Saturday, 28 September 2013

Nearly There Nearly

It’s been a while since I scribbled. We have been very busy gadding about here there and everywhere. In summary we’ve move ninety percent of our remaining old kit to the lockup (we’ve also spent some several hours re-ordering the inside of the lockup to accommodate our remaining kit, and to box some items that got left loose ... it’s like doing a Rubics cube from the inside). Our bedroom looks like student digs, with a mattress on the floor and our going away clothes in large `Bag For Life’ type bags around the perimeter.

We’ve spent a few nights out in the van, usually just on friends drives, because we are popular late night company and can stay and have a few aperitifs. However we did do a random `test the new Snooper Satnav’ camp and decided that if we were going to drive to a destination we may as well stay the night. And we were so glad we did; we ended up at the Steeple Bay Holiday Park: not the most adventurous or exciting destination, however as a roll-out on the fly, it ticked all the boxes.
We rolled in at nearly 8pm having had settings induced issues with the Satnav (oversite on my part, I’ll say a bit more about the Sat nav another time). It cost us a fiver(£5) to book in on the non-electric tourer field. It was dark and misty as we drove across the field, a sheen of ethereal night dew shimmered on the grass in the headlights, under-lighting the misty tendrils that ebbed and flowed with a breeze falling offshore as the heat of the day itself ebbed away, and the cooling air fell under the warm mist creating a gaseous undertow,  shadows danced and moved as if alive ... the sites pond with its reed beds hew into view carving a deeper hollow of dark in the milky thickening mist; our headlights caused a whiteout and then ...
And then I stopped the engine turned off the lights and everything was backlit from the toilet and washing up blocks behind us, and all the spooky atmosphericness disappeared in a puff of ... swirly mist and halogen spotlights.

Ill prepared as we were for a night out with regard to dinner, we’d stopped off at a petrol station and picked up a bag of frozen scampi, a tin of beans and some bacon and baps for breakfast (we’d already picked up teas and milk). It mattered not; we cooked using the oven and hob to do the beans and scampi, made a couple of teas and then built the bed. All things being equal everything worked fine. We set off the CO alarm (Carbon Monoxide) because we didn’t have the door or side window open a crack. This is a subtle difference from the previous van, as it was able to vent direct out the rear, sharing the dual vent from the fridge. It was good to know the CO alarm worked and we just opened the door a crack to allow the roof vents and door to create an updraft.
In the morning we grilled bacon, cut bread, made tea, used the site facilities to shower etc, we emptied the toilet cassette, allowed our waste water (possibly a pint) to drain, on the gravel and left for home. It was a comfort; we’d used all the main facilities apart from the shower, and slept like logs for the most part.

Steeple Bay in the morning was a glory to behold. The mist from the night before was back with the dawn (if it had left at all), the light was soft even though the sun was relatively high; there was still a tinge of pink to the sky. We both wanted to walk along the dyke and explore, I had wondered if the dyke would lead as far as Stone or St Lawrence bay. But we had to leave, Amanda’s sister was in town equipping her son for university in England, so we had to get back home, get changed and get the train into Covent Garden for late lunch, and a bit of site seeing. And since then we’ve been back to the grind of getting ready and waiting around.
I chased the DVLA for an update and got a comprehensive one. The long and short of I will re-cap here, but first I’ll ask a rhetorical question: Do you know why governments cost so much money? Pedantry, pedants, bullshit. We made three changes to the logbook, we filled in all three boxes or sections required to complete all the changes. However the DVLA can only change one thing per submission, so the thing they have changed is the colour, when the document returns we need to fill in an additional form to tax it (that’s their priority, getting the tax class correct), then we have to submit the additional form with the logbook again so we can get a tax disk, and to obtain the correct tax class mark and make the additional change to campervan. There is an argument that the guy in the post office several months ago should have known about the V10 change to PLG classification, rather than his “it’s registered as an ambulance here have some free road tax”. However, as we filled in the boxes to change it thus, one would have thought that sending the logbook back with all changes complete including the tax class (as noted on the form and on the covering letter) that they the DVLA would have just sorted it out and then left us to tax it when we got the Logbook back.

It irritates me, it’s a waste of time, it’s another two weeks minimum, and there is no mention of the additional form required on the submission process on the .gov site, unless there is a query and inspection required. But more than that, it’s the fact that they want three separate submissions (I should say that the additional form V10 forms one submission and gets the tax disk).
We still need to get the cat re-homed and Amanda has taken charge of that process, as I have been sadly remiss ... I’ve had her since she was eight weeks old, she’s like a comfortable pair of shoes. She knows my moods, I know hers. She is my familiar, if I was a witch, she would be the perfect broom ornament. I can’t keep her on the road, it’s not fair, she needs a little cupboard love, a bed to kip on and a garden to run around in. At fourteen she’s no longer a young cat despite appearances often to the contrary.

All the mods and tweaks are made. Once we have the Logbook back we will sort out an additional Electronic key fob. On Monday, we are going to whizz to Stanford Le Hope to get the clutch changed and a bearing on the drive shaft sorted. The bearing I have heard occasionally when pulling away uphill on a bend (usually right hand ... there is one of these hill turns on the way to the lockup) one of Benchsounds engineers confirmed my suspicion when I was sure I was hearing things and took the van in for a confirmation drive by an engineer. The clutch is just me being a bit paranoid from a certain perspective, and belt and braces from another, the clutch like tyres and cam belts is no brainer, we are going to do lots of miles in foreign lands, we might as well go with fifty thousand miles worth of clutch rather than an indeterminate amount of clutch as I see it. Benchsound will also be a supply only of all the auxillary belts, and I’ll take advice on any other odds and sods of recommended mechanical spares to carry.
From Tuesday onwards I think the plan is to be out an about as much as possible overnights. Once the tax is sorted and the logbook is in process, we can plan to meet it at our eventual address in Somerset and leave my brothers for good (cat re-home aside). I have one trip to London planned to meet some mates from work, we have one evening promised to friends in Tilbury, we have some saucepans to be delivered they are horribly expensive, but worth it for convenience and space saving, and a mattress topper to complete the bedroll which has changed significantly ... I think I have a some more writing to do to get some of the finer points down for the record.

It’s bedtime again, we’re are professionally knackered.

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