Category Archives: CAMC Club Site

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).

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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.

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Burton Hill Farm CL

We were disappointed that we couldn’t book our places at #Trudgfest back in February, as Rob had changed jobs, we weren’t sure when holidays were going to be. A couple of weeks ago, having been given the holidays list finally, I scoured the area local to Anita’s Touring Caravan Park, added the usual filters: EHU, dogs allowed (without extra charges), and found a CL – Burton Hill Farm.

We love CLs – Caravan and Motorhome Club affiliated, member only sites. They offer, usually, the quieter side of life, small 5 pitch sites that are sometimes off grid and sometimes provide full serviced pitches. We generally find ourselves on a site with EHU, we’re quite happy to use our facilities if there is no toilet block.

Duly booked at £12 a night, a total of £72.00 for 6 nights. Just off the M40, albeit the opposite side to the main #Trudgfest site, a mere 10 minutes away from where we needed to be.

The site is just off the B4100, and you first turn into the farm drive which is long and lined with poplars, affording views across the local countryside before dropping down into the farm itself, past the farm yard, through a gate into the site itself.

The site opened out in front of us, a 7 acre field, mainly left to wild flowers and grass, but with 5 hard standing gravel pitches. We turned to the left as we assumed that the pitches were all visible. But no! All the pitches we could see had reserved signs on them and our name wasn’t anywhere. You know that feeling of dread you get when you think you’ve made a complete mess of something? I felt that. I thought we had nowhere to stay for a week and that we may be travelling home again!

On the off chance, I got out of the car to follow the track to the right. Yes! There was our name on a hidden gem of a pitch, even if it did mean Rob had to reverse back to the gate.

We’ve never had such a great pitch. Looking 180 degrees to our right from the front seats we couldn’t see the other pitches, forwards gave us a wonderful view down the field and to the right, at least 20m (guesstimate) of mowed ‘lawn’ which backed onto the farmhouse rear garden. The track also provided us with a private ‘driveway’. How blooming lucky were we?! The other pitches may not be quite as secluded as this one, but they’re all a good size, well spaced out and hard standing for your motorhome or caravan.

There is a toilet available back at the farm itself, but that’s a bit of a trek if you’ve been sitting in the sun and then had a brew too many, no shower, so own facilities it is then.

By the entrance are the bins and recycling, also the fresh water point. Way down the field past us is the chemical waste point. Now we’ve experienced field waste points which literally made our toes curl and our stomachs rebell, this one isn’t one of those even though it is a septic tank, it has a water hose, and thankfully no rogue smells!

On occasion there is a faint hum of traffic from the M40, depending on wind direction, but it’s not intrusive and certainly not a cause for complaint. Mainly all that you can hear are the birds singing, with a view of the odd rabbit and farm cat lolloping about in the grass.

I’ve spent most mornings and early afternoons sitting outside with my kindle, relaxing and generally recharging before heading off to #Trudgfest for the evening with friends. If you didn’t manage to get to this, the first ever, keep an eye out for the next one!

There was a humdinger of a storm on Thursday night. Poor Sydney trembled on the odd occasion when the thunder cracked over our heads but the pitch and the field remained unflooded, which in itself is remarkable.

If you’re happy to use your own facilities, want nothing but peace, quiet, easy access to Banbury, Stratford etc, dark skies at night and you’re a member of the CAMC, then we’d highly recommend this site.

A x

Cirencester, friends and new to us awning!

Well hello, we are back from sunny Cirencester where we spent a wonderful 4 days. The drive down was uneventful apart from the usual chaos at the M6/M5 turn off and the road works around that area. Also as usual, unfortunately, were the people passing us on the motorway with their caravans in tow with no towing mirrors and travelling at speeds well exceeding the 60mph limit. I must say that this drives me insane and I do wonder why people feel that the law and speed limits do not apply to them!

Anyway, regardless, we planned on having a great break and we did.

We have a couple of awnings a Kampa Rally Pro 390 + annexe and a Vango Braemar air awning which is a tiny 150cm in width but is ideal for weekends especially in Winter, it’s more than big enough to take off wet shoes, coats and dry the dogs off. However, neither was ‘just right’ or flexible enough so that we could have jut 1 awning.

I digress, last weekend we managed to get our hands on an elusive Westfield Rollaway 400. Having spoken to Westfield at the NEC earlier in the month, they don’t appear to be making these anymore as they had problems with some kind of manufacturing fault on later batches and the manufacturers don’t appear to be able to fix it, which is a shame as they’re a really flexible awning. The eagle eyed amongst you may also know of another family that have this awning.

So this was the first try of the new to us awning. Our only concern was that our awning rail isn’t straight at the front, but it worked fine. We’re not daunted by awnings, we don’t argue and it doesn’t give us any cause for divorce, thankfully! The roof goes up first and can be used as a standalone canopy for those long, warm summer days, or as a quick get the canopy up before we get drenched kind of days. You can then add the front, which is split into 4 pieces and the sides.

Now this is the clever bit you can have a large canopy with no sides, a 3/4 canopy and a 1m storage awning or a 1/2 canopy and a 2m awning or bedroom, a 3/4 awning and a 1m canopy or the full 4m awning. As it was October and we wanted to try the whole thing we opted for the last option and it went up pretty well. We were on a bit of a slope and it still managed to look pretty good. The roof material appears to be PVC so no worries about drying that off if it’s raining and as the front splits down to 1m sections it wouldn’t be a problem drying it out at home, no unwieldy 4m sections to fight with.

As they’re not going to be making these in the foreseeable future I’m going to tinker with making my own roof lining as it did have a tendency to produce condensation. Keep an eye out for that in the future, the back I can use Velcro to attach it as it already has Velcro tabs in situ, the front doesn’t so I need to have a ponder.

Will this be the awning that manages to suit us whatever the situation or weather? We’re not 💯% sure but it’s looking good so far. Would we recommend it, off the back of its first outing, yes. Look out for them on local selling sites.

Thank you to Dan, Angela and Chloe, Deb and Steve, Iain, Zoe, Grace and Lulu, Ian, Tracy and family, Andy, Kate and family, for a wonderful weekend full of laughs and gorgeous weather.

I managed to capture the last sunset of British Summer time 2017 which was reflected in the side of Sydney, absolutely stunning.

Also thank you to the Motorway Gods who managed a delay free trip home, on the M5/M6 again no less, we were highly delighted with a stress free return trip.