Today, Tuesday, we moved on

to the North.  Afra, our nice camping neighbour did not have time for portrait sitting, although she would have loved to have done it. Her brother in law and her sister in law had other plans for her.

While in the south of the UK we been slowed down  from the potholes, the further north we get Big Fredi already dances around  them.

Today in Leek we wanted to surprise a business friend of Lisbeth’s former company with a short visit. But Phil is staying in Mallorca on his sailboat, as far as I understand Karen.

The nature park of Peak District lays just outside of Leek, where this company CMS is located. After a few kilometers uphill, we are now able to park Big Fredi over night close at a lake, surrounded by rolling heathland.

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The journey is the reward


spent more than 3 weeks in Big Fredi

and it seems as if we have always lived like this. The toilet and the shower make life very comfortable and leave no stress arise. We have the few technology well in hand, life is reduced to the essentials:

  • What should we do?
  • How can we communicate face Europe next?
  • Where are we going?
  • What we need to buy?
  • Is there sufficient power?
  • Have we got internet?

Yesterday we were addressed by our camping neighbours as Wilfried and Lisbeth and highly praised for what we do here. Wilfried has completed the movie for upload to YouTube, but it should be compressed. For this he would like to download a program from the Internet. Vodaphone would like to get our bank account number so it can be determined whether Wilfried is age over 18 and hence is allowed to do that. Rules and regulations everywhere. I bought as an adult the SIM card in a Vodaphone business, but they still need to unlock from our side to use Vodaphone data download from the Internet. To do that, they want to know our bank account number. As if that were an obstacle for children  to get a hold of an account number.

Privacy on the one hand, limits, rules and restrictions on the other side.

It seems that English people had exaggerated fear of doing something wrong. Swimming in ponds, rivers and lakes, for example, is considered so dangerous that it is simply forbidden. The owner of waters is warned that he may be held liable for accidents. There is an association for the reintroduction of the “wild swimming”, a completely come out of fashion leisure.

For this, the UK is a safe country. Civil society looks meticulously to ensure that all Rules and Regulations are complied with. Therefore adults are still pointing and rebuke young people prohibitions. Not that young people would be different than ours and always stick to it. For this purpose they are there to protest against rules. Only in this way developmentcan take place.

Our last few days were no glitches, but also not very noteworthy.

As Lynn, the owner of the campsite, asked us to leave the place in Bill Fen Marina, we have reduced our “tent” in front of Big Fredi, that is rolled in the wonderful awning, tables and chairs were packed and everything vibration-proof stowed for the onward journey. We have well-managed before the big rain. We intended to go not far. 

Fully packed with electricity and water, we were able to further film cutting behind Tesco hidden about 1 km away and spend two days and two nights at no additional cost. Where else truck drivers in their big trucks spend their resting or sleeping hours, we felt safe. And shopping was as close as at home to get to the Dorfgschäft.

Now we landed at a campsite and the reason is as follows:

We need a lot of power for cutting films. We are still looking for a solar system for Big Fredi. If anyone has any ideas on how we can get one, please inform us. So far we have only found appendices in the Internet, but we do not have a home address in UK where the parts could be sent to.

Since we want to be independent of expensive campgrounds really, we need about 400 Wp on Big Fredi’s roof. We also have not found spaces in the UK such as in Germany so far that release electricity on coins.

In addition, yesterday was „Major Laundry Day“.

Therefore, we are on “Fields End Water Camp” (www.fieldsendwater.co.uk), a paradise for anglers. Very well-maintained complex, as always friendly people and natural beauty with 2 fish ponds.

Fish in the English Lake District need not fear for their lives. They are returned back into the water after being caught in the pond. There are special hooks that are supposedly easy on the fish.

Different countries – different customs.

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A Paradise on earth?

Sonntag, 22. Juli 2018

Soft waving of the leaves

and the various calls of the birds are the only noise.

Since yesterday morning now we are alone in the shaded area for campers of “Bill Fen Marina” just outside Ramsey.

In 1991 John and Lynn have bought a 7-hectare potato field and  dug a puncture from the channel to create a marina for houseboats. A small dam separates our parking lot from the houseboats where some people live permanently.

A heavenly landscape, gradually planted, a forest, a bridge, meadows and hiking trails. Everything looks as if it had always been here. A typical English garden, which is thriving. Here neat parts fit perfectly into wild areas.

