Showing posts from June, 2012

Coals to Newcastle? Chorizo to Spain!

Anyone who has ever seen one of my food demos will know that I like to bang on about a select few ingredients that fit perfectly with the campervan lifestyle. Firstly, I love to talk about and cook mackerel. That's becuse they are delicious, good for you, sustainable and all I can ever catch when I go fishing. Secondly, I talk about and cook mussels because they are the food that got me into foraging in the first place and are easy to cook. I have cooked them more than anything else in my cooking 'career' and have yet to kill anyone (to my knowledge) with them - so I remain bouyed by their 100% success rate so far. The third ingredient I use a lot in the van - and at home - is chorizo. It's extremely versatile, can be cooked in all kinds of dishes (including those with mackerel and mussels) and is a camper van staple. That's because it can be stored for ages without spoiling. You can save it for those unfortunate food doldrums that strike from time to time when t

The key to adventure: packing light

This is it. The key to adventure and the last bit of preparation I have to do before we hit the ferry to Roscoff on Saturday. It's something I always do before any trip in the van - sort out the spare key. It then goes round my neck until the moment we return. It's like my own personal insurance policy against loss, theft, silliness, drunkenness and carelessness. As long as this is around my neck we will be able to get home. In theory. I know, there are many other potential disasters that could befall us that are worse than losing the ignition key but it makes me feel good to have it there. So if we lose the main set of keys in the sand, leave them in a bar or get our pockets felt we'll always be able to fire up the old girl and hit the road again. We might not be able to open the doors, unlock the trailer or release our bikes but we shall drive. It's not the only preparation we have done. I've imposed limits on baggage, numbers of socks per family member and ag

Boring! The tedious side of getting ready for a trip.

This week I have been mystery shopping. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. I have been doing yet more preparation for our trip to Europe in our trusty camper van (if it comes back from the garage in time). There has been so much to do, from packing up the house to sorting out what we are going to take and what kind of insurances we’ll need. Happily I got a great deal from the AA to cover us for breakdowns in Europe. I would call that an essential. The last time we went away to France in a camper we had a smashed windscreen on the motorway that delayed us for 2 days and meant we had to stay in a hotel whilst a new one was found. Our policy covered it. Another of those boring essentials is travel insurance. We have EHIC (the old E111) cards but, as few people realise, they don’t provide the kind of medical cover we might need. An EHIC card will only cover us for the same level of free medical treatment that citizens of that country receive. So that means no repatriation, no special t

Life on four wheels. Family on two.

I don't often get carried away with technical details about camper vans but today I am going to indulge myself. So if you were expecting whimsical wonderings about living the life in this post, apologies. This is about the stuff that camper van people get more than a little obsessed with - how to carry it all, not go even slower and yet still retain that groovy retro charm we all adore..... So. I have been searching for a neat solution to the problem of carrying four bikes on the van for our trip to France and Spain. Most people know that the Fiamma T2 Bike racks will only carry 2 bikes. Now that the girls are able cyclists on almost grown up bikes, we need to find a way of carrying them so they don't have to travel inside the van (the bikes not the girls). The last trip we went on, to Ireland, was ridiculously overpacked and showed us how badly we need to sort out our living space. So we've been looking for a way to carry lots of things and not clog up the inside of the