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Everything posted by PeteG

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. It's amusing how we Talk about hoovering with a Dyson! Wonder how long it will be until people Talk about doing the dysoning instead of the hoovering? I would add my vote for the V8 however, excellent piece of kit for the house, car or caravan, although as said above, the battery doesn't last too long on max.
  12. I've done that of course, but at the last renewal I didn't find a major difference once you factored in like for like.
  13. I got the same email and went through their survey. That question about rolling up caravan insurance with your car insurance was interesting, although it would remain to be seen exactly what they mean and how that would work. Also interesting how they focussed on technology - cameras, trackers and black boxes - as ways of perhaps reducing premiums. I have insured through the CMC for a long time. It has always bugged me however that the premium for my caravan is about the same as we pay for our two cars. The cars have a combined value of more than 3 times that of the caravan, and they are on the road almost every day of the year, covering many times the annual mileage of the caravan. The caravan has a tracker (the cars don't), and is kept in a secure compound, security fence and locked gates, CCTV coverage and the owner's house at the only gate.
  14. I have a sim contract with 3 which includes what they call "Go Binge", which allows you unlimited use of a number of services, one of them Netflix. Basically means you can watch it as much as you like and it doesn't come out of your monthly data allowance. We watch Netflix on a laptop using my phone as a hot spot - assuming we get a decent phone signal.
  15. The socket for the car itself will just cost a few pounds, although it's worth getting decent brand rather than buying the cheapest you can find. Are you intending to replace it yourself or get the job done at a towbar specialist or auto electrician? If it is just the socket itself that is damaged and needing replaced, it's perfectly possible to replace it yourself if you have some idea of what you are doing. They can be a bit tricky due to the number of connections being made in a confined space, but as long as you are careful it's well within the scope of a competent DIY-er. If you are planning to get the job done for you it shouldn't take a pro too long and therefore shouldn't be too expensive. Depending on the damage to the existing socket, another option would be to buy a prewired socket with a length of cable already fitted, and make the connections inside your car.
  16. I'll be interested to hear what Bailey say about your tyres, if you get a reply. I have a 2015 Valencia, fitted from new with Michelin tyres and when I had it serviced a couple of weeks ago one of the tyres was showing signs of perishing - one tyre was dated 2014, the other 2015. Decided I might as well replace both so that from now on they will at least be the same age. I phoned a couple of tyre places and the response from both was that the size (185R14) is now pretty well obsolete and there is a limited availability in that size. Just had a look at Bailey's website and they still seem to be specifying that size on the 2019 model. I've managed to order a couple of tyres for now, but I asked the manager of one of the tyre centres what would happen if you couldn't get that size of tyre any longer and he said it might mean new wheels. I wouldn't be pleased if I was buying a 2019 caravan today and found out in 4 years (or less?) that the tyres were perishing, only then to discover I couldn't buy that size and would also need new wheels!
  17. I'll be interested to hear the outcome of this, if you ever get a reply from Bailey. I have a 2015 Valencia, also fitted with Michelin tyres. I had it serviced a couple of weeks back and the engineer reported that one of the tyres was perished - he also reported that one of the tyres was date coded 2014, the other 2015, the older one being the one showing signs of perishing. I've always replaced my caravan tyres after 5 years, never nearly worn of course, but neither showing any visible signs of perishing that I could see. I'd be particularly interested to hear what exactly was the spec of the tyres fitted to your caravan?
  18. On a 2010 Mondeo fitting a towbar involves removing the bumper and the towbar replaces the crash bar. It's a bit fiddly to set the torque on the left hand towbar member due to the position of the exhaust, but usually easy enough to drop that to allow access. All pretty straightforward and shouldn't take too long. £380 probably means a bypass relay for the electrics rather than a dedicated setup, but on that model that's not a great problem. It's an easy DIY fit on that car but if you're not happy doing it yourself I think the price quoted isn't too bad if it's all in.
  19. If any of us knew the answer to this one we'd be worth a fortune! We're off to Europe in May/June and I'm basically just taking the chance as far as the exchange rate goes. I usually reckon that unless you are spending a fortune short term variations in the currency rate are not so big that it makes a massive difference to the overall bill for the holiday. There's a chance that the next few weeks could prove that theory wrong, but I'm prepared to chance it. I usually use my Nationwide credit card as much as I can rather than cash when abroad as it usually gives a better rate than I can get for cash.
