Posts Tagged ‘petrol-head’s holiday’

It has been a slow Christmas and New Year for me on the productivity front. Mainly due to this little outbreak:

Also, I am still trying to get used to the new tablet, which I think I have bought every accessory on the planet for, just to make it user-friendly (keyboard, hardback stand, laptop stand, wireless mouse and so on).

I had a laptop before (a lovely lightweight Lenovo), which if you read my previous post you will see that I gave it to my mother as a Christmas present, and I was continuously battling Android’s system of trying to do the impossible, and amend a document offline. Well that is still an ongoing battle, and as a result, not only do I have insufficient hands, but said operating system is providing to be just as useful as my nerve-damaged, physically scared extremities.

The issue with the hands is simply severe dermatitis which has gone untreated for so many years. Thank you NHS. It is now so bad that not only does it look horrific, but my nerves are affected making typing painful, and just doing anything with my hands a chore. I don’t have fingerprints, creams, potions, prescriptions don’t do anything, I just have to grin and bear it.

As for the issue with Android, I can only assume the functionality was created by a frustrated Apple fan (or perhaps a cunning Apple moonlighter), who was never going to use Android.

The good thing about Monster growing up is that Christmas is becoming more and more interesting again. I feel you reach that point in adulthood where Christmas just isn’t magical anymore, not like when you were a child anyway and so the blessing is that when you have a child you see everything through their eyes again like it was the first time.

To more of my delight, it appears my 21 month old monster is properly following their parents and is a petrol head, or a little speed freak. We have now learnt that four wheels are so last year! This was validated one day when Monster decided to disembark and abandon their Paw Patrol ride-on in the park and run after another child for their two-wheeler ride-on.

When my father-in-law asked what Monster wanted for Christmas, I recanted the story and said ‘something on two wheels’, to which he and his partner bought a balance bike.

It fits Monster perfectly, and surprisingly Monster wears the mandatory bought helmet to go with it, which is amazing considering we can never get Monster to wear a hat, or put up their hood.

Monster is also becoming accustomed to many vehicles on the road, they love buses, cars, lorries and Monster trucks. We even took Monster to watch lorry racing at Brands Hatch a few months ago, and around the same time, when we went to ‘spec up’ a new van, Monster loved running up and down the inside of a long-wheeled based VW Crafter. Fingers crossed it won’t be long before we can call the guys at Lucky 6/Outland Adventure Vans to give them the go ahead with our van. We just have to get over the cost of the kitchen being refurbished due to builders behaving badly. Long story, bad building work means spending thousands in remedial work. Watch this space.

Hopefully when the Crafter is done it will mean us revisiting our traveling days, and exploring once again. Jack and I both loved to explore prior to the VW Transporter issues in Italy a few years back on Rogue Run. Only this time, we will be plus one, which again will be great seeing how the world through Monster’s eyes. Sure enough the vehicle will not be made for speed, which means that Monster will more than likely not raise their arms in glee shouting ‘weeee’ at the top of the voice when one accelerates, but they will be in a high up, comfortable position and will gain a better understanding of camping in a van, and the great outdoors.

So this year has started on a few low notes, but nothing major by any means. There has been a lot of illness in our household, low productivity as mentioned above, a disastrous kitchen in desperate need of work which will set us back by thousands, but on the upside we have our health, our work and our family, and this coming year will no doubt be full of more achievements, more developments, more commiserations, more happiness, and hopefully, and this is really hopefully, much more travelling.

Ending on a funny note, many know that Monster is full of belligerence and has absolutely no fear whatsoever. They also have a way with words and actions, even at such a young age. I thought it would be nice to give Monster a piggy bank containing a panda which pops out the top and takes the money, when it is placed on a sensor. You may have seen the ads for them on Facebook. Well Monster did not see the funny side, because every time the panda popped out, rather than letting it take the money, Monster felt the need to press the sensor to make the panda pop out and then hit it on the head.

You try and do something nice and, well…

Kelly’s aims / releases for 2018:

1. Continue to achieve and be happy at work and at home
2. Release fifth installment of The Dragon Realm Chronicles

3. Release the book The Perfect Brownie

4. No Food limits

5. SwimFor3k

6. Lotus Magma

7. Some digitally crafted characters


We were somewhere outside of Dunkirk, and the time was 3.20am local time on Thursday 23 May 2013 and we had just found out that one of the Rogue Run participants was lost.

Ash in the Lexus joined us spur of the moment and so was missing a sat-nav, CB and a few other items needed for the trip. When leaving the ferry the Mondeo boys in their shiny new Ford sped off and Ash got a little excited so he followed them, and then took the wrong road!


Chris and Young Dougie were in convoy with Jon and me and so, when he could, Chris spent the time directing Ash back to safe harbour via Facebook and mobile phone.

Juliette night shot

We had all decided on the ferry to try and avoid France given that there were so many toll roads, travel eastbound, down through Luxembourg and then cross back over the border into Germany.

We had not heard from the Volvo guys but given that they were military folk and trained to navigate by the stars, sundials the rings of trees and so on, we thought that getting around a foreign country would be child’s play to them, so we weren’t overly worried.

