We left yesterday morning on our first trip in the motorhome. We didn't want to go too far as we had to be back by Saturday.
We headed off to Aynho in Oxfordshire to meet up with Ray and Leonie, from NB Firefly NZ, who have recently bought a new motorhome and are about to embark on a big European adventure with their friends who arrived from NZ a couple of days ago. Their friends, Bruce and Natalie, had bought a motorhome on line and the owner had driven it from far north Scotland to Oxfordshire for their arrival.
We left Bolly at first light (11.00am) and headed down the M6 only to see warning signs that is was blocked south of Stafford. We turned off at Stone and went cross country along with a million other drivers, a 2.5 hour journey took nearly 5 hours. We weren't worried as it was nice to get away and one of the main purposes of the trip was to check out the van for any problems.
I am pleased to say that she performed faultlessly. There were a couple of noticeable differences from the old Autotrail van which were that this one doesn't seem to have as much get up and go as the Fiat, but then again it has got a smaller motor. The other thing, but on the plus side, was that we averaged 27 MPG for the trip the Autotrail would have been about 23 MPG.
Another difference was that on the motorway the Fiat got knocked off line a bit by the airflow when overtaking trucks or them overtaking us, this one keeps as straight as a die. I put it down to the aerodynamics between the two, the Autotrail had a big bulbous bow so perhaps it doesn't cut through the air as efficiently, it's also probably the reason for the differing fuel consumption.
Anyway enough of the technical bollocks......we arrived at Aynho Wharf which is very well known to the narrowboat community, Bombolicious was very happy to be in the sticks again ...
We moored up by the fuel wharf, where, for the very reasonable sum of £4.00 a night, you can stop and be hooked up with 240v! If you don't want power then it is £2.00 a night. This is the cheapest place we have ever stopped at in the UK, the narrowboating community probably think its as expensive, as generally they don't pay a cent for overnight mooring. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, it is one of the big attractions of narrowboating ... once you pay your licence fee away you go. Unfortunately there are a few boaters who don't play by the rules and take the piss, mainly in the London area of course, where their idea of continuous cruising is about 10 miles a year if you are lucky. It looks like C&RT are on the their case which in my mind is a good thing).
The weather was superb, warm but not hot. The shorts and Crocs were "The costume de riguer".
We went for a lovely walk along the canal, unfortunately Sammie went lame when he stood on something nasty, so I had to carry him for while before he recovered from the trauma.
He looked very happy so I just think he was being a lazy little git ...
In the evening we went to The Great Western pub next door and caught up with the Kiwi contingent.
We had a great catch up chat about motorhoming in Europe, plus narrowboating and other subjects.
Dunnies were briefly mentioned.