Summer trip

ian ball
August 6, 2018

A full write up will be posted soon, for the meantime check out the Instagram  page.



National Trust Dyrham Park

ian ball
January 14, 2018

Day Visit to Dyrham Park which is part of the National trust, situated on the A46 north of Bath ,Dyrham house is set in vast undulating grounds and is famous for its Herds of deer.

Arriving at the car park you have two options walk down to the house through the grounds and hopefully see the deer or a shuttle bus service ever 10 mins to and from the house.

Being January its was bitterly cold but we didn’t let this put us off ,approaching the house look for the green head watching you.

The current house was built for William Blathwayt in stages during the 17th and early 18th centuries on the site of a previous manor house, with the final facade being designed by William Talman. It contains art works and furniture from around the world, particularly Holland, and includes a collection of Dutch Masters. The house is linked to the 13th-century church of St Peter, where many of the Blathwayt family are buried. The house is surrounded by 274 acres (111 ha) of formal gardens, and parkland which supports a herd of fallow deer. The grounds, which were originally laid out by George London and later developed by Charles Harcourt Masters, include water features and statuary.

In 1683, Blathwayt obtained by purchase the office of Secretary at War. This was originally merely the role of secretary to the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army but under Blathwayt the remit of the Secretary was greatly expanded to encompass all areas of Army administration. He effectively established the War Office as a department of the government, although he had very little input into the actual conduct of wars. Issues of strategic policy during wartime were managed by the Northern and Southern Departments (the predecessors of today’s Foreign Office and Home Office respectively). He was a witness for the prosecution at the Trial of the Seven Bishops in 1688.

“WILLIAM BLATHWAYT” portrait by Michael Dahl (1656-1743) oil on canvas, in the Great Hall at Dyrham Park.

He became a Whig Member of Parliament for Bath in 1693 (a post which he retained until 1710).

The house is heavily Dutch inspired with a great collection of Delftware Pottery.

this bed was purchased for a Royal Visit that never happened

With the tour of the house over, it was a small tour not sure if more of the house is open in the summer, we headed to the cafe for a coffee and some food.

The last port of call before leaving was the childrens play area and yes this is a nice climb up the side of a hill, with various thing for the kids to do and it also has a compost toilet!!!!!

We had a great couple of hours we saw the Deer being feed, the only negative comment i have is that the tour of the house did not show enough and was a very small part, not sure is this is due to the time off year.

RNLI College Poole

ian ball
December 22, 2017

Been a while since the last post, its close to Christmas so a weekend shopping trip to Poole, Dorset was organised not a camping trip to cold but we would be staying at the RNLI College in Poole, its a place I would never of thought of staying at but yes they have a hotel/conference centre its a 10 min walk from the train station and a short walk to the town centre.

Room with a view

We parked Kitty in the secure car park and she instantly made friends with these two chaps, so she was a happy little Defender. The rooms are beautiful with an amazing view, all unpacked off to Poole for a spot of shopping with a couple of cheeky ciders thrown in.




All shopped out and the light fading time to head back for a meal in the hotel restaurant, which I have to say was good, friendly staff good food.

After a goodnights sleep we set off for a day at Swanage with its little nik nak shops and of course the steam railway that was running Santa special’s. Swanage Railway



Next place on the bucket list was Durlston Castle that has a great little coffee shop, refreshed with a coffee and cake we explored the Victorian Castle and set off along the costal path to the light house

With time ticking by we decided to use the Bramble Bay Chain Ferry back to Poole which was cheap as chips.

To finish off it was a great weekend away The RNLI College its a great place to stay and an excellent base camp. Check out the links for more information.

Lake Garda, Sanremo and Home Summer Trip 2017 Part 8

ian ball
November 5, 2017


Our time in Venice had come to an end and it was time to continue our journey into Italy, but where to go.

Italy had been left as a blank canvass after Venice so we could pick somewhere on a whim to visit, after a few ideas we decided Lake Garda would be the next destination.

We left Venice and hit the scenic back roads that passed through Veneto countryside criss-crossed with canals and dykes that drain the land to create arable farmland for the important vineyards. It is very similar to the Fens of East Anglia UK.

Arriving at Lake Garda the campsite was located, EUROCAMPING PACENGO which is a great site, big but it has adequate shower/toilets, supermarket and nice sized swimming pool with bar.

The camp was set up and the evening meal prepared, then a walk down to the Lake finding a bar on the shore we sat and had a night cap…or two then off to bed for a good nights sleep.

The morning sun rose to mother natures choir of feathered friends it was going to be another scorching day we had been blessed on this holiday so far with great weather and we all hoped it would last.

Hitting the Lake after breakfast we pumped up the kayak and set off to the middle of the lake. It is a stunning place and after a couple of days of relaxing and swimming we hit the road for two of our travelers this would be the final Journey and they would be home in Sanremo.

We arrived in Sanremo and this would be base camp for a few days, we stayed at my sister’s house, the top two floors offer holidaying accommodation, “HOUSE WITH VIEW”

Whilst staying in Sanremo we visited Rocchetta Nervina a village with a little gem that runs through it, the river that winds and tumbles over the rocks in this medieval village creating rock pools that are the perfect summer pools to swim in.


