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The Travels & Adventures of Flog-It Removals.

Welcome to the Flog-It blog. Here we will post comments and details of our travels hopefully before, during and after we are on the road as well as general observations from while we are just out and about locally.

The shape of things to come.
27 January 2009

This is just to let you know of a few things we are working on for the future of our website and blog pages etc that may be of interest to you - Or not, as the case may be.

In conversation with Charliemac (as this ramble is posted to 4 different blog sites you may or may not know who he is) we are looking at some kind of webcam feed for whilst we are on the road so that you can actually look out of our windscreen and try to put your foot through the floor when you think I am too close to the vehicle in front - I hate backseat drivers!!. This feed will then hopefully be accessed via the website and possibly one or two of the blog sites. I am testing it at the moment by feeding a view of our garden, and it does not work but after working with computers for over 25 years I expect to solve that very soon. It will also feature a chat box so you can interact with us but please don't expect a reply whilst I am driving, though the co-driver may respond if she's not asleep or engrossed in a film.

In conjunction with the above we plan GPS tracking so that you can see exactly where we are just by looking at a map on the net. This is not fully working yet either as all I can get it to do at the moment is show us at home or in Norway. And we are never in Norway!! Well not yet anyway, who knows.

Also, already gone live on the main blog site (www.flog-it.blogspot.com) is another chat box so you can leave messages and we can respond quickly. We added this because we do not have comments enabled on that blog even though it is our main point of contact. Also we can leave little snippets of info whilst on the road without having to write a complete blog posting. Take a look and see what you think.

And finally, as part of our other work, do you need a holiday? Take a look at the picture. This is one of the holiday villas that we manage that still has some early and late season weeks available for booking. It has fantastic views over Tamariu from almost the highest point in the hills so if you want to keep us in work during these hard times then you need to take a holiday. It does actually have a fantastic terrace area and balcony and also a very big swimming pool, just that this photo does not really do justice to the size and situation of the villa.
 



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Meet the Foca's.
26 January 2009

We got out of bed at about 05:15am to the sound of gale force winds and the sight of garden furniture in the pool and thought "Why us?" Yet again we are caught up in weather that is just unknown, 100+mph winds, people killed in Barcelona, trees falling in the roads etc - But to be honest you should be used to this by now with us!! We suffer so that you have somebody to take pity on!! The drive down was in fact on the whole uneventful apart from the odd trip across the lanes or into the hard shoulder and ended with quite a painful arm ache due to having to fight the wheel all day. The only real event being the loss of yet another piece of plastic trim from the rear of the van. The wind must have blown it away from the bodywork at the top and left it fixed by a single screw at the bottom so once I noticed it, out came the tool kit and I had to remove the panel before it fell off all together. It took about eight hours to get from Tamariu to Cox in the Valencia region and once there unloading was just like the loading process in Keswick the week before. Back then we had to load in horizontal rain and the clients had very kindly brought the weather down here with them and we therefore unloaded in the worst winds in memory, though to be fair it was dry. After unloading we drove the 90 minutes north to Denia & the Port Denia Hotel where once again we enjoyed the fantastic hospitality of the staff and enjoyed the entertainment for the evening. I cannot praise this hotel highly enough, if you are ever in the area just pop in for a night, I am sure you will enjoy it. That was it, day one over and done with. Bed time now, more tomorrow I guess.

So the next morning after another full English breakfast we went for a walk around to see what damage had been done in the wind. Quite a lot as it turned out. We saw a parked car under an advertising hoarding, a bar at the port had its wooden terrace area destroyed, a big black bull on a hillside all crumpled on the floor and the amount of uprooted trees was just out of this world, even massive trees that must have been planted years ago were just ripped up complete with roots. We gave it until about 2pm then started the journey back north, during which we saw smoke and flames which was the start of the big weekend blaze near Benidorm. At the time it was really only smoke, just getting started but already you could see the wind was going to whip it up and the smoke would soon be causing trouble for the traffic so we only just timed it right I think. We also saw a couple of fire engines trundling in the direction of the smoke, the drivers obviously not worried about missing the fire, it would still be there when they arrived!!  Nothing else major on the trip, little more wind, little rain and home about 10:00pm. Cushty!!

