Europe with it, very stable outfit, you would hardly know the caravan was on the back if you didn't see it in the rear view mirror.
  11. The Marina was certainly an absolute dog of a car. I never actually owned one but a mate of mine had one and I worked on it a few times for him. A long time ago so I'm happy that the memory has faded somewhat, but a classic combination of poor design, shoddy workmanship and dodgy materials combined in a perfect storm. Thankfully he didn't have that one too long and I didn't have much to do with other models. As for myself, I had a couple of Citroen GS cars. In some ways clever designs, but in other ways not so good. Inboard front brake discs were quite novel and in some ways more efficient that the usual location at the hubs, not too bad to change woads, but susceptible to the apparently inevitable oil leaks. It's so long ago I can't remember if these were the Citroens where you had to remove the distributor to change the points? Hydromatic suspension again good in theory and while it worked, but prone to leaks. At least I bought them for next to nothing at auctions!
  12. I've had Red Pennant insurance several times but fortunately never had to use it in anger, but a few years back we were in France, near Clermont Ferrand, and I developed an abscess in my throat. I didn't know at the time what it was, other than it was painful and it was getting difficult to swallow. I went in to the local small town, on a Saturday morning, and saw the local doctor. She sent me straight to the hospital in Clermont, explaining that my throat was in danger of closing. When I got to the hospital I showed them my EHIC card but they weren't particularly interested, but took my address etc. I was treated, kept in one night and given intravenous antibiotics, and given a prescription that I collected from a local pharmacy. I was fine and we finished our holiday without any problem - other than I couldn't drink any wine due to the antibiotics! A few weeks after we got home I got a bill in the post from the hospital for around 1600 Euros for my treatment and overnight stay. I sent them a letter with a photocopy of my EHIC card and eventually got a revised bill for about 160 Euros. I sent this to my travel insurance (not RP) and never heard any more. I wasn't asked to pay any excess, but assumed that was because I had paid something like 40 Euros for the prescription. More recently we were in Spain, playing golf, when my wife tripped and badly sprained her ankle. Initially thought it was broken, but went to the local hospital where she was x-rayed and had her ankle strapped up. Showed her passport and EHIC and no payment required. So in both cases the EHIC card seemed to work pretty well for us. Not likely to be quite so straightforward in a couple of years time?
  13. If you're on the pitch next to me then I would say "yes, go for it" - gives us some entertainment to watch while sipping our G&Ts! Otherwise, I would agree with the earlier posts. At this time of year the chances of getting packed up at the end of your stay with a dry awning are slim to non-existent, and drying it at home, garage or whatever will not be easy. That said, putting up an air awning as a first timer is probably easier than wrestling with a bag of poles! You'll be keen to give it a go, so whatever you decide, enjoy your stay.
  14. I have an E350 as well, towing a Unicorn Valencia, no problems. Does your car have a factory towbar or after market? If after market, have the electrics been coded properly? My car and caravan are both 2015 models. I know when I bought my caravan Bailey were finding compatibility issues with various cars due to the caravans having LED lights and they changed back to conventional lights. Not sure what the position is now. It should be a simple enough job to test your car connections with a meter or test light, although this might not show up any load issues. I'd be wary of going near a Mercedes dealer for an issue like this, unless you have a factory fitted towbar and electrics. A towbar specialist might be better?
  15. Some devices may have a more effective antenna than others, but as already said if the Netgear router is just that, i.e. purely a router and nothing else, it will make not the slightest difference. You do get devices that combine reception of signal and switching/routing - maybe what was being described was one of them?
  16. There's also one in Thornton, very close to Glenrothes. Not sure about 24/7 access. Don't have the contact details but it's close to the main road. I have my own caravan at Blairfield Caravan Storage at Birkhill just outside Dundee. Not 24/7 access, sign on the gate says no access after dark unless by arrangement. Just paid my annual fee at the weekend, £160. By the way Gordon, the distance you give to Errol for the Morris Leslie storage site must be as the crow flies, more like 36 miles by road - you would have to go from Glenrothes to Dundee then out towards Perth.
