Issue 36 – January 2010

EDITORS COLUMN

We passed the Benimar factory in October on our way to Denia. I was hoping to stop and see what was going on but it was a Saturday afternoon, the factory was shut and there is nowhere to park when heading south. There were many motorhomes in the yard. Which seemed to be a mix of , Chausson and Challenger.
I see from the Benimar website there is no mention of 2010 models – what goes on I wonder.
We left Spain after 8 weeks of glorious sunshine to return to freezing England just in time for Christmas – quite a shock to the system.
I had just received an article for the magazine from Lorna Thomson in praise of RVTex when I heard that they were to cease trading at the end of November.
That is a great blow to the Club and to owners of Benimars as they were our last contact for Spares and Warranty work. Anyone who has had work done by them in the past will have received a letter by now, and know that Ian is continuing as a mobile engineer based in Nottingham. I will give details elsewhere in the mag. Support Ian if you can.
I see from Alan’s piece that there are many members who have not renewed their membership for 2010. That is a great pity as we seemed to be growing in numbers again.
This issue is a bit thin and colourless, as you have probably noticed.
It is thin because I have received very little input (the first article isn’t even by a member) and no pictures submitted so I decided to produce a black and white edition – at least it will keep the cost down which will please Alan.
Judy joins me in wishing you all a
VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR
The next issue is due out early in April Input to me by March 23rd at the latest please.

 

THE CANOE

 

The eerie light of dawn cast on ominous shadow over the living room. There, in the middle of the floor stood the box; almost a yard high and nearly two feet in cross section. A mini obelisk straight from 2001- A Space Odyssey. Carefully wrapped in Christmas paper the card read Merry Christmas to Mum & Dad from Adrian. Intrigued, we examined it. It was too heavy to rattle and there was no other visible clue to its content.
It was October 2008 and Anne & I were making our annual pre Christmas visit to the UK from our retirement home in Spain. We were staying at Tony & Catherine’s near Peterborough and our other son, Adrian, had joined us there from Aberdeen.

