Thursday, 28 April 2016

Have grandchild, will travel



The not-very-tired granddaughter

“Oooh, Audrey’s got a TV too!” said granddaughter, as I removed the cover from the flat screen TV so she could watch her Mr. Benn DVD. Audrey is the name of our motorhome and this was the first trip we'd made with a grandchild on board.



When we put in our order for our motorhome we asked for an extra bunk so we could initiate granddaughter into the delights of going on holiday in our palace on wheels. We were shown how to set up the bunk on the day we took delivery of the van, and I'd tried it out for size and accessibility, but we had yet to use it for real. That was granddaughter’s job.



At 3 years old, rapidly approaching her 4th birthday, we took her away for her first trip - two nights at the Caravan Club site at Chatsworth in the last chilly days of May. Excitement was running high when we set off over what she called the “mountains” (that's the Peak District), but she had yet to see where she would be sleeping. The van was set up for transporting passengers, which meant a bit of push and shove as the long sofa was transformed into a back seat with seat belts. The child seat was strapped into one of them, and I was strapped into the other; she wanted Nanny to sit next to her while Granddad got on with the driving. We were on familiar ground here as she’d already taken a preliminary trip in Audrey the Van with her dad sitting next to her.



On arrival, the seat was magicked back into a sofa while she and I took an exploratory walk around the campsite. She liked looking at the vans and asked why some of them had tents (the awnings) on them. She also liked the walk we had in the grounds of Chatsworth, and the ice cream she had at the end of it. But would she like the bed?



A board game with the soft toys
She ate hungrily, watched Mr. Benn and had some stories. She liked having two tables in the van where she could do her colouring in, and was fascinated by the loo flush mechanism and the way the lights in the van could be changed from white to an ambient blue for night time use if required. She happily got ready for bed. We made it up so that her head was on the driver’s side, loaded it with the soft toys she’d brought and pulled the dividing curtain across, leaving a gap at the foot end for a bit of reassuring light to get through. Once in bed she made token gestures towards sleep but our expectations were realistically low. Rightly so too.  She insisted on turning the whole lot around so her head was on the passenger side where she could peep around the curtain.



She proceeded not just to peep but to play, giggle, bounce, sing and generally be as naughty as she dared while we ate our meal and tried not to let on we were laughing too. At 10.25, her mum sent a text saying. “So is she asleep yet?!” and I firmly (but lovingly of course) read the riot act. She slept.



The next day we tired her out with a full day of walking through the parkland to Chatsworth House and a visit to the farm and adventure playground. That night she slept like a log. Since then she's been very keen to go away again in Audrey the Van, claiming the bed is much better than the one she sleeps in at our house!

This was first published in the Murvi Club on-line Newsletter

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