“Sometimes,” Lynn tells us ” guests bring their own little trees, plant them here and look forward to every time they come back as if they were their children.”

It is a fertile moor prepared from potatoes and with love maintained and expanded by the owners.

Unobtrusively the owners drive with their golf carts several times a day through the area to check on things.

When we arrived here yesterday, we were quickly acquainted with Chris and Tony, a delightful couple who partly lived for 10 years in the houseboat. 2 years ago they  sold their house  to live on two houseboats.  They maintain it is is cheaper than keeping a house.

Chris uses one of the two boats as a retreat and workshop. She makes wonderful “needlefelt” artworks that she sells during the festive season over the internet.

Chris and Tony are truly a dear couple who have welcomed us heartily.

Chris will be our first face in the project “Face Europe”.

We are looking forward to it.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Yesterday finally it was time for Chris to be painted. She took place and told stories of her life while Wilfried worked on her portrait.

Mark and Lesley who were in the meantime neighbors at the campsite were extremely interested and Mark – a painter himself – very eager to learn and full of admiration.

It’s the hottest summer since the 60s here. Up to noon it is usually tolerable. The afternoons are only bearable in the shade.

Small, barely visible to the naked eye “Thunder Flies”, botanical called “Thrips” are annoying in the English summer heat. Although they are no threat to health, but crawling around on bare skin and tickle appalling. There are so many that it has no sense to discard them. They  also prefer your hair and make life difficult.

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Breakdowns, problems, the pound rolls … ..

Monday, 16 July 2018
Begins with a nice walk in the park

and ends just before the doors of the Ivecoservice. The roads in Belgium were already bumpy and full of unforeseen potholes, but English motorways beat it all. Then, suddenly, on a motorway construction site, a noise and a characteristic smell of burnt rubber. Fortunately the car could be pulled over to the rest area and then the long wait for the AA service begins. ÖAMTC (the Austrian AA service partner) promised to help and within 45 minutes. However, AA first claimed that they had not found us.

Finally at 19:45 the longed breakdown service arrived.

The man lies down right under the car and raises the engine with the help of two other men (Wilfried and friendly Irish) back into position. A piece of wood shall keep it in place till the Ivecoservice. We spend the night near the gate of the workshop. In the morning Francis, a very friendly service technician investigates and inspects the failure. Four bolts, which fix the engine, must be exchanged which takes 6 hours.

After the repair it turns out that the alternator is also broken. Another night in front of the gates of IVECO – hopefully the technical problems are solved tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Already in the afternoon the next construction site in front of us: the laptop is finally over with. It is a device, which has been known for years that a system error damages the graphics card.
While we wait for the alternator and the installation, we learn from our nice technician Francis that there is a good dealer for secondhand equipment.

Thursday, July 19, 2018
In good hope we leave the premises, but unfortunately have to find out after the first few meters that Fredi does not spurt (an air hose was forgotten during assembly) and the right outside mirror is broken. So repair the third, again a few hours delay. The mirror was temporarily repaired to proceed, but you can not fold it now. A new mirror is delivered only in 3 days. Until then, we will devote ourselves to the laptop purchase and continue to Huntingdon, where we find a parking place for the night in our “smart book for parking over night”. Unfortunately, the parking space is already closed. It is not seen if it was even open during the day. This is an RV dealer who is supposed to rent spaces for the night. We take the closest parking site opposite a few houses that are apparently still under construction and we hope that we not disturb the constructors or deliverers in the morning. On the other side there is a small stream. Few cars are on the road, other than a few dogs and constantly cooing pigeons there is nothing to hear.

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Crossing to the “island”

Sunday, July 15, 2018
Finally, after a long search, we catch the ferry from Dunkirk to Dover.

For 155 € we are on board. Long boarding time for the ferry – it takes 1 hour, then 2 hour of crossing, during which the football World Cup counteracts its peak.

Then we are called out right now: left-hand traffic, no idea where we want to go. Then entering a free parking space to the Navigation system. Since the Navi takes the quickest route we end up in Church Street, a steep one-way leading up road which leaves next to Fredi only centimeters to the cars. At the upper end of the road we should turn to the right, which was virtually impossible according to the rules of mathematics. The neighbour recommends to take the left path, her husband also equally helpful gives maintenance while Lisbeth prevents from to swinging into the wall.

