Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Bailey Unicorn III Seville - Adventure one - day one. So far, so good!

Our first caravan adventure…….only 12 miles from where we live – the market town of Tavistock but it took some getting there. Our caravan is stored elsewhere, some distance away and the best route was to come into the city and out the other side.

We timed it perfectly. Evening rush hour through multiple road works and narrow coned lanes. And of course, let’s not forget the intense rain showers. Amazingly we managed to depart the storage site and arrive and set up between the rain showers. It must have been fate – the sun broke through each time. We’ll take it as a good omen!

There is so much to remember. I created check lists – one for departure or leaving a place. It had everything on it but as Eric Morecambe was fond of saying “not necessarily in the right order”. Hence our departure was delayed by a) forgetting how to switch on the motor-mover b) trying to use said motor-mover whilst the caravan handbrake was still on  c) positioning the jockey wheel so that the caravan wouldn’t steer sideways whilst being moved and so that the tightening arm of the jockey wheel would then be pointing downwards jamming against the wheel when the jockey wheel was lowered - it’s the simplest of things!

Arrival at the site just outside of Tavistock was rather simpler and surprising successful. We managed to level the caravan on a ramp successfully and get water, toilet, electrics and gas etc all switched on and functioning. Working out the fridge took a little time. Getting hot water a little more time than that and getting the heating on……..well that took a very long time and I have several more grey hairs as a result.
finishing the unpacking and deciding where the final bits and pieces go 

We managed to stow everything in the lockers and then promptly forgot where we had stowed things….oh how we laughed…….I think not!

But we are in. The caravan is level. The 230V is working. We have had our first meal. The caravan is warm, the water hot. The toilet works.

We worked it as a team. ‘Her indoors’ unpacked everything so I couldn’t find any of it. I sorted out all the systems and got the waste water pipes wrong so that no water would drain away. It took several minutes to work that one out. At one point I was fairly sure we had discovered an anti-gravity patch on planet earth because water was running back up the pipes in to the sinks.
First meal in caravan.....many more to come......

But hey, we didn’t crash, or watch the caravan run away under its own steam; nor did we kill anyone.  Although it was a grass pitch with just an electric hook up, it didn’t turn into a swamp with all of Friday’s rain. I’d say that was a good start. Adventure One – day one – so far so good.
The magic sound of a whistling kettle


Anonymous said...

Well done Steve and welcome to the world of caravaning! We've all been where there with the checklists etc. We once drove quiet a few miles with the caravan handbrake on.. Fortunately was stopped at some temporary traffic lights and noticed the smoke coming from the wheels. Its just like sailing, stressful at first but gradually confidence grows. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

PS:Your caravan looks fabulous.

steve said...

Thank you. We spent ages trying to find the one that was best for us. It seems very comfortable. Odd niggles. One bit of wood is separating away from its base which will require warranty work and a door catch that keeps jamming. A squeaky door hinge on the bathroom door; not properly cleaned in places when it was handed over. But these are minor niggles....well the wood separating isn't but we will get it fixed.

We planning on many adventures across UK and Europe. Our biggest issue is where to put the bikes and whether to get an awning or not. Do you have an awning with yours?

Anonymous said...

There are always minor niggles to sort. We've got a couple that need sorting after our last trip.

Our van is a bit shorter than yours (around 18ft overall). We have a "caravanstore" roll out awning. It stays fixed on the van and is very quick to deploy. We have one add-on side which provides a dry shelter over the door. On the plus side it's very quick and easy to erect. On the minus, if we added the other side's it would take as long as a full awning, but is not as robust.

We are currently considering a full awning as we often like to leave the bed made up and this would provide the extra living space to do it.

We would like a fixed bed van, but can't fit one on our drive. We leave the van plugged in ready to go at anytime. One of the benefits of it not being in storage. Occasionally if we are going to a show or event we'll hitch up and stay over rather than get a taxi.

steve said...

We are looking at a full awning. some friends have recommended kampa air pro; others the Isabella we are in a slight quandary at the moment.................