Saturday, July 21, 2012

A summer washout

We went away again a couple of weeks ago in our campervan. Again I'd booked a week off work but this time we hadn't actually decided on where to go or booked a site. As everyone living in the UK is aware this summer has been an absolute joke. Cold temperatures and rain - lots and lots of rain. Compared to some areas we have actually been quite lucky where we live in that whilst it has rained a lot and it is cloudy almost every single day we haven't had the torrential downpours that other areas have seen with flooding. Even so I didn't have a whole lot of enthusiasm for going anywhere and spent more time looking for sites that might not be too waterlogged or where there were hard standing pitches rather than grass and looking at weather forecasts hoping that once we picked somewhere it was unlikely to actually flood. It's not the best way to find a holiday.

In the end we decided on Conwy Touring Caravan Park in Conwy, North Wales. We went there this time last year and quite liked it. It was sunny then. It was our first time away in our little camper, the glasses were kind of rose tinted. This time the glasses were distinctly clouded over and rained on. We arrived Sunday, went to Llandudno on Monday to do some cycling when it miraculously managed to stay dry and came home Tuesday as it did nothing but rain the whole time we were on site. In the rain, which was pretty heavy most of the time it didn't look quite so attractive. There are a lot of trees on this site and to be honest dark green trees, cloud, rain and mud coupled with the fact we had no TV reception, no mobile phone reception and no 3G internet, doesn't really make for a fun evening in. In fact the highlight of our two evenings there was to hurry over to the washing up area and wash the pots which because there is only two of us and we only had spag bol both nights, it didn't take up much time.

It was an absolute joy putting the awning away on Tuesday morning - not. It was pouring with rain, chilly and by now the pitches were getting really quite muddy. As we thought it would be better to get mud all over the outside of the awning rather than the inside, after taking all the pegs out we decided to carry it over to some grass that didn't look too muddy and tip it over onto it's side so that the outside of it would be face down on the grass when we took the poles out. After we'd finished scrabbling about on the floor in the wet grass we managed to get the poles out, dry off the pegs and shoved the awning in the back of the van and headed off for home. I would never make it as a festival goer, I just couldn't cope with being up to my eyeballs in mud.

All is not lost......
It wasn't a complete waste of time. We had a good day out in Llandudno on Monday. The campervan is brilliant as a day van. We parked up near a beach, had lunch in the van, got changed into our cycling gear and went off to the centre of Llandudno. Bikes are a brilliant way to get around. It means you can park up your van outside of the centre and ride in, so no roaming around looking for car parks. You can have a brew whenever you fancy one, if the weather takes a turn for the worst you've got a change of clothes with you and if we shut all the curtains we can even use our portaloo. Complete self sufficiency on a day out - love it.

Learning Curve
It was also an opportunity to test out the slight modification to the bed. When we went away in April I found sleeping in the van quite uncomfortable. The bed is a bench seat by day and opens out into a bed at night. The bed is made up of various bits of foam slotted together but as there was no side on the bed these pieces tended to drift apart in the night meaning we ended up sleeping in gaps that are not good for your back. Before we went away my husband made a side that slots onto the side of the base of the bed at night which keeps all the foam pieces squashed together so that they don't drift apart, problem solved. We now have a comfy bed again. We've also got rid of the quilt that we used last year and replaced it with out trusty old double sleeping bag that we've had for years, this takes up much less space during the day. We also discovered that the 12v battery system appears not to be working. We don't really need it as long as we have an electric hook up. The only thing we couldn't use was the tap because the 12v electric operates the pump. So that's something that still needs to be looked at though it's no big deal.

We also learned that there are better caravan sites than Conwy Touring Park. It's a vast site but it does seem to be getting a little bit worse for wear. They don't seem too interested in making any improvements to it. The washing up area was a little shabby, the roads seem to be developing pot holes here and there and in the rain it's a pretty dismal place to be. If you like things really quiet then go for it but we were getting just a little depressed there and I don't think we'll be visiting again.

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