Nothing too unusual you may think, and we do indeed regularly receive party invitations from friends. But the conversation usually goes something like this...
Friend - "We're having a party. Can you come?"
Us - "Love to. When is it?"
Friend - "Next Friday. Where will you be?"
Us - "On the Isle of Benbecula*."
Friend - "Wear the fox hat?"
(* Substitute any point in the British Isles that is as far from Civilisation as possible**. I often wonder if our friends are somehow tracking our movements and waiting until we can't possibly attend before actually inviting us to anything.)
(**Wherever it was, rest assured, a motorhome got there before us)
So, it was with no small delight that we received an invitation to a party that, rather than simply being on a local continent, was actually in the next county at a date and time we could actually achieve. Of greater note, however, was the purpose of the party. It was to the launch of Weber Barbecues Airstream Roadshow.
I've been to many launch parties in my time, but since I used to work as a theatre lighting and sound technician, this was the first one I didn't actually have to do any work at. Even more gratifying was that we were invited simply as representatives of the Airstream community in the UK. Well chuffed!
So, one Tuesday morning in March, we made our way to the Weber Grill Academy in Oxfordshire. And what a brilliant day we had. As the only vegetarians in the village, I expected to be treated to nothing more than the smells of barbecuing meat, but we were made to feel very welcome and offered some very delicious veggie food.
The main purpose of the day was to show off the newly refurbished Airstream that will be travelling around the country promoting Weber's range of BBQ equipment while also teaching the world some great barbecuing tips and recipes. We were treated to a couple of hours of hands-on training in the arts of smoking, baking, roasting and grilling - all on a barbecue. Never again will our veggie barbie be limited to blackened burgers and rubbery sausages! In fact, we made a pizza (on a barbecue) that was so good it went straight into my All-Time-Top-Ten-Pizzas-Of-The-World list!
As for the Airstream itself - it was a beaut. A 1975 International Sovereign, painstakingly restored and converted. The work was done by American Retro Caravans in Somerset, and a very fine job they did too! The outfit will be a one-man operation - the set-up and break-down taking about an hour each. Dan, the man from Weber, will be appearing at a place near you soon...
There are more details about the restoration/conversion here.
If you get a chance, check the Weber Experience website and go and have a look at the roadshow. Not only will you see a very nicely finished Airstream, but you might even learn something new about barbecuing. We did.
Say "Hello" to Dan from us!