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Too Much Too Soon???

Discussion in 'INTRODUCE YOURSELF' started by Cocoro, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Cocoro

    Cocoro Funster

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    Hi Everyone......exhausted!

    Picked up the 'new to us' Carthago Mondial 58DRH from Hollenstedt, North Germany and stayed the first night onsite to sort ourselves out. No issues so left the next day to stay in Lubeck for a couple of nights to get a feel for what we have lumbered ourselves with. It's big. It's a beast! I've never been over six metres before and don't mind admitting to some anxiety but it was quite comfortable to drive with those bouncy, hydraulic seats to enterain us. I haven't yet got over the shock I experience every time we stop and step out and I try to take in what has been travelling along behind me! Why so big? Long story, things kinda got outta hand and before I knew it...........for another post perhaps. The internal debate vis Integrated v Alkoven.......oops! 'A' Class v 'C' Class continues in my head as I write! But it is like new, really like new. Hardly used, 32,000km in six years! The engine bay took my breath away so much I had to internalise it to avoid giving the salesman that 'non-negotiable' stance they often take on seeing the glee you ooze on the first viewing.

    Some snow and the lack of any security on the van made the trip into Lubeck a tad anxious but all ok. Next, a six hundred kilometre drive down to Walldurn for our appointment with Goldschmidts for Hydraulic Levelling System and a 110lt Gas tank. You are learning a little of me now. Comfort before security, I really should take note of that each time I check my watch while siteseeing.

    They finished the work yesterday evening with a late flourish due to the tank being too large to fit and the smaller one arriving late. All in all, a good experience but being sooo tired we sit here now looking out at the deepening snow and wonder if this is our new permanent location! We'll get moving soon. One more coffee, check the google maps, a snack maybe and maybe a tea and then, for sure, we'll get going............

    This is my third van the first two being integrated Hymers B544 1992 and B524 2001. I travel in them during the summer time in Germany and around Europe. I repair Hail Damaged cars for a living and follow the storms around Europe and sometimes NZ & Oz, repairing the damage by hand and eye. Stunningly lacking in any form of intellectual stimulation but kind of semi retired (I wish!) but it is at the very least seasonal as it only hails large enough in the summer. Twelve hours in a big box, twelve hours in a small one, six or seven days a week. I'm as white as a ghost by September!

    Thinking of Vanbitz for an alarm now, must call them as my window for fitting will be quite small I think. I'm a security freak and professional ruminator so I guess it has to be Vanbitz eh!?

    All this with a herniated lumber disc and sickening sciatica which has me checking under the van like a geriatric using any and every hinge, flap or protrusion on the side of the van for assistance as I lower myself knee by knee! Will fit the Lumber Discectomy in around accessory purchases for the van.

    Next stop Kiel on Thursday 13:00 for consultation with surgeon! Then, maybe then, the uk. We have four weeks Export Plates so we have until the 9th Feb. Now, maybe another coffee......is it lunchtime yet??

    Nice to meet you all.

    Regards

    Jeff & Claire
    13 people like this.
  2. MikeandCarolyn

    MikeandCarolyn Funster

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    All sounds like fun :BigGrin:
    I had a nerve root block in R L4 in sept and have had no pain since.Am sposed to be having Spinal Decompression at some point (removal of part of disc that is pressing on the nerve)
    Good Luck
    Mike.
  3. Taran_Las

    Taran_Las Funster

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    They may be able to fit it through a door:Wink:


    :party2::welcome::party2:
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  4. Cocoro

    Cocoro Funster

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    Hi Mike - Mine happened on 9th November and so far I've avoided the injection relief as I've heard little to recommend it until now. Spinal decompression sounds like the Lumber Discectomy I'm looking for. Keyhole surgery to remove the herniated part of the disc. Instant relief apparently!! Cant wait for NHS so must pay for op myself Gulp! Think of the van accessories I could buy with that money!?!?!? Hey Ho.

