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This page last updated 25 February, 2011

Welcome Back :-)

Posted by Claire at 8pm on 27th December 2010


Well, as you may have gathered if you’ve been reading the blog, I’m not going to be using the blog any more!  As simple as it is to use for me, it’s not necessarily very visually engaging for the reader, and although I can add photos I can only add them mid-stream in a document, there’s no flexibility with the layout once you’ve fixed a style for the whole thing.  So, looks like I’m back to good old Serif.  I’ve got a bit of work to do putting in bits and bobs about what we’ve been up to over the last month or so but I wont be re-inventing the wheel when it comes to what’s already been said on the blog - nip over there and have a catch up if you want to read all about our Eberspacher troubles!  I’ve already made a start on this site and have added a page to show you all about the latest evolution of our bedroom area - congratulations, it’s a Froli!  Click here to jump over and have a look...  Jasons also taken a shed load of photos of Moglets exterior and I’ve no idea why, so we’ll have to sit together at the PC at some point so I can jabber on about whatever it is he’s thinking of.  Plus there’s pictures of sparkly cakes and frosty gates and all kinds of lovely things :-)  And I wont even start talking about whether we’ve booked a ferry ticket yet, so don’t try and get me started on that one...



All Change (again!)

Posted by Claire at 9.30am on 10th November 2010


Up until a week or so ago, I considered myself reasonably technically literate when it came to things like the website and the internet and so on.  I’m by no means any kind of expert, but I get by.  But this last week has been something of a revelation for me, specifically in relation to how to keep a diary page easily updated.  First there was the integrated blog on this site, which was no good as I had to be online to write anything, which kind of defeats the object of having your own offline site.  Then there was the decision to write the diary pages as if they were a blog, but still just use Serif offline and upload the website via a USB as and when we get internet access that’s at a reasonable speed, and at a location that allows me to plug in a USB to their PC (some places have the PC itself locked up tight so nothing can get plugged in anywhere).  And then I had a bit of an epiphany and thought ‘Why don’t I use the website and a blog??’  So todays plan is to use the website for everything except a diary, so photos, stats, GPS details etc, and confusingly probably as a diary when we’re unable to get internet access at all, but use a more traditional blog site for the diary only.  That way, all I have to do is send an email to the blog account and the blog gets updated.  Lovely.  I think...  We also have a little widget thing that allows internet access via the local mobile phone network, once you plug a local SIM card into it, so I’ll be able to use the laptop to send emails too - another reason to use a blog rather than the website in some places as a text file email will be much smaller to send than a website update with all its associated images.  Does that make sense?  Someone please shout if it doesn’t, before I get myself tied up in knots trying to use too many gadgets and widgets!  Oh, and I almost forgot - here’s the link to the new Moglet in Africa Blog! :-)



Nothings Going to Plan...

Posted by Claire at 8.30pm 6th November 2010


You’ll never adam and eve it, but the talcum powder did nothing other than remind me of hateful forced swimming lessons as a small child, when I had to put loads of the damn stuff into an evil red  swimming cap so it’d go on over the mass of unruly fuzzy curly hair I have enjoyed for most of my life.  So there you go, we have a squeaky floor that’s mildly perfumed similar to a (clean) babys bottom and we’re just going to have to learn to live with it until we get back and replace it all.


Jason hasn’t been having much more luck with the Eberspacher either.  After much poking and fiddling and attempted fitting of the spare parts we’ve been carrying for ages, he discovered that the part he was trying to fit was ever so slightly different than the one he’d taken off - not massively so, just enough so that the damn thing wouldn’t fit.  After a phone call to Graham at Ribblesdale Auto Electrics though it was clear why we had been sent the wrong part - apparently there was a period in the not too distant past that Eberspacher produced two different parts for two different heaters but helpfully decided to use the same part number!  Fitters all around the world were faced with the prospect of a Lucky Dip approach to their ordering and had no idea which part would arrive until the box was opened.  So its just one of those things that meant we happened to get the wrong one.  Once again displaying his star qualities though, Graham whipped the correct part off the shelves and put it straight into the post the same day, and it arrived with us here a measly three days later.  Jason has fitted the part but its not all sorted yet - the heater fires up but smokes like a goodun and the fan sounds like its about to take off so its not all quite working the way it should.  He has a bit of a plan for something else to try in the morning but if that doesn’t work then we’ll need to order another part and waiting for that might mean we have to re-book the ferry... :-(  On the upside, the replacement valves and valve cores for the wheels have arrived from the UK, so we can get busy changing all of those and getting the other spare back onto Moglet.  All we really have left to do now as a ‘must’ on the To Do list is go through the things I’ve packed into Moglet as a last chance to leave stuff behind, and properly pack up all the things we’re leaving here, just in case mum and dad manage to sell their house and move over to the new place while we’re away.  Jason will probably tell me there’s loads more than that to do , but its late and that’s all I can think of!  And if anyone out there is in the market for a lovely house in France, please click here to jump over to dads website with lots more pictures :-)  And if you’re not house hunting, click anyway as it’ll help the site jump up the listings!



