Wednesday, 12 December 2007

"Sometimes I get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter" - Ansel Adams

Yesterday, I found myself standing at the top of a short slope, just above the spot where an Airstream 684 was pitched. She was on loan to Mark Walton, a journalist from CAR magazine, who had her for the weekend to research an article. With my camera in hand, it struck me how odd it was for me to be taking photographs of somebody else taking photographs of an Airstream.
It got me thinking. Surely the Airstream must be one of the most photogenic feats of engineering ever created.

Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream, produced his first aluminium clad travel trailer in the tail end of 1936. And curiously, by some strange synergy, Exakta produced the worlds first 35mm SLR camera and Eastman Kodak introduced Kodachrome in 35mm cartridges that same year. It seems that Airstream and photography were made for each other.
As if that wasn't enough, 1936 also saw the first issue of the new look LIFE magazine- the first all-photography news periodical.
There's more. Since there will always be a need to tow your Airstream somewhere, the worlds first production passenger car to run on deisel was introduced in 1936 as well (It was a Mercedes-Benz). And finally, I should say a very big thank you to the person without whom none of me would have been possible; It was the year my mum was born. Thanks Mum!

So there I was, 71 years later, watching an enduring icon in its 21st century guise, having its photograph taken with a 21 megapixel camera for a new generation of magazine.

Some things are just made to have their picture taken

Saturday, 8 December 2007

"I can see our house from here"

We took another trip to Tebay today to have a look at our Airstream. It's sitting there, serenely waiting in line for it's internal make-over. To be honest, it's not as bad as it looks in the pictures, it only needs our extras fitted and it's good to go! We're all aiming for a collection date of the 20th of December. That's the week after next! Cripes!

While we were there, Michael Hold (the head-honcho of Airstream Europe) let me have a go in his Land Rover Discovery. I've never sat in such a luxurious car! We took it for a drive, and It pretty much drove itself around while I had a kip in the back. In fact, "the back" is so big, I'm wondering of we could do without the Airstream and just live in a Land Rover instead.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Why not?

In the end, it was the easiest decision we've ever made.

When you've stopped enjoying your job and when you don't really like where you're living, then the only thing to do is find something else to do and somewhere else to do it.

That's the tricky bit...

We'd spent our last few holidays trying to visit as many places as we could, with a view to settling there and running a businesses, but that meant that we didn't really get a chance to have a holiday! It's a kind of vicious circle - no holiday makes work harder to enjoy, which makes the need for a holiday greater etc, etc...

So, one day while we were driving to the supermarket (it was 18 miles away), we came up with the plan. We'll sell our home (in London), spend some of the money on a nice, big motor home or caravan, quit our jobs and head off on a trip around the country looking for somewhere to settle down and go into business. And when we asked ourselves "why not?" we couldn't come up with an answer.


Then we had to decide what sort of "mobile home" we would get. Caravan or motor home? Both have their pro's and cons. It's a big decision and worthy of some research. A big motor home can be very luxurious, but unless you tow a small car around with you, it's a lot of hassle every time you need to drive to the nearest town to get a pint of milk and a loaf of bread. Caravans can also be quite luxurious, but the white boxes all look uninspiringly the same inside and out and we've never towed anything before.

We discussed the project with our friend Wayne. He's always been very sensible (at least in this regard) and keen that we never sell our flat in London, but keep it as an investment. He was our first "sounding board" and I've always (well, mostly...ok, sometimes) trusted his wisdom.

Luckily, by a strange quirk of Fate, Airstream Europe set up shop last year a mere 45 minute drive away in Tebay, south Cumbria. Wayne came with us to have a look at the new Airstream International 684's, and his immediate (and repeated) response was "Go on - buy an Airstream!" We spent a busy few days looking into our finances, visiting caravan and motor home show rooms, and we re-visited Tebay three times before making the decision to go for it.

We made some phone calls and took a quick trip to London and within a matter of days we'd put our flat on the market, accepted an offer on it, paid a deposit on an Airstream and were back home, anxiously waiting for the sale of the flat to go through.

That was back at the beginning of September. As for the sale of the flat, that's a completely different story...