Thursday, January 12, 2012


We, by we I mean the family, (more in a moment), need to give up living in the conventional brick and mortars way, and take to the open road!

A bold statement, but their is a lot of thinking behind this.  Best to start at the beginning.

The family unit currently consists of myself, formerly a long-term career soldier now retired after 35 years.  My partner, Mr's SA, a former Nurse, Care-Home Manager and Cafe proprietor, (Flower Shop Owner, Sandwich Round Lady, the list is endless..).  Charlie, my 12 year old Step-Son.  George, Tricia's 22 year old son, who decided to come back home and live with us, with whom I have a rather strained relationship, but I'm working on him leaving home again..soon! The dogs, Bridie a 4 year old Labrador and Lulu a 5 year old Patterdale/Border Cross Terrier, 8 chickens and Mr's SA's Mum who suffers from Dementia.

Over a number of years, particularly when the children were young, we camped; a lot!  We worked ourselves up to a veritable Sheik's paradise in the way of tents, complete with internal carpets, lamps etc.  The children were never allowed into the tent with shoes on, and Mr's SA was constantly brushing the floor to keep it "shipshape".  Plans were halted however for the next big project I worked on, two large tents forming an 'L' shape, one for sleeping in, one for living in.  The whole thing loaded into a trailer, with generators etc to make the whole thing self-sufficient.  This plan only ever remained an aspiration on paper, and thankfully never saw the light of day.

4 years ago, for no particular reason than we could, I hired a four berth caravan from Tilshead Caravans, Salisbury and after a very short lesson in how to deploy the thing headed to the North of England for our first Caravanning Holiday.  We've always loved the coast around Bamburgh and Northumberland and had chosen Springhill Caravan Park, near Seahouses as our first, and as it would turn out, only destination.  The Caravan site was perfect for us; a short walk to the beach for the dogs, clean and family friendly without being too over the top.  I wasn't perturbed by towing, having towed often in my army career, (I also enjoyed travelling the highway at a sedate 50mph - 60mph)  Our biggest fear, truth be told, was leaving the Caravan unattended at Motorway Services, having seen a Police Programme where a family did exactly that, only to return to the car-park to find the Caravan gone.

Caravanning was a revelation - driving onto the site, "into action drills" over in seconds and the kettle on in short-order.  How could that compare to deploying tents etc, a task often completed on my own and taking quite literally hours - I made a vow, no more Camping; Caravanning was the only way ahead.  Sadly, that first trip was slightly short-lived; Mr's SA was rushed by blue-light to Cramlington Hospital, having fallen ill on the third night, however she did recover to make the journey home.  Returning the Caravan a couple of days later we were almost seduced into purchasing our own, a Swift Conqueror 645 with a fixed island bed and all mod-cons.  We bumped into this caravan a number of times and almost succumbed, but eventually wiser heads prevailed and we shelved the plan. However we have been hooked ever since, and my slightly earlier than planned exit from the Forces, meant the opportunity was there to buy our own.

After much shopping around, last Saturday we paid a visit to the North-East Caravan Centre, and after wandering around their second-hand stock, (we decided early on not to buy new), found tucked in one corner nothing less than the same Swift Conqueror we'd looked at some 3 or 4 years before. I'll swear it is exactly the same, down to the chassis number and it must be 'fate', but I've been told not to be so stupid. Anyway, paid for in full, it is currently being valeted and will be collected by me in the next couple of days.

Now the discussion begins; can we really ditch everything to do with bricks and mortar living and take to the open road? 'yes' from me, wife is suddenly hesitating. I've pointed her in the direction and started to follow "Our Life in A Caravan" by another Blogger with a very similiar mindset to myself, I think.


  1. Hi, as you know we totally recommend you take up this life style, we started Aug 2010 and we are still loving it. Will look forward to reading more from you!

  2. Thanks for the comment, and I appreciate the fact that at least someone is reading it.