Grumpytyke is back, I hope fairly frequently, after a long absence, and I’m trying to decide whether to resume with the wide ranging subjects which I wrote about before – Romania, VW campers, classic minis, haiku, Yorkshire and food and cooking, and a few more as the mood takes me – or to limit myself to one or two themes. That might be difficult for me.

I just ploughed through emails going back to February this year – helluvalot of spam – and was glad to see a lot of ‘old friends’ still posting, though some seem to have disappeared in recent months. Apart from one short post in February ‘explaining’ my absence I haven’t really posted or looked at emails for about a year.

Me

Much of my absence has been due to a major health problem. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, had my first ever stays in hospital and spent a while with tubes and bags limiting my movement. Hopefully it’s under control for the moment. I might have something to say about the wonderful overworked nursing staff in the NHS, but the often abysmal administration, management and systems, in a future post. (more…)

Lofty, our VW camper, was clearly happy with his new clutch and gave us not a second’s ‘bother’ during our trip to the English Lakes and the north Yorkshire coast.

Lofty, VW camper, on Whitby harbour

Seen from the steps up to Whitby abbey, Lofty waits patiently for us on the harbour below

The weather was wonderful for our first two days in the very beautiful Borrowdale, where we found a new (to us) campsite. Then, with the weather set to change, we beetled (or rather campered) over to the east coast, where the sun was hot and brilliant for the rest of our stay, on our favourite campsite at Robin Hood’s Bay.

The Borrowdale campsite, just past the turn to the village of Stonethwaite on the B5289 from Keswick, is simple with limited facilities – just a couple of showers for men and a couple for women, the same with toilets (with two more undesignated) – but clean and adequate and cheap at £6/person a night (half that for children).

Over to the North Yorkshire coast

As the weather began to change we motored the 120 miles or so over to the Yorkshire coast, managing to find the only LPG station for miles in Penrith so crossed over without having to change to petrol at double the running cost per mile. Whitby greeted us with hot, bright sunshine though rather windy. No cooking after the trip as you shouldn’t visit Whitby without eating fish and chips – not at the ‘famous’ place, but ‘Mister Chips’ just over the bridge, which is the best. Then, after a climb up to the abbey, off to Robin Hood’s Bay to park up with a wonderful view over the bay towards Ravenscar (Hooks House Farm).

Abandoning Lofty the next day we had a bacon and eggs etc al fresco breakfast in the village, overlooking the bay. Then, after a leisurely walk along the beach making it to Boggle Hole before the sea cut us off, back along the cliffs for a pint at the Bay Hotel, known as the end point of the Coast to Coast Walk. A climb up the steep village street back to Lofty. No driving at all that day.

The next day it was a visit to the lovely little fishing village of Staithes with a treat of Staithes cobble cake (apricots, walnuts, cinnamon, filled with apple and served hot with cream), and again a steep climb back to Lofty as there’s no parking in the village. On to the equally appealing but very different Runswick Bay with another pint in the Royal overlooking the shore. Then a lovely run back home over the North Yorks moors.

The picture is Petronela’s. I’ve abandoned the digital camera completely except for work and I didn’t have time to get my films developed before work tomorrow. I hope when I do I’ll have some worth posting on grumpytykepix.

Thanks for the cake suggestions

Thanks for the responses on a suggested cake to make for the village show (previous post). I’ll be posting on that later.

My 1972 VW T2 crossover (‘early’ front, ‘late’ back) Bay camper, Lofty, is running about spritely again. My luck was in on Friday (see previous post) and although some M62 motorway motorists seemed to be a bit put out as my speed gradually dropped to 20mph or less on any upward incline, the badly slipping clutch got me the 85 miles to Chester to have a new unit fitted. To celebrate we wore our Lofty T-shirts today.

VW T2 T-shirts

Welcome to Yorkshire from Lofty at the Cow and Calf on the front of our T-shirts; back to Yorkshire on the backs.

The clutch was in a real mess but I was lucky again: one side of the friction plate, though worn, was intact; the other side was really broken up but this was not the flywheel side – had it been the flywheel side it might have been a long time to back on the road, and very costly.

Might make a little trip next week before it’s back to school/work on 5 September. I’ll let you know.

Lofty, my 1972 ‘crossover’ VW camper (he’s my avatar) finally decided he’d had enough of a ‘dicky’ clutch and threw in the towel altogether  (mixed metaphors is how I feel; I’m supposed to be on holiday).

Tomorrow morning I will do my best to get him to Chester, that’s about 85 miles over the Pennines, without a clutch if necessary.

VW crossover camper between Bolton Abbey and Embsay.

Happier days, Lofty enjoys a picnic between Bolton Abbey and Embsay. on a rare sunny day in 2012

The problem first is to get across Bradford so to minimise stops and starts I’ll be leaving about 6am. Then there are the hills to get up to the motorway. Then there are the hills on the motorway.