Much like the previous year, after the leaving the ferry we drove down roads that were pitch black or poorly lit. This in addition to being sleep deprived, navigating in unfamiliar territory, driving on the wrong side of the road and the weather being the opposite of passive, evasive driving was a must. Also at this point, you know whether you have picked the right co-driver or not, as the first drive from the docks requires good teamwork.

This is not a problem for Jon and me as we have always made a very good team. Chris had Doug in the car but Doug could not drive due to his age and the insurance restrictions, so it meant that he could not swap over and get some sleep once we were on more confident roads, having said that though Jon and I only got 20 minutes sleep each when we weren’t driving.

Several hours after we had left the port, it was around 5.30am and I was starting to feel it. We often describe the first night as being an endurance drive; if you get through that part then you can continue on with no problems for the rest of the trip. I find that once the sun starts to rise it is a lot better, driving in the dark reminds one of sleep which is never good behind the wheel.

Jon and I changed places around the time of 5.30am and I managed to get about 15 minutes sleep just to take the edge of.

By 9.30am Chris’ eyeballs were itching and by 10:30am which is when we stopped for a break they were ready to explode so I hear.

We found an Aldi in Germany, and bearing in mind we were only around 1.5 hours away from the campsite we stopped off, stretched our legs and updated each other in person as opposed to via the digital method.

Upon leaving our vehicles we found out an interesting fact about Young Dougie, I am led to believe that it was a fact new to him as well, but it appears that ferries did not agree with him, the proof being all down the side of Juliette, Chris’ Ford Cabriolet.

It was just as well we were not driving too close behind when Doug let rip out of the window down the motorway. A video was actually recorded aptly named “Bad Dougie” by Chris showing Doug cleaning Juliette with a wet wipe – I will try and post on here later but for now here is a photo.

doug and car

We got to the campsite Trendcamping Schiltacher Straße at around 12:20pm and it is no surprise but the Mondeo guys were there first. We checked in, pitched up the tents and decided to relax for a bit while waiting for the others.

Wolfach 2

I took the opportunity to get the duvet sorted in the back of the van and get my head down for a few hours. Jon joined me when the Volvo guys and Silversprint arrived. We knew Lee and Issy were on their way, they had opted for Eurotunnel which meant a later train so we knew it would be a while before they turned up. However there was still no sign of Ash. By this point we were becoming really worried.

We received word from Chris who had been doing a bit of Facebook stalking that Ash had made his way across Germany and Luxembourg but then had taken another wrong turn and was going back to Dunkirk. Chris managed to get him on the phone and point him in the right direction.

Three hours later Lee and Issy arrived and Jon went to meet them while I tried desperately to wake up. Teas, coffees and hot chocolates were then made by those who had gas hobs, mugs and so on. By that point we were all desperate for food, so we agreed that we would all go to the campsite restaurant at 6pm for dinner.


Dinner was originally supposed to be a BBQ put on by the Event Team but given how bad the weather was it wasn’t fair to make people stand outside in the rain, thunderstorms, and just general gloominess. By 5.30pm we went around waking everyone up and telling them about the dinner plans and to everyone’s relief Ash had finally turned up.

The determination of this guy cannot go unnoticed, considering we docked at Dunkirk ferry port at 3.00am this meant that he had driven for over 15 hours (and over 2 tanks of petrol I am led to believe). Very admirable, most would have turned back and gone home.

Once everyone was settled we went down to the restaurant to eat. The weather was still no better, but despite this camping in the Black Forest is a must for anyone who hasn’t before. Generally all you can see for miles are green grassy hills, tall trees that alcove the space you are in, and just on the tree tops you can see the lowest points of the clouds, making it incredibly picturesque and beautiful.

While at dinner it gave us all a chance to regroup, and it also gave the Event Team the opportunity to find out whether people were having a good time or not.

As we ordered food we noticed a Rogue Run vehicle drive past the window. It was team Silversprint.


Chris telephoned them to find out where they were and we were told that they were going to dinner alone – this could be a good thing or bad thing. Also, the person who owned the van, Matt, hadn’t let his co-driver Mike drive the van all day due to its sentimental value, so this also gave Mike the option to drive.

After dinner which mainly consisted of pizza and what seemed to be an endless supply of German Flammkuchen (highly recommended) we all stayed up for a while, drank beer and then when the weather eased up we decided to run a mini BBQ (which also gave us the facility to keep warm as that part of Germany is known for its cold nights).

Jon and I had packed a massive meat selection (no pun intended) and part of it was a batch of marinade chicken drumsticks. Cool bags only keep the food at a suitable temperature for a limited amount of time, and no one likes wasting food, so we used the chicken as a late night snack.

That took us until 10:00pm where it was definitely time for bed.

That was the first (long) day out of the way. We all got to where we needed to be and it also meant that Rogue Run 2013 was officially in progress with the most difficult day out of the way.

From thereon it would be scenic views, calmer driving, more friendships (and bromances), lots of laughs and even more pranks!