And the challenges keep coming…

A victim of the storm in Slindon woods blocking our way on Sunday morning

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the challenges of winter motorhoming as we were in the grip of freezing temperatures, snow and ice.  We were patting ourselves on the back thinking we had survived the worst of what winter had to throw at us, only to wake up one morning to find the heating system refusing to start with a glaring red warning light instead of warmth.  We tried various solutions following the troubleshooting manual and other suggestions found in motorhome forums, but when nothing worked and after a couple of days of struggling to keep warm with our small electric heater, we were forced to contact a local garage specialising in motorhome repairs in nearby Chichester, the marvellous Reliance Caravan and Motorhome Services, who invited us to drive the van there on Tuesday morning 2 weeks ago.  After initial examinations, They were 99.9% certain that the problem had been caused by a fault in the circuit board that controls the boiler and thus they ordered a new one from Truma for us, hoping it would only take a few days.  This meant we had to go back to base with no heating at all until this vital part arrived.  

Luckily for us, most of that week we saw some balmy temperatures all over the country, with beautiful sunshine and daffodils in full bloom, and we were able to keep warm during the day by sheer solar power coming through the windscreen, windows and roof lights, being hot enough to sit outdoors in just a t-shirt, and by keeping our little electric radiator on during the night, as mornings were still frosty.  But of course, all that sun and warm temperatures were too good to last for too long in this country and come Thursday, we were back to our beloved old English cold, wet and windy early spring weather and, after finding me wrapped in a blanket and looking rather miserable on his return from work on Friday evening, Adonis decided to borrow a much bigger electric radiator to keep on during the day as I didn’t think I could deal with the low temperatures and no heating at all for days on end.  For the first time since we sold our house in November 2017, I longed for a brick and mortar dwelling, hopefully with central heating, and I started looking on the web for possible properties to rent.  The fun and adventure seemed to be over.

Daffodils in full bloom by motorhome at the farm

To make matters worse, the new circuit board took longer to arrive than previously envisaged and we ended up waiting 10 days to be called back to the repair shop, that being last Friday afternoon.  Adonis came back early from work and I took Beano from an earlier walk too in order to make our appointment at 3 p.m.  They saw us straight away with no delay and the engineers quickly got on with the business of replacing the faulty circuit board, only to find that Truma had sent the wrong part!  I think they felt sorry for us and came up with a spare circuit board they had in storage just to test if that would fix the problem and to see us until our new circuit board arrived.  It didn’t.  The wretched heating system would not engage and after a few seconds of being turned on, the dreaded warning red light showed up again.  Undeterred, the engineers tried different ways to get it started, by now suspecting that the problem might be with the valves that were failing to open to allow the hot air to flow or even with the motor itself.  It was a matter of try and error, but a test that could turn out to be quite costly.  My spirits sunk again thinking we were in for another spell of cold and miserable weather and that we would end up spending hundreds of pounds to have the problem fixed.  Then Darren, the friendly engineer that seemed to be doing all the work, came up with another brilliant idea: just turn the hot water on, give it 15 minutes and then turn the dial to heating mode.  Well, blow me down with a feather: it worked!  We waited there for a few minutes longer to make sure the heating didn’t go off again or the warning light came on and, after a while with no problem whatsoever, we were told to drive back ‘home’, give it a few days and monitor the problem, with the recommendation of starting the heating system by putting the dial on hot water first for a few minutes and then to turn it to the heating position.  We did that the first couple of days, but yesterday and today, we tried just lighting the heating system straight off and, fingers crossed, it has started with no trouble at all.  The problem seems to be fixed! 

Wonderful Darren also fixed a leaky pipe that was causing some water to come through under the bed into the living area, for which he used a T-shaped tube to connect the relevant pipes.  All seems well with the world again!  Now we have to go back and pay and, I suppose, fix the new circuit board when it eventually arrives from Truma.

In a different order of things, the weather has turned from cold to windy, having had two named storms already, Freya and Gareth (the latter still with us even as I type), which have brought gale force winds of over 50 MPH and the motorhome has been rocking the nights away, keeping me awake. Indeed, we encountered a couple of felled trees on our Sunday morning walk, one blocking an access road to the main dual carriageway and one on the actual walk in Slindon woods, but we managed to get round it.  It was quite scary, though, to see the trees swaying and the wind whistling so loudly we couldn’t hear each other talk.  Here is a short video (hope it works!):

To keep myself busy and happy during the week when I am not doing Zumba, Booty Barre, shopping, dog walking, cooking or meeting my son in town, I have completed a couple more crocheted dolls from the Mr Men and Little Miss book series and I am very proud to present to you today Little Miss Chatterbox and Mr Nonsense.  Hope you like them.

Little Miss Chatterbox

Mr Nonsense

And Spring starts a week today: Hurrah!


16 thoughts on “And the challenges keep coming…

  1. I know firsthand how upsetting it is for trees to fall. We’ve had that experience several times – in our previous address and on rental property which made the neighbor hopping MAD!

    However, you never overlook the blessings: the pleasure of daffodils & your sweet, quirky dolls. I can tell you enjoy creating them, so cute!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Luckily for us, the fallen trees didn’t hinder our drive or walk, but I am sure the local Council will have removed them by now. Much worse if they are on your property or road at rush hour! It was Sunday when writing found them after the storm on Saturday night.
      I am glad you like my dolls. Do you have a favourite Mr Man or Little Miss Character?

      Like

    1. Thank you, Alison. Sometimes I miss my garden, planting bulbs, pruning, weeding and enjoying the fruits of my labour. I know that eventually we will have our own property again, but we don’t want to rent over here as the monthly payments are astronomical and on top of that you have to add all the overhead bills like Council Tax, Water, Electricity and gas rates: it would swallow up a lot of our savings, which we do not wish to lose. I am hoping that in a couple of years we will be buying something in the south of France or north of Spain to be near family. For now, I will continue to enjoy the freedom and the little housework I’ve got to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry to hear you guys had troubles! I’ve wondered how insulation works in a motorhome, but I suppose being a smaller space also helps to make it easier to heat. I’m glad temperatures are getting warmer for you too. It’s the same in Atlanta. I hope it stays that way. Like you, as you know well, I cannot stand the cold.

    Liked by 1 person

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