On my old Web Site, I kept a short summary of what was going on in connection with me and the Motorhome, a sort of News Flash Window but it all stopped when I started this blog. Below is a copy of that News.
March 8th to 15th 2011, Three night in York and then four nights in Durham, I have started keeping all our travel records in my blog now. Low Budget Motorhoming
Feb 15th 2011, Its time to get ready for our first trip away this year. Unlike every year since 2002, this year we will not be taking the van onto mainland Europe. Fuel cost have made it far too expensive for me to justify using the van for trips down into France. I have been able to book a trip to France using the car at a fraction of the cost of using the van. We still plan to use the van as much as we can but even then campsite costs are getting to be very expensive.
Feb 2nd 2011, Started a blog to run alongside this site http://ralph-dot.blogspot.com/
Feb 1st 2011, Do not think we will be using the van overseas this year, as money is tight and fuel is too expensive.
Jan 14th 2011, I have been updating the France 2003 write-up, redoing the photos.
Jan 13th 2011, It is possible that we will be using Aires in northern France early this July (not a lot of money for campsites), so I am looking for advice on Aires no lower down than say Amiens (no money for fuel either), something like an 80 mile radius from the channel ports. my email is rgant53@btinternet,com.
Nov 11th 2010, Inspired by today, I have resurrected a project I started over a decade ago, that is to write a story based on my grandfather's 1916 diary. It is all very much a work in progress, in a very rough format and it will be changed as I read through what I have done, also I am not sure how good or interesting it actually is. I never met my grandfather, unfortunately he died when my father was only seven, therefore I have no idea what he was like, so I am going to base it on a mixture of me and my Dad. Please let me have any constructive feedback you have.
Oct 13th 2010, Back from three nights in York and booked three nights away with the twins for half term.
Oct 1st 2010, Just realised I didn't fully complete France 2010 write-up so I have done it.
Sep 30th 2010, Doing something new, a page about our trip to France without the motorhome although we where in a Mobile Home
Sep 29th 2010, Had a few trips away since June but not as many as usual and been back to France for 12 days in September but not with the van.
July 19th 2010, France 2010 is just about done
June 25th 2010, Just back from three weeks in France, weather was not as good as usual this year, global warming gone wrong. Starting the write-up today.
May 16th 2010, At the Wild Rose Park site near Appleby for three nights.
May 12th 2010, Thankfully got this years MOT today.
May 9th 2010, At Rudding Park site for two nights
April 17th to 21st 2010, In Peterborough, Ferry Meadows site for Ambers birthday
Mar 18th 2010, I have broken yet another new camera (dropped it on concrete), anyone got one they don't want?
Mar 17th 2010, Back from nine days away in the van to York and Whitby.
Feb 23rd 2010, Up to now we have booked for this year, York (three times), Whitby, Peterborough, Barnard Castle, a three week tour of the west coast of France, and a trip to to northern France without the van, in a mobile home. We have also been having days out in the van for the last three weeks.
Feb 3rd 2010, Didn't get the 2009 part two finished, but I have made a start.
Jan 24th 2010, Just finishing part one of UK hols for last year (very late), starting part two tomorrow.
Nov 12th 2009, Believe it on not our France trip to Aquitaine for June 2010 is all booked, as 2009 we have used Tesco vouchers to book Siblu holidays campsites andalso got discount on the ferry through them. Different to previous years, we will be using the Poole to St Malo ferry crossing, saving about £50 on the ferry and 300 miles driving as compared to the Hull to the Zeebrugge crossing.
Nov 7th 2009, Belgium 2009 holidays write up is now complete (well almost) and I have started on England holidays now.
October 31st to Nov 4th 2009, York again for four nights, it did rain quite a lot one night and the river was very high, I thought the pub was going to be flooded again but it was all a false alarm.
Oct 24th 2009, France 2009 holidays write up is now complete.
Oct 22nd 2009, Not very well so getting on with this, since July we have have been to Leyburn with the twins and Mick and Bren in their caravan. Also been to York twice with Mick and Bren and are off back there first week in November.
