We're slowly working towards the reality of living full time in the Van, and have just begun another part of the "trial" runs. From my point of view these are essential to make sure we can operate out of a "micro" home.
But to explain further we need to take you back slightly.
We took the Van to France in July and early August for a holiday, and despite the wet weather, enjoyed ourselves. We allowed ourselves a few days to work our way back to the Channel Ports and picked out from the internet a caravan site called "Fred's Place" in Normandy. The write up in UK Campsite was fine, as was the owners website.
We arrived on the site at roughly the agreed hour, 5pm to be met by nobody, not a soul. Unless you count a rather friendly dog, a Cockerel with a limp and two goats. The site was grassed, with continental hook-ups, but very overgrown. Dotted about here and there were various older caravans in different states of dilapidation. The shower block seemed to have been badly effected by the recent storms judging by the amount of standing water on the floors, together with a large pile of pigeon poo in one corner. No amount of hammering on doors could raise the owner, who's car was in the drive, and in the end we made a slightly relieved exit and found a site elsewhere. We later sent an email to the Dutch chap who administered Fred's website, saying we were a little concerned, (Mrs SA was worried that Fred might have taken ill), but he assured us all was well and Fred was fine.
However the long drive back set us to thinking; it started with a "let's go back and offer to look after Freds place, in return for free pitch and electric", this stems from Mrs SA coming out in a rash when she sights a business opportunity going begging. The conversation then turned to the fact that there must be lots of places in the UK looking for Wardens, which, as it turns out, there are!
We started with an obvious place, the Caravan Club, who advertise for seasonal wardens, with a selection process that begins in September. However the whole thing seemed a little overdone for my taste, and a bit too Regimental. I then looked on the UK Campsite page, which advertises seasonal warden opportunities in abundance.
The deal seems to run along the lines of, retired or reasonably self sufficient couples, with there own Caravan, who would be willing to work a couple of hours a week, or cover for two days a week, in return for a free pitch, electric etc. Locations are as varied as there are Caravan Sites. Variations then include more hours but with some sort of pay.
I then produced a short list of sites that were looking for temporary wardens during the 2013 and sent enquiry emails to them all, about 6 in total. Those we excluded included those where they wanted 40 hour plus a week commitments, were too far South, not dog friendly or Adult only sites.
On a positive note, everyone replied and we were encouraged to submit CV's, which were long on experience of life and a little short of experience as Wardens. No matter, we settled on a site not too far from Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, which is mainly Statics, with pitches for 10 Tourers. The owner, it turns out, wanted someone as soon as possible, which may not suit us currently. We then travelled down on a Thursday to spend a weekend on the site.
Much discussion then ensued; understanding what the owner was looking for is key, and on balance this site probably needs more than we are prepared to give, in return for little reward, we are also determined not to rush into anything. Mr O, let's say, wants effectively a full-time warden, in return for a free pitch and electric. As we're to discover later, being a warden is time consuming. We were up front and honest about what we were expecting and Mr O asked whether we would be willing to cover for him whilst he and his wife went on holiday at the end of August, which seemed like a good idea, and we agreed.
So the next couple of weeks will see us acting as temporary wardens for a site which hold 15 tourers and 24 statics, bring it on!