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Rallies in July

Please note that the closing date for bookings for the Wadebridge Rally is 12th June and the Exeter Rally is 19th July. The Booking Form for these rallies must be with the Rally Officers by this date so that the rally plaque and site layout can be prepared.


Notice of AGM

The 45th AGM will be held at Monks Barn Farm, Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday 2nd September 2017 at 10.30am.


Nominations for the Committee should be sent to the Secretary clearly stating Name of Nominee, names and signatures of Proposer and Seconder, together with affirmation signature of Nominee; such nominations and any propositions and motions to reach the Secretary no later than 12th August 2017.




Committee Meeting

The next Committee Meeting will be held at the Exeter Rally in July. If you have any issues that you wish to be discussed, please contact any of the committee members by 3rd July 2017.


Views

Worcestershire Wandering

Worcestershire is a fairly compact county just south of Birmingham, and close to the M5, which makes it ideal for touring in a motorcaravan or provide a one-centre caravan based holiday.


The county is rich in history and encompasses a varied rural landscape. The city of Worcester is well worth a visit and offers a varied retail experience. The more rural towns of Evesham, Pershore, Kidderminster and Droitwich offer shopping in a less hurried way, whilst Great Malvern offers a more high-end shopping both by value and altitude. Views from the top of Malvern Hills are well worth the climb.


Driving around the county offers a mix of country lanes, secluded valleys, open fertile plains and many fascinating buildings. Croome Park is a beautifully landscaped park south of Worcester, whilst Hanbury Hall near Droitwich Spa is a fascinating property and garden. Avoncroft Museum near Bromsgrove tells the story of a bygone age whilst Whitley Court south of Stourport has a majestic feel to its ruined building.


West Midland Safari Park near Bewdley is a major attraction for youngsters, whilst the Severn Valley Railway running from Kidderminster to Bridgenorth (in Shropshire) is an experience which appeals to all the senses.


Whether walking through the Wyre Forest, over the Malvern Hills, the Clent Hills, or along the various canals, numerous rivers such as the Severn, the English countryside is all around you in this beautiful green county.



Stephen Bullock





Suffolk has Punch

Does this make you think of a horse or a lawn mower? Well Suffolk does have a punch with its surprising variety of attractions, historical buildings, attractive coast and lovely beaches.


Sandy beaches are aplenty at seaside resorts such as Lowerstoft, Kessingland, Southwold, and Aldeburgh. At Felixstowe, which has the largest container port in the UK, a viewing/lookout area provides an excellent opportunity to watch the ships arrive and dock. The Languard Fort and Museum is a fascinating place to visit.


The unique village of Thorpness with its famous “house in the clouds” is well worth a visit, the “cottage” at the top once housed a huge water tank that supplied drinking water to the village. Lavenham, with its many thatched buildings, is another must-see place, with its half-timbered Tudor guild hall (National Trust). Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings are destinations for art and music lovers. Whilst nature lovers should visit Minsmere with its many different species of waterfowl and bird life.


Anyone with an interest in the Second World War should visit Orfordness and Bawdsey where much of the development for radar was carried out. If no holiday is complete without some retail therapy, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds are worth a visit whilst the museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket offers a fascinating view of local history.


For something different, try watching powerboat racing on Oulton Broad every Thursday evening from April to September.



Pam and Colin Wenman





Touring America – a different approach!

In 2000 Ruth and I attended a Millennium Rally with the Hymer International Club and there we met two couples that were talking about touring America. They had recruited a 3rd couple but they were not at the rally.

The idea was to buy an American motor home (Recreational Vehicle (RV) as our cousins call them), run it for two years then sell it. Costs to be shared, profit or loss on sale shared also. Each couple would spend two 3 month periods in the van touring USA wherever they wished, the only constraint being that before they started their 3 months they had to fix a point, which had to have a major airport, to finish at. This was to enable the next couple going out to at least have the opportunity of obtaining a reasonable fare by booking early.

We joined in with them and took both winter slots (November through January inclusive). We all undertook to do a daily check on the vehicle, to change the oil every 3000 miles and to make sure the vehicle was serviced at the appropriate intervals. It was also agreed that you would meet your changeover couple at the airport and make the motor home available to them for the first night. They, in turn, would collect you from wherever you were staying and take you to the airport to fly home. We can tell you that it is very pleasant to be met at an airport, whisked off to a car park, placed inside a very large comfortable motor home and fed a gin and tonic all within the space of around 30 minutes!

Each couple paid for the fuel they used, cost of all calls made on the mobile phone, food, entertainment/entrance fees, parking charges and fines. All other costs, such as tyres, repairs, insurance, road tax, breakdown insurance, state taxes and oil changes where shared. You simply paid for these as they happened and submitted your receipts when you came home. Today, of course, you could scan and send them via the Internet. All was then calculated and you either got some money back or contributed more.

The initial deposit paid for the second- hand truck, which in our case was an 87 Winnebago with so many horses under the bonnet that we sometimes got 8 miles to the gallon, and basic living items such as bedding, crockery, cutlery and utensils. The van had easy chairs, fixed bed, flush toilet, shower, you name it, it had it. We all maximised our use and travelled many miles, had memorable experiences, some good, some not so good, but overall very enjoyable.

