Welcome

Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.







Monday, 30 September 2019

Read of the Month (October 2019)

This time I am early as it is not quite October yet.
The reason for this is simply that tomorrow my trip begins as I travel to Africa.

This forthcoming motorhome tour of Southern Africa has influenced my choice this month as I have been reading a lot about Africa.

The book I am currently reading is not new.  It was first published in 2006.  I have no recollection of where or how I obtained it.

It is rather a large tome so I have only read a few chapters.  Nevertheless it is fascinating and informative.
The Read of the Month (October 2019) is 


The State of Africa 

by 

Martin Meredith



It chronicles the history of many African states from the end of WW2 up to present time.
As my knowledge of Africa is sketchy this is extremely enlightening.
Unlike the pre-African book I was reading it is not a laborious read .
This trip has opened up a new avenue of interest.  I have some more books about Africa to read. 

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Life repeats itself

Well only a few days and then I am off on what some have called "the trip of a life  time"

No doubt this will be an amazing experience but it will be my second "trip of a life time".

Just over 40 years ago (wow I cannot believe it was that long ago) I was preparing for another great trip; an overland journey from London in England to Sydney in Australia.

This involved travelling by bus across Europe; London to Brindisi in the SE tip of Italy.
Then a ferry to Igoumenitsa in Greece across Turkey and Asia including Iran, and Afghanistan as well as India. 
Another ferry to Malaysia and on to Thailand and Singapore. 
Finally a ship to Perth in Australia and the final leg to Sydney.

As you can see the vehicle was shipped across intervening seas

We travelled in this yellow bus which we nicknamed "Buttercup".
Here we having a lunch stop.
A group is preparing the food whilst the rest of us wait.

I am in the blue top sitting reading on the left.


The similarities between the two trips is uncanny.


1. The over-riding itinerary of both trips was to see and discover as much of the tourist and not tourist places as possible. To me this meant travelling by road wherever possible.  Both trips are long road journeys.

Inside "Buttercup"

2.  If I was going so far away I might as well do the longest trip on offer. 40 years ago I decided to go on to Australia instead of stopping at Singapore.  This time  besides South Africa I am also going other countries in Southern Africa.

3. Again I am going as a lone woman. Though both 40 years ago and now many lone women do travel independently I lack the confidence.  I prefer the protection of a group or tour. Hence 40 years ago I took a "bus" and this time I am on an organized motorhome tour.

There are some differences

1.Then from England to Australia (bus all the way); now Southern Africa (fly to and from and drive in between).
2. Then bus with bus driver:  now motorhome me driving.
3. Then 5 months:  now 5 weeks
4. Then me and most of the group young and single
now old and hopefully wiser with mostly couples.

Here I am 40 years ago trying to take a photo of the incredible salt rocks at Pamukkale in Turkey.

Even though there are these differences the pattern is uncannily similar.  I wonder if the experience will have as similar an impact as my trip 40 years ago.  We shall see.

No photos of my present trip as I have not yet been!!!!

Saturday, 21 September 2019

My Africa Trip

I have always wanted to visit Africa and now I am going.

Because I do not know the continent and because I am unable to take my companion Pearl I decided to sign up to the Camping and Caravanning Club Southern African Tour.

The Club do 2 African tours;

South Africa  - The Garden Route, which runs from around Cape Town along the south coast of South Africa towards Durban.


Southern Africa  - This tour starts in Johannesburg goes north into Botswana, then into Namibia and back into South Africa ending in Cape Town.

I decided to opt for this tour for 

2 reasons:-

  • If I was going all that way I might as well explore as much of the continent as possible.  (Unfortunately I could not afford the time or money to do both tours).
  • After having read the  No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall-Smith which are set in Botswana I wanted to visit that country.  I hope that my experience will be more like the ones described in the books rather than what is usually portrayed on the TV. 

Though there are 14 motorhomes taking part with tour escorts we do not travel in convoy. We can leave when we like; arrive when we like; stop on route for as long as we like.  We just have to be at the campsite by the end of the day.

There are some communal events such as our trip to the Victoria Falls.  Also there is a "sweeper-upper" who follows the last motorhome to ensure we do not have any problems such as punctures which apparently are very common and we all arrive safely.

Having spoken to my vet, who is South African, he said because it is so hot the rhythm of the days is different to here in the UK.  Things start about 6am when it is cool. By early afternoon there is little happening until early evening.

