Category Archives: Our Camper Van

When two became one

Our adventures continue and, so far, we have only spent a maximum of three nights in the van at one time. We have enjoyed the peace and freedom that has given us. As you can imagine, it is a small space to live in. We have found it has been perfect for a short but now we are trying 9 nights; 2 will be off grid.

So how are we going to cope with that amount of days. Will we still be talking when we get home or will we be selling the van and saying this isn’t for us 🤨. All very good questions that we will hopefully be able to answer.

When we set off on Friday, I was super impressed on how Chris had made the van look so tidy. The weather wasn’t looking good so we did need to have some extra clothes for this reason. I still packed far too much but plan to change that this year with a book called Project 333. I just haven’t had the mindset to start that one yet. Our fridge was full and the microwave had been converted to a larder. 

We didn’t leave until 10 and as we can’t get into most sites until round 1:30 p.m, we decided to take advantage of Chris’ birthday present; his membership to National Trust. We stopped off at Stourhead, a beautiful house and gardens. The weather wasn’t kind to us; heavy showers with some hailstones thrown into the mix, but we were able to view the house and take a quick walk round the gardens. Stourhead, we will be back and will appreciate the gardens much more.

We then headed for the first of our stopovers, Old Oaks in Glastonbury. We were staying here for 4 nights, the longest we had ever stayed so we had a new addition to the camping experience; a new awning. This was exciting but also very daunting.

We are still very new to the world of campervan life but we are slowly getting into a routine. I’m fairly confident about hooking up the electric and I’m slowly learning about filling up with water. Lots to learn about putting the heating and water on inside of the van but I can get on with making the first cup of tea. This can be done in around 10 minutes. When we put in our order for the awning, we were told it would take 10 minutes to erect. We were doubtful, and it took us longer than that to find where we needed to pump it up. This must have caused some amusement with our neighbours! I did have confidence that Chris knew what he was doing, and after an hour,  our extension was almost complete. I left Chris to make some adjustments whilst I went in search of some food. On my arrival back, the awning now had some chairs in and we were able to enjoy our first meal outside (me with my coat on).

The awning is a very welcome addition for our experience. We will be able to enjoy eating and drinking outside along with making use of the barbecue, have somewhere to store our shoes and umbrellas and have some room for me to do some exercise if I feel the need. I’m sure that it will get easier to put it up. Let’s hope we can take it down now!

Our extension

See you next time to see how our adventure went, my thoughts on the campsites we stayed in and if we actually can survive living off grid!

These are the days of our lives

So we have our camper van and our dreams become reality. We picked it up on a wet November day from the dealers and spent the night there. For two people who never slept under the stars in canvas before, it looked a bit daunting but 4 months later, and despite it being winter, we have had a total of five road trips and spent a lovely lazy Sunday at the New Forest, where we had breakfast lunch and afternoon coffee and cake.

This weekend, celebrating Chris’ birthday before the big one, we have only travelled 19 miles to stay at the wonderful Concierge Camping. We stayed here for New Year after managing to book a cancellation and had a fantastic time. It is a bit different to the other sites we have stayed in, which have all had excellent facilities but have a lot more pitches. This one is a smaller park with 27 spacious pitches plus some gorgeous safari lodges. The washrooms are fantastic with added music being played; today’s music inspired this blog post. I feel like these are the days of our lives now.

I am sat writing this post feeling like I’m in my own little world. This site does make you feel secluded but the camper van experience has actually made me feel that. Yes, you do see a lot more people than at home but our winter experience of van life has made us experience freedom and peace. It has also forced us to go out and do things after a tiring week at work. At the beginning of December, in minus degrees temperatures, we stayed near Winchester, travelled into town by bus and visited Winchester Christmas markets. Normally we would have chosen to stay in our home and only venture out to put the rubbish out. Hello New World!

This weekend, we have taken the bikes. This is a bit frightening for me; I’m not much of a cyclist, more of a plodder and don’t like cycling on roads. First  day and we thought we would find the pub we were having lunch at the following day, go on to find a farm shop and then find a place with Alpacas. Let me tell you, I am very unfit. I could not get up those hills. New resolution starts Monday. Time to get fit. Due to my stopping and moaning, the Alpaca centre had closed but we did get see them. They are so cute and we plan to go alpaca walking soon. I did get back on the bike again on Sunday and we cycled into Bosham. Managed the ride there where we bumped into a lovely couple who told me I could get my bike converted into electric. Watch this space….

Due to my lack of fitness, we walked 15 minutes to a very busy pub for Sunday lunch which was amazing. I have to say most of our weekends so far have featured eating a lot. Chris tends to be in charge of breakfast and that is normally a good old fashioned English breakfast. We actually bought some local eggs in the pub this weekend and they went down very well. We do have full cooking facilities so do try to cook several dinners in the van. This can be a mixture of our precooked home made food plus some convenience foods. This weekend, we tried Paxo meat free burger mix. All I could think about was sage and onion stuffing.  It might look similar but it was delicious served in one of the best soft rolls purchased from the farm shop we stopped at on our bike ride.

