‘The Dark Forces Strike A Blow’

How does that old saying go, “When it rains, it pours” ! and I am not talking about the weather this time. Perhaps it’s ‘Sods Law’ or even those ‘Dark Forces’ at work again, but whatever the reason, someone or something had decided that after an extended period of enjoying the good life it was time to test my patience. It started yesterday evening, Shazza wanted to watch a programme on one of the ‘other’ TV channels, a channel that for some inexplicable reason we couldn’t pick up on the satellite TV but we could on our ordinary Status TV Ariel ? We changed from satellite to ‘ordinary’ TV, no problems, but later,  when we changed back to Satellite, the screen froze and we couldn’t change any channels. I turned the digital receiver off and then on again and suddenly there was a horrible grinding noise from the if dome motor on the roof, it certainly wasn’t right and I had to turn the system off for fear of making it worse. I knew that I couldn’t do anything at that point as it would have involved climbing on the roof and removing the dome cover and it was pitch black outside, it would have to wait until the morning. I really couldn’t believe it, we had just spent several weeks getting the van and accessories sorted, the electric bicycles, the leak, the starting issue, the service, the MOT, so I was hoping that the dome problem would be something simple that I could sort out myself, however it was playing on my mind and I cannot tell a lie, it was not one of my most relaxed nights sleep !!

It was the first thing on our minds when we woke up, whilst drinking our morning cuppa’s we were both contemplating the worse case scenario. If it turned out to be a major issue with the dome then we had already decided that we would not be forking out any more money to repair or replace it. We did have the ‘Ordinary’ Freeview TV and if that wouldn’t pick up a signal when we are travelling, or on our first site working up in Scotland, then we would just have to do without, not good considering that this year was the football ‘World Cup’ and listening to it on the radio just wouldn’t be the same.

Our discussion then turned to what we would do with ourselves today, after I had been up on the roof to check out the dome situation that is. We knew that we wanted to do another walk around Ullswater before departing for Scotland in a couple of days time, but that one was going to be quite a test of our fitness. It would involve an 8 mile walk along the opposite side of the lake, the much Hillier side. The previous days walk had been a relatively easy affair, a mainly flat walk on good footpaths, what climbs there were had steps to aid the small ascents, but the next walk would be quite physically demanding with lots of steep ascents and rough terrain and so we needed a ‘rest day’ before attempting it. However, a rest day in Shazza speak does not actually mean doing nothing, so subject to the weather ‘we‘ had apparently decided that we would take ‘Wuxly‘ on an 11 mile drive to Keswick, a thriving tourist town on the Northern edge of ‘Derwent Water‘, another one of the very popular Cumbrian Lakes.

Once up and out of bed I went for my morning shower, maybe I would get my ‘lazy day’ after all as it was raining !! There was no point going up on the roof, not just for safety reasons but there was no way I was going to remove the satellite Dome cover and risk getting water into the electrical components that were undoubtedly underneath it. Neither was there any point in going to Keswick or walking around a lake and getting soaking wet. So a day in it would be, now I could spend as long as I wanted sorting out the mass of photographs I had taken on our previous days walk and choose which ones I was going to put into the blog post. However, as things turned out, we really should have gone out !!

