Here are the promised photos from the weekend before last. We picked up the van on the Friday and parked it at our neighbour's over the weekend. I had the bright idea of going to a closed down supermarket to use their car park for manoeuvering practice. It's not me who will be driving it as my job is route planner and navigator (a navigator is still necessary despite sat nav; in fact as you probably well know, it is probably even more important to have a navigator when you have a sat nav...).
It took us all afternoon to do this simple thing, because most of it was spent trying to figure out our new sat nav and to try to get to the little town via the back roads, because the usual way we go in the car involves a narrow one way street in the centre of town and then another road with loads of annoying parked up cars, making the road really narrow. Not what you want to do when you are new to such a large vehicle. Eventually we made it and I gave K parking tasks to do which he did with ease and efficiency. Of course on the way back the satnav took us along a really narrow country lane.... luckily we didn't met anyone coming from the other direction! K has since read some of the manual and has a better understanding of how it works. I still haven't a clue.
A few phone shots of the interior. The bed with the cut off section is mine as it's a bit shorter; K being 6'4" (195cm) gets the other one which is 2 metres long - a good length for a motorhome bed! There are good sized cupboards/wardrobes under the end of the bed. In fact storage is really good inside as there is a full length very deep wardrobe with shelves as well.
If you are buying new you get a choice of upholstery but in fact this is exactly what I would have chosen, what luck is that?! It's faux leather but with no cats on board it won't get scratched to bits. For faux it's actually very much like the real thing - in the showroom I had to sniff it to tell if it was leather or not!
The table is in a lowered position because otherwise K can't get his seat back far enough - another problem with being tall! But it's easy to reposition and the two front seats swivel round so that five people could sit around the table. We only have one spare occasional bed which is made up using various seat cushions and the table, but it'll only be my brother using it for a few nights each year so we had no need for other beds.
Selfie in the bathroom mirror. :-)
On the Sunday we went to Etang de Boulet - it was partially sunny and lots of other people were out for a walk. But it was freezing with a biting wind! We walked a bit and took a few photos but as usual on lakes all the ducks were miles away.
In the distance were Tufted Ducks, Pochards and one Gadwall that I could only see on max zoom. The only waterbird which graced us with its presence close up was this Great Crested Grebe.
The lake was certainly full after all the rain in January and February. In September the level was low and people were walking on these grassy areas.
Somebody with a car had already taken the best spot but we still had a decent view of the lake from the van.
It was time to get the kettle on and test the gas hob. We brought Whistling Bob from home, but we've since bought a lighter kettle to use in the van. You have to think about payloads and how much everything weighs. We have a reasonable payload with this van (about 500kg after all the optional extras on board) so hope that with all our gear (and my brother!) we should still come in under the 3.5 ton maximum. We need to find a weighbridge somewhere to check when we are fully loaded.
I have absolutely no idea how I am going to cook in this tiny space with effectively no work surface! I think the table is going to be used a lot, and when it is warm we will probably barbecue rather than cook indoors. We've already bought our outside table and chairs and a mini gas BBQ is on order. That's another thing we are not used to as we are charcoal BBQ people as we like proper barbecue taste, but the little barbie has lava rocks which I understand help achieve that taste.
So I didn't take a shot of my cuppa but you get the idea. Knowing how cold it was outside it was so wonderful to be able to sit in relative warmth (no heating on) with a cup of tea enjoying the view. A flask of tea or coffee in the car would not be the same!
We've been ordering tons of accessories to kit the van out including such necessities as a thing to make toast on over a gas burner. It works, except crumbs fall through and burn making a stink.... the joys of camping.
My spare bedroom covered in new bedding - it's amazing how much stuff you need when you order for twin beds! As we prefer English shaped pillows I managed to get hold of the similar shaped ones which are rare in France - via mail order I was able to get both the pillows and matching pillow slips to go with the duvet covers, and we'll have a couple of French sized square ones extra to use as cushions if we want. I'm amazed though that the fitted sheets I bought in Ikea match the duvet cover perfectly, which I bought elsewhere!
This weekend sun, and lots of it, is forecast so we are planning a day out somewhere to test out the boiler, heating and hot water prior to actual overnight camping. Need to try out the toilet too. I just haven't decided where to go yet.... :-)