As you'll know from the last post, the schedule was fairly-well planned out, so this installment will be the first couple of days away; Vanfest and Blackmore campsite.
Blackmore is a lovely site with great facilities. Tree-lined pitches, the ubiquitous one-way system, generous space between each pitch means you never feel crammed-in or on top of one another. Parked-up on newly laid hard-standing, we're surrounded by caravan-types; normal enough I suppose although they all tend to go inside and watch Coronation Street and Eastenders - can't you do that at home?
A quick trip up to Malvern for provisions - something to barbecue as the weather demands it - reveals the sprawling metropolis (Vanopolis...?) of Vanfest at the showground - this picture doesn't do it justice - it's huge!
So well-fed and a few beers later (it doesn't take much to make me sleepy) and I'm out like a light, ready for a one-day visit to Vanfest...
The first thing that hit us (even more than last year) was the number of van-converters, especially for the T5 market - have you tallied-up the amount of the three vans in the pic above yet?
I'm starting to wonder if I've got our van's agreed insurance valuation wrong and whether I should be adding another few grand!!!
This year's cars-for-sale area was plain crazy; a £20k T3, a £30k Bay-window... high mileage T5s commanding big money because they've been converted into a 'surf-van'... yeah right!
Both Mrs. Stone174 and I fell in love with this double-pop-top roof from the well-spoken Germans; Terra-camper. Although I'd like one fitting the other way around with the little 'pop' at the back. The amount of stand-up space inside was fantastic. As we're still on the look-out for a pop-top roof, you never know, it could be a UK-first!
There was a T5 to suite every taste (if not necessarily every budget). The show and shine was as disappointing as always. The price of burgers, chips and donuts was ludicrous (although I'm a northerner so you'll see me with my own butties!). The thought of camping there all weekend fills me with dread; been there, done that, no thanks.
Which is why, when you get back to Blackmore, there's a little treat in store...
Gone are the caravans with their satellite dishes, in comes a variety of colour, shape and size. Look carefully at the picture above; there's T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5. There was also a Karmann Gypsy just out of shot!
And with the dubs comes a great atmosphere - we all joked about how all the orange Bays had congregated towards each other!
Old vans and new could rub shoulders with one another, a multitude of languages could be heard; English, French, Dutch, German, we had Swiss neighbours between the trees - this felt more like a v-dub show than the corporate money-machine that is Vanfest. Without wanting to give-away this little secret, I suggest you book Blackmore next year... we have!
Look out for the next installment shortly.