Well, it’s been a long time since I put down the deposit, but today I got a phone call to tell me that everything was ready for me to come and pick Old Red up! EXCITING!!
I had asked my Dad to give me a lift into Warwick, but it was gone 4pm by the time the guys at Bounce called me, and so he’d long since had to go off and do other things. I’d resigned myself to getting another £25 taxi but then as I was about to leave, my sister’s fiancé offered to drive me there and follow me back! Thank you, Mark!
So, after a quick run through of where everything was and how it all works (none of which I can remember now, of course) I set off in my new van! First I drove a mile down the road to visit Robin at his shop…and I’m REALLY glad I did that. It took us about 5 minutes and several BAD gear changes to get there, and when we arrived I drove up the wrong road and ended up in a cul-de-sac. So there I was having to perform a three point turn in a street lined with parked cars and with Mark looking at me in a bemused manner from behind the wheel of his car. My nerves and excitement completely got the better of me, and by the time I pulled up outside the shop I was shaking like the proverbial leaf.
I got myself a bottle of lucazade, stopped to chat for ten minutes, and then set off for home in a much better frame of mind. And steadier hands.
Old Red parked up in Leamington
The ride home was MUCH less traumatic. The five-speed gear box was quite difficult to get used to, what with the gears being in unusual places and, because I’m so little, I have to lean riiiiight over to get it into first and reverse. This worried me at first, but I started to get used to it on the way home and, as long as I concentrated, I generally got it in the right gear…most of the time.
After a while I decided to switch on the radio and test out the sound system. I had no idea what button did what and very little desire to take my eyes off the road, but it auto-tuned to Radio Two and the first thing I heard coming from Red’s speakers was “Riding along in my automobile…de dum de dum de dum de dum” and, although all that was beside me at the wheel was my handbag, it was absolute perfection.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the drive home, besides the awesome music, was the happy way that Red bounces around on his suspension…and as we bobbed along the country lanes I grinned like an idiot. We passed a T4 on the way back too and I got to wave like a maniac at a fellow vanner. That experience added about an inch to my silly grin 😀
The only real problem I had was the wind that was raging around the van as I drove. It was kind of like driving a massive sail, but the fact that I couldn’t go much above 50mph for the entire journey meant that I wasn’t blustered around too much.
RAAAAAAR!!! We’re hoooome!!!!
And so I got him home in one piece! Then my sister joined us on the driveway and we began our exploration of all the van’s features…we rolled out the bed, spun the captain’s chair round, set the table up and put it away again, nosied in the fridge and at the CD changer, poked around in all the cupboards…and then I climbed up into the roof…
I’m in the roof!! And I’m soooooooo HAPPY!!!!
It was quite difficult getting up, and it wasn’t too simple getting down either, but I quite like it up there! Even without the bed pulled out properly there’s enough room up there for me to lie down quite comfortably. I don’t think there’s quite enough room to make a proper nest up there but I’m going to give it a damn good go!
Steph and Mark…taken from the comfort of my roof bed!
I’m driving Red over to see Ste tomorrow, and then I’m going to spend the afternoon stowing all my new stuff away and getting ready so that I can head out camping at the first possible opportunity. There are a joyful amount of lists ahead of me…I will share some of them with you as soon as they come into being.
I ❤ my new van!!