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      Please note that the forum is still upgrading will be for most of the night I think,therefore you may find it slow at times, looking different etc etc. This will straighten out (he hopes) as the upgrade continues. One of the big changes is that usernames and display names will change.   At the moment you can have a username and display name for example you can have a username of joeblogsy and a display name of Joe Blogs.   After the upgrade we will only have usernames.   For some this won't make any difference at all but there are a fair few of you that have different display names., many of which I have changed for people for various reasons.   If, after the upgrade you notice your forum name isn't right please just send me a PM with your desired username.   You may also find you have been logged out, if this happens and you cannot remember your original forum details, please email me at mark@touringandtenting or open a support ticket by
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Another weekend - another rally.

Along with several hundred others caravans we spent the weekend at the 3 Counties Showground in Malvern, at the annual Three Counties Caravan Show. As shows go it's a little bit one-sided - as it is organised by one dealer (Golden Castle Caravans) and consequently the only caravans on display are those ranges which Golden Castle sell.

That said, Golden Castle offer two nights free pitch as long as you pay the ?5 per person entry to the show. Ordinarily I am against paying to go to sales shows (if you want to sell something to me why should I pay for the privilege?) but I take the longer view with this one. I look on the ?5 per person and a pitch charge rather than a show entrance fee and then it doesn't seem so bad.

The 3 Counties Showground still has a long way to go before it could be considered wheelchair-friendly. The open area is criss-crossed with drainage gullies which are just a little bit too deep for the wheelchair to cross comfortably, and entrance to the motorhome hall requires negotiating a one-inch step up followed by a short but steep slope down. Wife's electric buggy got stuck on this due to lack of ground clearance. Nil points for 3 Counties there, I'm afraid. These two problems could (and should) be sorted out.

The space devoted to caravan accessories seems to get less every year. In a sense, I can see Golden Castle's point. Caravan sales probably generate more profit per square foot that accessory sales. But what percentage of the visitors to the showground actually buy a caravan? 5%? Less? If they do not cater a bit more for the rest of us, I fear the show's popularity will decline even further.


{SIGH} Another Monday morning.

We spent our weekend on an Elddis Owners Club rally at the Rising Sun Inn, Pandy, near Abergavenny, South Wales. Since we were marshalling, we went to the site Thursday to set things up, so we had a slightly longer weekend than the other ralliers.

We had a total of eight units (including ourselves), a few less than we would normally have expected, but unfortunately we clashed with another EOC rally in Nottingham. (Yes - EOC members do travel that kind of distance to their rallies). The weekend was timed to co-incide with the Abergavenny Food Festival, which several of tha ralliers attended. Apparently it was very good, but we did hear some rumblings of discontent about the cost of attending the event. Entrance to the Food Festival (and that means entrance to half of Abergaveny town centre) was priced at ?5 - and since the Food Festival is really about people trying to sell you things, quite a few people felt that the entrance charge was unwarranted.

The Rising Sun was a new venue for us. As with any new venue we were a bit worried that something would go wrong - but it didn't. Everything ran to plan, and there was a general concensus that we should rally there again, although next time I think we will choose a less busy weekend. Watch this space!

Monday morning again - having spent the weekend on a rally in Lickhill Manor Caravan Park, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcs. A nice site, with a nice rally field, and what must be the worst approach road I have ever seen.

Fairly decent weather on Saturday, but a bit irrelevant really as it had been decided that we would be visiting Merry Hill Shopping Centre near Dudley. Amazingly, we spent the entire day in Merry Hill, and only spent ?14 - and that on a guide book about Central France ready for a possible visit there next year.

We back via Kidderminster as I needed diesel and Kidderminster was the nearest Tesco's (we are avid Tesco points savers), and passed by a pub called "The Land Oak" which was advertising two-for-the-price-of-one main courses. Very tasty - lamb chops for her, sausage and mash for me and change out of a tenner.