Facebook status update 5 Aug 2013 ”I’m thinking about buying a camper van. I’m not sure if this is the best idea I’ve ever had or if I’m having some kind of midlife crisis… What do you think?” Hundreds of words of encouragement from my reckless and irresponsible friends flew in but something in the back of my mind was cautious… I’d never even driven one or slept in one, what was I thinking?
Fast forward four weeks later and there I was, behind the wheel. I’m a woman of action see! I can’t deny I was a little bit terrified, this vehicle was older than I am and its dials and machinery reminded me of my eccentric grandpas 1970’s motors. Despite the concern, in no time at all I was whizzing off into the unknown in fourth gear. I love planning adventures with my daughter. She’s actually only 3 but I sometimes forget that and we have managed a lot of exciting explorations together, just the two of us. So, here we were all of a sudden in the drizzly British September rain, ABBA on the CD player and enveloped in a big cosy orange tin. It was like some sort of twisted pricilla queen of the desert dream.
So, itinerary wise, we chose to head North to Ilfracome and a lovely little site that had been recommended, ‘little meadow’. It didn’t disappoint. The views were stunning and the site was simple but well equipt with a natural real camping feel and none of that cheesy plastic holiday park nonsense. Adventures and day trips were spontaneously planned and carried out: Rock pools in Croyde, Watermouth castle, Exmoor wildlife park, A little train journey in exmoor, Barnstable museum etc… Technically speaking, hooking up to the electricity and working the cooking gas and water was easy peasy.
Emmy attempted to climbed trees and make friends with (annoy) the neighbours while I would whip up a storm of a feast in the kitchen. A little forward planning and the menu was excellent. (I had pre cooked and frozen bolognese and stew for 2 nights) so heating them through with pasta or rice was effortless but smelt and tasted amazing. The dining table came out for dinners or when we needed somewhere to do colouring in!
Then as the sun set on our lovely little days out we got cosy and ready for bed. With the roof popped up there was plenty of room and it felt quite palatial for the two of us. I had brought our duvets as Im a big fan of getting snugly and we were warm and comfotable with no need for heaters or hot water bottles despite it being a bit grey outside. As it got darker, we told stories and drank hot chocolate / wine as applicable.
The coastal breeze surged through the trees and we drifted off to sleep and usually didn’t wake up until 8am! This, let me tell you is a small miracle as at home I am usually woken by my small person tickling my feet before 7am. Mr Orange has a special hold over you and I honestly slept so soundly and contently.
Our little orange chariot got us everywhere and sheltered us from the fog and mist of exmoor. To pull over and make a cheese sandwich and a warm cup of tomato soup was just such a pleasure. These memories of our wendy house on wheels will stay with me forever and I am so grateful for the chance to whet our appetites. I still covet the idea of having my own VW parked outside the house, but in my heart of hearts I know that never going to happen.. Having O’conners on speed dial is the next best thing! Stop thinking about it and DO IT! Thank you!!