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Showing posts from 2012

Annie get your grease gun.It's the Bus Boot Camp.

I'm not one of your grease monkey VW enthusiasts. I'm not the sort who can strip down a bus and put it back together again without any more than a few bits left over. Actually I'm not the sort who can strip a bus full stop. And I am certainly not the sort who knows how to tune up a flat four engine, knows which order the pistons fire in (the what?) and I am definitely not one of those under-the-van owners who could tell you exactly where the thermostat is on a type 4 engine. At least I never used to be. However, today I am one of those VW owners who can do just a little more than kick tyres and chat about interior conversions. I can tell you what a condenser does and I can happily (with the greatest authority) explain what checks you should do if you break down at the side of the road BEFORE you call your old friends with the yellow truck. I am a new man. And it's all because I attended a Bus Boot Camp at the workshop of The Type 2 Detectives this weekend. Bus Boot C

Pop a penny in the pot. You could make a dream come true.

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December is childhood cancer awareness month. So I thought I'd write a little bit about CLIC Sargent , one of  the country’s biggest childhood cancer charities. CLIC Sargent are my charity. Recently they asked me to make a speech at a fundraising dinner held by Holborne Holiday Parks. I talked about my experiences camping, cooking and campervanning as well as my first-hand experiences of CLIC Sargent – because my family and I have first-hand experience of childhood cancer.

Murmurations: Swarms of roosting starlings at dusk.

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I have noticed twitching activity on twitter in the last couple of days. A few people have posted pictures of swarms of starlings making beautiful shapes in the winter sky. Twitchers call it a murmuration. It's one of those most lovely of winter spectacles and is truly mesmerising.

Cooking. On the Roadii.

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If you are one of those kind of campers who say that camping isn't camping without a camp fire then you'll love what I've been testing recently. It's a Roadii Grill and I was sent it by Simon Benton, the man who developed it with the help of his family over the last few years. Simon, like me, loves to cook and camp and loves a camp fire but found, time and time again, that camp fires were banned from many of his favourite campsites because of the damage they cause to the earth. It's understandable. He also found that portable barbecues tended to fall apart pretty quickly and often weren't up to the job. So he set out to create a portable hearth that wouldn't rust out easily, would keep the fire away from the ground, would provide a good heat for cooking and could also double as a camp fire. The result is the Roadii Grill. It makes perfect sense to me as old wheels are great for cooking on and also make good hearths (I used to make fires in them on the

A day out with Dan

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Dan Garnett is a celebrity in north Devon. Having graced the telly a few times, contributed to a number of food books and made himself available to food festivals and events over the last few years he’s become a face of all that’s great about the region. He’s a local treasure. He’s also a fishmonger. So, if I said than Dan is ‘Dan the fish Man’ would that ring any more bells? Perhaps.

The Hamburger Song

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This is a silly song. It's a cautionary tale about the perils of processed meat that I wrote it when I was at art college in the nineteen eighty somethings (not a great time for the processed meat industry). Over time the lyrics have been refined (?) but the message is essenitally the same: if you can, make them yourself (like the example shown above that I made)! My kids love it because they get to scream in the appropriate places. If anyone fancies singing it for themselves it goes to the same chord sequence as the Stray Cat Strut (remember that?) which is C, B#, A#, G (in the bar chord of E). The chorus goes C, G, C, G, C, G, F, G. Which is a lot of the same thing and not that difficult. At the very least you have to admire the rhyming of creuztfeldt-jacob disease with knees, Es and trees, even if the accusation might be on very shaky ground (lawyers take note). VERSE 1: I wish I was a hamburger all covered in cheese. To be a Big Mac would be such a wheeze. And when the

A crisis at the harvest festival

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Last weekend I went over to Ireland to do a couple of demos at Waterford Harvest, one of the country's biggest street and food fairs. I even had time to make a quick appearance on Irish breakfast telly to talk about the festival on the Friday morning before my Friday night demo. All was good. The demo was fun - as it was outside the beer tent. Once the washing up was done I was escorted to Waterford's best bar, Geoff's, for a few pints. I spent the day on Saturday with Sally McKenna, who writes and publishes the Bridgestone Guide to Ireland. She took me kayaking to look for seaweed on a gorgeous loch not far from Skibereen. It was a wonderful day and I felt like a young apprentice in the presence of such great experience and knowledge. However things started to worry me when I woke up on Sunday morning.

Fantasy Campsite. In search of the perfect pitch.

