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I have been waiting more than six months to write this blog post so you can imagine how excited and happy I am to be able to finally share with you my great news: John and I are the proud owners of a fully kitted out custom-built brand new campervan!!!! We call him Ivan. It’s actually iVan because the owner of company who did the retrofit, said the inside of the van looks like an iPod because of all the white, hence iVan which became Ivan.

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Do you want to know a bit more about Ivan? I thought you would, so my list making, bullet point loving, timeline thinking kind of brain is going to set out the sequence of events like I do the nitty gritty of my crochet projects:

  • 12 January 2014 – Ordered a Vauxhall Vivaro SWB Diesel 2.0 CDTi Sportive 2.7t Techshift Euro 5 van. Automatic, with cruise control and short wheel base.
  • 30 April 2014 –  Vauxhall delivered the van to CC Campers in Kidderminster to be converted from a regular van to a campervan. This included:
    • A layout where the front two seats swivel round. The front seats and the back seats then fold down to form two single beds or one double bed, leaving us with a galley kitchen in the back.
    • a Pop Top Elevating Roof. The elevation is at the back, where the kitchen is, so that we can stand in the kitchen and cook.
    • side privacy windows and curtains (The windows are not tinted yet, but they will be soon.)
    • insulation, floor and carpet lining at the back of van with lighting
    • microwave
    • power distribution unit
    • Thetford Porta Potti Qube chemical toilet
  • 25 July 2014 – Made the 4 hour train journey to Kidderminster to collect our Van with a huge suitcase filled with kitchen basics, clothes and a vacuum pack bag of bedding:  four cushions, the quilt my mom gave us for our wedding, a picnic blanket and towels all fitted into our suitcase (vacuum pack bags are so handy!).
  • 25 July to 27 July 2014 – Inaugural camping weekend at The Caravan Club’s  Malvern Hills Camp Site.

As you can see this van has been a very long time coming, so we were super happy to finally see it. The Vauxhall factory delivered it straight to the CC Campers so even though we bought it in January, we only received the keys to our van in July. It was a great moment and the start of great things for the Kings.

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It was totally worth the wait, and putting our trust in CC Campers was justified. We love every thing about our van. Christian did the most amazing job delivering a campervan with great attention to detail, high quality finishing and very practical.

We’ve only slept in our van for twice, but it was goooood. The layout really works for us. John can stay in bed while I scoot on over to the kitchen to make tea in the kitchen which wouldn’t be possible with the traditional campervan layout with “rock ‘n roll bed“. Our first night was a bit awkward because we left the pop top roof open which made it very cold inside. Saturday night was much better and more comfortable because we closed the pop top roof and took down the foam mattress to put on top of our seat-bed. Much better indeed.

I just adore our lime green Outwell collapsible kettle. The green section is silicone which just folds in on itself when you are ready to hit the road. It takes up no space at all. I’m also going to buy the collapsable mixing bowl.  Green of course. The colour scheme for Ivan is grey and lime green. (We might be camping, but we can do it according to a colour palette).

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This is Ivan parked on his pitch at Malvern Hills Camp Site.

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Having never once in our lives camped, not even as day visitors, seeing the well organised and well equipped site office was a real treat for us. For regular campers this may be nothing special, but for is it was nice to know that we can pop on over to buy a bread and eggs, and borrow a rubber hammer (which we did).

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Here’s John demonstrating how we cook in the campervan. We had to park our van with the back facing the road so that we could reach the electric point. Under normal circumstances we would not want to be on show like this. Not that fellow campers made a big thing of being able to see into our van. Camping Folk are really very private and everyone feels like we do: we will acknowledge a neighbour or passer-by, but want to be left alone for the most part.

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The view from our campervan overlooking the Malvern Hills Camp Site. It may seem that there are a lot of caravans, but somehow it didn’t feel busy. For us as newbies when we drove in and saw all of these we thought “Oh man. This is going to be noisy and cramped!” but it wasn’t. The kids on site was very well-behaved, the dogs well-behaved, the adults quiet and curtious. The site as a whole is extremely well maintained and the toilet blocks very clean. Malven Hills Camp Site was a great choice for our very first campsite experience.

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Gammon and egg on our first morning. Served on crocheted placemats of course. We’re eating out of disposable plastic plates with plastic knives and forks, but we’re not animals!

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Speaking of crochet. I didn’t do any! I kid you not. I had three crochet projects with me thinking I may run out of projects because of all the time I’ll have to crochet, but all I did all weekend was read and enjoy nature, which included a 1.5 mile walk to Hanley Swan.

The one thing that stands out for me from this weekend, apart of course the fact that I am super happy with our campervan and know we will be spending a LOT of time camping, is that camping is so utterly relaxing. John said I was a different person at the camp site. I know why. It’s because I can’t rush anything. It’s impossible to do anything quickly when the biggest gas burner is the size of the smallest one in your home kitchen, when you can’t wash the dishes while something is cooking because you may burn yourself, you can’t wipe the counter top while something is cooking because you may burn yourself, you have to bend down awkwardly to get the plates under the cooker and be careful when you get up to not switch on the microwave with your bum. Living in a small space forces you to s  l   o   w  down and just take it easy. Once you embrace it and learn to chill out, the days feel like weeks, time stands still and you learn to live in, and enjoy, the moment.

Brace yourself readers, you will be seeing a lot more than just crochet on this blog from now on. I may not have done any crochet on our first camping weekend, but my head is full of ideas for crochet things to improve camp life and storage in the campervan. Patterns and projects will follow very soon.

If any of my readers are Camping Folk, I’d love to hear from you with suggestions of good sites, tips, etc.

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