So far in our first week of travelling to see as many friends and family as we can in a few months and raise money for charity as we do, we’ve covered about 600 miles in our shiny-fantastic new Swift Escape 696 (check out how plush they are here: swiftgroup.co.uk/motorhomes/escape/escape-range ). We’ve been to Exeter, Sherborne, Shaftesbury, Bournemouth, Brighton and Crowborough – and been reminded of the beauty of the English countryside, especially as the cooler air of autumn turns the trees a tinge of red, yellow and orange, and we’ve been shown the warmth of the locals wherever we go, especially on the campsites from both the site managers and the other campers – Daniel absolutely wriggles with excitement as we park up wondering who our new “friends” (neighbours) will be this time!
We’ve also been reminded about and discovered a few things about motorhoming, or ’rhoming – said like “roaming”, and you’ll get the connection – as we’ve termed it. (Go on, use it when you can – it’s always been a dream to invent a new word that gets included in the Oxford Dictionary…! While we’re on it, our five-year-old Daniel has already invented two words: one when he was aged two for dummy/pacifier which is “bapsy” and we have no idea where that came from either; the other is “boff”, a smart amalgamation of two words and … well, if it ever makes it into the dictionary will look something like this: boff [noun] the action of emitting a gas, typically to reduce pressure to a safe level. ORIGIN Old English blāwan, of Germanic origin; related to German blähen ‘blow up, swell’, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin flare ‘blow’, with letter omissions from blow-off [ORIGIN Old English, originally a variant of of, which combined the senses of ‘of’and ‘off’], first used by Mr Daniel River Hurst in 2011. It’s a very valid word [especially to a little boy], and so Daniel is clearly a genius.)
Anyway, here’s a list on what we’ve learned and experienced so far from our outstanding ’rhoming experience:
1. There’s nothing like being on the road, the freedom of going where you want when you want is just awesome (and not to be missed if you’ve never tried it). It reminds us of being a child again, especially our three-year-old Darley who definitely goes where he wants when he wants…
2. When it rains it’s a thrill, not a drag. The rain patters on the roof in a wondrous pattern of reverberating sound. You know you’re outside in nature and it all gives a fantastic sense of right-sizing us to recall how minuscule we truly are in the universe.
It also makes us remember the time one afternoon when it was throwing it down as it had been for much of the day, and we shared some shelter outside a shop with a wise old lady who we commented to about how terrible it was that it was raining so hard. She replied with a knowing smile: “When I looked out of my bedroom window this morning and saw it was raining I thought – ‘do you know what, I’ll let it…’”
3. We are utterly and perhaps pathetically dependent on the magic of invisible waves running through the air that allow us to access the glory of Google, the fellowship of Facebook, and on occasion the square babysitter that is CBeebies, the BBC’s children’s channel, in the form of Peter Rabbit or Topsy And Tim. The coverage of England of these magic waves needs to be improved. If there was a hotline to the magic waves people, they would be getting frequent calls from Darley exclaiming: “It’s gone, it’s not working!” Which when Peter Rabbit is being chased by Mr Todd the fox is as dramatic as it sounds. It has also left us lost in a strange town. I – as a man – have been forced into the unnatural act of asking complete strangers for directions. I must have a lie-down at the mere thought of this… But we have at last discovered there is an internet network at all the campsites – joy of joys!
4. Always make sure there’s enough water in the kettle. Or ye shall be forced to forfeit coffee and tea! This is a disaster. (Always make sure you have coffee and tea too as some of the Camping And Caravanning campsites – look here: campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/ukcampsites
– are set in such beautiful rural locations that even Tesco has yet to build there…)
5. Driving is a dream! As you ’rhome you really do get to see inside the back gardens of a nation. The up-high cab allows you to see far more than even in a tall family car. You also get an advantage on all the stunning views and an enhanced safety sight level of seeing that tractor up ahead going at 0.25 miles an hour.
6. Having an onboard toilet is an invaluable asset when travelling with young children, especially if you’re trying to toilet-train one… All you need is a handy lay-by or pull-in spot. It’s also useful for grown-ups who are probably drinking too much tea and coffee (see Point 4).
7. The onboard shower is also a dream when you’ve been on a muddy walk/on the beach/for a run/when your children decide to sit in that muddy puddle. After a shower the towels we have are excellent at drying, and space saving as they are so flat. We also have a version called a Doggy Bag for Mr Colin Dog that works a treat and keeps the motorhome clean as it keeps Colin looking as gorgeous
as ever! (See them here: microfibrestore.co.uk
) Then a motorhome’s wardrobe provides a new change of clothes after a shower and dry-off. (But always remember, splashing in puddles is a must, adults and children alike.)
8. Other ’rhomers wave at you as you pass by. This is nice. A simple gesture of togetherness, that conveys the shared experience of travelling in such an awesome way. And it excites us as much as the children! So much in fact that so far we’ve waved at one Sainsbury’s and three Asda supermarket delivery vans plus a fella in a white van on which his services of “painting and deorating” (sic) were offered. It’s okay, they were all friendly and waved back too. We wonder if they’re still wondering which friends of theirs it was waving wildly from their motorhome…
9. The new Duvalay mattresses fitted in all Swift Escape motorhomes as of this year are as snug and comfy as they come – duvalay.co.uk
viewers might remember seeing these mattresses get an enthusiastic backing). Perfect for motorhomes as they are lightweight too, we’re all sleeping better than at home: we think a combination of these mattresses and the fresh outside air.
10. A motorhome is the ideal/only way to visit a host of family and friends. No hassle of finding a space at and booking hotels (expensive too and many don’t allow dogs either), or edging to see if friends/family have a spare room to put you up.
As author Jack Kerouac put it: “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
We absolutely love it – and that’s why even our motorhome is smiling!