We still communicate with each other. At the end of the two years we sold Winnie (as we all affectionately called her) for less than we paid for it, but the loss was nowhere near what it would have cost to hire one even for 6 months. It proved to be a very cheap way to tour the USA for 6 months and it brought us in touch with the actual communities in the places we visited.

Fancy doing it? Then, ideally, you need one couple to be the "control" to take care of all the fixtures such as insurance, breakdown cover, road and state taxes, to hold the phone contract and be the registered owner of the RV. In our case this person also did the accounting. We never had a cross word (nor a written contract) and it ran so smoothly that it was a credit to our "controller". It was worth doing. Would we do it again? Yes we would but unlikely as we now have a dog and this would make it a little difficult, also, being British, we could not leave him for 3 months!



Denis Neilson





A Norfolk View


Norfolk is a county often overlooked by tourists. Many people only think of boating and the Broads, but Norfolk has much more to offer.


The County has many claims to fame and its many museums and galleries tell a fascinating story covering many centuries. The area is often called “Nelson’s Country” with obvious connections, which also reflects its nautical history. The whole coastline is well worth visiting with its diverse mix of scenery, seascape and wildlife.


There are several nature reserves including Blakeney Point, which can be accessed by boat or walking along a causeway. A huge variety of boats can be hired on the Norfolk Broads for weekly or daily hire, with over 100 miles of water to explore, this provides a holiday with a difference.


Most of the beaches are sandy and accessible and the coastal towns are good to explore, the best known being Cromer, famous for its crabs, and Great Yarmouth, the chips from the market are VERY good.


The main shopping places are historic Kings Lynn and the City of Norwich, which has most of the top named shops, an open market as well as interesting museums, churches and the Castle Keep, which is a natural history museum. A note of interest - Norwich was the first place in the UK to use Post Codes.


There are several stately homes in Norfolk; among them is the Royal estate of Sandringham (worth a visit, when the Queen is not in residence). Holkham Hall, Fellbrig Hall, all worth a visit.


The Thursford Collection houses steam traction / Showman engines as well as organs, including a Wurlitzer which is often played for the public. The Musselbrough Collection of military equipment is also a must visit for the men in your party. Bressingham Gardens is a famous garden centre, which also has a steam railway museum housing several mainline engines, thus making it a venue for both lads and lassies.


At Walsingham is “The Shrine of our Lady” to which many people make a pilgrimage.


Norfolk has much to offer, so hitch up your caravan or jump in your motorcaravan and come and visit us.



Pam and Colin Wenman





Why we are members


Enid and I have been members of the Avondale Club since 2001. We have made numerous friends over the years and have run many rallies as well as assisting with many others. Rallies are an excellent way of meeting people and getting to know them.


We have a 2000 Avondale Rialto four-berth caravan, which we tow with a Vauxhall Omega Estate. This combination has carried us all over the British Isles and enabled us to see some spectacular sights. You are never too old to enjoy new experiences and see new sights.


The reason we joined the Avondale Club was partly because of the very warm welcome we received from older members at our first rally in Market Bosworth. Our caravan was new but our fridge would not work on gas. A friendly club member allowed us to use their fridge whilst on site, a typical friendly gesture from a fellow member. Whenever anything goes wrong with the caravan or car, someone is always on hand, to lend a hand, to repair the fault.


This help extends to many things whether its erecting a new awning, when either we don’t seem to have sufficient bits or can’t understand why we have so many, or when the weather is against us, many hands make light work.


With the passing of the years we all get older. Enid and I are now 81 years young and we enjoy passing on our knowledge and experiences to younger members. Any club needs a constant flow of new members with new ideas. Our club needs to grow its membership to enable rallies to be organised, competitive site fees to be negotiated and to ensure a diverse range of activities are maintained to suit everyone’s taste.


We enjoy sharing this great hobby of touring with our fellow Avondale Club members, attending value for money rallies in interesting places and being able to swap information and experiences when we meet up.


Dave Holland


Vans we have loved


During almost 50 years of owning and towing a caravan when our makes have varied from Sprite, through Safari; Welton; and Avondale, we have enjoyed almost all of them as each provided for our needs at that time.


A Sprite Musketeer was our first, bought in December 1967. At that time we had 1 and a ‘bit’ children and were preparing ourselves for holidays to come that would allow us the freedom to go where, and when, we wished.

Some of you will no doubt remember caravans at that time were VERY basic – no heater; no water heater; no oven; no fridge; and NO electrics. The toilet compartment was an empty space with no wash hand basin and a ‘bucket and chuckit’ had to be bought. All washing, be it dishes; nappies (if small children were part of the family); or personal hygiene was done in the one and only sink fitted in the caravan. A water pump (hand or foot) had to be fitted along with a tap to provide ‘running water’.

Lighting was provided by gas lamps. If you forgot to remove the mantles before travelling they would be shattered by the time you reached your destination! Despite the lack of luxuries, we did love our first caravan.


