Too Good To Be True


Woke up feeling pretty positive and refreshed, UNTIL went to use hot water. Short answer there is none, and our battery hasn’t charged on hook up. What the heck ?.

Ok start at the obvious and work from there, fuses all look good, replace at cutout switch. OK that’s good , whoops a burning smell coming from behind the fridge and all the lights go out. OH CRAP thats not good. So get on the phone to dealer again and the MUPPET now informs us the Van is wired to continental configuration with a positive earth.  ( and he wants nothing more to do with us).

Time for a coffee and wifi at the campground cafe. An internet search leads to a “Dometic” (thats our fridge brand) service agent in Cardiff, Wales. Give him a call and he says he can see us first thing tomorrow morning ( Thursday 2nd May). Happy Days!!!.

A quick look at the map and decide to do the trip to Cardiff via Brecon and the Black Mountains.DSC07609.JPG


This street is unusual as it has no cars parked in it. Miss Stella fits.

A quick bite of lunch here and a stock up of things that will survive without a fridge tonight and head through the Black Mountains and into Cardiff.

Now when I say into Cardiff I mean right into Cardiff, the first Campground googled with a Cardiff address was a little rural ( like about 30mins back from where we were) and the 2nd plugged into Navman right into the city center beside the Institute of sport and 10mins walk through the castle gardens from central city and Cardiff Arms Park.

Arrived about 5.30pm, easy as, park up get ourselves sorted and decide an evening walk into Cardiff is on the cards. Now Cardiff was never on our to see list but what a beautiful vibrant city. Even though it is old it has a real modern feel to it and obviously very sport orientated.DSC07630.JPG

Black Mountains, Wales.


Finding ourselves Central Cardiff.
The Drive into Cardiff Campground, ( Ella the sheep in the foreground)
Cardiff Castle


Central Castle Proper


An early morning was in order to get back through the city and out to to “fix it” company. If only it was that easy, 2 very pleasant welshmen poked their heads into our electrics muttered something I couldn’t understand and dissappeared back into their office. Several minutes later they reappear with several sheets of paper, sorted I am thinking they have it all sorted and are following plans.  OF COURSE NOT, they have printed off Google the names of some other companies that may be able to help us.  On the phone again and the 2nd company I call say yes they can help us now and are about 30mins away.  Happy F &^%$#g Days  !!

Navman to the rescue, now this is funny ( actually funny not just hardluck funny) but you may need to read it a couple of times to get it as it is the accent of the Navman vs the spelling of local towns.

So we are to head on the A470 and exit on Exit 32,

Navman > ” take the next left 400m “carefully”.  (Sweet roadworks or sharp corner, no problems, big queue anyway so not going fast>)

So for the next 20mins every corner or intersection we come to get the instructions.

Navman > take the 2nd exit at roundabout 200m “carefully”.

By this stage really starting to wonder about welsh roads and the dude who programs Navman, as nothing seemed out of the Ordinary.

So we reach our destination, the town of CAERPHILLY,  ( pronounced “carefully” by Navman)DSC07712.JPG

Pull into “Caravan and Motorhome Services Ltd” Caerphilly, and these great guys basically drop everthing and descend upon Miss Stella to sort our problems out.

Swearing and cursing they change the polarity over to normal and explain that most of Europe now is normal polarity and we should have a socket tester with us to test anyway. We then start to try and find why still no power to Fridge, water heater and heater fan.

Long and short and 240pds later it the “little yellow fuse” that looks fine but with a circuit tester on it is busted  (while we were there we rewired a few of the connections that were somewhat dodgy.).

So while they were playing contortionists in our cupboards, we had a pleasant morning wandering around Caerphilly Castle, ( the 2nd oldest castle in the UK behind Windsor and the home of some serious matrimonial problems through the aged ( mostly solved by beheading and “hanging drawing and quartering). An amazing castle that they are desperately trying to save and restore from the ravages of time.


QUIET !!  Men at Work.
Caerphilly Castle, 



Shortly after lunch ( these legends even worked through their lunch hour) we are on the road again with all our bits working. I would also say at this stage if it can be crossed it is crossed ( I mean fingers etc), Badminton here we come  ( just 1 day late) but those of you who know us there are 2 things normal here 1 = Tilson time, and 2 = Dressage not our favorite phase anyway ( and there is 2 days of it). A brief stop off in Bristol ( a quick detour off the M4, yes we are on  motorways) to stock up for 4 days camping and shortly get our first view of the caravan park of Badminton , ( ” poor buggers who are parked all the way down here we laugh).


Pull in past all these very stuck vehicles ( from heavy rain a couple of days prior) and are directed to our park.  Guess What,  you see the caravan with the tent/awning just above the oilseed paddock (left hand side). Our park is beside that we are in the furthest away park from the show as possible. Fortunately the loos are quite close, ( you see there is a positive in everything).

Another quick set up and off for a walk around and scope things out. Now for those of you who have no interest in horses the next chapter can be skipped over as it will be pretty much all Badminton


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