Five years ago, we did what we’d talked about for years and bought our first static caravan. It was an oldish one, nine years old. We were lucky because the caravan park where we have our holiday home doesn’t have the usual ten-year rule where caravans over ten-years old are removed from the park. No matter what their age is caravans may stay in the park provided they are well maintained.
Our holiday home did need some improvements. For instance, access to the caravan was via some rusty, wobbly iron steps, the height of which meant we had to practically jump from the top step into the caravan. The carpets and sofas were not to our taste either, but as it had been a top of the range model when originally bought, we reckoned it would be worth spending a little if we were going to holiday in it for several years to come. This is what we did.
These images show our caravan when we first purchased it.
Our first job was to do away with the rickety steps and have some new decking and skirt installed.
The new extended decking.
The new decking made a world of difference to the look of the old caravan, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Our second priority was to get rid of the broken dishwasher which leaked water. Since there is only two of us, we decided to have a washing machine in its place and also installed a tumble drier in the shed.
Next to disappear were the carpets and seating. It was a good quality, leather suite, but just too big for a static caravan.
The original seating.
We bought just a sofa and one chair to begin with, but later went back to order another chair.
The new seating and flooring.
The main bedroom was the next room to receive some attention. I didn’t want to go to the expense of buying new curtains as the drapes in the wardrobes and bed canopy were all matching. They would have been really expensive to replace, so I just bought some plain lemon fabric and replaced the sun-faded trimmings on the original curtains. Then I added some home-made cushions and an extra table topper using the left over lemon fabric.
The original drapes with sun faded trim.
The following photos show the bedroom after replacing the faded trimmings and adding some cushions and table top covers.
This made the bedroom look much brighter and fresh.
With the interior refurbishment complete we could concentrate on the garden. It was a good-sized garden compared to others on the site. We hadn’t realised it was so large because half of it was overgrown with waist-high weeds. One side had a grassed area of lawn with flower borders and the other had several trees and bushes. It was the wooded area that was neglected, but the lawn and flower beds had been looked after. I didn’t take photos of it before my daughter-in-law cleared the weeds, but I do have lots of photos of it afterwards.
As you can see, the patio seating area is really private, surrounded as it is with lots of shrubs and trees. The site itself is smack bang in the middle of the countryside, nothing much around it except rolling hills, a couple of other caravan parks, and lots of farm animals. However, right opposite the site is an old stately home with acres of its own parkland. No longer a family home, it’s now used for bible studies and holidays. We are allowed to walk in the beautiful grounds and there is also an indoor swimming pool we can use. This is useful as our caravan park has no shop, pool, or club. It is so restful though without any of the noise these facilities tend to produce.
There is a deep fishing lake on our site which is stocked with fish and there is a laundry room and shower block, but the nearest pub and village shop is a couple of miles away. The site is always maintained well though and the charges are reasonable. We have an 11 month season with the caravan usage ceasing for February only. Owners of lodges only have to leave for two weeks. We have spent Christmas there five times since we bought the caravan in 2013. Central heating, double glazing, and an electric fire keep it snug and warm.
Only one thing has spoiled our enjoyment of our home from home. That happened when we returned at the start of the season last year. We knew some of the large trees in our garden were due for pruning. In fact, we’d asked for the one over the shed to be done a few times. We returned in March to find the lovely garden we’d tended, planted, and reseeded with grass had been ruined. Instead of having the trees pruned, fourteen of them had been pulled down. Wore than that, heavy plant machinery had been driven back and forth all over the garden and flowers and shrubs were destroyed in the process. My husband and I both felt like crying when we saw it.
One thing you have to understand as a caravan owner is that you do only rent the land. If the site owner decides to change anything you can’t do a thing about it. In our case, there was an old, small caravan next to us. It was hidden by the trees as were the old sheds that were not ours. The site owner wanted to remove the old caravan and replace it with a larger one. To site the new caravan, he needed to take some of our garden to get it in and give the new caravan owner a bit more space. So he moved the large boulder stone boundary, in effect chopping off a huge corner of our garden.
We were so disgusted at not being informed he was going to do all that, we said we weren’t going to touch the garden again. With the arrival of such lovely weather last year, we had a change of heart. After all, part of the joy of having a caravan is the outdoor life it gives you. We didn’t want to be sitting outdoors looking at all that mess, so we did have a go at restoring it a bit. We’ve lost the privacy we once had, but we’re compensated a little by the light that now floods in to what was virtually woodland. We found lots of new plants we’d never seen before, suddenly springing to life too.
We grassed most of the garden. It has lots of stones and boulders in it, so it’s really difficult to dig and plant. I’m just hoping the beautiful white flowering bush near the bench will come back. It still wasn’t really up to scratch when we left it, but at least the old sheds are gone now and there’s a more modern caravan instead of the older one. This is more or less how it was last summer. We’d just about got the grass to grow again, but it’s not exactly a lawn. Hubby refused to spend money on it again, so we just banged in some lawn seed. I’m hoping this year with a weed and feed product it will improve some more.
Now, we can’t wait for the season to start again and we can get back to some planting.
Part of the fun of having a holiday home is that you get to visit different places away from your home area. When we’re at the caravan, we visit Kirkby Lonsdale, Morecambe, Windermere and all the little villages in between. Below is a picture taken at Lake Windermere.
Another photo taken at Morecambe. Quite a few alterations have taken place there.
I will be adding to this page from time to time. Please do come back to see what we get up to.
In September 2022, we were beginning to feel that running two homes was wearing us down a little. We were spending alternate weeks at home and also at the caravan. While we were home we had to ensure the garden was tended and would be fit if we left it for a week or two. The same while we were at the caravan. Would the hanging baskets survive the week if the weather became hot?
The care of the inside of our homes was also getting to us. I liked to clean before we left either one as that way, we were free of inside maintenance for a few days while we attended to the garden. Although we were not thinking of selling at that time, we knew we would be selling in the next couple of years.
With that in mind, I decided to ask the owner what the rules on selling were. The site was in the process of creating lots of new pitches and large posters at the entrance stated boldly that there were no age restrictions on caravans and older caravans were welcome as bring ons. I was shocked by his reply.
“You can’t sell!” he told me. “You can stay in it as long as you want, but you can’t sell it on site.”
“Why not?” was my immediate reply.
He then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to get rid of the older caravans and I would have to pay him about $4,000 to scrap our lovely caravan, 8-year-old decking and Keter shed, or remove it to sell off-site. He would charge a similar amount to move it off-site as you’re not allowed to do that yourself. Of course, I was shocked. My two sons also owned caravans on the same site and when I told them what he’d said, they also approached him saying they were leaving. The owner offered to buy their caravans for a pittance despite the price of caravans being at an all-time high at this time owing to the pandemic. There was a 3-year wait for new caravans so sales were slow for him. Not wishing to do business longer than necessary with the owner and knowing if they stayed they’d have to pay another year’s ground rent, my sons both chose to sell to him. Once I knew that I approached him again and asked if he would buy our caravan. After all, it was the same age as the one owned by my oldest son and it was at the top of the Willerby range when new. Of course, he offered me a pittance too, but I no longer wanted to stay. The site owner sold our caravans for almost double what he paid us.
So ended our happy caravanning days. Not the way we planned to go, but it’s all done and dusted now. We did enjoy our time in our holiday home, but wouldn’t do it again.
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