Wednesday, 28 November 2018

It's been a while........

Yes it has been a while since I have posted anything on this blog.... But I have had reasons which I will try and update you with as concisely as possible...

My last post was made when we were still at the Verwood site....
From there we moved to the CandCC site at Moreton...... 
While we were at Moreton I attended my annual MRI scan with a follow up appointment with my cardiac consultant due a few days before we were due to head off back down to Devon....

About two weeks before we were due to leave Moreton we were informed that the arrangements we had made for winter had fallen through due to over running building work where we had planned to stay.... 

This left us with a bit of a problem as we now had nowhere booked for our winter season.....
Obviously there are sites open all year round but I didn't want to be moving on every few weeks over the winter as there is nothing worse than packing up and setting up when the weather is bad like it is as I write this post. Even worse is travelling in snow and ice which is always a possibility.....

This really had created a bit of a headache for us over our winter plans......the first time since we had started touring throughout the year.....
In the end we decided that we would book in at Tavistock for 28 days while we looked for an alternative winter pitch....

The next thing that happened was at my appointment with the cardiac consultant I was informed that I have been diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiocmyopathy (HCM).
This is a genetic condition that can be passed on in families and is often the cause of sudden death in younger sports people and others who have shown no previous heart conditions...

I was told that I needed to inform my 'bloodline' relatives of the condition and advise them to get tested to see if they also have the gene mutation themselves.....
This could have an impact on both my grandsons if it is eventually shown that they have the condition as they are both very keen on sport....

For my part I have been told that I must keep my heartrate within strict zones and must not allow my heartrate to exceed 85% of max HR at any time. 
I have also been told that I must not attempt another cycling ride like the 10in10 and no more riding over the Alps...... This is a great pity as I had planned a trip for 2020 to do just that... I will now have to come up with something much easier...

I have also had to update my cycling heartrate monitor to one that has flashing coloured lights and beeps and buzzes all the time in order that I am made aware exactly of my HR at all times....
This is going to have a huge impact on my passion of cycling as I will have to stop all forms of competitive riding from now on and that includes riding against my own times......

As if the above wasn't enough.... I was just a few miles down the road after we had left Moreton on route to Devon when I glanced in one of my rear mirrors only to see that the pop top had 'popped up' at the front...
I pulled over into a layby to investigate and found that both of the clips that hold the roof down had snapped causing the front of the roof to rise up and the whole roof was jammed solid in this position.

I couldn't pull the roof back down at the front as it was totally jammed solid....
Result was that most of the journey to Tavistock was made at 35 miles an hour as I didn't want to cause any damage to the roof structure itself..... 
The journey took a good hour and a half longer than normal as on top of my slow speed I had to keep pulling over to allow traffic that was behind me to pass. 
Luckily there was no wind that day as that could have also added to the speed of the air hitting the roof and causing damage even at the slow speed of 35 miles an hour.
It really was the worst towing journey that I have ever had and it didn't do much for my heart rate either..... 

I was so glad to finally arrive at the Tavistock site where eventually I was able to access the correct tools to undo the rear clips and release the roof.....

Automotive Leisure sent me replacement front clips which arrived the very next day but the price was £135...Ouch!!!!
Interestingly I had to cut the hook part of the new clips down by a few mm in order to get them to fit.....this had apparently been done with the old ones at the factory before delivery of the van. Wihout cutting them down they wouldn't be able to be hooked under the fittings on the van. You can see what I am talking about in the second image below...
They told me to hold on to the broken clips so it can be investigated as to why they both snapped as this is something that just shouldn't happen. They will be chcking this out when the van goes in for it's next service in April.....

After spending four weeks at the Tavistock site (which just isn't the same since the previous managers Craig and Caroline moved to Canterbury) we have now moved to our new winter pitch at a site at Crapstone which is only about 4 miles from Tavistock.
Actually that's what the past couple of months have been...Crapstone without the 'stone'.

Anyway.....hopefully things will get a bit more back on track now and  I should get back to posting on the blog more frequently....


One of the broken clips...

New clip on the left...one of the broken clips on the right. 

Where we are now.....says a bit about the last couple of months :-)





Monday, 24 September 2018

Bling...Bling......Riding On Gold.......

I mentioned in my last post the fact that my winter bike....Tiffany the Tifosi was back from the workshop after having had a new cassette and chain fitted.....

A few years back when I swapped out the original saddle and bar tape for a matching set of Brooks leather saddle and tape in that gorgeous warm honey colour I also added a gold coloured chain......
When I replaced the chain this time I naturally made certain that only a gold chain was fitted.... 

