Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Campervan and the Festival...

 No British summer is complete without a festival or two. The great thing is no matter what your interest is, whether it's  music, cars , beer ,comedy etc etc there will no doubt  be some kind of outdoor show/festival to suit you.
  Anybody who has ever been to or seen on TV " Glastonbury" will be familiar with the vagaries of the British weather. You get thousands of people in a field in the rain and what do you get....."MUD".. Now here's where the campervan has the advantage over the tent as you are "up" out of the mire and as long as you packed you wellies ,you can be all clean and mud free inside.
  Also the most feared of all things at a festival are the "toilets". If you've ever had the unfortunate need to use one of these plastic coffins of doom you'll know what I mean. Festival rules dictate that the more people that attend the less toilets will be available/fit for use. So a portaloo within the comfort of you Campervan becomes the best thing you ever bought, as long as you remembered the loo paper.
  Assuming you don't intend to buy all your meals from the overpriced "food" vendors then you'll be needing to cook a meal for yourselves. Here again you will come up trumps in your van, as out of the wind and rain..(I did mention rain didn't I).. you can rustle up a simple  yet tasty meal without even leaving your seat. And you can't beat having chilled beer in the fridge and the luxury of being able to put the kettle on in the morning without getting out of bed.

  To be honest though one problem you may encounter with your camper when you mix over two tons of steel and rubber with a boggy field...yes you "WILL" get stuck. This summer when attending one VW festival the camping field more resembled a battle field with us getting stuck once getting in and three times getting out. Thankfully VW folk are a helpful bunch with plenty of people willing to give you a push when you get stuck(don't forget to do the same for others). Ironically the getting stuck in the mud made it more fun for Erin who kept shouting faster faster as we tried to plough through the quagmire.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Due South....

   If you enjoy camping in our green and pleasant Isle, you will be of a hardy breed who will come to expect our weather to be "variable". If you were camping for a week in mid summer, showers even a day of rain would be expected and we would just shrug our shoulders and show that British stoicism for which our nation is famous for.
   However the last couple of years I've noticed a change in our weather patterns, where cooler wetter summers are becoming the norm. This year has been the worst I can remember with records been broken for rainfall month after month and its still July. No matter what is causing this, the fact is spending a week camping (even in a Campervan) can become a miserable affair if it rains most days.
   So what do you do?..Well alas the reality is the further south you go the better the chance of good weather. But even the south west tip of Cornwall and Devon has had washout conditions this year and I know of dozens of outdoor events that have been washed out and even cancelled due to the horrendous conditions.
    It may seem treacherous to our wonderful British countryside but the only solution is to cross the channel going to France , Italy , Spain  in fact anywhere warmer than Britain. When you have children you quickly realise  that they want to be outside playing and not stuck in a damp Campervan playing on their Nintendo DS or watching DVDs.

   Of course such a holiday takes a little more planning , particularly if your Campervan is no longer in the first flush of youth. But with a good service a few carefully selected tools and breakdown cover don't be afraid of a little risk. Last year knowing the gearbox was dodgy and taking a spare  clutch with us we did 2000 miles down through France following the sun. Whilst Britain shivered in the rain and rioters rampaged through the cities , we were chilling on a French beach watching the sun go down.