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 bought 3 solar panels to go up there. I’ll be fitting them over the weekend so I’ll take some photos to show how the job went. Can’t wait til Sunday when they’re powering me up with free electricity!

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Image of a car garage

Swingbridge garage

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 called me about 1 pm to collect the van which cost me £291.66 for new disks, new pads, new shoes, new fluid and the handbrake cable serviced.  I went to pick the bike and my other stuff up and by the time I got to my friend Lynda’s about 12 miles away the brakes were stinking, squealing and fading. I was gutted and after I got my stuff took it straight back. They jacked it up and cleaned it all off but were adamant there was no problem, it was just the brakes bedding in. They did seem miles better after I left later so let’s hope they’re all sorted now. Part of the problem is these motorhomes are standard commercial vans with a camper conversion and instead of running at full weight occasionally, they do constantly. So the brake swill get hot but still shouldn’t fade

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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 happened. Anyway they have it on stress test and I can pick it up tomorrow.
Except I have booked the van in tomorrow at Gateshead for 7 am to get all the brakes replaced! It’s their company policy to not let machines go out without a thorough stress test but I persuaded them to let me have it and finally I picked it up about 15:30 and headed up north.

The first thing I did when I got parked was go into the BIOS, and work out what keystrokes I’d need to enable the screen in case that problem occurred again. I’ve never heard of a switch like that and have not a clue how it could have been changed. However it’s all done now so let’s hope it behaves.

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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 off to Wakefield where PC Specialist are based. I rang them on the way and explained and was pleased to hear they’re open til 20:30 now so there was no rush. I got there for about 2 pm anyway and handed the computer in. They said if it needed a new screen it could take 2 weeks, so I set off for Oldham where there is an Argos and a PC World. I had to get a backup computer.

I saw some lovely Lenovo all-in-one’s and checked their power usage and they would work in the van and the price was very favourable in comparison to the one I got from PC Specialist. However for various reasons I decided to wait on getting a back up. I found a nice place to park up for the night with stunning views and I couldn’t help but feel glad it was cool again instead of the 37 degrees in Italy. :)

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Computer breakdown and the race to Calais.

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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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Kong!

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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

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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!

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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!

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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

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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!

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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

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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…

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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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I think they came to rob me last night…

It was almost 2am CET, and I’d been working on some photos but had not long turned the computer off and was playing with the dog with his favourite toy when I noticed a flashing outside. It was almost like …

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Venice…again?

Oh yes. I was awake very early this morning so took Jack out for an hour and watched the sun come up which was beautiful. Then I got my gear and went across the road to see if the local …

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More battery woes!

This trip lumbers from bad to worse! The voltage needle had been fluctuating slightly as I used the computer so I decided to investigate. Checked all the wiring and stuff, went to check the batteries and…they’re bone dry! I can …

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Lost my wallet

For the first time in my life I’ve lost my wallet. I’d been busy the other morning going to the garage, getting water, shopping at Lidl’s, finding a new lens for the one I broke the other day, just those …

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Bang! Clatter! Crash!

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I found a laundry, that was good. Only about 2 miles from where I’m staying too so that’s even better. However when pulling away I broke one of the upper lights on the back. The hanging cable on the left is …

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New shoes

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I spent the whole of Tuesday in Venice with my shoes on. They’re pretty much worn out and were only cheap ones anyway. It was really hot and of course walking on tarmac all day does tire your feet out. …

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Half work – half play.

Today was my first day back at work since last Friday so I was nervous as to how the MiFi would perform. It has seemed ok so far albeit slightly slow, but the work interface uses sockets so needs a …

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A quick snapshot of Venice.

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I’ve not processed any of the photos yet I’ve been too busy, so here’s a quick taster of some obvious touristy shots just to whet your appetite.   I love this boat! Oh wait…do I have a thing for boats… …

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