VW Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams – Aircooled Exclusive is a new show, organised by Kate of Classic Volks and York Classic VW Owners club. When we booked the show, we didn’t realise that it was its first year, as everything was so slickly organised.

We took a scenic drive along the A59 (apparently causing one of Custard’s old uni friends to play a game of “Follow the Volkswagen” near Skipton – small world!) and arrived at York Racecourse in the late afternoon. The sun was shining, the ground was perfectly flat and firm and the camping was organised brilliantly, with marshalls at the entrance to point you in the right direction, put your wristband on for you and help you line up in your plot neatly. We were given a fab plot, tucked away behind the marshalls’ caravan, under their floodlights, which not only meant we could see to cook in the evening, but also that we felt really safe, if a little bit like teacher’s pets 😉 (Which prompted quite a lot of conversation between us in the manner of Karen Powell, Greg Davies’ favourite student, which was one of those “you had to be there” moments.)

We went for a wander around the campsite and took a few photographs of our neighbours for the weekend:

windsocks fish field of dreams

turquoise splitscreen vw camper field of dreams

grafitti samba vw splitscreen camper 23 window

york racecourse field of dreams

vw bay window blue panel van field of dreams

vw bay window orange camper flower spare tyre field of dreams

spraypaint graffiti vw camper beetle camping field of dreams

vw beetle silver relentless gazebo field of dreams

bay window camper cream red field of dreams pop top

split screen camper red black nose field of dreams

karmann ghia pearlescent paint field of dreams

sky clouds brooding field of dreams

On Saturday we woke up to glorious sunshine, but a bit of a breeze, but we weren’t deterred.

Ruby split screen panel van sunshine red yellow rhubarb custard field of dreams

Whilst eating breakfast, we met Vicki, one of our Twitter friends who came to say hello, and then I got my hippy garb on to go and wander round the show (yes, most people don’t dress up until the evening, but it’s dark then, and there’s no guarantees that I’ll be awake!)

hippy red yellow split screen vw panel camper vanThere was a good variety of autojumble, food, craft, clothing and other unusual stands, as well as entertainment for children, a dog show and shine and a hobby horse race (well, when at the racecourse, you’ve got to, haven’t you?)

brown ratty signwritten vw camper van field of dreams

beetle shell primer field of dreams

autojumble speedometer vintage field of dreams

mirrors autojumble field of dreams

rust splitscreen vw badge ratty patina field of dreams

dog costume show and shine field of dreams

boxer dog field of dreams

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split screen deluxe trim camper van vw field of dreams

beetle blue sky field of dreams   vw camper bay van wheel reflection field of dreamsAfter a look around we met up with Vicki, Lesley, Lesley’s mum and Dizzi the dog to enjoy a coffee or two from the Green Bay Cafe whilst watching the hobby horse race.

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dizzi dog collie field of dreams

 

dizzi dog collie cuddle vicki field of dreams

After grabbing a bite to eat back at the van, we headed back to the show arena to enjoy a pint or two of passionfruit cider and listen to the bands, who were great!

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band live music field of dreams evening entertainment

Sunday was a little more overcast and windy, but the rain stayed away, allowing a variety of aircooled splits, bays, beetles and ghias to be displayed in the field. There was a really good turn out, with lots of vehicles to look at, including a few for sale.

Bay window maroon devon interior for sale field of dreams

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bay window vw camper red volkswagger cartoonies field of dreams

blue yellow white black beetle shopping trolley leeds united field of dreams

After another wander round to take in the last of the show and chat with friends, it was time to head home over the M62, where we spotted a couple more campers on their travels!

turquoise white bay window camper motorway

red white bay window camper motorway

Field of Dreams did have its teething problems – the camping and show were split up by a walk around the outside of the racecourse due to last minute decisions that were out of the organisers’ hands, which could make the arena feel too spread out and quiet, and also meant a bit of a trek to get to the show, and the wind made life difficult for the traders on Sunday. But, these are things that can’t be helped – Kate, Kevin and the team kept everyone informed of what was going on, were apologetic, friendly, and had everything else superbly organised. I don’t think we’ve been to a show where the camping was so well sorted, or where the loos were serviced every day!

