Spilsby, UK Week 32 - 38 24th November - 9th January 2012
The UK Border has been moved to France.

Sensible really, just the one bit of queueing for border formalities and the ferry.

France Ferries was in the process of going into liquidation and closing down. We were on P&O from Calais to Dover.

A slight hiccough entering UK. When asked "how long will you be staying in UK?" I answered "I don't know".

Over to one side for a full interview for (Kiwi passport) Ali. All good humored, she was let in for 6 months.

Customs had a quick look inside in search of hidden people but didn't find any

UK is not a member of Shengen so six months is quite handy.

The Shengen agreement would limit us to 90 days out of 180 in the whole of Shengen (Western Europe). However, NZ has individual agreements for 90 days with the most westerly of those countries, without worrying about how long in the others. A bit of juggling at the end but otherwise not restrictive for us.

We remembered to turn the notice round.

Only turned on to the wrong side of the road once (so far).

The Calais Aires as we left.
A moment we've been waiting for.

The White Cliffs of Dover.

No-one else on deck to take our photo.

They had more sense and stayed inside.

This was a moment to savour. A quiet celebration of "we made it".

Perhaps a sigh of relief, but generally pleased with ourselves.

And a time to think of all the kind words and support we've had along the way.


We headed north to Lincolnshire.

This the colloquically named Boston Stump - really St Botolph's Church.

It occurred to us that England is just as interesting to us as any of the other "foreign" countries we've traveled through.

A small street off the market square in Boston.

Once parked at Hundleby (near Spilsby) we did a major inspection.

Is the list complete?

Shock absorbers were on the list already as a result of checking them while fixing springs in Hungary. Just as well, the left rear one looks like its been leaking a bit of oil.

For Doug (who asked whether the springs should have been retempered in Hungary). Probably yes. But since they weren't permanently deformed and were "equalised" with minimum (reducing) heat my metallurgy suggests they will last a while. I'm waiting for reports on parabolic spring replacement before taking any further steps.

I've now had the wheels realigned (a little toed out) and the rear axle re-seated on its springs to cure a bit of pulling to the left. All the more noticeable on good roads!

The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Kirton in Holland.

That's the English Holland (silly).

Mentioned in the doomsday book about 1086, a bit of which still survives, it was mostly from the 13th century, and major rebuild in 1804.

We attended a choir concert.

A proper English breakfast!

Shreddies are not normally available in Aus, nor any of the countries between there and here.

They are really flavoured small perforated squares of cardboard but for some strange reason I like them. 

Home for Tardis for the next few weeks.

Head down to work the way through the list.

eBay to the rescue. Most of the bits I needed were readily available, delivered within 24 or 48 hours.

Oil filter from local Fuso dealer (that was closed down a few days later). Shock absorbers came from All Terrain Warriors in Australia. They take them off to modify suspensions. Quicker and easier than waiting for Mercedes (Fuso) to even obtain part numbers for Aus spec'd vehicle. 

Our hosts Amos (in picture) and Spike took us for a walk. Along with his mum and dad (Angela and Tim).

I've known Tim for many years. And we've all met every few years either here or in Aus.

Its hard to describe how arriving here feels. The old cliche about "what are friends for" doesn't come anywhere near describing it.

We are travel weary and needed a bit of looking after.  

Amos is very clever and has his own (amusing) blog http://killiebraeamos.wordpress.com/tag/border-collie-pup/

We are on the edge of the Wolds overlooking the Fens. What wonderful labels.

The Wolds are hilly. The Fens are flat, having been drained into The Wash. 

Spilsby, walking distance, is an historic market town. 
Took at trip to Scunthorpe to visit Tim's Mum.

I last saw her from a ferry to Gotheburg leaving  Immingham as she waved Tim and I off on our travels in 1978.

I spent a few years in Scunthorpe at Appleby-Frodingham Iron and Steelworks..

Those big tall things with pipes are blast furnaces. The rather famous (within iron making circles) Four Queens.

I have memories of taking gas samples from somewhere near the top.

The steelworks which used to emply 25,000 people in 1970 is now Indian owned and employs about 3,500 people for similar output.

The rather ornate and proud sign at the gate has been replaced with a simple "Tata Steel" sign.

The church spire in Hundleby really does lean a bit.


A bit of agriculture.

Just like lots of countries we've been in this field was being harvested by hand.

But its the hedges that make it distinctive.

We even saw a bit of sun to light up the cattle.

But its become cold.

That and the short days is slowing maintenance a bit.

England has lots of wildlife.

This pheasant was avoiding being shot by hiding in the garden.

Another church, in Horncastle. Another concert of Christmas sounding music.