We’ve Done It!

Posted by Claire at 7.30pm, 1st November 2010


I’m soooo pleased to be able to tell anyone who cares to read this that we’ve finally, finally booked a ferry crossing!  After a huge amount of hoo-ha and number crunching, we worked out that the cheapest option was to drive to Barcelona and get the ferry from there to Tangier.  It’s a 25hour crossing and we leave at 10am on the 18th November.  I guess in an ideal world we would have liked to book something maybe a week earlier, but with only two sailings a week, availability is limited and the 18th was the first boat we could get Moglet on to - we could have gone on the 4th, but only as foot passengers, which isn’t too much use to us.  So, we’re off at last :-)


In the meantime we still have things to do, but the pressure is starting to come off a little bit.  I’ve got a stack of document copying to do and Jason needs to fix the Eberspacher, which has started having issues again.  The fan was sticking sporadically a couple of months ago, which was causing the unit to overheat and go into auto-shutdown, so Jason ordered the necessary parts to replace the fan.  Pretty much as soon as the spares arrived, the problem went away so we left things as they were.  But a week or so ago it started up again, so that needs to be fixed before we leave.  Then there was more fun and games with the squeaky floor.  Jason found a can of silicone spray in the garage which said it was great for all kind of things, including squeaky wooden floors, so I pulled up the carpet and sprayed anything that looked vaguely floor-like.  And isn’t it funny, you know how when there’s something that’s maybe going to happen, or that you need to do, and you spin it round and round in your mind, thinking about all the possible connotations and all the potential outcomes of whatever it is, yet you can still pretty much guarantee that what’s actually going to happen is the one thing you didn’t think of.  And so it was with the floor - it didn’t even cross my mind that spraying the floor would make things even worse, but that’s exactly what it did - it made things so bonkersly squeaky that we briefly contemplated adding another floor on top of the old one as there was no way we could walk on it ever again.  So, just when I thought it was safe to look at the To Do list and hesitantly suggest that there was the possibility that it was actually shrinking, I got to add an old item back onto it - Fix Bloody Damn Squeaky Floor Again.  So up came the carpet for the eleven millionth time and this time I pulled out the foot square hatch in the centre of the floor that gives access to the inspection lid of the fresh water tank.  After prancing around inside the camper on one foot like some kind of demented ballerina, I was able to ascertain that the hatch was, if not the only, then certainly a main contender in the Squeak Piggy Squeak game that the floor boards enjoy playing amongst themselves.  After half an hour to-ing and fro-ing between Moglet and dads bandsaw, the hatch is now a shadow of it’s former self and the floor is back to its usual mildly annoying but certainly bearable level of squeaking.  And the silicone spray has been banned.  Rumour has it though that puffing talcum powder into noisy floors was a common solution back in ye olden days, so I might give that a go next.  And surely if I now consider the possibility that doing so might make things even worse, haven’t I covered myself and ensured that it wont be??



Guess What

Posted by Claire at 5.30pm, 25th October 2010


Well, so much for the blog idea - seems like I have to have an internet connection to write anything let alone post an update, so that’s out the window - the whole point of getting website software was so an internet connection wasn’t required.  Shame really, I kind of liked the idea...  So I’m going to nick it - well, kind of.  I wont bore you all silly with the idiosyncrasies of this website software, so you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that having a fixed size text box with a scroll bar on the right for overflowing text is much easier than the way I’ve been doing diary entries up until now, with boxes and photos scattered all over the place.  So I’m going to try for one text box per diary page that just scroll to whatever size it needs to be to incorporate however much I jibberjabber, surround it with a few images here and there, and then have a separate Photos page for those of you for whom a picture speaks a thousand words - and probably a thousand more sensible words than I’m generally able to string together!


