Friday, 6 December 2013

Flotsam and Jetsam and all that stuff...

I am off to the beach to see what the high tides and recent storms have brought. 

But before I head off I thought it might be interesting to brush up on my shipping law, just in case I find anything more interesting than cotton buds (washed down the loo - jetsam?), fishing nets (lost overboard - derelict?), bottles (thrown overboard - flotsam?) and bags of dog poo (one can only assume this is lagan).

Anyway, British law is quite clear about wrecks and salvage. Salvage is the act of saving something with the intention of returning it to its legal owner. Under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, wreck material remains the property of the original owner and anyone who finds washed up goods must report it to a government official, the "Receiver of the Wreck", within 28 days. Failing to report such items could lead to a £2000 fine. The legal owner then has a year to come forward and prove ownership of the item. Legitimate salvors are entitled to a salvage award in recognition of their services. This would be a percentage of the market value to be negotiated between the owner and salvor. This means that the salvors of Branscombe (and other famous wrecks) are perfectly within the law as long as they reported their hauls and had intended to save the wrecked items for the owner.

Items that are classed according to the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 as ‘wreck’ are:

Flotsam: goods lost from a ship which has sunk or otherwise perished which are recoverable because they have floated.

Jetsam: goods cast overboard in order to lighten a vessel which is in danger of sinking, even if they ultimately perish.

Derelict: property which has been abandoned and deserted at sea by those who were in charge without any hope of recovering it. This includes vessels and cargo.

Lagan: goods cast overboard from a ship, which afterwards perish, buoyed so that they can be recovered later.

Finally, if you need a form for reporting anything interesting, HERE IT IS.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Take 2 minutes. Make a big difference.

Here I go again, spouting off about the state of the ocean. Well, yes. But this time I want to propose something really positive. A solution.

So here it is. Recently I’ve started doing mini beach cleans every time I go to the beach. I call them my #2minutebeachcleans and all I do is spend 2 minutes picking up a few bits of litter and disposing of them. It takes 2 minutes, which is actually longer than it takes me to  me to take a picture and post it to instagram @martindorey and twitter @campervanliving.

Considering the scale of the problem this really is a pathetic, meaningless gesture, isn’t it? With every tide comes more plastic that’s been dumped, lost or washed into the sea so my two minutes really makes no difference at all. Or does it?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Socks for Christmas? Yes please!

Let’s talk about socks. Yes, let’s.

It’s coming around to that time of the year when our feet need a little extra care and attention. They don’t like being out so much anymore and need to be looked after a little more than they did during the sock-free days of the summer that’s just passed.

So I thought I’d share with you my sock philosophy.

I like good socks. Good socks make me happy. This is because I have lived with poor socks. I have bought many, discarded many and been thoroughly fed up with many because they got holed or fell apart or just weren’t up to the job of keeping my poor little tootsies out of temperature-related trouble.

I have regretted buying cheap socks many times, especially on camping and surfing trips and when I used to work in the film industry and spent days on end standing about on location. Getting cold feet is a very unpleasant experience, and once chilled, the pinkies take ages to warm up again. As I said, I’ve been there.

 A few years ago I found alpaca socks. As a natural fabric they are warm, but they also have antibacterial qualities (so don’t smell, even after a few wears), don’t bobble, are non scratchy and dry very quickly. Like wool and merino, alpaca also heats up when wet so if you do get damp feet they will, at least, stay warm.

I wore my alpaca socks for ages until Jo washed them at 40 degrees. Now they fit her.

But no worries, I found the socks above. They are ‘long last’ socks from Finisterre. They are wool so are made with a renewable and sustainable material, are super warm and can be worn for a few days without washing. I have three pairs and have worn them constantly (when I’ve been unable to set the feet free) since owning them. I really don’t need any more than that, although Christmas is around the corner.
These socks fit my feet perfectly and don't shrink when washed (despite Jo's best efforts). They also fit my policy perfectly. In fact they are a bit allegorical when I think about it. They represent the way I’d like to live.

Buy well, buy once.

So they aren’t cheap compared with your 3 for a pound supermarket socks but they last and last and last. That means I’m making less mess, consuming less and feeling better all round - as well as supporting British business. And I know that on my next trip out - whether that's walking the dog, walking the coast path or even camping - I'll have happy feet from start to end.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. Although if you were thinking of getting me socks from Christmas, you know where to go.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Pitch and be damned? Oooh. You cheeky camper.

