A Whole Day Lost

When it comes to technology if there is going to be a problem, you just know its going to be a big one.

Today I had the task of switching all my files, work, photos and other stuff from my laptop over to a brand new super duper desktop. I knew this was going to be torture and I just knew something was going to go wrong.

Not least because I had decided to buy a computer without an operating system. If you ever get a bright idea to do this yourself, don’t OK. Trust me don’t do it unless you are buying the disk with the computer in the shop.

I didn’t want to go into town to buy an operating software disk because it was too much hassle. I had the idea to download it onto my laptop, but it on an external hard drive and then plug it into the new computer.

This sounds straight forward but it unfortunately turned into a situation where i wish I had a short and quick way to end my life! It started with me forgetting to take the damn hard drive to my office to having to drive into town anyway because my USB stick wasn’t big enough for the job.

Then the one i bought didn’t flippin work, so I had to spend hours on the live chat with the software support team. Then  I finally got it up and running after more calls to the support team, only to experience a very similar situation with installing microsoft office. Which I can not live without.

By the time everything was good, set up and ready to do business, I had to go home.

Day gone.

Funny as **** Campervan video

I absolutely love these guys.

I can’t believe the BBC let them go after the Jeremy Clarkson controversy. I don’t think they will ever get a better program to show on their network. So funny….

Just watching this gets me excited for our challenge. Traveling is fun, any kind of mission that involves vehicles, a few mates and unreliable, old engines is a recipe for ridiculousness!

I think I may have found a Sponsor!

We have been very busy getting our great VW Charity Dash organised and it has involved quite a bit of prospecting local businesses to raise the funds needed to make the event possible.

Pretty much all the money raised will go to charity, we just wanted to cover the fuel costs and have a bit for the admin side of things. Lots of businesses have expressed an interest in our venture but not many have put their money where their mouth is but I think we have one that will!

We are just getting all the details sorted, I convinced them by saying they would get full coverage of their company on my website and facebook pages. So I will be writing a kind of review on their company and telling you all how marvelous they are….

Which from what I’ve been hearing they very much are, and if they are prepared to sponsor a great cause then they get my vote.

In the meantime I am doing some work on my van. In its current state I dont think it would make it to Bristol, let alone a full tour of the UK. Part of the love of VW’s is of course the mechanical side of it. A lot of people get involved with these campervans becuase they thinks its cool or whatever, but if they are not mechanically minded or the practical tyope then sooner or later it will end in tears.

Alternatively it will end in a large bill form their mechanic. It’s the caring and nurturing of the vehicles whcih makes you a true campervan club member, not everyone enjoys that side of it. In my opinion if you don’t have thousands to throw away on mechanic fees, and you dont like getting your fingers greasy, then I advise getting a modern camper.

Our Chosen Charity

Things are shaping up nicely for our VW Charity Dash and we have chosen our Charity partner.

We have decided to donate to Children in Need. I know it has been and gone for this year and by the time we run this event in January the final figures will be in. But i’m sure they wont mind a few quid going their way, I was personally touched by a story I heard about a 11 year old boy who had a horrible accident falling out of a bus door and getting his leg crushed beyond repair.

I have a nephew and niece and it sent shivers down my spine so this charity seem as good as any to donate to.

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Our Roofing, about as good as our boiler!

Our roof has been nothing but a nightmare ever since we moved here 10 years ago.

The tiles look OK from the outside but the reality is that they are really are not OK. We have had problems with damp and in the beginning we never really understood what it could be. We got dehumidifiers in, we had the windows open in the morning etc etc.

But we still got mould spores and condensation on the windows. And the place just felt damp which wasn’t very pleasant. My girlfriend didn’t like it at all as it effected her asthma, and after putting up with it for over a year I finally got to the bottom of what it was.

I went up into the loft to find something that had been stuffed up there when we first moved in and I noticed that all the loft insulation was absolutely saturated. The strange thing is the fact that it was so wet I just don’t understand how it didn’t come through the ceiling.

We must have some seriously waterproof material in between the insulation and the ceiling?

Anyway, it explained the damp problem. We had a roofing problem, water was getting in.

So back then I went through the process of contacting lots of Plymouth roofing companies so they could come around and assess the problem. But that was very confusing because they all gave different verdicts on what needed to be done. The prices varied from £450 to get up there replace a few tiles to £5,000 for a full roof replacement.

The felt underneath the roofing tiles needed replacing and to be fair even the cheaper quotes said that to fix that all the tiles would have to come off.

A lot of work and a very big job…..gulp!

So some of them said they could patch up the tiling on the outside that was causing the leak and it “might” be OK for a few more years but eventually the roof was going to have to come off and the proper job done. My opinion was not to mess around and bodge it up, this was a house that we planned to have for the foreseeable future so we really needed to do this job right.

So last week we went ahead with the work and we chose Roofers Plymouth  www.petenichollsroofing.co.uk  who we thought did a very good job. Pete and his team of workers did all the work over 2 days. They were lucky with the weather so when they removed all the tiles more water didn’t pour in.

One of the purposes of this blog was to review and rate products and services and I’m all for promoting local businesses so click on the link above if you live in Plymouth and need a good quality roofer. I will definitely vouch for them.

(editors note)  I must be open and honest here… I do have an agenda of some sorts!! I am hoping that local businesses will sponsor our first VW Charity dash so if I get a few customers going to them they might be persuaded to be a sponsor! So go ahead and give Pete a call! hehe

Rant About Plumbers

So its the start of winter. It has definitely got colder here in Plymouth all of a sudden so the heating hs had to go on. The start of 5 months of contant problems for us.

