Just received a tweet from (Top Gear) Richard Hammond. My life is complete. His 110 is in worse condition than mine....allegedly. Never got any tickets for the show but a message almost makes up for it.
Does he read my blog....I doubt it, but hey he's the most famous person I can vaguely say i've met (online)....
Smiling like a cheshire cat....
No,,,, i'm not refering to the biggest waste of time TV show but the fact that we seem to have lost 8 months....Yes thats right its been 8 month since we left. Actually is not 8 months and 2 days. My father reminded me its been that long and he also pointed out that had I driven to work each day i would have done more miles in the UK than we have driving here. An amazing fact but slightly erroneous. To get to work it was 56 miles (not that i used to go there every day) and lets presume i had a normal job and i needed to go there every week day as many people do. Thats 56 there and 56 back, so 112 miles per day and around 3 hours travelling. We've been gone 177 working days (i've counted) so thats in miles 177 days x 112 miles = 19824 Miles to work and we've driven as of today 24366 Miles. For those that need facts in a few days we will have driven the entire equatorial distance round the planet earth which is 24901 Miles.
We also noticed the other day another Doncaster couple are (allegedly, as we've seen it all before i.e. Grandmother on the Harley motorbike that never set off) setting off to do the trip down africa. This was in the Doncaster Star, or at least on the web site. Its amazing that when i contacted them they wern't interested in us. Since we are on a much longer journey than the other couple i'm still amazed. Possibly the fact that we have no sponsorship or charity intentions we're not good news. I should also point out that if they'd given even part of the money they have spent on their car to chartiy they would have raised more than they have actually raised for real. They could have then flown here with the remainder or indeed possibly stopped off everywhere they were gonig to go. I know we certainly could have gone first class round the world for less. Makes you wonder. We might have been able to do it twice.......! Oh ! I should also point out Africa is a bottomless pit for charity money. If it doesn't go missing due to corruption the money is very poorly used. Well mostly. We send millions upon millions here and it does little good for many communities. We still see people in South Africa without water. This is South Africa ! not Ethiopia.
They'd be better off distributing plastic bottles in Ethiopia where they really need them. We handed out a few ourselves and it was amazing how happy they were with a used water bottle !! Used 5 litre oil bottles were treated like gold and they even have a financial value tot he locals as they last ages once they are washed out.
Today i bought a book by Jeremy Clarkson. Actually it was free with a magazine but all the same this is the first book i've ever bought. I might read it since he moans as much as I do.
We've got a slight problem with Matildas hip (Transfer Box) she might need a hip replacement.
Last night we were invited to Des and Brenda's. Actully we sort of invited ourselves along and they accepted. We were made roast chicken as brenda certainly knows how to cook good, normal food. Proper food for a Yorkshirman in any case. I had two plates full (again). THANKS BRENDA !!! We also drank way too much so we slept over in their amazing house with the menagerie that is Brenda's (and her daughters) dog and cats. Thomas (O'Malley) the cat decided to sleep in our room which turned out to be a mistake. To be woken by a cat sitting on your chest purring is alarming and thankfully it liked Julies bed more than mine. She's knackered...
We kicked it (Thomas the cat) out at maybe 4am as we had to be up at 7:30am due to Des and Brenda going to work. BTW if you can't remember who Des and Brenda are,,,,they are the ones on the rock waving at us in Lake Malawi whilst we were all snorkelling. We had a great evening and said our goodbyes this morning as they all dashed off to work. We made Brenda late...sorry.
Yet another example of South African hospitality....
Tonight we stay in the garden of another overlander we met in a car park. He travelled here in 2008 in his Land Rover and we just bumped into him in a car park. He offered for us to stay at his place on the coast and who are we to decline. Tonight we are in Southbroom. If you want to know all about them their web site is still up http://www.onewaysouth.com/ Thanks Guys.
Woken at a little before 8am by kids and dogs but supprisingly no leaf guy.
Been to see Madagascar 3 today. Well worth the ticket price. Much better that 2 and probably better than 1. In 3D and this time the projectionist was doing his job and the 3D was perfect unlike when we saw Men in Black. Go see it if only for the song at the end which you'll be singing all day.
