Just get out there - whatever the weather throws at you!
Obviously, we are super keen to use our motorhome as much as we can but with busy lives and three full time jobs between the two of us (not including this website) it often seems like there are just not enough hours in the day. But that's exactly why it's important to make the extra effort to plan a weekend away; to get away from it all and to relax. After all, that is why we bought a motorhome in the first place!
So, at the start of the New Year we agreed to get away one weekend in January. Eve said she wanted to visit Brighton, West Sussex as she had never been there before so we looked on the Caravan & Motorhome Club website and found a great place to stay (Brighton Caravan Club Site (REF : SHV)).
We had a great pitch easily large enough for our Morelo and close to the washroom facilities. I could not believe how busy it was there; it must have been half full; in January!! Opposite our pitch we met a wonderful guy called John from Scotland who is travelling alone. He was also on his first trip away with his new 6.9m Mercedes based Hymer Starline (together with a substantial trailer carrying his cute orange Smart car). John said he's off to the south of Spain in a few weeks so we wished him Bon Voyage and we set off to walk into Brighton along the promenade walk about 2.5 miles (or just over 4Km).
It was a nice walk but slightly spoilt as we could smell a deep fat fryer from about half a mile away from the pier - we must have been down wind and really didn't fancy chips when we got there.
Brighton Pier - a great British institution (but only visit if you have never been before or have small children who want to play in an arcade or go on a small fairground ride).
To be fair though, it wasn't the best time to visit. Maybe in the summer it's a lot nicer. On a cold rainy, January day it's not at its' best. You do need to do this at least once in your life though; visit a British pier I mean. Evelyne wasn't much impressed and wanted to search for some culture.
As we walked away from the pier we met three young ladies carrying shopping bags, of course Eve spotted the distinctive Victoria Secret bags so asked where the shopping street was. They kindly helped us with directions and we set off in the direction of the famous Brighton Royal Pavilion.
Before long we found a small street with some great looking shops. We found The Red Gecko at 13 East Street Brighton and just had to go inside.
What a great little shop this was, we had a good look around and finally bought this wall art piece (in their sale for just under £35 so a great bargain) as a memento of our trip to Brighton.
There were a number of "firsts" for us this weekend. We had both bought new walking boots last weekend in preparation for some long walks during our travels and this weekend was the time to put them to the test. The verdict and what we thought about our choice of footwear will be the subject of a blog in the near future so more about that later.
Another first was the warning that came up on our Morelo control panel showing "Gas Failure"! Oh no - I was not amused! No gas all weekend was a dim prospect seeing as the rain was torrential and I wanted a hot cup of tea.
On our Morelo, we have an in-built 120 Ltr propane gas tank (bolted directly onto the chassis); the thinking behind going for this option was the extended "off-grid" time we could have both in summer but especially in winter (as we would need the gas for the central heating system, hot water to shower etc. and for cooking).
The law requires all motorhome on-board gas systems to have crash sensors; a small device that isolates the gas supply in the event of a collision. Our vehicle has two such sensors (as we can have a further two 11Kg propane cylinders in one of the lockers). The main tank sensor seems to have activated or failed (or both) and we had no gas all weekend.
It may be long shot but the M25 is pretty rutted and bumpy in places. It could be that we hit a bump or pot-hole in the road on the way which tripped the gas sensor. I know it did work when we travelled back from Munich in September.
I had remembered the handover at Gluck with Christian and how he had told me how to reset the sensor so I calmly did so trying to impress my other half. But no, it didn't do the trick and it didn't reset the gas supply. We had heating luckily as it was only 1 degree C outside; the Alde 3020 heating system can operate on gas or electricity and we were connected to the mains power so that was good.
Christian and I exchanged a few text messages with him trying to help us but nothing seemed to work - it was great that he tried to help us though; thanks again Christian.
I finally made some tea by using the Nespresso machine without a capsule in it and just letting the hot water go through it into the cup but it wasn't very hot nor very nice but I impressed myself by actually thinking to do that (I am easily impressed too).
It was then that I remembered that I had actually planned for this very crisis.
Thinking more about running out of gas rather than having lots but not being able to get at it, I had already purchased a small self-contained single burner gas cooker and it was stored in the garage (new, unopened and unused of course). I proudly announced to the Kindle reader that I had a solution; I could now make her Night Time brew after all and this announcement actually made Evelyne look up from her Kindle for the first time in what seemed like hours. I went out in the rain and recovered the new mini-cooker, I opened up the packaging only to find that it is supplied without the gas canister!! Argghh! Why?
Note to self: order gas canisters for this thing for next time and, buy an electric kettle
p.s. I called the Morelo Emergency Helpdesk today; they are amazing and really assisted me (thanks again Andreas) and have given me additional advice on how to fix the problem. Watch this space for an update.