Appendix 1). Why "Meet the Foca's?" Well on the journey down we saw some smoke and Andrew being the age he is, lately likes to try and swear without actually swearing so we can’t really tell him off. "Look, Foc" he shouts..... Foc being the Catalan word for fire. He then proceeded to impress us with his linguistic ability to juggle and also let us know that a Foca is a seal. Nicky then immediately retorted telling him that would make him a Foca Pup. Not to be outdone, and to finish the argument immediately he said in that case she would be a Mother Foca. Anyway the conversation went rapidly downhill from there so I will go no further other than to take pride in teaching you two new Catalan words today.

Appendix 2). Wind power. How much difference the wind makes to fuel consumption really just struck home. We were only lightly loaded but I know the weight would make some difference but it is hard to believe that the cost of the southbound journey fighting the worst of the winds was 100 Euro in fuel to cover the 650km. Northbound on the other hand, running without the small load saw change from 60 Euros.



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Ready to roll....
23 January 2009

That's it, van checked over and load re-balanced so it's all systems go again for tomorrow morning. The alarm is set for 5am so hopefully on the road by 6am and the destination is programmed into Gertrude (the satnav) so God knows where we will end up but hopefully it will be a little over 500km south of here. If all goes to plan we should be there around lunch to unload and then we are heading back up to the Port Denia hotel for a nights stop over. If you are in that area please feel free to pop in and we'll buy you a drink, especially if you are needing transport in the future, we will be in the bar with all the Saga holidaymakers and we will be the only ones under 65 years old, though we may not look it!!



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Nothing is ever easy.
22 January 2009

 After more hassle than I could really take, finally today I got the keys for access to an apartment into which we need to deliver a couple of cubic meters of boxes that were transported down by us last week. Trying to get these keys out of the management company has been like trying to get Black Absinthe out of a diesel pump and in the end was it worth it? I unloaded the goods out of the big truck and put them into the ice cream van because the big one hits the floor on the access to the apartments and I can't afford to fix the fuel tank again. Then I drove to the door and parked up, most apartments are empty at this time of year so I was not in the way at all and unloaded the goods into the entrance way. Then I nipped inside, saw the lift was there so loaded almost the whole lot into the lift, shut the doors and ran up to the first floor and called it. It never arrived? I ran back down, no lift? Where the ****? I called it again, lots of noise, where is it? I ran back to the first floor and heard a noise down below... Oh no.. Back down I went just in time to hear the doors closing and a new journey being started upwards. Anyway, finally I pinpointed the lift and carried everything further than I would have if I had just carried it in the first place. All goods safely outside the front door I unlocked it and... Water!! Oh please just shoot me now!! Just inside the front door was a dehumidifier working away dumping its load straight onto the bathroom floor and gradually flowing into the hallway. Luckily there was a mop and bucket to hand in the kitchen so for the next few minutes I became Mrs. Mop, cleaned up and switched off the machine, and then finally delivered the goods into the house and locked up again.  Of course I informed the owners all about it once I got back home. Tomorrow I have to re-secure the rest of the load in the big van ready for its journey down to Alicante on Saturday which will hopefully go much better. But rest assured that no matter how it goes, it will be another story.


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What next?
18 January 2009

So what is happening over the next few weeks?  Well for starters this week we have to deliver locally some of what was collected on the run to the UK last week, along with the usual pool cleaning and gardening run of the mill stuff.  Next weekend we have a delivery to the Murcia region with the last of the items, this means we can spend another night in the Hotel Port Denia, our regular stop-over point on journeys in that direction. After that the van will be empty until you find something to fill it with.  There is some interest so far for a run back in  mid February which we are now putting out feelers for.

We are also looking into bringing back a van on the ground in England along with a small storage base. We scrapped this idea last year due to lack of interest but lately we have had useful feedback in favour of regular smaller collections in the UK with items going into storage until we have enough to fill the big van and then we would do a round trip. This is still in planning stage and may not happen but you never know, and would we invest in another van or simply export the smaller Spanish one to do the job?

The big van now seems to be running okay again after the recent repair so now I just need to put back all the panels that got ripped off in the motorway blowout in the summer and it will be looking good once more. Also as the van is the best advertisement we have for the business I want to get the back doors re-written to get rid of the references to furniture and replace it with Spain - UK - Spain transport.  All in good time, all in good time!!



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Back home.
15 January 2009

We left our friends a little later than anticipated and then the GPS went "tits up" on us again, it's going down the toilet now, so arrival in Finestart was an extremely late 10:30pm where we unloaded into the garage and then left for home and a 01:30am bedtime. All in all a successful 4200km trip but it is not over yet as we need to deliver the major part of the load down to Alicante in about 10 days time and also have a couple of cubic meters in the van to be unloaded at a neighbours house here at the weekend. Where next? That's down to you yet again. Hasta luego!!



