A picture of Whitby church

I love Whitby and after having a nice time in Wales and the north, as I headed down to Malvern for a show I decided to stay over in Whitby on the way.

I like it mostly because it still retains it’s old charm, they haven’t managed to spoil it yet with modern buildings and badly thought out roads. You can still park on the cliff top for free so it makes it a really accessible place to visit. Each time I visit I have to climb the 99 steps.

Picture of the 99 steps in Whitby
Whitby, 99 steps

Each time it doesn’t get any easier! lol but I do see really elderly people climbing up them without stopping so it puts me to shame.

One of these days I am going to go and walk up them without stopping and when I do, that’s what I have to do every time.

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Snowdon view

A view of Snowdon from Llanberis
Snowdon view

I took this from Llanberis car park, that’s Snowdon in the background. I feel quite attached to the place since I went up, it’s good to have achievements in your life, especially when you work very hard for them. I like it round here, I recall from way back in 1995 when I worked in mental health and I was tenting around the country on days off. That’s why I came back but I never knew then that Snowdon was here or so accessible.

Picture of an orange haired boy looking after bright yellow boats on a lake
Yellow boats, orange hair

This scene caught my attention because of the bright yellow boats, and the bright orange hair of the young lad operating them. His hair almost matched the interior of the boats. A little splash of colour is always nice during the day 🙂

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Snowdon summit

A view of a steep cliff on Snowdon
View from Snowdon

I found this amazing view on the way up Snowdon today. I’ve long wanted to climb Snowdon but due to being  a life-long smoker and the way my legs are with sitting for a living, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever do it.

This view is of the Pyg and Miner’s tracks as they converge, looking east from the Llanberis path. This section is a sheer drop and probably one of the biggest I’ve ever seen.

Picture from summit of Snowdon
Snowdon summit

This is a view from the summit. I actually can’t believe I got here! You can see all the way south to Harlech, and north to Anglesey. This is a major achievement for me and I must do it again!

The only way I managed it was by walking as much as I could and stopping for a rest. But by the halfway point I was knackered. Sometimes I wasn’t going more than 50 yards before stopping again, then resting for 2-3 minutes before starting up. It took a long time to get there but I am so pleased I’ve done it. I climbed Ben Nevis way back in 1995 or something so this is the second highest peak in the UK conquered now.

Oh…and my legs are not aching at all!


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I’ve been thinking…

…about getting a dog for some time now as you know.

When I was sitting having a cuppa on the summit of Snowdon I saw another man who was also sitting alone, and he had a dog next to him, a border collie.

I loved my bosses dog, right size, right temperament, lovely looking thing, and hardy too which is good for me.
I’m going to go to Cartmel and get one!

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Yawn … satellite not working

Picture of colourfully painted shops in Llanberis

Well I’m having a fantastic time here in Llanberis, it’s a shame that the rig isn’t. It failed to connect yet again and Nick is now not answering his phone most times I call. Barry Lieberman still calls, to ask for his £70 a month connectivity fee.

Thank God for the Vodafone USB modem! It was supposed to be a backup but it’s my main form of communication with the internet and work now!
So much for Ethnet ‘guaranteeing’ to make things work. The fact that they won’t answer the phone anymore kind of says they’ve given up on it.

Anyway, this is a view of Llanberis high street, including the fabulous Pete’s Eats. If you’re hungry this is the place to go: real tasty food at reasonable prices. It get’s crowded in the season but well worth the wait. I can also recommend the Chinese takeaway across the road 🙂

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A picture of me in the camper using my laptop

A very rare photo of me. This is my camper and I’m sitting using my Dell laptop as I would at work. The photo was taken by Terry Richards for the Sun, as I work for Sun Bingo! They were doing an article about me as I live in my camper and work from it as I travel around the country.

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Tombola dawn

Works do
Roker Hotel

I can’t recall why but we decided to have a works summer night out in the Roker hotel in Sunderland. It’s a fairly small team, but growing quickly and we all get on mostly. The boss had about £100 on the table so we could all get a drink on the company, which is very nice of them!

I had parked in a side street a little way from the hotel so I stayed the night in the van.

Picture of a sunrise over the sea
Seaburn sunrise

I’m glad I did too because I was up early the next morning and there was a beautiful sunrise starting. I grabbed the camera and went for a walk along the cliff top and grabbed this shot of the palm trees that grow across the road from the hotel. It gave it a mediterranean look I thought 🙂

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Herne Bay

A lone woman with her child on the beach on a sunny day.
Herne Bay

I came down to Herne Bay to get my new window. It’s a nice enough place and I picked a good day as it was really sunny. The beach left a little to be desired, it was mainly gravelly with a long line of groynes. Nevertheless there was plenty of parking and of all people a traffic warden was very helpful in finding me a spot to park the van. I got the window and found that it was more than a struggle to fit it! Never mind after a weird balancing act I got it in place and all is good now. 🙂 Thanks Barrons of Herne Bay, the first time a Barrons has actually been any good!

