The fateful day was over a dozen years ago, but I can still remember it vividly even now. It was a miserable wet February day – Valentine’s Day no less. My wife was interested in having her own caravan and we had a bit of capital to spare. We had had some wonderful caravan holidays when our six kids were young, and we wanted to relive the dream. We had already looked at a number of sites on the south and east coasts before we arrived at Hopton Holiday Village on that windy morning. Not the kind of day to be buying a caravan you might think! The moment we drove onto the site, I liked it and had that strange feeling that this was the one for me – it’s funny how that happens isn’t it?
We met a smashing salesman Adrian who talked us through things and showed us round. Driving round the site I spotted exactly the pitch I wanted – how lucky was that? There were a couple of nice used vans within our price range – modern vans are so up-market compared to the old days aren’t they? I told my wife that we could afford the cheaper one, but if she went for the more expensive one, she would need to rent it out as well – we bought the better one (it was a Valentine gift for my wife you see!). On the way home she told me that she didn’t want to rent it out though (that’s women for you!). It was a lovely van and soon became her pride & joy.
The thing about being an Owner in my view is not to see the purchase as any kind of capital investment – the van is simply and solely a immense facility, and one that has to be used to be worthwhile. We and our family & friends who come to the van live less than a couple of hours away, so we can even visit our van on impulse at the spur of the moment – no booking of flights months in advance, or packing & weighing suitcases, or queuing at check-ins, or standing in line at security checks (or opening cases that the scanner doesn’t like), or aimlessly wandering around overpriced Terminal shops, or constantly & anxiously watching TV flight monitors, or suffering unexpected & interminable flight delays, or being disturbed & upset by loudmouth drinking idiots en route, or getting through Passport Controls at the other end, or travelling another hour or more to your accommodation, or spending valuable holiday time worrying about travelling back. All beaten into a cocked hat by jumping in the car and a short time later hopping out at a prestige site into a fully equipped van with your personal stuff already in the wardrobes & the fridge freezer full!
However, you need deep pockets, if like me you have grandchildren who thrive on going to the van (and say they never want to go home!), and are forever amazingly excited about going to the Park’s Funworks’ events and swimming and football and all the rest – and then hitting the coin machines there afterwards (with your unending supply 2p & 10p coins!). As a granddad you are required to show your elderly skill and experience by winning each of them a soft toy from the crane machines – not easy or cheap!
After a few years my wife dreamed of having a van with central heating & double glazing – I said no of course (but who am I). I have always looked on the Sales’ showground at the new vans coming in, and unfortunately one day I saw one which I really really liked – I bought it, and my wife was over the moon – it was a magical van. Another couple of years went by and my wife was enticed by another van and she HAD to have it! It had a bath you see! I said no of course (but who am I). Oh yes we bought it – she has never been in the bath to my knowledge, but the grandchildren love it! Personally I absolutely esteem my current van (a Pemberton Knightsbridge) and I am determined to stick with it (but who am I).
Like anything else in life, owning something is never completely hassle free, so being an Owner means that you have to be able to trust your site team, who you will need to rely on if any annoying or difficult problems turn up – so chose wisely.
BEFORE you buy a caravan just work out though who ‘really’ wears the trousers won’t you?
[My three vans have been a complete indulgent pleasure, and I am equally proud of owning each of them. I often see ‘potential owners’ in the Sales Lounge, on the face of it asking themselves “Can I afford to buy this caravan?” I want to shout across the room to say, ask yourself “Can I afford NOT to buy this caravan!).
This post was originally written for Bourne Leisure’s Haven Press Office to publish on their Owners website