Our boiler has shot it. Its about 20 years old and it struggles with life.

Should I go out and get a new one?  Well probably, but because of the awkward position the boiler is in in our house its going to cost an arm and a leg to replace. There needs to be some piping removed out of a false wall, the wall needs to be partially taken down and its will be a right mess and a shitload of work for a plumber.

The amount of money it will cost would pay for another epic trip to Africa or Asia so I just can’t bear to do it.

So we have to get the plumber out to bodge things up for us whenever the heating goes down. The last plumber was an absolute joke and I’m going to tell you the story that he made up to try and convince us that he couldn’t come to fix our boiler for 2 days because……

His pigeons had escaped and he was driving around to different parts of the county trying to find them.

His bloody pigeons!

Here we were freezing our proverbials off, needing emergency rescue and all our plumber was worried about was some flappy feathered birds who had finally escaped and were enjoying some freedom for the first time in their lives.

Keeping birds in cages….I mean come on. I am not one of these animal hugging nutters but a bird is a flying creature. How can you say you like birds and care about birds, only to cause then utter misery by shutting them in a cage and imprisoning them for the rest of their life!

Animal cruelty, thus causing customer care cruelty!

We were freezing, let the birds enjoy themselves. Come and fix our our boiler for gods sake!

The VW Charity Dash

I am helping to organise an event!

Some VW pals and I thought it would be cool to mix our love of driving around the country in VW’s and raising money for a great cause.

The plan is to drive from Plymouth to john o’groats and back.

We aim to get at least 20 vans onboard and are hoping to get some local businesses to sponsor us to raise some dollar.

Please comment and put your suggestions on a great charity to help out and if you know of anyone who has a local business and wants to sponsor us please let us know and pass them our way.

What is So Great About VW Campervans anyway?

People often ask me what its like driving a classic VW campervan, even more often than that I get asked….

Why?

Why decide to drive something that in the modern day and age is really just a skip on wheels?

Because…… its absolutely brilliant thats why. It is the epitome of travel, style and history. As soon as you step into the wheels of a classic, well restored VW camper, your cool style points multiply by 10. You are part of a culture and community of people that don’t get caught up in the everyday nonsense of the rat race.

You are the sort of person that lives for the freedom, lives for the fresh air and lives for the adventure.

Driving these vehicles can be sketchy at best!  Your top speed is probably only about 50 – 55 miles an hour so when traveling long distances, you just sit there and soak up the atmosphere. You take in all the sights.

You don’t need to spend your life zooming here there and everywhere.

I often say to people.

Don’t stress the small stuff. Don’t rush around.

Get in a campervan, chill out, smoke a doob, and take in what the road has to offer.

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My current van is the 3rd one I have owned. This is a picture of my first ever van. It didn’t need much work doing to it at all. Which was a good job because back then I had very few skills in mechanical stuff, the previous owner took very good care of it and sold it to me at a decent price.

My second VW was an absolute disaster on wheels. In fact how it ever passed a VAT I don’t know, when I bought it, it wasnt a runner. It was to be my project, it taught me a lot about engines, restorations and also the downside of classic vehicles. The downside is of course the frustrations and amount of work that has to go into the bloody things to make them road worthy.

It never did make it onto the road. And I never got it through its MOT. But even though it was a love hate relationship I did build that eternal bond and it turned me into an obsessive VW club member. After a year of working on it whenever i could I sold it onto to a more experienced restorer, I did make some money on it mind you.

And that leads me to the vehicle I am driving today. The picture really does sum up what it is like to be on the road, traveling and pulling up at a nice quiet spot….

And enjoying the fact that you made it to a nice place without breaking down and having to call the AA!!

Camper Van parked outside a house in Thailand
My Camper Van parked next to a lake in Cornwall

It began in Africa

I love the wilderness, the wild and of course I love to travel.

Usually in my VW campervan, but I wanted to write a little review about the trip I went on back in April 2016 that wasn’t in my campervan….. because I don’t think it would have got there to be honest!

I had the amazing pleasure of a an African safari in sunny South Africa.

It was Epic.

We saw all the awesome scary stuff that you hope to see, we mixed with the locals, we ate the food, we drank the beer and wine. It was all absolutely marvelous, probably the best holiday I have had.

The only thing that was missing was my beloved green campervan.

This is the resort we stayed in, it was 5 star…really really nice. And it was all paid for by my company, for being a top salesman. Thank you very much!

So the trip involved flying to Johanesburg, then we got a small internal flight to the airport near the game reserve. I can’t remember the airports name but needless to say it was basically a strip of mud and grass to land on. It was right next to the entrance of the game reserve and going through the gates into the park was just  like the intro to Jurassic Park.

So we spent a wonderful 3 days and nights enjoying the wildlife, the highlight being this fella here…..

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We also got up really early, after a massive session on the local beer, to experience a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the game reserve. If you were like me, and have never flied in a hot air balloon, I would have to say that it is one of the most amazing feelings you can have.

It is just so quiet and calm, floating along in nothing more than an oversize picnic basket.

The picture does not really do it justice at all…..

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The second part of the trip was in Cape Town.

So we got a flight from J’burg down to the Cape and stayed in an incredible hotel right on the edge of the ocean. We had our breakfast on a balcony restaurant within the hotel, and the setting was really beautiful. There was quite a hectic schedule covering 3 days and we were able to go up table mountain, see some African penguins, travel all the way down to the southern tip of Africa on the Cape.

We ate in some fantastic restaurants, we had an African drumming experience in a restaurant. All in all a very good time was had.

What a great way to start a blog. Awesome memories.

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