Small local shows are only as good as the people who support them, traders, campers, day visitors and volunteers, and the Classic Volks team are already planning to make Field of Dreams 2014 even better than this year. Make sure you’re part of it!

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Review: The Long and Whining Road

In the show and shine at Camper Jam this year there was a T25 with an interesting sign in front of it: “This van drove around the world and slept five!”

Penny t25 vw camper sim courtie long and whining roadWe stopped to listen to the man talking, and soon found out that he was Sim Courtie, author of The Long and Whining Road, and that he and his family had made a round the world journey in Penny, their T25 camper. The idea for their journey was born following a trip to Sim’s native Liverpool, when various members of the family developed wanderlust and a desire to explore the world-wide appeal of the Beatles. The family decided to busk their way around the world, singing Beatles songs and raising money for charity.

The adults took sabbaticals from work, and the children from school to embark upon an epic extra-curricular road trip, planning to begin outside Strawberry Field children’s home in Liverpool, and ending at Strawberry Fields memorial garden, New York. What follows is an engaging and enjoyable travelogue that conjures up the sights, sounds, smells and people they encountered on their travels, with a healthy dose of the troubles encountered by Penny, their 1989 camper van, familiar to anyone who’s owned an older camper.

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The book inspired a desire to travel the world in me, but also made me worry about the practicalities of taking Ruby, a 46 year old van, around the world. Sim encountered difficulties with having parts of their van replaced, including one memorable episode that involved a costly misdiagnosis, both in terms of time and money. Also, driving in some parts of the world seems to incur an increased risk of bodywork damage. Eeeek! We’re signed up on a Type 2 Detectives Bus Boot Camp in September, but would we be able to deal with mechanical mishaps that would undoubtedly occur? Also, what spares would we have to carry? (Perhaps it would be best to just tow a complete spare bus along behind!)

Problems aside, what the book created most of all was an endearing image of the camaraderie and support that virtual strangers will give each other all over the world. Invitations to wedding parties, offers of accommodation on driveways or in houses, support for their busking and lots of camper van love! I also particularly enjoyed Sim’s recount of a Turkish massage, as it was similar to our own on honeymoon in Northern Cyprus, and the camper community that sprung up in Agonda that reminded me a little of The Beach, only with a slightly less dramatic conclusion!

I loved the book, couldn’t put it down, and was genuinely sad when I’d finished it. Sim’s ability to engage an audience and tell a story makes the book enjoyable and addictive. It is available in paperback and for Kindle.

The Long and Whining Road Sim Courtie

I have not been asked to review The Long and Whining Road. I just really enjoyed it!

 

 

 

Viva Skeg Vegas 2013

Viva Skeg Vegas is a calm and chilled show that takes place in Revesby, Lincolnshire. It’s a beautiful picturesque drive down to the site, with lots of opportunity to play roadside roulette with the prevalence of farm shops and small roadside stalls selling produce.

The show had a fancy dress theme of Day of the Dead, and all the usual traders, stalls and evening entertainment. Whilst there was no coffee stall (boo!) there was a stall selling fish singer sandwiches (genius!) and the Pop Top Kitchen, selling delicious cuisine out of an Eriba Puck.

Things were slow to kick off in the mornings, perhaps because everyone was still recovering from the night before, but there was a good selection of autojumble, Seaside Neil was available for pinstriping and had customised the trophies for the Rust and Prime show on the Saturday and the Show and Shine on the Sunday.

Camping was calm and chilled, not spoiled by the light rain we had, and we were very lucky that our neighbours had good taste in music – which saved us having to touch our stereo all weekend!

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VW Festival Leeds 2013

As I took a weekend off from taking photographs at VW Festival, I’ve decided instead to blog our weekend in the style of Caitlin Moran’s Celebrity Watch.