I went for a walk with the dog last week and came across the tent in the picture. I love the audacity of the pitch. It's right there, on the beach, with a pretty good view. They even had their own picnic bench. Looking on, I enjoyed the fact that they had the cheek to pitch up on council property, without permission (I can only assume) and were rewarded with that fabulous view. Slightly jealous, I imagined myself waking in that spot, watching the waves, brushing my teeth, greeting a shiny, brand new day as the sea breeze blew in my hair.

It was a nice thought.

Then I found myself thinking about who it was who had pitched, whether or not they had permission, who owned the land and whether or not they had pitched late at night to avoid being seen, challenged and thrown off the plot. I pondered the legal situation. I even questioned myself in thinking it was cheeky. Why? Because they were flouting the law?

Technically, they needed permission from the landowner, so, if it was not granted then the pitch was illegal. They had no right to be there. Then again, seeing as trespass is a civil offence, the only course of action for the authority would be to seek an order to remove you rather than arrest you, unless of course it was 'aggravated trespass', which is something else entirely. Mind you, if someone wanted you off their land they probably wouldn't come down with a wig and gown and present you with a order, would they? You'd be long gone by then anyway. But they could turn up and make enough 'noise' that you'd feel uncomfortable enough to pack up and go anyway.

If you had nowhere else to stay that night - perhaps because it was too late or the camp sites were full - you could even try claiming that being moved on would be a breach of your human rights. If you got the right bleeding heart you might just get away with it. Then again, what if the owner naturally assumed you were there to make trouble and mess the place up and wanted you off their land just because they'd had that kind of thing before? It happens. In fact I have been threatened by locals who 'don't like this sort of thing'. Is that not just ignorance? Or is it us (as campers)  being irresponsible historically? Do we become itinerant and undesirable and likely to have no respect for our surroundings just because we choose to travel this way?

I was going around in circles.

So I had to have a word with myself. I realised I have become obsessed. I write about wild camping and overnight parking in motorhomes and spout on about the freedoms of pitching wherever you like and bemoaning the fact that you can only do this in certain places, yet I have become restricted in my thinking by observing and playing by the rules. I have allowed the law to box me in - despite the fact that I wild camp a fair bit. Heck, I even drove to Scotland so I could wild camp without fear of reprisal. It's a long way to go just to wake up to a view when there are views like the one above less than a mile from my house.

So, how about this? What if nobody really cares if you pitch your tent on their land? What if the presence of a tent on our land made us smile because it meant that the land was being appreciated? What if the joy of pitching in the 'wild' overcame our fear of disapproval? What if we just didn't give a hoot about the law and what people might think of us? What if we became less obsessed with ownership and the law and more obsessed with being a little bit freer?

Wouldn't that be great?

It would. And I'd like to think that the people who pitched the tent in the picture above had a great night under the stars, that they woke up in the morning to perfect surf and that they enjoyed being free while they could. If they left it like it was before they got there, then good on them. Pitch and be damned.

(Disclaimer!!!! I do not condone law breaking.)

Monday, 29 July 2013

Giving something back at last.

Maggie hanging out with the Rothfink crew
Hello again.

I went to Devon Dub Fest this weekend. I was invited along by the team to give out prizes for the Show and Shine Competition. I gladly did it. They give all their profits to CLIC Sargent, the charity that did so much for us when Maggie was ill with leukaemia. It's a remarkable thing to do and is to be applauded - especially when you consider the work they put in. If you have never heard of CLIC Sargent or don't know what they do or why they have inspired me so much too, then please have a read of the blog I did for them here.

Anyway, the dedication of the team at DDF got me thinking.

So that's why I am going to donate £5 for every copy of my book, 'The Camper Van Coast', that I sell through my website at throughout August. That's it. It's the least I could do. And I'll sign every copy too.

Thanks. Enjoy the summer. Click here to buy the book.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Precious moments.

Sometimes you need to stop for a moment and take stock.