First the clutch was slipping so badly I tried to adjust it and it went fine for a few miles but then threw a wobbly and wouldn’t disengage. More crawling about under him and a few washers in front of the adjusting wing nut and now it it engaging, but for how long? If I can get across Bradford it’ll be fine as I’ll just drive without the clutch. Hope it doesn’t slip too much to get up to the Saddleworth turn off the M62, the highest point on the highest motorway in England.

New clutch kit from VW Heritage is in the car. I just have to get there.

Why Chester? Because Steve of Gasure not only knows VW campers very well, he did the conversion to LPG so can put the engine back in so it works, otherwise I’d be driving on petrol at twice the cost per mile.

Wish me luck. If I have it I’ll be back Saturday evening.

This is one of the busiest times of the year for my work as the charity I work for takes part in numerous outside events and I usually have to set them up and take them down at the end of the day. Last Saturday I was at a local school which raises money for us, and Sunday I was at the Dragon Boat Challenge in York, where we had a fundraising stall. So I haven’t had a lot of time for blogging, or reading the many which I follow.

The Optimistic Pessimist's poem on display in Lofty's rear window

The Optimistic Pessimist’s poem on display in Lofty’s rear window

However, I said in my most recent post that Lofty, my VW camper, had not only insisted I reblogged a poem – Campervan – penned by Bradford’s blogger the Optimistic Pessimist, but that I printed it out and displayed it in his window. That I had not had time to do.

So, apart from giving me all sorts of problems changing gear (he needs a new clutch), yesterday on a visit to nearby Bronte land – ie Haworth – he refused to start to bring us home.

I promised that the poem would go in today and, possibly helped by a jump start from the leisure battery, he got us home.

We have a lot of steep hills around here so I really must get the clutch done – I had quite a problem to pull away on a 1 in 3 today – but with no place to do it, not the tools necessary and, more important, getting too long in the tooth to do such things now, it’s a garage job so I have to find a day I can do without him as he’s my daily ride (and travelling B&B!).

He also runs on LPG, half the cost of running on petrol, so I will only trust someone who knows the LPG system to pull the engine (or, more to the point, put it back and get it running correctly again) for the new clutch.

I’ll have to get it done soon; I should be on annual leave for the rest of the month after 7 August so I don’t want to be stranded in the Yorkshire Dales, let alone maybe in the north of Scotland!

Originally posted on The optimistic pessimist:

Box of dreams

Wardrobe to other worlds

Part of the gang

We wave at our own

Like crazy people

Because we know

We share the joy

Perfect joy

Of freedom

On wheels

Where every day is perfect

Every meal the most amazing

Every moment with you

In that perfect little place

To keep us together

Trapped in the same room

Never bored

Always happy

Happy like

You can’t remember

What sad feels like

Just filled to brimming

With joy.

View original

I don’t have a lot of time for blogging at the moment – the weather is superb for walking and photography but unfortunately that means it is also ideal for some much needed ‘tender loving care’ for Lofty, our beloved VW camper. However, having just cooked and eaten the obligatory full English breakfast I thought I’d use the 15 min ‘digestion’ pause to get this off.

The Romanians are almost uniquely able to have a joke on themselves and, being far better generally educated than the majority of people coming out of UK schools, are able to do it with a wit and substance sadly lacking in much of what we see from British commentators. I just love the poster campaign launched by the Romanian paper Gandul (‘The Thought?) in response to that from the Guardian. The posters are in English so English speakers can understand them even if the accompanying text is in Romanian.

http://www.gandul.info/news/why-don-t-you-come-over-raspunsul-gandul-la-campania-britanica-nu-veniti-in-anglia-update-10528548

So here are some of the Romanian poster words, each of which has a postscript “Why don’t you come over. We may not like Britain but you’ll love Romania”. There are many more gems.

Your weekly rent covers a month here – pub nights included

Our Tube was not designed with sardines in mind – sorry sardines

Our newspapers are hacking celebrities’ privacy, not people’s phones

Our air traffic controllers have seen snow before. They were unimpressed

We don’t have a congestion charge here. We believe congestions are punishment enough.

Our draft beer is less expensive than your bottled water.

And my favourite – almost absolutely true:

Half our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister.

Most of my followers will know I have a serious love affair with Romania and Romanians and the majority of Romanians coming here so far are very well educated, hard-working and an enormous benefit to our society. But this doesn’t mean my eyes are closed to the problems: corruption is endemic (but worse in Bulgaria) and certainly a large number of Romanians coming here have come to commit crime and will do so in the future (the Romanians would say that they are not Romanians, but gypsies, and while I cannot support this racist statement there is an underlying truth).

So, much as I love Romanians and their country, the concern about freely opening the door to them is well-founded.

But it will be great for Britain to have a boost to the population of people who can actually speak English!

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