Canoe.jpg

In the true Christmas morning tradition, like a couple of kids Anne & I scoffed our breakfast, full of anticipation over the opening of the box ceremony. As the paper was ripped off odd words could be seen. Things like “extreme” and “not suitable for children” added to the suspense. Finally, its cloak of secrecy gone we saw that it was a Sit On Top Inflatable Canoe for two people. Well that’s what it said on the box, but I didn’t believe it. I thought Adrian must have bought it for himself and re-used the box to wrap half a dozen pairs of slippers, some bed socks a selection of flannelette night gowns, etc more appropriate to the age of the recipients. You will note that the picture of the couple on the box does not suggest a couple of decrepit pensioners swiftly reaching their sell by date. Anne, however, had always expressed an interest in sailing and this was Adrian’s well meaning answer. It was exactly what it said on the box! Quickly we recovered our composure and expressed our heartfelt thanks for such an exciting, useful and obviously horrendously expensive present. This was no toy. It was a high quality, double skinned, PVC canoe suitable for extreme sports use. The picture shows the inflated size – 12 feet long by over 3 feet wide. That’s a lot of material and the weight of it was my immediate concern as I flexed by flabby muscles.
Luckily we had driven across from Spain so transporting it back was not a serious problem – although it did cross my mind that had we been flying I could have tried to convince Ryanair that it was an inflatable life raft and should travel under my seat for free.
But this was only the start of our problems………….
On the day of our departure our sons and I loaded it into boot of the car – no problem for three people. As we drove back my mind pondered the possibility of ulterior motives. Adrian had explained – apologetically – that although the canoe is for two people it included only one life jacket; was inheritance on his mind? Then there had been the case of the ex-prison office from Hartlepool who had disappeared in his canoe to start a new life with the insurance payment – was this a hint that we should consider something similar?
Three or four days later we arrived home in Denia, Spain. Here I should explain that we live an apartment and although it is quite large with 3 bedrooms it is on the second floor and was not built with the concept of housing a canoe – inflatable or not. Anyway, this was October and even Spain has a winter so risking hernia number one we bundled the box into our small store room adjacent to our garage and forgot about it.
The months passed and as the temperatures started to soar our minds drifted to the joys of sailing in our canoe. Dismissing the 1,000 page User Manual, we loaded it into the boot of the car for the 200 yard journey to the beach car park (hernia number two). First problem, our 12v electric air pump didn’t have the correct adaptor to fit the canoe. Have you any idea how much air it takes to inflate a twelve feet by 3 feet canoe with a dodgy connector? After an hour we dragged the half inflated canoe to the sea (hernia number three). Anne managed to get on to it and folded into an ungainly “V” shape. Foolishly I tried to follow suit and it sunk. Hoots of laughter could be heard from the holiday makers on the beach. The Life Guard perched on top of his step ladders was not amused. Eventually we admitted defeat and dragged the boat back to the car (hernia number four). Surprisingly, it takes longer to get the air out of one of these things that it takes to get it in. As darkness fell, a partially inflated boat with an ocean of water between its two PVC skins was manoeuvred into the boot and dumped back in the store room (hernia number five).
That night I couldn’t sleep. I knew that sea water was bad for inflatable boats and ours was full of the stuff. But what to do about it? Living in a second floor apartment we have no access to a hosepipe. The next morning I embarked on the only possible solution – I man-handled the canoe up to the apartment and put it in the bath. Now you will recall the canoe is some twelve feet long and the bath is about half that size. The scenario which followed was not a pretty sight – or a dry one! The canoe was returned to the store room and now I do have a hernia.
Next, with our experience so far, we embarked on a Plan of Action. We want to use the canoe and we are not going to be beaten. So here’s what we must do.
1.Buy a higher pressure pump with appropriate adaptors
2.Fix 4 retaining hooks in the ceiling of the garage above our car to store the boat when its blown up.
3.Inflate the boat on a semi-permanent seasonal basis and store above the car
4.To use it, lower it on to the roof of the car and use straps to fasten it through the front and back windows for the short journey to the launching area. (It is too big and heavy to carry by hand and there is nowhere to store a separate trolley).
5.After use, drive to a local garage which has a self service car wash and rinse off all the salt water.
So we have a plan. The trouble is with so many hernias can we make it work! But – as ex Benimar owners – we will soldier on.
And of course, the moral of the story is: A pet (canoe) is for life, not just for Christmas
Ken Mitchell

 

VAN DESIGNERS

 

Harry & Pat Hodkinson
Subject: Van Designers, and other people who annoy me
I will be the first to admit that when you look for a Motorhome you never get what you really want. Normally we settle for what comes near to our ideal.
I am the proud owner of a Benimar Anthus 6000. This van has served my family well for the past 6 years. It has toured Europe and now every year is our home in Spain during the winter months. In all this time it has never let us down, and apart from the normal service charges has been relatively cheap to run.
However (isn’t there always?) the following do annoy:-

1. Why when they fit a Safari do they never consider Safari rooms?
Look at your vans, you will see that if you fit a Safari room you will not be able to open windows or lockers.
2. Why don’t they fit a usable holder for bottom skirts?
3. Why no wiring diagrams for the habitation sections?
4. Why is the roof seam joined at the very spot where rain water will always gather?

5. Why do the window blinds always seize causing a complete strip down to correct?
6. Why are internal hinges made from a very soft alloy?
Benimar are not alone, I’ve yet to see a van that has been designed
by someone who might have used motorhomes. I hope I’m not the only one to realise that if any manufacturer actually considered what is required for everyday use they will rule the market and of course silence whingers like me.
Good camping Harry and Pat

 

LINCOLN RALLY REPORT

 

