Time to say goodbye…..

We took dear old Patsy over to the dealers today for her check over and to say goodbye. We’re not picking Patsy 2 up until next week but it was silly to drag her ladyship  all the way back to storage.


Whilst they were checking her over we had the chance to look at Patsy 2 and get a few photos, so here she is:




With everything completed it was time to say goodbye to the old girl, and I must say she has done us proud. Incredible it is that 2 years ago we hadn’t even bought a caravan, yet look at what we’ve done and where we’ve been with her since. That first trip to Crystal Palace then the 3 month trek around the British Isles. Shorter trips to Essex, Dorset, Somerset, the Cotswolds & Kent to name a few. That lovely summer down in Cornwall and Devon too. She’s kept us warm, dry and comfortable and given us some great adventures, although we never got her over the channel and in to Europe.

Patsy 2 – you’ve got  a lot to live up to, but somehow I think you’ll manage!

Bye darlin’.


Of course, that would have been the last we’d see of her, but we were back at the dealers not five minutes later, for a final glance at her ladyship…….and retrieve the cutlery that was still in the kitchen drawer. Doh!

Patsy 2 – more photos

A fellow caravanner and Twitterer (@ElvistheElddis) who is much more web savvy than me scoured Google’s archives and found some more pictures of Patsy 2 from the dealers website. The ‘new’ van is a VIP, rather than a Pastiche (like our current van, Patsy) but the name will stay. And as another caravanner pointed out – VIP – very important Patsy!

Check back for more photo’s when we pick her up on the 22nd.

rpcimage (2) rpcimage

rpcimage (4)rpcimage (3)rpcimage (1)

A new arrival……

I’ll get straight to the point – unusual I know – we’ve bought another caravan.

From the 22nd January we will be the new owners of a 2007 Coachman Vip 520/4 from Marquis in Sussex, trading in dear old Patsy who has given sterling service during her time in our care – just under two years.

The reason? Certainly not reliability or mechanical. Her annual service last August indicated what excellent condition she was in. We’ve tried to look after her – something made considerably easier given her sturdy build quality.

No, the only reason was space. The addition of a side dinette in the new van gives two extra beds at night if needed  - unlikely but you never know – but gives great extra room during the day. Of course in the summer when it’s warm enough to sit the awning we won’t need it. But of course we don’t only go away in the summer as many know. WP_20140109_001

Only one photo so far, I’ll put some more on when we’ve picked it up in just under two weeks and it will get a test run out to Wiltshire in February for half term.

So, the most important thing – what to call it/her? Vera or Veronica were muted but we decided after a short debate to keep the name Patsy, so she will simply be Patsy 2!

There’s only one photo as I said. I was hoping to grab some off the dealers website but they'd already delisted the ‘van by the time we got home.

So, here she is; Patsy 2. See you soon darlin’:

A Festive Threesome part 4 – Looking back

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a good night and that 2014 brings all that you wish for. Personally we intend to enjoy our new found love of caravanning even more but have pledged to try and lose a bit of weight too. Driving a  school minibus is hardly the most energetic of activities so I need to get organised with my push bike and maybe ease up on the research a little if I’m to stop my thickening middle getting, well, thicker!

Well, it’s wet and windy here again in Crystal Palace. Indeed  since that glorious day Sunday when were able to get out and about  and see at last, Crystal Palace  Park it’s done little else but rain, easing only in the evenings which at least made our er, research expeditions a little more pleasant.

In fact, since Sunday that’s about all we’ve done, the weather encouraging relaxed lazy days in the ‘van reading and generally chilling out – we’ve not even been in to central London, managing only as far as Brixton to check out a bar we’d been told was good. It was, though a lack of real ale lost it some marks.

We’ve met up with friends also on site and made some new ones too. Remember me talking about going to our first Freedom Club meet in Littlehampton over Easter? Well, there was a meet here too over Christmas and several guys have stayed on for the new year.

Last night, having decided early on, not to go in to town, the bars and pubs of Crystal Palace were the recipients of the Blogger in Black and the Portly Partners’ patronage. But first, we called in to reception for drinks and nibbles put on by the excellent wardens here on site. It was a thoroughly enjoyable half an hour or so and gave us the chance to chat to them and to other caravanners.

