Tag Archives: VW T4

Summer..

What an amazing summer we’ve had here in England, as a family we’ve made the most of getting out and about in Bumblebee for as many weekends away as possible. Our daughter Stella is now walking which has put a whole different slant on the camping experience!

This year we’ve made a few changes to our setup.

Firstly we have replaced the little life arc 2 with a sun essentials baby / toddler pop up UV sleep shade.

It’s about a third smaller than the little life arc 2 which means it’s a lot easier to get in the van once the cab bunk is in place, we’ve also padded out the camp bunk with two pillows and hard plastic sheets to create a flatter base. As its a bit smaller it leaves a good bit of space on the cab bunk we have some extra storage and Stella sleeps well in it, you can buy them new but I’d have a look on ebay, I won this one for £7.50 and they are £80.00 new!

Another small addition we have made to Stella’s sleeping arrangements has been a cab curtain, ordered from Van-X.

It was very easy to fit and means that when Stella goes to bed we can draw the curtain and she not’s visually disturbed by us should we need to get anything out of the van, like beer from the fridge for instance! We used to put a cover over the Arc2 a bit like you do a cover over a birdcage, the problem with that is it severely restricts airflow which isn’t a suffocation concern, more a heat concern, now with the curtain Stella benefits from all the air circulation in the cab, happy baby means happy parents!

Whenever we travelled we used to take a drive away awning with us to put all our stuff in, most of our summer weekends have been spent at a lovely little place we found in Penshurst, it’s not a well publicised site and has very little in way of facilities, there is one shower and toilet a short walk away, it’s easier to bring your own so more akin to off grid wild camping.

We’ve spent pretty much every other weekend there over the summer with our friends and we’ve had the best weather for it, very lazy days with food and fires at night

As we’ve been parked up for the weekend we’ve swapped the drive away awning for a Khyam sun canopy, we also invested in a Kampa commander field kitchen so we can have a kitchen setup under the awning which you can kind of see from this photo.

It’s nice to be able to stand up while making a cup of tea and it also means I can cook bacon without making the van smell like the local cafe! The setup works well in the drive away awning too, I’ve set it up beside a door I don’t use which I open while cooking to ventilate. Two clear Perspex curver boxes fit nicely on the shelf underneath the stove and if you don’t put the shelves up the 36ltr soft cool box from decathlon fits under there perfectly. I can’t recommend one of these cool boxes enough, has kept all our food cooler for longer that a traditional hard case box and when your down it folds down to a fifth of it’s size to store.

2018 also saw the formation of our very own VW / camping club know as the VeeDub McDubFace club. The main reason for this was to secure a club camping spot at bugjam as we had over 20 people in various vehicles coming away for the weekend. The weather was glorious compared to last years washout and i think it’s safe to say everyone had a great weekend, roll on next year!

Our final trip of summer was a visit to Cornwall and Devon, for the first part of the trip we rolled out the big awning as the weather was very changeable..

I also took an electric blow heater with me which came in handy on more than one occasion keeping as all warm in the awning. It’s a great awning but it’s also a mission to put up and take down, more accurately, pegging down is what takes the time. We had a great time in Bude catching up with friends, going out on a fishing boat and cooking fresh lobster and mackerel caught that day on the cobb BBQ ,thank you Stuart!

The weather in Devon got off to a cooler start but that didn’t stop us going to the beach

The weather improved considerably over the coming days and I even went in the sea, up to my knees at least!

It really has been a great summer and it’s been great being away with the family, if you have a small child or two and want to try camping in a tent or motorhome, do it, by far it’s the best part of our year and Stella absolutely loves being outside, she’s experienced so many things she wouldn’t have done being stuck by a pool or being indoors watching endless repeats of Duggee, I hope our adventures inspire you on to adventures of your own and if you have any questions about life in a campervan with a small child, drop me a line 🙂

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Friday Night @ Firle

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As i’ve mentioned before, there is something really quite nice about finishing a week at work, jumping in the van and buggering off away from the smoke for a night or two.

Lolly and I were new to the whole wild camping thing but once you get your head round it all then as Arthur Daley would say, “the world is you lobster”, especially if your life allows you the spontaneity to head out at a moments notice without having to worry about things that require your absolute care and attention, pets and children for example!

Our destination came about from a chat we’d had with a fella we met at a boot sale who complimented us on our van, a long conversation followed covering all sorts of van and boot sale related topics, one of which was about wild camping on the south downs and Firle, a favourite location for our new friend.

Neither of us had heard of Firle so Lolly did a little bit of investigation on the interweb and discovered a good spot for wild camping would be Firle Beacon, a Marylin (hill over 150ft) which is situated on the south downs between Newhaven and Eastbourne.

Soon as I got back from work, Lolly had the van packed and we made our way to the M23 and then on to the A27, traffic was average but we arrived in good time and parked up.

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From the picture above you can just about see the sea, you can also see a couple of of other vans, one of which referred to herself as a van dweller which for no explainable reason made me chuckle! At the very top of this post is a picture that says no overnight camping, this sign (amongst others) is located on the opposite side of the road to us with a couple more near the other vans and in the car park behind us that you can’t see from this photo. There are none on the side we parked on and I suspect (don’t qoute me) the odd night here and there is accepted and overlooked but any kind of semi permenant camp would attract the authorities. We did get a visit from the police, they came up, sat in their car for a bit probably checking registrations and then left, last we saw of them.

As with all our little excusrions, food and a few drinks were on the menu so we got our Cobb BBQ going and knocked up some Wagyu burgers Lauren picked up from Aldi, they’re massive and really quite nice. After some food  and lovely rocky road that Lolly made we went for a walk across the fields and took in the lovely view of the south downs, we also encountered Cockchafers.

