Saturday, 26 July 2008

We might hate it!

We have had dogs most of our life together and the vast majority of holidays have included our canine companions. So, camping, hired cottages, pony trekking and narrow boating have all been on the list of suitable activities/holidays. When Joe and I retired, mindful of a now reduced income, we bought our first caravan.

Welcome to the world of Ebay!

We hadn't got a clue what we were looking at. There before us were lists and lists of meaningless names, where do you start? 'Let's look for two berth vans only', click, instant filter, voila, two berths. More lists of meaningless names.
We bought the caravan mags but they were of little value because we didn't want new, we didn't want expensive - we wanted dirt cheap because this was an experiment, we might HATE caravaning.
We eventually bid on what we thought seemed a likely candidate and a good deal, a 16 year old Bailey Odyssey (see what I mean about silly names) with a good service history and ALL the kit.

We then drove to Bedfordshire in our dog-wagon, an ancient Suzuki Grand Vitara that just happened to have a tow-bar, to inspect the purchase and if satisfied, drag it home . Well we were satisfied so the caravan came home. Then followed a period of frenetic activity where we scrubbed and cleaned the old girl, sorted what kit we had acquired, worked out what kit we needed, found the local camping/caravaning suppliers, bought more gear, insured it, joined the Caravan Club and, booked a week away in Buxton.

May 2006, look out Derbyshire, here we come! We had never put up an awning before; I can tell you, it doesn't make for marital bliss! The Club site was in a dis-used quarry surrounded by woodlands that we had access to for walking the boys, great stuff. Two days into this caravaning lark, late afternoon, the heavens had opened and the wind and rain were lashing the van. We were sitting, feet up, reading, enjoying a cuppa, the dogs were contentedly asleep, "Why didn't we do this years ago, its great?", and so it was.

We used the old Bailey a couple more times before buying a better van. We traded my petrol auto Nissan Xtrail for a manual diesel Xtrail, added a tow-bar and we were off. No regrets, we have thoroughly enjoyed our late introduction to caravaning.

- just need to get the beige jackets and the panama hats and persuade Joe to wear socks with his sandals - JOKE - he already does! No, no he doesn't honest!

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