Picture the scene …

It is a very dark night, the moon and stars invisible behind thick clouds. The wind is combatively tugging and shoving and the falling leaves are dancing as if in the Strictly dance off, desperate for a place at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. Outside the car the lashing rain stings coldly on unprotected skin. I’m driving K back from Castle Cary station where The Smart One has been dispatched on an already delayed by 44 minutes train to visit his father for the weekend (by the time he got there he was 80 minutes late because of speed restrictions, poor lad).

I’m driving at around 40mph as the roads are covered in huge puddles and what part of the road is free of puddles is covered in mushed autumn leaves, all waiting for the unwary to stamp on the brakes. My headlights are dipped as there is a luckily smallish  oncoming vehicle, when on the left out of the darkness at the almost too-late last minute, I spot a large stray hedge/small tree trying to cross the road, I move as far right as I dare to try and avoid it but … BANG!

Storm Deirdre has resurrected the Curse of the  Broken Wingmirror, 4 in 4 years. As the Curse obviously plans to become an annual event, should I pre-order a wing mirror for 2019 and perhaps some canapés and some fizz for the Wingmirror Wake?

Luckily no other damage to either the car or the occupants.

Y’all drive safe now …

🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m no beginner … (a long rant)

… when it comes to moving house and after making 18 of them personally and having helped my kids on several more, I can with a lot of experience say that this one has been an absolute pig’s ear.

It was an inauspicious beginning, and continued downhill, with the van and two muppets turning up two and a half hours late. I’d already had to leave in R0X1 with the zoo (grandson, dog and cat) to meet estate agent on time leaving K to oversee the loading of furniture and boxes (already packed by us). A quick re-assessment of timing and I was expecting K in Huish Episcopi around 14.30 and van about an hour later. Nah …

Around 13.00 Kate phoned to say the van was already full with only 2/3 of our stuff loaded. Phone calls to firm’s HO ensued – K was accused of adding stuff that wasn’t on the inventory. K insisted she hadn’t and could prove it with her copy of the inventory. Conversations in a non-English language ensued between HO and the muppets culminating in an offer to get another van to move the remainder, magnanimously at no extra cost to us … !!! K arranged to overnight with a friend, and the first van-load arrived here at 18.00 without one complete bed aboard. The Smart One spent the night in R0X1 with the cat and I on a mattress on the floor on the house with LWD.

Despite all boxes being marked with their destination rooms marked on them a lot ended up in random rooms which had nothing to do with box contents. To and injury to insult boxes were all stacked 5 high, regardless of some being marked fragile contents; these guys were obviously not amongst those who consider me vertically or age challenged, and whilst I wholeheartedly disagree with discrimination this once I would have jettisoned my principles!

Having been told a van to move the remainder of our possessions would arrive at 14.00 the following day K spent a pleasant afternoon next door with our now ex- neighbours. The different van and 2 different muppets made a timely appearance at 18.30, loaded up and duly arrived here at 23.00. I refused to hand over any money before they unloaded as the previous day’s chaps hadn’t finished all they were supposed to, if they moved things where they should be, including K’s bed base from the conservatory upstairs to her bedroom I would pay them and then they could bring the rest in. This request necessitated several calls in a foreign language to HO, on speaking to the manager I was left with the impression that although human error had occurred on their part it wasn’t their fault as such and I should shut up, put up and pay up. The legs for K’s bed base were on the van, they would not unload them. I after the previous day’s experience of muppets clearing off without doing their full job would not give way I wanted beds made up before paying.

Stand off; eventually the bed legs only were removed from van; the van was locked closed whilst the bed was made; I paid; they emptied the van and sped away into the after midnight hours without bothering to give me a receipt.

We’re in … and still alive to tell the tale; just!

😊😊😊

The Arrogant Macho Peacock.