So what have we been up to for the last week or so?  Well, the strikes have still been ongoing but we haven’t seen anything to worry about in this area.  Just to be safe though, we took Moglet to the local garage and topped up the tanks.  We did have a bit less than we originally thought, so the trip out was worth it just to give us peace of mind enough to know we don’t need to stop for fuel between here and the ferry.


Which brings me to my latest investigations - which ferry to get on.  Using a combination of distances calculated by the ever-useful AA Route Planner and ticket prices as per Direct Ferries, I was amazed to see that the 30minute hop from the bottom tip of Spain over to Tangier is over 200Euros for us, but a 24hour crossing from much further north is around 450Euros.  Where’s the logic in that?  And even more daft, its currently cheaper for us to drive all the way over to Genoa in Italy and then get have a 2 day ferry trip, than it is to get on a boat in Sete, northern France and travel to exactly the same port in Morocco!  Bonkers.  So, current plan is to drive to Barcelona and get a ferry from there, with an all in cost of around 600Euros for diesel and ferry ticket.  We’d have really liked to be in the desert for Jasons 40th on the 2nd November, but that’s not looking at all likely.  Maybe we’ll get away in time for a nice overnight stop in the Pyrenees instead?


In the meantime, its been a flurry of activity here.  No, really!  I reckon if we really pull our fingers out and crack on, we could be ready to bugger off in a couple of days.  A curious mix of exciting and scary when I stop and think about it!  Will be marvellous to be back on the road though, despite it having been really nice to be here for so long.


Anyway, best get off now and make tea.  And judging by the smells coming out of the kitchen, I think I might be burning an experiment in the new Omnia cooker!  Bloody marvellous invention, it really is a stove top oven, which for people like us is a great find.  Now I can cook bread and do roasties and make cakes and all the other good things that I thought I’d have to do without for the next year or so :-)  And the lovely people at KlassicVWKampers that supplied it only charged cost price to get one to us here in France, as well as posting it same day - not like most of the cheeky sods on ebay who wanted £15 upwards for a 3 day turnaround!




Still in France...
Posted by Claire at 5.56pm, 16th October 2010

So here we are, still in France, still parked up at the folks house, still churning through the never-ending list of things to do before we can leave. And now, on top of that, it seems like France has decided its about time they had a strike about something, so refineries have been shut down all over the place and fuel shortages could soon be an issue. Jasons checked the tanks on Moglet and we currently have enough to get us from here to Barcelona so its not necessarily a big deal in that respect, but what are the chances of this spreading? Is the ferry port in Barcelona likely to be affected?? The news says there’s supplies on the way from the US, but there’s a question mark over whether the fuel will get through to the end users as the protesters are also blockading the distribution centres. Some flights out of Paris are already grounded, and the truckers are threatening to get stuck in too, driving around on a 'go slow' snarling up traffic and making everyone drink even more fuel as they try to get from A to B. But still, I guess there’s nothing we can really do about it, so we'll just keep chugging along, getting things ticked off the list, and hope its all resolved by the time we're ready to leave :-(
And in the meantime, I've been playing with the website software and thought I might incorporate a blog as the diary section, rather than the series of text boxes I'd previously used. Should be quicker on the uploads (connection speeds being pretty slow through much of Africa, from what I can tell), and give me a bit more flexibility. Plus it means you guys out there in readerland can post comments on entries without having to go to the hassle of emailing etc. And its kind of odd how there’s a real psychological difference for me too - whereas doing a Website Update always seemed to be a task and a half and deserving of the capital letters, updating a blog just seems so much more chatty and relaxed, despite the fact that its the same words that I'd be typing in! Told you it was odd...



27th Dec 2010


10th Nov 2010


6th Nov 2010


1 Nov 2010


25 Oct 2010


16 Oct 2010

FRANCE 2011.