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La Bergerie. Small, friendly, level pitches, great location and very clean. Do you ever dream of owning your own campsite? What would you do with it? After our trip this summer I have been having fantasies about owning and running a campsite (before you say it isn’t easy, I don’t think for a minute it would be). This has resulted in a game we call “fantasy campsite”. It’s a very simple game whereby we go through and list all the places we have stayed and add their best qualities to our list of wants and needs from a truly brilliant place to pitch up. It changes all the time and can sometimes depend upon the place we have been staying, whether good or bad. Sometimes “fantasy campsite” sounds like whinging. But it isn’t. It’s about casting an eye over what we’ve seen, taking the best ideas, cutting out the worst elements and putting them all together to remake a campsite that’s just perfect. From that we can then work out where, of all the many places we’ve stayed over the year

Aires de camping car. Are we missing something?

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Contis Plage: free showers, washing up facilities, toilets and just 11 Euros per night. I can’t help but think, having just returned from 64 nights in Europe in our van, that we are missing a trick here in the UK. Or, more specifically, local councils are missing out on an opportunity that would improve our lives (as campervanners and motorhomers) and bring them much needed revenue at the same time.

Surprises from the deep.

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Just as I thought the excitement was over, our ferry trip back to the UK gave us one more final and incredible surprise. My friend Cath, who had arrived in Spain a few weeks earlier by the same route as we were due to take home (Bilbao – Portsmouth), had told us to look out for the guys from Orca , a leading whale and dolphin conservation charity. She explained how they have officers on all Biscay ferries and that they do talks for anyone interested in whale spotting whilst on board. On Cath’s crossing they had seen both whales and dolphins so she urged us to go along. She also told us how, excitable as she is, she had spotted a whale’s blow some way offshore and had so wanted anyone to share the experience that she had run in to the restaurant shouting “I have just seen a whale! Come and see!” to an uninterested breakfast queue. She ran back out again expecting hundreds to follow. None did.

Guggenheim. The final stop.

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Bilbao. It was always going to be our last stop as our schedule was to see us leaving from Bilbao port on 4th September, to arrive in Portsmouth on the 5th. This would give us just enough time to drive to Bristol where we would drop the van and jump on a plane to Dublin for my sister in law’s wedding on the 6th. I have been to Bilbao before but had yet to visit the Guggenheim museum. It’s not for want of trying though.

Into the valley: swimming, hiking and camping at the Cirque de Gavarnie

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Sometimes you can get a bit too much beach. I know it might seem like an odd concept but after our time in Galicia and a few days ‘a la plage’ back in the Basque Country with friends, we were ready to shake the sand out of our shoes and take to the hills. We unloaded all we could from the van – bikes, boards, wetsuits, swim togs and unnecessary baggage – and set off for the Haute Pyrenees. Without the extra weight to slow us down the van skipped along the motorway to the foot hills and purred up steep sided ravines, along giddying gorges and round tight hairpins until we arrived at the small village of Gavarnie.

Dazzling Malpica. St Ives in the sun.

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After Finisterre we found ourselves heading north to meet up with some friends in Malpica. So far Galicia had been good to us, but here it showed a real generosity of spirit. The sun shone and the weather stayed beautiful, despite morning fog and more mosquitoes than we’d have liked. With no campsite in the middle of the town we had to stay at the Camping Sasargas a few kilometres inland.

Journey's end. Time to turn and head for home.

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When we set out from home on the 30th June we had no itinerary other than a couple of things we wanted to do on our way though France and in to Spain. We knew that Galicia was a potential destination and that we wanted to try as much food as we could along the way, but no idea where our journey’s end would lie. The idea was that we’d go, find somewhere nice to hang out and then come home. It was a simple wish.

Trust your instincts. You know best.

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We are now into week six of our trip. We have been in Spain for a couple of weeks so it’s time for a little update, this time on places to stay. Waking up somewhere beautiful and peaceful makes the best start to any day for me. It’s the reason we drive thousands of miles. But for some it can be a worry. Driving around looking for a spot to park can be a stressful experience, especially if you fear being moved on or harassed in the middle of the night. If you have no recommendations from people you trust then you’ll more than likely have to follow a guide at some point. We have a small ‘library’ of books in the van with Aires, campsites and surf spots throughout Spain, so wherever we go often requires a bit of cross referencing and page turning. Sometimes it’s infuriating needing to rely on guide books and the times when we have gone ‘off piste’ have often offered us up the best places to stay. These are the places that are right for us, rather than for someone else. Guides and books

Fabada: a taste with memories.

