Monthly Archives: Aug 2018

Making a sunshade

So I tweeted in between our time at Pembrey this summer about needing a sunshade for the canopy and the although liking a certain named brand one I wasn’t willing to spend nearly £100 on something that probably wouldn’t get used all that much in the UK.

When we were down at Pembrey at the end of June the temperature was extreme and I came up with a diy shade consisting of pegs and Decathlon microfibre towels (these are brilliant btw we’ve had them coming up to 10 years, take next to no space or weight and dry super fast).


Yes it worked, after a fashion, but it looked as if we were living in a laundry and the towels became a tad unruly if there was a hint of a breeze.

So my mind got to whirring, I mean I can dressmake, I’ve made covers for caravan seats, curtains, a cover for an inflatable sofa etc so a straight piece of something wouldn’t be hard.

The problem I had was deciding what to make it from. Obviously I needed awning beading, which I bought from Spinney caravans as it’s local to me and they had it available. I used double beaded, because that’s what they had but also so I could attach accessories if needed down the line.

For the main fabric though, what could I use? I trawled eBay, for sun screening and mostly this was available in the gardening section. The obvious place to go and look was our local garden centre and after mooching around Homebase and B&Q I nipped into our very local centre. Lo and behold, sold on rolls by the metre sun screening material. Although they had price labels up for 2m wide there was only 1m wide available and I had a shortage of time, but 1m wide is still plenty wide enough for what I needed – I didn’t need it touching the floor!

So armed with my purchases off I popped back to the house where my tiny sewing room, sewing machines and rip stop nylon awaited.

The first battle was cutting the 2 sides straight to end up with a perfect rectangle that’s almost 4m long.

Next step was easy, sew the beading onto the net. I say easy, the netting is quite stiff and there’s not much room for manoeuvre behind the sewing machine and the wall but with netting wrapped over my shoulder to begin with it was done.

But I didn’t like the raw edges down the sides, so in my wisdom rip stop nylon bias binding was made, because it’s easy to make bias binding – yes, but ironing rip stop nylon which is slippy and has a tendency to melt if you iron too long, not so much. Having some hair left, I used quilt clips to hold the binding in place along the edges before sewing it on.

I added 4 ply squares of rip stop to each bottom corner to strengthen it before adding 2 loops that could be used to attach the shade to the canopy poles.

A voila! A sunshade that cost less than £20 – it could be made more cheaply if you have the time to shop around for the bits. There’s no weight to it, it rolls up easily and is now in the front locker awaiting more sun.




I mentioned last time that we had popped off for a night with Sydney to visit friends who were staying not too far away. They were in Shrewsbury and as there was a pitch free we thought it would be rude not to book it and stay the night. After all, we could see what all the fuss was about around this new site.

For starters it was a lot more expensive than any other site we’ve stayed at, we got a £1 discount for being members of the Caravan and Motorhome Club it was still £37 for the night. Even a Club site in high Summer costs us under £32 a night, so yes from our point of view it is on the expensive side.

If you’ve been to Salop Leisure you’ll find it easily as you enter through the same entrance as the car park to Salop before heading to the left to the site entrance. You then need to park up even and trek to reception to check in, don’t forget your purse or wallet! Even though you’ve already paid for your pitch you will be expected to fork out a £5 deposit for your security cards which will get you into the facilities on site and also through the gate into Salop Leisure.

The site is laid out like a spatula! Pride Hill being the handle, you travel then to Wylecop, across the top on Dog Row, the 2 inner rows are Fish Street and Butcher Row and the last side is Abbey Forgate, the bottom of the spatula itself is Mardol. It would be nice to have the ability to chose a pitch but your pitch is allocated. There is a one way system in place, apart from the usual amount of bicycles that can’t follow arrows and fly around on and off the road at speed and erratically. Talking of speed, yes there is a speed limit – however we saw very little evidence of drivers taking any notice of it at all.

Off we trundled to Abbey Forgate and I must admit that there were wonderful views of the surrounding countryside from there. The skies looking back across the site were definitely ominous though strangely beautiful…
Each pitch is hardstanding and comes with it’s own fresh and waste water point, drainage for grey waste and a toilet emptying point if you are using bio products in your loo. Although emptying the loo in a small flap in the ground isn’t as easy as it seems, or so Rob tells me.

In the toilet block there were already some signs of wear to the odd shower cubicle and flooring, there are Dyson hairdryers. I have no idea why and really when I’m caravanning do I need a £400 hairdryer? In fact, do I ever need one? My answer personally is no. There’s a launderette, a waste cassette emptying machine for £4 a go – where it will empty and clean your toilet cassette for you, a chemical point for those not using bio products, or would rather not use the small flap on pitch and a dog wash down area.

We had a stroll down to the dog walk, there are bins placed outside with dog bags ‘available’ – but unfortunately there weren’t any in there when we visited. On the way down there’s a nice display of Swift caravans and Isabella awnings, you pass the reception and cafe block, the pools and the bbq area etc. We didn’t partake of any of the facilities in here due to our length of stay the pools weren’t really as big as we thought they would be either. There’s also a play area which looked pretty good but seemed to flood in areas when it rained.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s a very nice site for the right people, we just weren’t the right people. We prefer the smaller sites, the CLs in particular apart from our favourite CAMC site. This is what’s great about caravanning, we’re all different and we can all chose different places to stay.

Oh and our friends? We enjoyed the evening with them and a bbq, watching fireworks from the Shrewsbury flower show over the hedge, the sunset..


and a large dog thinking he’s a Chihuahua!


What next…

We’ve nowhere booked until December!! Oh dear Me. I’m not sure that I’ll cope that long without my caravan fix. We only returned from 16 days at Pembrey 2 weeks ago and popped off down the road last Friday with Sydney in tow to visit friends for the night.

Our excuse was it was better for the dogs but really it was better for me!

Rob’s working the August Bank Holiday, so we’ll have to look at other dates to get out and about. There’s a cheeky week at the end of September with possibilities, it will have at least a weekend away in there.

There is of course the Motorhome and Caravan show fast approaching at the NEC in October, before that a possible trip out on the 20th September but not with the caravan.

In the meantime I’m doing lots of research on tow cars. We’ve had our Octavia 4×4 for 10.5 years, it hit 100000 miles this year and we tow at near our limit. I will cry when this car goes, it’s done everything we’ve asked of it and more. It’s paid for itself and I only hope that its eventual replacement will do as well.

The contenders are: VW Tiguan, Skoda Kodiaq, Kia Sorento, Nissan Navara.

We’ve ruled out about 90 million more, at least that’s what it feels like. No to the Ford Kuga, Ssangyong Korando and Rexton, Honda CRV, Kia Sportage, Skoda Karoq, yada, yada the list goes on and on.

We (that means I) want: large boot, good rear leg room, automatic, minimum 2000kg tow limit, white, silver or grey (this is IMPORTANT), new or used, good mpg or at least reasonable, reasonable tax, variable servicing, comfortable seats, higher ride so its easier for me to get in and out of when my back throws a wobbler.

Hmm think those are the most important things so far! The colour really will sell it to me, no red cars thank you!