Now I have always stated that I am a bit of a technophobe and so you would have thought that I would have known better than to play around with my iPad Photograph Albums !! I had sorted through the sixty-one photographs that I had taken during our walk and selected the handful that I wanted in the blog and the rest that would remain in our travel album. All was going well and I placed my blog selection into a separate folder. Then I deleted the ‘imported photo‘ folder that they had been in. Horror of horrors, not only did pressing the ‘delete‘ button delete the ‘Imported Photo’ folder but all of the photos taken on our walk, all sixty-one of them !! I was both livid with myself and upset at losing some truly excellent photographs, even if I do say so myself, but now they were all gone !! They say that you learn from your mistakes, at first I couldn’t work out the logic of what I had done wrong, I had ‘saved’ the blog folder, I had checked they were there before ‘deleting’ the imported photographs folder so what went wrong ? Well, after my silent ‘red mist’ had quelled I could only assume that as I was not on WiFi the photographs had not been saved to either ‘My Photo Stream’ folder or the ‘Cloud’. So what have I learnt from this mistake, do not delete anything until I have backed it up, a simple but costly mistake and what is worse is that I really should have known better, this is basic level computing procedure. By my prolonged silence Shazza knew that I was upset, there was nothing she could say to make me feel any better, although bless her, she did try. She even suggested going back out, there and then, doing the same walk again and re-taking the photographs but I told her that whilst I appreciated her gesture I just would not be able to capture the same photographs, the light was totally different. However, she didn’t give up on me and so we decided that if we do get the opportunity, before we leave here in a couple of days time, then we will go back and retrace our steps and try to get some decent pictures. So, if you have read the post ‘Dipping A Toe In The Lake District‘ and there were photographs in that post, then you will now know that we did go back and do the walk again just to bring you those photographs. To say that it had not been one of my better evenings, or mornings, my worry now was that the other old saying may also come true, you know the one that says ” It comes in three’s ” so what next ?

Well what came next was that the rain stopped, we both now needed to get out and de-stress, so Keswick it was then. I am sure that I may have commented, perhaps once or twice in these blog posts, that neither Shazza or I are ‘window shoppers’ so although we would look around the town, not having been there before, we would not be lingering. However, a visit to a local Supermarket was on the cards, funny old thing, Shazza said that ‘we needed’ a few more provisions, I’m sure we hadn’t consumed all that wine already !! We parked the car just behind the ‘Market Square’ and true to its name there was a street market in full flow. We had a wander around but to be honest it was typical tourist ‘tat’. The town itself was pleasant enough but nothing that would make me want to rush back so we went in search of the lake. Now this really was what Keswick is really all about, a nice walk from the town centre shops, past ‘Hope Park’ and there it was, Derwent Water. I have to admit that I was a little surprised as I thought it would be much longer than it actually is and for some reason, for which I cannot actually explain, I had certainly expected it to have been larger than ‘Ullswater’, but it was much smaller. Even though it seemed early in the season to us, all the B&B’s had ‘No Vacancies‘ signs displayed in their windows which I guess must be a good thing for the local economy. Although it was not as busy as it would be in the height of the summer season, there was still a fair bit of activity on and around the lake, lots of walkers, young, old and quite a few families enjoying school half term, the lake passenger steamers were doing a reasonable trade and even the canoe adventure trips had customers waiting to get into their designated fiberglass vessels.

It was not the best of days for taking photographs !!

It was not the best of days for taking photographs !!

The mist shrouded Cumbrian Hills.

The mist shrouded Cumbrian Hills.

As we approached Keswick there were signs that it may just brighten up a bit ?

As we approached Keswick there were signs that it may just brighten up a bit ?



It turned out to be a reasonable day and I thought this would make a nice picture of the lake and the Cumbrian Hills that overlooked it.

It turned out to be a reasonable day and I thought this would make a nice picture of the lake and the Cumbrian Hills that overlooked it.

One of the Islands on Derwent Water with a lodge hidden in the trees and this lovely jetty and boathouse.

One of the Islands on Derwent Water with a lodge hidden in the trees and this lovely jetty and boathouse.

We walked along part of the lake beach but neither of us were in the mood to go on a major walk so we made our way to the supermarket, got the ‘provisions’, no ‘Vino Calapso’ I am happy to report, and then we returned to ‘Wuxly’ and then drove back the short distance to ‘Big Momma’.

