Q & A | Part 2

Thanks everyone for your kind words about Part 1. I hope that it entertained you or at least kept your mind off this blimmin virus and occupied for a few minutes! The caravanning questions continue here below:

How did you arrive at the name Patsy for your caravan?

When we first picked her up in March 2012, we had some friends around that evening for a few drinks in her and she was jokingly called the Pikey van, however it was soon decided that that was not really appropriate and likely to cause offence. Many of our previous cars had had names though so we wanted to come up with something. Patsy 1 was a Coachman Pastiche and we were looking for something that would work with that and Patsy the Pastiche had a nice ring to it.

Our second and current van was a VIP, so Vera was briefly considered but we decided to stick with the original name and as someone pointed out that worked too - Very Important Patsy!

On another level the name works too as she shares many of the traits of her TV namesake from Absolutely Fabulous, the most obvious one being that she’s often full of booze!

Will there be a Patsy 3? Who knows? Hopefully P2 will be around for a long time to come yet.

Had you not been swayed by the quality of Coachman back when you bought Patsy 1, what’s the closest model or brand you and Trev would have considered - then or when you were changing to Patsy 2, and why?

Back in December 2011, 4 months before we bought Patsy 1, we had a day visiting lots of dealers in the area with our friends who mentioned Coachman's’ quality - as newbies they all seemed the same to us.

In March 2012 when we finally made a decision to go out and purchase we visited five dealers I think before landing at Roundstone Caravans in South Water, West Sussex. By now we had settled on a layout - two berth, end washroom and they had three in our price range - two Coachman's and an Abbey. Remembering what our friend said, we narrowed it down to those, then plumped for what was to become Patsy 1 as she had a motor mover already fitted. For the record she was a 2004 460/2 Pastiche.

When we decided to change and get the layout that, in truth we should have gone for to start with - side dinette - we did look at a Sterling as we really wanted to buy from Roundstone again. However we sat tight and scoured the listings until we came across Patsy 2 - a 2007 520/4 VIP - at Marquis near Hailsham in East Sussex.

And the perfect layout?

The perfect layout for me is the one I have now - side dinette and rear washroom. A big ‘van for one person But I’ve found in the last 18 months I can fill that space easily. I’m not the tidiest person and although I’ve slimmed things down a lot I still don’t travel light.

Having said that, a fixed French bed layout could work too - something we never considered as a couple as, both being beer drinkers there would be the inevitable nocturnal visits and one would end up clambering over the other - me having to do the clambering no doubt. The likely compromise in living area space would put me off though - at the moment. Making up the bed is a small price to pay and, there being just me, I can leave one side made up as a bed if I’m feeling lazy. I’ve tried this a few times but it does give the feeling of being in a bedsit.

One layout that did get us thinking was fixed rear singles, with the washroom at the back, and we looked at a few of those on our last visit to the NEC, probably at least three years ago. With most though, the lounge space had been compromised but one that did stand out was an Adria something or other. Beautifully finished but with a price tag of £30k a new one was never a contender and would have necessitated a change in tow car in any case.

Following the launch of the Bailey Phoenix in the Summer of 2018, we seriously considered taking up their offer of a loan ‘van. It would have give us an opportunity to try out the fixed singles arrangement to see if it would work for us. That wasn't to be of course and it’s not a layout I would consider now, as a solo caravanner.

If you could change one thing about Patsy, what would it be and why? If you change to a different layout, what would you choose and why?

Whilst it’s rude to discuss a woman's’ weight I am afraid we must because it would be just that. She’s heavy - although solid - for her size and at the M.T.P.L.M we’re looking at about a 93% ratio with car. Rosie is no longer in her youth in car terms with her mileage into six figures and at times she does feel underpowered these days.

Patsy IS a bit lighter though now. A few years ago we took out the fourth bed - the fold down bunk over the dinette - most of which now resides behind my sofa. Whilst I decided to put the microwave back in, the pull out canopy - quite a considerable weight - has now gone. I tow with the Aquarolls, Waste Master, mains cable, locks and clamps etc in the car and this helps to keep the nose weight thereabouts too.

As for layouts, when the time comes to change Patsy - and I hope that’s not for a long long while yet, along with the fixed bed mentioned above, something smaller and lighter would be considered as that may mean I can keep Rosie a little longer if she doesn't have to work as hard. I suspect I would miss the build quality of the old girl though.

Tell us Patsy’s best bits.

Ironically, her solidity, which of course impacts on her weight as I was just moaning about! Sure things have worked loose and parts have been replaced but at twelve years old she’s allowed a bit of leeway, particularly given the mileage she does. The finish is good, the seating - the old fashioned sprung type - remains supportive, yet comfortable. Inside she is a proper home from home, the colour of the d├ęcor and furnishings giving a lovely warm cosy feeling on chilly nights.

Although  just another white box, she still looks mighty fine in my eyes, even more so when polished up, despite a few ‘war wounds’ that have been inflicted on her by us over the years, not least when trying to retract the pull out canopy on my own for the first time. I swore loudly. A lot!

Moreover, she has helped make so many great memories of our time together and that is perhaps her best bit.

And that’s it for Part 2! In Part 3 there’s some very interesting questions on travel generally, as well as ale and of course Trev.



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