Honor Hewitt
Well what a show – weather was Good, Show was Good
Excellent choice of Motorhomes. Entertainment excellent.
BBQ was very good.
Colin & Frances were te marshals together with Ray & Carol did the rally. Colin got there first and laid the placement pegs out on the grass for us all then Ray followed with Carol in their ‘van. Most of the ‘vans arrived on Thursday. With the rest following on the Friday. There were 13 motorhomes for the weekend plus two guests.
Some of us went on the laid on bus to Morrisons for bits and pieces, myself, Dawn and Yvonne, whilst there managed to get some foodstuffs for the BBQ. We actually went the wrong way after getting off the bus and had to get a taxi to the store. There we bought such a lot of food we ended up having to get another taxi to take us back to the show. We think the taxi driver never stopped laughing from when he picked us up to when he dropped us off.
We had the BBQ Saturday at 2pm as we wanted to get seats for the show to see the “Ivy League” They were really good. And Ray kept the ladies happy by jiving with us all. There were 2 halls and one barn, this had line dancing in. All the shows were under cover which was really good..
Frances worked very hard, but as she said, “I couldn’t do it without my little helpers” (who are not so little now).
A big thankyou to her and Colin, and also to Ray and Carol who had the kettle on when we arrived. Dawn made an excellent fruit cake which we all had a piece of. Mary said that she enjoyed herself over the weekend.
May we say a big welcome to newcomers John and Yvonne (not forgetting their dog Taffy0 who was very well behaved (so was the dog !) my rottweiller now has a new boyfriend.
As usual we all went round the show and purchased bits and pieces, which no doubt will all end up not being used. We, Tim and myself, bought a ‘van one day and then on the next changed our minds (well I did – sorry Tim !)
On the whole everyone enjoyed the weekend and had a good time, especially the BBQ, we had to use Bruce and Janet’s slop bucket to mix the Sanria in (nice added flavour) though Janet assured me that she had washed it out. Roger must have spent 2 hours setting up Mary’s satellite system.
Unfortunately the Spanish Rally will not happen due to other commitments but as it is my 60th birthday on April 25th 2010, which is the same date as the Peterborough Show we shall have a party night there.
Once again many thanks for a wonderful rally.

 

DICKENSIAN WEEKEND

 

– Roy Gill
Ulverston 28-29 November 2009
Last year I booked space on Ford Park near the centre of Ulverston for those attending the weekend. Unfortunately the weather upset the arrangement, the field was unsuitable for our vans.
This year I therefore booked members onto the local campsite as they indicated their wish to attend. The campsite was fully booked a month before the event and had to turn away later bookings.
I am glad the event was held when it was and not the weekend before, as you will have seen by the press reports. The bulk of Ulverston was okay, but South Ulverston, rather low lying and close to the sea was flooded. The worst of the weather was further north.
Some of the members arrived on Thursday, Roger and Helen Foster at the campsite, Mary Pennington came in her car and stayed with Harry and Shirley Lord. Collected Roger and Helen from the campsite and called in to see Mary who had just arrived at Harry and Shirley’s.
Friday, saw those present visit Holker Hall our local stately home to mooch in the shop and have a coffee. From there we went to Cartmel and have a snack. From there, the men went to do the culture and visit the Priory, the ladies to look in the nic-nac shop. From Cartmel to Ulverston via the fell road, a bit steep in places and a little narrow. Not advisable for a motorhome, it was also a little muddy in places. Once back in Ulverston, we met up with those arriving that day, namely Nichol and Lorna Thomson, Julia and Alex Waugh plus Graham and Christine Baines. In the evening, to our local hostelry for a meal and then back for a snifter to Harry and Shirley’s.
In the event the weekend started well with Saturday being fine but cold, with still good crowds to enjoy the spectacle.
The evening was back to our house for baked potato with chilli con carne, followed by liquid refreshment.
Sunday morning wet and grey, but it dried out after lunch but still grey. Roger and Helen departed for home. In the afternoon, we had a short visit to the festival and then home. We went to the hostelry again in the evening to finish off the weekend.
On Monday the members departed during the morning, at least the weather was fine for travelling.

 

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS

 

Alan Williams
A Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had a great time over the festive season?

Membership News

New Members
A warm welcome to our new members:-
Gary & Jane Shepherd
David Swift
John & Ann Kelly
Heinz & Patricia Bradley (Ireland)
Harry Brampton & Ruth Owen (Re-joining)

It was a great sadness to learn the loss of Geoff Follows, we send our sympathy’s to Edna for her loss. Geoff will be greatly missed.