Thats it for films now until we return later in the year and see the new Batman film. I've missed the movies but we still have lots to watch on the Laptop.
Today we met another Overlander in a car park. The left the UK in 2008 and are living here. Actually they are from here (or there, SA) and drove back in 2008/9. They have offered the use of there cottage on the coast for a night or two. We will only be sleeping outside if we go there but all stuff for free is GOOD stuff. Not only because i'm a Yorkshireman but because its another day on the trip later on.
Front drive flanges checked today and they look OK. No significant movement so the front clunk is the output shaft on the trans box. They have the parts on Joburg so i will change it there on the drive of nice SA couple we met here in the camp. They are all so nice.......to us. Not sure if they all go out murdering small children every night but they are being nice to us in any case ! While i was there the wheel bearings were checked and I also got myself a nice little fold up axle stand which i've missed having since leaving the UK. Now my Dad can pass comment on seeing the use of a stand rather than the lack of use of anything...See Dad, I do listen sometimes.
Another late rise today. It was quiet in the campsite and tonight the kids have arrived, dogs, crying....etc. They will no doubt be up at 6am and acting like its 9am and their parents say nothing. I know i was always told before 9 and after 9 is "be quiet" time. No slamming car doors and no shouting etc etc. This doesn't get instilled in the children nowadays. There goes my sleep. If its not bad enough in every campsite the "leaf guy" comes around at usually before 8am sweeping up leaves. This has been the case since Kenya. The campsite are leaf free zones but do they really have to start before 8am?? Clean the loos at 8am and sweep the leafs at midday. PLEASE !
Anyhow we went to Durban beach today. Not too bad really. Free parking and a nice walk on the clean promanade. I wouldn't like to be there at night. We also seem to end up downtown every time we go out and downtown isn't good. We so far have managed to pass thorugh there in daylight (dusk) hours so all is good. I dread to think what its like after dark. A no go zone i would imagine. One thing is that they do have a lot of police around these areas but that may be because i'm looking for them !
We've met another nice couple who cooked us ostrich stew last night so we went to bed too late again. They have invited us to their place when we are back in Joburg. I need to replace the front output shaft on the transfer box and their driveway will be just the place. I'm wondering if i will actully get it out of the box without a slide hammer??? Its been out once a few weeks ago so maybe it will come out easily. I bet it won't. I'm also thinkning of changing the front half shafts for good measure and complete the service which is due. So their driveway would be perfect. I'm after some new BFG tyres and these are a BIG cost i'd rather put off till we come back from Namibia.
We now own some ostrich steaks....
Its been quite a long time since we saw it and it really spoils a nice day camping. Cooking ouside is a problem so we may have to put out the awning.
Either that or go to the Mall and find somewhere for breakfast....that costs money though so i know which i prefer.
Yesterday we met some great guys at the Total Filling Station near the Gateway Mall. Hello to Jack and all the guys there. Officially its the Total Gateway Durban South Filling Station. We had almost every member of staff serving us so i hope no other paying customers were neglected...hehe.
One of the guys wanted to come along on the journey and I accepted as long as he pays half the shipping cost for Matilda. I think that put him off a little. It puts me off actually, its a lot of money out of our savings.
A nice camsite in Durban and its got 4 stars ! The toilets are spotless and the site is level and so far its quiet. We are shielded from the Alien mind probes as we are under some power lines. They are a couple of hunder feet up in the air as we are in the bottom of a valley. Its the nearest we can get to Durban camping so i do hope there's something to do here. We need to find a local who knows the place.....Would that be Des and Brenda who we stayed with at Troutbeck....i think it will be.
I hope they are about. They both work for a living so i think we should meet them for Dinner. Ocean Basket anyone ? (Google it)
I've had a shave today. My beard was becoming too long and I also need to do my hair again. I'm sure its growing faster and my bald spot is dissapearing....At least i keep telling myself that.
Julie has been tasked with shaving my neck.
The aforementioned "The Beach" audio clip.
I almost forgot. Ivan gave me some home made Biltong (google it) and i do actually like it. I'd been looking a the hundereds of shops that sell it and had decided since i know nothing about it that i'd give it a miss. I'd tried Beef Jerky in the USA only becuase i'd seen it in "Trading Places". You know the bit where they are on the train and Eddie says "beef jerky time"
Anyhow. Thanks !