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Yesterday I enjoyed my first taste of authentic Asturian Fabada for almost 15 years. It’s a traditional mountain stew made with fava beans, pork, smoked ham, black pudding and chorizo sausage that is cooked slowly in a big pot. It is a little spicy, salty and delicious and it inspired the bean and chorizo stew that appears in The Camper Van Coast. I ate my first Fabada on my first long trip to northern Spain in the late nineties, in a bar at Rodilles, not far from Gijon.

Chilling out on the road to Potes

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We arrived in Spain on Monday, crossing the border at Hondaye. It’s just a few miles south of Labene Ocean, where we stayed for five days with old friends. It was a mighty wrench to prize ourselves away from the soporific routine of endless cuppas, surf sessions and nights drinking rose on the veranda, such was the hospitality of our hosts. With the van parked on the drive we had everything: five minutes’ walk to one of the heaviest breaks in Aquitaine, an ever whistling kettle, friends for the kids to play with and a hammock under the cork trees. It’s a good life they live, these friends of ours. Even so, we packed up the van and headed south, stopping only for a lunch of chorizo and moules in Guethary, one of Europe’s more famous big wave spots.

May Poles. An overnight celebration.

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I have seen a few of these poles recently. Appearing in people’s front gardens, they are always the same: pine branches decorated with blue flowers and with a garland hanging like a chandelier from near the top.  Curious as to the significance, I took the opportunity to ask a woman coming out of the house where this particular one was planted in Contis Plage, one of our recent stops.

Aires, spaces and overnight places.

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A few days ago we hit Contis Plage. It’s a small holiday town on the south west coast of France with a few bars, a fruit stall, a boulangerie for our daily croissants, a few surf shops, a great pizzeria and a couple of what we would call in England, ‘bucket and spade shops’. It took us about two weeks to get there from home, but we are not particularly counting. We've been taking things as they come. But the reason for this post is to talk about where we have stayed so far. These include Cool Camping sites, aires de camping cars and local campsites.

The course of true love...

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Thinking of buying a VW camper van? Read this first . As I write I am sitting in the passenger seat of my little red and white VW camper van on a campsite in western France. The seat, a recent addition that revolves so I can face the rear of the van, is a first class place to sit and relax or write or look out of the side door. The site we are on is set high on a ridge, enclosed by pine forest and overlooking the Arcachon Basin. It is adjacent to the Dune Du Pilat, the highest sand dune in Europe. If I glance up from my screen I can see the ocean to my right whilst cicadas chirp away in the trees and paragliders float silently by on their wings of cloth. The kids are doing their homework and Joanne is preparing tea. From time to time other campers stroll by, smiling at our van. I guess they don’t see so many classic vans in France these days. It’s a blissful scene, especially now that the children have been hard at work doing their homework for a few minutes. Tonight’s tea is in

Toes in the mud. Cockle picking on the Ile de Noirmoutier

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We arrived on the island just a few days after landing at at Roscoff following a recommendation from ‘Cool Camping France’. The island, which is a little south of the mouth of the Loire, is beautiful, with lovely coastal scenery, dunes, salt flats and pine forest. The camp site - as recommended to us as being cool - is right next to the sea and is very nice. Not amazing, just very nice. We had a good spot under the pines about 50 yards from the sea so I shouldn’t complain, although camper vans aren’t allowed right next to the beach as they are trying to protect the dunes from erosion. The first clue that this is a famous place for cockle picking was the shower block on the camp site, where there is an area reserved for cockle cleaning.

Coals to Newcastle? Chorizo to Spain!

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Anyone who has ever seen one of my food demos will know that I like to bang on about a select few ingredients that fit perfectly with the campervan lifestyle. Firstly, I love to talk about and cook mackerel. That's becuse they are delicious, good for you, sustainable and all I can ever catch when I go fishing. Secondly, I talk about and cook mussels because they are the food that got me into foraging in the first place and are easy to cook. I have cooked them more than anything else in my cooking 'career' and have yet to kill anyone (to my knowledge) with them - so I remain bouyed by their 100% success rate so far. The third ingredient I use a lot in the van - and at home - is chorizo. It's extremely versatile, can be cooked in all kinds of dishes (including those with mackerel and mussels) and is a camper van staple. That's because it can be stored for ages without spoiling. You can save it for those unfortunate food doldrums that strike from time to time when t