I think that the gold chain matches the Brooks honey colour really well and also gives the bike a bit of bling....
The other thing that I find the Brooks colours and gold chain seem to go with are the Autumn colours...
As it is always Autumn when I start to ride this bike again there seems to be a bit of balance to the whole thing which I find almost comforting....

Enjoy your Autumn bike rides.......
Tiffany the Tifosi

The New Gold Chain

Another View of the Autumn Bling...

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Time to Swap Bikes.....

We have now been back at the Verwood C&CC site for two weeks.....

Since arriving here my time has been spent catching up with family....getting my car serviced.... getting me serviced by way of my regular scans at the hospital.... watching the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain on TV and getting out riding my bike.......

It has been a good year for me as far as cycling goes..... I really enjoy getting out around the country cycling in all different areas.... It was good when a cycling buddy of mine Peter Calcutt met up with me a couple of times when Anne and I were in Suffolk.....

Throughout the summer I tried to improve my cycling abilities in various disciplines so that when we got to the area of the Surrey hills I would be able to produce some reasonable times over mixed terrain....

A couple of snapshots of my bike computer figures are shown below....
The first one is of a 20mile circuit from the campsite we were staying at over quite a lumpy course........18.4mph avg speed..... wind speed approx 12 - 15mph.


Fiona the Felt on her last ride of 2018
The second set of figures was over what I thought would be a 100mile route. I actually completed 94.18miles.
I had miscalculated the route a little but when I finished I really didn't feel the need to do the extra 5+ miles... 
Years ago I would have gone back out and topped those miles up but at my age now I feel that it doesn't really matter to me so much.....
16.32 avg speed with a similar wind speed as above....Time taken was 5hrs 46mins.

Watching the pros at the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain makes my efforts look a bit feeble but as Anne is always quick to point out to me I am now over seventy years of age and I am not a pro.......
The average speed that the pros manage to achieve is just mind blowing I would love to be able to get close to their efforts but sadly that will never happen no matter how hard I try......

The third photo above is of my summer bike the Felt on the last ride that I will use it on this year......
My winter bike...the Tifosi.... has just come back from my favourite bike shop after having a full service and a change of chain and cassette so it is time to swap bikes and pack the Felt away for the winter.....

The Tifosi although being my winter bike is also the bike that I used to cycle the Ten Countries in Ten Days ride finishing with an ascent of the Ghisallo from the shores of Lake Como back in 2013..... I have a real soft spot for the bike.
It is my go to bike for most occasions and if I could only keep one of my three bikes it is the one that I would choose even though it cost a fraction of the Felts price tag........

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Back To Normal.......

Yes.....Everything seems to be back to normal on the weather front.....
The recent bank holiday was in the full UK tradition of wet and windy..... 
All the good weather that we enjoyed for the past couple of months seemed  long gone as we hunkered down on Bank Holiday Sunday and like most other people on the site stayed within the confines of our awning and caravan........

Our view from the awning can be seen below.......
Traditional Bank Holiday Weather
One of the benefits of the bad weather was that all the kids on site were also confined to their tents and caravans/motorhomes.
Now don't get me wrong......it must be hugely disappointing for both the kids and their parents when they go for a weekend camping and the weather is really bad but I am looking at it from our perspective......

We have spent a lot of the summer on an adults only site and coming back to a C&CC site is a real shock to the system......

The privately owned adults only site was peaceful at all times..... All of the site rules were followed and if not were enforced...everyone knew where they stood..... 
The facilities were kept clean by both the owners and the campers as was the site......
All of this made our stay more enjoyable.

Our current C&CC site is a very nice site and has first class facilities and like all club sites everyone is given a leaflet setting out details about the site and a few rules such as the quiet times on site etc.....

One of the rules here is that Ball Games, Frisbees and Kites are not allowed on site.
However, even parents have been seen kicking balls about with their kids..... perhaps they can't read or for some reason they feel that it doesn't apply to them.....

If you look at the picture above you can see that it is quite a reasonable rule as the units are quite close to each other with no open space on which to kick a ball about.
A kicked ball can cause damage to a caravan or even a car........

There is a 5mph speed limit on site but for some reason this doesn't apply to kids who race around the site at breakneck speed.....
They are not supposed to ride around the toilet facility buildings.... but I stepped out of the building yesterday only to be slammed into by a future Mark Cavendish on his little toddlers bike.....

Lukily I escaped without any lasting injury but it could well have been a different story with an older and more frail camper....... Parental supervision??? 
That seems to be left at the gates of the site.....

Toilets not flushed....toilet paper everywhere..... noise till late at night..... I could go on...

Now kids will be kids and that's fine but it seems that when on sites the parents are quite happy for their kids to go off and play with no supervision at all as long as they play outside someone else's unit......  
A lot of parents don't seem to know...or don't care what their children are up to as long as they don't bother them.......