The sun was still shining so it was time to get on the roof, remove the satellite Dome cover and gaze lovingly inside in the hope that something obvious, and ‘Simple’, would jump out at me (not literally) and I could put right whatever it was that was causing the dome to make such a horrendous noise. What was that other saying again ? …..”It comes in three’s“, let’s just say that there was no need for me to remove the dome cover to see what was wrong, the problem was already clear to see, there was a big hole right on the top of the plastic dome cover !! My initial reaction of course was to look inside for the object that may have caused the damage, a brick, stone, tree branch, but there was nothing except broken plastic from the dome cover itself. There was some water inside and after removing all the shattered pieces of plastic and drying out the inside I gave everything a good spray with WD40. There was no obvious signs of damage to the satellite system inside so I was hoping that the horrific noise I had heard was that of the pieces of plastic which may have got trapped under the rotating wheels on the base plate and thereby preventing the Satellite from rotating. I asked Shazza to power up the Satellite and then I crossed everything that could be crossed and said several ‘Hail Mary’s’ for good measure and then held my breath and waited. Whether it was my silent prayers, the Hail Mary’s or the crossing of everything humanly possible, or a combination of all of the aforementioned I do not know, but the noise that emanated from the part broken casing was music to my ears, it was working !! Now all I needed to do was to patch over the hole. A white plastic ‘Brabantia’ swing bin liner was commandeered, it had to be white to match the rest of the dome cover, and with some of that trusty well proven ‘opaque’ re-inforced ‘Duck Tape’ that all Motorhomers carry in their mobile sheds, a good watertight repair was completed. That left me with just one question, ‘Who’ or ‘What’ had caused the damage ? In the absence of any ‘incriminating’ debris inside the dome, other than the pieces of white shrapnel from the dome cover itself, I had an educated guess as to how this damage had occurred, and furthermore I already had my list of ‘three’ suspects !! First to the ‘How’, I reckon that ‘Big Momma’ was put onto one of those large Hydraulic Ramps, ‘they‘ had not taken the equipment on the roof into consideration and when they raised the ramp something, a light, a roof rafter beam, had smashed into the satellite Dome, the highest point on the roof. Now, as to the ‘who’ ? In recent weeks ‘Big Momma’ had been into ‘Autotrail’, the ‘FIAT’ Commercial Dealers for its Annual Service and through them, the external independent garage that conducted the ‘MOT’. All of these three may have put ‘Big Momma’ onto such a ramp. However, which one ? That I will probably never ever find out and so once again I am left having to cover the cost of a repair to my van that has been caused by the negligence of a ‘service provider’. I am not sure that there is any consolation in this but fortunately at least, the satellite system itself is not damaged and all I need is a replacement dome cover and provided that I can get a satellite signal, Eric shall watch the football World Cup this summer !!

Whilst on this occasion the damage was not self-inflicted, I guess there are some similarities to living in your own house. You just never know when the heating will pack in, the washing machine or tumble dryer breaks down, the TV blows up or any other number of events that always seem to happen without warning and always at the most inconvenient times and as ‘Big Momma’ is our home, unexpected maintenance costs are always going to be a factor in our ‘lifestyle’. But just one plea to ‘Sod’ and his law and those ‘Dark Forces’, can we have some respite for a little while please !!

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6 Responses to ‘The Dark Forces Strike A Blow’

  1. Debs says:

    oh no Shame about the photos…. i am glad you managed to sort out the Dome…. what a pain 😦

  2. Service providers!!!!! – we know how you feel, when we had our dome moved from our old van to our new one “someone” crimped the cable and the water got in, ran down the inside of the cable and straight into the receiver – blew the controller on the receiver – £350 later, You can’t prove it so you just have to swallow it. Thanks to RoadPro who sorted us out “yet again” in a very professional manner and re-wired the whole thing. Worth a tip, make sure that the cable hangs down at the back of the receiver to stop any water running straight in, hopefully if it’s on the outside it will just drip off the bottom of the loop. Can’t speak highly enough of RoadPro though in Daventry – and you can stay overnight in their car-park, they give you EHU and wifi.

    • Thanks Iain, dead right about trying to prove it was a Service Provider !! Anyway, spoke to Dave at RoadPro this morning and replacement cover now on its way to us via FedEx next day delivery, no charge for delivery on orders over £50 :0) the replacement would have cost £149 but he gave me 5% discount for being a member of CC :0) I will reserve giving praise until I see that it arrives but if it does they will be sure to get a good report in my next blog post :0)

  3. coolasluck says:

    Can you not undo delete unless you have emptied your re-cycle bin of course?

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