Monday, 8 September 2014

(Not) Introducing Herbie

Herbie is feeling a little shy this morning.  He knows you don't get a second chance to make a first impression and frankly, right now he's not looking his best.  At 20 years old with over 100,000 miles on the clock he's not exactly in the first flush of youth and it shows ... but we knew that when we bought him, in fact, it is why we bought him :)   Meet the Tour Bus, campervan project, our latest lunatic adventure - and something both Management and I have wanted for nearly as long as Herbie has been on the roads!



So, the what and the why.  Herbie is a Leisuredrive conversion on a Citroen Relay base vehicle.  He has a couple of gas rings and a grill, a fridge and a loo, and extremely comfortable seat/bed cushions.  For our first van we have deliberately bought small so that I can drive around less than expansive roads in the Lake District, west coast of Scotland and wherever else the mood takes us.  So small, in fact, that although I told QuiltSue yesterday he was about a metre longer than Hattie, parking the vehicles side by side shows that there's no difference.  Except for the height - oh boy, is there height.  Not measured it yet but I just tell myself that White Van Man zooms around the countryside everyday in something bigger than this, so we'll be fine.

OK, that was the what, how about some why?  

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Management and I owned a small boat on the Kennet and Avon Canal.  It was a lovely time and we thoroughly enjoyed pottering around in our little tupperware cruiser.  There was a problem though, we were moored on the wrong part of the wrong canal.  A railway line ran parallel to the water making peaceful nights on the boat impossible - freight trains every hour or so are not conducive to a good night's sleep.  We also had the issue of locks to contend with.  Now anyone who has ever been near a canal knows locks are part of their charm but between Reading and Hungerford there are far too many and with just two of us on board we spent all our time locking and it didn't feel like there was much drifting along relaxing.  Around this time Ollie joined the family (where ARE the pictures of him on the boat???), our interests moved on and we sold up.



But we missed it and subsequently spent a lot of time clambering in and out of motorhomes at every dealer in Hampshire but we could never quite make up our minds.  To get to the places we wanted to be (Cumbria, Scotland) we'd need a large van that could cope with three of us on holiday, but at the time we had a Hampshire-sized mortgage and couldn't justify the expense.

Moving on 15 years and to cut a very long story short, triggered by the wonderful summer this year and my sleeping in the garden we had one of those "if not now, when" moments and decided to go for it.  We then had some serious 'good grief' moments of sticker shock when we found what it might cost and decided to have a fairly cheap "toe dipping" exercise to make sure we really like this - and actually use a van - before we go anywhere near what has been referred to as 'grown up money'.  So we know that Herbie has more than a few rusty bits, clunky noisy bits, and doesn't go very fast, but this is an experiment and one that could not have been achieved by renting a camper for a week.



So there you are, the culmination of 15 to 20 years of thinking about it, now we've actually gone and done it.  And now I need to go and do it - the cleaning that is!

I am just going outside and may be some time.



16 comments:

  1. A very wise and measured decision not to go the while hog. Has Daisy passed comment yet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sue, it hasn't felt wise and measured so far. I'm knackered from cleaning all day and am barely half way through the inside!

      Can't stop Daisy jumping in to "help" Mummy! See 3rd photo - Madam entering at speed :)

      Delete
  2. and is he sing "I'm shy, Mary Ellen, I'm shy. It does seem so silly, oh my."?

    Looking forward to seeing you all soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No singing Sue, but he might have been wincing a bit as I've scrubbed away the top three layers of dirt (at least another four to go).

      Delete
  3. Oh, you are gonna love it!!!! We've had an RV from 1996 up to about a month ago when we sold it. We may get something smaller again one day, something easier for hubby to handle. Please go use it as often as possible and share your adventures with us!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, thanks for the support and encouragement :) We certainly didn't get Herbie just to sit on the drive and I hope he'll get lots of use.

      Delete
  4. Aaahhhh. The freedom of the open road.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Freedom :)
      Are you sure Rustyville isn't in an alternate universe where there's no Road Fund Licence, no insurance and fuel cost isn't 60% tax?

      Delete
  5. Did think it was going to be a vintage care to do up. Hope you really enjoy your time away in it. We do in our caravan when we get the time, although we've not used ours since before we moved. Take care and the weather here in Cornwall has been beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a way Susan, it is. Herbie needs quite a bit of fixing up as well as a huge amount of cleaning. Maybe you'll get to meet him in person before you go home if our schedules work out?

      Delete
  6. It all sounds like hard work to me, is it road worthy? If you hurry up you could get on the road while the weather is still gorgeous. It could be fun. I haven' t much experience of these things, do you actually sleep in it?
    One more question, I have only just found your blog. Are you actually hobbits?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chloris, welcome to Bag End and thank you for bothering to comment.

      Yes we are quite roadworthy - tax, MOT, insurance and a full tank of diesel :) Yes, we can sleep in the van, you make up the seats into a bed similar to what you might do in a caravan.

      Are we Hobbits? Hmm, well, we do like Second Breakfast but our feet aren't covered in curly hair ....

      Delete
  7. I love the idea of a camper van, I have been trying to get my OH to get a caravan for three years. To no avail, (where do we store it when we dont use it, how much will it cost etc.), etc. We used to camp every weekend and had many holidays away in our tent over the years. .I also, in a previous marriage, had a boat on Windermere which we could sleep on which looks very like the one you have in your picture. I think it was called a Norman. I have now just had a long conversation with my OH and things are looking more promising. We might even follow your lead :) I love the look of your camper van.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck in your 'endeavours'! Will it help to tell OH that our van is the same length as my Honda .....?

      A boat on Windermere sounds lovely, Management would like that. Ours was a Shetland Saxon. Very few of them were built but it was a lovely little craft, sometimes I wish we still had it.

      Delete
  8. Do try HG products for cleaning as they are really good. The HG window cleaner liquid is brilliant for glass or shiny surfaces. White bath cleaner is also excellent

    ReplyDelete

So there I am, chuntering on to myself, but it would be lovely to hear from you. Thanks to all who take the time to comment - it makes my day :)

and I always delete spam - my blog, my rules :-}