First of all, I have to say a huge thank you to Andy who gave me a crash course in Campervan mechanics and had a good survey of my engine – I can tell you all about my distributor cap, spark plugs, air filters, rotor arms and points and timing. We even figured out why a red light has been flashing on my dashboard since I got the van. I was told it had “always flashed” but since discovered that Dougal was crying out for coolant! That could have been a disaster. I appreciate all your help Andy.
The oil cap arrived from Just Kampers but it didn’t fit so I’ve been searching the net for the correct part...the things you unearth when searching for VW parts. I’m now a proud member of the T25 80-90 Club (the 80-90 refers to years that the T25 was manufactured). And my search was not futile because the correct part arrived from e-bay 10 mins before I left for my first camping trip! Talk about good timing.
So, the first trip with Dougal took place and was relatively successful. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to take off and visit new places and be self sufficient. I had my nephew (J) and Skye with me plus lots of sunshine – woo hoo! We arrived late Saturday afternoon and had a recce of the site whilst I tried to figure out the right way to do things. I noticed that this site was quiet, peaceful and efficiently run – perhaps that is a good thing for the accomplished caravanner - but I was with a 7 year old and a dog and between us there was quite a bit of rule-breaking going on. Within an hour of setting up, J was told off by our neighbours for playing with a ball within our pitch – apparently ball games are only allowed in designated areas. Secondly, there are signs everywhere saying dogs have to be kept on a lead. Now, I completely understand that some dogs are excitable but Skye is an angel and completely obedient (also, she doesn’t like doing her business on the lead) so I had no choice but to let her off the lead for part of the walk. Oops – I hope no one noticed. When we were chilling outside Dougal, Skye was off lead lying by our sides until a woman crossed over our pitch to get to the toilets and Skye had a barking fit at her...did I say she was always obedient??? I was waiting for this lady to complain but thankfully she didn’t. The first meal went without a hitch – not so glamorous but who can beat fish fingers and pasta?
Later on in the evening, J and I put I-tunes on and were grooving around in the camper...we started with Barry White and moved onto the Reservoir Dogs compilation CD then J had a great idea to move the music outside and dance in the twilight. As we stepped outside, I had a strange feeling that what we were doing would be frowned upon – I swear there were no other sounds in the park...no laughter or music or chatter...and this was at 9pm! Much to the annoyance of J, I had to convince him that playing music outside was probably not a good idea. I didn’t want to be banned from the first campsite that I visited! On Sunday morning my dad visited the campsite and completely ignored the rule about “no visitors beyond a certain point” (you are supposed to park and walk) and drove straight past the guy on reception who was waving his hands. My sister-in-law arrived a few minutes later (to pick up J) and was told by reception to get my dad to park his car in the right place. To top it all, I checked out an hour later than I was supposed to...but the woman on reception was lovely when I explained it was my first camping outing! Ho hum...I’m probably not worthy of being a member of the Caravan Club!
The rest of the week has been really special as I’ve been catching up with my amazing friends - some who I don’t see often enough. I saw a quote on Facebook this week that sums up these friends “
I guess I should be helping him and that WAS my intention but there are so many fun things to do instead....This week, for example, I’m off to another campsite – one which comes highly recommended and I’m very excited about. This time it’s just me and Skye. I wonder if I will get on better than last week...Patrick the Polish Painter who made a start to the prep work this past weekend.