July 29th 2009, very much behind with this site and all write-ups, will have to put some effort in, sorry everyone.
July 19th to 22nd 2009, Three nights at Ripley Caravan Park with the twins, also Mick and Bren in their caravan.
June 25th 2009, Back home after a fantastic trip and working on the France 2009 write-up.
June 6th to 24th 2009, Away in France and Belgium with the family.
May 22nd 2009, Over the week, had a service, new breaks, two new tyres and now have a MOT, it all cost a small fortune, will now not have any money for beer on holiday in France.
May 7th 2009, This site has now had 3000 views.
May 2nd 2009, I have updated the York Walls Walk.
April 18th to 21st 2009, Peterborough, Ferry Meadows CC site for three nights, for Ambers birthday
April 6th 2009, Whitby was fantastic even if it was a bit windy, I now have three walks in the Edinburgh area.
March 19th 2009, Booked 5 nights at Sandfield House Farm campsite in Whitby for the end of this month, I said I liked Whitby and would be back soon.
March 12th 2009, Started the walks in the Edinburgh area.
March 8th to 11th 2009, York for three nights.
March 2nd to 6th 2009, Nice time at the CC site in Edinburgh
Feb 12th 2009, Have now started to document some of our walks abroad, well France to start with, Walks abroad
Feb 9th 2009, Walks, I have been improving the directions and adding more photos to the walks.
Feb 4th 2009, Booked a midweek break on the CC site in Edinburgh for my birthday the first week in March, cost was £56 for the four nights. We will also be in York for three night the week after for Dot's birthday, cost £45.
Jan 15th 2009, Three walks now added and more to come, see Walks
Jan 11th 2009, As we have been doing lots of walks with the camera I have started to document them with photos, see Walks
Jan 6th 2009, France trip all booked, as we could not use Tesco vouchers for the ferry anymore, we looked at other ways to use them for our holiday. Siblu holidays have campsites in France and take Tesco vouchers, so for a change we have pre booked our stops and also got discount on the ferry. So we are still going Hull to Zeebrugge and all in, the cost of the holiday will work out to be about the same as last year.
Jan 5th 2009, About to book our trip to France for this year.
November 27th 2008, Belgium 2008 holidays write up is now complete.
November 23rd to 26th 2008, York for three nights.
November 8th 2008, Now well on with the England 2008 holidays write up.
October 12th to 15th 2008, York for three nights.
October 6th 2008, It has been very slow but I am now well on with our France 2008 main holiday write up, especially with young Ralph living with us, recuperating.
September 7th to 16th 2008, At three different campsites close to Whitby, North Yorkshire.
August 16th to 20th 2008, With the twins at the new Caravan Club site Pools Brook near Staveley in Derbyshire, very nice site with plenty of walks.
July 2nd to 10th 2008, Camped on two sites in Cambridge while visiting young Ralph who was in hospital there with a serious head injury.
June 1st to 25th 2008, France for our main holiday, the write up is coming on slowly, fuel price instead of it being a lot cheaper than at home, it is now about the same, only the petrol is the same price as diesel at home and the diesel the same as petrol. Must have been a shock to those with petrol engines to find they are now paying more than at home.
May 25th to 28th 2008, Keswick for three nights with the twins, not as nice as the last time in March. £17.50/night for a patch of grass in a field about a third of a mile from the toilets with no electrics, robbery. We like this site and have used it several times, even during school holidays, although this time it was the end of a bank holiday weekend and also school half term but it was so full (over full in my opinion), even though the site was fully booked, people arriving without bookings were still squeezed on, how greedy is that.
May 17th 2008, Scooter MOT ok and scooter rack fitted to the van ready for France/Belgium trip.
May 15th 2008, Some new beers added to the site.
May 15th 2008, Booked the Scooter in for it's MOT on Saturday.
May 8th, Van passed it's MOT today.
