Having successfully camped out at home a week earlier, we decided to do it again (and so did The Great British Camp Out team). This time, we decided to move the van onto the field, so that we could watch the sun setting over the Malverns.
The last time we put the van on the grass at home (back in October!) we got stuck and had to tow the van out, so it was with some trepidation that we drove it down the field towards the vineyard. Luckily the last few weeks have been warm and dry so the ground had hardened up sufficiently.
We hooked up to to the outside electricity point, wound out the awning (then tightened it back in a little to stop it flapping if it got windy), added our lights and bunting, got the chairs out and while Sara raided the fridge in the house for food, I set about building the barbecue that had been bought for my 60th birthday by our friends Pete and Charmian. We lit the bbq and waited (about an hour!) for it to cook some burgers and sausages. While waiting the sun did set and the sky was an amazing shade of orange and pink – beautiful.
Then it went quite chilly quite quickly. So we retired inside and watched TV. In the morning, after tea, then coffee, we packed away (we’re getting quite quick at this now) and moved the van back up to the parking area.
Every time we use the van, we learn a little more. We keep a list of things we need to add to it. This time we decided to get a groundsheet to put on the ground under the awning. I’ve noticed that most campsites ask you to use a breathable one so it doesn’t kill the grass.
Things that we are really pleased with:
1.) The van itself. I think we chose a good one. The layout and design is really good. It suits us. We’re glad we got one with 4 belted seats, and with the two captains seats that you can walk between to get to the back. Having a toilet has also been essential. The ‘levels’ indicator panel (water, waste water, battery) is great (wish there was a way we could include gas too!) The van is not bad on diesel, and quite comfortable to drive (although the gearbox is a bit notchy).
2.) The TV. Wasn’t sure if we’d ever use it. So far, we’ve used it (or the built-in video player) nearly everywhere we’ve stayed.
3.) Having a fixed bed. Actually the bed isn’t fixed, it’s made up of two bench type seats and a table at the back. But because we’ve got the two seats in the middle of the van – and the table, we can leave the back set up as a bed. Saves lots of time setting it up.
4.) The little Bluetooth speaker has made playing music, or the radio, from our phones, easy.
5.) The Le Creuset Zen kettle. It was expensive, but we love it (especially Sara). A little bit of luxury.
That’s it for now. Will add to this list as and when we use the van again…