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Window pain

I’d been down to Wisbech to see some friends, and parked up in a layby for the night after leaving. I had intended to go across to the lakes but I was tired so parked up in one of those deep laybys screened from the road by trees. It was deserted so I expected a quiet nights sleep.

And I got one.

I slept in the top bunk as I sometimes did, partly because it’s much warmed up there. I have developed the art of jumping straight into the bunk from the floor to save getting the ladder out. Yes I know, lazy! but what the heck lol.

Anyway I’d left the window open as I can’t sleep without fresh air and I was woken by such a racket! As I came awake there was such a roaring and banging and god knows what and I just lay there for a second wondering what in hell’s name was going on.
Anyway, it was a lorry driving past, tearing my open window off as it went! I leapt down into the van in time to see my window lying in pieces in the road and the lorry about to leave the layby. I leaned over and blasted the horn but it had no effect so I reached for the keys and decided to set off after him. After stubbing my toe really hard on the drivers seat base. Ouch!

So, there’s me barely awake, just in my boxers, driving down the road chasing this lorry. *sigh* My life!  Anyway I’d only gone a short way when I realised the mad flapping noise was not just the wind rushing through the missing window, but in fact the duvet which was being sucked out of the window and was flapping it’s way down the side of the van. I decided the best thing to do was stop and sort it out.

Returning to the layby I repaired it as best I could with cardboard, a bin liner and some cheap duct tape. I then spent that morning trying to find a new window and guess what? £220 bloody quid! For a piece of plastic 3 feet by 1 foot! Bloody disgrace. But I have to have it so I now face a trip to Herne Bay which is the closest Barrons who has one in stock. *sigh* My life!

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View of a sunlit farmers field
Sundon hills

Sundon Hills country park. Lovely place, I came here to walk Jack but decided to stay overnight as it’s got amazing views. Sadly it was spoiled a little by some mindless idiots deciding to chant and honk their car horn at me, but after a while they settled and I was left alone.

However when reversing into a space there turned out to be a large thick post embedded in the ground which was hidden by tall grass. The edge of the gas locker caught it and so it’s ll bent out of shape now. That’s the first really big bump I’ve had and I’m really disappointed, but at least nothing is actually broken.

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Bare tree

Picture of two bare trees with the sun rising behind and mist on the ground
Misty dawn

What, you may ask, is so good about a bare tree? Well, nothing especially, but I was driving into Coventry and it was very early on the morning and there was a mist rising slowly off the grass. The sun was rising in the background and these two trees just looked pretty.

Luckily there was a layby nearby so I parked and ran over to try and get a shot. I love this Sony, this I would say could be one of my best shots ever.

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Party selfie

Went down to Plymouth with some mates to have a big party. A lot of us hadn’t met before obviously but it worked really well anyway. Met up with some old chums, met some new ones.

A picture of a couple of dozen people posing for the camera in a garden
Garden party

The gorgeous Becky! (second from left)MMMMMM. lol Here’s a selfie with most of those who went. That’s me of course standing with my crotch resting on Paul’s head. Just to my left is a girl in a silver top. She’s a right hottie but she became seriously ill later after being bitten by a tick and developing Lyme’s disease. She’d post photos on Facebook showing her with her eyes bleeding. It’s an awful disease, keep safe if you’re out in the countryside.

We had a fabulous day and night and 4 of us including Becky went to bed in my camper. We didn’t sleep, we were like kids on a sleepover and giggled and farted about so much we didn’t settle til about 5 am. Well hell you only get one life you may as well try and live it eh?

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Red or dead!

A red squirrel is seen sitting on a fence ready to scavenge in a litter bin
Red squirrel

Well I’d come down to Worcester to get that charger fitted and there I was, sitting minding my own business when a red squirrel shows his face. He ran along the fence then started scavenging for food. So I grabbed the camera and snapped off a few pictures.The more I looked at them though, the more I thought that although he was red, he didn’t look like a red squirrel.

So I emailed Christine Westerback of the Save Our Squirrels Project, (part of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust) and asked if she could confirm.
She later did confirm that although it was red, it was not a red squirrel.