April 19th, Drove to Peterborough and back for Ambers birthday, 350 miles and cost about £90.00 in diesel.
April 13th to 16th 2008, At Clumber Park Caravan Club Site with the twins for three nights.
April 10th 2008, Castels Privilege Card arrived today, not bad from France.
April 3rd 2008, Ordered a Castels Privilege Card (cost €10 and enables us to use Castels campsites, out of season for €16/night), also a Camping Card International(CCI), £4.75 from the C&CC, (CCI benefits include. The ability to use the card as an identity document which, may be left at the campsite reception instead of a passport. Third Party insurance coverage - to the value of 2.5 million Swiss francs - valid for any accidental damage you may cause while abroad whether staying at a campsite, a hotel or in rented accommodation, and discounts at selected campsites)). Already got a ACSI camping card and book 2008 (this card enables us to use campsites in the book, out of season for €10, €12 or €14/night).
Mar 29th to April 1st 2008, At Doe Park, Cotherstone in Teesdale, for three nights.
Mar 25th 2008, New site, Ashfield Caravan Park at Dalton Piercy, added to site reviews, not stayed over night, just visited but it looks goods.
Mar 18th 2008, As promised, made a start on the 2008 travels write-up, only UK for now.
Mar 13th to 16th 2008, York for three nights.
Mar 9th to 12th 2008, Keswick for three nights for Dot's birthday.
Feb 8th 2008, The write-up of our 2007 trips in the UK is just about complete, this year, I will do it as we go.
Dec 29th 2007, Have eventually started to do the write up for our travels in England, in the new year I will make a real effort to get it done (sounds like a new years resolution).
Dec 24th to 26th 2007, Spent Christmas in the van outside young Ralph's in Peterborough, roads not too busy on the drives there and back. On the way down on Christmas eve, not one other motorhome waved back to us, on the way home on Boxing day, just about every motorhome did wave, go figure.
Dec 12th to 19th 2007, The van has been off the road (would not start) now ok and it was only a loose earth from the gearbox to the body.
Nov 21st 2007, Got a new Microwave/Convection oven for the van from Makro today, also got a hotplate, been thinking about it for a while. So now we can have fried eggs without using the gas.
Nov 13th & 14th 2007, Two afternoons out in the van with the girls, fish and chips are great in the van.
Nov 1st to 9th 2007, Used the van on a daily basis as the car was out of action, car is now ok.
Nov 8th 2007, Added a link to more of my motorhome & beer photos on fliker.com.
Nov 5th to 6th 2007, Met up with Keith and Jean from the MotorhomeFun web site, at the Stockton-on-Tees White Water CC site to watch the fireworks. We were joined for the display by Nicole, Tim, Tim's Mam and Dad and the Girls. Later Keith, Jean, Me and Dot went for a drink in the Talpore.
Nov 1st 2007, Booked return ferry tickets, Hull to Zeebrugge, about £380 using Tesco vouchers, so again it cost me nothing, well £4.30 for special delivery to post the vouchers to P&O. Booked this early as the Tesco vouchers will no longer be accepted on this crossing by the end of the month. We will be touring around for 24 days, probably Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, aiming to meet up with Nicole, Tim and the twins in Italy, for a week together, before a quick run back through France to Belgium.
Oct 28th to 31st 2007, Trip to Rowntree Park York for four nights, we only had the twins for one night this time and the weather was good again. Nicole and Tim came down for the twins on the Sunday, we went out for a meal for Tim's birthday, when they left for home they dropped off Dot and I at the Kings Arms (see previous entries on York), prices have gone up, its now £2.50 for a pint of bitter and a half larger and lime, a rise of 4 pence, still amazing value for money.
Next day we both have colds, we make the effort of sightseeing and shopping but our harts are not really in it so we retreat to the Kings Arms for warmth and good beer for comfort. Our last day there was a copy of the day before with both of us felling worse than previously. Was actually glad to get home and that's not something I would usually say.
