29 May 2008

My other boat's a motorhome

Even before the moment of madness that saw us go out for an innocent recce and come back with a mobile behemoth, I was aware of a strong correlation between narrowboating and motorhoming. I had heard of lots of people who had left motorhoming to go boating and just as many who had made the trip the other way. Some of the ambivalent amongst us can’t decide what to do so do both. I’m not really surprised by it all..the nomadic gypsy in me can be satisfied by either, and my bank account emptied by both.

Motorhome ownership came as a result of our dog/holiday dilemma. We wanted to be able to see other parts of the UK and Europe than those accessible by water but hotels, B&Bs and self catering cottages that accept five dogs are about as rare as eunuchs in a brothel. Anyway, I believe I mooted the idea on a Tuesday and A was very enthusiastic, and we agreed to take a trip up to the vast Brownhills dealership at Newark for a look-see. Sensing no time like the present, I suggested we pop up the coming Saturday, all the time counselling A that we would not do anything rash or hasty, that we would get the magazines, visit the shows, check out dealers, do our research, make a truly informed decision. Well as planned, we pootled up on Saturday and introduced ourselves to a diminutive but charming salesman called...wait for it...Philip Little. Great name, great guy. So there we were, walking around the site which was jam packed full of motorhomes of all shapes and sizes. We were trying to play it cool but the fact that our eyes were out on sticks was a bit of a giveaway. When we got to the £150,000 Clou Liner, I nearly wet myself but I was dragged away to the second-hand vans before I disgraced myself. Once here we started to look in earnest, with ‘look’ being the operative word. This was the first sortie, this was fact-finding, under no circumstances whatsoever were we to get the cheque book out. Before we knew it we were sitting in an office committing to yet another HP agreement...I’m not sure how it happened even now. We were only on our fifth van when Philip started whispering sweet nothings about integrated awnings, colour reversing cameras, bike racks and Freeview before coming in for the kill with the rear U lounge that had ‘dog bed’ written all over it. As we went home, I asked A how come, despite all our adjuring of one another to take our time, we had ended up with a 23ft van when a) we had nowhere to park it and b) we knew nothing about motorhoming. I asked him the same thing when 18 months later we went for another look-see and came back with a new 26ft van....

P.S. For those of you who are interested in the detail, our first van was an Autotrail Apache 700SE. We decided after a year that we actually needed more space (Autotrail didn’t really optimise the layout) so we moved on to a magnificent Bessacarr 765P. It really is the dog’s do-dahs. Sod the credit crunch!

P.P.S. Note to self: do not go to Brownhills, do not pass go, do not buy a 28ft tag axle motorhome.

No comments: