All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – MOT, Surrey Weekender And A Near Miss

It has certainly been an exciting and eventful few days on the All Counties Challenge this past week so hopefully that will make for a good diary entry.

Got a cuppa to hand?

*clears throat* Ok, let me begin…

All Counties Challenge Header

When I left you last there was a cliffhanger as Maisy had gone in for her MOT.

The questions were:

Will I see Maisy again?!

Will Maisy get the operation that she so desperately needs?!

Will I get to Surrey in time for the three day workshop weekend?!

Sadly Maisy failed her MOT on a couple of points.

This meant a couple of things. First I had to find myself a hotel for the night as I could not sleep in her and also could not drive her anywhere.

One travelodge later and I was sitting worrying about the operation that she needed and was going to get in the morning.

Did manage to sleep though so was happy about that.

Mid morning I got the call that Maisy had come through her op and was ready to go again. Hurrah!

I got the bus back to the hospital, er, I mean the garage and we were finally re-united and on our way to Surrey for our long weekend.

It was dark when we arrived so I parked Maisy and gave her a well earned rest after her experience.


While Maisy rested I went into the hotel to get things sorted for the weekend.

The hotel was as welcoming as it was last time and had even had a Christmas makeover.


Jeepers. I’d best get Christmas sorted soon.

Now, if only I could find a bottle of wine to relax with…


As well, I decided that I wouldn’t do that just yet and would crack on and get things sorted.

A few hours later and things were ready and I decided that it was time to head back to Maisy and snuggle up so that I could be ready for the morning.

One snore later and it was morning. Surrey didn’t let me down with the weather either and I had a good old stroll around in the crisp morning air admiring the architecture of the hotel.



There was even an unexpected guest …



Sadly I didn’t spy this little beauty but thanks to Paula Pascal for this photo.

Back upstairs and some finaly checks to make sure that the breakout area and workshop was ready to go…


Ok, time to meet some lovely folk and some old mates.


Every morning started with a little talk from myself – you know – where the loos are, run in case of a fire – that kind of stuff.

Bloody daunting when you live with anxiety!



Don’t think anyone noticed my stomach turning over though – phew!

I’ll get to the workshops in a minute as there are a fair few photos but just needed to mention that it wasn’t just about the workshops, there was also all of the food and fun that we had during the weekend to put smiles on our faces.

Not sure what the off photo of me in the chair was about but it seemed fun at the time.

Anyway, the weekend did of course involve a range of workshops involving different craft experts AND it also involved Dean Wilson’s first ever workshop.

Below are a ‘few’ photos of those various workshops on the go – I think that everyone had a good time …

All to soon however the weekend was over so it was time to lug boxes back out to various cars and make sure that everyone got back on the road safely – and maybe a little drink and a sarnie for tea too before setting off back out on the road.

The next stop for Maisy and me was Peterborough and back to Create and Craft TV to collect some bits and pieces, Stamford to pick up some mail and then to head back down to Saltdean for a workshop later in the week.

The universe however had different ideas.

As part of Maisy’s MOT she had an advisory note to get the rear tyres replaced so we stopped off at a tyre workshop in order to get this done and then set off down south.

The journey was going well along the A1M when, POP PFFFFFFFF – a new tyre had blown!

Maisy swerved a little but we managed to get off the motorway and onto the hard shoulder without damage to either of us or anyone else on the road, and it was rush hour busy.

After breathing heavily for a few mins I called the RAC and then waited for them to turn up. I started to feel sorry for whoever was coming out as it was raining hard and the embankment just off the hard shoulder was a bit boggy.


It was dark by now too.

Anyway, I got an ETA from the RAC of 70 mins as they had a lot on so I did what any sensible person would do that had broken down in a motorhome, I made my dinner.


Sarnie and fudge bits. Not fine dining but quite nice whilst watching the rest of the world whizz by.

