Monday, January 13, 2020

In The Beginning


Our adventures all started when my other half came home one Saturday afternoon in June - he longed to own a motorhome for for at least 5 years, I'd been dragged round motorhome shows, dealers and had magazine thrust in my face while trying to read a book, extolling the virtues of this van and then this van, we'd even hired one for a week to tour North Somerset and North Devon, this had made my mind up I didn't want a fixed bed, he finally decided that an Autosleeper would suit our needs down to the ground - he'd seen an Autosleeper Legend for sale at a very reasonable price. I dutifully went along to have a look at it, I'm not always this obliging but by now I'd caught the bug. We had a thorough inspection of it, it was old but well looked after and as hubby had been a mechanic in his younger said he could tinker with the Ford engine as he'd worked on these for years. We took it for a run and finalised the deal, we were to pick it up on the Monday.

There was great excitement in the Thomas household as we prepared to go and pick up the van. We brought her home, I don't know why vehicles are always referred to as female. I looked at the inside of the van giving it a good clean while hubby explored the engine and all the working parts. we had a bit of fun as the van came with an awning, we pulled all the pieces out of the bag looked at all the poles and with a lot of head scratching decided to put it all back in the bag never to emerge again except when a piece of aluminium pole was needed to make or alter something else.

Commitments of work and family meant that we couldn't get away until early September. By this time we'd equipped the van with all the basic equipment, we booked a CL, found in the Caravan Club book of sites, Ivy Cottage Farm near Oxwich in the Gower Penninsula.

We set off not without some excitement, our first of what was to be many adventures, in our motorhome. We arrived in the early afternoon and set up then explored the site, which didn't take long as it was only a 5 van site with basic facility, electric, a place to empty your cassette toilet and a toilet, no showers so we would have to use the van's bathroom. We decided to go for a walk as it was a beautiful afternoon and the campsite was near the coast path. We headed off in an easterly direction and soon came to Three Cliffs Bay, one of the places of interest on the Penninsula. We walked down on to the beach towards the sea, the tide was out so we went around the headland back towards the campsite which was situated set back from the cliff which now loomed above us. We found a footpath that led up the cliff towards our van. It was nearly dinnertime by the time we got back so we cooked our first meal in the van which we ate outside as it was a warm balmy evening.

The next day we caught the bus from the bus stop at the entrance to the campsite. We had decided to go Rhossilli and walk the coast path to Port Eynon. On getting off the bus we first took in the magnificent view of one of Wales iconic sites Worms Head and the vast expanse of Rhossilli beach. The coast path was somewhat more gentle than the one we usually walked, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path which as my better half is want to say has a lot of ups and downs. After a while we found a spot looking out to sea where we sat and ate our packed lunch. Then onward to Port Eynon another popular spot on the Gower with several campsites, a few small shops, cafe and a pub. We decided we needed some liquid refreshment so we enjoyed a couple a pints of real ale in The Ship Inn. Before this we had scrutinised the bus timetable to make sure we wouldn't miss the bus as these were few and far between. On arriving back at the campsite we cooked dinner but this time ate in the van as the weather had closed in.

On Sunday morning after breakfast we listened to the Archers Omnibus our usual Sunday morning no matter where we are. Afterwards we started talking about what I wanted to do for my 60th birthday. I wanted to spend the day with the family but wouldn't mind going for a holiday in Italy, Puglia in the heel of Italy sprang to mind as I'd been watching Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes some of which was set in Puglia which had captured my imagination the place and the food. Now I didn't say I wanted to go in the motorhome just that I would like to go there however I got there, but hubby took it that I wanted to go in the van he blanched somewhat as she was getting on a bit and the back axle was to quote hubby like an orchestra in the back. We had sold a property earlier in the summer and after sorting our finances out there was a little money left so he got on the phone to our local caravan and motorhome dealer and asked if he had any Autosleepers in our price range for sale. As it happened one had just come in, so we arranged to call on our way home the following day. For the rest of the day we walked on Oxwich beach sat outside the Oxwich Bay Hotel and enjoyed a couple of pints before walking back to the van on the coast path.

Monday morning we set off home planning to stop at 3A's caravan and motorhome dealer. When we arrived at 3A's we were quickly seen and shown an 2000 Autosleeper Executive which had just been brought in. It was just what we wanted, we sorted all the paperwork and were told we could pick it up on the Wednesday. They wouldn't part exchange our old van as it was too old, we would have to sell it privately. We returned home in anticipation of picking up our new motorhome on Wednesday which will be another story.

Rhossilli Bay

Three Cliffs Bay

Port Eynon 

Worms Head


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