Membership now stands at 82 units.
62 Benimar Owners
20 Associate Members

Members resigned from club
Roger & Dianne Gooding
Eric & Sheila Miller
John & Angie Botterill
Kevin & Jane Randall
Keith & Caroleann Gratton
John & Heather Watson
Members not as of 22nd December 2009
Gino Consentino (Notified, away back in January)
Thomas & Elaine Ball
Tony & Jenny Beaumont
Simon & Joelle Burlingham
Don & Ann Clark
Colin & Meryl Campbell
Peter & Lilian Cooke
Toby & Bridget Crampton
Alan & Gladys Crowther
Richard & Linda Edwards
John & Marcella Geraghty
Tim & Honor Hewitt
Paul & Susan Hollingsbee
Brian Johnson & Crystal Banks
Geoffrey & Sandra Jones
David & Patricia Lee
Brian & Margaret Lincoln
Richard & Gillian Mills
Tim & June Perfect
Richard & Jennifer Plaice
Thomas Herbert & Raymond Price
Alex Waugh & Julia Tinsley
25 Members Paid by Standing Order
01 Members Paid On Line
34 Members Paid by Cheque
22 Members yet to pay
RvTec – Motorhome Tech

It was sad news to learn that RvTex closed down; however its great news Ian has continued to repair our motorhomes by way of a mobile repair.
Furthermore, I have managed to secure the 10% Discount that we were all used to for repairs and installations. Please ensure you mention the boc 10% discount before you book up and the invoice has been printed!! Obviously Ian has no premises as he is now operating a mobile service, however, Ian has informed me that there is a campsite near by that you can book into and arrange for Ian to attend the campsite for any repairs. The campsite is the National Water Sports Centre at Nottingham. They have on-site shower facilities, electrical hook-ups and a 24-hour warden service. Please ensure you arrange with Ian an appointment and mention your 10% off before you book the site. For further details contact National Water Sports Centre on 0115 982 4721 or email nwsccampsite@nottscc.com www.nwscnotts.com and click on accommodation/camping

Benimar Spares & Warranty (UK)

I have again spoken to Fernando about RvTec closing and to source a UK supply for Benimar spares and to carry out our warranty work. Fernando has informed me this is being dealt with and as soon as we know the situation, I will have it posted on our website and will let you all know either at the April AGM or in the next magazine. In the meantime this is Fernando’s reply.
Hello Alan,
Unfortunately we haven’t found other dealer in UK yet. But, in any case, we are going to send the spare parts directly to you or to the club members.
If somebody in the club knows a dealer with interest to work with Benimar to repair or eventually to sell vehicles, please, don’t hesitate to send us their address.
Best regards and Merry Christmas
Fernando Ortiz
Benimar Ocarsa SA
Tel. 0034 964471566
I hope you will all consider this proposal from Fernando and should anyone know of a dealer, local or nationwide I would be very interested to follow this up, for all our sakes!!!
BOC Merchandise
Having spent a lot of time organising the BOC merchandise it would be nice to receive some orders!
Please clearly state which of the two logos you would like embroidered on your garment.
For colours, please refer to the club website.
Classic Polo £15.00
Sporting Polo £16.00
Knitted Beanie £7.95
Hoodie £17.50
Reversible Fleece £23.00
1/4″ Zip Fleece £20.00
Full Zip Fleece £20.00

Please complete the order form enclosed with your magazine and post with your remittance to Alan Williams – Please allow up to 28 days for delivery, due to the nature of ordering.
Remember your BOC
– Benimar Owners Club applications forms can be kept in your Benimar, then, if you see another Benimar on a campsite or car park etc, you can introduce yourselves or leave an application form on their windscreen
– Only if you own a Benimar can you introduce other Motorhome friends that do not own a Benimar as an associate member.
Continue to be a BOC member, even if you sell your Benimar you can still remain as an associate member enjoying the benefits and discounts.

 

CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE

 

I know it is a bit late but you could practice throughout the year for next Christmas
Ingredients:
* 2 cups flour
* 1 stick butter
* 1 cup of water
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 cup of sugar
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup of brown sugar
* Lemon juice
* 4 large eggs
* Nuts
* 1 bottle wine
* 2 cups of dried fruit

Method:
Sample the wine to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the wine again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer.
Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the wine is still OK. Try another cup… Just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick the frigging fruit up off floor. Mix on the turner.. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the wine to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something.
Check the wine. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish the wine and wipe counter with the cat.
Open another bottle of wine
Merry Xmas & Bingle Jells!

