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

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Read of the Month (May 2019)

It is still May so I can just squeeze in the Read of the Month.

In keeping with the couple of serious posts I have written recently this book is especially pertinent.

Please do not be put off by its size.
It is

  • interesting
  • enlightening 
  • informative
  • revealing
  • instructive

It is The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan.

The format of the book is ingenious and allows the reader to divide the book into manageable chunks.

Each Chapter is "The Road of ............."

It looks at a part of the world that is unfamiliar to most of the Western World, which I would call the near East.  It is the region now occupied by countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan as well as Syria, Iran  and Azerbaij. 
Yes I too restored to an atlas to find the exact location of these countries. 

The book examines the influence this part of the world has had throughout history.

It starts with the ancient civilizations such as the Phoenicians and the birth of Christianity right up to modern times.

I found the first few chapters fascinating. 
Unfortunately I found the last few hugely depressing.
It seems we never learn from history.
The book appears to indicate the driving force of human activity is greed.

Without doubt this book has caused me to        re-evaluate things. 
As a result I am becoming more of an environmental activist. 
Hence my continual refrain to join CPRE www.cpre.org.uk 

I won't say I hope you enjoy this book because it is not really a book you can enjoy.  Instead I would like it to make you look at the world differently "globally".

First Motorhome Show

So here I was at Warner's Southern Motorcaravan Show at Newbury.  This was my first, perhaps only, Motorhome Show.  Only time will tell.

Friday arrived overcast, cold and rather windy.  After breakfast I explored the grounds with Pearl and then did the final preparations of the stall setting up a table, chairs, posters, banner and books,

Soon I was all set to go. 

Watching the other stands scurrying around tweaking their displays was interesting.

Then it all began at 9.30am when the gates opened.  I was surprised to see so many people surging along the path so soon.  They barely hesitated as they passed seemingly looking for something specific. After this initial rush things settled down to a steady trickle.

There was quite a bit of interest in my book and I sold some; 6 in fact..  I found it a difficult day because it was cold; dry but VERY cold.  I kept adding layers throughout the day. The arrival of a friend to help was a most welcome distraction.  I was delighted when the show closed at the end of the day and I could stay in my warm motorhome.

Reflecting on the day I was rather disappointed. It had been a slow seemingly unproductive day. Saturday, we were told, was usually a little better with Sunday similar to Friday. It appeared the show was not going to produce the results I had hoped for.

Another problem suddenly materialized; a high pitch whining which I eventually track down to my solar panel inverter so I turned it off.  As it got dark the lights in my van dimmed and faded completely.  Next I noticed the pump for the tap would not work,  It emerged all the electrics in the van had failed. With no light there was nothing for it but to go to bed.

Saturday morning was easier because preparation was just a repetition of Friday morning.  This time I was all ready for a rush but there was none.   It was a better day however as not only was it warmer but the sky began to clear and the sun shine.  There was a steady stream of people all day many of whom paused as they passed to stop and chat.  There was a great deal of interest and I sold 15 books.  I felt much more optimistic.

My motorhome still had no electric so it was another early night. Tomorrow was the final day.  Now I had no idea how it would go,  The weather forecast was not very good.

Sunday was warmer and drier than expected.  Again there was no rush but a steady flow. It was another good day with many people interested in my book and several people purchasing a copy.  Several of the people I spoke to were looking at motorhomes with a view to purchasing one.  Even so I sold 14 books.

Then at 4.30 pm the show closed and everyone was rushing around packing up.  It did not take us long to take down the gazebo and pack everything in the motohome. It was extremely useful having the van just behind the stand.  Not just for the setting up and packing away but also for the convenience of having everything to hand. 
Shortly I was ready to go home.

Reflecting on the experience I feel it was well worth it and I learnt a great deal should I ever decide to do another one.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Busy Busy Busy

This month has been so busy I have not only been unable to do a weekly comment, but I also failed to do the "Read of the Month" and "Photo of the Month".
Things are quieter over the next couple of weeks so I can catch up.

Because things have been so unsettled I felt I needed a shot of "Countryside Calm". and went away for a few days to one of my favourite campsites "Burrowhayes.

The splendour  of the landscape always works its magic
creating an oasis of tranquility.  Also at most campsites wifi and phone signals are variable.  As a consequence all technological interactions are less efficient and time consuming.  I only deal with urgent matters and pick up the slack when I get home

This is the slack.

Book Signing - Bath
Despite my best efforts this was not a success.  I did sell 1 book.  Not only had she come some distance,  she was most complimentary.

Then it was

  • off home.  Getting everything from Smiths to my car required several trips                                    
  • load up the van. Loading the van ALWAYS takes me longer than I anticipate                                        
  • drive to Newbury for the Southern Motorcaravan Show. Driving to the Newbury was the easiest part.  Registering  at the visitors gate and checking out my stand was simple.  Even though I was so late (after 8pm) I found a space behind the stand where I could park up my motohome for the duration of the show.  This made everything so much easier.                            
  • erect the gazebo.  This was a nightmare even though I had done it successfully at home just a few days before and had carefully sorted and tied the various poles.  Every time I tried to add part of a leg the whole roof section crashed down.  There was nobody about to ask for help as it was so late.  It was rapidly getting darker and darker. I really did not want to leave this task for the morning. In desperation I asked a nearby security guard if he knew anyone who could help. He offered his services. Within minutes the gazebo was up and all I had to do was peg it down. By this time it was almost dark. 
  • crash. I set the alarm as I needed to be up early to finalize set up for opening at 9.30 am.
  • up, eat, exercise dog, set up stand.  Fortunately it did not take long to set up the table and chairs and put out the posters, banner and books.  I was ready in plenty of time.

So began my first Motorhome Show experience as an exhibitor.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Another Serious Thought

Ever since the local elections on 2nd May the current state of affairs have much occupied my mind.

The issues I discussed in the last post have now become mainstream news with the publication on 6th May of a report from the
UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
which in one sentence says "

Action needs to be taken NOW by EVERYONE ". 

Not only will the warming of the world have catastrophic effect on us humans but also on the diverse eco sytems which support us and as a result many many plants, animals and insects will become extinct.

So what can we do as individuals.
We may not be able to be hugely influential but that does not mean we should shrug our shoulders and do nothing.

We should

1. Be informed about climate change and bio-diversity

2. Join those organizations whose agenda is climate change and bio- diversity; 
make a donation and if possible volunteer. 
Four organizations which fall in this category are
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Greenpeace
  • CPRE Campaign for the Protection of Rural England  (An essential one to join if you enjoy the British countryside)
  • Woodland Trust
3. Use your vote at every election in your area.  If you do not like any of the candidates still go out and vote.  SPOIL THE BALLOT PAPER.  When the returning officer announces the number of votes each candidate received he also informs the public the number of spoiled ballot papers.  It will have more impact if this number is large.  PLEASE GO AND VOTE