About Us

My photo
In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Mini Beast is all ours but not without a few teething problems.

 T'was a cold but sunny start to the day as I unlocked the car park gate to allow Ian to drive the Beast onto the road. Time 9 am and date 14th April. Excitement was building 'cos the day had arrived for us to drive to Poole and do the motorhome swap. 5 hours later, with a short stop for lunch and a 20-minute hold-up saw us finally pull onto the Motorhome dealer groups (Three Counties Motorhomes) yard.

After being met by Rob we were led to where the Starburst was parked and told to take our time having a good look around. Meanwhile, he did the same with the Beast and 60 minutes later and with a virtual handshake, the deal was done.

With all papers signed we headed off in Mini Beast (MB for short) to Minstead Manor Farm camp site near Lyndhurst. What a cracking site nicely nestled in the midst of the New Forest and with abundance of ponies, deer and donkeys, just my cup of tea!



Ian does the driving these days; I'm not a confident driver any more you see, ever since taking the wheel of our car many years ago whilst still in boat mode. (steering on the right side of the canal) It was only the quick thinking of my passenger that saved a head-on collision as he grabbed the steering wheel to get me back to the correct side of the road! Anyway I'm digressing. Ian was very impressed with the way MB handled, finding the steering much lighter than the Beasts "And the brakes are pretty decent too" said he. Hmmm, I was very glad to hear that! 

Found the camp site and connected to the electric hook-up and with the temperature dropping we decided to put on the heating. Well....and this is why we decided to stay near Poole on collection day instead of driving straight back home, 'cos as he turned the control dial, nothing happened. No gas heating or electric heating. Tried to phone the dealer only to discover we had no phone signal. With the time too near to 5 pm to even consider driving back to Poole that night (it was a good 40-minute drive from this site) we spent a VERY cold night huddled together for warmth and even our super high tog sleeping bags didn't quite stop the chill from invading our bones! Temperature at dawn was -3 so no wonder we were cold. Knowing there was no one to man the phones until after 9.30 am we set off a tad before 9 and headed to Ringwood where we eventually got a strong enough phone signal to let the dealer know of our plight. With the nod from Rod to return the vehicle, we drove back to Poole for an inspection. With a lot of head scratching from at least three guys, the eventual discovery was made that the EC4000 power control system which deals with all the functions in the motorhome was faulty. Three hours of sitting in their waiting room, and with a new power unit pilfered from another motorhome to replace MB's faulty one, we were eventually free to leave.

Because of the lateness of the hour another night was booked at the campsite. This time we tried the gas heating and yes...lovely hot air came in from the vents. Then Ian tried the electric and.....blast... nothing happened again!! To cut a long story short, back we went the next day, another of the maintenance guys took a look and found that someone had forgotten to reset the electric switch on the new control system and with a quick flick of the switch, hey presto, the electric heater sprang into life.

Back at t'mill and most surprising to the both of us was that most of what we took out of the Beast had managed to somehow fit into Mini Beast. We may well have lost a metre in length, but the storage space had been well-thought-out. So far so good, although I decided that a few extra shelves in the overhead cupboards wouldn't go amiss. Guess what Ian will be doing in the coming days πŸ˜‰



Oh, and I had a disaster! Dropped my camera and damaged the intelligent eyepiece. It's going to cost in excess of £100 to get it repaired and serviced. Note to oneself. Must try harder not to be so clumsy!


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

New motorhome looks very lovely and appears to have come equipped with red wine: always a bonus! But I need more info though:
• how long is it?
• what is the bed situation - fixed bed? double? two singles? lounge conversion?
• what motorhome brand is Starburst?
• what engine and chassis?
• manual or automatic?
• how old?

Here's hoping that you get lots and lots of use out of it and enjoy touring around.

By the way, you will not be the only person who has accidentally been on the wrong side of the road - I did it when we were living in Church Enstone (near Woodstock). We had just come back from Italy where I had been driving on the right hand side of the road. I drove off out of the village on the wrong side of the road for about 100 yards before I realised. Fortunately it was very early in the morning and no one else was on the road. Get back behind the wheel and just say to yourself each time 'Stay left' just as you would say 'Stay right' if you were driving on the Continent.


Jenny said...

Many congratulations on your motorhome swap, may you both have many exciting trips away! Hope all those teething problems are now sorted out.
Jenny and Robin Romany Rambler Blogspot

Anonymous said...

Perfick, looking forward to following your new adventures in the Mini Beast now.
We've hired one twice and due to go again next month, just hoping that some sites may be open in Lake district/Scotland!
Ann Makemson xx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Marilyn. Good grief you've got me searching through all the motorhome spiel to find what you want. Found it in the end so here goes.
Length 6.38
Bed not fixed but can be utilized as a pull-out double (across the width) or two singles
(the two seats in the photo)
Make is Autocruise on a Peugeot boxer chassis
Engine presume is the Peugeot and chassis is AL-KO (whatever that is??)
Manual 6 speed gearbox
Age 2010

Oh, and thanks for the words of advice. I will try again but only on a VERY quiet road. Xxx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Jenny, so far so good but only time will tell. Xx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Ann
Most sites are open now but only if you are self-sufficient (carry your own loo)No toilets or showers on site are open until after 17th May, so you should be okay to book now. Xx

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Thank you for the info, Irene. Just 700mm shorter than ours. Swift use an ALKO chassis too.
It looks like it has been well looked after for its age, so clearly a good buy!

Honestly, the driving thing is a fear you MUST conquer - what will you do if you have to drive because Ian is unwell or injured? Do you know the saying JFDI? I am sure you can work it out! The problem with only driving on very quiet roads in the UK is that they are often quite narrow which makes differentiating which is the correct side to be on a bit trickier. So be brave and try an A road that is two way. And then do what I had to do with our motorhome to get it down to Southampton - drive on a motorway ... I did find that scary at first as the motorhome is wider than a car, but once I saw that trucks could fit within the lanes, I realised I was worrying about nothing.

Use your bravery - you've got plenty of it, girl!


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

I've worked it out, Marilyn! You certainly don't mince your words 😁 I've decided to get behind the wheel in our car first, get my confidence back before tackling something that big πŸ˜‰ Xx Oh and Ian wants to know if we can use your drive if we decide to ship MB over before we come for a years stay in NZ? Am I going to get another of your expletive cryptic message on what we can do with THAT idea? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ Much love

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Of course you can use our driveway - for as long as you want! Get yourselves over here as soon as you can!

Good on you for getting behind the wheel again. You will be fine. Think of all the hundreds of times you drove safely and stop letting the once you messed up be what dominates your thinking! Please keep me posted on how it goes, sweetheart.


PS I knew you would work out the acronym - it's a good one, isn't it?

Blog archive