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Holiday Research

Hello there Kampers!

Over the last 2 months Kevin & I have been carrying our holiday research, as those of you who have been trying to contact us will attest.

This was partially due to spending 5 years working full time jobs and running Kev’s Kampers.  Kev has now gone part time in his day job to dedicate more time to our campervan business.  So we thought we had better try a bit of rest & recuperation to set us up for another busy Summer holiday season.

The full relaxation holiday was to Gran Canaria, all-inclusive 4* hotel jobby.  Wow! What a beautiful island.
It’s called the little continent as it has everything from sand dunes, where the nudists literally hang out, to lush green mountains.  The all-inclusive restaurant was great.  No thinking, “what are we going to have for tea?”  “Where can I buy the ingredients?” The only decision was, “what shall I put on my plate?” And “is my plate big enough?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, we did draw a strange comparison to camping.  On your average campsite each morning, you see a range of people wandering around in pyjamas, bed headed, scratching parts of their anatomy that should only be seen in private, walking to the amenities.  Although, they are in this vulnerable (wouldn’t normally be seen bra-less and without make-up) state, they make friendly eye contact and chirrup “Good Morning!”  But put people in a restaurant, dressed (albeit in less than pjs) and eye contact seems to be forbidden.  They are still half asleep, but for some reason not as friendly.  And don’t get me started on sun lounger hoggers!  It was a lovely, relaxing holiday though.

Our 2nd outing was to Jersey.  This was a return visit for us.  We spent part of our honeymoon there in 2010 and it’s where we fell in love with our first VW campervan – Frankie.

  

You HAVE to go.  What a gorgeous part of northern Europe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s like Cornwall and the Mediterranean rolled together with the best of the British weather.  Walking along the coast in early spring sunshine, seeing red squirrels and hidden sandy coves forced a tear from my eye.  (This is a woman who is dry eyed at Bambi and Dumbo – yes! Even the scene where Mrs Dumbo is in jail!)

Jersey is only 5 hours on a ferry from Poole, or you could go via the Euro-Tunnel to St Malo via our friends at Chateau Monfreville – great road trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what has our holiday research taught us?

  1. Everyone needs holidays – even us
  2. Campers are the friendliest people on the planet
  3. If you’re self-catering, plan your meals, take what you need with you
  4. If you’re not taking food, research where the local shops are – give your hard earned cash to local businesses – contribute to the local economy.

    We’re now energised and
    refreshed for another busy season, so until we blog again…..
    …..Keep Kamping! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Retro Fest Review!

We have attended many festivals and shows this summer, so here is our reminiscence of RetroFest…

3 days of dance, decadence and days gone by…

We’ve always been interested in yesteryear, so when we had the opportunity to exhibit at Retro Festival, we jumped at the chance.

The new venue of Newbury Showground is home from home for us as we also exhibit at the Royal Berkshire County Show each September.  Our set up day, Friday was thankfully dry and we managed to shimmy Dylan, Simba and a Morgan representing Richard Thorne’s self drive hire department onto the stand quite quickly.  As Kevin dashed back to the yard to see vans in and out, Maxine and her friend Meta, wandered off to see who else was there.  There were some beautiful clothing stalls, every era from 1940’s to 1970’s.  But then we found the food tent setting up…  A gin tasting session at the Silent Pool Distillery ensued – and very nice it was too…hic!

One of the great things about Retro Festival is the music on offer.  3 tents to be precise.  A Vintage tent with 1940’s music; after watching the amazing dancing in the 50’s music tent, we wandered over to the Ricky Tick 60’s stage, where The Small Fakers were performing.  We were soon joined by Kev, who promptly began to bounce around the dance floor like Tigger on blue smarties.

When we got back to the pitch at 11pm, it dawned on us that we hadn’t actually got round to setting up our sleeping arrangements.  Oops.  We hadn’t put Simba’s roof tent up before, but there’s nothing like putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.  Needless to say, it popped up like a favourite old storybook and we were in our pjs, tucked up in our sleeping bags by 11.45pm.

Saturday’s weather warmed up nicely and after another visit to the food tent (oh my word the flapjacks from The Wilde Bakery and pork pies from Rose Cottage Pantry were a-ma-zing) we were ready to meet our public. A busy day ensued and we decided to try out the Cabaret show in the Vintage tent for that evening’s entertainment.  Having only brought Kev’s Kampers promotional clothing with her, Maxine didn’t need much of an excuse to pop across to TODO Clothing and pick out a new frock for the occasion.  Everything from magic, to burlesque and harmonised singing made for a very pleasant time.

retrofest 2

Sunday came round and after a fry up in Dylan, we were ready to meet the day.  Kev dashed off again to see Enzo and Hermione back in, so Maxine took care of the stand.  Tea was shipped in by Bunny, bringing much needed supplies in the form of burgers and sausages (vegetarian option available).  Back to the 60’s tent in the evening for another northern soul session with The Flicks playing live.  The weekend’s partying was rounded off with a sing-song round the Phoenix Dubs’ camp fire.

