Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

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Chapter 1 Vanlife begins

Thought for the day…..”If you count all your assets you always show a profit.”

“Life Always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow”.

Chapter 1.    Vanlife begins.    Despite having previously owned a campervan, the urge was always there to try building one for myself.    Buying a ready-made campervan is easy, but it is always a compromise.  Compromises in the long run usually make everybody unhappy.   And given that I have a non-standard lifestyle, then a standard campervan was never going to work…sort of round peg in a square hole type of situation.     So the campervan (a VW Karmann) was sold last year even though it was modern and bright inside and had all the essentials, including a shower.    But it was a compromise.     For use all year, a campervan needs great insulation, and for somebody like me who does a lot of sport then it needs a BIG watertank.   I also need a lot of storage space for the cycle and sports equipment.

Since then I had been looking throughout Scandinavia for a replacement van.   But finding one that would tick all the right boxes and at the right price was near impossible.     On that great online university, YouTube I had become fascinated by the number of people who had bought ordinary delivery vans (Mercedes Sprinters for example)  and had converted the vans themselves.    The results that some of them have achieved are incredible.   That idea about building a van just would not go away.   And the vanlife videos kept appearing on YouTube.

So last week I took the decision to get a van and to begin converting it myself.   Found a VW Crafter van online in Stavanger, Western Norway and purchased it FAST, without seeing it or without even test driving it.   Experience had shown me that the good vans and good campervans disappear almost immediately, and with coronavirus then there were even more people after them.   So I had to act fast, and bought it within a few hours.  Took the risk to transfer the money online to a seller whom I had never met and my only contact had been via the online website.  Big risk, yes.    But there is a saying in English “sometimes you have to jump first, and grow your wings on the way down”.   So the van was purchased and the transfer fees paid.

Now I know that there is a risk of failure, especially as I have never done anything like this before.   The fear of failure should not stop people from trying, and there is one way to find out if I can do it.  That is to try.    It may turn out to be a costly mistake, but at least then I will know.    It may turn out to be a success, but until I try then I will never know.

So I hope to collect the van this Wednesday.   Then the real fun will begin !!  Watch this space for photos and updates and probably a video or two.

To be continued……..

One photo from the archives -matruska dolls from Russia at a market in northern Norway

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The positive side of coronavirus

Thought for the day…”Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.”

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Despite all the doom and gloom at the moment, there are some positive sides to coronavirus.   Staff in shops and cafes have become noticeably better recently, and are happy to serve you now.   Not only that but they have time to help and, with the lack of customers, are actually trying to help out.   Shops and cafes have become more polite, with people waiting patiently in spaced-out queues.    Cafes have started putting most items in plastic to prevent contamination, hand disinfectant is now common and for the time being, people are being very good at using disinfectants.  And another bonus, the enforced free time is giving some of us some a great opportunity to catch up on things that previously we never had time for.   So it is not all negative at the moment !!   Stay safe.

The southbound Oslo to Kiel ferry passing the coast of Norway at Drobak.

and another photo from the archives….sunrise captured with the Fuji X-T30

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Joys of travelling

Thought for the day…”Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus”

It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

The joys of travelling….exciting new places and destinations.  But it is not always fun.   One of my pet hates (one of many) is that hotels often do not have a list of TV channels.   Given that some hotels can have upwards of 100 channels, why can they not put a list in the room to save endless channel surfing trying to find the 5 or 6 interesting channels??    A simple card or print out listing the channels would be so good.   And linked to this pet hate are hotel TVs that as soon as start them are at maximum volume, hardly ideal for a hotel when guests are trying to sleep.

Next pet hate……Many hotels are no longer giving the small bottles of shampoo and conditioner or individual soap, preferring to have dispensers on the walls instead.   All very well IF the hotel refills them but so often just when you are in the shower you discover that the dispensers are empty.

And staying with hotels and pet hates…..the annoying habit that more and more hotels are only putting in one rubbish bin/trash can in the whole room and bathroom.  Saves them a little money, but is hardly good for the guest experience.

Another hate….modern hotels whose managers have decided that THEY know the temperature that guests want the rooms to be at, and have removed individual temperature controls in the rooms….I am seeing this more and more and it is also not good for the guest experience.

Topping the list of pet hates for hotels…..any hotel that has slow internet or has a poor internet signal in the room deserves to go out of business….no excuse for this in the 21st century.    Excuses such as “it is the number of guests in the hotel” or “it is the rainy weather” just get me irritated.  It is not rocket science to get fast, reliable internet in a hotel, but it seems to be a major problem for some hotels.

The list goes on….to be continued………

Today’s photo is of the lakefront in Pembroke, South Island, New Zealand, on a perfect Summer’s evening.  One man and his dog admire the view….

and another photo from the archives…..driving hazards on the roads of Scandinavia….these are a much bigger problem at night when they tend to freeze in the car headlights.   A male elk can be over 300 kg, so can cause a lot of damage to a car.

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An aerial view of Lake Wanaka in perfect weather

Thought for the day….”Life Always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow”.

A video instead of a photo today…the lakeside town of Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand.  A short (10 minute) drone video taken in perfect weather.  Starts over the town of Wanaka then along the lakeside at Glendu Bay and finally over Dublin Bay. New Zealand at its best.   Sit back and enjoy !

and another photo from the archives…an Autumn day in Glendu Bay, South Island, New Zealand (same place as featured in the video above).   The glaciers visible in the background are in the Mt. Aspiring National Park, with Mt. Aspiring (3033m) visible on the skyline to the right.   The mountains are part of the Southern Alps.

