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Viewing entries posted in April 2012

Safety Tips for New Caravanners

Posted by on 26 April 2012 | 0 Comments

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Do you believe in co-incidence?  Try this.

Early last week,  I was asked to prepare a guest blog for moneysupermarket.com which you can read here suggesting ways of getting started without breaking the bank.  Out of the blue, last Saturday, my son asked me to go with him to look at a caravan as his first buy.  Result - information exactly as required for the blog based on helping my lad and his lady to buy and equip their first caravan - an elderly Elddis.

My son was once Chairman of the Centre's Teenage Committee so I did not have to give him my usual safety lecture - he was well aware of potential dangers, but here are the points we both agreed that everyone should think about:

  • Make sure your car is able to tow the caravan of your dreams - and revise your ideas if it is not gutsy enough for the job.  The simple rule is the caravan, when loaded, should not exceed 85% of the kerb weight of the car.
  • Check your licence - if you passed your driving test after 1997 you are limited in what you are allowed to tow.  There are training centres (usually the people who teach lorry and coach driving) and test centres around if your licence does not cover you
  • Fit a stabiliser, and use it every trip.  No matter how well you think you have loaded your caravan, gusty conditions or the 'envelope' from an HGV can and will cause the caravan to 'wobble' and a 'wobble' can soon become a full blown 'snake' if not damped by the stabiliser.  There are plenty for sale secondhand, just check out the on-line auction sites.
  • Never, never, never ever carry a gas bottle inside the caravan, and never travel with the gas bottle on its site - no matter if you think you have got it safely in some sort of frame.  See information from Calor Gas on using and transporting gas.  Essentially the valve is designed for gas, not liquid.  Laying on its side the liquid gas can leak from the cylinder and lay on the floor.  You work out what happens next.  It is not pretty.
  • Don't overload the caravan when travelling.  The manufacturer's payload is there for a reason.  You do not need to weigh every item, just be sensible.  If there are four of you, you need four plates, not forty four.
  • Pack the caravan carefully.  You will need some noseweight, but once you have put your gas cylinders in the gas locker that is it - don't be tempted to create a mobile garden shed in the gas locker.  Put heavy objects low down near the axle(s) and lighter ones in the overhead lockers.  Take care when you open the lockers - the contents may move during the journey.
  • Have a look at what the Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club have to offer, and join at least one of them right away.  The members are always happy to help newcomers.


OK moan over, but please, stay safe and enjoy your caravan.  It will give you the freedom to take off at the weekend as well as providing a base for longer summer holidays.

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Can you live without electricity?

Posted by on 23 April 2012 | 0 Comments

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Helping a new to caravanning couple equip their first ever caravan this weekend lead me to thinking how things have changed over the years - especially the priority equipment.  Their number one must have??? A mains hook up lead, of course. So started an interesting debate.  On my left, the diehard traditionalists who believe that mains power to a caravan is a sacrilege and on my right the new caravanners and those of us who have the latest models that really are not designed to run on gas and 12V alone for more than a couple of nights in an emergency. Which side of the fence do I sit on?  Problem...

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A Big Thank you to Kelly from Food Matters

Posted by on 18 April 2012 | 0 Comments

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Kelly has kindly added five recipes this month, suitable for cooking on a BBQ.  They are all low fat recipes with loads of taste.  She has used Tabasco sauce and Dijon mustard, both of which come in small sizes suitable for storing in the caravan.  These meals look so tempting, I think they will be on my menu at home, especially when the weather improves and we can eat in the garden in the evening.  Once again, thank you Kelly.  A new recipe is published each month on http://www.foodmatters.co.uk/

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Improving mealsinfields

Posted by on 18 April 2012 | 0 Comments

The major overhaul of mealsinfields is now in progress.  On Friday last week we agreed some major changes with the website designers, Devmac of Burton on Trent, which will make the website easier to use for everyone.  The changes need some serious programming so please bear with us for a couple of months whilst we make sure that everything is ready and that all the recipes and all the information on where to stop, shop and dine are properly migrated to the new system. What can you expect?  Here is a short list of the most important changes - many of which are in response to your requests.

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Coeliac Awareness Week - 14 - 20 May

Posted by on 17 April 2012 | 0 Comments

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Did you know that one in every hundred people has coeliac disease?  It is a condition which affects the immune system and has no cure, but is managed by diet.  Details of the disease and its management can be found on http://www.coeliac.org.uk. It strikes me that feeding yourself or your family with a gluten free diet should not be too difficult.  Choose recipes which are not based on bread, cakes, pastry or pasta and you really do not have a problem in knowing what is safe to eat.  Check out our recipe section and you will find plenty of really filling meals using fresh local produce which do not contain gluten. I...

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Food Allergies

Posted by on 3 April 2012 | 0 Comments

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Maybe its because it is April, but I fear that many people are making light of a real problem that affects more of the population than you may care to realise. In yesterday's Daily Telegraph they published 'gluten free recipes' as if making a risotto with rice was a new idea, or that rice ever did contain gluten in the first place.  It is starch that washes off rice when cooked - not gluten.  The theme continued using normal everyday ingredients - so why the issue? Everyone with any form of food allergy knows how to avoid those foods that give them the problem.  Like millions of others, I am allergic...

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