Tuesday, 8 January 2008

We're Airstreamers!!!

Woohoo! Here we are, sitting with a glass of champagne in our new, shiny, very, very beautiful Airstream trailer. What a fantastic day it has been…

It was an early start (for us, at least) to get the pet bunnies sorted out before setting off to the Airstream Europe workshop/showroom/offices/HQ for about 10:30. As soon as we got there, we were treated like royalty. I don’t know if they treat all new owners so well, but it was a delightful surprise to be the object of such attention - they even gift-wrapped the trailer!

After cutting the ribbon (there were tears in our eyes when we saw it), Michael, the director, brought us coffee while Earl showed us the ropes. And there’s a lot of rope! It took over two hours to work our way around the trailer, visiting all the gizmos and gadgets in their respective nooks and crannies. This machine has almost everything – the only thing missing (sadly) is an attachment to make the tea in the morning – though I’m sure they’re working on it. The user manual is the size of a large telephone directory, contributing considerably to both payload and deforestation. After the guided tour, Michael took us out for lunch (very nice it was too) where we chatted about all things caravanny over a very tasty bowl of soup and a toasty.

After returning to the workshop, Michael went through the coupling-up procedure (in a vehicle-trailer sense) using his tow car, since ours won’t be ready until Wednesday. While we were doing that, John (the resident guru of all things mechanical) sorted out the Phantom tracking. This is a clever little box of tricks which means that if anybody tries to nick the trailer, some little angel hundreds of miles away can direct the police to intercept the rogues within four minutes. I’m not sure of John was pulling our legs, but he said that when he phoned Phantom to check the system was working, he was told that the satellite image showed that the trailer was “parked in Tebay behind a silver Landrover Discovery.” He might be joshing, but then again he might not. Either way, it’s an impressive piece of kit.

So, there we were, all coupled up with no place to go. Actually, we’re booked into the local Caravan Club site at Troutbeck Bridge, and after a crash-course (if that’s not asking for trouble) in towing, I took over from Michael and finished off the 30 minute trip to the campsite. Between you and me, I’ve never towed anything before in my life, and there I was in a car worth a small fortune towing a trailer worth a large one. “Tense” doesn’t quite cover it.

I’ll let you know what the campsite is like as soon as I’ve had a chance to check it out – it was getting late when we arrived. I popped into the site office to check in, and a couple of minutes later a charming couple of Winter caravanners came in and asked, in a thick Scottish accent “is that Michael Hold’s rig out there?” A little confused and surprised I explained that it was Michael’s car, but our trailer etc, etc, and while I was battling with the chip-and-pin machine, Michael came in and greeted the chap as if they’d known each other for years, which it turned out they had. Michael introduced us. I don’t know if I should read any great portent into the meeting, but on our first day in the trailer, we met Bob and Jeanette Black, Bob being the recently retired Chairman of the Caravan Club!. On another auspicious note, it was three years ago today that we moved to Keswick, and within two hours of our arrival back in 2005, we were flooded in.

The gods were determined to recreate the weather of three years ago, and while Michael was showing us the parking-up procedure, it was blowing a hooligan and lavishing rain on us . Then, because we weren’t enjoying the climate enough, the hailstorm started. All good stuff when you’re trying to figure out how an Aquaroll works when you’ve never seen one before (for anyone out there who’s unfamiliar with this contraption, it’s a cross between a grass roller and a beer barrel, and it’s supposed to make carrying water easy, so you can see my problem).

Michael left us to unpack what few possessions we brought with us, and here we are, a few hours later, sitting in our VERY cozy new home with a glass of champagne.

What a fantastic day it has been.


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