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Everything posted by jampot

  1. Immediately I received the email I tried to book our usual long stay in Portugal direct. They tell me because (at present) their rules require them to use only 2/3rds capacity to maintain distancing they are effectively already over booked for the whole of the winter. I'm aware that many who have been regulars for years are afforded the opportunity to book on arrival for the following year but surprised it amounts to over 2/3rds. They said to email again at the start of the winter season period in case guidance / requirements to protect against covid 19 have changed. Jim
  2. That appears to be bowing upwards and pulling away from the furniture, quite different to the stargazer 'dip' described in posts above. How very odd! Hopefully the dealer will meet his obligations....... Jim
  3. I bought Co-Pilot attracted by the facility to enter outfit details. It runs on my android phone and I have been very satisfied with it. When planning I do usually preview a route with Google maps, as much as anything to check whether Co-Pilot is choosing a significantly different route due to size or weight restrictions. Been to Spain and Portugal the last 2 winters with it as well as extensive travel at home last year. IIRC I paid £50 for a lifetime licence with updates. Jim
  4. Insurers usually require 2 locks on a twin axle 'van. with only one it may be possible to let down the tyre on the locked wheel and drive away. Sure the tyre will be ruined but a small cost relative to the reward the thief might enjoy.
  5. It's funny isn't it how expectations change. A cold box was all we ever needed when tent camping. After a couple of outings in an ancient 10ft Lunar (snuff dry!) I went looking for a fridge and at a local dealer found an Avondale Wren, with fridge, for less than the price of a fridge would be Your nose will usually tell you if a van is damp but your own damp meter is more reliable. Good luck with the move from canvas to tin. Jim
  6. Self cleaning roof! (says he who spent all afternoon shuffling the step ladders around the 'van....) Jim
  7. Not at all Mal, It appears the major issue is a lack of 'competent' info - even the clubs (at the time I wrote) didn't seem to have any useful suggestions for managing the situation. In another thread on here it has recently been pointed out that the tunnel may be taking telephone bookings in spite of the web site showing sold out. Just yesterday the C&CC called me and offered to book a channel crossing with P&O or DFDS but that the tunnel wasn't available until April 21st..... During French strike action in the past this website was initiated - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/calais-situation-information-and-advice It hasn't been updated since March 2016 but does have links to the various operators, however it is the kind of thing that could be provided if there was a will. Jim
  8. Motor homes seem to be travelling OK through Spain from the Algarve. Friends who left yesterday were allowed to stay (free) at Ruta de la Plata site in Salamanca but all facilities closed and have crossed the border into France this morning. With a caravan progress won't be so rapid so we are hunkered down for now. They have a booking with Eurotunnel who have texted to say we will put you on the earliest available crossing after arrival. I had to smile at Dominic Raab's reported comment to a H of C committee yesterday (paraphrasing) 'If you have safe ongoing accomodation it is better to stay where we are'. Doesn't sound as though the Foreign Office will be doing anything to help out then! Jim
  9. Stand with your back to the van so you are pushing the lever forwards with body weight rather than pulling. Agreed when it is vertical it is tough and will block the gas locker, but the only time that has happened on our Commodore is when I have forgotten to release it before trying to move with the motor mover (stupid man!) Jim
  10. You and me both Griff (and probably many others!) Jim
  11. That's £800 - there is a 0 missing:-) With a family to shower I can see that being useful, but otherwise an expensive luxury! The Alde system has 'boost' setting. It defeats the heating when used (to max the heat going into the water) and raises the temp to 70C so more cold used to get the temperature usable at the shower head. I think the real reason for it being there is to kill bugs (Legionaires disease anyone?). Just put it on half an hour or so before showering and use gas AND electric for a quicker result. Jim
  12. The only sensible way is from Inverness on the B852 through Dores and past the power station at Foyers. That there is a power station there should give you some comfort - around 35 years ago I delivered a transformer weighing 122 tonnes along that route! To be fair, the police did close the road to oncoming traffic:-) The road to / from Fort Augustus is worth a ride with a car, or bike but not with a caravan in tow! Note the club advice to delay travel along the B852 until into the PM so that you don't meet any other outfits travelling away from site. Lovely site, I was there in July 2018 with a TA, 8' wide Buccaneer so unless you have a HUGE outfit all should be well. Jim
  13. For a first visit, why not check out the Camping and Caravanning Club's winter sun programme on the website? There are far too many to suggest one without knowing a little more about what you hope for - particularly distance to travel beyond La Turbaul. Jim
  14. This may be a silly suggestion but you do mention being new.... Have you primed the tank by running the hot tap until the water flows freely - to make sure all the air have been expelled from the boiler? I'm not familiar with this heater, the point I make is a general one. Also note that the original thread is 7, nearly 8 years old so perhaps start a new thread with specific details of your make and model of heater and perhaps get more replies. Hope you get it sorted. JIm
  15. Recharging is via a supplied lead which fits a regular usb charger plug top. The camera battery has always been adequate for any journey we have made - I run out of juice before it does:-) It will recharge overnight without any problem. Jim
  16. Yep, exactly that. I have the app installed on the wife's Samsung S9 which is larger than my old phone and 2 elastic bands secure it to the rear view mirror. A short usb cable to an adapter in the 12v socket in the dash keeps the phone alive. When driving, looking in the usual place provides a rear view. I find it best to exclude as much sky from the view as possible as otherwise the system doesn't cope well with the difference in contrast - bright sky / dull road. I don't rely on it for reversing! Jim