It happened to me on Saturday, during a busy day looking after the campers on the last of this summer's Wild Weekends. I had just finished serving a seafood paella with razor clams, smoked dogfish (that we'd caught on our long line) and barbecued chicken. I had spent all day cooking, washing up and making sure my guests were well looked after and having fun.

The fire was burning, the marshmallows were toasting, the sun was going down in the meadow and the temperature was still in the high twenties. I opened a beer (it had been chilling in the river next to the camp site) and sat down in the grass to listen to Nat play guitar and sing. Looking around our campsite, I reminded myself to remember this moment, because later, when I would be washing up again, the gloss would have gone from the camping experience. After all the work I had done setting up the Wild Weekends and all the work still to come to clear up the campsite and leave the meadow as beautiful as it was when we arrived, I knew that the moment when Nat began to sing and I took my first sip of beer would have been worth the effort.

That's the way with camping and simple pleasures. It doesn't always come easy, no matter how simple your wishes are. Living the dream isn't always dreamy. But between the showers and the washing up and the planning and worry that things won't be what you'd hoped they would be, there will always be times to remember for a very long time when the sun shines, the campers are laughing and the stars are aligned.

This was mine. Thanks to everyone for helping to make it happen.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A great day out picking mussels - full length version

This video is one of the pieces of work I am most proud of. It is the long version of the film that got me the gig at the BBC and it was the first time I had been in front of the camera either talking or cooking. I spent a day with Chris Harris in North Cornwall doing what I love doing most - walking on the beach, driving my van and eating nice grub. As it turned out I think the film shows it off pretty well. It's a nice life.

Sadly the van has now gone, but its spirit lives on. That jumper is just about dead too.

Music by my friends The Adventure Babies. You can download the track here:

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Swimming For The Sea Pool!

Now, you may or may not know that my family and I recently moved to Bude in Cornwall. It's a great town with lots going for it, including an amazing tidal swimming pool. We use it a few times a week and I have recently become a sponsor of the Friends of Bude Sea Pool. This is because it has been under threat since the local council withdrew their funding of it. We love the pool and see it as a vital part of Bude and its tourism-based economy. So I am pleased to be able to post a note for some very dedicated swimmers who are doing a big swim to help save it.

"Next weekend, Rob and Victoria will take part in the Great North Swim, the largest open water swimming event in the UK.  Robert is tackling two miles of Lake Windermere and Victoria will be swimming one mile, both of them in chilly and challenging conditions. And they’re taking on this substantial swim for an excellent cause – the historic tidal swimming pool at Bude in North Cornwall.

Rob and Victoria explain; ‘We decided to do the swim to raise money for FoBSP as Bude’s Sea Pool is a unique training venue for outdoor swimming in the UK.  It is fully lifeguarded in summer  and open all year round, giving great training opportunities for acclimatising to cold water temperatures and swimming in a stunning setting. When we trained there at the start of May the water temperature was only nine degrees!  

‘We heard that the Council stopped funding the Pool two years ago and that the sea wall is in desperate need of repair. So we wanted to help to ensure that everyone can continue to use the Pool, whether for training or leisure.  It is one of only three natural sea pools left in the UK and we would like to ensure it remains open for everyone to enjoy.’
So on 16th June 2013, Victoria and Rob will take the plunge into Windermere on behalf of Bude Sea Pool. Please help them raise as much money as possible by clicking on the link to the FoBSP BigGive page:

If you want to send a message of encouragement to Rob and Victoria you can email them on to let them know you have sponsored them and wish them luck!"

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Camper Van Coast: Don't take my word for it.

Did I say that I had another book out? Of course I did. It’s been bubbling away for about a year now. And it seems that, from those who have taken the time to review it, it’s been really well received.
So, forgive me whilst I do a bit of selling.

I loved writing The Camper Van Coast and I always felt it was a lovely book, thanks to the work of Saltyard Books. I’m sure you’ll like it too. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the reviewers on Amazon wrote:

“Just what you need to take on holiday, Full of useful tips and suggestions.”

“Highly recommend this book! Lovely recipes, invaluable tips, destination recommendations etc. Makes you want to instantly get behind the wheel and drive, drive, drive! So much fun to be had out there!”

“I liked this so much, we brought the other one too, great recipes and a good read, it makes you want to grab your camper keys and go to Cornwall with your surf board and some food for some fun and great eating.”