So, Señor Boss (Pandemonium on the A7)was an arrogant, macho peacock who was deluded about the extent of my nous. He’d got the head shaking, shrugging and teeth sucking down to a fine art and a great deal of it went on as he examined the remains of the defunct tyre and the opposite rear tyre. I think he thought he was on to a winner when I immediately agreed to replace both tyres (What idiot would replace only one tyre?) but I was way in front of him, having already swallowed hard, acknowledging I had to replace both. Then there was the introduction of tutting as he mentioned how difficult it was going to be to get 2 new tyres – and tomorrow’s Saturday. (A lot of hand signing and French, with the junior Señor, was being used by now). He must’ve been disappointed in my lack of interest in the day of the week. If he hadn’t been so determined to siesta and had just taken me to the nearby, but not in sight, tyre centre I could’ve been on my way in only an hour or so. As it was his “garage” was only a lock up – not a wheel balancing machine in sight!

I had to play it somewhat carefully as I was in a very vulnerable position; I couldn’t go anywhere without his co-operation.

When he arrived the next morning to put on the tyre, he started again with the head shaking, shrugging and teeth sucking, adding in a low whistle for good measure. He pointed out that the wheel border had a couple of tiny (and bash-outable dents) and started to talk about a new wheel … out came my phone, and google translate informed him that he could put the tyre on as a temporary measure. Suddenly the dents were not a problem. He capitulated and stomped off taking wheel and one new tyre, bunged them in the boot of his car, and shot off. Back within 15 minutes of departure, he put the wheel, minus any dents, back on. He then put the other new tyre in the hab. area and decided he was driving R0X1 to the tyre centre where the other tyre was changed, I was allowed to accompany him and consequently learnt of the proximity of the tyre centre!

When we got back to his lock up further head shaking, shrugging and teeth sucking occurred when he found out I didn’t carry loads of €s in my purse and that the transaction would be via my debit card. He glared, obviously annoyed the Spanish taxman would get to know about this particular bit of business. By this time my simmering anger was about to head into steam … I couldn’t take much more of his arrogance.

Then my card wouldn’t work, he tried again and again reducing the amount each time obviously concluding that I didn’t have the funds. He looked at me almost triumphant, thinking he’d be adding R0X1 to the collection of many vehicles stored in his lock-up I imagine. I rang my bank and they helpfully informed me that the arrogant macho peacock was trying to put it through on contactless payment and the bill being rather more than €30, the machine was having none of it. For the first time I had the upper hand and I couldn’t resist a smile as I informed him that the card needed to go in the slot and payment rapidly ensued.

You’d be wrong if you thought this was the end of my tyre saga …

Last night having spent a few more fun days in P&M’s company we were due to part company in the morning. I decided to empty my grey water into a bucket as the campsite didn’t have a drain point. I bent down to turn on the tap only to find nothing there. Further investigation showed that the back end of the waste pipe had been destroyed by low flying tyre – I’m not worried about that at the moment as I can put a bucket underneath the new “end” of the pipe. What does worry me is the two slow leaks of water slowly dripping underneath as well. I shall be in Perpignan tomorrow at an Adria dealer to find out where the leaks are coming from. I’m going to France as;  A) I speak more of the language; and B) given my recent dealings (or not in some cases) with Spanish garages (or rather lock-ups in one case) I don’t trust the Spanish – shame really.

I’ll leave you with pictures from Altomira as a reward if you’ve got this far into this overly long blog!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Pandemonium on the A7

I realise I have not yet reported in full the visit of Paul and Meriam, however I beg the indulgence of my regular reader to bring you breaking/braking news. I will return to the Dutch folk at a later date.

If the written word gets a bit slurred it’s because I’m gulping an XXXL G&T – it has been a  l o n g day.

It started well enough with the Terrible Trio leaving Jávea and heading for the hills, as we are wont. With a quick diesel fill and Lidl top up on vino blanco, I headed off. South of Valencia I joined the A7 motorway and was bowling along quite nicely. I was way behind P&M as I’d made a coffee and dog convenience stop. Suddenly there was a very loud bang and R0X1 started wandering about the carriageways without my permission. I braked firmly but gently, hit the hazard lights and carefully checking mirrors etc. brought my wagon safely to rest on the hard shoulder. I donned my hi-viz vest and as I deployed my red triangle noted that an awful lot of the rear left tyre was on the carriageway rather than on the wheel. I phoned the RAC. Unfortunately I seem to have overstayed my welcome as far as my breakdown insurance goes – I should have left a couple of months ago – I shall have to foot the recovery bill myself.

