Keef & Anne's Travel Blog

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By keef and annie hellinger, Sep 29 2014 06:12PM

Motorhome trip No19 : September 23rd – September 28th 2014


George 3rd may have said “Bugger Bognor” but we say we LOVE the place!

Took the “wendy house” away for 6 days down on the south coast visiting family, friends, our old haunts and some nice restaurants and pubs en route. The weather was really good even got a bit of a tan.

We stayed at Chichester Lakeside view holiday park in the tourer area via our ACSI membership . Amazing value at €12 per day. It has nice lakes, an outside pool , bar with free wifi, shop and café and perfectly adequate facilities. They are not the newest but you get what you pay for. The only downside is the A27 noise and the fact that they put the height barrier to the field on at 5pm every day even though you have paid £10 deposit for the key fob to get in the front entrance. Still no real complaints the weather was mostly good!

Whilst here we visited Chichester (Chi), East & West Whittering, Bracklesham Bay,Bognor Regis where we met 39 years ago, Felpham, Middleton on Sea, Elmer, Climping, Littlehampton (main & west beach), our dear friends Mike and Alison in Selsey, Pagham, Birdham, Chi Marina & Bosham. See the pix!

We then drove onto Brighton via Worthing and stayed at the Brighton Caravan club site at Whitehawk in the east of the city. We took the bus into town to the Old Steine and did the usual touristy things. Pavilion, Lanes, Pier, Dome, Beach, Promenade as well as a lovely meal at our Neice Laura’s restaurant – Cocktails & Burgers (Giraffe) in North rd. Mixed weather but hot and humid!

Saturday we drove to Lewes and stayed there all day, a really interesting historic town, architecture, quirky markets, steep streets, lovely gardens, vistas, Anne of Cleeves house, fish & chip dinner in high street pub, fab Harveys ales and 6 free Vinyl LPs from local record shop…. Result!

Sunday we visited Laura, Ben and Obi (lovely dog) and had breakfast at Jamie Olivers before driving back home, all in all a fab week away, brought back many wonderful memories and created a few more!

Anyone else have any Motorhome / RV experiences in Sussex UK they want to share? If so leave a comment on this blog and we will get back to you, regards Keef & Annie

218 Photos available in the SLIDESHOW

Motorhome outside Rodean School, Rottingdean
Motorhome outside Rodean School, Rottingdean

By keef and annie hellinger, Sep 19 2014 05:50PM

This guide shows you how to fit one to a specific motorhome but in our humble opinion the principle is the same which ever home you fit it to.

Summary of steps

1. It’s a sensible precaution to test that the components are all functioning correctly before starting to install them. A fully charged 12V battery or suitable power supply will be required. Gentle flexing of the cable and joints should ensure that there are no breaks or snags.

2. Mark out the position of the camera bracket in the centre of reverse slope under the high-mounted stop lamp. Auto-Sleepers fit a horizontal metal reinforcement behind the inner skin of the Styrofoam panel and the hole should be above this. On this vehicle the reinforcement ended 40mm above the cupboard base, but this should be confirmed with a stud detector. Inside the rear cupboard, drill a 30mm diameter access hole through the inner insulation just above the camera bracket location.

3. Drill two 6mm diameter holes for the screw fixings, coat the camera bracket with mastic and temporarily secure with 6mm screws and nuts. Use large washers on the inner surface of the GRP panel. Use a ¼-inch M10 socket and universal drive to hold the nut. Tape the socket and any extension together to avoid dropping into the void. When the mastic has set, remove screws, coat the holes and washers with additional mastic and reassemble. This process gives a better seal because it allows the bracket to be secured before the mastic has set and then holds it while it sets.

4. Drill two 8mm diameter cable holes below the bracket. Fit the sleeve grommets to the cables, coat the holes and grommets with mastic and feed through the GRP panel and inner insulation. Wipe off excess mastic and arrange a loop in the cables to shed water. It may be easier to fit the sleeve grommets if they are split lengthwise and rejoined with superglue.