The key to adventure: packing light

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This is it. The key to adventure and the last bit of preparation I have to do before we hit the ferry to Roscoff on Saturday. It's something I always do before any trip in the van - sort out the spare key. It then goes round my neck until the moment we return. It's like my own personal insurance policy against loss, theft, silliness, drunkenness and carelessness. As long as this is around my neck we will be able to get home. In theory. I know, there are many other potential disasters that could befall us that are worse than losing the ignition key but it makes me feel good to have it there. So if we lose the main set of keys in the sand, leave them in a bar or get our pockets felt we'll always be able to fire up the old girl and hit the road again. We might not be able to open the doors, unlock the trailer or release our bikes but we shall drive. It's not the only preparation we have done. I've imposed limits on baggage, numbers of socks per family member and ag

Boring! The tedious side of getting ready for a trip.

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This week I have been mystery shopping. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. I have been doing yet more preparation for our trip to Europe in our trusty camper van (if it comes back from the garage in time). There has been so much to do, from packing up the house to sorting out what we are going to take and what kind of insurances we’ll need. Happily I got a great deal from the AA to cover us for breakdowns in Europe. I would call that an essential. The last time we went away to France in a camper we had a smashed windscreen on the motorway that delayed us for 2 days and meant we had to stay in a hotel whilst a new one was found. Our policy covered it. Another of those boring essentials is travel insurance. We have EHIC (the old E111) cards but, as few people realise, they don’t provide the kind of medical cover we might need. An EHIC card will only cover us for the same level of free medical treatment that citizens of that country receive. So that means no repatriation, no special t

Life on four wheels. Family on two.

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I don't often get carried away with technical details about camper vans but today I am going to indulge myself. So if you were expecting whimsical wonderings about living the life in this post, apologies. This is about the stuff that camper van people get more than a little obsessed with - how to carry it all, not go even slower and yet still retain that groovy retro charm we all adore..... So. I have been searching for a neat solution to the problem of carrying four bikes on the van for our trip to France and Spain. Most people know that the Fiamma T2 Bike racks will only carry 2 bikes. Now that the girls are able cyclists on almost grown up bikes, we need to find a way of carrying them so they don't have to travel inside the van (the bikes not the girls). The last trip we went on, to Ireland, was ridiculously overpacked and showed us how badly we need to sort out our living space. So we've been looking for a way to carry lots of things and not clog up the inside of the

Beating the Jubilee jams, the camper van way.

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Heading off this weekend? Of course you are. Well, here’s my quickly-adapted-for-the-Jubilee guide to surviving the summer traffic from my book, The Camper Van Coast. The bad news is that there will be jams, the good news is that, if you are in a camper, it may be just that little bit easier. Here we go again. It’s the summer time, there’s some royal action going down and suddenly we’ve got a whole bunch of bank holidays all at once. Everyone is going to make a dash for it. Quick! Pack up the camper van and head for the coast! I have lived in the Westcountry for many years now and have gone backwards and forwards to here, there and everywhere a few times now. For five years I commuted backwards and forwards to London in a camper van (and other faster vehicles) almost every week. So I am an old hand at traffic jams, especially Friday night ones, bank holiday ones and the keeping you from making last orders at the Bradworthy Inn ones. Fortunately though, in that time I got quite g

The secret weapon of camper van cooking?

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You know the stuff. It's smoked paprika, Spanish essential, used in everything from paella to chorizo and made by slowly grinding peppers that have been dried over oak fires. This tin was given to me by a chef friend. Knowing I was nervous about cooking in front of the camera for One Man and his Campervan in the spring of 2010, he pressed this little tin into my hand and said kindly "If you ever get stuck, use this." I accepted it willingly. It turned out to be good advice and I've never been without a tin in the van or at home since. Smoked paprika is great for those times when you look in the cooler and scratch your head. Seem familiar? Those times when you stare at those chicken breasts that have to be used up, desperate for a little inspiration. When risotto has been done to death, the griddle needs a wash and the lemon and tarragon has gone, it's time to bring out the big gun. Bring out the hot smoked paprika, give it a rub, chuck it in a frying pan, over

Sunny days are here again. Another favourite camping spot.