Custard’s Top 10 of VW Festival:

photo grid image of Ruby the rhubarb and custard splitscreen camper at VW Festival 2013

10. (Down) The weather.

It rained. It winded. It made puddles in the awning, it poured down the cargo doors (and ergo, round the cargo doors thanks to crappy seals), it filled up shoes and soaked into jeans. It could not make its mind up what it was doing. The wind also ripped the gutter rail pole for the awning out of my hand on Sunday, meaning it now has a slight kink to it. However, necessity is the mother of invention, so I now know that it is possible to peg the doors of the awning up to stop the rain pouring in, although I wish I hadn’t found that out during a torrential downpour. Also, I got to sit in the van (in my shorts, as I had only taken one pair of long trousers with me; my (sodden) jeans) with a pint and read my book for a couple of hours. Bliss.

Pint of cider inside a split screen camper van

Rainy view from the back window of a split screen camper van

9. (Down) Festival toilets.

These are never, ever good, to be honest. As I was heading to the loo on Sunday morning, a camper remarked to her friend “Oh, I really feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t been to the loo yet today!” So I asked if they were that bad. I’ve seen worse, but if the loos had been serviced during the weekend, this might have improved matter slightly. Still, you do know what you’re getting with a festival loo, and at least the proper loos at Harewood House itself were open.

8. (Down) Running out of cash.

Our own fault for not bringing enough with us. Meant that we couldn’t buy coffee on Sunday. Argh! A lot of the traders accepted card payments though, so we didn’t miss out on buying big stuff. Just coffee 😉

7. (Up) A varied collection of stalls, autojumble and displays.

Got to buy some great things, including this lovely necklace from Louis Edwards jewellery:

Campervan half crown coin necklace Louis Edwards

There was a good range of clothes, VW stuff, food, toys, cleaning gear and autojumble. The displays on both days were amazing – as well as club stands, there was a red, white, blue and black vehicle display on Saturday and a beautiful show and shine on Sunday, with a high standard of vehicle in both.

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r u low enough striped painted vw splitscreen bus

23 window samba vw interior vintage suitcase

purple and white split screen vw panel van 1966

6. (Up) Sooty’s School Bus.

Queenswood girls school bus jake sooty shuttleworth splitscreen vw

We have been following the progress of Sooty’s bus on the SSVC forum, so it was great to see it in the flesh! Also, his bus was featured in an article in the Daily Mail about the show, which also featured this fantastic video by Bright Lights Photography which to me, really sums up the feeling of going out in your VW and meeting fellow dub nuts:

5. (Up) The Green Bay Cafe.

Coffee. Real coffee. Also, handily placed in the main camping area, rather than the trade area, which meant less distance to stagger to get our caffeine fix. We love the Green Bay Cafe with their fairtrade, real coffee. Yum.

4. (Up) Gluten free food!

The Two Tarts, Lulabelle and Heck sausages all offered gluten free fayre, ideal for a hungry Custard. I’m used to not being able to sample things at shows, so for there to be lots of things I could eat was a good thing! Still having to carry my own soy milk in a hip flask for my coffee though…

The Two Tarts green camper van come in and have a cuppa VW sign

3. (Up) Showing with Volksgirls.

We’ve not entered a show and shine before (although we did show with the SSVC at Stanford Hall as part of their massive line up) so when Volksgirls invited members to show with them, we jumped at the chance. Volksgirls is a friendly club and forum for ladies on the VW scene, and boasted a full stand at VW Festival. We were the only camper on their stand on Saturday, and our first show taught us one or two things;

  • Make sure that you either put your stuff for making food in the van, or in the awning. Don’t leave half in one, and half in the other. Of you’ll be very annoyed when you realise you can’t make lunch.
  • The majority of people show their vans with the beds folded up and their tables all set nicely. Our van is hardly period in the style, so it’s very hard to dress. Next year, I’ll be showing it with the bed made up, with nice cushions and things. It may also have a Custard-shaped accessory catching a few zzzz’s in it during the afternoon as…
  • I don’t do well at getting up early enough to get the van to the arena without the option of an afternoon nap 😉
  • Mark out the space next to the awning that the van goes in, or someone will park in it before you get back in the afternoon!
  • Make a sign telling people all about your van, or you’ll find yourself repeating a lot of stuff. We love talking to people about vans, but if they could read it too, that would be nice, and we could put some photos from the resto on the sign too.

