Sunday, 16 May 2010

Ready to Rally

Lots of Airstreaming news this week...

There is less than a week to go before the Spring Rally in Cheddar. Click here for details if you haven't booked yet, or to confirm your booking and let us know when you are arriving.

Having been in our bolthole in Somerset for almost six months we are gradually gearing ourselves up to moving on to the rally site. This has been the longest we have stayed in one place since starting our travels just over two years ago. Until now, the longest we spent in one place was three weeks. Most of the time we would book in for five nights initially, and if we liked the place, or needed more time to explore the area, we would extend our stay for another few days.

I'm sure our old routines for hitching up and pitching up will soon come flooding back. It's like riding a bike, right? At least this week we will only be moving within the county of Somerset, gently easing ourselves back into the nomadic life.

When you're moving regularly you are vigilant about not accumulating excess baggage. Now we are finding that we need to have a bit of a clear out. The discipline or ruthlessness has to be re-awoken so that we can ditch clothes we don't wear, guidebooks for places we won't be returning to anytime soon, crockery that doesn't get used enough. We've got to make allowance for our new fire pit anyway, getting its first trial by fire at the rally.

Last week we made the short trip to Taunton to see American Retro Caravans. Tucked away at the end of an uninspiring road in an industrial estate sits the little ARC workshop. And it was staggering to see what was going on there. They had four vintage trailers in various stages of restoration and a team of skilled tradesmen and craftsmen beavering away on each of them. Plumbers and electricians, carpenters and metal workers, carpet layers and polishers were all industriously working, occasionally on the same trailer at the same time.

Darren and Kathy, the owners of ARC, very kindly tore themselves away from looming deadlines to show us around. They specialise in high quality restorations, as you can tell from their (very attractive) website. They oversee every aspect, from the custom-built furniture (Darren is a carpenter by trade) to the hand-crafted upholstery. Beautiful.

The same day, this very blog received it's 15,000th hit. Staggering! When we started it, shortly after deciding to buy the Airstream, we thought it might get looked at a couple of times a month by our mums. We had no idea what it would grow into, or that we'd still be writing about Airstreaming two and a half years later. Thank you to everyone who has looked in on our journey.

Finally, we saw Airstreams on the tellybox last night. Tracey sums it up (much better than I could) in her blog.

See you at the Gathering (even if it rains!).

T & P

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Tea And Empathy

It's been an Airstreamy few days. Andrew was on his way to a work thing in Dorset so made a detour to our bolthole here in Somerset. We have a lovely rural view here, which is probably one of the reasons we have stayed for a while, but an Airstream in the mix was OK too.

When we met up in the Hebrides last summer we managed a perfect afternoon tea one day. We persuaded a young lass to reopen her shop to sell us some scones. Then we found our way into a supermarket whose entrance was cunningly disguised as a bus shelter (probably to keep the wild wind out), and there, against our expectations we found clotted cream. We already had the best strawberry jam money can buy, Tiptree Little Scarlet. I don't know why it is so good exactly. It must be the Little Scarlet strawberries themselves. Or maybe it is also the rarity with which we find it on our travels.

Well these individual, intrepidly sought ingredients married succulently into a tea orchestrated with involuntary groans of appreciation.

Here in Somerset we are much closer to the more traditionally conceived source of the cream tea. I recently read that the Cornish put cream first on their scones, then the jam, Devonians the other way round. Now we know. I go Cornish, Pete favours the Devonian way. Anyway, the scones couldn't have been fresher. For the first time since my inadequate school cookery lessons I made scones. And pretty darned good they were too. Warm, light, big. What more can I say?

You know when you try to recreate an experience and it doesn't rise to your expectations? That didn't happen.

Simon, Emma and Tilly popped round to say Hello on their way to visit family. They recently had to let their Airstream go but are still honorary Airstreamers. We have high hopes for them rejoining the clan. So there has been a lot of Airstreamy chat; new versus vintage, standard European versus wide-bodied, layout etc, etc.

And of course there's the approaching rally. So it was like a warm-up.