I had suspected because of it’s colour, not red enough and the size, I felt it was slightly large for a red squirrel. She pointed out that no grey squirrels have tufts on their ears, which our reds do for about 11 months of the year. Hmmmm I didn’t know that.

I wonder if they’re any further forward in finding a cure for squirrelpox?

A photo of Worcester cathedral and riverside

Worcester is a really nice place. I sometimes stay for a couple of nights if I’m passing simply because I like it here. Apparently some video company got wrong off the church because they filmed in the cathedral, but it was for a gruesome killing spree type video game and they hadn’t said.

As it turns out the people who fitted my battery to battery charger were about a mile up the road, but when I came to see them I didn’t venture into this part of town so had no idea it was so nice.

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Bum-ing around

I was passing Sutton and called in to see Jane as I always do, and as the weather was great we went to Kingsbury water park for the day.  Of all things to take a photo of I took one of Jane’s bum! lol

A photo of a lady with a nice bum
Jane’s bum

Well, I still think to this day she’s got the best bum I’ve ever seen on a woman 🙂

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If only I had a fence…

I’ve been thinking about getting a dog for a long time, what breed I would get, what size, if it would be healthy traveling in the van, loads of issues to consider. I started ringing around rescue centres to find out what kind of small dogs they had.

I found  a pattern amongst all of them: they require you to have a fenced in garden of  a certain size, or they won’t let you have a dog. Obviously that precludes me instantly, living in a motorhome as I do. So I decided to explain to a few of them why I did not have a fence, and I was astonished that 1 woman went to get her manager, who when I explained I lived in a motorhome, began to laugh and said no way would she let a dog live under those conditions.

I understand that they want to ensure their dogs go to good homes, but a good home is not necessarily measured by having a garden fence. I think that’s a silly rule with no real thought given to it.
So I’ve decided to go to the breeder in Cartmel where my boss bought hers from. He breeds Patterdale Terriers and I’ve decided it’s the perfect sort of dog to live the life I do.

I’ll keep you posted.

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All change!

So, I sold the LNB, the dish, the modem and the controller back to Isatlan for £1,200 and Ethnet replaced them all for just under £1,000.

I now have the F1 mount and new dish, new LNB, DW7000 controller and the HN7000s Modem.

Nick, the engineer for Ethnet got it working straight away.

Fingers crossed.

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Knock knock…

As I’ve mentioned I have a friend in Sutton Coldfield and I was visiting her and parked in ‘that’ notorious lay-by. I noticed that daily a young unkempt man with long straggly ginger hair wanders along the road adjacent to the lay-by. His demeanour strongly suggested some form of mental health issue or that he was homeless. As I was working at the laptop he approached the window once or twice asking for cigarettes but apart from that he appeared to be in a world of his own.

Some days after I’d become used to seeing him one of the many lorries that use this lay-by frequently had to call a fitter out due to breakdown. The fitter arrived, parked behind the lorry and got out to have a look at the engine and after some deliberating he opened the rear doors of his van, took out some tools and went back to the broken lorry. At some point the ginger lad wandered over to the rear of the van and was looking inside.

The fitted saw him, came rushing over and punched the lad straight in the head. The fitter was a large, strong young lad so ‘ginger’ was sent flying onto his back. The fitter moved toward him so I rushed out to try and explain to the fitter that the lad clearly had some issues and it wasn’t fair to be beating on him when he was so clearly unable to defend himself, especially against such a big, strong man.

The fitter was unimpressed and came out with some hearty language, but at least he backed off and continued with his work. Ginger had got up by now and was muttering to himself, and as he looked OK I left him to it and returned to work. Here’s a gratuitous shot of the view from this lay-by.

A picture of wheat in a field
View from the lay-by

Much later that evening I was settled in for the evening, fire on as it had been raining most of the afternoon, when I had a harsh rapping coming from the floor. It took me some seconds to work out where it was coming from, and I also heard a voice.

I went outside but no-one was around. I looked underneath the van and there was Ginger! When he saw me he said “Please turn on the engine. I’m cold.” To say I was stunned would be an understatement, and I began to laugh, however he was deadly serious. It was cold, and wet.

I tried to persuade him to come out but he wasn’t having it, simply asking me over and over to turn the engine on as it was cold. I tried explaining the dangers of doing so, the burn hazard from the exhaust, the poisoning from fumes, and even invited him inside for a hot cuppa, but he simply kept up his repetitive requests, interspersed with some random ramblings.