  17. I use a Falcon wireless camera with an app on the phone. It comes with a steel plate to 'glue' to the back of the van and then clings magnetically. I haven't used the recording facility but providing you have sufficient storage in the phone (SD card?) I can't see why it won't do what you require. I find it particularly useful on the continent for a) those little cars that travel out of sight tucked in behind the 'van and b) when passing trucks - it has a very wide angle of view so as soon as the front of the truck appears in the pic, it's safe to pull in! Never had a problem establishing the wireless connection but sometimes the phone will switch the screen off to save battery even though still connected. The phone is fastened over the rear view mirror with 2 elastic bands so I just look in the 'mirror' as usual:-) I think they run about £200 but I found mine on ebay apparently unused as the steel plate had no old glue on it. Go Outdoors have them I think with the usual card and club discounts. Jim
  18. Early night on Hogmany for an 08:00 flight on Jan 1st from Manchester to Alicante - hope the car and caravan are still where we left them when we arrive! Actually, the Phantom tracker tells me the 'van hasn't moved, it's the meet and greet car parking at the airport that gives me the heebie jeebies it being a public holiday Jim
  19. Keep an eye out for Aldi tool deals Ian. I carry one of their torque wrenches in the Commodore and on the one occasion I had to use it in earnest found it a great solution. You will have to furnish a suitable socket as well of course. Jim
  20. Have you never seen the French ladies walking to empty the lidded bucket in a morning! Thetford still make Porta - Potties:-) Jim
  21. If it isn't urgent, wait until Aldi have there caravan specials next spring. They do a breathable awning carpet 5m x 2.5m for £20 (2018 /19 price). Yep, much too big for a porch but it folds to size easily. I carry 2, one to put down full size and pegged, to fold out the awning on during erection and dismantling and the second fitted inside as required. Cozy:-) Jim
  22. Darren, There will be (hopefully) tons of comments forthcoming so I will limit this initial response to areas I can pontificate on with confidence:-) Our daughter has girls of (now ) 7 and 11 but they have been caravanning for about 5 years. When recently changing the van they decided to stick with a layout which has a seperate dinette / bed and 2 bunks so the girls can use the dinette as a play area. It isn't used for eating and it isn't used for sleeping unless they have someone extra staying. (put your own spin on that!) 5 or 6 berth vans will usually have that facility. Despite your professional skills, I doubt there is much you can do to add facilities like underfloor heating! Caravans of all makes are basically very similar in terms of equipment. Some may have 'wet' cetral heating at the upper end of your price range but most will use blown air. They will all have a water heater, stove, bathroom facilities and so on. If you haven't come across it, this site is useful for browsing - www. caravanfinder.co.uk It allows you to search by layout as well as maker etc. but I firmly believe that a local dealer with a good reputation is the first priority. Good luck. Jim Having found a layout which you think will suit, choose your dealer first. In the used market (hopefully) most teething problems will be history, but you still want to be able to go back to the dealer if problems arise.
  23. There is usually no shortage of advice here at Caravan Talk so I am a little surprised that no one has responded to your post in 22 hours! Perhaps the usually helpful folk are all on holiday in there caravans.... You are probably correct in surmising that many Brits use their caravans for longer stays rather than travelling on frequently, except of course, those of us who travel long distances to search out the sun in winter - and even then there is usually a long stay at the end of the journey. Whether you make your bed in a different place every 1 or 2 nights or only every 1 or 2 months shouldn't (IMHO) make any difference to the wear and tear on the habitation area. Three small children might! Having just had a holiday with 4 grandchildren I would suggest making sure you have the means to tidy and sweep up after them - grit walked in to the van will very quickly take it's toll on the comfort and condition of flooring and furnishings. If you won't have access to EHU make sure that while travelling you charge phones, computer and games consoles to avoid disappointment at bed time:-) Perhaps invest in a second leisure battery and install a charging point for it in the luggage area of the tow vehicle, that way if you stay more than 1 or 2 nights in the same place you can keep a battery topped up during days out or shopping trips. While your dealer is making additions, a decent roof mounted solar panel will be a useful addition if you can afford the initial cost. Carry 1 or more of those power bank phone chargers and keep them charged when there is chance. For peace of mind on the road, check tyre pressures regularly and carry a foot pump to replenish them, don't wait until you 'need' fuel (for the tow vehicle or caravan gas supply) to replenish it. Off grid, hot water, fridge, cooking and some heating in the evenings and early morning can easily eat through 10Kgs of LPG a week. Carry a small spirit level and something to put below the wheel(s) on the low side of the van and packers for the corner steadies so that if your chosen wild spot isn't billiard table flat you can level the van and sleep comfortably. Good luck! Jim
  24. At 85% the safety margin is 15 /85 x 100 =17.6% (or there abouts). I'm sorry to, but I couldn't resist:-) But of course the 85% guide relates to the kerb weight of the tow vehicle not the safe towing limit declared by the manufacturer. It's probably more correct to describe it as a loading margin rather than a safety margin. Jim
  25. Not for 800 quid I don't suppose Robby! Tons of info and a a bunch of very helpful folk on here to help you out by answering questions and offering advice. It would help to know (vaguely) how you define 'taking it easy', whether you already have a suitable tow car and so on. Jim
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