The holiday was quickly drawing to a close, myself and Lily had one last adventure to complete the long drive to the Channel Tunnel, which was not without its challenges a burst radiator bottom hose that luckily was modified to get us home to the UK.

We even had a chance to pay our respect to all those that gave up their lives for us all to enjoy a free future. We shall remember them.

This Holiday was a daunting trip, but we all enjoyed it, we visited historical sites and enjoyed the beautiful weather that stuck with us for the entire trip.

I would like to thank all the people of every country we visited for making it a memorable experience that will stay with us for a lifetime.



Happy Halloween

ian ball
October 31, 2017

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

ian ball
July 13, 2017

Hi, purchased an Intex Challenger K2 Kayak from  Amazon UK, this is for the Summer Trip.

So to test it out we drove down to the Tithe Barn in Bradford on Avon parked up, walked to the River inflated the Kayak and well I have to say what a great time we had.

The  Intex Challenger K2 Kayak has turned out to be a great buy, it is easy to inflate but be gentle with the pump and a good thing is when packing it away the bag is a good size.

Summer trip 2017 final update

ian ball
May 13, 2017

I have been working on the summer trip and have had to tweak the destinations a bit ,I have had to drop Bosnia so much hassle sorting car insurance for just popping into the country for just 1 day shame but it has freed up some time.

We start at Harwich UK catching a ferry to the Hook of Holland this a night crossing so a cabin is booked

After setting foot in Holland we drive onwards to Herford Germany for the first camping stop, a bit  of  a blast from the past this was a place i was based whilst in the Army.

From Herford a bit of a long drive to Munich checking out the Dachau Concentration Camp  and exploring the city by doing a Third Reich Tour ,Munich being the spiritual heart of Hitlers regime. 


After a couple of days we hit the German roads again and onto Berchesgaden  (Obersalzburg) situated on the German/Austrian border, this was the site of Adolf Hitlers alpine retreat where he spent most of the war at the Bergof, we are booked to stay at Hotel Zum Turken,during WW2 it was used by the SS Hitlers personal guard. Rebuilt after a RAF bombing raid in 1945 it has been restored to the era of the 50’s.

Whilst here a trip to the Eagles Nest, the underground bunker system and the remains of the Bergof are planned, also lake Konigssee

Hitting the road we travel through Austria and Slovenia to Novigrad Croatia just a one night stop then on to Split, and hopefully catching a ferry to Hvar a town situated on a island within a short ferry trip from Split.



The next stop is Venice Italy just the one night camping then onto Vernazza Italy  on the west coast from here we stop at San Remo.

At San Remo we say goodbye to 2 of our fellow travellers after a rest and hit the road for the final push for Blighty via Castellane France.

This is the final plan, looking forward to exploring these new places , we start on the 25th of July.



MOT time again

ian ball
April 2, 2017

Yet another year has passed and its that time of year to entrust Kitty to an Mot centre, this is a process that makes me nervous as a fail always costs money but how much will it be.

I decided this year to spend a couple of weeks getting outstanding jobs done that could add to a possible fail, so a new Steering box with drop arm fitted was ordered from Paddocks mine had a slight leak, the bottom seal had gone and it had some play in it, also to complement the box I ordered some new steering column U/J’s this had been an advisory from last years MOT slight play.

Whilst carrying out this work I decided to give Kitty a cosmetic spring clean so she is ready for the summer Grand Tour of Europe Kind of Brexit farewell 🙂

Hitting the internet new standard bumper ordered ,front grill, Wipac led clear light pack, and various other badges etc.

The Wipac LED lights arrived and they were simple to fit, to the freshly Painted rear booty of Kitty I did find with the stop/tail that with my 1988 defender the wiring seems to be different , meaning that when I first wired them up side lights illuminated as brake and brake as side lights , sorted by swapping the feed wires, Indicators front and rear and front side lights were fitted with no problems and I have to say they look great.

Out came the old Steering Box in went the new which i have to say was a very simple job which surprised me but I ‘am not complaining ,steering U/J’s fitted the steering is 110% better no play at all and feels really tight.

With all the work done it was time to step into the MOT to ring and hope for the best……………the phone rings its a fail both rear tyres cracking up and brake lights not working , tyres I had believed they were bad so was expecting that, but brake lights my new LED lights 🙁  ,well after some fault finding the problem was found ,if you disconnect the battery earth lead to perform some wielding on the chassis make sure you tighten it up as it creates a bad earth and lights work very intermittent…….DOH.

New Tyres fitted battery lead tighten ,re-tested and time to relax for another year .

Thanks to CPS Bradford on Avon for the MOT and sourcing the Tyres a really friendly garage,  lrmatty on Ebay for the Front Grill, and also Paddocks for the Steering Box


March calendar challenge

ian ball
February 27, 2017

The city of Bath only a short trip from us is the March destination

Happy Christmas and new year to you all

ian ball
December 23, 2016

The silly season is here again ,have a happy Christmas, I hope santa brings you the presents you wanted,and have a great new year.

Looking forward to the the new year and the start of the calender challenge 2017