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Well, the sun has well and truly got his hat on this afternoon and it looks like he'll keep it on for a few more glorious days yet. Twitter is awash with happy sunshine tweets and I'm feeling that prickly sun and salt feeling after a surf session down at the beach. Good times, with the promise of easy peasy burgers with tomato and chilli man jam later (page 118 of The Camper Van Coast) or perhaps even curried pork kebabs (page 123). It's a barbecue kind of a day. It's at times like these that we long for the open road and a perfect destination to pitch up and cook up. This week we got back from a road trip in the van to Ireland. Whilst we stayed at the most idyllic spot at Caherdaniel, there were good times this side of the water too. We stopped off in St David's in Pembrokeshire to catch up with our friends at TYF, introduce the kids to coasteering and spend a couple of days before catching the ferry from Pembroke Dock. The weather wasn't as good as it is no

Pitch Perfect. A new place to stay.

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Don't all jump at once, but I think I may have found a new favourite pitch. It's no secret but it's a way away for most of us. It's at a campsite called Wave Crest in Caherdaniel in County Kerry, Ireland and it is about as close to the sea as it's possible to get without pitching on the beach itself. A well aimed cast would see you plopping your spinner into the sea with ease from the pitch we chose. I love that. I also love the fact that the campsite, whilst not among the cheapest sites you'll ever visit, is laid out in such a way that every pitch feels private. This is down to the way it has been shaped from the hilly cliffside. Paths lead off to quiet corners where you can pitch your tent with nothing but a sea view. If the wind blows there are nooks and crannies where you can find shelter away from the Irish weather or send the children off to explore. You can even camp on your own little island. That's the one in the photograph below with the gras

Don't be an egghead. Some advice for Twitter virgins.

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Ok. I'm going to give it to you straight. I am not an internet guru or marketing genius or even an SEO consultant. I'm not writing this to sell you some software or my tweeting service or some advice on how to market your online business in tough times or any of that. I'm not even selling cupcakes. But I am a heavy twitter user with quite a few followers and I'd like to pass on what I have learnt over the last few years of using it. And the reason why is that I think some of you (tsk) could use some well meaning advice on how to make more of it. In doing that I think we'd all get more out of it. So, think of this as a friendly word in your shell like. Of course, if you know all about the twitter you'll probably disagree with everything I say, which is fine. The views in this blog are my own. So there. Firstly, don't be an egg head. I want to see who you are, what you do or what you are interested in. It makes you a person and therefore worth fo

How much do we really need?

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We've started putting things in boxes. It's all a part of the process of preparing for a trip. We need to sort out what goes in the van, what goes in the loft, what goes to the car boot and what gets recycled. Much loved old shoes, of course are destined for the loft. Their value is greater to us than the average carbooter. Some of the lucky ones will make it to the van, although not many. I mean, how much do we really need? In the early nineties I went backpacking for three months and took nothing more than a couple of pairs of shorts, a surfboard, a pair of sturdy walking boots, some flip flops, a few tees and some bits and pieces of camera gear. I also carried, for some reason known only to my stupid self, five volumes of Vikram Seth's 'A Suitable Boy'. They took up so much space and could have easily have been replaced but I "didn't want to be parted from them". What an idiot. It's a lesson I've learnt the hard way: take only that wh

Inspiration, a pair of wellingtons and some seaweed

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A few days ago I got a call from a friend. We talked about a whole bunch of things but ended up on the subject of seaweed. As you do. I mentioned a recipe that I have which uses carrageen moss - a seaweed which grows in abundance on our local beach - to which he blurted out “panna cotta!” After the call ended I thought about it. Then I pulled on my wellies and went for a walk. Carrageen Moss has long been used for puddings, particularly in Ireland. It contains a natural thickening agent which can be extracted from the seaweed by boiling it in water from fresh. I use fresh (rather than dried) carrageen for making the Irish Moss cocktail that appears in The Camper Van Coast, so I’m reasonably at home with it. Even so, using it can be a little unpredictable. There have been times when my Irish Moss cocktail has set - which it isn’t supposed to do -and turned almost blancmange like. Oops. But still tasty. Somehow I’ve never done the obvious and used this type of seaweed for making pudding

Our beach. The way we want it.

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I have good news for you, especially if you are among those who took pictures of Nivea bottles on the beach recently and sent them to Nivea. I had an email from Nivea this morning stating that they would be making 'a lump sum donation to the Marine Conservation Society' as well as continuing to monitor how their bottles are washing ashore. It was agreed that the job of picking up each and every one of their bottles from the shores of the UK would be impossible, which is why they have agreed to the donation (on my suggestion). This is a good outcome and whilst it doesn't actually remove the bottles from the shore, it will help to fund work that The Marine Conservation Society does to keep our beaches clean. In case you didn't know, the MCS monitor the amount of litter on our beaches as well as clear it up. They use the data about the rubbish they pick up to fight for legislation to safeguard the future cleanliness of our beaches. So this donation - however big or small

Devil be gone. It's pancake day!

