Ok, here’s the pics to go with the Anglesey trip!
Caravan magazines are dangerous. They show you new and exciting caravans. I have now decided that, when we win the lotto – which I intend should happen very shortly – our next purchase will be a Stealth. Never heard of them? Oooh go take a look. You’ll like it!
However, coming back from lala land, we paid our first visit to an actual Caravan and Camping shop last weekend. We wanted to check out the Cadac portable gas BBQs to see what the cooking area was like and if they’re really as portable as they claim (it’s big enough and yes they are!).
Charles Camping also sells new and used caravans and we simply couldn’t resist the urge to have a wander round and see what was on offer. Quite a lot as it turns out. One of our plans for future caravanning involves a fixed island bed rather than something that you have to make up every night. For marshalling, what you really need is the ability to just fall into bed when you need to – and if you can do that and have a sitting and dining area, so much the better. Evil is a lovely little caravan but you definitely have to want to spend a lot of time outside her!
We found a few units – new and second hand – that would certainly meet our needs – and it was fun to look around. Charles also do caravan servicing so it’s good to know there’s somewhere a bit closer than Cork if you need to get a service!
We went for a quick look around. We left with over €100 of accessories and a plan to return and pick up the Cadac of our choice, which is another €175. They also gave us a catalog.
The Catalog is nothing more than Caravan Porn. It contains thousands of things that make you go “ooh that’s a good idea, we need one of those”.
Don’t fall for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If we bought everything we liked the look of, even a 4×4 wouldn’t be enough to contain it! We’d need a second caravan to carry all the stuff we bought for the first caravan!
Caravan porn. Fear it!
So, the purpose for which Evil was procured….attending motorsport events!
I’d hoped to have a bit more prep time but due to an unexpected trip to Brussels, I didn’t get it! However, my cunning ploy of gradually stocking Evil up with travel necessities over the last few weeks made things a bit easier. So while Grant swanned off to a company pub quiz on Thursday night, I packed up da van with the last few bits,some clothing, and of course, the marshalling kit.
We were up at stupid O’Clock on Friday morning as we had to be at the ferry port for 07:30. On the plus side, not a lot of traffic and G’s inspired choice of going via the Port Tunnel (well the clue is in the name!) meant we made it in plenty of time. While queuing to get on the ferry, we saw a car with the best..numberplate…ever!!!!
And of course, while we sat in the queue, we started comparing our caravan with the others in the queue. Evil was definitely the nicest! 🙂
Trip on the ferry was disappointing. We paid for Stena Plus but the lounge on the Adventurer was large, noisy and crowded. There’s only one area with power points and it had already been taken over by several large families so we had to settle for swivel chairs and no charger capability. The breakfast was good though!
So we arrive at Anglesey and sit in a traffic jam for 30 minutes trying to get out of the port. We weren’t even smuggling sausages!
At least it’s a pretty short trip from Holyhead port to Anglesey. The Megane did her best, but it was pretty obvious that hauling Evil up steep country roads was not something that was going to be achieved with ease. I don’t love the smell of burning clutch in the morning. It smells expensive! So that 4×4 option is now looking like a necessity I guess.
Then there were the stealth speedbumps! For some reason, there are several speedbumps on the entrance road to Anglesey circuit that are unmarked. On the plus side, we weren’t able to go fast enough for it to be a problem! We did open Evil when we got to site and discover the contents of the overhead lockers all over the floor though. This is why melamine plates are a must!
At last we arrived and found a nice pitch near the old Med Centre. This is where the motor mover really comes into play. No messing around with reversing on a hill. Just get the remote control and beep beep beep, you’re parked up nice and straight! But not necessarily level. And that’s when we found out that each trip would require a sacrifice to the Caravan Gods. The first casualty was the spirit level. You’ve seen the pics. You know how small Evil is. So explain to me how you can *lose* something in there……… We didn’t discover the next sacrifice until we got home. Evil has eaten my Snoreguard……..