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Mad as these things look they are in fact completely harmless and if you come across one you should feel privileged, they only come out of the ground every 4 years because thats how long it takes them to grow from a larvae and they have a lifespan of about 6 weeks, there are loads of them at firle and they really like vans !

After our walk we returned to the van, put up the thermal blinds, setup the bed, put a movie on and settled in for the night. Over the course of the evening a few cars passed us but we had no hassle and woke the next day to glorious sunshine!

The photo below is looking the opposite way to the coast and over the south downs.

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The field in front of us had also been besieged by cows.

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My funniest memory of this outing is Lauren telling me how calming cow watching was which she spent some time doing!

Alas time was against us and we had to leave at around 9 in the morning, other plans for Saturday meant we could only stay one night but we will definitely be coming back with the bikes so we can go on a proper explore!

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Le Mans 2015 aka Neils Stag Do

I’ve never really been massively into motorsport unlike my brother who loves and works for F1.

I do however love a roadtrip, camping in the van and a chance to hang out with two of my best buddies.

The trip to Le Mans was organised as a stag do for Neil Thatcher who is marrying my best mates twin sister Carli and Neil very kindly invited me along to share this auspicous occasion with himself and his pals.

At some silly time on Friday morning we converged at Dover and set sail to Calais with pretty much a boat full of cars heading to the race.

The best man, Andrew Browne organised the whole trip and did a stirling job, we were going to the race with a company called travel destinations, it wasn’t massively expensive and we got a free crate of beer for each vehicle modelled by Neil below.

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The crossing didn’t take too long, we got off the boat and made our way to the track which is about a 4.5 hour drive, the drive is a fairly uneventful affair thats made all the more interesting by the high end sports cars making their way to the race, Aston Martins, Ferraris, Porsches, even a classic Bentley, if you love cars it’s a great trip to take.

Once you get to the track it’s mobbed and a top tip, wind your windows up otherwise you are getting done by a super soaker water gun! After some sketchy directions including failure to spot a quite obvious bridge we arrived at the gated travel destinations camp site.

On arrival we all received wristbands and a goody bag that contained a tea mug, radio to tune into the race and something else, can’t remember what it was!

The site itself was well laid out, decent toilets and showers, bar\food\chillout and watch the race area as well as plenty of washing up stations for campers, there were some quite exceptional camping efforts including in my eyes the hands down winner of the weekend pictured below..

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I’ve since learned the above tent arrangment originated in Australia, it’s purpose to stop crocs getting at the tents occupiers whilst camping in the bush, i don’t know how true that is.

As I mentioned earlier, we were in the porsche curves site and our pitch was right next to a massive mound of grass, the other side of this was the actual porsche curve on the track, a great spot unless you wanted to sleep, it’s a stag do, who wants to sleep!!!

The race started at 3pm and for the next 24 hours cars whizzed past our camp making the most amazing sound, I never got bored of them towing it past!

There is a tradition on stag do’s that is upheld by all who attend, what goes on tour stays on tour and with that in mind i’m not going to detail everything that happened, just a few little highlights.

On the first night we all donned official stag do t-shirts that Neils brother Ian organised.

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We also took a walk (one of several over the weekend) to the race village where myself and Kev ate the most expensive burger I think i’ve ever had and Rob bought a 10 euro pint of Guiness….

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On day two Neil wore a lovely new pair of shorts and we had a nice hat made for him, he wore it all day, I also got very drunk, hopelessly lost but was the only one to make it to the Dunlop stage that was rocking some proper techno on my arrival.

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Neil also wore this for the evening…

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On Sunday after the race finished, Neil found a flag (amongst other things), spent a couple of hours dragging it round the track and then attached it to the van.

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We also tied Neil up for a short while…

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and then the heavens opened and the sky looked like the world was going to end

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When the race came to an end there was much cheering and then the exodus began, quite a few people who were camping chipped off there and then as well as quite a few private jets from Le Mans own airfield.

We didn’t sail till the Monday so the majority of us chilled in the bar, watched some cricket, the England game (we won) and those who were driving laid off the booze and retired at a sensible time for an early start the following day.

Those that weren’t driving stayed up till silly o’clock at the bar egging the band on for one more way past when they should of finished and busted out some quite epic dad dancing, they deffo played a couple of songs twice.

We left Le Mans at 9am and headed for our ferry which we missed, we got on the next one no worries.

I had an awesome weekend, met some top blokes, got quite drunk, hung out with my best mates, got a bit of a tan and really enjoyed the motorsport, the van did well and made it there and back without a hitch although I have concluded the split charge system is rubbish and will be replacing it immeadiately.

Would I go again, most definitely and with Travel Destinations, I thought they were very organised and provided a good secure area with great facilities, my compadres for the weekend were a top bunch of blokes too, I’m honoured to have been invited and looking forward to catching up with you all at the wedding!

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Updates February 2015

Hello faithful followers !

Whilst not much has been happening on the blog lots of things have been going on in the background and i’ve now had a chance to update and add what we’ve been up to.

There’s been some fairly extensive work been done on the van, if you are interested check out the sticky clutch and bike rack posts.

On the travel front we haven’t really been too far but we have had a day out at Bedgebury Forest on our new bikes, full report of the days escapdes can be found here.

I’ve just booked three weeks holiday so we’ll be starting to plan our trip to Ibiza very soon, proper excited about that.

Also this Friday 20th February i’m playing b2b with K-Complex at I Love Hard Beats 3rd birthday bash in London with Kevin Energy heading back to the wheels of steel after some time away from the scene, you can find all the info about the even by heading to facebook via this link, it’s gonna be an awesome night out !

Thats all for now !

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