Oct 26th 2007, Just finished polishing the van from top to bottom with Mer again, it has taken me all day to do and as usual in this situation, I am now fit to drop.
Oct 23rd to 24th 2007, One night at Park Resorts Crimdon Dene site with the twins (half term), £5.00 for the night. As in April when we were last there, the site was very busy but again, the pool did not get too crowded and after the pool we went down on beach but this time there was no sunburn. Had a drink in the bar on the way back to the van and then a night watching kids films. Next morning the girls went to the pool again while I got packed up, we were supposed to be off for 10:00 but were allowed to stay until 12:00. Where else can go to a heated indoor pool, twice, have a pitch with electrics on a site with clubhouse and all for just £5.00?
On the way home we stopped off at Hartlepool marina for a picnic and a walk around the Museum of Hartlepool (not the Historic quay the Museum of Hartlepool is free), plenty for the girls to do including a tour of the paddle steamer, PSS Wingfield Castle. The PSS Wingfield Castle was built in Hartlepool by William Gray & Co. for the L. N. E. R. as a passenger and vehicle ferry over the Humber estuary between Hull and New Holland.
Oct 22nd 2007, After charging the battery all night the van started ok this morning.
Oct 21st 2007, Been using the van about ones a week for taking the girls for days out but today it wouldn't start (first time since we got the new battery).
Sep 20th 2007, During the last trip the combination microwave oven stopped working, The convection oven part had never been reliable now with the microwave gone, it only left the grill working, so I took it out and also removed the cabinet I had made to house it. If we do replace it, the new one will go inside a locker out of the way.
Sep 13th to 18th 2007, Four night at Riverside Caravan Park, Pateley Bridge and one night at Old Station Yard Holiday Park, Masham.
The site at Pateley Bridge is on the bank of the river Nidd, a short walk from the centre (about 500 yards). Pubs, Banks and shops in the village and also two Indian takeaways and two chip shops. Good place for a relaxing holiday or for walking and exploring if you feel like it. Does not take cards only cash or cheques.
The site at Masham is a new site 15 min walk from the centre of Masham village, in the village there are two brewery visitor centres (Theakstons and Black Sheep), three pubs, various cafes/tea houses, a chip shop, post office and various other assorted small shops.
Sep 9th to 11th 2007, Three nights at Cote Ghyll Caravan & Camping Park, Osmotherley, very close to home but we had to pickup the girls from school and have them with us for one night. Cote Ghyll is a a very quiet site (outside school holidays that is) just off the A19 and just north of Osmotherley. If you like walking then this is the site for you, Osmotherley is the start of the Lyke Wake Walk is on the Cleveland Way and nearby is the Coast to Coast walk.
Three very good pubs in the village with good food, about ten mins walk , also a cafe, post office/shop, outdoor shop and a chip shop (not open Monday and Tuesday). Does not take cards, only cash or cheques
Sep 1st to 5th 2007, Trip to Rowntree Park York for four nights with the twins, good weather for a change. The visit was marred by learning of an accident on site two days before. A little boy was knocked down on the site and later died in hospital. I do not know the full story and am not assigning any blame but could I please ask here, that you consider your speed and general awareness when driving around campsites and that parents of younger children also be more aware of the dangers of traffic on campsites.
Here is a report from the local press.
Staff at the campsite were not offering any extra safety warnings, there were no extra slowdown signs, no warning about children using bikes, nothing and especially no mention of the accident, we did not know about it until the family of the boy lade flowers next to our pitch.
Aug 30th 2007, While away at the Blackwell Ox site, a fuse went and we lost the lighting down the right side of the van interior. Today I traced it to a short in the wiring to the under locker light on the right hand side, it had been fitted with the light fitting trapping the cable and over the years eventually cutting through the insulation. Thank god for fuses, we could have been burnt to death in our sleep, I only found the short by burning my finger on the plastic light fitting after blowing a replacement fuse.
Aug 27th 2007, Two nights at the Blackwell Ox site in Carlton in Cleveland with the twins, good site, only room for three tourers though, shame it is due to close to tourers next year.