He suggested setting off early.  When it gets dark, which it does very quickly to relax and prepare for the next days activities; (ie. sleep)

We estimated a travel time of 100km an hour.  In order to make the most of my journeys and not feel rushed, I should halve that (50km an hour).  Some routes I should reduce it even more (25km and hour) to allow for stoppage due to animals etc on the road.  This sounds like a good plan.

Not long now.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Read of the Month (September 2019)

Increasing my knowledge of Africa by before I went seemed a sensible thing to do. 

Upon hearing about the amazing Map Shop in Upton-on-Severn, I decided a visit was essential.


What an amazing place. 
It was a travellers Aladdin's cave.
Books about every corner of the globe.
I found plenty both books and maps



There are many books of different genre about the country of South Africa. 
With regard to Southern Africa, especially Botswana and Namibia, the two other countries I would be travelling through, choice was very limited.

And the read of the month for September 2019 is..................................................


     
Botswana & Namibia     Lonely Planet


This seems an appropriate book as I am of to Africa shortly. 

Like most books in the Lonely Planet series it is packed with information.  This is especially useful for the independent traveller.  Even, if like me you are part of a tour group, it offers an insight into the country. It is, however a very specialized travel book. 


Contrary to my assumption each book often has several contributors.  Considering the amount of detail information this is not surprising.  
A wish of mine had been to be a Lonely Planet contributor.  
On reflection I am too independent and opinionated. 



Monday, 16 September 2019

Off to Africa

My New African Motorhome
As my impending motorhome trip to Southern Africa fast approaches I have been involved with preparations which have been rather time consuming.

Consequently I have not been out in MY motorhome nearly as frequently even though the weather has at times been glorious.

I have had to deal with some things that I have put off.  One of these was my phone.  It had developed a minor glitch (I had approached tech people to resolve it, but they were not interested).  I decided the only solution was to get a new phone. (I needed a new one anyway).

Then other unexpected difficulties have arisen, all of which took up more time.

Checking my social media somehow dropped off my radar (That is probably a generation thing).  As a result it is some while since my last blog post.

On 1st October I am off on a 35 day motorhome tour of Southern Africa.  I am a bit nervous but also a bit despondent as I am not able to take Pearl with me (will she understand?) So I will be completely on my own.


Fortunately there are 11 other motorhomes going so I will have people to talk to.

We travel independently, not in convoy.  We just have to be at the designated campsite by the evening. If we encounter a problem on the way there is someone to assist.

Though this is not my preferred way of travelling it is the best in a place that I have so little knowledge and experience of.  However I am learning fast.  By the time I return home I will know so much more.

I fly into Johannesburg.  Here I meet a college friend.  I want her to take me to a supermarket to stock up on food. (Being Coeliac I my diet is restrictive so I want some time to become a little familiar with shops in Africa before setting off.)

Then we go to the motorhome depot.  Collect our motorhomes. Then set off




Saturday, 31 August 2019

Winterizing the Motorhome

Usually it is late November; sometime after the clocks have gone back; that I begin the process of winterizing my motorhome.

This year is very different.

I have just returned home after a trip away.
It was not an exploration or discovery outing but a business trip made much much easier because of the motorhome..
Unfortunately things took longer than expected so I did not have the opportunity to continue investigating various campsites.

Yes I know it is only the end of August.  If the rest of the year is anything indication September is going to whizz by then it will be October when the adventure begins.



September is going to be a busy month.

First I have a college reunion. This will be interesting and fun but time consuming.

Second I have to apply to various literary festivals to continue to promote my books.



Third I have to winterize the motorhome.

Fourth I have to complete preparations for a special trip.

On the 1st October I am off on the adventure of a lifetime which, even my vet, who is South African, agrees looks amazing.

I am off on a 35 day motorhome tour of Southern Africa.

Besides the practical preparations; international driving licence, malaria tablets etc I have lots of reading to do.
September is going to be a very very busy month

Sunday, 18 August 2019

On Returning Home

I may travel about in a tin box but I do like some comfort namely electric hook-up, toilets and showers as the bare minimum.

Being out in the motorhome is such fun for a variety of reasons.



However being on a campsite, even one with facilities and when out walking in the countryside I find the  phone signal and wifi are generally poor.