“A really nice book which has some great tips and recipes , written with a sense of humour that will appeal to most readers.”

“A great book which radiates fun, sun, food and freedom. Love the pictures and recipes - can't put it down!”

“This is a book I would love to have been able to write. It's got humour, decent recipes and above some great tips, suggestions and comments which make you want to get in the camper and go now. Or, in my case, go and buy one in the first place.”

“A wonderful book with inspiring camping recipes, inspiring photos and a lovely read. We bought this for a friend's birthday who has just bought a campervan and we were so inspired we want the book too.”

“From the same author as The Camper Van Cookbook, I expected a book with yummy looking recipes, stunning photography and some hints and tips. Oh, how I was not disappointed.”

“This book is a lovely sequel to "The Campervan Cookbook". We have been trying (and adapting) the recipes while on our travels and haven't had any culinary disasters, all plates have been thoroughly cleared by the other members of the family with cries of "More" from my three year old!”

“The photography is amazing, mouth watering dishes for us all to try. Martin has included info on how to live the camping life/in your van/in your chosen mode of wheels with your camping journeys.”


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

It's murder on the camp site. Camping injuries and accidents.

I don’t think of myself as accident prone. I really don’t. So why then do things keep happening to me? I keep injuring myself. This last weekend I damaged myself on the nose whilst on a camping trip to check out a brand new site at TheMeadows Pentewan in Cornwall.

I was chopping wood to put on the fire. Admittedly it was late and I had enjoyed some cider earlier in the evening so perhaps it was the fault of the alcohol or even my fault for thinking that I was capable of chopping wood late at night. Anyway, the piece of wood I was chopping bounced into the air and hit me square on the nose very hard. It hurt. My teeth felt like they were about to fall out and my septum felt as if it had been crushed by an elephant, but at least the bridge of my larger-than-average hooter (noses run in our family) felt intact. No break, just a loss of dignity and some big LOLs from my twitter followers.

It got me thinking. Why is it that I am constantly coming home from camping trips, surf trips and adventures with cuts, bruises, scrapes, knocks and worrying pains? I am not a five year old boy. I am a fully grown man. I am also someone who likes to do things and be damned. Chop first, ask questions later. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. If I had bothered to write a risk assessment for chopping wood at eleven at night in a dark field having had a few ciders with a very sharp machete and an imperfect surface to chop upon I surely would have gone without my crackling fire. The evening would have been poorer without it.

Sometimes you just have to take a risk. That, to me, is camping. It’s not always safe, this going out business. And that’s why it’s brilliant. Because it makes us challenge ourselves. It makes us get out from under the cotton wool duvet, away from the comforts of home and into the ‘wild’, even if it’s nothing more than a campsite with all mod cons. The wild, however tame, as we all know, can still be a dangerous place. Especially when there are drunken axe wielding maniacs on the camp site.

So. Some common camping injuries (that have happened to me and my family but that I know may also have happened to some of you).

Head banging in a camper van:

During the making of One Man and His Campervan I banged my head just above my left eye on a cupboard and ended up in hospital to be patched up. My excuse for this was that I got up in the night to go to the loo and, on closing the slider, twatted my head on the corner of a cupboard that I didn’t have in my other van (the van was new and I was just getting used to its layout). No alcohol was consumed. Also, I cannot tell you how many times Joanne has banged her head on the top locker in the van. Happily, no serious injury occurred on any of those occasions. And don't tell me you've never done it.

Catching a few fishing injuries:

During our tour of France and Spain last summer I caught myself in the face with a fish hook whilst showing my daughter how to cast. The line had snagged and it popped back at me and embedded its barb just below my left ear. It had to be removed in hospital and I had to beg a Spanish fisherman to take me there. To his credit he waited for me and took me back to the camp site. Luckily I had my EHIC card, which got me free treatment. It was the only thing I caught that trip.

Taking bad drugs:

No. It isn’t what you might think. I developed an anaphylactic reaction to strong anti inflammatory drugs I had been prescribed for a bad back. This was genuinely frightening and my lips and tongue swelled up. I took anti-histamine drugs but still ended up with a catheter in my arm in A&E. However, it’s not without its benefits: walking in to A&E saying ‘I have taken some drugs and my tongue is swelling up’ is still the fastest way of getting seen I know of. (Other than having a suspected heart attack of course).