    I bought an inversion table as I read that helped and it does sometimes provide some relief but not a cure for sure. Mine is a very large herniation. Had an MRI in Kiel last November which is where it happened. A lot of tutting and pouting as the doctor pointed to the large dark splodge on the screen and privately visualised the accessories he could buy for his yacht after I had paid. What joy!
    2 people like this.
  5. Touchwood

    Touchwood Read Only Funster

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    Hi and welcome!

    For a first post that takes the biscuit - I'm always fascinated to read of "different" lifestyles, and yours certainly qualifies. At first I thought "Hail damaged" was a misprint - I know it can and does happen but I'd never imagined that someone could make a living specialising in hail damage repair. I presume you carry a pretty extensive set of tools/equipment/materials with you? Interesting too that you follow the storms around - I presume you've gained a fair knowledge of meteorology in the process, and have an idea of where and when hail storms are likely to strike? Useful - but in your case not for avoiding them!

    I hope all goes well for you.
  6. JOHNSTEY

    JOHNSTEY Funster

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    Just a thought but shouldn't you re-inforce your new vans roof!!:Rofl1:
  7. Cocoro

    Cocoro Funster

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    I carry very little in the way of extensive equipment. Just a golf box of various rods and small hand tools and a couple of special LED lights. We need very little really but you could go mad and buy all sorts of fancy tools, non of them powered by the way. A few bars, a few wire and hand tools and a couple of gadgets to access different parts of the interior and your done. As far as meteorology goes, I know nothing of it. There are a couple of websites that report large hail storms but some specialised ones that what we call 'Brokers" subscribe to and they shoot off and sell their services, catch the gigs and then call around to see who is available. Sometimes, frustratingly, not in that order! Only ever seen one hail storm in ten years and it was so light it just tap danced on the roof of my van and that was that. I always go on the theory that lighting doesn't strike twice though I know it occasionally does. We very rarely see a customer twice so I feel quite safe that my van will never get hit. Shouldn't have said that eh?
  8. kickstart

    kickstart Funster

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    Hi you two and welcome,
    sounds like an interesting and fun lifestyle,would love to see some before and after photo's of your work (and play) where do spend the winters,somewhere warm ?
    1 person likes this.
  9. Merc0385

    Merc0385 Funster

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    A bit of a coincidence but my friend is having hail damage repaired now, there was a freak hailstorm confined to a small area of hinckley last summer, one friend friend had a convertible car and caravan written off and the other friend was worse off, 500 roof tiles, conservatory, shed, greenhouse, wall clading and he has a VW T5 caravelle which has just had a brand new roof, rear door and bonnet fitted.
    The hail was the size of golf balls and the used car lot up the road lost 35 cars, they reckon the total insiurance bill was over 3.5 million
  10. sedge

    sedge

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    Wow, all very interesting!

    Having seen the vast compounds of hail damaged vehicles just outside Brisbane 3 years ago, and my BIL (a builder by trade) having explained exactly why wriggly tin was a really really essential roofing material there - I can understand what a darn good income you could get from that !

    And sympathies to all with the disc probs. MkI husband had his splattered one picked out in a million pieces during a very long op years ago. Prior to that one of the things they tried was an epidural, the subject of much hilarity of the - You mean they've been treating you for a slipped disc and all the time, you were just pregnant? - variety.

    Good luck with the op, but how long are you allowing for convalescence?
  11. Cocoro

    Cocoro Funster

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    Hi again!

    Things have progressed rapidly since my first ever post but first the Hail Business. Yup! The Leicestershire storm was a blessing for quite a few guys I know who normally have to travel far and wide to find their work. There is rarely any large sized hail in the UK but it does happen from time to time. I didn't take part as my regular contacts kept me busy as usual on the continent.

    My introduction to this forum ended last Thursday as I made my way to keep an appointment with a surgeon in Kiel. It's not an unusual event for me to be in Germany so either the British or Germany medical service is ok by me. He told me my herniation was rather a large one and would likely require surgery at some point. Enquiring when he had the time to do it resulted in me dashing back to my friends house where I had parked the new van to collect some essentials and my trusty macbook to make a payment and be admitted directly!! They move fast in Germany - or - they are short of work! Either way, they operated the next day and so here I lie waiting for the all clear to be able to leave. Claire is visiting every day and living in the van on my friends driveway in the evenings. Funny how things turn out.