Couldn’t get to the gas tank to turn that on to make a cup of tea as that was on the road side of Maisy – do probs not safe with HGV lorries zooming past at 60mph within 12 inches of the side of the motorhome…

Anyway, thankfully the RAC finally arrived and we had a good old go at changing the tyre – sadly they weren’t able to do this and so we had to call out an alternative recovery service which would take another 60 mins+

I got back in Maisy and had a catch up on some radio programmes whilst I waited.

When the recovery team turned up it was not long before we had the old tyre off and the new one on and, after six hours on the hard shoulder, Maisy and I pulled off and back out onto the motorway.

Being late we couldn’t make it all the way to our destination so stopped of at a service station for a snooze and then picked up the journey in the morning finally arriving on the south coast 18 hours after setting off. Not bad for what should have been a 2.5 drive! Lol.

Ok my lovelies, this just about brings us up to date.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little tale of excitement and business.

With over 100 people involved in the weekend it is impossible to extend my gratitude here to all of them however thanks of course go to:

  • Everyone that attended a workshop.
  • Katy Markham & the team at The Manor Hotel for hosting the weekend.
  • Leonie Pujol, Jenny Mayes, Paula Pascall, Jenny Mayes and Dean Wilson for hosting workshops.

Just before I go, please don’t forget that I am doing this tour in order to raise awareness of mental health issues and to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.

If you would like to contribute and help me reach that £20k target you can do so in three ways.

  1. Make donation on my Just Giving page.
  2. Make a donation via the Create & Craft TV website, for an additional P&P charge of £2.99 you will also be sent an official challenge postcard colouring book.
  3. Attend a workshop. To find out if there is one coming up near you, please visit the itinerary page on this blog.

Right, many thanks for reading and I will see you again soon.

J :)

17 thoughts on “All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – MOT, Surrey Weekender And A Near Miss

  1. Wow – such stress. You handled everything brilliantly. You should be very proud of yourself! Thanks so much for keeping us up to speed with all your travels. Magic! Liz X


  2. Hugs John. Speaking in public even amongst friends is never easy. I’m trying to overcome my anxiety of going back to church after a long absence. I know I’ll be reconnecting with friends but after so long it is difficult as I find”crowds” = panic attacks. It can be more difficult currently as I recently lost the sight in my left eye and my right eye is currently deteriorating too so instead of a relaxing bike ride I need to get a bus which was a panic attack situation when I could see the numbers now I have to walk to the bus station find the right stop and then at least all buses stop there. I keep telling myself I can get through this.
    I am so glad you safely got through your blow out. Hope you got money back for the faulty tyre. Stay safe on your travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful weekend it was! So much fun and loads of new techniques to learn. Thank you to all the fab workshop organisers your hard work is much appreciated. Also John you are doing a fantastic job in running this massive fund raising event countrywide. All respect to you. Sad to hear about Maisie’s troubles – what a nightmare. Thanks again to all for a brilliant 3 days. Judy x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sooooooper weekend! Thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fun getting messy – ROFL!
    Sorry to hear of your problems after but glad everything is back on track now. Looking forward to the next one *wink, wink* – LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the SNC lesson Saturday, it was fun learning from such an experienced crafter and great to bounce ideas off everyone. Thank you again and I can’t wait for SNC Part II – the advanced class!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hiya John

    wow, its been all go again. Glad Maisy got all her parts but isnt it typical she goes through all that then blows a tyre after. I’ve done the stranded on the side of the road thing a few times over the years. Those really are the longest waits ever counting down to the rescue services! I’m glad you got through it unscathed though and eventually got to the venue. I had a good look at the photos, lovely to see some very familiar faces who looked like they were having a ball though there was one rather disturbing picture… Let’s just say it’s a darn good thing we all know what that box of gloves Deano was holding were really for lol.

    Think you need to chill for a day or two after all that, just you, Maisy and no RAC ;)

    Take care and wrap up warm, very big hugs, T x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had a lovely time getting crafty at the weekend workshops and recommend everyone to book up, have a go and spend a few fab hours being creative and helping to raise money for such a good cause! Glad you and Maisy are up and running again! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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