Two lovely motorcycle cops came, one retrieved the remains of the tyre from the carriageway – brave lass. The other set about organising a recovery vehicle. The van with the flashing arrow lights – “move over” – parked behind and the driver distributed loads of traffic cones along lane 1 (of 4). Completely unsurprisingly, the cops still had to direct cars into the outer lanes as quite a few drivers thought the instructions didn’t apply to them. They were both very sweet and kind especially when I watched R0X being winched up onto the recovery truck and got a bit upset, reaction I guess, but LWD seemed to enjoy the view from its cab. I was just terrified that R0X would somehow escape her bonds and fall off.

By the time we arrived at the garage in the middle of an industrial estate it was siesta and Señor directed me to a nearby cafe and ordered me to return at 5pm. One menu del dia and a lot of thumb twiddling later, I got back to the garage at the arranged time. 40 minutes later, the temperature had dropped alarmingly, it was trying to rain and I couldn’t get into R0X as she was still up on the reccy truck. I really was starting to panic, I had no idea where I was, let alone the recovery Señor and there was no one around to ask. I was beginning to wonder if I was being set up for a robbery or worse (I really must stop reading so many murder procedurals) and one or two tears could not be held back. My phone had run out of battery earlier whilst I was keeping P&M updated. So I was mightily relieved when another Señor turned up, shortly followed by the Recovery Señor (hereinafter called the Boss). They had been trying to track down 2 tyres (I decided not to trust the one remaining  el-cheapo tyre). No Michelin camper tyres in Valencia. I might be here for the weekend.

Señor Boss asked me via the other Señor (he and I were communicating in French) if I’d like him to take me to a hotel or would I like to stay on the forecourt. I went for the cheaper option. They got a step ladder so I could shelter in R0X bless them.

It was interesting, to say the least, to be sitting in R0X whilst she was backed into the forecourt and then jerkily winched down. LWD, not renowned for her bravery, shivered and whimpered, to be honest as I was already shivering from cold I almost joined in to make it a shiver/whimper duet.

Safely ensconced for the night on the forecourt, I was pouring my XXXL G&T when there was a knock at the door. Señor Boss beckoned me outside to show me two shiny new Vanco Camper tyres and told me he’d put them on tomorrow.

There’s now not a lot of G&T left in my glass and I’m feeling considerably calmer.  LWD has forgotten all about it and is blotto under the table …

🙂 🙂 🙂

An official nursing expression

It’s a twisty windy narrow road, a lot potholier than it was 2 years ago, up to El Berro, a mountain village 600metres (1,969 feet) up in the Sierra Espuna, a beautiful natural park beloved by mountain bikers, hikers, Daisy and me.

 

 

 

There’s a warning in the ACSI (camping) guide for approaching the El Berro site, it reads; C3315 take 2nd exit El Berro (1st exit unsuitable). Don’t go through the village. Assistance available. Call in advance!

The route around the outside edge of the village is now well signed and keeps large vehicles from become stuck in the extremely narrow twisting lanes in the village centre, and is only seriously narrow at one point. I arrived onsite without any problems; no oncoming traffic at the critical point!

Three days after my arrival the upgrading of the local  water supply moved from the village centre to the outer lanes and by the time of my planned departure involved the vital route out with an abundance of deep trenches crossing the road at 90° (without ramps or covers) and severe width restrictions, plus barriers preventing anything larger than Noddy’s parp-parp car entering the affected lane. There weren’t many pitches occupied by the end of the week – no-one could get in – well one stubborn Irishman could and I decided if he could get in I could get out ………. I would go through the village centre!

My life was not made any easier by cars parked on narrow right angled bends (2), oncoming traffic, and finally the blocked by a delivery van, one and only straight lane, which meant I’d have to do another right angled bend and then attempt the tight chicane … R0X1 came through it all, if you’ll excuse the official nursing expression, like sh*t out of an enema’d bum!