  20. I have a rear wheel drive auto as well, Mercedes E class. My car has staggered wheels, 265/35 18 on the back and 245/40 18 on the front, all Michelin summer tyres. As you say, not a lot of use in snow, which we do get a bit of here in Scotland. I have a set of wheels with winter tyre that I usually put on from end of October until end of March or so. They are 17 inch wheels with all 4 tyres the same size, 225/50 17 Goodyear Ultra. They make an amazing difference when the weather is bad. I live up a fairly steep hill with an even steeper drive up to the house, and the car makes it with no problem. We had snow the other day and I had no trouble getting up the drive, I'm sure I would have been stuck without the winter tyres. I can't say I've had any problems towing in summer, but then I haven't too often driven on grass.
  21. There wouldn't be any problem leaving your van hooked up the the mains over winter. You could make sure your fridge was switched off, but unless you had its selector switched to mains it wouldn't go on anyway. If you like you could switch off all the circuit breakers on you master panel except the one that controls the battery charger.
  22. I did much the same as this in our previous caravan (Swift Challenger), in a very similar position to the one you intend to use, although the mounting I used was not exactly the same. As said above, you would be best to reinforce the wall by fixing a plywood plate behind the wall. I then left the TV mounted there and did not remove it when travelling, never had any problems. The mount you propose using looks as if it might allow more movement, so you might be best to remove the TV when on the move. In our present caravan (Bailey Unicorn 3 Valencia) I have the TV mounted to the fitting that was supplied in the caravan. Again, I don't remove it when travelling and have had no issues in over 3 years of use, all over Europe.
  23. We've done a couple of ski trips with the caravan, to France and Germany, and I wouldn't go without winter tyres. In Germany they are compulsory; in France only recommended but there are areas where you must carry chains. Either way, I don't think it warrants the risk. As you say, for most of your journey you are unlikely, even in February, to actually need winter tyres, but there is a good chance that they will be needed as you go up into the mountains. At home I do the same as happynomad - I have a set of winter tyres on their own set of alloys which I put on from November to April. As explained above, the only extra expense is really the extra set of alloys, which over a number of years doesn't add up to much. We live in Scotland, up a steep hill and with an even steeper drive to the house, and if it snows I wouldn't get near my house without winter tyres. Even if you never see any snow, they give better grip and braking in cold weather. Also, don't assume your 4x4 will be OK in snow, four wheels will spin just as much as two - plenty videos on YouTube to show this.
  24. I've had my car about the same time. It's an E350 estate, doesn't quite do the mpg that you get, but for a 3 litre car I'm quite pleased to average over 40 solo and 27 or so towing. You might want to look at a service plan. Mine costs £35 per month and covers all servicing costs, except of course for wear and tear items like tyres and brakes. It includes things like gearbox oil changes and brake fluid which often seem to cost extra on top of the usual service cost. Not sure which type of sat nav you have in the car - mine is the Comand system, and while it's not the best sat nav I've ever used, I can't say I dislike it too much. I hardly ever use the self parking system but it seems to work fine, and I agree that it's a great tow car. Like you, I'm not too keen on 4x4s.
  25. I can see both sides of this - like the OP, I'm not sure what I'm doing on a weekend up to 12 months ahead, and while I would not book sites all over the place on the off-chance that I might want or be able to visit when the time comes, there are some sites - York being a good example - where if you do not book almost as soon as the booking opens, it is most unlikely you will get a pitch there at short notice. As it happens, we have just cancelled a pitch that we had booked for June. Booked in good faith, every intention of going, but a family event has now turned up and we can't go away with the caravan that weekend. Hopefully we have cancelled far enough ahead for someone else to be able to use the pitch. It's difficult to know what the best answer is here. There are some people I'm sure who will misuse the system and make multiple bookings knowing that they will not use most of them but I'm equally sure most of us will be reasonable and only make bookings that are genuine, and if we need to cancel will do so as far ahead as possible.
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