I installed my solar panels 17 weeks ago today. 3 x 100 watt Biard panels on the roof.
Normally I’d recharge batteries with the gennie once every 3 days and it costs a tenner in petrol for the gennie each time.
So, 17 weeks is 119 days, that’s 40 times I’d have charged the batteries in that period, meaning, £400 of petrol.
However with having the panels, I’ve only had to charge the batteries using the gennie 5 times in that period, that’s £50. So I’ve saved £350 in petrol in that time.
The panels and all the associated bits cost just under £700, so in that 17 weeks I’ve already saved half the cost of them.
Wow is all I can say.

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Well I got booked in at G C Autos at Gateshead and he replaced all the cables and checked the braking system out all for £94.
I’m chuffed to bits now as they actually work and it proves how bad they were because the foot brake works better too. I may fit vented discs at some point as I’ve found some to fit but I’ll do that as I need it.

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I was very pleased with the job done on my brakes when I came back from Italy, although I have since then found some vented discs, which I intend to buy and fit.
However I did ask that the brake cables be replaced at the time, and they convinced me that the existing ones could be “made good” so I allowed myself to be swayed. Here we are almost 6 months on and the cables are giving me problems now. The first 2 inches of pull on the handbrake handle is loose, and then it suddenly goes stiff as though the brakes are on, but they are not. So I’m going to get the whole cable assembly replaced in the morning.
Let’s hope that doesn’t break the bank.

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I came back to the Caravan Clinic and the boss got the gas fitter to come to talk to me. His only comment really was that the regulator was already loose. Well, that’s not really the point.
He didn’t even argue when I said I’d watched him bashing the rod and bending it, or the gauge being missing or anything else. He just kind of stood there and looked.
The boss sent him away and told me that if I left the van for 4-5 hours they’d sort it all out and reimburse me for the lost filler adaptor. I hadn’t banked on such a long time so I said I’d have to come back the week after. I was still angry.

However after I left I got to thinking about it and I decided I’d had enough and didn’t want to go back there. How much more damage could they do?
If they’re so careless with peoples’ van’s then what other damage might occur? I’m sure I can replace the gauges and the adaptor and fix the regulator back to the wall. I can also fix the fire as I’ve dismantled it in the past anyway. I redid all the hoses and found one which had no rubber seal, which explained why my gas hadn’t lasted at all. So I popped a spare in and tidied the whole thing up.

Caravan Clinic? I’d have been better off taking my van to a vet and have it groomed! I’ll never go back there again and stick with my instincts next time.

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So, the van was back at Caravan Clinic today to get the burner fitted but I’m unhappy with them. The gas fitter asked me to look at something and I can’t even recall what it was now, but I decided …

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Van service

The burner has not arrived yet so I agreed to a habitation check. It was only £85 so I felt that wasn’t a bad price given that my cupboards are full and it will be difficult to carry it out. …

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Heating part 2

Hmmm. Well I went to Caravan Clinic and they said not only was the thermo-couple corroded, but also the burner itself was corroded badly and actually falling apart. They kept it out to show me and my guess is the …

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No heating for me!

After about 7 months without using the fire it was finally cold enough to put it on and guess what? yeah…it’s bust! It wasn’t even making an attempt to stay alight so i thought the thermo-couple might be bust. I …

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Powered by the sun

I’ve not posted much lately as I have been doing silly amounts of overtime to save some cash up. I’ve just spent almost £700 of it on…solar panels! Yes I finally got the satellite dish off the roof and have …

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Van brakes repaired


Got the van into the garage for 7 am and set off to walk around Newcastle on Tyne. It was quite cold to start with but later on the sun came out and it was red hot all afternoon. They …

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Computer out of repair

I rang PC Specialist today and they said there was an option in the BIOS to disable the screen and this had been checked. I have never been into this BIOS so I don’t understand how that could possibly have …

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Computer in for repair.

I docked at 11 am on Monday UK time and rang work and they agreed I could book the week in as holidays, and let them know if I got sorted before the end of the week. I then set straight …

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Computer breakdown and the race to Calais.


If you’ve read from the start you’ll know that right back in Autumn 2013 when I was readying the van for Europe and I had 2 tyres stolen that from that point there were non-stop problems that had to be overcome. …

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The Drain monster is exposed…it’s a Coypu!


I know what the drain monster is! We went to the park this morning as usual and although as we approached we hear the usual thud/splash as they presumably jumped off the pipes and into them, when we got to …

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Drain monster – The Video!

We’ve been back to the park several times now and observed the drain monster down there, although, observed means watching and seeing nothing but hearing those moo’s! I decided to video on my phone so you can hear them and …

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My fridge is hot stuff


If you’ve read my blog since the beginning you’ll know that for most of the item I’ve had the van the fridge hasn’t worked. It works fine on mains, but on gas it works for a while then for no …

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The drain monster


Jack and I have found a drain monster. No really, we have. We were walking in our favourite place in the park and Jack as you know is banned from being off lead here after getting badly bitten, and after …

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Another lens broken

Yet another item has failed on me, this time my new 24-105 Canon L series lens that I bought last year from Portus Digital. I’m so frustrated with these constant problems at the moment. The 17-40 lens is the only …

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Camping Rialto


I’d found Camping Rialto on the ACSI map and it was €21 a night but being an ACSI member it was only €16. Leccie, showers, laundry and a bus stop right outside the gates, what more could you ask for? The …

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Things got hairy here, for what reason I have no idea but everyone was asked to leave the car park, and when I parked along the road I got 11 hooters in one day! That’s the worst anywhere. Public holiday …

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Taking time out

Some evenings I’m simply walking the streets with the dog, enjoying being in Italy, not even going into Venice sometimes. Other times I go into Venice and walk around aimlessly, it’s very nice there so easy to do. I’ve come …

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Avant kicks Opera’s butt


I’ve been using Opera browser now for about 20 years or so. I’ve never liked Internet Explorer, Netscape was awful, I can not get used to Firefox and it often has lots of bugs and problems, and Chrome is just …

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Lightning…it’s very, very frightening!


I went into Venice last night as the sun had come out nicely and it looked as though it was going to be a really nice evening and night. My plan was to go to the Fondamenta Salute which is …

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Jack nails a hat trick!


You can’t make this stuff up! There we were walking through the park, with Jack on the lead for you know what and what! But we got to the top end of the park by the new marina and I took …

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Take a brake

You may recall that when I first came to Italy my brakes faded out, you may have read it here. I just checked a price back in the UK and for new brake discs, decent quality pads and new shoes, …

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Thanks DVLA


Just got round to contacting DVLA today about my lost driving licence. Someone told me you could contact the British Embassy and they’d sort you out but when I rang them they were about as helpful as a sack of …

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Jack and bloody culverts!


Despite his fright in a drainage culvert yesterday, Jack decides to nip down another one and investigate. I hadn’t seen where he’d gone, he disappeared into a stand of trees and bushes so when I faintly heard his yelping I …

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Jack and the dark culvert

Parco San Giuliano is enormous and we still haven’t explored all of it yet, but we do a little more each time. Today we explored a slightly wild section that edges onto Venice lagoon. The entire park is littered with …

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Repairing the bumper


I’ve come out to a place called Jesolo that I found when I first came to Italy. It’s a large carpark which is almost derelict it’s so grown over. It’s almost hidden from the road too I only saw it …

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Venice again…


Well obviously me being here this is all you’re going to hear about hahahh I’ve posted an album of photos here… there’s about 100 I think. I may add some more later on but that’s all for now. Here’s a one …

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