We decided that “ah sure it looks ok” was sufficient – and since we didn’t have any levellers anyway, it was largely guess work on the legs. This was a mistake……more on that later……
In all, getting Evil pitched with services only took about 15 mins, including running power into the old Med Centre so that’s pretty good. We’d had the excellent idea of running the fridge for a couple of nights before we left, using the power converter that lets us run off mains from the house. This meant that it was still cool when we arrived and didn’t need much to get it up and running. Ginger beer was duly fridged. During setup, several marshalling friends came to visit on their lunchbreak and all in all, it was pretty cool to have our shed on wheels for people to come calling.
Of course, the next priority was getting the flag pole up to display our shiny new Ten-Tenths flag. Remember how I said that 10 metres was too big for a flagpole? Well gravity thought so too. It broke! We now have a 5 metre flagpole……. but it works, which is the main point! 🙂
Notice that the caravan does appear to be on a slight lean there by the way…..??
While this was going on, I decided it was time to try my new shiny DAB radio. In Ireland, all you can get is RTE stations which, let’s be honest, are not really particularly exciting. But we were in *Wales* now. That meant UK Digital radio stations. Planet Rock. Absolute Radio. Yeah Baby!!! Well. No actually. I bought the radio on the Thursday and tested it in the office in case there was a problem and it needed to go back. This was a good idea. However, it would have been an even *better* idea to unplug the power cable and pack it back into the box before I went home….. So no DAB radio……..
The really sad thing is that I’m typing this up on the train. And I’ve just discovered that the DAB radio power lead is still in my work backpack…….
But now one of the benefits of having a caravan instead of a motorhome. We could lock up Evil with all services in place and go and do some shopping. We’d intended to do some grocery shopping in any case, but given our hardware requirements, we needed to go somewhere a little more urban and made our way to Bangor.
Never go shopping in Waitrose unless you want to take out a second mortgage. Lovely food, certainly – but oh my word, it’s pricy! Between Grant’s unescorted foray into their gourmet BBQ section – which resulted in him returning with the remains of a whole pig, half a cow and a deer that must have wandered in while no-one was looking – and my need for things like lunchboxes for marshalling (and of course, beer!) it got pretty expensive! Lesson learned!
However, what they didn’t sell were caravan levellers or power cables. So off we went to Halfords. Halfords do sell levellers and they also sell coolboxes which we now needed to accommodate the large quantities of gourmet burgers and sausages (and of course, beer!).
Halfords don’t sell power cables………
Neither do Comet.
Neither do Tesco…but they do sell very cheap FM radios that use the same cable. So now we have 2 radios. Oh and a freeview box. We had to fill out a form for the freeview box. That should be fun when they figure out we don’t live in the UK…….
Overall, a pretty expensive shopping trip – but we did get the final bits that we needed for Evil – and we learned that next time, unless we want to go bankrupt, we’ll just stick with Tesco!
And it was in Tesco that Grant found the world’s most bizarre sandwich. I’m not going to tell you what it was. We took a picture. Someday, he may even post the picture so you can see what it was. Not that it matters. In the end we didn’t eat it. But for £1 it was worth it, purely for the entertainment value we got from showing it to people!
Back at the circuit, we decided that Evil was level enough and although we’d bought the levellers, we couldn’t actually be arsed to use them. This would later turn out to be a mistake…….
We decided it was time to build the new portable BBQ that Grant got for his leaving present. It’s a nice little unit, but I wouldn’t call it portable in the full sense of the word. Maybe if you have a small flatbed truck (or a large 4×4 with a big boot). But it cooks well.
We started with the idea of throwing a few sausages and burgers on for a couple of our marshalling friends. However, the lure of the smell of cooking sausages (and everyone wanting an explanation of our Celtic flag) proved too much and soon, there were more than a couple of friends! 🙂
Fortunately, Grant had bought *way* more than we could reasonably eat in a weekend – and some folks brought their own as well. By the way, we never did find out who contributed the M&S pork sausages – so we took them home and ate them! This made everyone happy – particularly me given my overriding urge to feed people! Turns out that this is not restricted to my bricks and mortar house…it also extends to caravans. Curse you, Irish genes!