2. (Up) Chilled, family friendly atmosphere.

There was a really nice vibe to the show, lots of things for children and adults to do, and everyone was friendly, having a good laugh and up for a chat about VWs, dogs or just life in general! The camping was generally quiet (well, it was where we were anyway!) and people didn’t seem to let the weather get them down.

VW bus camper green t25 scrabble tiles

1. (Up) Good friends.

We finally got to meet some fellow camper owners from the SSVC forum. Dubminx and Custard both tell lies to small children for a living, Roobarb and Carl both love watercooled and aircooled dubs. You know when you meet someone and think – “Yeah, I could camp with these guys and have a whale of a time!”

We’ve enjoyed our first year exploring the VW show scene, but what we’ve found is that, after a while, it all gets a bit same-y if there’s only the two of you, so being able to meet up with like-minded people and have a good chat makes the shows all the more worthwhile, and if you’re lucky, you get to meet someone lovely like Minx, who not only has a beautiful camper called Mabel (with the wonderful period set-dressing that Ruby lacks) but also sent us some bunting for Ruby before she’d ever met us for real. Which just tells you that she’s a nice person, and someone you’re going to enjoy being around.

We would definitely do VW Festival again – it has been one of the best shows we have visited this summer, and wasn’t a long drive for us, which is always a bonus. See you in 2014!

VW split screen camper panel van rhubarb and custard red and yellow Ruby

VW Campervan Curtains

When we bought Ruby, she had been lovingly restored in around 1996. She is looking remarkable for a van nearly 20 years after restoration, her paintwork’s not bad and her interior still smart. Apart from her curtains. They were a bit sun faded and generally looking their age.

So we decide to spruce her up with new cushions and curtains. Custard spent lots of hours trawling fabric sites trying to find just the right pattern, but to no avail.

Eventually, we found Sarah of VW Camper Curtains and on browsing her site, found exactly the fabric we wanted – Clarke and Clarke’s Anja in the Summer colourway. It was a lovely bright, bold pattern, which I think is a must for camper curtains, and it complemented Ruby’s bold colours, whilst reminding us a bit of Roobarb and Custard:

Anja Summer Clarke and Clarke Fabric VW Camper Curtains

Roobarb and Custard cartoon dog and cat

I emailed Sarah, and she got straight back to me to confirm exactly what we wanted and prices. I rang her up to pay, and she got straight on with the curtains. We arranged to collect them at Camper Jam, but Sarah rang the week before to say that they were ready sooner and she could courier them over. We chose to collect them anyway, as we wouldn’t have a chance to put them in before the show.

We met up with Sarah when we arrived at Camper Jam (despite me losing all phone signal as soon as we got on site!) and collected our goods. I got the curtains hung really easily and they looked great. We opted for blackout lining, which worked really well to keep the inside of the van cool and dark.

Ruby the VW Splitscreen camper van with new curtains from VW Camper Curtains and Easycamp Daytona Awning

You can catch up with Sarah at various shows across the country to see her goods for yourself. She has a real eye for fabrics and patterns, and her work is top quality and incredibly reasonably priced. We were originally going to make the curtains and cushions ourselves, but Sarah’s prices were so good compared to the price of the fabric by the metre on other sites, that we decided to leave the sewing to someone who does it for a living! Also, Sarah has made the cushions with removable covers, which is ideal when you are using them in a camper – there’s always the chance that they’re going to get mucky.

Sarah makes curtains for all sorts of VWs – Splitscreens, Bays, T25s, T4s and T5s. From a Samba to a panel van like ours, Sarah can meet your needs. She offers matching tiebacks, blackout linings and magnets to hold the curtain to the metal inside. Genius!