We are safely ensconced at a site in Jávea on the coast.

🙂 🙂 🙂

P.S. Thanks for the assist Jim.

Water restrictions 2

Derelict factory in Torrox – note the electrical wiring!

Slight inebriation may have played it’s part, but when I returned to R0X1 after a very convivial evening with The Danes, I had a eureka moment. My paternal grandfather, an engineer and inventor of a patented pump, must have been turning in his Lewisham grave that I’d taken so long to think of it. I decided I’d check in the morning …

First thing(ish) the next morning found the water tank once again exposed and me tentatively unscrewing the top of something about which I knew nothing. A few minutes later and I’d found my submersible pump. Remembering something BB had said the previous day about the water level I added 20 litres of H2O. The tank had been reading a quarter full when I started my hairwash, but I noticed that with R0X1 on a slight lean to the right and the pump in the left hand corner the water level might have become too low as BB had suggested. Now the pump was definitely covered.

I replaced the disconnected wire and turned the circuit breaker off …

Big fat nothing … not a sound … de nada …

I was once again scratching my poor head and wondering where the nearest Moho centre is to get the pump replaced (and panicking because K and the Smart One are due to arrive) when The Dane knocked on the door. Somewhere in the course of the previous evening’s bacchanalian feasting I remember pre-retirement careers being discussed. The Dane it transpired had been a lecturer in electrical engineering. He was at the door with electrical testing equipment … pump tested OK, connector block tested OK. After a search for the fuse box, fuse examined … not OK. I carry spares … fuse was changed, breath was held, tap was turned on and …

… water flowed.

That afternoon whilst The Dane rested, The Dane’s equally Danish wife and I went to a local bar and enjoyed live music and drank shandy to celebrate!

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Water restrictions

The weather is slowly improving and there have been quite a few t-shirt and shorts, but don’t go in the shade, days. LWD has had some forced marches locally there’s a nice track by the river that I can let her run free along. For the past eight years, had I been coming here for the past eight years, I would have had to have said “the nice track by the river bed”. This year however, due to the “torrentials” the R. Torrox and most of the other local rivers have water in them and there’s been enough rain, and therefore more water in the reservoirs, that the local government have reduced the restrictions for crop irrigation a little.

 

 

 

Meantime I’ve had water problems of my own, no I’m not in need of Tenalady, the water pump for the taps, shower and toilet had another hissy fit (see Watery subjects). I had just washed my hair in the on-board shower and came out to hear an odd noise. I assumed it was coming from outside, possibly a street cleaning truck, so I opened the hab door to find out. The noise faded as I set my foot outside; no trucks in evidence, street cleaning or otherwise. Back in the van I tried to isolate where the sound was coming from – ah, the bench alongside the table and what’s under the bench – the water tank. (Cushions flew everywhere – where’s me screwdriver I need to take the seat out?) Yup, it was the water pump. I flicked the habitation circuit breaker and peace descended.

I’d found the electrical connector but there were five wires in total and I hadn’t a scoobies which one would isolate the pump. Who to phone? Bomb disposal, they’re good with wires aren’t they? Nah. Lets call Superbro, BB the electrical engineer (rtd). “Basically” says he “It’s a process of elimination. It’s definitely not the blue wire or the brown wire, try removing each of the other three in turn and see which stops it (it was the second so I didn’t bother with the third). Then you need to find the pump, if there’s a reset switch press it, if that doesn’t work try a light tap with a hammer … “

Heading back into the depths of the water tank space, I tried to follow the wires back to the pump but they disappeared under the heating pipes with nary a sign of the offending article. I attempted to go in under another shelf but having moved all the equipment stored there and a couple of screws it clearly wasn’t the route to the water pump so I put it all back together (and whilst I was there sorted out the mess that the cables from aforementioned equipment had twisted themselves into).

At this point a lot of head scratching went on. BB had said the pump would be close to the tank, I got desperate enough to search further afield. Having no luck and knowing that the pump was now safely isolated electrically I went even further afield – to the Danish neighbours for drinkies and dinner – who needs a flushing loo anyway?

To be continued …

🙂 🙂 🙂