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En-route, part 2.
13 January 2009

Had to stop the last post there, the sea was a bit choppy so I played safe and switched off, went to sleep and sent the posting from McDonalds in Chartres the following morning. Anyway Monday was a morning shopping trip in Tamworth, then a trip down to Acton in London for a quick delivery and then on to Ascot for a collection followed by evening meal in the Brewers Fayre at Newhaven. Tuesday morning arrival in Dieppe and a drive down to the Limoges area for an overnight stay with friends from our previous "Limoges" blog posings from earlier this year. This is the first time on this trip that I have been able to put my feet up, have drink and relax so excuse me if I cut this posting short but I have a glass of wine and a warm log fire waiting for me downstairs. We have not visited their new house since the move and wow what a place, rural France at its best. Tomorrow morning we head off again to Finestret and then finally back home to good old Tamariu for a rest.

Thank you to everybody we have collected from on this trip, everything has been perfectly prepared which has helped speed our journey and kept us on time.

As a result of this trip there are more items awaiting transport in Early February so please contact us with anything you may have and maybe we can pull in another trip slightly earlier than planned, maybe the first week of February.


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En-route, part 1.
13 January 2009

So far so good, currently sitting on the Transmanche Ferry awaiting departure for the choppy waters beyond the harbour walls. It's 22:45 so I have about 15 minutes still to wait and there is no net connection available so no idea when  this will actually get posted. Departed Tamariu Friday in the pouring rain and was soaked through to the skin just loading our personal belongings but as we hit La Jonquera the rain had become snow and we started the long trek north through ice and snow all the way up through France. On the toll roads the snow ploughs and gritters had worked wonders but venture off the tolls or into a service station and the surface became lethal as could be seen by the amount of tyre tracks leaving the road into the nearest field and back to the road again a little further along the way. Arrival in Dieppe was 15 hours later and we tried for some sleep before the outbound sailing but a temperature of -10 degrees in the cab, frozen windows, frozen drinks and frozen sandwiches made it impossible and extremely uncomfortable and we were glad for the eventual opening of the check in so we could drive through only to get stopped by a bunch of 5 customs officers who proceeded to raid the back of the van, unstack all the boxes and open every one they could or cut holes in the sides and rip apart all the others. I know they are entitled to do that and I do say on our website to leave boxes unsealed for inspection but I think the approach that night was heavy handed and I think it is lucky nothing was broken in the boxes as they threw them around and climbed on them in their bovver-boots. It's now 23:00 and bang on time we are moving away from the dock. Anyway, once on board a good cosy few hours sleep was had and on the other side a quick drive past Stone Henge took us to the first collection in Dorset only half an hour after the arranged time. Shortly afterwards we arrived at Sparkford Storage for delivery of the goods ransacked by French customs, again perfectly within the estimated arrival time of between 4 & 5pm - Well 3 minutes within actually, it was 4:57!!  The rest of the day was totally wasted thanks to the new Garmin GPS not having the faintest idea how to get from A to B without having to go via the rest of the alphabet so the overnight stop in Nottingham saw arrival at 23:00. This GPS is worse than the other, I can safely say it does not know its a*se from its elbow. Suday was a trip up to Keswick for a collection, again the weather was appalling but everything went well though yet again we had a late arrival for overnight in Tamworth. Not much rest so far on this journey, I can't wait to just put my feet up somewhere and relax for a few hours.



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Ready to go, the final route plan.
08 January 2009

Well that's it, quick repair done and van packed for the trip up and we leave here tomorrow.  All being well the itinerary should you need it is a follows, please feel free to call us if you suddenly think of something we may be able to do for you - All contact numbers are on our Blogger blog.
Friday 9th leave Girona and drive through France for Dieppe.
Saturday 10th Dorset, Yeovil, Nottingham.
Sunday 11th Cumbria.
Monday 12th Berkshire, Dorset.
Tuesday 13th Dieppe to Limoges.
Wednesday 14th Limoges, Finestret, Girona.

No correct answers for the quiz yet by the way!!



