Monday, 30 May 2011

The joys of caravanning (August 2010)

This is a post I wrote last year before I had set up my blog. We now have our campervan, but didn't at the time I wrote this.

Apparently the Brits have had a long-standing passion for caravanning. It used to mainly be the preserve of those with more than two brass farthings to rub together and prior to the 1960s wild camping was allowed around the UK with no problem. Holidays stopped during the 2nd world war and caravans were used as temporary ambulances or shelters. After the war caravanning became increasingly more popular and formerly secluded rural areas such as the lake district became clogged up on bank holidays.  During the 70s there was also a rise in static caravans and a corresponding demise in people choosing the touring option.
Today however the caravanning and camper van enthusiasts seem to have taken back the roads and are once again embracing the thrill of the open highway. Wild camping is no longer allowed unfortunately although it's apparently ok in some parts of Wales and Scotland.

Dr X has fond memories of his parent's VW back in the 1970s. It faithfully transported a family of 2 adults, 4 children and 2 dogs around the French countryside. His only grudge was that his dad made them keep the plastic covering on everything to protect it, which he feels spoilt the total enjoyment of it.

Now, 30 years later Dr X and I have put our name down (and paid a hefty deposit) for a VW California. It was fun picking out the different accessories, although  apparently I didn't show the right amount of enthusiasm for what type of tyres we should have. The price for a new van is eye-watering and we have to keep reminding ourselves that this is more than a vehicle, it is a very sophisticated mobile home which will enhance our quality of life. Well it had better do as we won't be staying in hotels again for a loooong time. The very kindly VW salesman told us that he had similar qualms buying his first home for £11,000 back in the 1970s. Not sure how this relates to us exactly but it was a nice story.

Now the long wait begins for us to actually get our van (from the factory in Germany) as due to the current level of demand we could be waiting for 2 or more months. In the interim we are stocking up on the essentials - pastel coloured melanin plates, food storage boxes and a whistling kettle for the hob. Dr X is carrying out the necessary research into the type of loo we should get ( something low enough to fit in the cupboard under the sink when not in use) and has also ordered a toilet / shower tent from a company who specialise in these in Australia.
We've decide to call our VW Harvey the RV. Apparently many VW owners name their vans which I think indicates the special relationship you develop with your vehicle.  We're looking forward to our first adventure - the first campsite, the first meal under the stars and our first night sleeping in the van up high in the roof compartment. I'm planning to keep a blog of our adventures in Harvey - Tales from the open road. I can't wait. Xxx

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