A Caravan called Kismet – Step 1
“Why on EARTH would we want to come to The Motorhome and Caravan Show?!!!!”
Our shocked reaction to our friends’ invitation to the NEC.
Our motorhoming buddies Helen, Bernie and Steve took it well. Even with the inherent implication that a tin can on wheels, fully equipped with musty sofas, uncomfortable beds and a potty, could be deemed a desirable holiday residence by anyone but a madman.
A camping holiday in Quiberon, Brittany, with the Seavets in 2012. London 2012, you remember that? The Queen’s Golden Jubilee? It rained. A lot. Luckily, Helen and Bernie were very generous with their motorhome, allowing us a much drier and more luxurious view of the rain. We sat in their awning, with lights, warmth and hot cups of tea. It was better than a tent.
Not everyone would choose to holiday with a bunch of septua- and octogenarians, but The Seavets (Senior and Veteran Windsurf Club) are one of THE most inspirational bunch of people I have ever met. They turn up in Quiberon in their caravans and motorhomes every year to windsurf. Few come from home; they spoke to us of international touring; of campsites where you could fall out of your mobile home onto a windsurfer; they caused the germ of an idea to form.
“Can we come with you to The Motorhome and Caravan Show?” we begged.
Helen, Bernie and Steve took it well.
So started our annual pilgrimage to The Caravan and Motorhome Show to scope out the motorhome of our dreams. One that would be available second hand in a couple of years, when we were ready. One that could accommodate all our windsurfers, bikes and a husband who is 6’6”. None of them did – but that California Dream of following the sunset with a surfboard on your roof is a tough one to shake.
The rivalry between factions is never so bitter as that between those with strikingly similar interests. Skiers and snowboarders; windsurfers and kite surfers; but there is none more so than that between Motorhome and Caravan owners. And Jeremy Clarkson expresses his hatred of caravans scientifically. He uses gravity – he pushes them off cliffs. Combustion – he uses explosives. Clarkson is not alone. It is a truth universally acknowledged. Caravans are not cool.
Helen, Bernie and Steve took it well.
Motorhome owners all, they said that they would probably still speak to us if we bought a caravan. The awful realisation was dawning that the answer to our capacity and height problems was not an uber-cool motorhome, but a caravan towed by our toy box. By which I mean our trusty Hyundai iLoad van, Big Blue.
The Arguments For;
A caravan is;
- Cheap – a new top-of-the-range caravan is approximately 1/3 of the purchase price of a new, basic motorhome. That translates into a couple of extra years we don’t need to work to afford it!
- Practical – a 7.5m pantechnicon (ie one big enough for us to live in full time) is not suitable for nipping to the shops, sightseeing and… more importantly, can’t get kit to windsurfing beaches down narrow, winding lanes such as those found in Cornwall!
- Economical – a large motorhome was not really an option as our only transport. If we opted for a caravan, we already owned a suitable tow vehicle, Big Blue, so didn’t need to buy another car; and we would need to tax, insure, fuel and maintain only one motor.
- Sensible – Why do large motorhomes tow cars? Why not just tow a caravan?!
The Arguments Against;
- “It’s just not cool”
This was looking increasingly difficult to justify. While motorhomes are perfect for moving on regularly or bagging free nights in an Aire or pub car park, our plan was to pitch up, stay a while, see the sights and windsurf. A caravan? Really – it was a no-brainer.
“We’re going to look at caravans at The Motorhome and Caravan Show…”
Helen, Bernie and Steve disowned us.
Thankfully, it was only for the day, as they were in the motorhome section at the NEC. We came back with a shortlist. It was quite short – a Bailey Unicorn Vigo was the caravan of our dreams. Mark could fit on the bed and stand up everywhere. Even in the shower!
A Caravan called Kismet – Step 2
If we hadn’t decided go to Shepton Mallet instead of Romsey to see the brand new Knaus Sportcaravan, we might not have decided to swing back via Webb’s to see both the tiny Sport and the big Bailey on the same day, by way of comparison.
If we hadn’t gone via Webbs, I might not have seen the 1 year old Bailey Unicorn Vigo tucked around the back. She came in the day before and smelled of two things; brand new and ‘bargain’.
“That won’t be here by the end of the weekend” said Alex, Webbs’ salesman. I believed him. After a couple of coffees, a bit of soul searching (Mark, not me!) we had signed on the dotted line. Whatever the weather, there was no tent for us in Quiberon this year!
We named her ‘Kismet’, which means ‘Fate’. And that, dear reader, is how we accidentally bought a caravan!