With one of our favourite pubs – Westow House – ticket only and long since sold out, the Postal Order – a Wetherspoons pub converted from an old Post Office - was the starting point, providing some reasonably priced solid and liquid sustenance. As we got our drinks, a couple of women on one of the table complimented me on my ‘look’ – which was of course the usual, black, black and more black. The number of empty glasses on the table suggested that their judgement may have been somewhat impaired but I was happy with the compliment nonetheless! Two more bars we intended to try were rammed so we adjourned to the Grape & Grain where the party was getting in full swing. The  barman serving recognised the Blogger in Black and said how much he enjoyed the blog, which was really nice of him. Next up, was the Royal Albert. We’d been in the night before and it was dead. Now, it was loud and busy but with a decent pint of London Pride, this was where we saw in the new year. The barman and quite possibly the ‘guvnor’ recognised us from the night before and thanked us for coming. That old trench coat of mine is certainly getting us noticed it seems. I wonder if I can get someone to sponsor me a new one? Anyway, a great atmosphere and a thoroughly good night all round.


With little else to tell you about our current trip I thought I’d do what everyone else does and look back over the year just gone. It’s been a good year for us – a new home, lots of caravan trips but tinged with sadness too as we said goodbye to Ray, a great friend and brother-in-law.

Right, January. Patsy remained on the drive, up on axles stands to preserve her tyres. Trev returned to work slowing the drain on our finances a little whilst waiting for the bungalow to sell.

February saw our first trip of the year, to the Cotswolds. On the second night, rain turned to snow and we woke to a beautiful covering of the white stuff. It disappeared just as quick allowing us to see some of the lovely Cotswold villages such as Bibury, Burford, Broadway and Stow-on-the-Wold. I, at last returned to work thanks in no small part to a very good friend, something for which I will always be grateful.

11022013 P1010004 P1010019

March saw us in Somerset, at the terrific Old Oaks site near Glastonbury. The weather limited sightseeing opportunities a little but friends from Brighton joined us for a couple of days and we had a good time.

On the way back from Somerset we stopped at Littlehampton over the Easter weekend and met up with other guys for our first Freedom Club meet. Chichester and Arundel got a look in and provided some lens clicking opportunities.

18032013 (43) P3210022 P3210034 IMAG0361

The May half term break saw us back here in Crystal Palace for a week. Primrose Hill, Highgate Cemetery and Greenwich provided the visual stimulus, and the spectacular ‘War Horse’ rounded off a great week.

DSC_0028 DSC_0143 (3) DSC_0003

July, and the long summer holiday saw us down in Cornwall, near Lands End for nearly three weeks of fantastic weather and great sightseeing before moving on to North Devon for another great week. We returned home briefly to finishing emptying the bungalow and handing over the keys before heading up – again with Patsy, first to Cambridge, then on to Banbury for the inaugural ‘Twittercamp’ meet of like minded Twitter users. It really worked too, most of us hadn’t met before but we all got on well and the two days passed far too quickly. Another meet (or possibly two) is being planned for 2014.

DSC_0093 DSC_0070 DSC_0025

The beautiful Chew Valley near Bristol was next with the beautiful city of Bath topping the list before returning to Brighton and staying on the site just 4 miles from home, whilst we got our new flat ready.

DSC_0154 DSC_0011 DSC_0120

The next half term in October saw us back, for the third time, here at Crystal Palace, with a day out in Birmingham, for the caravan show, a tour of the Houses of Parliament and a couple of trips to the theatre all enjoyed as well as the usual ‘research’.

So, with the current trip, all in all we’ve had a great years' caravanning. Next, sorry, this year is already being planned with the long school holidays providing plenty of opportunities to get away. Yorkshire and Ireland are both on the list and planning will start on the Europe trip too even if we don’t get to start it. We may cross the channel for a week to dip our toes in as it were.

Right, until February, take care all, and once again Happy New Year from Rich & Trev.