    I was admitted last Wednesday and now it's Monday and I hope to be free by the latest this Wednesday. I'm watching the calendar and ticking the days off to the end of the export plates I purchased for a month. I would like to get the van back at least a week before they expire as I wish to be able to move the van around to have an alarm fitted while waiting for the Certificate of Conformity to be issued so I can trot orf to DVLA and register it. A friend here will help me to change over the headlamps which are already somewhere in the van along with the MPH overlay with only the right hand fog light to pick up and fit. The plan is to land in the UK, grab an MOT post off the papers to VOSA, head down and get the alarm fitted, park up and fit a few other bits, 3G wifi antenna, better tv etc and take a huge breath and fall over. Not sure it's even going to fit on the drive yet - by a hair I think!!

    For those interested I didn't simply purchase export plates which as most of us know only provide the basic Third Party Liability, I also purchased temporary Fully Comprehensive insurance which strangely does not provide Third Party insurance but of course together they fill the gap. The plates were not expensive at around €260 but ho hum, the fully comp for one month was £519. Yes, pounds. For one month!! Friends said to me just drive it, you'll be ok but as a gold medal ruminator I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It's a fair old whack I've paid and well, driving down as far as Frankfurt to fit the jacks and tank tipped the balance of risks and made me pay for fully comp. My last van was able to be insured on the VIN Number fully comp from Bakers of Cheltenham (now Towergates I think) but not any more. I could find noone who would do it, only from the point I landed on UK soil, to the MOT station then home. Things have changed so much!

    Why buy abroad? Quite apart from wanting a left hand drive vehicle and I know you can buy them in the UK everywhere, I wanted more choice from the European vans out there. We all have our personal preferences and I don't wish to offend but I don't very much like the design and construction of UK vans. Also, spending so much time abroad allows me the luxury of shopping around at leisure and to be surprised with what I find. Believe me, this van would never have been on my wish list had I not stumbled across it while visiting to view another. Such is life.

    So, my sorry looking schnitzel and boiled potatoes has arrived along with some alternative strain of Brussel Sprouts - just like Mum used to make at Christmas! When she wasn't so soaked she remembered to put them on the stove......

    Laters.

    European Temporary Insurance http://www.alessie.com/oldsite/html/europe2.html
    4 people like this.
  12. Vlad The Impaler

    Vlad The Impaler Funster

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    Hope your recovery goes well and that the nurses don't look like German Shot put champions of old!
    Look forward to seeing some pics of your van when you get the time.

    Regards Vlad.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  13. teddybard

    teddybard Funster

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    Boy for a follow on and first post
    I think you may have the bginnings of
    a great novel.
    Best of Luck with everything.

    Roger & Sheila:Smile::BigGrin:
  14. Cocoro

    Cocoro Funster

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    .........Update!

    Six days after the shock of a same day admittance to hospital I am free! It was my plan to lounge in hospital and luxuriate online researching all the additions and alterations I intend to do to my new van. I hadn't counted on the post-op discomfort getting in the way. For those of you with Herniated Lumber Discs who intend to go through with surgery I warn you that immediately afterwards you may feel all was not a success. I had one night where I was certain the disc had herniated again as the sciatic pain was off the scale. However, I am informed this is normal post-op and since that two night period things have calmed down. The last two nights have been pain free and I've slept well enough considering. But, I am back in the van on Ralf's drive and loving it! Claire flew back to blighty to releaser her dogs from the kennels which was playing on our minds and so I sit here, in minus 3, contemplating organising the multitude of cupboards that have 'stuff' simply thrown into them from boxes which had 'stuff' thrown into them from the old van. A bit of weeding is urgently required.