Making burgers is a sticky affair, and whilst we have running water in our van, we do take advantage of the camp sites’ washing up rooms. This was ideal too for preparing my burgers. There was constant hot water for my hands. I have to say, whilst we were waiting for the arrival of the van, Chris mentioned that we would use toilets, shower rooms and washing facilities on sites, I was horrified. Why wouldn’t we use our own. Now I understand, and although I make use of our own toilet during the night, I will use the facilities on the campsites. We are spoilt in this particular campsite; lovely hand wash in the toilets, shower gel and shampoo in the showers and washing up liquid in the dishwashing area. One facility I have ignored but after getting oil on one pair of jeans and then mud on another, is the laundry room. Note to self; pack some washing powder.

Other facilities at this site is a bar area, a well stocked shop and also on-site Notso – a restaurant and takeaway selling Japanese street food. Fizz Friday was spent in the bar drinking and chatting to other campers whilst eating grilled chicken yakitori and a wagyu burger. What a brilliant start to the weekend. We finished off the weekend, eating ice-cream and watching the final laps of the new F1 season in the bar.

As we come to the end of our weekend, we can start our working week knowing we will have other weekends to look forward to and we will also try living in in the van for 10 days. Now that will be an interesting experience.

So cute

The Dreamer and the Princess

Once upon a time, a long time ago (well January 2022), the Dreamer took the Princess on a road trip. They set out early for the 3 hour journey along with their protective masks 😷 to protect them from the evil pandemic to look at carriages for going on holidays.

The princess was only going along to make sure the dreamer did not make any rash purchases. She liked her own comforts: en-suite bathrooms, drinking facilities and a comfy bed. Someone making her bed in the morning and cleaning the bathroom floor was much more appealing then literally making your bed from scratch.

The Dreamer had been researching different carriages for a long time (he was very thorough with his wants), and once in the showroom full of sparkly carriages, led the Princess to the one he had chosen. The Princess does get a buzz out of the smell of new carriages so did feel a bubble of excitement as she stepped into this shiny one. Inside, a compact living area greeted her. There was a small dining area, a kitchen with a hob, oven, microwave, fridge and sink. When travelling, you actually would be taking your kitchen sink! At the rear of the carriage, was a seating area. The dreamer opened a door to what he knew would be the dealbreaker; the bathroom, consisting of a toilet, small basin and a shower. 

The Princess can often lack a bit of imagination so the next job was for the Dreamer was to share his visions. He had the Princess building the bed and then after opening the back doors, they both jumped onto the bed. “Imagine the sunsets we would see as we drove around the kingdom” 🌅. Now the Princess had been pulled in to the dream and she left the showroom feeling quite excited.

A few days after the adventure, the Dreamer announced that maybe rather than a moving carriage, a static carriage might be the correct investment. The Princess had stayed in these as a young Princess so was secretly excited about this change. A holiday home to visit. Not wanted to sound too eager, she paused before agreeing it would be a great idea. That idea lasted 10 minutes before the mobile carriage was declared the winner – this was the Dreamer’s dream.

The Princess in this story, despite her need for her own privacy, isn’t a diva. She insisted that the Dreamer work out a budget for this expense. He took on the challenge and hid himself away in his cave. After what seemed a lifetime, he emerged from the black hole with his plan. The Dreamer had various timescales and budgets to suit the dream. The Princess was impressed so it was agreed that they could order the new carriage.

The month was now February and as the promised date for the new carriage was September (it turned out that these carriages were in high demand), the Dreamer and the Princess were able to take to the skies in a flying carriage and enjoy the luxury of having food cooked for them and beds made up. The Dreamer carried on with his intensive research and various gadgets and gizmos would turn up and he would insist they would be needed. The Princess did not have the same buzz yet; she needed to be able to see the carriage before that would happen.

The summer was hot 🥵 and September approached but without any news on the carriage. That was a good thing as there wasn’t any home for the carriage to go into. The other problem was the intended holiday in October – there wasn’t a carriage to go in so new plans had to be made. News did get through to us that particular week that we would be able to collect our shiny carriage the following month.  With four weeks to go, the Princess did not think that the Dreamer could have the carriage’s home ready in time. Despite rain and winds, the Dreamer, who had a better vision then the Princess, worked day and night, and the home was set up. 

So it was, early on a Saturday morning in November, we left home to pick up the new carriage which would be the start of many new adventures.

The Princess learned that like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, that dreams that the Dreamer dared to dream, really do come true.