Aug 18th to 22nd 2007, Trip away to Scotland, used the GPS with the software provided, worked ok but still to decide on best option. We went to Melrose on the 17th just for the night and then to Aviemore for 4 nights after that, was 33 years since we were last in Aviemore and 35 years since the first time we were there on our honeymoon. Melrose was very enjoyable but unable to say the same for Aviemore, it was cold, very wet, plagued by midges and not as we remembered it.
Aug 14th 2007, Got an Acer n35 PDA with GPS capabilities built in, off eBay for £90.00, it arrived today now all I have to do is decide on the best GPS software for my needs.
Aug 10th 2007. Sent the Satnav back to Maplins, not because it it didn't work properly but because there is no way to get maps of Europe for it, I checked the net and every forum on GPSs before I made the decision (also as the remote for it was missing I had an excuse for the return). For the UK it was perfect and you can get them new for £60.00 including postage from eBay.
Aug 4th 2007. Bought a B Grade AyToBe Satnav from Maplins for £75.00 (reduced from £99.00), works perfectly, very impressive for the price.
July 30th 2007, Investigating a grating noise from the front nearside front wheal found that the brake pads were worn out, cost less than £17.00 for new ones and were very easy to replace (only serviced and MOTed in May you would think someone would have noticed that they were just about worn out then?).
July 27th 2007, The write-up on the trip to Germany is now done, still on with Luxembourg and Belgium.
July 21st to 25th 2007, Away at Brown Moor CC site in Hawes with the twins.
July 14th to 18th 2007, Away at Orchard Farm Holiday Village in Hunmanby near Filey.
June 20th 2007, Just back from Germany, France, Luxembourg and Belgium. Am starting my write-up tonight, just for here though, all went well and we had a really great time.
May 31st 2007, Just back from two nights at Thirsk Racecourse with the twins, weather was poor but the girls had a good time. On Tuesday afternoon I noticed a scratch mark close to the bottom hinge of the accommodation door (if that's what it's called), on investigation I found that the hinge pin had sheared. Got a coach bolt and nuts from a hardware shop in Thirsk (35p) and bodged up the hinge, I think it will do until we get back from our trip to Germany that we are starting this weekend.
May 26th 2007, Got the van back, they just swapped the lights round, so that's the M.O.T. and service done (£60.00 good to know people in the trade). Will get the scooter rack on today ready for Germany a week tomorrow but before that, we are off to the CC site at Thirsk Racecourse for two nights with the twins Monday and Tuesday (half term) next week.
May 24th 2007, My van is LHD and in for its 3rd M.O.T. today, they have informed me that they will not pass it, until the the reversing and fog lights are changed round, it will probably be ready tomorrow. Do M.O.T. stations just make up their own rules?
May 21st 2007, Just finished polishing the van with Mer, I looks like new (not that I know what it looked like when it was new, it was six months old when I first saw it), but it has taken me 5 hours to do and now I can not move my arms. Will have to drink with a straw tonight.
May 14th 2007, Scooter passed it's MOT today, mind it should have, it's only done 30 miles since the last one, hope to use it more this year though. Van needs a MOT before we go away, booked in next Thursday.
May 8th 2007, Eventually decided to get a new leisure battery for the van £32.00.
May 3rd 2007, Passports arrived today vie courier, nine days, not bad considering the cheque fiasco.
May 1st 2007, Got a king size, two inch deep, high density memory foam mattress topper, for use in the van, at present we are trying it out on our bed in the house.
April 25th 2007, Sent an Application Tracker Request to the passport office with a note saying a may not have signed the cheque, got a reply confirming I had not but with a phone No for me to pay via credit card, so I got Tesco points with my passport application.
April 24th 2007, Sent for our passports today, realised later that I had forgotten to sign the cheque with my application, Dot's is ok though.
April 20th 2007, Eventually decided to get a new battery for the van, its a bit more powerful then the last one but apparently its the right one for the make and model and it was only £42.00.