In the end, I decided to turn the engine on, thinking the noise might scare him out. It didn’t.
I let the engine run for perhaps 10 minutes then shut it off, and within a minute I heard him rapping again and shouting for me to turn the heat on!! lol  

I got out again but no matter what I said he simply kept up his repetitive requests. I even grasped his ankles and tried to drag him out from underneath. But he shuffled away to avoid me and when I caught one ankle, he got hold of the chassis and clung on for dear life.

There was no way I would be able to drag him out. I couldn’t drive away either as there is no room for a human underneath the rear axle and he’d get some nasty burns from the exhaust at the front.
I had visions of him clinging on to the bottom of the van in the way Robert De Niro’s ‘Max Cady’ had in Cape Fear, as I drove off!

I finally decided that the only way to get some peace in the short term was to turn the engine back on. Then I had to think about calling the police. I wasn’t happy with that as I had visions of them having a crane come to lift the van off him to ensure his safety. It was all a little perplexing to say the least haha

As luck would have it, I was saved by nature.

I hadn’t noticed that he’d crawled out from underneath until I saw a ginger flash in the trees and at first though it was a red squirrel. It was indeed ‘Ginger’ taking  a leak. I’ve never moved so quick as I did, grabbed the keys, ran to the drivers seat and drove off as fast as I could. I was actually exhilarated as I drove away, and started laughing maniacally to myself lol

I returned later and he was gone, although he did spend 2 full days more over the next week under my van, both times when it was raining.

It just shows that a little ginger does indeed spice things up!

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The truth is out there…

I’ve been doing a bit of digging. No not in the garden…

It turns out after speaking to Tim Gibbs in the US office of Datastorm, that my rig is indeed second hand and was well over a year old when Isatlan sold it to me as brand new.

Isatlan in that case conned me, ripped me off, duped me with false promises and statements. I’ve contacted trading standards to see what can be done.

In the meanwhile I’ve been in discussion with Barry Lieberman from Ethnet. He’s near Royston and is the main UK importer for equipment from Datastorm. He reckons that if I ‘sell’ back parts of the kit to Isatlan and buy new from him, he guarantees to get it working. So I emailed Isatlan and they’re up for it so that’s what’s happening.

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As I said I’m in Scotland to see someone from this dating site I was a member of. Once again Vodafone totally screwed me over with the dongle, and after a couple of hours with CS a manager finally got it all sorted. Some sort of screw up with their admin grrr. This is getting too frequent and unreliable for work.

Anyway, I stayed around up here for a couple of weeks or so as it is a beautiful area. The person I visited has a loch side house and the views were amazing. Here’s one from her garden :

A picture of a sunset over a Scottish loch

“Can you imagine spending time here?” she asked. Dam right I can. This photo is taken with my Sony DSC-R1. This is without doubt the best camera I’ve owned.

Anyway, I stayed around for a while but I had to leave in the end simply because I was still failing to get a signal and work were unhappy. I hope to come back to Scotland though and explore somewhere. I absolutely love the place, especially the wild north.

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I’m sad she’s gone

Jo has finally found somewhere to live so she’s off into the sunset. I wish her lots of happiness and all success and that one day she can confront her problems and overcome them. Despite it’s the right decision, I’m very sad. 🙁

I’ve given the flat over to an agency to rent out. Hopefully they can get me some income off it which will help out cos my pay is dire.

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Visiting Jane

Picture of a smartly dressed woman in my van
My friend Jane

After my exploit in Ipswich I came up to Sutton Coldfield to see my friend Jane. She’s just qualified as a social worker and is one of my best mates.

When I visit her I use a lay-by to park the camper in which is a mile or two outside of Sutton Coldfield. It’s quite a deep one and is usually full of lorries who spend the night there before going off to deliver their goods. I’d been there many times but one night I heard a revving of engines and some youths screeching. I went to the window and as I did there was a thud on the side of the van.

Image of dents in the side of a camper
damaged van

The thud turned out to be a beer bottle that had been thrown at the van. In the first image you can clearly see the two dents from the tough rim of the top and bottom of the bottle. I went to get my torch, which is a 3 million candlepower thing that is almost like carrying a car headlight around. I find it a very useful weapon as it intimidates people if you shine it in their faces.

Anyway, so I got it out and started shining it on the faces of the 3 lads that were

Picture of a dent in the side of a camper
Another dent

standing outside of the car. As I switched it on there was another thump and a second bottle hit the van. This one hit neck first and left a more gouged dent in the thin aluminium skin of the van.

I walked towards the group who were about 30 yards away yelling and shining my light in their faces but like the immature idiots that they were they all jumped back in their cars and sped off. Wankers!