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It's Shrove Tuesday today. AKA pancake day, the last day before Lent. This is your chance to indulge before it’s all over for 40 days and 40 nights. You feast then you fast and have a little think whilst you do it - at least that's the idea. But what about tossing? What's that all about? Well, as well as being the traditional time for penitence and reflection, for going to church to confess your sins, Shrove Tuesday is also a time for using up all your rich and fatty foods (eggs, milk, sugar). And that can only mean one thing: pancakes! The tossing part of the story tells of a lady from Olney in Buckinghamshire who lost track of time whilst cooking her pancakes in 1445, heard the church bells and dashed out of her house with her frying pan still in her hand, running all the way to the service. And so a tradition was created. It also explains why men wishing to take part in pancake races are usually asked to don an apron and headscarf. It’s a housewife thing. Shrove Tuesday

A message in a bottle.

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This is a picture of a Nivea bottle I found on my local beach a few weeks ago. I found a few of them at the same time so decided to get in touch with Nivea to find out what it's all about. They asked me to send them some samples so I went looking for more. I found them at Speke's Mill Mouth, Welcombe Beach and Peppercombe Beach in North Devon and at Constantine in North Cornwall. Niva tell me that they lost a container from a ship in the Atlantic about a year ago but they don't know how many of these were lost. Well I can safely say it was at least 50 because that's how many I've found. I suspect it's a lot more. It could be thousands, or hundreds of thousands. Nivea have been really good about communicating with me and I applaud them that. They also say that they have been in touch with Cornwall CC and the National Trust about cleaning up the beaches I mentioned to them. They said "if this escalates to larger numbers, that require an organized clean up

I'm not a pheasant plucker...

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...which is why I simply cut the breasts from the brace of pheasants I was presented with this week. They were given to me by my friend Neil who is one of the beaters for the Clovelly shoot. Very grateful I was too, as the pheasant shooting season came to an end on 1st February. Gifts like this are one of the benefits of living in the country. Just not if you are squeamish. These are the birds that didn't get away. They are the unlucky ones, pan fried with a red wine, orange and ginger sauce (simply chuck it in after you've taken the breasts out and let it simmer whilst the breasts rest a while), served with fried portobello mushrooms (pan fried first with thyme in the same pan to save washing up) and a few heads of young broccoli. Took about 15 minutes, needed just two pans (one if you forego the greens) and tasted delicious. Something for the van perhaps? Keep your eyes peeled when you are out and about next on those country lanes. You know, just in case you couldn't swe

All I need is...

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One of the nicest things about planning trips in the camper van is working out what you need to take. It can be very liberating, especially when you are in the mood for making life simple. What do you need? Ok, what do you really need? Lay it all out and then throw half of it away. Then you'll be ready. Despite my best efforts our home is filled with so much clutter that forgetting it all for a few weeks is a joy. What do we need all this stuff for? Do we really need two coats and twenty pairs of shoes? Not really. Casting them aside can feel like the beginning of that simple kind of freedom I long for. Do you long for it too? What would you never travel without? What would be the one thing you'd always pack first? What would be at the top of your list, come what may? The kindle? iphone? Macbook? A decent evening heel? For me it's the humble Swiss Army knife. That's it above. I've had it for years and years and I adore it, even if I don't use it that often.

The Camper Van Coast: Cooking, eating, living the life.

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Well, here it is at last! This is the cover of The Camper Van Coast, spread out on my coffee table so that I can finally see it in all its glossy glory. I think it looks like summer. The Camper Van Coast is the follow up to my first book, The Camper Van Cookbook. It's been almost a year in the making and has taken me to the four corners of the UK to see and do some of the very best things on these lovely little islands of ours. Inside there are more great recipes for cooking on the road, for baking before you take or keeping the kids involved. There are also lots of other ideas for places to go and things to do to get the most out of any visit to the great British seaside. There are notes on the camper van year, festivals to attend, lighthouses to visit, my favourite beaches, how to put up a deckchair and even some bits and pieces about seasonal ingredients that you can find or forage at the seaside. I might even reveal some of the secrets of making seaside rock or where to watch