5. Remove left-side rear light and locate the harness feed hole. Drill a 19mm hole in left side of rear cupboard wall at level of 30mm hole.

6. Locate the left-rear light harness under the rear floor, remove the mastic from the feed hole through the floor and ensure that the hole is large enough to pass the cable plugs.?To avoid damaging the lighting harness it may be more convenient to cut it and pull it through the rear lamp feed hole. It can be rejoined later.

7. Moving to the front of the vehicle, remove the left fusebox cover and glovebox. To do this you need to remove the pocket above the fusebox to reveal a hidden fixing for the glovebox panel.

8. Inside the cab, remove the passenger wheelarch and side step trims and locate the large harness entry hole giving?access to the left side-member.

9. Feed the cable horizontally across the rear wall void from the 30mm hole to the 19mm hole made in step 5. Then vertically down to the rear light cable hole, through the floor, under the floor following the route of the rear light harness to the large grommet in the rear outer of the left side-member. Go along the interior of the left side-member, out the step harness entry hole, up the left wheelarch and into left fusebox area securing with tie wraps

10. The rear light hole and the 19mm hole are used as access holes and the cable is only temporarily looped through them. Electrician’s cable feed rods are strongly recommended for this process, though stiff wire may make a suitable alternative. Secure the cable to the access hole plugs with cable ties, feed the cable into the void and fit the plugs. These are purely precautionary measures in case cable recovery is required in the future.

11. Attach the mirror monitor to the existing mirror and route its cable tail to the left fusebox area via the headlining and left A-pillar trim. Secure the monitor control box to a blank area of the fusebox. Locate suitable feeds for the cameras and monitor.

12. Auto-Sleepers taps into the cigarette lighter feed from the fusebox for the rear step warning buzzer and this makes a suitable ignition-controlled source for the permanent camera. Connect with an inline fuse of 3-5A. A multi-terminal plug for the left rear light harness is located at the base of the A-pillar and the lead to the reversing light can be identified by cable colours and confirmed using a voltmeter. Connect the monitor AV2 switch wire to this lead. Fit the earth return to a suitable point. Connect all leads and loop any excess cable neatly in the left fusebox area.

13. Reconnect the rear light harness, if cut, and seal in a weatherproof junction box if external. Fill the floor access hole with a suitable non-setting mastic.

14. Tape the cable to the rear light harness and refit the rear light unit. Test that the system operates satisfactorily and adjust the camera angles using the adjustable brackets on the sides. When happy with the view, bolt the unit to its final position.

Rear camera fitted to a  2006 Marquis Lancashire (Auto-Sleeper Nuevo) coach
Rear camera fitted to a 2006 Marquis Lancashire (Auto-Sleeper Nuevo) coach

There are some other really useful and interesting articles that may help on other pages of the MMM blog , why not click HERE to take a look i.e water ingress, buying a new van etc etc

By keef and annie hellinger, Sep 14 2014 12:03AM

Not The Motorhome trip No3 : September 5th – September 12th 2014


Didn’t take the motor home this time as stayed at wonderful Hesleyside Hall cottages on the extensive grounds of the Charlton family whose main hall approach and gardens were designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown who was born at Kirkharle nearby. Went with Craig, Leanne, Bill & Lady dog and had the most wonderful time, weather so much better than we hoped for, sunny and warm often!

Visited Hadrians Wall, Kielder Water, Alnwick (+ the fabulous Barter Books – even got an old Wham & John Lennon Vinyl LP),Low Newton by Sea, Bamburgh Castle, Hareshaw Linn waterfall walk at Bellingham, Carriages restaurant, Corbridge,Hexham,Kirkhale courtyard , church and lake and can 5* recommend the Cheviot Hotel in Bellingham for food and ales.

Craig & Leanne cycled all 27 miles around Kielder, a fabulous achievement, well proud of them both!.

Will definitely bring the campervan back to this area, a Camping & Caravan site is just outside Bellingham and each year at this time the BaaFest is on for a whole weekend, live music, food and ales. Its just so beautiful , we know the coastal areas well but not really the Northumbrian forest area.