So now I have a damaged van and for what? They were jealous of me parked in a motorhome? I’ve had lots of hooters (people who blast their horn as they drive past) and quite a few ignorant gits but never aggression like this. I shall be wary in future!

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Sick of the sight of Stoke now

Nothing personal, just that driving into Sandbach now reminds me of failure and the fact I face a day of listening to motor-whine as the dish goes round and round and round interminably without ever working.

Actually Musa had it working within half an hour of getting here. However he clearly doesn’t know what he’s done to get it working grr!

I wish I’d kept  a record of how much  diesel I’ve used continually coming back here.
Thank God I kept my Vodafone internet card. I’d be buggered without it!

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Away with the fairies

A group of people fund raising in a pub
Away with the fairies

Some weeks ago a woman I knew called Charlotte was complaining that a friend had let her down. He had promised to come dressed as a fairy to help raise funds for Great Ormond Street children’s hospital. It’s one of the few charities I do admire so I instantly said I’d help out and fill the gap.

So there I was being tied into a basque and having make-up applied! However, it was the most fantastic evening, we raised tons of money and had quite the best laugh ever!  In the pic are Nicci, Chris, Kev, Bridie, Mark, Tasha and of course me as the fairy. I think Charlie was taking the photo.

I absolutely make no excuses for the photos on the night, we were raising money for charity therefore anything we did was fine!

Tasha was a little honey and made everyone a huge fried breakfast the next morning. She’ll make someone a fine wife!

A drunk woman cuddling a drunk man
Me and Charlie
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It never rains but it pours

It rained heavily today and it was ages before I sussed that the box Isatlan had fitted to the roof was leaking rain like a fucking torrent into my wardrobe!!

Those bastards!!

OK I’m calm now.

It’s been non-stop issues with Isatlan, I wish I had gone with my instinct and not bought from them. What they did was they drilled a hole about 30mm through the roof, glued a large, plastic junction box over the top of it and fed all the cables through into the wardrobe where the modem, controller and router are.

It did indeed look like a pretty thorough job, however the rain came straight through and soaked everything in the wardrobe.
Musa had me go to the unit where he took the box off, and started from scratch putting it back on.
I hope for his sake it works!

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I am heartily sick to my back teeth of Isatlan and Musa. He does not have the faintest idea what he is doing!

I contacted Ned Spencer from Point systems who tried to help and he said Musa is actually well known in the industry for failed installations.

I also spoke to Barry Lieberman from Ethnet. They are the UK reseller for Datastorm bandwidth and equipment so they should know, however a phone call to him proved inconclusive except he also said he knew of Musa and was constantly fixing his mistakes. Bridge internet said the same as did everyone I’ve spoken to!

I almost felt sorry for Musa being so widely known in an industry for being inept, but then I remember my £8,000 and all sympathy goes out of the window!

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Merry Christmas!

My first Christmas in the van! I spent it in the peaks as I’d been over in Stoke with that useless shower of fools trying to get the satellite to work. It still doesn’t!

I’ve made a full Christmas dinner though using chicken instead of turkey as I don’t like turkey that much. At least there’s snow here!

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The day after the day.

Still at Isatlan. Musa spent the entire day working on the equipment, I even fed him lunch and tea.

After starting at 9:30am he finally left at 5pm after somehow getting the unit to work. I was not elated that he’d got it to work, I knew something was wrong and I knew I’d be back.

Nevertheless he went home and I played for a while on the internet thinking what a wonderful thing technology is.

Later that night I drove up the motorway for a few miles and pulled into a service station and set the dish away to connect to the internet. Heh heh I heard that whirring sound that I’d become accustomed to over the last 2 days but no way was it going to connect.

I phoned Musa who told me a few things to try and somehow we got it working. It feels very much like Musa actually doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.

I am seriously not happy with this. £8,000 for equipment, it should just work. I have a very bad feeling about this. 🙁

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Satellite dayyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!

What a farce.

I met Musa and Chris from Isatlan and drove down to some unit they had in Alsager in Stoke. They spent most of the day fitting the Datastorm to the roof whilst I mooched around a rather small and uninteresting town.

When I returned they had a problem. Although I had specifically asked what power requirements the equipment had and been told 12 volts, what it really needs is 230 volts from a mains inverter!  This is a completely different requirement. Musa after a while went and found an inverter that was laying around and sold it to me for a tenner. Bloody bad show though not being prepared like that.

Not only that, but they had damaged the roof of the van and put a small dent in the side at the top. I never really got to attend to this as the equipment wasn’t working anyway. We finally agreed that I would stay the night outside the unit and Musa would come in tomorrow and resolve whatever problem was there.

Disappointing to say the least.

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