 

FROM THE FORUM

 

We have recently purchased a 2001 reg Benimar Sport Motorhome but unfortunately we do not have a handbook for the living area. We would be grateful to receive any ‘must do’ or tips for preparing for the none use during the winter period.
Many thanks John @ Ann

Hi John & Ann, Firstly welcome to the club, I hope you will consider joining the BOC to receive magazines and discounts. An application form can be found under Membership on the BOC website
The most important thing to do when not using your motorhome over the winter period is to drain out the fresh water / Hot water tank and waste water tanks. You can find information on the BOC website under Hints & Tips. You will also find an owners manual too which may help you further.
Furthermore, its always a good idea to start the engine periodically and move the wheels a quarter turn.
Hope you will find the information on our website useful.
Kind regards Alan Williams
Hi Alan, Thank you for your reply – we have recently joined the BOC club and are finding our way round the BOC website and have now found the handbook. We are grateful for any help as our previous experience is with VW camper vans quite a few years ago. We are hoping to put faces to names at a future BOC event.
Regards John & Ann
Hello John & Ann Another point for winter storage is to ensure that the leisure battery under the drivers seat is being charged from the solar panel and is topped up with distilled water. The voltage can be checked on the panel above the door.
Another good system for your batteries is that if it is possible connect a mains connection from your house to the van. this will ensure that the battery is kept topped up with power. The system switches off and on dependant on the battery charge.
If you have a ‘Battery Master’ fitted near the leisure battery it will keep the van starter battery charged up. It will also be charged up automatically.
My Benimar still has the original van battery installed (9 years old) and due to this system used, has remained as good as new. (Have had a mains connection since new except for camping)
I need to replace some fluorescent tubes in my Europe 6000cc (2004).
The tubes are concealed by a translucent plastic cover. How do I remove this cover to access the tubes?
Tom O’Reilly
Hold it gently and it will unclip from the ends with reasonable force.

 

ODDS & ENDS

 

MMM LETTER
The following is an extract from a letter in MMM (Nov 2009) from Bob & Jean Thompson:-

“ I am now on my third motorhome, a 55-plate Homecar PR59, my previous vehicle being a Benimar Sport and a Swift Sundance before that.
I have four dealers in close proximity to my house and when I wanted to exchange my Benimar last year, none of the four was eager to take it in part exchange, especially it seemed against the vehicle I wanted to exchange to, which incidentally was another Swift.
In the end , I had to travel quite a distance to a bigger dealer, who was keen to take it against the Homecar I have now.
I think Gary Morgan has a valid point in his letter about the difference between British and European Motorhomes when it comes to part-exchanging them, as was the case for me, but I think he is wrong to dismiss them altogether.
I can’t really comment on the speed of getting parts because little went wrong with my Benimar, which is surely a plus, but I believe that isf a customer knows he is buying a European vehicle and what goes with that, then there are many bargains that you can grab for yourself.”
WPC 2009
I have only received 4 entries for the worst postcard this year. They are:-
Cork screws from Jo & Alan Williams
Prisoner from Lisa & Gary Smitherman
Windfarm from Mary Pennington
Lost Coins from Lorna Thomson
Because of the lack of interest I will not be running a Worst Postcard Competition in 2010.
Thanks to all of you who have submitted entries in the past.

 

MOTORHOME TECH

 

Motorhome Tech is the name of the new company that has replaced RVTex.
Ian Holingworth is operating a mobile motorhome service within a 40 mile radius of Nottingham.
He is offering a full range of accessories, repairs and habitation service. But not alarms or major bodywork.
Club Members will qualify for a 10 % discount.
Ian can be contacted on
mobile: 07528784180
Tel: 0115 9611332
email: info@motorhometech.co.uk
website: www.motorhometech.co.uk
From all your satisfied customers from the Club, Thanks for your past support and all the best for the future.

 

DIARY DATES

 

Please see the Diary Page.

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