Early Monday, it was Maxine’s turn to dash off to see Freddie in safely, leaving Kevin to load up Dylan on a trailer, (as wonderful as Kev is, he can only drive one thing at a time). Said trailer was kindly supplied by Lovell’s Trailers and Simba towed him home.

A great weekend all round – we’ll be doing that show again!  See you all next year 🙂

retrofest

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Dylan’s dash to Normandy

You may be aware that we recently brought Dylan, the 1972 Dormobile conversion on board. He’s not quite ready for his public yet, so we took some time to road test him – to Normandy, France and back – the long way.

The first leg was a dash to the Channel Tunnel. Our VW camper vans are classed as larger vehicles, Tip! You don’t have as much flexibility on Channel crossings, but they do give you a two hour window each way. Once we were in France we started off to Normandy, using a mix of toll roads (peages) and minor roads. It wasn’t long before Kev mastered the art of lining me, his rather short wife, up to the ticket/card machine on the Peage. Although, there were a couple of Forward! Back! Closer! Bloody seatbelt!! moments.

The great thing about camping holidays in France, is that you can sleep in many of the “Aire” service stations. Park spaces that give you privacy, with basic facilities such as toilets. Some even have electrical hook up. Now, not all toilets in French service stations are the same. Some are still a hole in the ground with two feet marks to show where to stand/squat. Tip! Make sure it’s not an automatically cleaning one – shimmy back too much and you may get an surprise akin to being “douched” by an errant garden hose on sprinkler!

We finally arrived at our destination – Le Chateau de Monfreville. This is an idyllic French campsite, run by our friends Paul & Zoe. Once a year we visit, offer our menial labour in return for food and alcohol. If you would like to find out more visit www.chateaumonfreville.com.

Kevs Kampers Blog Photo

Four days later and we’re touring France in Dylan again. Considering we hire our vehicles for 10 months of the year, we rarely get the opportunity to spend any quality time with our VW camper vans. But Dylan was a dream. It rained, thundered, shone, blew – some days there may have been more than 4 seasons in one day….. Yet, we were warm and dry. In fact, the weather makes the experience more enjoyable.

Once back in Blighty we visited Jimmy’s Farm (www.jimmysfarm.com) and Tiptree Jam Factory (www.tiptree.com) Then finished off with a trip to Southend on Sea.

A couple more tips:

  • Buy decent sleeping bags!
  • Get at least a 3 season one
  • If you have old sleeping bags give them to a homeless charity such as www.launchpadreading.org.uk
  • Take a tea towel!
  • Egg boxes are ideal for holding fiddly things in place such as eggs… lemons, bits of change etc.
  • Write a holiday journal – it will help you remember the happy times you had

Over a thousand miles in 9 days… we lost count of the smiles per mile 🙂

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Basingstoke Festival of Transport 2015

What an amazing day! This was our 4th year at the Festival of Transport. It’s a free family motor event. Lots of different vehicles from bygone ages, stalls, bouncy castles – you name it, it’s there. Even The Stig!

It’s always a bit chilly setting up at 7am, but with Enzo and his pals, the kettle is never far away. A few of us congregated at the gate. Bluebelle, Jemima, Freddie & Hermione were early birds and beat Kevin & Maxine to it (again).

Once everything was in its place, porridge, croissants, tea and coffee demolished, it wasn’t long before the vans started to attract attention. We’d fanned them in age order from 1966 splitties Honey & Bluebelle, 1967 splitty Katie, early bays 1970 Hermione & Jemima, then 1989 Joker Freddie and finally 2008 Brazilian bay Enzo. The Aston Martin at the front belongs to Grooms Day Too and was highlighting the fact that we’re going to start self drive classic car hire too.

Thank goodness we had owners Alan, Marcus, Richard, Kevin (another one), Jacquie & Ed to help as the onslaught of visitors was relentless! We loved it! So did the vans. The campervan shortbread made specially for us by Helen at A Basing Bakes sustained us though.

Kevs Kampers Blog Photo

As usual Stig misbehaved himself taking over control of at tank!! But Bunny kept him in check and at least he didn’t scare any children this year.

The draw for the half price hire was incredibly popular with Kevs Kamper team member Bunny & Bluebelle owner Alan in competition to collect the most slips. (sorry guys – we didn’t count them) The lucky winner, Matthew Turvey was announced on Monday night.

So, with sun & wind burnt faces (again – we never learn) we packed up our campers and trundled off home.

We’ll be back next year, so look out for the Basingstoke Festival of Transport at the War Memorial Park on the 2nd weekend in May.

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