Tuesday, 12 April 2011


I'd always had it in my head that before my hubby got really tired of wet canvas and damp, we'd buy a campervan. I love tents; I love putting them up; I love the smell of canvas and crushed grass. But we are getting older and it's the crawling in and out of the place that he doesn't like, and I must say it gets more and more difficult as the years go by.

A temporary fix to this problem has been an innovation which means that we pump up 4 vinyl air beds, tie them together with two purpose-made straps and concoct a slightly-higher-than-ground-level-bed when we go camping these days. I always make sure it's extra-special comfy with a duvet under us, followed by a fitted sheet and then as many duvets as we need to keep us warm. In recent years we have been warm as toast most of the time, despite the fact that our latest tent has a rather inferior grade of innner tent fabric - hence heat escapes more readily.

I must explain that we had to buy a new one - completely at the expense of the Council's insurers - after a dog waste bin collector for the Council chose to drive over our previous tent as it lay in the road airing after a particularly wet weekend.

I'd said to my nearest and dearest, "Don't put the tent on the road, someone will drive over it."

To which he'd replied, "Don't be silly, no-one would drive over that."

The dog waste bin man drove up to the tent - which wasn't necessarily a tent but a large amount of fabric lying in a pile in the road. We're talking about what is sold as a 5-berth frame tent (which as any camper knows will be just right for two!) He looked left and right and obviously couldn't see anyone and proceeded to drive over it. I was watching him through the kitchen window and just didn't have time to stop him. We live in a cul de sac so unfortunately for him, when he came back there were two very angry people standing in the road with yards of thick canvas in their hands and, shall we say, his progress was gravely impeded. A verbal - and nearly physical - altercation ensued the result of which was the purchase for us of a new tent.

I've digressed - sorry - but I thought you'd be interested. So we are at this point in our lives when we're not going to stop camping, in fact we're probably going to spend more time away now that I've retired. A campervan seemed like the obvious choice and I've been somewhat half-heartedly looking at ads. In the back of my mind I've had this dream that we might buy the right vehicle and have it converted to our own tastes. That would mean without the flat screen TV but with a shower, loo and a wood burning stove. But it's all been a daydream because I never do anything about it and you can't just decide one day and do it the next - it needs months of planning.

Well, bless my soul, if a converted van with a wood burning stove hasn't just turned up. It's within my price bracket but it's rather big - a converted transit - and I just can't see me driving that somehow. It has everything we would want as it was designed for winter camping. We may well view it as it's just a few miles north of the neighbouring town where I have my chemo. The danger is that we both fall heavily in love with it, woodburner and all. It's all very tempting.

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