Sarah VW Campervan Curtains stall and red bay window van Camper Jam 2013

Sarah VW Campervan Curtains stall and red bay window van Camper Jam 2013

So get in touch with Sarah via her website, or go and visit her stand at a show. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Our new curtains and cushions have given Ruby’s interior a bright fresh look, and the service was superb. I highly recommend VW Camper Curtains!

Before:

Rhubarb and Custard splitscreen camper van with old curtains

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After:

VW Campervan Curtains in Clarke and Clarke Anja Summer fabric in a splitscreen van

VW Campervan Curtains in Clarke and Clarke Anja Summer fabric in a splitscreen van

VW Campervan Curtains in Clarke and Clarke Anja Summer fabric in a splitscreen van with a lei

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VW Campervan Curtains and cushions in Clarke and Clarke Anja Summer fabric in a splitscreen van interior with bunting

All views are my own. I have not been paid for my review. I have written nice things about VW Campervan Curtains Ltd. because I bought curtains and cushions from them and they were brilliant, and I believe we should all support small businesses and help them flourish!

Dubs at the Castle July 2013

On Friday 19th July, Custard graduated from Edge Hill University with a Postgraduate Certificate in Specialist Primary Mathematics. Smarty pants. I also decided that I would like to travel to my graduation in Ruby, and then go to a VW show afterwards.

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We had a choice of two – CumbriaVAG or Dubs at the Castle. I chose DATC, because it was in Wales, and we were starting from near Liverpool, so I figured it wasn’t so far. Please note that my qualification was in Maths, not Geography. When we were 25 miles from Bristol, I realised how far south South Wales actually is.

Coupled with a two hour standstill on the motorway near Stoke, discovering that the heater is jammed open and pumping scorching hot air into the cab now that Rooobarb has replaced a missing piece of heater pipe in a bid to keep the starter motor cooler – oh yeah, the starter is still overheating, meaning that we daren’t turn the engine off whilst sitting still on the M6, as we know it won’t start again. Air-cooled engines don’t like not moving – the air-cooling bit doesn’t work so well.

By the time we stopped at Michael Wood Services 5 hours later, we could actually wring our clothes out, but decided a nice iced coffee from Starbucks would keep us awake enough for the remainder of the journey, and cool us down. The news that the ice machine was broken was actually met with an audible whimper from me (dairy intolerant, can’t drink the canned coffee from the fridge) and it was two very dejected campers who trudged back to the van to continue on our journey.

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The view from the Severn Bridge was pretty epic at sunset, but that did then mean we were trying to find Caldicot Castle in the dark. And the Sat Nav took us to the middle of a housing estate. And then I couldn’t get mobile phone signal to try and look for better directions. Rooobarb threatened to turn round and drive home at this point. We found the castle at around 10pm – I’d had a frantic Facebook conversation with the organisers the night before about what time we could turn up until, and they kindly said they’d keep the gate open until 11pm if needs be.

We were waved onto site, and told to follow the other vans, and that there would be marshalls around to point us in the right direction. Yeah, there weren’t. And in the dark, it was really hard to find a pitch that the van could actually fit into. And driving a lowered van around wobbly rough fields is no fun. I was now using my special “talking to children who have got very upset and are about to completely lose the plot” voice, perfected during many years of teaching, to placate Rooobarb. We stuck the van next to someone else’s pitch and hoped for the best, gave up on any notion of putting the awning up, stuffed all our crap in the front of the van and went to bed.

We woke up in the morning to this view:

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And were mightily relieved to find that we hadn’t actually parked in a dog toilet the night before.

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Although we did have to roll the van forward 6 feet to avoid a giant hole in the ground right next to the cargo doors.

Before our neighbours woke up, we had got the awning up and cooked breakfast. Marvellous. Things were looking a lot rosier after a good night’s sleep and a cooked brekkie!

