Guest Author Nigel R. Hicks

Today our guest is Nigel Hicks author of “Some People Prefer Hotels, Motorhome Novices Tour Cornwall”. Here’s a link to the review post.

Nigel & Monty

Let’s find out more about Nigel

1) Where is your home town?

I was brought up in Fleet (Hampshire) and in January 1960 was amongst the first intake into the brand new Court Moor Secondary Modern School. My favourite subject was English and Miss Holt, my first English teacher, always encouraged me to write. Unfortunately, when it was time to leave school, the only careers advice given to us was “Boys get an apprenticeship: Girls become secretaries or nurses, but you don’t really have to bother as you will get married and give up work.” I followed the advice and became an engineering apprentice at the old Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. Although, given better guidance, I’ve often felt I could have had a career in journalism.

I moved around in my job with the MoD and lived on the South Coast, near Lee-on-the-Solent; Farnham, Surrey; the beautiful village of Chiselborough, near Yeovil in Somerset, and now reside in Highcliffe, Dorset, where we bought a tired bungalow as a retirement project.

2) Is this your first book that you have written?  

Yes it is – maybe the first of many?

3) What made you want to write about holidaying in a motorhome?

I’ve always been an avid reader, particularly enjoying memoirs, nostalgia, travel and humour, and for a long time it was an ambition of mine to write something of my own – but what?

Inspiration came whilst driving to Cornwall on our maiden motorhome tour. During torrential rain my windscreen wiper packed up; we endured twenty-four hours of rotten weather cooped up in our confined space with Monty, our faithful Border Terrier, surrounded by dripping wet weather gear and muddy boots; I encountered a wobbly campsite WC pan and temperamental showers, and started to think that buying the motorhome was a terrible mistake. Thankfully the weather improved, but as my wife, Emm, and I got to explore some of Cornwall’s most idyllic and historic places, some for the first time and others we’d been to before, if something could go wrong, it generally did…

I wrote down everything that happened, and when a grumpy old work colleague said he’d only ever stay in hotels, I knew I had a catchy title, Some People Prefer Hotels, and started to write in earnest. The result isn’t simply a travelogue: it’s full of humour, and as well as writing about the places we visited, the farcical situations we found ourselves in and my crotchety observations about our campsite experiences, I also go on a personal inner journey as sentimental old memories – for example of schooldays in Fleet – were triggered off.

4) Can you tell the readers why you and Emm decided to buy a motorhome?

Before we were married we’d go on camping trips in our small tent (it was the only way we could spend the night together!) and, later enjoyed staying in static caravans with our young daughters.

Approaching retirement, Emm had hankered after a holiday home abroad and we’d been tempted with a property in the South of France. Finance didn’t seem a problem as, in the days before the credit crunch, the building society were happy to give us – or rather loan us – enough money to buy it. However, increasing our mortgage by tens of thousands of pounds and extending it for another twenty-five years didn’t seem a good idea. Also, as Emm hates flying, I didn’t think we’d get much use out of it.

But with a motorhome, I reasoned, once we’d both retired, we’d be able to travel to loads of different places in the UK and Europe, as well as revisit many of our favourite haunts.

5) What is the best bit about having a motorhome?

 Having the freedom to: –

o   Go where we want, stay as long as we want.

o   If we particularly like a place, to be able to stay longer.

o   If we don’t like a place, to be able to move on to pastures new.

o   Being able to make a cup of tea or snack at any time.

o   Having our own on-board toilet.

o   To be able to take Monty, our beloved Border Terrier, with us.

6) What drawbacks are there to holidaying in a motorhome?


  • Getting out and about on holiday, have to carefully plan routes and avoid narrow lanes.
  • Parking can sometimes be difficult or downright impossible where height barriers are installed.
  • If wet and confined to motorhome for any length of time, can be cramped in such a confined space and difficult to dry wet clothes and muddy boots.

7) Tell us some unusual items you would recommend to take on tour with your motorhome.


  • For some unknown reason, some campsites we’ve stayed at have had their washbasin plugs missing. Why people pilfer the plugs is beyond me, and it’s really annoying having to shave in a plug-less basin. So it’s a good idea to spend a couple of pounds in the plumber’s merchant and take some plugs with you. Only problem is that if someone sees you with a plug, they are liable to think you are one of the idiotic plug thieves!
  • Good idea to have an old pair of gloves to use when coiling up the electric hook-up cable. When on grass, even if it hasn’t been raining, I’ve found that the cable was usually wet from the morning dew, as well as muddy from worm casts, and it was really annoying to get my hands wet and slimy.
  • No matter what, always take your sense of humour!


