Sunday, 23 June 2019

Banbury or Eccles....

Wherever you travel to in the UK you can usually find somewhere that will sell you an Eccles cake....
I don't dislike Eccles cakes but I have always had a preference for Banbury cakes...

It must be said that they are very similar.
They are both made from a flaky pastry with a spiced fruit filling although the Banbury cakes are more oval in shape whereas the Eccles are round and deeper.

But I feel that it is in the eating where there is the biggest difference....
The Banbury cakes to my mind have a more spicy and nicer texture in the mouth.

I have always liked them but over the years they seem to be more and more difficult to find in the shops as I said most places will sell Eccles cakes but very rarely will they have Banbury cakes.

A lot of the people working in cake shops don't even seem to know what they are.

As our current location is only a few miles away from Banbury I was able to find some for sale but even Tesco in Banbury stocks Eccles cakes but not the nicer Banbury cakes...Shame on you Tesco. !!!

I found my beloved Banburys in a shop selling sweets and a few types of cakes but I just don't understand why they are so difficult to obtain...after all they have been made in the region to secret recipes since 1586...
Maybe that's the reason....the recipe is so secret that not enough people know how to make them.....


Thursday, 6 June 2019

Aviation Interference and a New Location....

We have moved on from the Salisbury site and are now at a private site in North Oxfordshire close to the border with Warwickshire.
It is a very nice site that seems to be a mix of residential and touring pitches very similar to the site in Devon where we spent last winter....

All the grass around the site is neatly cut and the hedges are well trimmed. The toilets and showers are clean and tidy and there is a small information room with lots of ideas for places to visit.
There is also a well equipped laundry room.

All in all the site has everything that we look for in a site and best of all it is cheaper than a site operated by either of the two UK clubs...

We are less than a mile from the village of Cropredy where Fairport Convention hold their annual music festival.
Unfortunately that takes place in early August so we will miss that event.


Intrestingly we only heard of this site during a chance conversation with another camper at the CCC Moreton site back in April....
They come here each year in order to attend the music festival.

While we were at Salisbury something happened that hadn't happened at anytime during our previous four years of touring.
When I tried to operate our motor-mover it wouldn't work properly...it just kept jerking and then turning off...

I mentioned this to Cameron at Automotive Leisure and he said that it sounded as if it was interference from something that was transmitting on a similar wavelength as our motor-mover hand control.

He suggested that when we leave the site if we were still getting the interference to try operating it with the controller held just inside the caravan door...
Apparently the steel frame of the caravan would help to shield the transmission from my hand control from the transmission from whatever was interfering with it...

So that's what we did with Anne shouting directions and me operating the mover with my arm held through the caravan door effectively driving the caravan blind.
We managed to get the caravan hitched up with this method but were happy when we got here to find that all was working again as it should.

There was an airfield not far from the Salisbury site and there was a lot of small airplane activity and it seems likely that was the source of the interference....

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Awning Problem & Tour Series.......

We arrived here at Salisbury c&cc site a week ago today.....
We had good dry weather for the journey here which was only about 23 miles anyway.....

We had lunch and started to put our awning up but it wasn't long before we noticed a problem...a bulge had appeared on the rear tube... Closer investigation showed that the air tube itself was intact but the webbing tube that it fitted into had failed along about a foot of  stitching....
We then had to take the awning down and put up the Isabella canopy and also the Isabella windscreen that we also recently purchased.....

We had some hot weather over the bank holiday and this combination seemed to work quite well...
I have included an image of the setup below....... It's quick to put up and just as quick to take down so as an alternative to a full awning I can recommend the combo......

On the Thursday evening we walked into Salisbury to watch the Ovo Energy Tour Series city centre cycle racing.....
I was keen to watch the Women's Brother UK Tifosi team....
As my winter/audax bike is a Tifosi I thought that it would be good to go along and support  them. The team was leading the series and I am pleased to say they also won the race here in Salisbury...
Following the women's race we watched the men's race which I have to admit was much faster than the women... Having said that I would have struggled to keep up with the women anyway.....

Isabella canopy and windscreen.







On Friday we drove back over to Wimborne for my appointment with my cardiologist.
She spelled out the current situation with my Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and the risks I run if I take part in any form of competitive sport... This obviously includes sportives and audax events and she repeated the warning about not going over 85% of my max heart rate.
She has also arranged for me to have a treadmill test in September as well as counselling sessions prior to having a gene test....

While we were near Bournemouth we popped over to Automotive  Leisure with the awning airpole....
A new one will have to come from France and then be sent on to us at a campsite....it will be interesting to see how long that takes.....


Thursday, 9 May 2019

A Week of Electrical Activity......




Yes that's what it has been ....a week of electrical activity and not all of it was welcome...

Let me start with the good activity....
Today JD and I had planned to meet up for a cycle ride but the forecast weather wise was not good...indeed as I looked out of the window just after waking up it started to rain.
A quick call to JD and we had come up with another plan...I would go over to his house and try out his E-bike.
JD has been on at me for months to give the bike a quick spin and today seemed like a good opportunity as long as we could dodge the rain......

Now JD's E-bike is not your everyday model it is a top of the range bike and it is built like a tank...The bike is so tank like that JD calls it Rommel...
You can see what it looks like in the images above. It must weigh at least double what my own touring bike does and that like most tourers could not be described as light weight.

