We collected the campervan on Tuesday the 15th of October. The whole process of researching, trialling, sourcing, buying, financing and, finally, collecting this van has taken way longer than I thought and I became impatient several times along the way – especially as I saw the Summer weather disappearing and being replaced by Autumn. However I now realise that all of this was just part and parcel of the journey. The bigger picture is all about moving into the next chapter of our lives and the van is just one part of that. (We’ll come back to the ‘bigger picture’ at a later date).
On Tuesday we were given the ‘handover’ by Shaun at Nick Whale Motorhomes. He went through everything in detail. He had to explain everything quickly as we were supposed to be in London just a few hours later running some focus groups for a new luxury shampoo… After two hours packed full of explanation, tips, warnings and advice, I got in the driver’s seat and set off home (with Sara following in her car). We parked the van up and went to London. The rest of the week was a blur – mainly because our little vineyard needed to have all the grapes harvested. That was finished on Friday and we could finally have a look at our new purchase. However, it was now dark – and raining. So, rather optimistically, we decided just to book somewhere for the Saturday night and just go – on the basis that we’d probably learn more if we just got going (rather than reading all the manuals etc.) On the whole I’d say that was the right decision…
We had joined the Caravan & Motorhome Club (camc.com) as I thought that we might use their sites at some point and they also offer insurance (which we signed up for). We rang round some local ones. They were all fully booked (or waterlogged) or closed for the winter. I remembered that we’d had a pamphlet of ‘all year round sites’ free with a CamperVan magazine. We couldn’t find the pamphlet as Sara had, helpfully, thrown it away. I retrieved it from the wheeliebin and scanned it. The only site even vaguely local was Tudor Caravan Park in Slimbridge. I used their website to check availability and booked us in (£22 for 1 night with electric – time will tell whether it’s good value or not). On Saturday, Sara was on a perfume-making course all day so I got the van ready and then went to CaravanStuff4u.co.uk which is near us in Hanley Swan. It’s a really well-stocked warehouse full of everything you need for camping, caravanning and motorhoming. I started walking round, picking up bits and pieces, then had to go back to the entrance for a trolley as I couldn’t carry it all. I bought a folding dog bowl, two chairs, a dog peg and lead, various chemicals and water treatment tablets, levelling chocks etc etc. I went home and loaded it all into the van plus some clothes, put some cat food out for the cat, locked up – then Bowie the Dog and I jumped in the van and set off. We collected Sara from Bourton on the Water and made our way to Slimbridge. To see how that trip went click here.