Angela is to the right in the choir.


The early morning queue for King's College Chapel (Cambridge). The annual festival of nine lessons and carols.

Its the concert that is broadcast by BBC and turns up on the Aus ABC every year.

Entry is free but limited and no tickets. Though "tickets" are handed out to people in the queue which avoids the last minute people who appear from nowhere with "my mate was keeping a place for me".

Ali described the concert as "quite an amazing experience" - the setting, the singing, the atmosphere, and so on.

I preferred to continue truck maintenance so Ali and Angela drove to Cambridge. 

Cambridge has some magnificent.buildings.
And some more.
Kings College Chapel during daylight.
The queue was entertained for a while by some of the choristers singing the usual stuff, like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. 
Christmas in Cambridge!
More mundane things ...

The rectangular box is the main water tank. It took three days. One to remove it (after half removing prop shaft, and a section of exhaust), one to make bits to repair tank strap holders, and a third to re-install.

Having said many times the truck was designed so that I could remove everything for maintenance this was somewhat of an acid test. I'd installed it from above, and had to remove it from below.

It was a tight fit. 

Christmas day.

Angela, Tim, three sons, Spike and Amos, and us.

A walk into Spilsby past the Hundleby Christmas tree.

The little yellow notice on the fence tells people to keep away because of the dangers of live electrical wires.

For some bizarre reason I was amused!

Nearby are lanes with names that hint of a past where brick making (this area is built from red bricks) brewing and masonry occurred.

Spilsby is not far from the north sea coast (I guess nowhere in England is far from a coast).

Wind farm off the coast. There's apparently a plan to build 68,000 more.

Theddlethorpe dunes.

Not far from where some North Sea gas is brought ashore and near a military training area.

I wonder if whoever got the tank bogged passed the training.

A symbolic moment. The spare tyres put back where they belong and filling water tanks.

As well as a bit of welding extra brackets to strengthen the rear some 10mm wire rope was threaded through the sub-frame (end to end) and tensioned.

The main fresh water tank has new tank straps, as does the rear fresh water tank.

Engine oil and filters changed. Fibreglass floors to the lowest rear hatches, and the loo cassette hatch, are now supported by threaded rod through the main floor. The main door now fits again, and the shower door closes. The shower has a new floor as the old one cracked in China and the temporary adhesive tape was past its use by date. The freezer compartment in the fridge is self supporting again so the top drawer of the fridge is usable. Light fittings which vibrated loose have been re-glued to the fibreglass walls and broken wires re-connected. Two diesel tank straps have new ends welded on. Space heaters have been cleaned of dust. A space heater has been moved and water flow improved. Diesel pipes to space heater and cooker replaced so they will work reliably in the cold. Additional large size cable added to battery to battery charger in the hope it will improve output and efficiency. Blood test to check the tablets are still working. And so on. About 5 weeks including obtaining "bits".

Sorry Ali. The new towel rail will have to wait for another day!

January in England. The weather turned cold for a bit before Christmas.

Much more mild now and the snowdrops have shown themselves. Daffodils will probably follow soon.

We don't expect the weather to be this mild (10 degrees C) all the way to Spring so we'll enjoy it while we can.

Time to leave the truly amazing hospitality and understanding of Tim, Angela, Amos and Spike. Time to head off to explore England and Scotland before Kirsty's wedding in Scotland at Easter.

We have maps of the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, and Lakes District lent to us by Tim (so we have to go back and sample some more hospitality). But first to the Isle of Wight.

We feel about 5kg heavier than when we arrived!

Kilsby and Avebury, UK Week 38 10th - 13th January 2012

David Powell Fri, 13 Jan 12 06:56:52 +1100
Hi Julian and Ali, Im pleased to see you ve got on your way safley. I like your website and I will keep on eye on it to see where you are next. From David.

Rodney Fiddaman Sat, 14 Jan 12 13:50:42 +1100
We knew we had made it, but it's also great to see that you finally managed to publish the "we made it" landmark. Well done.

John Head Mon, 16 Jan 12 18:38:33 +1100
My hearty congratulations to you both. Bloody well done.
In 1965 I spent 3 months as a BHP exchangee based at Scunthorpe staying as guest of App Frod (then the United Steel Company)at Brumby Hall. Fond memories.

Mark Lawrence Fri, 20 Jan 12 08:58:20 +1100
Great to see you are up and running again. Enjoy the UK!

Julian Sun, 22 Jan 12 05:23:35 +1100
small world John. I started work with App-Frod in September 1965 - too young to live in Brumby Hall! You were probably there when I had a look round.

Sorry, comments closed.