Buzzing bites and stings:

I have forgotten the number of times camping trips with my family have been ruined by bites from insects. One of my earliest memories of camping is of my mum going to A&E in Devon with a lump on her arm the size of a tennis ball. She had been bitten by a horse fly. I’m not immune to the odd bite but I’m not going to make a song and dance about it like my dear old mum did. I think she would have preferred to stay in a hotel.

In Spain this year I got stung by a weever in the water whilst surfing. It hurt but it was nothing weeing on it wouldn’t cure. Mind you, it’s harder than you might think to pee on the bottom of your own foot. Also, on a trip to shoot some food for The Camper Van Cookbook my kids got stung by some furry caterpillars they were befriending. They cried a lot - but they also learned that not all fluffy things are as cute as they look.

Broken bones, broken arses:

For once, the top prize for camping holiday incidents belongs not to me but to my lovely daughter Maggie, who fell off a climbing frame and broke her arm within an hour of arriving at Eoropie on the isle of Lewis in 2011. Thats' her above, still laughing. It had taken us a week to get there. All I can say is that the A&E department in Stornoway is lovely.

On another note, I broke my ankle skateboarding when I was in my 20s. The doctor who treated me said he had seen an eight year old in earlier that day with exactly the same injury. Jo also claimed she broke her arse when she fell over on her new roller skates (that I bought her for her 40th) about 10 yards after putting them on. They remain otherwise unworn. Ever happened to you? No? Are you kidding me? EVERYONE has hurt their arse on rollerskates!

Surfing injuries and catastrophes:

Statistically speaking surfing is a safe sport, compared to say, rugby or football. But somehow I keep getting unstuck. I have broken my nose, had X-rays for suspected broken ribs, dislocated and broken my big toe, damaged the cartilage in my knee and cut my head open. I’ve also had countless cuts and scratches from hitting rocks and boards. But it still doesn’t put me off.

Most recently I had an extended 9 day stay in hospital waiting for an angiogram after losing my board surfing and having a long and difficult swim to shore. When I got home I had bad chest pains. As it turns out it wasn’t a heart attack, as first suspected, but more likely a virus, possibly picked up from the sea. Again, it won’t put me off surfing.

That’s the point. You can’t let these things stop you. I’m not saying that we should be reckless and do stuff like tomb stoning into shallow water off massive rocks or surfing in conditions that are way beyond our ability, but accidents do happen when you do stuff. However, if you stay at home you'll be missing out on all those brilliant experiences that camping - and life - can bring.

Sometimes you have to take it on the chin. Or the nose.

And I know I’m not alone. Come on! Confess your camping injuries.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Buying a camper this summer? Some things to think about....

OK. So you’ve set your heart on getting a camper. That’s brilliant and we look forward to welcoming you to the club. But first you’ll need to work out what kind of camper will suit you and your family. I get asked quite a lot about this kind of thing so I thought I’d scribble down what I know. I hope it helps, but if I’ve missed anything, feel free to comment below…
The basic truth is that VW campers (and most other campers made out of standard sized vans) are small. They fit in a normal car parking space and aren’t even that wide. So the fact that they are campers is basically down to clever use of space. Conversion companies do great jobs of fitting it all in.
All conversions are different. So when buying a van it’s really important to think very carefully about what will work for you. I know this. Now that I am on to my fourth VW camper I know a little about what works for me.  What was perfect when I was young free and single would not be perfect for me now. There are other factors to consider other than storing my surfboards and wet wetsuits. So here’s a little summary to help you decide.
Don't forget that you can always home convert or get someone to convert a van for you. My friends at Individual Campers rebuilt mine using the original fridge and cooker.

How many are there of you?

This is a vital question. If there are just two of you then you’re laughing – pretty much anything will do. All you need is one bed, and whether that’s full width or not will be decided by how you feel about storage versus sleeping space. More of that later.
If there are more of you you’ll have to think about the numbers of seatbelts and the number of bed spaces available. Some vans have pop tops with hammock style bunks which will sleep children comfortably but are awful for adults (trust me I know), whilst others will have proper beds in their pop tops. These will be better for kids as they grow.
Toddlers, of course, can always sleep in hammocks that sling across the front seats. But for how long? Tiny tots have a nasty habit of growing up and won’t stay there forever.
If you are a family of more than four then sleeping is going to be even more of an issue. Pup tents are useful, as are awnings, but will always mean you’ll need to be on a site to sleep over. Laybys, wild spots, aires and Britstops might be off limits if you need to build to kip. The only ways around would be to sleep two in the top and one in a front seat hammock or go for a Viking roof conversion (available only on type 2 campers I believe) that sleeps up to four in the elevating roof. 