My experience on the bike today proves that it is a fun machine....before I knew it with hardly any effort on the pedals I was up to 16.5mph and that was into a head wind and that for me is it's shortcoming.....it is too easy to ride.

I didn't need to put much effort into riding it...I didn't feel that I was exercising at all and for me that spoilt the ride...
To my mind cycling is all about the simplicity of physical effort and I felt that the simple pleasure of exercise was being stolen by the bike....

Don't get me wrong...there is a place for the E-bike for certain people with physical or medical problems that still want to get out and ride but in my cycling world it's best use would be as a pacing machine to help me train faster on hills....

The ride on JD's Rommel was the fun part of this weeks 'electrical activity'.
The not so fun part occurred on Monday evening...

Anne and I had enjoyed a very nice day with a stroll in the woods doing a spot of bird watching and not a lot else.... I was planning to ride the Felt on the Tuesday so was giving it a check over when I noticed that my heart rate had increased dramatically....
It didn't seem to be dropping back down so I put on my heart monitor and it was recording a rate of 154bpm.

This last happened in 2014 and ended up with me in a hospital operating theatre......
We waited for an hour and a half and with no reduction in bpm I ended up at A&E....

The same as last time there was no Triage for me as I was taken straight through to 'majors' as it was deemed a life threatening situation... Luckily for me as I was being attended to the rate started to fall on it's own....
Anyway they decided to keep me in overnight and the following morning I saw a cardiologist who was familiar with my condition diagnosed last year which is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

The fast heart rate is a form of atrial fibrillation which is a bit like an electrical short circuit in my heart...
After an examination and ECG it was decided that I could go home....

I asked him if I could still ride my bike to which he replied "yes no problem at all".
I then asked him should I be considering an electric bike...
he said  "a bit early for that yet, an ordinary bike will be better for you so long as you don't push things to the extreme".

One thing that I can say is that riding JD's E-bike was the more fun form of electrical activity of the two.. ..

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Ready to Ride.......

Here we have a view of my Felt Z1 all prepared and ready to ride.....
The photo was taken from inside my new Clairval EuroVent Twin Air Awning looking out of the main window on our current pitch view.....

The day after we arrived on site I took the Tifosi over to my daughter's house to store it until the autumn and to bring the Felt out of it's winter hibernation.
I then went down to Samways & Son the bike shop in Wimborne to have a new cassette fitted.

Great service as the part was fitted there and then while I waited....
As I was looking around the shop I noticed a bike that I know very well...
Indeed I have cycled alongside this bike for hundreds of miles including from Gibraltar to the UK...
It was my cycling buddy John Donoghue's touring bike that was in the shop for a major service including new chain...cassette... cables...mudguards and more....

One thing that I noticed that I really liked was some new Fizik bar tape that John had had fitted to his tourer...
As I know that the bar tape on my own tourer needs replacing plus the fact that Samways had this tape at a special price I just had to buy some too...
It was great to get out on the Felt again...it really is a lovely bike to ride and I know that I will have some great rides on it throughout this coming summer......
As I write this a new set of tyres for the Felt are winging their way to me for fitting early next week and that should be the final touch for my summer rides........



Thursday, 25 April 2019

Ready to move on.....

Tomorrow we leave our Moreton site and head just 25/30 miles to Verwood on the edge of the New Forest.
I can't believe that 25 days have gone so quickly. Mind you since we have been here we have been busy with hospital appointments.... visits here on the site from friends and family as well as picking up our new awning and our visit to the social event at Automotive Leisure.

After we get to Verwood a visit to the bike shop is needed as I want a new cassette on my Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels as I plan on storing my winter bike the Tifosi and bringing my summer bike the Felt out of it's winter hibernation....

Last year I had a new chain fitted on the Felt but didn't bother on changing the cassette which didn't appear to have much wear but that proved to be a bit of an error as the gear change wasn't perfect afterwards...nothing serious but I noticed it and decided that it was more worn than it had initially appeared.....

This will be my first visit to this particular bike shop following the closure of the shop that I have used for more than ten years....the owner of the shop decided to retire so I can't complain as he had earned a good rest and they were good enough to give me the details of this new shop (to me)which is another well established family owned concern...

After the Easter break the weather has changed with winds and wet weather forecast...
With that in mind we took down our new awning on Tuesday as there is nothing worse than packing away a wet awning...
We then put up our new Isabella Shadow Canopy to try it out...

We set it up with a 'v' shape in the middle as heavy rain was forecast that night and the 'v' set up would avoid the rain pooling....the next morning the forecast delivered and the rain didn't pool on the canopy roof just flowing down off the front as planned....

We have now taken down the canopy which takes less than 5mins to put up or take down and are ready to move on........




Sunday, 21 April 2019

Contrasts......

We'll you didn't need to have some sort of second sight to have predicted that the campsite here would be jam packed for the Easter break...

Most Easter campers arrived on Thursday with a few more turning up on Good Friday...

With the campsite busy our plan was to go out walking on the Saturday and Sunday to areas where there would be very few people and just a few miles from where we were camped...
What we wanted was a real contrast to the temporary small town that had built up around Eva the Eriba....

A few miles up the road we found it...


All pitched neat and tidy but a small town just the same.

Not another person to be seen.....

Lovely bluebell woods..... Still nobody else around