Anyone else have any Motorhome / RV experiences Bellingham and / or Northumberland they want to share? If so leave a comment on this blog and we will get back to you, regards Keef & Annie


1) If you want to see our previous family holidays in a cottage click KESWICK for the 1st and CERIDIGION for the 2nd.

2)The Index shows ALL blogs already published or you can find Blogs about a specific subject by clicking on a word in the soon to be available KEYWORDS page, thanks, motorhome-travels.

153 Photos available in the SLIDESHOW

Annie at the Minotaur Maze Kielder Castle
Annie at the Minotaur Maze Kielder Castle

By keef and annie hellinger, Aug 31 2014 10:22AM

Daily Fail / Male - 28/8/14

Motorhome trip No18 : August 27th - August 29th 2014


Trip to our beautiful friends Chris and Allyson’s wedding at Matfen High House Farm & Brewery. An absolutely fab time, sadly as Annie had caught a bad sore throat and early cold we came back a day or two earlier so as not to pass it onto the bride & groom before their honeymoon to France.

Weather mixed but considering how poor August has been it was good.

Initially we stayed at the caravan club site at Old Hartley farm listed as being in Whitley bay but it is more Seaton Sluice. Fab views of St Mary’s island lighthouse from our pitch. Nice meal in the eve, bit of reading, prepping speech and up early the next morning to travel across to the wedding venue near Matfen which is I guess between Newcastle and Hexham.

The whole day was fabulous, see the slideshow for a pictorial reminder. So happy for my bestest mate and Allyson. The wedding breakfast (wonder why they call it that?) food was fab and the hog roast in the evening excellent and the band , the shake down band where brill. They even played our requests of Summer of 69 and Sex on fire, what a nice bunch of lads *smile*

I’ve included a copy of the spoof newspaper I did for them and a repeat of my best man speech.

We got up about 10-ish on the Friday, had brekkie, sadly said our goodbyes and made the long journey back with the usual motorway hold ups to vex us. We had lunch with the brides mum and partner, Eve & Norman at the Weatherby service station. Quite a coincidence as we were all travelling back down south.

71 photos in the SLIDESHOW

Best Man Speech

Intro self – Keef, for those of you who don’t know me and Happy for those that do. I’ve known Chris since v v young. My mum met dee at FPC back in the early 50s I believe (it clearly didn’t work, we are both here)

Definition of Best Man: - googled a few of these and picked out my favourite 3

1) Noun: an acquaintance with whom you trust a five minute speech that could, potentially, ruin the rest of your life. 5 mins - no chance, far too short! You can’t reveal much in 5 mins.

2) Antiquated expression used to delineate the "best swordsman" by your side as you kidnapped your "betrothed". Remember Vikings & Northumbrians stole their brides.

3) At one stage the best man would stand guard as a sentry to protect the bride and groom from anyone who wished to stop the wedding. He would sometimes continue this vigil outside the newlywed’s home after the ceremony- In today’s parlance that is a Stalker or Perv

Ice breaker: Want to play a quick game? 3 quick facts about Chris. 2 are true 1 isn’t. I’ll take a show of hands once I’ve been thru them

1. We almost missed a once a week bus across the top of Scotland when the warden at the Tongue youth hostel made us complete our chore having spent the night there. The chore may have been toothbrush on urinal porcelain, but I can’t remember. I do remember travelling on the post van with livestock, fruits, vegetables and newspapers however.

2. In our yoof we had very powerful (not) Honda 50 motorbikes tearing up the strip and terrorising the neighbourhood. We eventually progressed to more powerful bikes. Please feel free to visit Chris’ in their garage sometime. We had leather jackets with Harley Davidson written in studs across the back.

3.At many a party armed with Party 4’s and 7’s (basically a bigger baked bean can filled with Watney’s Red Barrel ale or better stuff – Abbot ale/ Bishops Tipple (maybe)) we would prance around energetically to the Motors Airport, nowadays it is called “dancing like your dad” but we thought we were the bee’s knees

Time for some facts-ish: Daily mail handout (35 copies – take one and pass them on please) after I’ve done the paperboy bit…..