Seating and safety

It’s no good being able to sleep your extended family of fourteen if you can’t actually go anywhere. So seating for big families is as big an issue as sleeping. The law says you have to wear seatbelts IF THEY ARE FITTED, so if you see a van that has six seats and no seatbelts in the back you could feasibly allow your mates to sit in the back. But really? Would you? I wouldn’t.
Also, consider that there are often rear facing seats in campers. Unless fitted with seat belts by a manufacturer  the chances are that they will not be ‘travelling seats’. That means don’t use them. The basic rule? For goodness’ sake don’t be an idiot. Get a van that has enough seat belts for you all to travel safely. If it hasn’t, check that you can retro-fit them. Something to think about might be a day van that you can sleep in. You’ll get proper seats but much less storage space.

What about dinner?

Something else to think about is "what happens if it rains?" And it surely will. So put the van into the dining position when you look at it and see if you'll all fit in. Now think about how that's going to feel after a couple of days away. Can you open the cupboards? Can you get to the cutlery drawer? Will you end up killing each other? You decide what's important.

Lap belts versus 3-point belts

Vans that have three quarter width beds (and cupboards down one side) do not, in general, have two three point seat belts in the back because access to the anchoring points is difficult. Many of them will have one three point and one lap belt.  Lap belts are okay if you are using a car seat with built-in five point harness for toddlers and babies but I don’t like the idea of my kids using them. That’s the main reason why we removed our old ¾ width bed and cupboards and replaced them with a full width bed – so we could have two proper seat belts in the back (see the picture above). The downside is much less storage space.

Pop tops, tin tops and high tops

Do you like to stand up when you cook? Then you might need a pop top, even if you don’t need the upstairs bed space. Some vans have mini pop tops just for that reason. However, the thing about pop tops is that they have to be popped, whereas a high top is always there and can therefore be used for storage when it’s not being used for a bed. It means less moving things about at bed time. The only downside with a high top is that it might not fit in your garage. If you live in a high crime area or near the sea (where the risk of rust is so much greater) it’s a consideration. As for the tin tops, it’s fine if you don’t mind cooking sitting down or have no kids.

Bikes and boards and stuff

Here are some other things to think about

·         A Fiamma bike rack for a Type 2 (Bay) will only take 2 bikes, whereas the equivalent for a T25 will take 4.
·         Pop tops often mean you can’t have roof racks.
·         Buddy boxes are good for storing porta pottis in case you thought about going wild camping.
·         Swivel captain seats make more of your space. Found often in T25s but not so often in T2s, although the Berlin Westfalia conversion has them as standard (I think it’s that one). It is possible to get them fitted to the passenger side of a T2 if you take out the bulkhead.
·         If you intend to camp in winter a propex heater will keep you warm. But you’ll need to make sure it runs off propane as it will work in cold conditions when butane will not.

That’s all for now. More soon….

Good luck and, as always, happy camping!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Coming soon.... the whole adventure on DVD. WIN a copy.

If I had a penny for every time I get asked when 'One Man and his Campervan' is coming out on DVD I'd have about thirty pee by now. I know. It seems that, for some reason, my TV show, which first aired on BBC2 in February 2011, has proved quite popular among campers, dreamers, outdoor lovers and VW fans and drivers. I get lots of tweets and emails from all over the world to say how much they enjoyed it. It's such a nice thing to happen. So thank you everyone.

Now I'm not saying it's cult viewing or anything like that, rather that I appreciate the fact that so many people enjoyed it and want to see it again. Lots of people recently discovered it for the first time on Quest too. The only thing about that was that they had to cut a lot out to fit in the adverts, which meant that some classic moments were missed. My friend Justin, who had all the best lines in the first show, lost his moment to the cutting room floor, as did Steve Bell, from Cookin' Camper in episode 9.