Its a manly snack requiring a very sharp pen knife to cut off chunks. My sort of thing. I forget what Ivan said it was made from but the animal in question was killed by the man himself. Now thats recycling....or is it hunting...or is it just cooking...sorry drying/curing thing. Anyhow its good.
Julies not so keen....as i said. Its a man thing.....
No crying girls.....
Another Beach. They are amazing but once you've seen one golden sandy 20 miles long beach you've probably seen em all. Although these are really good. I just wonder why they've not been turned into any other high rise resort. The towns are still small(ish) and the beach front property is mostly all single houses (at a price). They seem to go for one point something millions (UK£) so arn't bad value. We just saw one for R16,000,000 and it was very nice indeed. Retire here....why not? For a little over a million pounds stirling you get a very nice house and a very nice view. I wonder what the catch is ? (and i don't mean catch of the day)
So as promised some more photos of "The Beach" I didn't expect to see Leonardo.....
""" So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail
to be polite and never outstay the welcome. """
I've done the above almost all of my life without realising it. Refuse an Invitation?, Not if i can help it. I think i've refused one or two in my entire life. Alistair (best mate) will remember me saying "no" to a trip to France and i said "maybe" to the bull run in pamplona but that never happened anyhow.
I may never say this again but The Beach had a great impact on my life, the day after watching it i resigned from my job at Racal Fieldforce (a GOOD job). You might say this was the start of the planning for this adventure. Anyhow, we've not met any cannabis growing locals yet. We'll save that for South America.
""" We all travel thousands of miles just to watch TV and check in to somewhere with all the comforts of home, and you gotta ask yourself, what is the point of that? """
Wise words indeed but we can't credit Mr. Dicaprio with those pearls. Its probably Mr. John Hodge.
I'm sure we came here to holiday and travel. We today we travelled very little but at least to a cheaper campsite. We found one with a washing machine in a Nature Reserve. Its a lovely setting. The beach is fantastic. We are going to stay another day. They washing machine is 15p per load !!! We might stay longer.
Some photos tomorrow of the beach since I waffling on about it. We've also heard from Des and Hennie who we met in Zam and we're in the process of arranging a visit to their place.
Its lot warmer here....thank goodness. I'm drinking Beer again. Its warm enough, just. My ulcer that i've attibuted to the Doxy malaria tablets might be from a lack of beer. I will test the hypothosis for a few days a let you know. I think 12 cans should be enough. After that i'll try Gin and Tonic
We are just to far away to get the the Top Gear Show and since we don't have tickets its pretty pointless getting there in a hurry. I would ahve love to have gone to see the boys since its partially their fault we are on this journey. We've done the Vietnam thing the same as they did, the India thing and now the Overland thing. Never seen the show live and the event here looked like just the ticket. We are a day away with no tickets to the show and it ends tomorrow. Oh well.....
Some of you may wonder where I get my titles from? Well normally they are a ref to a film or some lines from a film...if you don't know the one above you should be ashamed of yourself...
Ivan turned up as promised and theres a photo in the selection below.
"one ping only please!"
Tonight we are in Richards Bay and its much warmer. Nearly had a beer its so much warmer. Getting colder though as its getting dark so i'm putting my fleece on and were having chilli to celebrate.....and Gin and Tonic. Not in the same bowl though......
(hope i spelled it correctly)
Its strange how things come about. Today in Newcastle (not the one in the UK) we met a father and son in the car park of the supermarket. They had waited to meet us to see "who turned up" at Matilda's side. We had a chat and then later this evening when we'd put our location on the map a Land Rover Defender 90 (300Tdi) pulled up at the campsite. This was Ivan (the other son) in his 90 coming to see us. A nice surprise and we spent probably an hour chatting about the trip and his 90 and our Matilda. He's coming back in the morning to take some photos as he is a bit of a keen photographer and we can probably steal the photo to put on the blog. He abviously wants to go on an overland trip, well who doesn't? He's mentioned coming to the UK in 2018 to the Land Rover party. Well i didn't know they were having one, so he can certainly come and visit if he makes the journey. After all, the South Africans have all been so hospitable, we must return the favour. See you then Ivan!
