Good nights sleep..?
First night out, adventure one, living the dream? Well, no, not quite, not yet. I’ve decided to spend a night in the van, see what works, what doesn’t work and iron out any issues that may arise from Rita providing my home for the night.
I’ve come to Peachley Caravan Park, Lower Broadheath. This will provide a perfect test, with a location only a short drive from home, just outside the city to give an illusion of isolation.
Over 90 service (mains water and electric hook up) pitches are available on site, including some situated within a secluded wood, although I’ve opted to stay out in the open. I’ve got a hard standing pitch with electric hookup. Grass pitches are available but I fancy spending tonight on solid ground. The cost to stay here starts from £16 per night.
Peachley Caravan Park, Peachley Lane, Lower Broadheath, Worcestershire, WR2 6QR
Visit site @ peachleycaravanpark.co.uk
On arrival staff are friendly enough, although there are plenty
of empty pitches around I’m shown to a designated pitch by a lad I follow on his quad bike. It’s a nice spot with a large field behind and only a 3 minute walk back to the reception block. Electric is charged via a token system. Having never done this before I’ve purchased two tokens to be safe. I’ve no idea how cold the van will get once the sun goes down. With this in mind I’ve got a little electric heater at the ready which I hope will keep me toasty if the mercury plummets.
So I’ve parked up, Rita is hooked up, the camping table and chairs have been whipped out of the high top and I’ve cracked open a tin of Strongbow Dark Fruit Cider. Although still relatively chilled (I haven’t travelled far), I’d like to keep the rest of the pack cold. Time to check out the fridge. The guy I bought Rita from had this working when I collected her but I was so thrilled with the new van I don’t have any recollection of being told how this works at all! I’m glad I’ve got the electric hookup because it looks as simple as flicking the switch down to the higher voltage. Happy days.
With cider chilling (fingers crossed) it’s time for a snack. I’m hardly being ambitious with the cuisine but I’m going with something incredibly simple which will only require the boiling of the kettle, after all, you can’t beat a Pot Noodle! Very quickly I’m starting to regret the times I’ve sat on the bench seat daydreaming, I realize what I should have been doing is familiarizing myself with my little kitchen. Everything was working when I purchased the van. But now, whatever I try, I can’t get the cooker working and I’ve no idea how I’d get the fridge to run off gas either. I spend half an hour twisting the gas taps to various different positions and wasting half a box of matches attempting to ignite the hob. No gas comes through and frustrated I decide the gas bottle must be empty.
Grudgingly I fold up the table and chairs, lock the van up and make the short stroll up to the reception block to see if there’s any food available. Turns out the block contains a cafe, facilities here are basic but everyone is friendly and helpful. A beefburger and chips heavier but £5 lighter I leave and head back to the van. With light starting to fade I set the bed up (yes, I can at least remember how to work the bed!) and get my sleeping bag ready to crawl into later. It’s still reasonably warm out so I unfold the table and a chair, sit outside and finish the last couple of cans out the fridge. The little fridge had certainly done it’s job, ice cold cider out in the fresh air, I could have been a million miles away…
Now I know 4 cans of cider is always going to ease your passage into sleep, but I honestly had no trouble sleeping whatsoever. My bed was soft and surprisingly comfortable, I certainly don’t feel as though I’ve had poor quality sleep. Using a sleeping bag was cosy and warm, the electric heater untouched. Sunlight streamed through the thread bare curtains by mid morning which woke me naturally, totally refreshed and relaxed. I decide to lie for a little while longer and open the sliding door to enable a little fresh air inside the van. This allows me to listen to the world outside. I can hear birds tweeting as well as the chatter of fellow campers as they move around the campsite. I’m at peace, here in my little van, my very own haven.
Having already bought dinner last night and being so close to home I give breakfast at the cafe a miss. I pack up the few items I’ve used and plan to head back home. Last night was a learning experience. I now know for sure Rita provides me with a great, comfortable nights sleep. I definitely don’t need to buy 2 tokens for the electric in future! I need gas in my bottle before I leave home and I need to google the operation of my kitchen appliances. All in all I’m just pleased to be out in her, she starts on the button, I give her a little throttle to get her running steadily and we’re away…