We went off for a wander around the show – and were very pleased to find that despite driving for 73 gajillion miles* after getting on site, we were actually reasonably close to the main arena, having gone around in a bit of a circle.

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Splitscreen icecream – utterly delicious!

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Camper Coffee Co. – Rooobarb declared this the best coffee he’d ever tasted.

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Early Bay display.

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Autojumble.

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Tempting!

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And if there weren’t enough things to look at in the show and trade fields, there was the superb setting of the castle to explore.

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The Saturday night entertainment was superb, with great bands, and ample refreshment provided by the Welsh Cider Wagon.

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Sunday morning brought the Show and Shine:

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And then we had a quiet and sunny journey back, with a brief stop near home for coffee and fuel, involving a “jack it and whack it” starter motor related pit stop, and we met some people with a Bay, who were similarly chuffed to get their van restarted after filling up!

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It was a great weekend, and a good show, although a show guide given out at the gate would have meant we would have had a better idea of what was going on. Also, it was a very long way away, but that can only be blamed on my appalling geography! Definitely worth a visit if you are nearby.

Limebug Open Day July 2013

Those lovely people at Limebug had an open day, with hot dogs, a show and shine and, of course, the opportunity to peruse and buy from the Limebug shop. The sun was shining, so it would have been rude not to. It was also Ruby’s first appearance in a show and shine line up, and it was nice to stand back and listen to people saying nice things about her, and in some instances pose to have their photos taken with her!

The pictures speak for themselves really:

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Camper Jam 2013

When going through the VW show calendar for the year, we saw Camper Jam and figured it might be good for a laugh, and wasn’t too far away. I can safely say that the show was the highlight of our summer so far. I’m hoping another show will top it, just because if something can be better than that, I will be a very happy camper!

Rooobarb picked me up from work on Friday afternoon, everyone cooed over the van (apart from 9 year old boy who hadn’t been collected yet. 9 year old boys are hard to impress.) and we set off, stereo blaring, sunshine blazing. All good. We were most amused that the blue and white split that I’d taken to stalking along the M65 was two cars ahead of us as we left Accrington, but he left us for dust on the motorway!

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We got to Sandbach services, and decided to stop for a comfort break. I wander back out to the van, considerably more comfortable, Rooobarb goes to turn the engine over, and nowt. Nada, zip, zilch. I experience a wave of panic, given that our last starter motor induced troubles involved a call out for the RAC and a fraught journey to Accrington but Rooobarb kept his cool, jacked the van up and used the conveniently stashed lump hammer to give the starter motor a wee tap whilst I turned the key. One tap, and success! We were on our way again, after about 20 minutes spent fannying about with the jack.

We could tell when we were getting closer to Weston Park, as we began to join in impromptu convoys:

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We arrived in good time, found a place to camp, met up with Sarah from VW Camper Curtains to collect our lovely new cushions and curtains (more on those later) and the nice man from Lightning Leisure who had some replacement awning clips for us, ours having been put in a really safe place. I put the new curtains up, whilst Rooobarb got the awning clips and somehow managed to come back with some Mooneyes dust caps from Limebug as well and then we put the awning up. This was our first go of the awning for real, and it went up a treat. I decide to celebrate:2013-07-05 19.57.04

Whilst laying in the awning celebrating, I hear a voice say “There’s stalking, and there’s stalking, this is getting daft!” and lo and behold, I finally meet Sean, the driver of the blue splitty, who has pitched up about 20 feet away from us! We had a bit of a chat about the buses, and no mention of a restraining order was made. All good.

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If nothing else, this was great, because someone in that group had put up a Lancashire Rose flag, which gave us something to aim towards when we were trying to find Ruby!

Dinner was cooked (already we’re faring better than we did at Vicky Farm, as we have an awning, hot food and have not had to bugger about in the dark trying to get stuff sorted) and then it was off to bed, whilst listening to the Grease tribute band sing through their set. Twice.

