Saturday, 5 January 2013

Internet Connection When Away

Many of us have become addicted to the internet and rely on it for keeping in touch and as the fountain of all knowledge.

I am not going to talk about all the different methods you can use to connect while away, I an just going to tell you how I do it.

Of course most of us now have smart phones that can connect to the internet from almost anywhere and I do use mine quite a lot. Also as my home broadband is with BT, I can connect using my phone (or laptop) via BT Fon WiFi, although I rarely get a connection that way.

Connecting abroad using the phone is a big no-no though, as it can be very expensive although I do use it if I can get free or cheap WiFi. On my old phone I paid my phone supplier for a certain amount of usage in France and it lasted me for a week, I did exactly the same with my new phone and it lasted a day. Too many things go on in the background of the new phone and it was too complicated to stop it all. So now I do not bother doing that any more.

Even though I use the phone, I do like to use my laptop, mainly for the bigger screen but also because I can do much more with it. When on Caravan Club sites I would purchase WiFi time from them and it worked well but now I have a much cheaper method.

I have a 3 dongle and an account with SIM from Samba. A dongle + SIM from Samba is £25 or £5 for just the SIM.

This is how it works, from the Samba web site

Samba is where you watch ads, and in return you earn mobile data for your tablet or laptop. But that's not all. At Samba you, the user, are in charge. You select what to watch and when to watch it. And we carry only high quality video advertising from leading brands, so you should always be entertained.

For every ad you view, we give you 3.5MB of credit. Most ads are between 30 and 60 seconds long. Some are longer, some are shorter. Samba mobile data is credited to your account, and you use it when you want. Free internet on the go, the Samba way.

I had the dongle, I paid £5 for the SIM, I log on to Samber, click on ads to watch and build up credit. Then when I am away, I connect via the 3 network and use the credit I have earned. I have used it Several times now and the only place I could not get a signal was at home.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Plans for 2013

Well unfortunately we will not be taking the van abroad again this year. As the previous two years we have managed to book mobilehomes for considerably less than taking the van. In fact this year we have paid even less than before, through a mix of different offers (Groupon and Tesco).

I would much rather take the van but our financial situation will not allow for now. Hopefully in 2014 things will be better, I have been trying to get work but I think my age is against me. Thankfully we have had ten good years use from the van, before my redundancy money ran out and inflation got the better of my pension.

However we do plan to try and use the van a little more than last year, maybe using Caravan Club Certified Locations, to save money.

In 2016, I would love to tour some of the places in France where my grandfather fought in World War One, to be in those places, exactly one hundred years after he was there.  I have his diary and know where he was on almost every day of 1916.   We did do Albert in 2006, partly for the same reason and it would be good to do Ypres in Belgium as well.

Eventually got to York

We were already booked into York for two nights (a Sunday and Monday), just two week after our previous trip there was cancelled because of the floods. As our Saturday had become free, I speculivtly checked the Club web site and was surprised to find the Saturday free, so we extended the getaway to three nights.

15th to the 18th of December 2012

Day One Saturday 15th December

Pitched in the Riverside section of the site, its quieter in there, set up the satellite dish and had lunch. The weather was dry by the time we set off into town but it was very cold.  The river was very high but I have seen it higher, it was up to the top of the bank opposite the Kings as we walked along the riverside. 

I have never seen it so busy (must be the recession), after looking round the Christmas market and doing some shopping we waited until it was dark to see all the Christmas lights, then made for the pub.

The Kings was so full we just had a quick look in and made for the Postern Gate. It was far less crowded in there and there were a couple of festive beers on offer as well.

Banks & Taylor (B&T), Santa's Slayer from England

Banks & Taylor (B&T), Santa's Slayer, England

4.0% gold colour with a good head, sweet aroma, bitter creasort taste, I think I should have taken it back but it is not the first time I have tasted beer like that. My brother is convinced that the pub chain where I was drinking do not know how to keep beer.

Arkell's, Noel Ale from England

Arkell's, Noel Ale, England

5.0% almost black colour with a good head, malty aroma, bitter fruity taste, not a bad beer but not quite festive enough for me, also I got it from the same place as the last beer and it was very drinkable.

After a couple we moved on, back over the river to The Slip, to be closet to the campsite. As I got the beers in, Dot found some seats and had already made friends with a group of young men before I got back. She found out there was a group on but they would not be on until about 9, well after the time we are usually back at the van. We stayed anyway, the singer was very good, the company was entertaining and I had too many beers, someone even bought me a one.


Day Two Sunday 16th December

I was a bit rough when we got up, so we had a big fry up for breakfast and a restfulness morning.

It was dry again and not as cold, so we set off to fine the York Windmill. Something we didn't know existed until a few week ago. It was less than a mile and a half to the windmill and we found it fairly easily, although I did think it was on the other side of the road. Luckily it was big enough to see.

Holgate Windmill

You can fine out more about the windmill by clicking on the photo.

From there we walked back into the city centre, where because we had not had lunch, we grabbed a sandwich. We had food cooking in the slow cooker, to have when we got back to the van.  It was still busy in the centre but nothing like as bad as the day before.  The river however was higher than the day before and was covering where we had walked the previous day, in fact the path on both sides of the river was impassable.

Near the Shambles, we came across a man making an ice sculpture and then around the corner came across several more ice sculptures. Apparently this happens every year but we were there the same day last year and didn't see any then.

Ice Rudolph

I bought a new beer from one of the beer shops on Stonegate and later, we went back to the Kings.  There was plenty of room in there this time and the fire was on but we only had a couple, as I did not feel too good.  We had to walk the longer way back as the river level was still high.

We didn't have the food from the slow cooker, we just had cheese and biscuits we left it for lunch tomorrow and had an early night.

Day Three Monday 17th December

Even though it rained all night, the river level had dropped quite a long way.   I put the van battery on charge (I still need to get a new one, it is not holding a charge at all), then we took a long walk into the centre vie the Millennium bridge and then headed out to look in the larger supermarkets on Foss Island road.

After not buying much we walked back into the centre, all of the ice sculptures had gone but it was still very busy.

Ended up in the Kings and had a good drink this time.

Day Four Tuesday 18th December

The van started fist time but we drove straight home instead of our usual visit to somewhere along the way. Will have to get a new battery before our next trip.