    This is the first opportunity that I've had the time to really sit back and evaluate what it is I have bought. The period immediately after delivery was hectic to say the least. Now I have the time to 'live' in it and get a feel for the changes and benefits from my old Hymer B524 (2001). In the Hymer I had a habit of lying the rear bed and looking forward to the large, windscreen blinds and marvelling at what appeared to be a distance much further than the 607cm it was contained in. I find myself still doing this but it’s quite a different feeling. I’m loving the space I now have! There is always three ways of looking at the size requirements of a van. You either go for manoeuvrability and speed in transit or the luxury of comfort and space when you eventually get there. Alternatively, you go for the best compromise over space and agility. The Hymer for me was the latter, this Carthago thing is very much in the “don’t worry, it’ll be great when we get there” category.

    But is it? If I had to admit to one irritating failing it would have to be indecisiveness. It’s plagued me all my life. Going large was the issue of all issues. The terror in the purchase. Rumination was as large as the beast I planned to drive. But really, as is usual in life, ninety percent of what we worry about simply doesn’t happen. I have enjoyed the first two thousand kilometres and I kinda look forward to the rest. I feel like a pilot rather than a driver. I find I enjoy the additional attention it requires to take my place on the road. And, much to my surprise I feel more relaxed at the end of a journey. It’s not RV huge, 8.40m long, 3.50m high but relatively speaking, a huge leap psychologically over my previous one. One benefit over my last two A Class’s is the noise. I was an avowed ‘Integrated’ fan prior to stumbling upon this Carthago Mondial and I have to admit to a certain sense of ‘stepping down’ when I signed the papers. But really, I’m already feeling the benefits of a quieter drive. I’m sure there will be plenty of folk out there that will argue the point but in my experience, the Alkoven/C Class I now drive is much quieter than my last two A Class Hymers and in fact, much quieter than the many A Class Concorde’s I test drove last year. I’m pleasantly surprised. And of course, this all adds to how you feel at the end of the journey. Of course my particular requirements this time meant I seemed only to test drive Iveco Daily based vans and I’m sure other base vehicles will prove a different experience. But whenever the engine fan kicked in on a A Class test drive I whinced at the thought of a long, hot, summer journey.

    One of the extra’s the previous owners chose was ‘Swingsitze’, bouncy seats! I viewed them rather like the motion sensor LED lights under my bed. Yes, you read that correctly. I told the bed salesman I didn’t need them and to take them off the price. That wasn’t possible, they’re an integrated part of the bed frame. Tsch! I thought. However, if like me your nights are beginning to be interrupted by the occasional trip to the bathroom, I began to appreciate bruise free shins as my feet touch the floor and the LED’s light my way without, importantly, waking my partner with bright lights and loud ‘Ouches’! You see, sales people really do know better than us what we need. The swingsitze have proved the same. With my back the way it was I very much appreciated the dampening effect they provided during the trip to Walldurn. You have to set the ‘kilo’ setting accurately otherwise you spend most of the time gripping the wheel for stability as you bounce over half a metre up and down. Hilarious for the first few minutes, decidedly tedious from then on. For those sensitive about their weight they may be best avoided as the dial on the seat gives it all away. I have no such insecurities as I know that my life long diet will eventually yield results and if not, the worms will finish the job.

    Speed is one area where I do have to make compromises. Previously I pushed hard to get there, the rev counter very definitely out of the green zone. Driving like this in a motorhome in Germany is difficult because without the third lane as a buffer for passing, your either too fast for the inside lane and the trucks and too slow for the frustrated formula one drivers on the left. This was extremely fatiguing. I have no choice now but to bide my time, use the brakes more and submit to the law of physics as I try to punch a big hole in the air.

    There’s only so much you can learn by reading the stats or digesting opinions but eventually you have to bite the bullet and try it yourself. The combination of the bouncy seats, the relative quietness and the lack of speed have revealed an unexpected benefit. Something I couldn’t have imagined while ruminating over the six ton’s and Jurassic dimensions. I arrive in a better condition. This is worth more to me now than attempting to shave an hour or two of the journey. An hour or two that gave me more time to sit at my destination and contemplate the negative compromises I had made over speed v space and comfort.

