We left this booking until the last minute really; usually Easter is a weekend camp with a bunch of friends but these seem to have dwindled of late as kids grow older and vans go in for repair….
Our journey down to sunny Wiltshire wasn’t without drama as a couple of miles from the storage yard, the car chucked a hissy fit and went in to limp mode, on a hill……..joining a dual carriageway! It’s an ongoing intermittent issue, solved by by turning it off and on again, it just makes you a bit wary with a long journey towing a van ahead. Knowing what the M5 can be like at the best of times, we routed down the M42/M40 then back roads down the A429, very picturesque route but it was squeaky bum time on the big hills after the earlier incident.
A few hours later (I found out the excess traffic was partly due to a tanker fire on the motorway; at least we got to our destination) ended up at a site we’d visited a few years back as a small group, on the other side of the A350 from Lacock, nice small-ish commercial site, very clean but the owner is a bit “old school caravan club” for want of a better description. On arrival i was made (and had a personal guide) to reverse on to the pitch; i usually take it part way in then use the mover to align it, level and line up the Alko wheel lock, but he wasn’t content with that for some reason. We were soon level and utilities attached, then the new awning came out; i wanted to video the maiden erection, but forgot the tripod. Out of the bag, blown up and pegged up to the point of being stable took about 25 minutes, very impressive. Attaching the rubber ladders and extra pegs, limpets and poles was another half hour or so but no divorce! I’m very impressed with the air awning, the only down side is it is very heavy to thread through the rail, I could have just about done it on my own once the kador strip has softened up a bit but even at 6’2″, i needed to use the step to get the leverage required.. It feels a lot warmer than our old Rally awning and feels a LOT bigger even though it’s only 60cm wider. We’d considered going for the Rally plus for the extra room and part of me wishes we had, but we’ll just get an annex at some point to increase options for storage/sleeping. The lighting i made for the awning was a near perfect fit and worked really well once i found the batteries for the remote.
On Saturday we headed up to Caen hill locks for a wander, had a bit of craic with a couple of families on boats and marveled at the engineering of boats going up hill. Even Leah was showing some sort of interest rather than burying her face in her phone; she even got to open a lock for a family. I’ve always fancied trying a short break on a narrow boat, this just added to it.
A coffee in the cafe at the lock keepers cottage and back to the site for lunch before a wander in to Lacock and a cheeky beverage in The George Inn before wandering back to the van. Tea was a Cadac affair; external BBQ point is ace, however if there is an annex on the awning, I’ll need a plan B.
Later Sunday, the Swindon contingent came over for the day, they would have camped with us but their van is in for warranty work. We had a good couple of hours chin-wag before going up to the Rising Sun pub and a cracking pup lunch, returning to the van for a couple of drinks and watching the F1 before settling in to watch a DVD. The site has a great dog walking field at the back of the play area, on Sunday night there was a fallow deer in there which stayed for a short while before spotting us and running off, the dog was determined to get after it, thankfully he’s always on the lead or he’d be long gone now; furry idiot.
Taking down the awning on Monday was straight forward, getting the last of the air out of the poles, less so; we have a pump in the shed for our canoe which has a “suck” setting on it which may help, otherwise it’s a case of rolling the air out, sealing the valves off then re-rolling it to get in the bag! The drive home was even more straight forward, M4/M5/M42 and we were home about 2 hours faster than the drive down. Hopefully the twin axle van we passed and attempted to alert about their EXTREMELY flat tyre got home OK too