Little did we know it was Jen's Birthday. So we went out for a meal...I should also mention i paid. Doesn't happen often. Happy Birthday Jen !
They looked after us very well. So thanks for looking after us. We even did some washing. We have clean pillow cases,, yey !
We also managed to get the Camping Gaz filled
so for the benefit of all the search engines. Its the ONLY place. Really it is. We tried lots and even roped in Brian our South African friend and all of his contacts from the LR Club.
Fill Camping Caz 907 Bottle in South Africa, Johannesburg
Filled at 'The Gas Guy'or 'Gas and Hardware Centre'
Has a big blue cadac bottle on the roof.
14th ave opp 2nd street,
Boksburg north 1460
011 917 2283/5
Fill price as of today 50rand for about 2Kg of Gas.
Currently staying with an friend of my Dad from many moons ago. I think the last time my Dad and his mate (Malc) had a beer together was before i was born! They have kindly put us up in their spare room and his wife (Jen) made us cottage pie, of which i had two rather large helpings.
Tomorrow we go in search of somewhere to refill the damn Camping Gaz cilinder....So far the only place thats been a problem is here and this is one of the places with a filling agent listed on the website. A company thats closed down. It was easier in Ethiopia !!!! In fact its been easier everwhere. Should i buy a cylinder with a 3/8ths BSP fitting. Will this work in South America....ARGH !!
So tomorrow we also look for an adapter or get one made. 16mm x 1.5 male to 3/8ths BSP Female. We will then get it filled here and everywhere i hope. I think i can get one of these in the UK but thats the UK.
Gaslow, where are you when i need you ???
The "clunk" is fixed. New drive flanges and new half shafts seem to have got rid of it. Now i have to carry the old ones around until is can claim the tax back when we leave....
ps. Thanks Mike for the pointer. Since the Mechanic said they seemed OK i was discounting them but thinking about it again when you mentioned it was the push i needed. They wern't much more than there in the UK so i got some for an excellent parts place in Johannesburg www.leimerslandrovers.co.za
We are waiting on them getting some new output shafts for the trans box and then when we come back to Joberg in a few weeks we will get one and a new front flange for the LT230 and get rid of that little bit of play. She's nearly back to perfect again.
I've taken on board Guru Mike feelings on my clunk. I need to change the drive flanges and then the rear halfshafts. I will do this att he next Garage. The clunk seems to eminate for the rear so its a good idea. Its also easier than the front halfshafts. The Ball Joint i have is a Lewis adjustable so i wouldn't suspect that i i'm not sure how to see if it is. I suppose i can tighten it up.
Campsites are now all sorted as today we bought a guide and a map for the South African region. We are tonight in one near to a South African friend of Mike and Margaret and we're meeting for Sunday Lunch at a Micro Brewery down the road.
We went to the "Largest Mall in the Southern Hemisphere" today. They really must try harder down here. Its not very big but i bet it took 3 times as long to build as Meadowhall. I also wager it won't get flooded with a bit of rain. Although Kruger Park seem to have that problem and they do it with style. They also seem to like taking money from our credit card for bookings we didn't make. Another dispute going in to mastercard.
The trip to the garage, 2 hours of labour later and lots of spare parts, some of which i already had and some which i didn't ! The clunk is still there. Looks like i need an new front outputshaft on the Trans Box and a Front Output flange and a load more patience than i have. Also a bigger bank ballance.
I wish i had the time and money to just get a new one plus a new Gear box plus a new front axle plus a new rear axle. I could then rest easy. I wish i new where the clunk appeared and why. Thats the most worrying thing. One day it wasn't there and then it was. So i can't see it being worn parts. To me that means broken parts. Suddend appearance means suddend cause.
I managed to get the engine pressure washed and most of the underside as part of the deal so at least i can cross that off the list.
We're also having problems with accomodation in SA. We need safe camping every night and its not easy to come by. We have very limited choices and because its so crime ridden down here we cannot even blag a spot in the hilton car park or something. We only need safe parking.
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