As we all took to caravanning, and decided we enjoyed being members of the Caravan Club and joining in at Centre Rallies, we bought a 17’ Safari. By this time the family were growing and needing a little more space. It seemed a good choice at that time because it had an end kitchen with a sliding door which shut it off from the rest of the van This was ideal when cooking and prevented the children being ‘underfoot’. (It also meant that if unexpected visitors arrived the door could be shut on the dirty dishes!). We all loved this Safari and towed it many miles around Britain and on the Continent.


We progressed eventually to an Avondale Osprey and thereby started several years of owning different Avondales – 2- berths because the family had grown and left home; and then back to 4-berths because grandchildren had put in an appearance and formed a rota as to whose turn it was to come with us!


We have now worked our way back to an Osprey which we find suits our needs (we now have 2 cats who each claim their own berth!). We like the layout and have not seen anything similar which might tempt us to change. We are therefore happy to provide plenty of TLC to keep our beloved Osprey going and giving us the pleasure we enjoy caravanning.




Primrose & Jim



Dethleffs Camper DL470


Dethleffs Camper DL470

We started caravanning in 2009 and bought this caravan almost by accident. Unwisely we did not do our homework and bought this van because it had long beds (my husband is 6’4” tall) and the van felt spacious.


The layout is a typical 2-berth end shower-room with toilet. It is of German manufacture but is correctly “handed” for the UK market. It was specially imported by a UK dealer and I believe ours was one of fifty manufactured in 2004. Its overall length is 5.27 metres, width 2.30 metres, and height 2.60 metres. With an internal height of 1.95 metres my husband can stand up.


At the time we purchased the van we did not realise that it was slightly wider than the typical UK manufactured caravan and visitors to the van have commented that this extra width gives it a spacious feel. We just took it for granted. It also has a one-piece front window with side curtains, which adds to the feeling of space providing wide panoramic views from the lounge.


With a total all-up weight of 1,350 kg, this little van is not light. It runs on

205/70R14 tyres, which appears to surprise tyre fitters when we renew the tyres. We currently tow the caravan with a 2.0 litre Nissan X-trail.


The van is fully equipped with everything that we could possibly need. The van is constructed of 42mm floor insulation and 34mm wall insulation. It is fully winterised. External walls are smooth aluminium. The chassis includes a BPW Vario SWING V-TEC axle, heavy-duty corner steadies, shock absorbers and independent suspension.


The van originally came with a six year manufacturers warranty and although the van is now 13 years old, we have experienced no mechanical or water ingress problems. The only recurring problem we have experienced is with the internal heater cover which detaches itself at will.


Although not the most beautiful caravan, (some people have called it “the cube”), we love it and have travelled throughout the UK and overseas. If you see us at rallies, do come over and say hello.



Helen Bullock

This is useful ...

Baby Wipes

These are far more versatile than the name suggests. Try them on cleaning ceramic cooker hobs, caravan sinks, and for getting marks off clothes, caravan upholstery, car seats and many other things. Oh yes, and don’t forget the baby! Don’t know what is in them, (the wipes) but they are effective



Leather Seat Reconditioning

If the leather seats in your car (or even caravan) are looking a little tired, it is worth the effort to rejuvenate the leather and thus improve the appearance of the whole vehicle. Gliptone Cleaner and Reconditioner works well when applied with an Elliot Shoe Brush. Using a circular motion rather than pressure, really lifts the dirt and produces a near “as new” appearance.



A complete guide to towing a caravan

Towing a caravan can be a daunting experience. This applies to all of us, experienced or a beginner. A change of car or caravan can make even the most experienced of caravan-owners rethink how they can drive safely.

A useful article entitled “A complete guide to towing a caravan” is now available on the RAC website: www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/driving-advice/towing-a-caravan


This article covers a wide range to issues including:


  • Trailer driving licence categories
  • How to work out towing capacity
  • Width and length rules
  • Tips for towing a caravan


An interesting read for all touring caravan owners.



WD40

Most motorists have a can of WD40 in their cars. It is a very useful item of equipment to keep our vehicle going. However did you know that over 2000 uses are listed on the WD40 website (www.WD40.com) for this most versatile item. Some of those listed include:

  • cleans sidewalls on tyres
  • removes tar from car, caravan and motorcaravan bodywork
  • removes decals from glass and plastic
  • cleans and protects chrome-work
  • removes insects from the front of vehicles and caravans
  • stops door seals freezing in cold weather
  • removes crayon from upholstery
  • cleans marks from rubber surfaces
  • removes tree sap from bodywork.


Vaseline

Pure petroleum jelly to quote its proper name is a most versatile product. Developed by Robert Augustus Chesebrough (a British chemist) in 1870, many of us use it to stop metal threads rusting and of course we use it for chapped skin and lips, minor burns and to prevent chaffing of the skin.

However other uses around our vans include applying it to door and window seals to keep them supple and prevent drafts; rubbing along extending awning poles to prevent rusting and aid smooth operation; and apply to battery terminals to prevent corrosion.