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Oslo to Copenhagen ferry

Thought for the day..”Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”

“It is not the strongest of the species which survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin

Oslo harbour and the ferry which goes between Norway and the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Prices onboard this boat have gone up a lot, and the journey time has also been increased, making the trip now more expensive and also slower. This boat was previously owned by Viking Line, and sailed from Sweden to Finland.   Whilst the ferry was previously a good option, with the high prices onboard and also with the improved road connections to Denmark, it is no longer a good option.  Quite why the company thought that slowing the trip down was a good idea is a mystery, as is the logic of increasing the prices onboard.  Just like the airlines, DFDS have started to charge for things (eg. internet onboard and the bus connections to/from the boat)  that used to be included in the ticket price.   It appears that nearly all the public seating onboard has also been removed, presumably to try and force people into the bars and restaurants onboard to spend more money.   Sad to see the decline in standards on these ferries now, and the need to pay extra for so many things.     The kayakkers had a great view of the ferry though……

and another photo…A dramatic sunrise over the hills of Pembroke, New Zealand.  Great cloud formations are not unusual on the South Island of New Zealand due to the prevailing winds crossing the Southern Alps, which often leads to banding and wave clouds.   Add that to the first sun of the day and the result is a great photo.

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An aviation classic – the Hawker Hurricane

Thought for the day…”I haven’t failed. I just found 10 000 ways that won’t work” Thomas Edison.

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadow falls behind you”.

Wanaka, New Zealand hosts the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow every two years, and was at one time, also home to a number of Warbirds, such as this Hawker Hurricane.  This particular aircraft had an interesting history, having flown in 1940 and crashed in Preswick, Scotland, then after a rebuild was damaged several more times before being transferred to the Soviet Air Force in 1941.  It crashed again near Murmansk, Russia in 1943 and was recovered around 1990 and partly rebuilt in the UK from 1992 to 1995.  It was fully restored in Wanaka and flew again from Christchurch, NZ in January 2000.    It was later sold to a French owner based in Cannes.   The photo was taken in Wanaka about 2010 prior to the sale to the new owner.

And a photo from Oslo harbour in Norway.   The DFDS ferry travels overnight down to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Unfortunately, journey times have been increased now and prices onboard are very high, making it much less attractive than previously, especially when the highway down through Sweden is a fast alternative.  Why management wanted to slow the trip down is a mystery, as the boat is now much slower and leaves both cities too early to be much use to business travellers or people wanting a full day trip.

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Decluttering and moving on.

Thought for the day…”If you count all your assets you always show a profit.”

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

Over the years it is easy to accumulate more and more stuff.   It is very easy to end up with boxes and boxes of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and a host of other possessions which were stored in the hope that they would be needed again in the future.    I am currently having a major decluttering session, so all the CDs and DVDs are being scanned, old photos sorted out and boxes of books thrown out.    It is surprising that so much of what was stored turns out to be just junk or things that are no longer important.   Whilst it might have been important years ago, now that I look back I find box loads of things that are not relevant or no longer mean anything.

There is a very easy solution to this….decluttering.    And declutter have I done….getting rid of so much stuff and am moving on.    A sort of mega Spring-cleaning exercise.

Here is a photo from the collection, originally a 35mm negative taken about 1990 in England.   The negative was scanned then destroyed, so now it is just a digital copy (but reduced here for the internet).   A British Rail HST125 at Penzance train station waiting to depart back to London Paddington.   A very unusual clear blue sky too !

and another photo from the archives – a steam train on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn BRB in Switzerland.

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Soon to be devloped – an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Though for the day…”Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.”

“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.”  (J.B. Priestley).

A panoramic photo from Glendu Bay on the South Island of New Zealand near Pembroke.    This area is on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, but sadly is being sold for development.  Already new roads are being put in and sections for houses laid out.    It is terrible that the local council is allowing an area of outstanding natural beauty to be developed.  As they say, “money talks”.     Sadly the politicians and officials in NZ have not learned from the mistakes that have been made in other places, and once this area is developed then it is gone forever.     Soon photos like this will be just a memory.   Progess??

And another photo from the archives, beautiful Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, Australia

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Norwegian coast at sunset by drone

Thought for the day…”Coffee is a hug in a mug”

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”

As always, it is a few bad people who spoil things for the rest of us.    Just been out with the new DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone but nowadays the word drone makes people think of spying and that they are ‘bad’.  Increasing restrictions on drone use are appearing all over the place, yet the responsible people who fly drones safely are being penalized for the actions of a few stupid idiots.     Very sad that every week further restrictions are being placed on responsible drone users.   The results from drones are amazing, and there is no need for more regulations.   Go after the idiots who fly near airports, but let normal, sensible people fly drones and take beautiful photos.

Beautiful evening sunlight over the coast of southern Norway, taken a couple of days ago with the Mavic 2 Pro drone.   Amazing calm conditions and great light for photos…..

and another photo from the archives…. carnival time and a happy woman……

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Boats and planes, Morocco and Madeira

Thought for the day…” Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus”.

” Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.”

A photo of an Airbus A320 about to land at Funchal, Madeira for the photo today.  This aircraft was involved in an emergency descent on 8th July 2014 when on a flight from Lisbon to Amsterdam.  The aircraft declared an emergency and descended rapidly from FL380 (38 000 feet) down to 10 000 feet.   The passenger oxygen masks were deployed, but the aircraft landed without further problems.   This aircraft regularly does 5 flights during a single day, and is seen here at one of it’s regular airports, Funchal.     It was flying at around 130 knots (240 km/h) when the photo was taken. LOW-RES-TAPAnd another photo out of the archives…fishing boats in Essouria, Morocco.   Spot the figure on one of the boats….

Wordpress-Morocco-Boulmane

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