In May 2015 my husband Darren, our friend Shirley and I toured round Vancouver Island for a month. Two weeks after we had returned home Darren suddenly announced that he’d enjoyed our tour so much that he’d decided he wanted another adventure and suggested we could use a small pension pot to either buy a motorhome and tour round Europe for a year or buy a narrow boat and explore the canals in the UK. There’s never a dull moment with my husband!
After a short discussion we decided on a motorhome, having never set foot in one, he sold the plane he’d built 10 years ago instead of using our pension fund to help pay for the trip and the rest of the cost went on our overdraft.
We’re prone to making rash decisions. Twenty two years ago we decided to have a go at building a house after a friend left a leaflet for a self build company on our lounge floor. It was a impulsive decision and we were extremely shocked when a neighbour knocked at our front door as the ‘For Sale’ sign was being hammered into the ground and offered to buy our house there and then for cash as long as we could complete the sale within two weeks, which we did. We had nowhere to move to so we rented our house from our buyer until we found a site and then we temporarily moved in with Darren’s wonderful parents.
Once the ground works were completed we bought a small four berth touring caravan and moved into that while we built our house (we’d intended living in a static caravan on site until the company told us that it wouldn’t fit down the lane, drat!) the caravan was so old that the top bunk of our children’s bunk beds was just a sheet of material with two scaffolding poles running through it, they rested in hangers in the wall. Darren removed the toilet and basin from the tiny bathroom, made a ‘drainage’ hole in the floor and covered the walls in blue plastic sheeting which became our shower, we had a make shift kitchen outside in the awning. Very classy!
Thank goodness for our wonderful neighbours Jez and Jayne and their two little girls. Jayne kept us happy by plying us with home baked cakes and coffee and provided me with a sympathetic ear when it got a bit much living in a teeny space with two young children. Her husband Jez was a rock, he was constantly helping us with one thing or another, it must have driven him insane hearing the regular call of “Jez, we’ve got a problem!” from over the fence but he never once refused to help us. They both kept us sane and helped us to see the funny side of things when things were a bit hectic and our four children kept each other entertained.
Our caravan was old and flimsy, one morning we woke to find our duvet had frozen to the wall and the water had frozen in the kettle. We moved into our unfinished house when our fan heater suddenly went up in flames! Amazingly we sold the caravan when we’d finished using it but as the caravan was being pulled into position to enable us to hitch it to the buyer’s car, both the handles came off in the buyer’s hands! Eeek! Luckily for me he still took it because at that point it was blocking the gate and I needed to get the children to school.
Fourteen years ago we moved to a cold, damp house which had mould on the walls (it was so damp our youngest son dug out a deep impression in one of the bricks next to his bunk bed, with his fingers). We hoped to be able to replace it with a new, warm house. While we were applying for planning permission (which took a very long time) Darren built a (warm) workshop and set about building a Vans taildragger plane so he could learn to do aerobatics! It was a beautiful plane.
Anyway I digress! Over the next few weeks we watched LOADS of YouTube clips which reviewed LOADS of motorhomes and we trawled through hundreds of websites which gave opinions on various motorhomes.
Eventually we decided we either wanted a Carthargo, Dethleff or a Frankia ‘A’ class motorhome and dithered between the three of them, we’re good at dithering.