Now it may feel a bit like I have given up on my 40 things before 40 list, but I promise I haven’t, I’ve just been a little distracted of late. It’s still happening though. I have been to the opera and launched a message in a bottle and everything, I just haven’t quite got round to writing about them yet.
One of the things on my list is to visit every county in England and I am intending to get that one ticked off as soon as this summer, thanks to the loan of an amazing motorhome from Bailey of Bristol. During August Belle and I are going to be hitting the road and visiting seven counties in seven days – a grand finale to this item on the list, where we tick off the last seven all in one week. We’ll be staying at a different Caravan Club site every night and will be working our way through Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, East Riding, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – I need your help though for suggestions of places to do or thinks to visit along the way!
We’re going to be travelling in a Bailey Approach Compact 540. They are ideal for just me and Belle as they actually aren’t much wider than a regular car yet have everything you need for a self-sufficient holiday. Pretty cool right?
I was a little concerned however that ‘hitting the road’ could quite literally mean ‘hitting passing cars and trees’ as I am not terribly confident when it comes to driving large vehicles. Our last house move, where I was in charge of van driving, ended at 10.30pm in a dark garage forecourt with me crying, having backed Boyfriend and the van into a parked car, so you can see why I might be a little nervous.
What I hadn’t realised though was that new motorhome drivers can sign up for a day of training where you get behind the wheel and practice reversing nicely into pitches, not hitting other motorhome owners on site and generally driving about without losing a wing mirror. We also got a lesson in the workings of the motorhome, including how to bring down the electric bed. This was definitely Belle’s favourite bit – at the press of a button the bed lowers itself, space age style, into the seating area. It’s pretty awesome.
The training gave my confidence a real boost. I didn’t hit anything – aside from a few brushes with roadside shrubbery – and the Approach Compact was a lot easier to manoeuvre that I was expecting. The steering was much lighter than I was imagining too, and once you got used to your position as a driver, relative to the motorhome, it was fairly straightforward. Reversing is tricky as visibility is far more limited than in a car, but I will have Belle with me so I will just make her stand behind to direct me and I will know to stop if I hear a yelp.
We will be setting off on our adventure at the beginning of August and plan to tweet about it along the way, using the hashtag #40thingsbefore40, so make sure you are following me on Twitter for a good laugh as I attempt to get to grips with a chemical toilet. You could also follow Bailey of Bristol and the Caravan Club to keep up to date with all their news and offers.
Do you have any suggestions for places we should visit on our trip? I’d love to hear about your favourite hidden gems and will do my best to visit and share pictures and updates from as many of your suggestions as possible!
Thank you in advance to Bailey of Bristol for trusting me with one of their motorhomes!