    So, the headlights have been replaced with RH, UK legal ones, the speedo now reads MPH and the prep has been done prior to the matching rear fog light arriving. In addition I've replaced the driver and passenger doors with uprated, Garrison Replocks and fitted a couple of additional HEOSAFE door locks. Paranoid? Absolutely. I've also superglued all windows shut, covered the rear roof ladder with grease and charged the exterior of the van with 500,000 volts. I know what your thinking, if they want to get in they will but hey, it's only a start, you do what you can. ;-)))
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  15. sedge

    sedge

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    What type of inverter did you use, and when is it going into Cornish Farm for the barbed wire entanglement and man-trap to be affixed?

    Gentlemen - I do believe Mr Cocoro has just stated his intent to join the Nutters.
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  16. sedge

    sedge

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    PS spasms in your Sciatic nerve could last for years and aren't related to anything you did or did not to, just before it decides to do it. They just do it when they do it.

    However it is comforting to know - perhaps? - that this excruciating pain is usually a sign of the nerve healing, as all the squished bits attempt to join back together again to make a complete electrical circuit again.

    Why is it at night when you are in bed? - ah well, unbeknown to us, that's when the brain musters its HCPs and they mend the body. You may think nowts happening but actually your body's hard at work whilst you're just dreaming of winning the lottery ...... or whatever.

    Nerves are wonderful things and the pain of them healing can range in intensity from mild pins and needles to what you've had.
  17. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    I always say that motorhomes are like religion in that what suits me doesn't make me right or anyone else wrong, it just suits me: at the moment.

    I may have wanted something different in the past and most certainly will change my mind in the future, but our motorhome suits us, the way we use our van: Now

    Currently we have gone back down (stayed on) the RV route and at 32' some think our van too big. We are looking forward to break at Easter and this year's Spring we have a busy show schedule so will be away from Work most weekends.

    Size has never been a major consideration to us, we have always preferred space and storage having toured initially with four kids, only to lumber ourselves with two big dogs at about the same time the kids didn't want to come with us.

    I say lumbered because the conversation went something like "yippee, finally free, we can make decisions on the spur of the moment again just like we did when we were young" "What about the dogs?" "Ah :Doh:) I jest :Wink: (my staff tell my wife when I am moaning about the dogs:Wink:)

    There are places that it would be daft to try to tour in a huge van, but then we tow a car and also have a mental list of places to travel to when we are not driving a bigger motorhome around

    In essence we can't be every where at once, nor can we go everywhere, so we pick the places that we want to see, and feel comfortable travelling to. Our main holiday this year we will be going to the Cote D Azur Madness to travel around in anything in that area in the summer even a car so the size of the motorhome is immaterial once we're on site so the additional space a larger motorhome gives, makes our stay more enjoyable.

    As we men always tell the ladies, size isn't everything:Eeek:

    Glad your getting better

    Eddie
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  18. Cocoro

    Cocoro Funster

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    Gentlemen - I do believe Mr Cocoro has just stated his intent to join the Nutters.

    May I ask what the 'Nutters' are?

    The pain in the night I assumed was because I lay on my side to sleep but now I try to force myself to lie on my back and I have no pain! It's remarkable really, in hospital I thought and was told this pain would persist for some weeks or even longer and not to be afraid to keep taking the pain killers. Since leaving the hospital on Wednesday I have come on leaps and bounds. No pain at night, and as from yesterday, not much sciatic pain the day also. Mobility is fine though picking things up from the floor is still a tad difficult. So much so I tend to leave it there unless it's urgent and pick it up later if I drop something else. Not soooo daft eh!

    I really think I can drive back to the UK this coming week. Stitches come out on Wednesday by whoever is around at the time I think! Then, the hard slog back. Not decided which route to take yet - Esbjerg/Harwich.....Hook of Holland/Harwich/Hull or Calais or Dunkirk. I hate to pay for an overnight ferry when I have the van to sleep in! Seems pointless. But it does save some driving and now of course the fuel costs are pretty much the same as the ferry costs, especially when you factor in the saved miles.

    Still have things to buy and fit....Wifi stuff, Alarm, Vespa? etc........!!
  19. sedge

    sedge

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  20. Cocoro

    Cocoro Funster

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