The attitude seems to be they are away camping so that they can do whatever they want with no thought for any other campers on the site......

The above is not just my opinion either....talking to other campers on various sites over the past few years this seems to be a widespread observation......

Now we knew that it would be like this as we were obviously aware that our two weeks stay here was still within the school holiday period but as I said above it is still a bit of a shock to the system.......

It is a pity that the Camping and Caravanning Club don't have an adults only area on sites like some commercial sites......
We have decided that as from next year we will be seeking out more adult only sites on which to stay.........

Now that I have written this post I will ride my bike at 5mph out of the site for a peaceful evening ride....

View across the lake at our current site...

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Fifty Six Days.....Gone!

Tomorrow we move on from Suffolk....
We have been in Suffolk for fifty six days and now those fifty six days are gone......
We can't believe that our two month stay in this part of the country is now over...... the time has really flown by.
What has helped of course in making the time fly by was the brilliant weather that we have all enjoyed this summer.....
One of the reasons I have not been posting on the blog as often as I have in the past is because I have been enjoying myself  so much..... If truth be told I would rather be out riding my bike in the good weather than sitting at the computer hitting the keys.......

During the latter part of our stay here my friend Peter Calcutt was also visiting the area and we met up a couple of times for a bike ride..... I always enjoy meeting up with Peter and what can be better than a cycle ride.....a natter with a mate.....and a coffee and cake stop........

Obviously in the time spent in the county Anne and I have visited lots of different interesting places and to make up for my fewer blog posts I will be telling you more about our stay in Suffolk over the quieter winter period.......

So where are we heading tomorrow...?
We are going to spend a couple of weeks in the Surrey hills/North downs so I can do some cycling in that area......
As a youngster I used to spend a lot of time cycling from my then home in Feltham and heading for places such as Dorking.....Leatherhead etc.....
One of my regular rides used to be out to Box Hill and back. I have not ridden up Box Hill for well over fifty years so it is about time that I rode up the hill again.......

Reflection on my Summer.......

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Eribatastic......

Earlier this week we enjoyed the first rain that we have had since we were at the Osiers campsite back in May......
Since then with all the lovely dry weather I have been managing to get out on the bike almost every other day. It has certainly been a great summer so far for getting out and about on the bike......

One of the things that I really enjoy as we travel around the country staying at various campsites is meeting up with other Eriba owners...
It is really interesting seeing all the different models of Eriba that have been available over the years and most owners are happy to show you around their pride and joy.....

Below are just a few of the Eriba Touring vans that we have seen on our travels this year....
Eribatastic...........


Eriba Familia from the 1980s with matching awning.

A 2015 Eriba Triton

A 1983 Eriba Troll (An early cousin to my own Eva the Eriba)

A visitor from the Netherlands - A Puck.

A 1985  Eriba Familia

A very sharp Eriba Puck....

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Who Needs an Estate Agent...?

 We have now re-located just 35 miles from Polstead to Hollesley which is East of Woodbridge in Suffolk....
Our stay at Polstead was first class the same as when we stayed there last year.....
A lovely site and really helpful owners.....

The area is just made for cycling and I was out on the bike every other day covering between 40 to 60 miles each ride.
The weather has been very hot like most of the country although listening to the forecasts and news it would seem that East Anglia has 
had the hottest weather of all....

Riding in the heat is OK as you have the breeze moving over your body to help to cool you down..... it is when you stop that you can really feel the heat so I always try and choose to stop in the shade.

As I have already said the Suffolk area is great for cycling  and I have seen lots of other riders out on the roads.... Not just 'Roadies' either....  Lots of Touring and MTB riders as well.

Our move to our current site went well and in just over an hour of leaving Polstead we were setting up the caravan and awning again.
We are only a mile and a half from the coast here and it is a wild section of coast with shingle beaches and marshes which are ideal for bird watching and wild coastal walks.....

The day after we arrived Anne and I decided to walk to the coast and explore the coastline a bit. 
We were climbing down a small bank to get to a lower footpath when Anne slipped and twisted her ankle..... 
It was now proving difficult for Anne to walk properly as it was quite painful for her. As luck would have it we met an old local couple who were also out for a walk and they suggested that they would drive us back to the campsite....
They were full of information about the area and even took us to see a 'Martello Tower' a mile down the road before dropping us off back at our site....
Things like that help to restore my faith in human nature......

One of the things that I enjoy as I cycle around the Suffolk roads and lanes is checking out some of the really lovely houses in the county.....
It made me think that you don't need an estate agent if you are looking for a house just get out on your bike and ride around and you will see some really nice properties...
A couple of my favourites are shown below....