Travel Update

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It’s Not Summer Yet

We’ve decided to spend the whole summer touring in the caravan. Now, the main problem is, we were a bit to eager to get started, we actually started on Wednesday 28th February, which from my 60 years experience on the planet, I realise this isn’t yet summer. I’ve named the tour the “Not The Retirement Tour Tour”, mainly because we’re not really celebrating my retirement as such.

We arrived at the Camping & Caravanning Club Site in Hertford and it was cold and wet. This would have been ok, but the pitch we were on was a bit narrow, and although it was a hardstanding pitch, it wasn’t very wide, which meant we couldn’t put up an awning as it would have been directly onto the mud. Could and wet is one thing, but mud, well, that’s completely different.

We spent a few days there and on the Saturday, we went off to Caravan & Motorhome site in Abbey Wood. Abbey Wood is south of the river Thames and many of you may know that Hertford is not. So how were we going to cross the Thames. In all my years of caravanning, we’ve always crossed at Dartford with the caravan. Four lanes of relatively straight roads in both directions. South over the bridge and North under the tunnel. It’s simple. We have our car registered with TFL to enable automatic payments.

The Chimp Paradox

I use Avtex Tourer Two sat nav and generally it’s very good. We were happy driving along the M25 heading towards the Dartford Crossing when it told us to go North on the M11. Hang on, this isn’t right. OK, maybe trouble at Dartford, it’s not unheard off.

After a short panic, eventually took us South on the M11 towards London, ok, you can get to Dartford this way (maybe the A13?) anyway, all is good. Then, you know that little nagging chimp in your brain? I’d been aware of this since reading Prof Steve Peter’s “The Chimp Paradox” book many years ago. The idea being, the brain is split into parts, one of which is a nervous, very negative Chimp, that doesn’t really understand most things, but is inclined to tell your brain about dangers, even if they don’t exist. Well, my Chimp happened to remind me that there were several ways to cross the river, two of which were Blackwall Tunnel and Rotherhithe Tunnel, neither of which were caravan friendly.

This of course made me double check the route. Oh dear, it’s via the Woolwich Ferry. Queue the Chimp; “I bet it doesn’t take caravans”. Mandy had a quick google, it does take caravans. I was able to pacify the Chimp with this information.

“Ferry Closed” read the sign as we got within 200 meters of the Ferry entrance. Chimp, “I told you” He didn’t tell me anything of the sort, the Chimp rarely supplies you with facts, he just worries and shouts. He is of course trying to protect you, or rather protect itself and you have to develop ways to calm it down, let it know everything is fine and actually, there’s no danger.

We eventually found the Dartford Crossing and arrived at Abbey Wood, and what a lovely site.

I’ve written about the site we’ve visited at time of writing here:

So, we’re in the caravan for the foreseeable future and so far, we’ve had quite an in-sight. We’ve only been in the caravan for 5 weeks, but even as the self-proclaimed “International Caravan Vlogger” we’re, at the moment, staying firmly in the UK. But, inline with a lot of “caravan experts” 5 weeks in a caravan does entitle me to speak like a “vanlifer” I’m sorry, I can’t help myself 🙂

Our plan was to keep moving sites after a few days. You may remember we had E&P levelling and a roof mounted canopy fitted to enable short stays on sites. But of course in our minds we were doing this in the summer; level caravan, canopy out, done. But in this weather, the canopy isn’t really a benefit. However, the reason we went for a roof mounted version is so that we could use the awning – hurray! We’ve only bought the 2.5 metre porch awning with us.

So, why did our plan to change sites every few days change. Well, at the time most bloody sites were closed! My immediate reaction was of course to moan, “Why am I paying membership to two caravan clubs when most sites are closed until April AND those that are open are bloody well closed” I guess the real problem is lack of planning on our behalf. Silly me thinking that a 12 month membership would mean I can only use sites for 6 months of the year, how daft of me.

It’s never that simple of course. Firstly, the majority of caravanners are fair weather ones, that’s not a criticism, it’s just the way it is, as Bruce Hornsby once wrote. I’m guessing this lack of sites open would effect motorhomers more.

What this means is that when you’re in a position where you have to find a site, it’s very difficult and somewhat stressful. Oh yes the Chimp had an absolute field day! Plan B then. Stay on a site for a bit longer. Which is what we’ve decided to do, at least until most sites open and the weather improves.

We are shortly leaving the site we are on to go on a bit of a holiday. I know what you’re thinking, how can you take a holiday when you’re already on holiday. Fair question, I can answer it, but it would mean revealing a bit more of our current situation than I’m prepared to do. If you regularly follow me, you’ll know our situation, but I’ve decided to “change the narrative” of our time in the caravan for various reasons which will become clearer in the coming months. For now, we’re on a tour of the UK.

What No France?

What kind of International Caravan Vlogger doesn’t spend a lengthy amount of time in France once retired?

It’s complicated. I’ll reword that, it’s not complicated, but it’s rather dull. I’ve mentioned it before, but briefly, we have a granddaughter, almost 3, that we look after (sounds better than baby sit) one day a week, to enable her parents (son and partner) to work full time and cut down a bit on childminding fees.

So, what this means is that we have to be in and around a certain area to facilitate this once a week thing. However, what we are planning to do is go to France during the school holidays (both parents work in education). Naturally this does mean a bit more expense on our behalf, but it does keep everyone happy and is better for everyone’s mental health i.e. keeping the Chimps at bay.

Plans

If you haven’t yet subscribed to our YouTube channel, please do, a lot of site and destination “reviews” coming up. I put reviews in speech marks as I wasn’t really sure what to call them.

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As I type we are in Northern England, Derbyshire. By the way, if you want to stay up to date with our travels, then please join the Talk Wrench Community. You get early access to vlogs and also unique content. I also post about where we are. It’s £30 a year and there’s a 3 week free trial. As member numbers build it’s becoming a great caravan community discussing everything from caravan how to’s to sharing trips and advice. You’ll be supporting the channel and also getting access to vlogs early as well as additional content, all ad-free.

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About the author

2 responses to “Travel Update”

  1. Kevin Marsh avatar
    Kevin Marsh

    Great article Graham

    1. CaravanVlogger avatar

      Thanks Kevin..

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