Thursday, 5 July 2012

Black Jesus, by Simone Felice

So today was a pretty quiet day. I just finished a run of night shifts, so after breakfast this morning I went to bed in a car park, and slept right through until about 2pm : ) After getting up I went to use a cafe bathroom, and bumped into an old school friend I hadn’t seen in at least 15 years and had a burger with him, and a great time catching up – that was nice. It turned out he also has a camper now, though being married with a young child, and another on the way (in about a weeks time!) obviously they just use it for camping trips. Still this guy was my best friend in school for a number of years, and we still got along great : )
I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing off Simone Felice’s novel ‘Black Jesus‘ – a great read. Back in April I was at his gig and he signed the book for me when we bought it after the gig. I’ve really enjoyed it, but had got out of the way of reading for a while, so got back to it last night. Anyway, I can highly recommend it, thanks Simone.
‘Reaching for what?
Maybe for the thing we’re all reaching for. That big feeling. The one we can’t put our finger on, can’t say its name.
A clean conscience.
A cure for emptiness.
A warm putty to fill in all the holes that gape.
These things might approach it. But we reach for more. Its got to be out there. It just has to be.’
Simone Felice
from, Black Jesus

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Peace & Quiet

Today there was some sun so I just had to connect up the solar panel temporarily – how can i waste this strong sunlight – lol : ) Anyway, its a great feeling knowing its charging away dawn to dusk when the van is parked anywhere. It was reading ‘battery-full’ for a while earlier, but I’ve been listening to music and using the laptop a bit since that, happy days!
I saved a picture from a while back that I wanted to share, along with its story, so last night wrote a great post about it and the whole damn thing disappeared when I tried to upload it – writing and all – that has got to be the most frustrating thing about technology, grrrr! So take two:
A few weeks ago, I had been spending a lovely sunny afternoon by the river, it was one of those humid hot days where the cool riverside air is so refreshing and still, that you could just sit there for hours, and I did. Later, I decided to park by a deserted playing field to cook dinner, and leave my side door open with the evening sunlight streaming in, the breeze keeping me cool, and not a soul in sight.
So there I am relaxing as the pot bubbles away, looking forward to my meal, when I hear loud music and clamoring voices. This van had pulled up beside me:
Look at that! One by one a whole Romanian football team of car wash attendants was piling out of it, ready to invade the peaceful scene! They parked right beside my van for easiest access to the green, away from the big nets. Of course I couldn’t move away with the gas on and dinner nearly ready, so I just had to switch my peace and quiet for a different kind of entertainment, haha : ) They were friendly, equally bemused by who it could be chilling out in the camper van at their football training spot : )

Monday, 2 July 2012

This is the life! - Kayaking at Brown's Bay

Yesterday, out kayaking with a good friend, in the bay were moored two large yachts. There was a sizable swell, and it was fun paddling, rising and falling with the yachts rising and breaking the horizon, cables ringing in the sea breeze. We paddled close and conversed with one of the sailors. From the Netherlands, they had been sailing around Ireland and the British Isles. Waiting for that evenings wind, predicted to pick up, next stop the Scots isle of Jura. Telling the guy about my recent visit to Skye in the camper van, he told me about traveling around New-Zealand in a camper. Before paddling on further around the coast, we all agreed, this is the life!

Solar panel on a Hiace Hitop camper van

Recently a friend has lent me a much better bike for going about on, so I dont have to use as much fuel, and can stay in one spot for a few days if I like. Of course this means my electricity runs out after a few days, especially if using the computer a lot. So, the solution, 80 watts mounted on the roof with stainless pipe fittings and aircraft fasteners. This is actually a portable panel, so it can be removed and folds in half, has latches and a carrying handle. Its permanently mounted now though.
I’ll post more pics showing how I have it hinged at the front, and wing nuts release it at the back – it can be angled up to 45 deg to capture more sunlight when I’m parked up for a few days. I’ve also installed a very good needle gauge type volt meter so I can always see the house battery condition. So now – just to get the cable connected. A local motorhome guy will be fitting my kayak roof bars soon, and he’ll put the cable through the roof and seal it when we are installing the brackets.
Its a strange feeling having the panel there, but not connected yet – feels like wasted sunlight every day, as soon as the sun rises! Once its wired in – it’ll basically be trickle charging the battery, all day every day, from dawn to dusk, keeping me topped up. A good feeling : )
Update: I’ve recently added this video to Youtube describing my solar system in detail:
Thanks for looking!