8) What are your top 3 warning for novice drivers of motorhomes?


  • Avoid muddy pitches at all costs. It’s a nightmare if the wheels start spinning, sink deep into the mud and you get stuck!
  • However tempting, don’t try to take shortcuts and drive down narrow lanes. I speak from experience and got hopelessly lost driving on an ever narrowing lane near the Helford River in Cornwall. The bushes and overhanging branches seemed to engulf us, and not daring to carry on we struggled to reverse round a bend and up a hill before we could turn back onto a wider lane.
  • Don’t trust Sat Navs. There are loads of examples of vans getting wedged between houses in very narrow streets, especially delivery vans in Polperro, and there’s no way you want to find yourself in that situation!


9) How much can you expect to pay for an overnight pitch at a campsite for a motorhome?

It varies enormously depending on the facilities on offer. Some pubs allow motorhomes to overnight on their car parks for free if eating a meal in the pub; otherwise they may charge £5 or so. Certified Locations (CLs), which are usually just a field with a tap and no toilets or showers, typically charge £8-£10 or thereabouts. And at the best camp sites, with superb washroom facilities, swimming pools, bars, etc., it’s possible to pay over £40 per night in the high season, reducing to around £15 – £20 in the low season.

10) In your book, you’ve toured Cornwall, where else have you taken your motorhome since?

We do tend to go to the West Country a lot. But have also been to the Lake District many times where our eldest daughter and granddaughters live. We’ve often been for several weeks, and in the middle of our stay gone off for a few days to do our own thing, chill out and explore on our own. Once we followed Hadrian’s Wall and went to the Beamish Museum which was fantastic.

We’ve also been to France several times and explored Brittany, Normandy (le Mont Saint-Michel was incredible), La Dordogne and Le Val de Loire. Motorhomes are made incredibly welcome in France, parking is easy and there is far less traffic on the roads. We are planning to go again soon and, maybe, I’ll write a book about our French experiences!

Find a copy here from or Troubador Books

Thank you Nigel it’s been great reading about motorhome travels.

Visit Nigel’s website to read the first 3 chapters of his book for free. 

Overlanding: How, What, Where & Who With by Andy N. Robinson & Kirsty McGregor

Overlanding: How, What, Where & Who With...?Overlanding: How, What, Where & Who With…? by Andy N Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great book and one that is FREE from authors Andy Robinson and Kirsty McGregor at Blackfrog Publishing. These two authors have worked with overlanding tour companies in over 100 countries covering 5 continents.

This useful guide explains that it’s about the experience of the journey and not necessarily the destination. Overlanding was started in the 1960’s by mad Brits, Aussies and Kiwis. Today it’s become a very popular commercial enterprise with purpose built vehicles and tour guides. Travelling this way is no longer just for the young or gap year market, you’re never too old for an adventure.

The book offers advice, explains different style of tours, tells you what to expect in different continents and how to tell if you’d be right for a tour. There’s a list of different companies that provide all sorts of different style tours and there is the reminder that overlanding requires participation. “You get out what you put in”. A tour can be a challenging, fun adventure if you let it. If this sounds like the ideal tour for you there are several links to further reading to wet your appetite.

What are you waiting for? Download a copy today and live the dream.


View all my reviews on Goodreads.

24 Sleeps ’til Xmas Tour – Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich (Day 11)


Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich

Description courtesy of Goodreads;

It’s five days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn’t got a tree. She hasn’t bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There’s not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment-and there’s a strange man in her kitchen.

Sure, this has happened to Stephanie Plum before. But this guy is different. He’s mysterious, sexy-and has his own agenda. His name is Diesel, and he’s on a mission. The question is, what does he want with her? Can he help her find a little old toy maker who has skipped out on his bail right before Christmas? Can he survive the Plum family holiday dinner? Can he get Stephanie a tree that doesn’t look like it was grown next to a nuclear power plant? These questions and more are keeping Stephanie awake at night. Not to mention the fact that she needs to find a bunch of nasty elves, her sister Valerie has a Christmas “surprise” for the Plums, her niece Mary Alice doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, and Grandma Mazur has a new stud muffin. So bring out the plastic reindeer, strap on your jingle bells, and get ready to celebrate the holidays-Jersey style.

Find a copy on or

As part of my Good Deeds challenge, I’m asking readers to join in the season of Goodwill and take part in these daily Good Deed suggestions. Today, send a Christmas card to someone new this year.