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Back to work and a quiz for you.
07 January 2009

Well that's it for another year, festivities over. After a gap of about 20 years I have finally seen Malaga, Marbella and Gibraltar again, wish I could fill up with fuel in Gibraltar every week!! Now it's back to work getting the van ready (and repaired) to leave on Friday for England on another collection and delivery run. This year I think we will try a few little observation tests to see if you know where we have been. If you are reading this on our Blogger blog (www.flog-it.blogspot.com) you will see a photo in the right hand column below the profile and all you need to do is tell me where it is. If you are not reading Blogger then you will need to pay a quick visit to the link I just provided. You will either know it or you won't, no clues. To take part just email me the answer via the profile page or website or just transmogrify this disguised address (shopatflog-itdotnet) and in a couple of weeks I'll pick a winner and send you either a fiver by PayPal or maybe an Amazon token for a fiver. Each photo will be taken from our previous trip so I suppose at least you will know that if the trip was to England then the photo is not of Germany!! Bye for now.



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Sledge hammer to crack a nut.
06 January 2009

Picture this, Thursday 11th December, a sleepy little seaside village at about 6pm. Just turned dark, but still early. People are still at work so no traffic around really. The only noise you can hear on the hillside apart from the local choir of dogs is the sound of Nicky & myself having a real good screaming match about something.... I forget what. Nicky decides that to cool off she needs to go for a quiet drive so off she drove nice and gently (as you do when you are p****d off) in the direction of a local beach that we have not yet visited to see what it is like and to sit and cool off for a while. Within about a minute of her car leaving the driveway the phone rings, the caller ID giving the hint that she wanted to continue the arguement from the safety of her car so our Son took the call. Then all I could really hear was some hysterical voice screaming down the blower and Andrew shouting back some kind of garbled junk about guns, murderers and not dying?? Taking over the phone call and reading between the lines and taking out the swearing and screaming I heard, "There's a man with a gun, he stopped me, waved it at the window and is now following me in his car and I am lost and cannot get out of this place (Aigua Xelida) as all the streets are dead ends. Help. Don't come and get me because you won't find me because I am lost." Well I wasn't really in the mood for a car chase and another few brandies would have helped but without further ado I jumped into the ice cream van which luckily we had just bought the week before (if you read my blog you will know what I am talking about, if you don't.... Shame on you!!) or I wouldn't have been able to go after her anyway as the truck is temporarily SNAFU'd awaiting fixing for the UK run in January. If you have goods on that trip don't worry it will be ready... Fingers crossed. Now at this point I had not yet changed the battery on the tin can so the first part of my gallant rescue attempt involved rolling halfway down the mountainside under cover of darkness so I could drop the clutch & jump start my high speed hearse. Once at the bottom, engine running, lights now on, turbo boost on full power (I told you to read my previous posts) I screamed (literally thanks to the wheelbearing) round the island to go back up past our house to the top and then round the island into Aigua Xelida and followed the signs for the beach. Dead-end. What is this place? A quick three point turn and I was on my way back out when I was confronted by a woman asking what I was looking for but not really in the mood for a chat and on the phone to Nicky at the time I just hit the gas and went for it. At the top of the hill I stopped as Nicky knew where I was and a few seconds later arrived and we drove off and parked up for her to try to regain some calm before the few hundred meter drive back to the house. As we arrived back at the house guess who was just driving past, yes that's right, Mr Inadequate and his wife - The woman who confronted me in the street. I say Mr Inadequate because he was short, fat and bald, obviously the sort of person that needs a gun to command respect otherwise people would just laugh at him. I am not trying to stereotype him, but evrybody knows one and he was just our local little man with a big head trying to be something he is not and somehow got himself a job as vigilante for the local private estate, most of which is owned by rich Russians. Okay so it turns out that he was arguing Nicky was on private land, but all she did, and I did the same, was follow signs for the beach just like every other tourist in the summer. I bet he doesn't chase them, oh no there's far too many and if he waved his gun at them they'd kill him. But in winter, when trespassers arrive one at a time, and they are female, it gives him chance to flex his muscles, prove his manhood in is own tiny mind and give him power over a defenceless woman before he gets back home to his wife who asks him, "What did you take your water pistol out with you for you great fat spawny eyed parrot faced wazzock? You could have got youself arrested, then what would I do for money? If you're going to pick on someone find one bigger than you, at least then if he kills you the Russians will pay me off so I can get myself a real man who doesn't need to put a gun in his pocket when he is pleased to see me."
Oh well, C'est la vie!!
 



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