April 15th to 19th 2007, Living in the van outside my Son's house in Peterborough (down for Ambers second birthday) the weather is brilliant, got very, very drunk on Tuesday night so, not well at all on the Wednesday.
April 10th to 14th 2007, Away at Crimdon Dene a Park Resorts campsite, with the twins, they are off school for Easter. The site was very busy but the pool did not get too crowded. On the beach on Wednesday and got sunburnt (not bad for April) but Friday was cold and the sea fret (or fog) was very bad.
Mar 21st 2007, Day out in van with the twins, went to the Big W (got two 12V electric blankets £4.98 each), and then to Billingham Beck Country Park for a picnic, fed the ducks and then went for a nice walk in the sun (I am led to believe there is snow in the rest of the country it's warm here).
Mar 4th to 7th 2007, Away at Rowntree Park York for my birthday, Nicole, Tim and the twins came down on the Saturday and it rained all day, that teatime we went out for a meal. Next day was gorgeous, spent the day in the centre followed by afternoon drinks in our favourite pub, the Kings Arms (quit a few actually, what do you expect at £2.46 for a pint of bitter and a half larger and lime). The river was very high when we left the pub, over the top of the banks on the opposite side. We stumbled back to the van for a super of lasagne, that I had luckily prepared earlier and watch TV. Similar thing next day but left going the Kings until a bit later, it was that warm we actually sat outside by the river for one drink (the level was dropping by now) but it got chilly fairly quick so we ended up back inside. We left York early as we had to pick up the twins a dinnertime (we would usually go to the York Designer Outlet on the last day) but we did stop off to inspect a campsite that looked good on the internet, it wasn't.
Mar 1st 2007, Booked return ferry tickets, Hull to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge to Hull, about £400 using Tesco vouchers, so it cost me nothing, well £5.00 for special delivery to post the vouchers to P&O. We will be touring Germany and Belgium with a visit to France.
Feb 18th to 21st 2007, Away with the twins at Goosewood Holiday Park, Sutton-on-the Forest. Van starting ok but did need the assistance of a tractor to get off the site when leaving (ground very wet). Mainly Caravans on site not many Motorhomes. Good site with play area for the children and fishing lake. Disappointed that thehealth suite was not open until the 1st of April (not mentioned on their web site).
Feb 13th & 14th 2007, Used the van for days out, started fist time both times.
Feb 8th 2007, Took the battery off and charged it for two nights, replaced it yesterday and the this morning it failed to start again but with a quick jump it started first time. The car wouldn't start either, same engine as the van, so I have been to Halfords and bought a booster pack for if it happens again.
Feb 1st 2007, Just booked our first trip away for this year, Goosewood Holiday Park, Sutton-on-the Forest, from the 18th to the 21st Feb with the twins.
Jan 30th 2007, Charged the battery last night but still had to jumpstart it from the leisure battery today, took the twins to the seaside for fish and chips and a walk on the beach. It was warm enough to only use pullovers and not coats for the walk, so don't let anyone tell you that there is no such thing as global warming.
Jan 24th 2007, Took the van out for a run with the twins yesterday and today, Had to jumpstart it from the leisure battery though but it was ok once it was running.
Jan 16th 2007, Reconnected the battery after charging and the van started first time, will not reconnect the solar powered battery charger, until I have done some more research.
Jan 15th 2007, Thought I would give the van a run today, the battery has never ever been flatter, so much for the solar powered charger, now on charge over night.
Jan 9th 2007, Could have been away in the van this week but Dot is on jury service.
Dec 23rd - 28th 2006, Living in the van on the drive, house full of family up for Christmas.
Dec 21st 2006, Solar panel arrived today and fitted using the clips (cigarette lighter not live) blue light flashing will have to see how it works.
Dec 11th 2006, Ordered a solar powered battery charger from Maplins £9.99 (12.97 with postage) out of stock so will have to see when it comes.