24 Sleeps ’til Xmas tour “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham (Day 9)


Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences – and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

Available in Kindle or paperback this book is approximately 242 pages long.

Find a copy here from or

All this month as part of my Good Deeds Challenge, I’m making a daily suggestion for you the reader to join in with. Today’s Good deed to try is to make a cash donation to any charity collection that you can find today.

It’s Not A Holiday by Andy Robinson and Kirsty McGregor (30th Nov)

It's NOT a Holiday! The A-Z Guide to Group TravelIt’s NOT a Holiday! The A-Z Guide to Group Travel by Andy N Robinson and Kirsty McGregor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“It’s Not a Holiday”, is a brilliant book all about going on an organised tour with a group of people. It is full of humour and I laughed out loud whilst reading it. Gap years are no longer just for students and taking a tour to far away places has become very popular. The authors of this book have been tour guides and or drivers on such overland tours and are very experienced as shown by the content. If you have ever considered a tour to places like Africa, Asia and South America where you want to see the real people and experience the local sights by driving across the land and eating, living and embracing these cultures then this book is a must. It tells you what to expect and what is expected of you, don’t be surprised if it shocks you, forewarned is always forearmed and this way you’re more likely to have fun and enjoy the trip.

Check out yesterday’s guest author interview with Andy and Kirsty here; It includes some fab photos!

Find a copy of this book here from, or

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham ( Sophie Kinsella)

This book review is by one of my assistants, Louise, thank you for reviewing this book.

‘‘Sleeping Arrangements’ – by Sophie Kinsella (writing as Madeleine Wickham) Sleeping Arrangements

Rating: 3/5 

Chloe is fed up with making wedding dresses every day of the week, and her partner is struggling with his work too; both are in dire need of a holiday. So when her wealthy friend Gerard offers them a free break in his luxury Spanish villa, how can they refuse? 

Whilst Hugh’s job is going strong, it’s his family life that is pulling him apart: his children won’t even speak to him, and his wife seems more interested in fabric swatches than in him, even though he works so hard to fund it all – he’s not a happy man. But his old school friend Gerard has lent them a luxury villa in Spain out of the blue – perfect. 

When both families arrive at the villa at the same time, these two worlds are forced to collide. But there’s a secret history between certain family members, and as past passions resurface, secrets reveal themselves, and tensions mount until we can’t be sure who’s sleeping with whom. 

It was the plot of this book that really enticed me; it seemed like such a simple, even obvious storyline, but as soon as I started reading, it was clear that this book did have its surprises. For instance, nowhere on the blurb is there a reference to any children, so I was almost shocked when I found that both Chloe and Hugh had a family; this added innocence to the otherwise very adult themes, and I liked this sweet, young edge. Kinsella again uses a light and witty style to entertain us female readers, but there were aspects of this book that I didn’t like as much. For example, there is lots of strong language, and the plot really takes a while to develop: I found the first few chapters quite uneventful and predictable, and it wasn’t until the end of the fourth chapter that I became more intrigued. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of Sophie Kinsella that I was somewhat disappointed by this novel, as it’s so different from her others, but even though this book wasn’t my favourite, I still became very attached to the characters in a way that only Kinsella can seem to do. Overall, it is a light-hearted and entertaining, if a little predictable, novel that would make a perfect holiday read, but if you’re looking for more depth, I would recommend Kinsella’s other books instead.’  

Get a copy of this book here from Amazon

Good Deeds June 16th – 22nd

Good deedsIt’s the start of another week of Good Deeds, if you are new to the post please check out my Good Deeds posts.  I’m trying to do at least one Good Deed a day for a year after I was inspired by Judith O’Reilley’s book.

A Year of Doing Good: One Woman, One New Year's Resolution, 365 Good Deeds. by Judith O'Reilly

June 16th – Father’s day today so a family day at home. Did manage a book review.

June 17th – A help at school morning, so that ticks the Good Deeds easily today, 5 more weeks until the summer holidays! It’s also my wedding anniversary, 18 years! I share it with a friend, so I sent her a best wishes e-mail. Found some money on the floor at the supermarket and popped it in the charity pot rather than my pocket.

June 18th – A really good blogging friend has just set up a publishing company! Offered to do a promotional post for her. Posted a book review.

June 19th – Passed on some of my rice and pasta that I won in a competition. Posted my piece on Horseshoe Publishing, the new company that my WordPress friend has set up.