At 12 I was a Paper boy, delivering in Clapham (or Clame as we prefer to call it now) to Rodenhurst rd , the posh bit HAND OUTS (lovely assistant) this is where Chris’s family lived

Chris & I were almost foetuses together, 60 years we have known each other, Chris is my longest & best friend, in class we sat next to each other before and after I went to oz as a child, travelled Scotland together when we finished 6th form as well as attempting an early commune in the lake district with a group of friends where we survived almost entirely on custard and oat cakes , we visited Taize (a religious community) vaguely near Cluny in France in our early hippy days. Speaking of Australia Chris & Allyson went in the “modern day” at the start of this year to see Laura & Steve, there they got engaged, what I suppose you could call a bit of a whirlwind romance (larf) they are both v happy and that makes us all here the same, they have now started travelling in their motorhome, my ambition is convince them to travel with Annie & I thru central outback oz or the forgotten world highway in nz by motorhome, perhaps one for the future maybe. We can then all be gray revellers sponsored by Saga, Must mention Chris other passions besides Allyson i.e music, blues, his various bands with Cordell and others,before the Sage it was early day concerts @ the Finsbury Park rainbow, we saw amongst others Pink Floyd, ELP and yes (Chris made a clock from side 2 of TFTOs - pure sacrilege), Chris was also into John martyn ,pete adkin, clive james, strawbs, jonathan kelly, FYC,tom petty, jimi Hendrix, roxy etc etc, and now he and Allyson are groupies or troublemakers for those in the know! Many a beer festival from the 1st great british to the latest, I have so many tribute glasses from these that I needed an extension on the kitchen , only sorry I couldn’t make the latest recent London one with you mate

Mustn’t forget family & friends – this really makes Chris tick and I get that too…..

ENOUGH – your real ale will get cold

One Final category

What about this day in history? 28th August I may add a few quiz questions

Birthdays - born on this day

1749 - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, wrote the play Faust (d. 1832)

1828 – Leo Tolstoy, Russian Author

1906 - John Betjeman, poet laureate of England

1917 - Jack Kirby, cartoonist (X-Men, Spiderman, Hulk, Capt America)

1943 - David Soul, [Mr Solberg?] Chicago, actor (Starsky & Hutch)

1949 – Hugh Cornwall of the Stranglers

1965 - Shania Twain, Windsor Ontario, Canadian singer (You're Still the One)

1968 – Billy Boyd, Pippin from Lord of The Rings

1969 - Jack Black, American actor

1986 - Florence Welch Flo & The machine


1811 – Poet Percy Bysshe Shelly eloped with Harriet Westbrook to Scotland to get married

1924 - British children's writer Enid Blyton (27) marries editor Major Hugh Alexander Pollock, DSO (36)

1997 - British-Indian novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie (50) weds Elizabeth West


1640 - King Charles I's English army loses to a Scottish Army at the Battle of Newburn

1850 - Richard Wagner's opera "Lohengrin" premieres in Germany

1921 - Babe Ruth starts best streak ever of an “extra-base hits” whatever that means

1955 – Rock around the clock by Bill Hayley hit no 1

1963 - Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I have a dream speech" adressing civil rights march at Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC

1964 - The Beatles appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine

1965 - Bob Dylan booed for playing electric guiter at a concert in New York's Forest Hills

1967 – For the cricket fans amongst us (Allyson) Asif Iqbal & Intikhab Alam make 190 stand for 9th wkt v Eng

1973 - "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple goes gold

A personal one for me

1982 - "Sugar Babies" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 1208 perfs

1986 - Tina Turner's star unveiled in Hollywood

1987 – Luka by Suzanne Vega no1

And one final one….

2014 Chris marries Allyson, He is my best mate and always will be, it is a real privilege and honour to be asked to be his best man, please join me in a cheer and toast to the happy couple, health and a long fun life together …. “Chris & Allyson, the new Mr & Mrs Langthorne”