All the um-ing and ah-ing is over. We have bought the “Granvan” a Toyota Granvia. It has an automatic gearbox, sleeps the two us and our dog (the dog will (probably) get the best seat in the van). The van was previously owned by “Pusser and the long suffering Mrs Pusser”. They were reluctant to see the Granvan go……Having read “Pussers Progress” I got Mrs Kindog to perform the unenviable task of checking the PortaPotty, all OK, still sealed. Phew! We know Mr Pusser’s penchant for toilets and all things pertaining thereto.
We have got to have a real christening, our first cooked meal, first night in the wild. Well, we have visited a huge amount of internet web sites and shops to kit out the Granvan, and she now has a kettle – the most important item – and an array of pots, pans, cutlery, crockery, plastic storage boxes of every size and description but, alas, not one bottle of JD in sight. (YET). Fortunately Mrs Kindog is teetotal, so all you fellow motorhomers will be safe on the road. [Can’t afford to write anything about Mrs K’s driving otherwise I may not be mobile for a few days (at least).] Getting back to the first trip, do we stay local….or risk a venture to somewhere a little more daring. The thought of our first trip is …well exciting…nervy…it’s got to happen. I can see it now…we’ll get there and it’ll be ”I thought you put that on board “. I have already agreed, according to Mrs K, that it’s my responsibility to check everything and yes, if anything is forgotten it is my fault….(because, as always, if anything goes wrong it’s always the bloke’s fault). I can see it now….Mrs K will be navigating, and it’ll be “you should have turned left there – or you can carry straight on” just as we whizz past the turning! (I should explain, these were the directions I was given on one similar occasion… say no more. Thank heaven for SatNav.) We will update this tale as soon as we decide (i.e. Mrs K decides) to give the go ahead, on my decision as to the destination of our first adventure The all important test runWe have been looking forward to this equipment test since we bought the van last week. I talked my grandson into helping me tidy my workshop/garage, so that we could finish early and have a run out in the van as the weather today was glorious. We headed out to Hill Head, which overlooks the Isle of Wight and Southampton waters. Pulled straight into a parking spot, not as busy as I expected, we soon had the kettle out. After a bit of confusion trying to light the gas burner, we shortly had it whistling. Tea made, I dared to ask “Any biscuits?”. Mrs K, with a very large grin on her face, produced one of the many many containers that we had bought the previous weekend, full of fruit shortbread, with a look of “There! Told you so. I knew they would be very useful.” We settle down, all snug and cosy, Mrs K on the swivel seat with her Kindle, me sat in the rear looking out thinking “Well, this is great”, with a copy of “Pusser’s Progress” I had been given by the author, and Kindog looking out of the side door sniffing at anything and everything. I was soon asked by Mrs K “What bit are you reading?” as I coughed and choked with laughter (Mrs K having already read the book on her morning commute). I think Freud would have found Pusser an ideal case study with his interest in sanitary plumbing. After another cup of tea the biscuits were soon polished off. To ease my guilt I offered the container with the last two saying “These are yours”. Leaning back to take in the view, I thought “Got away with that one!”. Kindog and food are like lorry and trailer – not far away from each other. As the afternoon started to fade Kindog had made herself comfortable on the driver’s seat when an aroma that would have had Pusser’s nose twitching came from Kindog’s direction. Mrs K said “She needs a walk”, with the side door quickly opened and the smell still lingering we quickly washed the cups and stowed them away.
As we walked along the shoreline feeling very smug and happy with ourselves, having made a good choice with the “Granvan”, the Oyster Catchers and other wading birds feeding on the outgoing tide and the setting sun going down over Calshott point, we felt it had been a very good day all round. Over the Autumn Winter and spring of 2011 -2012 we used the Granvan a lot although we never actually spent a night sleeping in the van but had lots of very enjoyable trips out, we started to plan our holiday for 2012 to France. Our Grandson and his girlfriend wanted to come so I searched the internet for a good quality drive-away awning that would give separate sleeping areas and storage space for the extra equipment that would be required for the four of us and Kindog. Lots to choose from and at a cost which suited us we ordered it. I watched a video of erecting the awning, seemed simple and quite straightforward. As the winter passed and spring arrived, with all the necessary planning and route selection chosen, there was little else that we needed I had been looking on the internet for some chocks for the levelling ramps we had; there was a local company twenty minutes away selling them. I suggested we went over and buy them as it was Sunday and the weather was not too great, “OK lets go” Mrs K replied.
The motor home dealership had been trading for years but it had never really registered with me. We looked at the vans they had up for sale as we entered the showroom, all very nice but not what we had come for. Looking around the shop I found the chocks and a couple of other items we did not really require but bought anyway, and as we left Mrs K suggested we took a look at the motor homes. I agreed but said we are just looking! They were all a bit too big for us. Then we saw a Bailey 620 Approach and as we walked around it a voice said “Would you like to have a look inside?”
“We are only looking “ I said, but yes we would like to have a look – “ just a look” I said. Well, we looked and it would be a good sized motor home for us, but out of our price range as we had the Granvan and my Audi TT and there was no way they would take both as part exchange. “ Oh yes we will “ was the reply. Mrs K’s eyes lit up and I knew I was in trouble. The salesman had cast his line and we had swallowed it. Time for figures, but first I needed to see if it would fit on the drive. Yes it would – just. We now entered into a negotiating stage. I told him how much I wanted for the car and was not prepared to lower it. They had not seen the Granvan so would not give a value until it had been seen, but felt that if it was in good condition there would not been a problem. This would still leave us a bit short of the OTR price, also with an awning and reversing camera added the price increased, so some savings would have to be used.
So we went for some chocks and entered into a purchase of a new motorhome as long as the numbers on both sides could be agreed. Three weeks later we had a new motorhome and we were running around in my van I used for work. The bright side was that we had reduced our yearly insurance and road bills as we only had two forms of transport. This seemed, at the time, a good solution. The awning would still fit, but where we were going to put it was another matter, as it turned out the grandson and girlfriend had decided that they would not be coming. So we had all we needed, maps, Satnav an up to date book on the French Aires and only a few weeks to go before we were on our first motor home holiday.