This might be due to the fact I need a new phone; being some distance from the signal or even heavy demand from other campers. For whatever reason communication is patchy.


It is frequently possible to "connect" but because it is so slow I usually cannot be bothered.  With no TV either I tend to travel about in my own little bubble contacting people when I can.

This is wonderful but does create a slight problem.

When I finally get home there is a long list of tasks, some quite urgent.
At least it keeps me busy.
Oddly enough having so many demands encourages me to go away again and escape.
The only thing I really miss is catching up with friends.

This time though it is a bit different because I have a special big trip coming up so I MUST complete the necessary preparations.  More about this later

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Read of the Month (August 2019)

August's Read of the Month is slightly different to the usual suggestion.

Rather than a book it is a......... I am not sure how to describe it;
it is less than a book but more than a pamphlet.  I think the best description is a "Journal".  It reminds me of a collection of articles or stories or thesis; similar to a scientific journal.

Yet I think in the light of current happenings it is appropriate.


My Read of the Month is "Positive News",

 It IS a collection of articles. 

All of them are of happenings and events where people have made a valuable contribution.  The sort of of stories that rarely make the news in the usual outlets; TV, radio and newspapers because they are "good news" items so not considered newsworthy.


It is produced quarterly with each edition having a number of in depth stories.  This makes it easy to read.  (In fact one of the stories I feel is particularly relevant to me.  I am investigating it further). 

I have also discovered it is available to purchase off the shelf in Sainsburys.  It may even be in other  stores. When I visit other shops I will check it out.

Do buy a copy.  It makes very interesting reading

Monday, 12 August 2019

Countryfile Live 2019


What excitement!

After a great deal of deliberation I eventually decided to promote and sell my book at the Countryfile Live Show at Blenheim Palace from Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th August.

It was eye-wateringly expensive.


Being a fan of the TV programme Countryfile and thoroughly supporting the emphasis it places on valuing the countryside and the people who live and work on the land I had high expectations of having a unique and rewarding experience at the Countryfile Live Show.  



I assumed my product “Wonderful Walks from Dog-friendly Campsites Throughout the UK” a book of countryside walks would be viewed as compatible with the ethos of the programme and so be an acceptable product for inclusion in the show and would complement the other small country rural business stalls.




I am sorry to report that it was not the experience I had hoped for.

Yes there were lots and lots of people

I would assert at least 50% of the passing crowd did not even register our presence.


That was because we were so far away back from the main pathway it was impossible to engage with the passing throng.  It did not make much difference even when those of us who could moved forward.




It was not all bad.  for the first time ever I sold some of Rita's book and quite a few of my first book in addition to several of my "Walk" book.

Also one of the Countryfile presenters Adam Henson passed by . 
He was  particularly interested in the stall next to mine;
Stainswick Farm. 
It was one of the few farm stalls. 
They grow rapeseed and bottle the oil which they then sell. 
He came to talk to them and photos were taken
If you look carefully you can just see him between the two girls.
(I was a bit slow with my camera).



Monday, 5 August 2019

Positive News


I imagine many of you are like me and find the news as presented in newspapers, on TV and radio very depressing.   
There seems to be nothing but conflict of all kinds.  
The exception is usually events involving the Queen and her family.  Then we are inundated with every minute detail.  
Enough already.

A friend of mine agreed with me.  She too feels the same.  

In order to  inject a modicum of equilibrium into the situation she subscribes to a publication called “Positive News”.  
She was very persuasive and mention some interesting ideas.  
I decided to look into it and eventually subscribed to it myself.

It is a quarterly publication and the summer edition had just been circulated so that was the edition I received the other day.

I was surprised to discover the format was similar to a quality journal not a newspaper.  The paper was good quality and the spine was unexpectedly stiff making it a bit like a large paperback book.  


The content however was definitely newsy; but in a manner which celebrates achievements.

As indicated it is a substantial publication so I am still working my way through it.  The article which especially interested me was the one examining democracy and how a town council involved people in re-vitalizing their community.  It was very interesting and uplifting.  This is typical of the stories in this news publication.  

Reports are from all over the world and cover all events, not just political.

I notice the Patron is Sir Martyn Lewis CBE.  A television news presenter and journalist.  To me this indicates the journalistic aims of the publication are vigorous.  

For more information go to 
https://www.positive.news/