Impromptu Caravan Warming BBQ!
After sitting around chatting for several hours, it was dark and getting chilly. At this point, we discovered that a working external light would be quite helpful – as would keeping a couple of fleeces in the wardrobe!
Finally we called it a night and I have to say, it’s one of the most relaxing evenings I’d had in a long time – give or take the minor drama of the aquaroll going empty on us! That kind of thing is so totally what it’s supposed to be about and thanks to everyone who stopped by.
And so to bed – which involved the unpacking of the memory foam mattress toppers.
Now, just for the record, I would like to say, memory foam mattress toppers are truly wonderful things and I would heartily recommend them to anyone with a “new to them” caravan. The difference in sleeping surface is unbelievable.
They were packed up very nicely in little bags with handles and fitted happily under the two seats. Well, they *did*. Until we realised that they were vacuum packed. Once they’re *not* vacuum packed, they puff up like my ankles when I’ve been flying and refuse point-blank to ever fit back into those lovely bags with the handles! Apparently, “memory foam” does not remember how to be the same size it was when vacuum packed. We have memory foam mattresses with amnesia………
So now we can pack one of them under the seat. The other one just lives on the seat!
But once again – I wouldn’t be without one now. Waking up without aches and pains is totally worth the storage hassles!
Both of us slept through and due to being on circuit and a relaxed programme, we got up at a very civilised time and had a cooked breakfast before sign on.
Now this is where the levellers come into play. I’m usually pretty good at cooking fried eggs. Even in a caravan. But cooking on a hob that has a definite lean towards the left makes things considerably more tricky. Because what had been relatively level previously, now wasn’t. The legs had started sinking on the downward slope so we’d gone from a very slight list to the left to a “I’m going downhill to the toilet” type of lean!
This worsened over Saturday night and when I woke up on Sunday morning (I sleep on the left side) it was with my nose firmly pressed up against the wall!
Given the time we finished on Sunday, we did toy with the idea of going for the 20:30 ferry home since we had flexible tickets. But eventually, we decided we couldn’t be arsed!
However, we did need to move Evil down to the hard standing in the paddock so we could hook up to the electrics. A big thanks here to the circuit staff at Anglesey for letting us stay and looking after us – you guys are the best! 🙂
However, Rhosneigr once again managed to best us with the amazing never open chip shop. We ended up having to go to Valley for chips – but they were nice chips so it’s not all bad! And I once again enjoyed the tastebud explosion that is ice cold fizzy Vimto!
Chips, Top Gear and bed!
Up at the dawn of crack to make sure we made the 08:20 ferry on Monday morning. Packing up was relatively painless – although we did have the joy of having managed to fill up the toilet cassette over the course of the weekend. (Remember the Beer?!) Grant had the excellent idea of driving to the chemical waste point so we didn’t have to try and lug the cassette all the way over there, for which I was very grateful. I still managed to get some on my feet while emptying it though 🙁
I remember a rhyme when I was a kid – “no matter how much you squirm, no matter how much you dance, the last 3 drops always end in your pants”. In my case, it’s “no matter how high you lift, though your stance is complete, you will always always wind up, with pee on your feet“!
They do say that urine is good for athlete’s foot. If only I was an athlete……..
Journey back was a lot more civilised – the Nordic Stena Plus lounge is *much* more what we had in mind and we had a relaxing journey back.
We had a fab weekend at Anglesey – I’m not going to recount our various motorsport adventures as this is the caravan blog, but suffice it to say that we had a really good time and it was exactly what I’d been hoping for when we bought the caravan. We got to hang out, chill out, relax and just enjoy the experience of being at the circuit with all our friends.
But that’s 2 caravan trips now and still not a single game of Scrabble………..
Evil Caravan is definitely the way to go!
Spotted at Dublin Port on the way over to Anglesey.
Got to wonder how they got away with it!
Balloxs to it all I say!!!