gearbox progress

A little progress on the gearbox…Due to issues with a batch of faulty parts, the gearbox wasn’t ready for my September holiday. As has been covered in a previous post we managed to get away thanks to a friend lending me a box. Ironically, I received an email stating my gearbox was ready the first day of our three week break. Suffice to say I was not really in any positing to collect until the end of September where it sat in my garage until a couple of days ago.

The box build spec changed from standard to include a 4.14 final drive,  stronger 4 pinion differential and new differential bearings. This should compliment my new, more powerful AAZ engine with longer gears throughout and a higher cruising top speed.

Knowing that the gear boxes are prone to corrosion due to its position underneath the camper in front of the engine, my intention was to paint the casings before fitting the box. I thought about etch primer (the yellow stuff that comes out of an aerosol can), but decided to try Hammerite primer on a small section of the alloy to see how well it adhered. After a couple of days I checked and it seemed to have keyed on really well, so the rest of the box was painted.

I am in no great rush to have the box fitted, and the reality is it’s probably going to sit in my garage for the next  6 month until my van is booked in for a service at Brickwerks. I’ll get them to fit it then 🙂 . Hammerite takes a good few weeks to cure, after which I will paint again with a mid grey engine enamel.


Thermal Screens

Pitched Up and ready to hit the city

I have had a couple of people ask me about the thermal screens I use on my van (seen above on both the window and pop top). Both of these get used on almost every camp over oblivious to the time of year or temperature for reasons explained below.

The pop top roof canvas was purchased directly from Paucer

The obvious reason for buying the screen initially was to try and retain the heat from inside of the van during cold weather. However, we do find that it reduces the noise slightly if camped in busy locations, along with reducing buffeting sounds when windy, and the sound of rain on the canvas. During summer it reduces the amount of light in the van which can be helpful when the sun starts to rise at 5am.  After all, who wants to be woken up at the crack of dawn when your on your hols? 🙂

All T3 / T25s have glass window screens and door glass so a thermal wrap is a must if you want to stand any chance of eliminating condensation from the cab area of your van. The Silver Screen was an expensive purchase in comparison to the alternatives that are on offer from the likes of Just Campers etc. At over £100 it was twice as much, but my purchase is still as good today, as the day I brought it. You can definitely see the difference in the thickness of the quilting and the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly rings true here.  The screen cover was brought directly from Silver Screens ( ).

Vans In the Sands 2017

Dartmouth was the destination for the ninth camp over of our three week break. It was a brilliant location for a camp over which happened to be at the very edge of the privately owned blue flag  beach of Blackpool Sands. We had done this event the previous two years, and we really enjoyed the like minded company of the people who camped over for the weekend.


Charlestown – Broadmeadow house

11th September started by visiting Truro. We had skirted around the town the previous year, but felt as the weather was a little unsettled, it may be the ideal time to do a little shopping and have a meal before we headed to our final destination in Charlestown near St Austell. We had seen Broadmeadow House on a review of the 10 best campsites in Cornwall on the Guardian Website. It seemed to tick the box for Mandy and I,  with very limited numbers of campers allowed at any one time, and amazing views of St Austell Bay.

We arrived at Charlestown and pulled up outside a nice cottage at the end of a quaint street. We had been text by the owner ‘Debs’ earlier on in the day with accurate directions and a question about the type of beverage we would like in our welcome basket. We proceeded through two gates and up a very steep hill into the camping field. The van struggled with traction on the incline on a couple of occasions with the wheels spinning just shy of the top. But eventually we got there and parked up at the lower part of the field.

Parked up and ready to camp.

We knew that the winds were going to pick up at some point during our three night stop, and there was almost certainly going to be some rain, but I felt the views out to sea and around the bay were more than going to make up for any unsettled weather we might have. Never the less everything was secured down in anticipation.

We had done a little research about the small town before we arrived, and it seemed interesting, although we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. The afternoon of our arrival saw us going for a short walk to try and put the campsite into some context with the surroundings.

Some obscure viking ship 🙁
view of the harbor

That evening we saw an amazing sunset, but as predicted this was shortly followed by wind and rain.


Well this pretty much set the scene as far as weather was concerned for the duration of our stay, but we were lucky that the indoor attraction of the Shipwereck Museum  provided shelter for a morning during the worst stint of rain, and a number of restaurants, galleries and tearooms bridged the gaps during the odd shower.  We also paid to have a look around the harbor which was the berthing place for some very old ships and the filming of some of Poldark.  We chose to visit the harbor on our last day, but were advised that we wouldn’t be able to get to the quayside until afternoon due to a ship entering port.

We woke up Wednesday morning and looked out into the bay to see the tall masts of an old ship. We had a shower and breakfast, and rushed down just in time to catch the ship entering. Not something you see every day.


We pootled around for the rest of the morning having a coffee and perusing the shops. We had eaten at a restaurant the previous day called Wreckers  which had a great menu (and cider) so we chose to eat there for a second time while we waited for the harbor to open.

Lunch at Wreckers

I must admit I did question why we had paid for a walk around the harbor when we could see it from a short distance away, but it was interesting. You could walk onto and around an old ship, and there was a fair bit of information to read about the history of the port / harbor. 

Anyways, I was more than impressed with Charlestown, and both Mandy and I plan to return at some point in the not too distant future. Next Stop. Totnes..


Planning our next port of call wasn’t difficult. We had a couple of options but both decided that Bude looked worth a visit. Mandy had friends that had stayed at Bude earlier in the year, and feedback from them meant we shouldn’t be disappointed. As with so many places we visit between campsites, we knew we were only really going to leave with a taste of what the place has to offer. The day was mainly overcast and blustery with the odd hint of sunshine. We parked up in the main carpark next to the beach. This was the first contact with sand and the sea, so although the weather wasn’t amazing, we felt an element of excitement.

Beach smiles 🙂

After a brief wander round, a very expensive, but nice serving of Fish & Chips at Urchins Bistro and a sit on the beach, we decided to take a leisurely drive over to Padstow. This was our second time at Padstow Touring Park, the first time being last year.  During the planning of this holiday we were in two minds whether or not to book in for a second year on the trot, but we both agreed that there was an element of comfort in knowing we liked the campsite, and we left last year knowing there was more to discover at Padstow than our stay there had allowed.

Before getting to the campsite we stopped off at the local Tesco supermarket to stock up on Supplies. We were there for three nights, and once the van is set up we like to use that as a static base. Knowing this it was important to get fresh bread etc.  On arrival at the campsite found ourselves on the all too familiar pitch we had last year. Quite a surprise in light of the campsites many pitches.


We filled the water tank, popped the roof, wound out the awning and ten minutes later it seemed like we had never been away. We had a bite to eat and stretched our legs with a half hour nosy round the campsite. I was definitely starting to feel relaxed…

Time for a snooooze

The following day started with this burst of sunshine caught as I wondered back from the shower block…

This pretty much set the scene for the next few days. Mainly sun with the odd cloud, which gave us plenty of opportunity to explore the areas of Padstow we had previously missed. Three nights was one of the longer stops of the holiday, but time to relax and change the tempo for the next few weeks ahead was always the intention of this particular part of the break. The stress of work, and the issues I had with the gearbox had kind of taken their toll on the run up to the holiday, but this was just what we needed.

Combing the beach

Walking through the cornfield on the way to Padstow

Views to Rock

Beach Time

Having a paddle

Views of the estuary

Padstow Harbor

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