A Travellerspoint blog


The van saga

Why is English bureaucracy such a nightmare!

semi-overcast 19 °C

We arrived back in Bristol and started van hunting. It turned out finding the van was not the hard part. We tracked down a great van up north being sold by two guys who recently did a very similar trip around Europe. It was set up brilliantly for us. Long beds, lots of storage, captain's chairs that spin around, two burner hob, sink with working tap....everything we could want.

Next came the drama that is English Bureacracy and some other minor hiccups. I'll be brief because this was dull as dishwater to do and I imagine worse to read:
1 Insurance (let's just say just because you can buy a car in the UK does not necessarily mean you can easily insure it, 47 calls and two false starts later... including two 5 hour round trips to the van, we got our insurance sorted.... I hate insurers!!)

2 UK Licence (this is the insurer's fault [plus it technically would have been illegal to drive on my Oz licence once we got back from the continent], anyway, there are no DVLA offices and everything is done by post. That's right folks three week's with my passport and licence...that is all my photo ID, in the hands of the English bureaucrats.... so scary!).... Weirdly enough it's totally legal to drive in the UK without these while all this documentation is with the DVLA... or at least that's what I was told by the post office worker, cause again, they don't have a DVLA office where you can check!!

3 Here's my top tip for new van owners: you should always learn where your lights are as soon as you buy a new van. Otherwise you can accidently switch your lights on without realising and therefore not turn them off when you leave the van to its own devices for 2 days. However, the upside is after pulling out and testing both the leisure and main batteries turned out they were shot anyway, so it was maybe a blessing in disguise... a very stressful, time consuming, worry inducing, blessing in disguise.

Now for the main event. Presenting Bessie our lovely, most reliable, absolutely glorious, van. Dad these photos are for you....
Driving Bessie in the Lake's District

Here she is again!

Bessie at Loch Ness

Bessie chilling on the Isle of Skye

Bessie watching the sunset in the Curraing

Bessie driving at St Andrew's (get it... driving)

Posted by Addy21 11:35 Archived in England Tagged van Comments (0)

Pit stop # 3

London again

sunny 19 °C

We made another quick stop in London before making our next sortie to Ireland.

We crashed with Tom for the weekend and caught up with him and Becs, then headed back into the city to do a bit more sightseeing.
We did a pretty good free tour which took us around all the major sights in London, which happened to coincide with a visit from the Mexican President which meant there was quite a lot of pomp and ceremony happening around Buckingham Palace and we even caught a glimpse of the Queen as she drove by to meet him.
We also found time to see another play. Once. It was brilliant. The cast were also the orchestra, so all the music (Irish folk/pop) was played on stage by the actors and weaved through beautifully with the story. It was absolutely fantastic!
Overall it was a lovely break before heading to Birmingham to catch a flight to Dublin.

Posted by Addy21 02:25 Archived in England Tagged london queen musical once Comments (0)

London calling...

Pit stop no 2

overcast 9 °C

We had four days in London this time and after our last eventful stopover I was expecting another whirlwind. It was Australia Day when we arrived but we were too exhausted to do more than have a few pints in its honour at the little pub below our hostel. We took a day to do some planning, get our washing done and just sort out a few bits and pieces that needed sorting. The next day we spent the whole day at the British Museum. We did two of their free tours which were fantastic and decided quite early on to focus on Greco Roman and Egyptian areas only on this trip. There was just too much to see otherwise. The exhibits with huge sections of the Parthenon friezes, Rosetta stone, giant Egyptian statues and beautiful sarcophagi were brilliant. We wandered around until we could absorb no more and made our way back to the hostel for a quiet night.
I unfortunately chose this time to become sick, so the next day I spent almost the entire day in bed while Matt did more planning and organising. Our final day wandered up to Stamford Bridge to see if there were any tickets left to the midweek game, but had no such luck, so we took a few photos of Matt out the front and Matt watched the game at the pub.
The next stop was Egypt!

Posted by Addy21 06:44 Archived in England Tagged london british_museum Comments (0)

London pit stop

Plays, football and dinosaurs

overcast 8 °C

We only had a couple of days in London so we decided to take in a few of the free sites and take it easy. After the bus drop us off at 5am instead of 9am we were a little slow to get going but we checked the half price ticket offers and found a great deal to see Shakespeare in Love.
We had a nap and then spent the day walking through Hyde Park to the Natural History Museum and after a long queue (rainy Saturday) spent a pleasant few hours discovering our inner child before heading for the show.
On the way we came across a half price ticket booth with tickets to the next days Arsenal v Hull City match, and though a little pricey, decided why the hell not! Suddenly our cheap and quiet few days turned into an entertainment extravaganza. The play was great, and the Noel Cowel theatre was beautiful. We had truly terrible seats, apparently partially obscured view means having to lean over the balcony to look almost directly down at the stage from the side and Matt was not having fun with his vertigo. We both agreed it was well worth it though, the play was great and though we'll probably opt for better seats next time, had no complaints.
The next day we headed out to pick up our Arsenal tickets and made our way to the Emirates Stadium. The atmosphere was great. Almost every seat was full and the songs and chants were almost constant. Matt was very excited to see some of his favourite players take the field. We probably took more photos of the game than almost anything else we've seen. : ) Arsenal won 2-0 to top the night off and while totally freezing, it was a great fun night.
We were off at midnight to get the tube and bus out to the airport and off to Morocco the next morning bright and early.

Posted by Addy21 00:57 Archived in England Tagged london natural_history_museum arsenal Comments (0)

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas in Devon

overcast 8 °C

Merry Christmas!
Matt and I spent a lovely Christmas in Devon. We found a great place to stay on TrustedHousesitters. It's a beautiful cottage surrounded by farmland. We arrived on Christmas Eve and after a mini tour of the area, hunting for Christmas Bon Bons, then unpacking and generally getting organised, we settled down for strawberries, cream and Champagne (yes, I said Champagne) in front of the fire.
The next morning we got up early to call home, then put the turkey and pork shoulder on to roast. Needless to say we had waaaayyyy too much food. But what is Christmas without a little indulgence. We had a lovely brunch of ham steaks and eggs, with more Champagne. : ) Christmas, indulgence.
Once we were finished eating we redecorated their Christmas tree to add a little sparkle and rocked the Christmas Carols
We opened our presents which was a lot of fun, we had wrapped everything individually to make it all that much more fun.
Then we jumped back in the kitchen to do the veggies, dancing away to Christmas carols.
We had an incredibly decadent lunch and then chilled out on the couch and watched some TV.
Later I took the dog for a walk and checked out the gorgeous surroundings.
Boxing day was very quiet, and we headed off on the 27th, checking out the lovely town of Sidmouth on the way.

Posted by Addy21 08:18 Archived in England Tagged devon Comments (0)

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