But never mind that. Now that the DVD is about to hit the shelves for the first time ever on the 28th April Justin and Steve will be able to relive their moments whenever they feel like it. That's because it's uncut, unadulterated, unfiltered and unfettered, just the way it should be. There are no extras, commentary or director's cut or any kind of fancy schmancy frills and extra features but what the hell, it's 10 hours of camper vans and cooking.

Send me a postcard. Make me smile. WIN one of four signed copies.

I have four copies to give away, right here in the office. I've also got some aprons and some other bits and pieces, which I shall chuck in there too. 

HOW TO ENTER: It's really easy. Just send me a postcard and make me smile. It could be saucy, cheesy, funny or just from somewhere great. I don't care, just as long as it's a real postcard. I shall choose the best four as the winners. That's it. And yes, you did hear right. A proper, old fashioned postcard. Why? Because it's nice to send postcards. It says so in 'The Camper Van Coast' (page 104). Just remember to include your email address and get it to me by 28th APRIL 2013

Send your post card to:

Martin Dorey (OMAHCV)
c/o The Coach and Horses
Horns Cross
EX39 5DH

Friday, 8 February 2013

The perfect Camper Van Weekend. Right here. This summer.

I have been thinking about perfect weekends. I've been trying to think about what would make up the perfect mini camper van break. My first book 'The Camper Van Cookbook' was set out like a weekend, with recipes and ideas for cooking and camping from Friday to Monday morning. It all seems rather perfect. But anyone who knows camper vans and camping knows that it hardly ever turns out like that.

But what if it could? What if you could organise a weekend with wild camping, foraging, surfing, fishing and singing songs around the camp fire as part of the deal? What if you could just turn up and join in the fun? What if you could have all the good stuff without having to go searching or doing loads of research?

I've done just that. I know it's not easy to find perfect pitches if you don't know an area well. I know that it's hard to forage if you are unsure of what you're looking for. And I know that it's very difficult to find a wild camping spot where you can wake up overlooking the Atlantic unless you have someone to show you the way. So I have organised a series of Campervan Weekends in North Devon this summer. Numbers will be limited and they will take place between May and July. I've organised activities and will be cooking a few recipes from my books (as well as showing you a few good outdoor cooking techniques) so you won't have to lift a finger if you don't want to (although mucking in will never be frowned upon). A survivalist friend will be leading foraging walks and showing you what to eat in the great outdoors. We might make supper out of it - if we don't catch any fish. We might even do some adventurous stuff too. I will make a seaside seaweed spa with seaweed fresh off the beach for those who dare and some of my (fully qualified) surf coach friends will show you how to ride the waves. And it's all included.

Everything is set.

Anyone is welcome so if you don't have a camper van don't worry. My friends at O'Connors Campers are offering 15% off camper hire for people joining me on the weekends. They are also taking all the bookings, so get in touch with them for prices and rates on 01837 659 599 even if you already have your own transport.

Alternatively, take a look at more details on my website here.

See you there.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Hang in there. Spring is coming.

My rubber hammer is getting a lot of use this year. It lives in the van, under my seat, and gets used to give the rear brake drums a quick knock if I haven't driven it for a few days. After a little while sitting idly on the drive during damp weather with the handbrake on, the drums can seize up quite easily. Sometimes they will free themselves when I drive off but, from time to time, a little extra help from the hammer is what they need.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Why I absolutely completely and utterly detest washing up

No one likes washing up. Or am I alone in thinking that? Maybe I am. But washing up is the dark side to cooking, and unless you eat off disposable plates every night, it's something we all have to go through at some time or other. And never more so than when camping. It's one of those awful realities.

Washing up on the campsite is harder than at home, especially if you are wild camping. There are no dishwashers out there in the countryside, only plastic bowls and dishcloths. Kettles must be boiled, bowls filled, tea towels sought, dryer-uppers cajoled. And woe betide anyone who uses all the pans when they cook tea. Especially when it's my  turn to rub a few miserable and begrudging suds into the melamine. Yup. I hate washing up.

What do you call yours? #mycampervaniscalled LOVE!

A few weeks ago I (with the help of my friends at the Caravan and Motorhome Club) asked the good people of Twitter and Instagram to...