We had a caravan years back and it was a jolly little base to use when doing festivals and such like so when I saw a cheapie on facebook I told Beth who went and looked (on Facebook) and pretty much decided to buy without seeing.
So it was that Newton the trusty T4 VW and I set off for a town an hour away. The caravan itself was up a narrow back line and, despite being for sale was surrounded by piles of junk. Climbing over this a cursory glance suggested stuff might be in order, cash changed hands and the fun commenced.
Task one was move the huge piles of junk, task two get the beast out into the lane, now, this should have been the stage where I began to wonder at the wisdom of any of this.
The caravan was a touch massive and took 3 of us to drag into the lane. Hooked to the van it was a bit of a struggle down what suddenly seemed a lot narrower lane. The 90 degree bend seemed a lot tighter going out too. Just as things were getting really interesting 2 cars arrived, well, got to the top of the lane, saw it was blocked and decided to turn in anyway. 20 minutes of fluent profanity unhitching, heaving, reversing even more profanity and the show was back on the road.
I have driven Newton with over a ton in the back and, it drives pretty well. So about two miles later i knew the brakes on the caravan must be sticking. Pull over and check. Nope, the hand brake was off and the hubs were cool. Must be something else then. Looking at the van properly "something else" struck me, this caravan was positively huge, bigger than the T4 towing it, the brake was massive size of the van!!
This was reinforced,if such a thing was needed, by my return to the dual carriageway. Eventually the van was coaxed to a speed approaching the national speed limit, then came a small gust of side wind which normally would hardly cause the VW to flutter. The effect on the wheeled block of flats behind though was pretty spectacular and set in train a series of lurches and slides that did what hordes of speed cameras have failed to do - reduced my speed below 50 and made pretty sure it stayed there.
Pengawse hill should have been a real chance to test the stamina of the van, being both very long and very steep. Being stuck behind a tractor helped reduce the possible embarrassment, second gear it was all the way. The back road home was a chance to experience how wide and long the bungalow was and the drive a series of challenges of the getting large vehicles round tight corners and through narrow gaps type.
They say that first impressions count, having been parked for an extended time under a tree at some stage, the bungalow was finished in what might best be described as green slime. Something which did not endeer itself to the management who was overall less than totally impressed with the new addition. There was a very strong suggestion that the bungalow should be immediately removed to somewhere far away and that management for one had no intentions of sleeping in it - ever.
With that endorsment ringing in my ears it was time to make a detailed examination. So far so good it had things like cookers and fridges and lights and a battery. A washroom and space for a toilet.
It was time to summon the daughter and set her to work. Armed with a bucket of bleach and a pressure washer, she was soon very pleased at the transformation. Serious reversing skills were deployed to get the van, through, what would be a decent gap if the object concerned was not bigger than the house is adjoined. So, the van is now safely parked out of the way down the side of the house, the management is slightly less annoyed and the hard work of sorting the van out can commence.
The festival gypsy lifestyle beckons.