Saturday, 25 June 2011

Woodovis Devon

Journey No 4 Saturday 18th of June, sees us heading south to Woodovis near Tavistock in Devon. It doesn’t start well as the caravan curse strikes again!! The toilet in our home is blocked, there is a car parked in the road directly opposite my drive where I have to get the van off ( the only car parked on the street as it happens) and wifey is having kittens (metaphorically speaking of course) as she hasn’t heard from our daughter who is holidaying in Cancun, oh yes and there is a torrential downpour like it has never rained before. But there was far worse to come!

Off we eventually set making it to the top of our road a “T” junction to turn right on to a main road, giving way to a bus (fortunately) before commencing the turn. As we began to make the right turn there is a very loud BANG and we looked around to see our van separated from our car nose down all on its own in the middle of the road!! Various senses that I never knew I possessed surfaced but mostly a feeling of desperation and a need to throw up! Apart from any damage how on earth was I going to re connect to move it and what on earth had I done wrong for it to happen!!?? In short, two very kindly neighbours arrived to assist us in the lifting and reconnection, a quick check to ensure this time it was properly connected and we were off. An article in Practical Caravan August 2011 issue response to Al-ko drawbar quoted”you can’t lower the stabiliser lever until the ball is fully engaged in the hitch head. People hitch up with AKS model and drive off thinking the van is secure only to have it fall off. This happens because the lever can be lowered despite the fact that the ball is not properly engaged.”   AND THAT LADIES & GENTLEMEN IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME! Always check that the pop up button is green when locking the hitch to the car and avoid that problem.... another lesson learnt. Our journey was then uneventful, although both in a recovering state of shock with every pot hole driven over causing a deep intake of breathe fearing another disaster only this time on the M5. Woodovis proved to be a good choice with mostly statics but an area for tourers and tents and with an indoor heated swimming pool and sauna which sadly we didn’t get to use. A fully serviced pitch allowed us to use the van shower a definite bonus. We contacted a mobile van repair man, Ian Gibbons  who came and checked over the van replacing the broken breakaway cable which was very affective when called upon to do its job, along with a quick lesson in “dos and donts” of hitch connection which was also appreciated. We visited the usual places such as Looe, and Polperro, and ventured out on a 3 mile round trip of NT Lydford Gorge which whilst spectacular with its waterfall, is not a journey to undertake for the light hearted! Very narrow wet and a slippery path in places quite high from the water below with an over enthusiastic dog pulling eagerly at its lead ahead of you proved quite harrowing at times, but we did it. Another must is Morwhellham Quay, “a fun filled historical adventure for everyone”  quite close to Woodovis, which appeared in a BBC programme on Edwardian living, well worth a visit. Our next trip is to Ludlow in Shropshire in July and I just hope I will have regained some of my lost confidence by then!!!!        

Friday, 17 June 2011

TV Syndrome!

Lets take the fitted TV first. Unlike friends and family that we know who had purchased similar models direct from Swift whilst attending a show, & who had a free fitted TV provided as part of their purchase, we didn’t! When taking our old van to the dealers (part exchange deal) from whom we had purchased our new Swift, I requested they fitted our old TV into our new van, along with the change over of our motor mover etc. Ironically (sadly some would say) one of the features I liked most in our new Swift was a special housing for a TV that when not in use would be retracted majestically into an especially built space above the fire, brilliant. They couldn’t carry out our request for the TV because there were no “original fittings or screws” that apparently would have come with the TV when originally purchased, yeah right like we would have kept them! Not to worry we would fit it ourselves, and purchased numerous assorted screws to ensure we had the correct ones.. Our TV had a built in DVD that prevented it from fitting into its intended area, no matter what screw or other brilliant idea we came up with. So we took all kinds of measurement and purchased a new one. Despite our best efforts and spending an hour or so in the shop measuring exactly where the “locating plate” was to ensure it would be compatible for the fitting in our van, surprise surprise, that too wouldn’t fit, even though it was the correct size. We gave up after a lot of discussion and “blame culture” on the subject between the two of us! In despair we had the TV replaced yet again by a larger one this time, which we knew wouldn’t  fit into the space in which it was intended, and now have to store it away when not in use and travelling. It’s a real shame that Swift doesn’t provide a TV already fitted, even at an additional price as an option.