  17. I have had a Cool my Camper for a few years, and have used it in very warm conditions in Italy and France in mid summer and am very happy with it. Cooled the caravan very effectively in temperatures up to mid 30s. OK, it's not as convenient as having a unit permanently fitted, but as said above it is less than half the price, plus you don't need to lug it around at times of the year when you are not using it. As to being fiddly to set up, that probably depends on the layout of your caravan. We have a Unicorn 3 Valencia, and I found it easy enough set the internal unit on the front chest of drawers with the external unit sitting on the drawbar.
  18. I've had 5 Mondeos, towed with 4 of them. I found them comfortable, reliable, capable tow cars. The most recent one I had until 2 years ago, was a 2 litre diesel automatic and was the best tow car I had owned at that time. I would be happy to recommend them.
  19. I think if you actually look at facts and figures you will find that the main determining factor governing annual precipitation in the UK is not whether you are in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England, but rather whether you are in the west or the east of the country. Additional factors such as altitude will affect the average as well, and while it is true that some of the highest annual rainfall will be found n the western mountains in Scotland, many places in eastern Scotland have much lower annual rainfall than places in the west of England.
  20. We have a Bailey Unicorn 3 Valencia. When we bought it in 2015, I noted the sticker on the TV bracket that said to remove it when travelling and asked the dealer about this. They said in their experience it would not be necessary - they compared it to brackets fitted to many motorhomes that they sold and said the Unicorn brackets were stronger, and they had not seen any of the weaker motorhome brackets fail. Anyway, I took their advice, fitted my TV to the bracket, have never taken it off, and have had no problems. We have travelled all over the UK and Europe, crossed the Alps several times, been on many really bumpy roads, TV is still there. I would say that our bracket folds in to a recess above the bed, and there is a locking tab to stop it sliding about . Other types of bracket and fitting might be at greater risk of movement.
  21. We both have 3 SIM cards in our phones, £15 a month with 12 Gb data, and you can take advantage of their "Go Binge" deal where Netflix and a few other streaming services can be used as much as you like and don't come out of your monthly allowance. We tether our iPads or laptop to the phones. Obviously dependent on getting a decent 3g or 4g signal, but as the OP suggests, our experience of CMC wifi is not great and I don't bother paying for it any more.
  22. Either a multimeter or a simple circuit tester will allow you to check the socket on your car. If you don't have a wiring diagram you should be able to find one easily enough via Google. The fridge for example should be pins 10 (+) & 11 (-) on the socket, but power will only be there with the engine running. Most towbar fitters will have a test rig that they can connect to the car to show that everything works as it should, but probably less likely that a car dealer might have one if you are ordering a car with a factory fitted towbar.
  23. In the UK we mostly use single pole switching - when you switch something off, you are disconnecting the live supply only. Many other countries use double pole switching, where both live and neutral are disconnected. In these countries, reverse polarity is not usually an issue, but if you take your UK caravan abroad and connect to a reverse polarity outlet, when you switch an appliance off, the live side is still live. In most situations, this will not necessarily cause a problem, but if something goes wrong, could be very dangerous. This is one of the reasons why you should never work on an electrical appliance unless it has been physically unplugged - although reverse polarity in the UK is not the norm, it does happen when an installer makes a mistake. A simple polarity tester costs very little and takes seconds to use.
  24. We've visited sites in all of the countries mentioned and now find most use the same blue plugs as here, although you do find the odd one using two pin connectors. As already mentioned, reverse polarity is common, so it is best to have a tester and a converter - you can make one easily enough yourself or buy one. One point worth mentioning, especially in Italy, is that you will often find very low current - the worst I remember was a site where you could barely run the fridge and a lightbulb!
  25. We too have an S3 Unicorn Valencia which overall we have been very pleased with. It did develop a leaky roof strap last year, but the leak was very minor and I think we were fortunate to have spotted it quickly. It was dealt with under warranty.
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