For now relief, but then again the next corner shows too many cars parked. Do we have to stay here overnight – wait until the cars disappear Monday morning? No, a neighbour agrees to move his car and even responds a very polite way.
We decide to remove the option: “fastest route” from the navigation system.

Our goal Kearnsey Abbey, Russell Gardens can be achieved without further thrills.
A wonderful English garden and a good night compensate us for the first exciting miles on English roads.
Everywhere only friendly and courteous people.

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Last day on the mainland

Thursday, 7/12/2018
Company Berger has some parts we buy and repair in the parking lot outside the store. After the installation of the gas bottle and some other stuff it’s almost noon. Until lunch we drive through barren landscape, the Croatian innkeeper brightens our mood with cevapcici and chicken nuggets a little. Wilfried takes out the ladder to repair the rear view camera.
While Lisbeth sleeps in the “living room” of “Big Fredi”, suddenly the landscape changes just before Kaiserslautern to a beautiful forest area with lakes.
Landstuhl lets us first enjoy the free flow of the electricity and relax extensively. The toilet waste disposal and water refill are free as well.
Wilfried makes templates for further Fredi labels.
Call from Lisbeth’s sister and mother.

Friday, July 13, 2018
No true lucky day. An hour before the end of the operating system uploads the Internet connection breaks down and gon MacBook nothing works any more. So next aim is repair in the next town for the next day.
Continue to Sankt Ingbert to go to Apple store the next day in Saarbruecken.

Saturday, July 14, 2018
A lucky day. A few meters away from the store we manage to get a parking space. Market directly invites for shopping.
From noon, the journey continues through France and Belgium. On a calm river we park for night, only disturbing an angler at fishing.

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The journey starts

Sunday, July 8, 2018
The journey begins on Sunday, July 8, 2018 at 9:32 at km 235,635 on Fredi’s tachograph. A short break at Paul and Christl in Amstetten, where Frank, we know and appreciate from our visit in Spain is for company. The two men planning a motorcycle trip together.

Freshly refueled we continue to Innerschwand am Mondsee. Doris, Eva and Hermann are the last guests of the summer party. It’s very relaxed and comfortable. Big Fredi is admired by all. We are allowed to stay until Tuesday morning. With many edible gifts from Sonja finally we are entering right into the real adventure.
Still in Austria, we buy a camera according to Wilfried’s wishes and a mobile router.
On Tuesday we come to Neustadt an der Donau. Overnight parking at a football stadium parking lot. Wilfried suffers from the volume of rowdy teenagers.
The SIM card with data volume for 1 week for 10 € turns out to be a “mispurchase” and the wrong simcard must be fished out with two sewing needles and a lot of skills from the router slot. So we must continue to work with our phone volume or WLAN until the problem is solved.
Wednesday morning in Stuttgart Waiblingen our plan to buy a photovoltaic system for Fredi is destroyed because there are not any solar systems on stock.

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Now it’s fixed. On Saturday, 7. 7. 2018 we launch into the unknown. Big Fredi is ready (almost). It looks stunning. If you did not know that the guy is almost 20 years old, you might feel it is new. It looks so great that Wilfried and Lisbeth are both completely in love with him.

Look at him. Is not he a beauty?

The laptop was purchased through “Willhaben”, the camera is purchased on the go, as well as the photovoltaic system.

Little Fredi is already very nervous. He can not wait until he finally starts the journey.

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So still much to do

When can we get started?

There are still so many things to be done. But also many project have been achieved: Big Fredi got white color on the inside walls and ceiling, a closet was devided into two to make it more practical, new faucets, both big fat batteries renewed after we almost burnt big Fredi with a defected battery. A new cupboard with mirror front was built into the bathroom, new practical cupboards and little handy things here and there.
Outside color has been sprayed in a bright yellow, the rest with blue will follow.

Marketing material will arrive on Monday. T-shirts with the logo are ordered from our nice neighbour Roswitha.

What else is missing?

The insolation on the backside of our studio has to be done. The vegetable garden has to be harvested. Also the water barrel and some pallets have to be brought home from there.For this Martin has offered us his help with his tractor.

Tomorrow our friends will arrive from Carinthia. They will live in our house for the next 2 months. Thomas, who is also an artist has an exhibition in the abbey Dürnstein:


This exhibitin is a must for you if you want to see something very special.

What we still need: 

A foto camera, an laptop, a fotovoltaic panel on the roof of big Fredi, wow!

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