We've had the most glorious weather this weekend, which has meant three things, BBQ, picnics and a spot of painting. Here are the results...
Monday, 4 April 2011
Our very first caravan outing. We opted to take Helga in all her pre-refurbished 1980s glory, mainly due to Liberty being not quite ready but also to spend some much needed quality time with Helga (a bitter winter has meant she’s been quite neglected of late). She did a fine job. To provide some moral support and ‘some on the job training’ Ma and Pa (and Margaret, their dog) came along for the trip. As longstanding members of the Caravan Club, they were also kind enough to research and book the site – a little Certified Location (CL) just a mile or so west of Seahouses and about 3 miles south of Bamburgh. We set off about noon from my parents house in County Durham and arrived at Westfield Farm a little after 2pm. The site was perfect - cute and quiet, occupied by only two other vehicles (and thee billy goats). It didn’t take too long to settle in, with Pa showing J the ropes.
Turns out there’s not much going on of a Saturday night in Seahouses so we opted for a take away supper of chips and curry sauce.
Thankfully the weather’s been very kind, it’s been a bit nippy but the sun has been out for most of the weekend – it does mean J’ll have to wait until our next adventure to hear the drumming of rain on the roof. We had no problems packing her all up for home - all done and dusted an about a half hour. Can’t wait for outing no.2…
I’ve wanted a caravan for years. Years and years. I’m not sure why, I’ve always been more the city breaker than the happy camper but I find something really charming about tiny little homes on wheels. The thought of carrying, snail-like, all the comforts of home with you, wherever you go is a heartening one.
About three years ago, as a job contract came to an end I had the idea of starting my own little caravan refurb business with grand intentions of buying lots of tiny old, unloved, battered and bruised vans, which I’d bring back to life with some elbow grease and a lot of TLC, making them pretty enough to rent out for festivals, photo shoots and weekend trips. As it turned out, I landed a marvelous job looking after a collective of amazingly talented creative businesses and practitioners (housed within the Mushroom Works and Brick Works Studios in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle) and the caravan business idea was shelved.
But thoughts of pretty caravans just kept coming back to me.
Three years later and it’s all taking shape. I’m two caravans richer and a Laravan masterplan as long as my arm. It all started with Liberty. A 1980s ACE ABI Marauder. She’s a corker, currently being stripped out and painted ready for the summer. We’ve painted almost all the interior , have added some vintage features and recently bought about 20m of a lovely red Laura Ashley fabric to help make her really pretty. Making the seating covers has been pretty daunting, using my tiny sewing machine, I’ve not sewn anything of this scale before and this is the first time I’ve sewn zips into anything – but it all seems to be going to plan (so far).
Helga was a Christmas present from ma and pa (such a good Christmas present! She’s the perfect twin to Liberty (also a 1980s ACE ABI Marauder).
The ‘vans are slightly different, especially in their interior layout
DRAWING PLAN OF INTERIOR
So, two ‘vans and nothing to tour pull them with. Several weeks of eBay searches, a very long ‘watch list’, a few local viewings, many lost auctions and a trip to West Yorkshire later and we have ourselves a lovely little Vauxhall Astra, complete with duel fuel and tow-bar. A little cart before the horse, you might say but all’s worked out well – the Astra does a fine job and will no doubt pull the caravans from A to B marvelously.
A few years ago good friends of ours, Kate and John sent me a bespoke birthday card with a caravan on it – they named it Laravan – and it kinda makes sense, so in their honour that’s what I’m naming my wee collection of caravans . Welcome to the tales of the Laravans…