We awoke the next morning to bright blue skies again (seriously, I ended up putting my sunglasses on to go wandering in search of a loo) and after a cooked breakfast, we ambled off to the ukulele workshop, led by the Bridgnorth Ukulele Band. This was brilliant fun! Lots of people playing simple tunes on ukes together:

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They ran several workshops during the weekend, culminating in a huge performance on the Sunday. Their site has lots of easy to play songs available to download, for free. Hurrah!

After that, it was off for a wander round the food stalls:

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The Green Bay Cafe

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Chilli Gone Barmy

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Lulabelles

And then a mooch around the copious amounts of traders – the website proudly boasted over a mile of trading stands!

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Slightly Sheepish

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Panels

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Spray paint and airbrush artists

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CoolFlo Vintage

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Busmeister VW restorations. That hi-top shell was getting a lot of attention, but it’s not a for sale, it’s a current resto for a client.

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Yes, yes we were!

Sunday was the Show and Shine, and there were plenty of wonderful things to look at:

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Now that’s patina!

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI loved everything about this van.

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This Devon Moonraker was all original.

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Betty Blue made another appearance.

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWe like stickers. Everyone knows that each sticker adds 1BHP.

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A Dirty Weekender Adventure Van

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See you next year Camper Jam!

 

Deva Dubs and Rods

We took a day trip to Shrewsbury in the car to look at some dubs. The weather was scorching, and it was a bit expensive for a day ticket given the traders who were there, in my opinion, but a good day was had nonetheless! Gutted that we missed out on Rocky Horror themed partying the night before though.

Lots of lovely Beetles to look at:

Yes, yes you are.

And some that really displayed their owner’s tastes:

The MK. 1 Golf Owners Club had some cars that were very much to Rooobarb’s taste:

As well as some more modern VWs:

And of course a collection of air-cooled vans:




And some special guests made a flying visit!

Yeah!

Stanford Hall 2013

We arrived at the Hall, parked up with the SSVC display and then went for a good look around:

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Starter motors – seen enough of them this weekend!

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We were blessed with sunshine, and after a wander, went back to the bus for a cheese and ham sandwich (so good!) and a pint of cider:

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We made a few purchases, including an awning to replace the ill-fated gazebo, a purple bay magnet for a friend, a new shiny VW badge keyring and an ammo box and stickers:

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Which has become the new storage container for our food in the van. This weekend was somewhat of an experiment – finding out what worked for us in terms of storage and what we needed to take with us. The first night was a real revelation for us – the van was absolutely packed with stuff and we had nowhere to put it. If we’d had an awning, I think things would have been much easier. Also, the awning would have hopefully been easier to put up, and more resilient than the gazebo. We also decided that modular storage would work better for us than random carrier bags full of food and clothes. Hence the suitcases, the cooler and the ammo box. It looks neater and it’s easier to pack things in the van with less gaps.

We were also foiled by the weather – I packed for cold – jumpers and DMs, and ended up in a vest top and flip flops – with sunburn. So I think next time I would pack for all eventualities, but not so much. Did I need three jumpers? Probably not. Did I need suncream? YES.

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Since Stanford, our awning has arrived, which will make storage and cooking much easier. The rain and wind on Friday night and Saturday morning meant that we didn’t cook – as we don’t want to cook inside the van and make it greasy and smelly. This meant that we were both very hungry and grumpy! Also, getting changed inside the van was possible, but did require some acts of contortion, and taking it in turns.

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New awning!

The awning seems massive – but hopefully when in a field rather than a school hall, perhaps not so much. Since Stanford, Ruby has also had her rightful start motor refitted, and new window seals from Custom and Commercial, which will with any luck mean that the rain stays outside where it belongs!

Alas, our campervantures over the next few weeks will be sadly limited – Rooobarb has just had his cruciate ligament reconstructed – so no driving or camping for him for a while. Hopefully though, the sunshine will manage to overcome the inclement weather (I got hailstoned on during the school summer term charity jog for goodness sake!) and this summer will be one of sunshine, good tunes, sunny evenings, cooking outdoors and, of course, cider.