June 20th – Picked up litter today with only a slight hesitation, this is still a hardship to me, I get embarrassed about doing it when I shouldn’t. Sent my daughter out with cookies when she went to her friend’s house.

June 21st – Today we have been organising some pick up times for Monday when I’m dropping off my daughter and a couple of others for a taster day at college. Took a little drive and got the best route sorted out for Monday morning. Went shopping with my daughter and had a spending splurge! Not really a good deed but it made us both Happy!

June 22nd – Well I’ve made it to the end of another week of Good Deeds. Today I visited my parents, gave a lady directions and put money in to the charity box at the hairdressers. I’m really behind with my book reading, the trouble is I often have several books on the go at once and I read them depending on my mood. I’ve got a educational book from a friend, I picked up a Reiki book at the book shop on Thursday, I’m reading a book for a September promotion and a few weeks ago I had a mad downloading session of free books all on self-help and motivation which I like to pick up when I need a boost in life.

“I” For It’s Not a Holiday April AtoZ Challenge

Today’s letter is “I” and the book entry is from Andy  and the team at Black Frog Publishing to get you in the holiday mood, their book will be published after the challenge, but here is a sneak preview of its contents.

Don’t forget to PLEASE add a comment below as your part in the challenge. Thanks

It's not a holiday-resized‘It’s NOT a Holiday! The A – Z Guide of Group Travel’ is a fun and informative guide to travelling with other people, whether that be a day tour around London, or a six month overland across Asia.

It is all about people, group dynamics and the daft things people do while on tour…

We wrote this book after many years tour leading on six continents because we think it will help you get the most out of your holiday, learning from the mistakes of those who went before you.

There are twenty stereotypical characters featured in the book, those who will probably be on your tour with you. Natural Leader is one person who can be an absolute rock within the group, or the biggest pain in the backside.

The challenge is to see which character you are and what you can learn from them…’

It is our first book release, and we have two more planned for this year and three for next, all travel related but travel with a twist! We are the group travel experts and have plenty to share with those who aren’t quite aware of what travel is like off the beaten track!

its not a holiday press release (Press Release) (A link to their blog)

Here are 5 randomly chosen links to other AtoZ Challengers;

I’m also publishing 2 other posts today, the first is a book bomb in aid of 16-year-old Ben Wolverton who is currently in a coma after a long boarding accident. His family need your prayers and your support. Thanks.

Let it Snow!

We have a serious snow forecast for Britain and it will send the country into chaos! Road closures, railway lines and airports reduced to no service and the country slowly grinds to a halt. Well that’s what happened the last time that we had serious snow.

Snow is dealt with so differently abroad. 10 years ago we visited friends in Nederland, Colorado. We arrived at night after a long flight and a long drive from Denver (Made longer when we drove in the opposite direction to start with!) We had a couple of pleasant days of warm sun. Then overnight 5.5 feet of snow fell. It cut off the power lines and the community from the main route down the mountains. The huge snow ploughs just did their job and the main roads were clear in the village in 24 hours. The electric was longer, freezers in the local supermarket were de-frosting fast, so word went out that they were going to throw a free BBQ for anyone who could get there. We put on skis, snow shoes and bundled the kids in a sledge and joined the locals. Of course they all knew who were by then, we’d been spotted driving off on the wrong side of the road one morning, before we got ourselves sorted! But we were made very welcome. The next day when the snow ploughs had reached our friends house we were able to dig the 4 wheel drive hire car out of the driveway and use it to get supplies to some other folks who were stuck much further away. It was quite an adventure!

So with the snow on its way, I’m going to get in a good supply of food, get out my lists of books to read, and spare a few wonderful thoughts back to the people on Nederland. Thank-you!

Boredom Buster

It’s the holidays and some of you will have children who believe that they are “bored!” Well the new Argos catalogue is out; I always found that my kids loved getting hold of this and going through it. It’s free, get them one each and they can use it to make birthday or Christmas wish lists. They can cut out the pictures to make “mood boards”, collages, pictures or anything that their imaginations can think of. I always try to buy the kids something cheap and new to get them outside for some fresh air, while we are at Argos. Perhaps tennis rackets, space hoppers, outdoor badminton, Frisbee, water pistols etc. If it’s an indoor type of day, how about looking for a jigsaw from the Wasgij range. These fun jigsaws are celebrating their 15th anniversary and there is the chance for you to win a diamond too worth up to £12k inside their anniversary special edition boxes.