The Cotswolds and beyond

Merry Weather Farm, Chipping Norton:- Trip:11

July 3rd-7th, 2017.



The Aluminum Baffle

Before we even started to pack Iona there was a mod that needed doing. On our last trip in the hot sun the fridge was struggling to keep the temperature down. The gap between the van wall and the back of the fridge was too wide, 100mm, and the recommended width was no lees than 15mm or more than about 30mm. Our habitation engineer had already said it needed some sort of baffle.

I ordered some aluminium from eBay and while I waited for delivery I made a template from card. It was going to be a tight fit and the template suggested that the final metal version would need to be in two parts. A couple of days later the metal arrived and after a couple of hours work the baffle was made, and then cut in half to get it in through the vent. During the process the design was slightly changed and it is now bolted to the fridge vent with another screw into the side walls. Now we just need the hot weather back to test it. If there is still an issue a fan may need to be added.

The baffle is angled to deflect the rising air into the cooling fins

The journey down to Chipping Norton took 2.5hrs. It is a caravan park with a rally field, so we have use of a toilet and shower block which appears quite new and is very well maintained. We set up the wind break and had lunch in the sunshine. We spent the afternoon sitting in the sun reading and people watching. Tea was steak, stuffed mushrooms and chips which we ate outside, taking advantage of the windbreak for shelter. We eventually went back inside at about 10.30pm.

The View from our Door
Day 2:
It was a little overcast this morning but dry. The plan was to walk into Chipping Norton today after the usual jobs are finished.The walk itself was not difficult being mainly on pavement, past an Aldi store and down into town. 


The town centre is dominated by what I suspect was a corn exchange with alcoves that once held statues of local legends no doubt. A very quaint town that has plenty of coffee shops, pubs and restaurants. Craft shops and a department store. It all seemed very affluent and busy. 


We had a walk around and then headed back, it was disappointing that it was not full of interesting buildings etc. On the way home we stopped off at Aldi to see what offers they had because we rarely go to the one in Grantham. We bought a couple of bits and I got a pair of work shorts for £7.99. By the time we got back to Iona the sun had gone and the sky was overcast.

Confirmation of where we are.
Another relaxing afternoon and the sun finally appeared at 5.30pm ready for the bar-b-que.
Day 3:
I was woken at 3.45am this morning to the sound of a beeping noise. The gas had run out and the fridge alarm was going off. I switched the fridge off and went back to bed. When I got up at about 8.30am the first job was to swap the gas bottles over and to swap the position so the empty one is at the front. They sell gas here so I will find out how much they are and get one on the way out.
Chilling in the Sun
There is not a cloud in the sky today so Sue wants to chill around the van. That is fine by me but I have to alternate between the sun and the shade. It also gives us an opportunity to get all the iPads and phones charged.
Sue practices using the Cadac

The Paella



I have an evening off, Sue is cooking Paella on the Cadac. We appear to be feeding the whole campsite. The idea of the paella was to try out the recipe on the cadac so that when we meet our friend at Bridgnorth it is a tried and trusted meal. It was well worth the effort, I cut the veg up and Sue did the rest. Yes, it was as good as She Who Knows says, brilliant.

We both had two Bowls


Day 4:
Another sunny morning with the odd shower forecast this afternoon. The plan for today was to go for a walk in the morning and chill this afternoon around the van. We still have half a tank of fresh water so that is one of my jobs done. 
With all the blue and pink jobs done we set off for a walk, however after about 500 yards from the site I had worries about switching off the electrics…back to the van to check and all was turned off.

We set off again, and we got to the roundabout and took a footpath to Over Norton, about 1/2 mile away. We followed the path alongside a field and then onto a track eventually getting to within 200yds of Over Norton. 


Poppies in the Oat Crop

We knew there was nothing there so we retraced our steps to another footpath sign. This path took us across grass fields past ancient trees and out through some ornate gates. We followed the road into Chipping Norton, where we found a bakery/cafe. We stopped and had tea and coffee outside before having a look at the local department store. 

We left the department store and their 70% sale and started to walk back to Iona. We stopped at a war memorial garden that we had missed on our first walk. 


We continued until we came to Aldi where we went in and purchased some more shorts and a pair of work trousers. With the need to buy now met, we back tracked a little to a footpath through a wood, again it looked ancient with large oaks and beech trees. Eventually we joined a path we used earlier and made our way back to the roundabout and then onto the campsite. 

Ancient Woodland
The weather has turned out better than the forecast so we sat outside and read and I forced myself to have a beer or two in the sunshine. The cadac came out and I cooked beef burgers, bratwurst sausage and grilled courgettes.

Day 5: 
Home today, by the time we had packed it was 11.30am. For some reason the SatNav wanted to take us a different way home. We turned left instead of right and headed towards Banbury. We got there and saw the Banbury Cross and continued towards Coventry but the route took us through a very twisty and narrow village, at one point the nearside mirror was brushing the hedge.

I managed to upset some youth on a roundabout and was given a blast on his horn, the thing was I was three or four times bigger than his micra and I was always going to win. However once we were back on known roads I had a woman pull out of a junction in front of us and then proceed at 40mph, I gave her a long blast on our horn and then a few miles further on a van decided to overtake the car behind us and then us, not normally an issue but there was a car coming the other way so I had to jink left and brake to enable him to pull in without having a headon crash.

To cap it all when we got home the reversing light was hanging out of it’s socket, no real  damage apart from a broken bulb and a mark on the bodywork.
Trip 11. 218.5 miles, 28.2 mpg, av mph 39, 5hr 33m total time.

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