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.

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:

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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!

Dub Freeze February 2013

Due to lots of other commitments, we’d said that we wouldn’t be going veedubbing during February. However, last Sunday, the sun was shining, Rooobarb was raring to go, Custard had only had about 4 hours sleep after her hen do, so it seemed like the perfect time to drive down to Stafford!

Dub Freeze happens twice a year, in February and November at Stafford Show Ground. There’s overnight camping on the Saturday night, and the main show is on Sunday. Inside the hall are traders, autojumble and the Show and Shine vehicles, and outside are lots of lovely vehicles, some for sale, and some just to have a really good look at and admire!

Volkswagen Beetle YYY 148M

Beetle

VW High top Split Screen Van.

High-top van. This made the most amazing noise.

VW Caddy F851 MJU

You can’t have a Volkswagen without swag.

Polly's Parlour ice cream van

Polly Stoker’s ice cream van, Florence, which won first place in the modified air-cooled category, and also ‘most unusual/inspiring’.

http://www.pollys-parlour.co.uk/

VW splitscreen camper van

I loved this van. Little details on it made me smile!

Beer can centre caps!

Lost your centre caps for your Empis? (We have.) No problem!

Light detailing.

Light detailing.

A daily driver.

A daily driver.

 

Betty Blue

Martin Aylett’s Betty Blue won first prize in the stock air-cooled category.

Betty Blue

As you can see, the van is still stock, with a lot of attention to period detail (such as her first tax disc) that set her apart as a cut above.

Betty Blue

Such a pretty van, and deserving of first place.

Green VW Scirocco KCH 114N

Marshall Foulds’ mint Mk.1 Scirocco came 1st in the stock water-cooled category..

Rat look VW bus

I am more and more drawn to the rat look. I’ve always loved rusty bits of metal and abandoned buildings, so cars with patina are, naturally, right up my street!

The Sick Bay camper VW Maltese Ambulance

This Maltese ambulance is, naturally, called The Sick Bay.

The Sick Bay

Gorgeous interior, tidy, light and airy, with character. Perfect.

BusFest Big VW picture

I’m a real fan of these pictures made at BusFest (formerly known as VanFest) and seeing as this year’s will fall on Rooobarb and I’s birthday weekend (6th -8th September – mine is the day before, his the day after!) and I’m 30 this year… we may well attend!

http://www.busfest.org/

Split screen campervan nail art

Susie, Membership Renewals Secretary of the Split Screen Van Club had gone above and beyond with her attention to detail (and I’m always a sucker for a bit of nail art!)

Pair of VW camper vans

I really enjoyed looking across to the camping field, where some vans were being moved, and it looked like a herd of VWs gambolling free in the early morning sunshine. You have to remember I’d not had a lot of sleep!

Karmann Ghia Convertible light blue

This Karmann Ghia was attracting a lot of admiring looks, and quite rightly so.

Type 2 Bay Window Volkswagen Camper XUX 214S

If the owners of this Bay don’t call her Peppermint Patty, they should do. She’s proper lovely!

KCK 124F Type 3 squareback Volkswagen

Type 3 Squareback. Rooobarb is lusting after a Fastback now – he’s well and truly been bitten by the VW bug!

963 XUC VW transporter split screen van rat look

Rat look with cyclops light. I like cyclops lights too – gotta have the right bus to suit though!

BDE 134B VW transporter split screen van

And finally, there’s a funny story to go with this one. Last week, Rooobarb gave me a lift to work, as I was going on a residential trip and didn’t want to leave my car outside school for two days. As we came off the motorway, this van was a couple of cars ahead of us, and Rooobarb pulled up alongside and we both grinned madly at the driver. He had an SSVC sticker in the back window, so I posted on their Split Screens Seen forum to say hello, but got no response.

As we’re about to go back into the hall after a late lunch, a bus drives past me, I smile at the driver automatically, and then realise it’s the same bus. I chased across the grass like a nutter to try to go and say hello, as he was sitting in traffic that was leaving the show, but I don’t get across in time, and assume he’s left for the day. Returning to where we’d parked an hour or so later, I see the bus parked up in the camping area and finally get a photo. Still didn’t get to meet the driver though! (I’ll be honest, would he want to meet a slightly deranged lady who runs after his bus at VW shows? Thought not…)

So, we had a great experience at our first VW show, and we’re looking forward to lots more. What shows will you be going to this year? Post in the comments and let us know, and if you see us at a show, come and say hello!