Camping and Caravan Show 2016

We went to the show again. Even though we didn’t have anything that we wanted to buy, least of all a new caravan. But it’s always fun just to have a snoop around and see what’s new.

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It was a bright cold midweek day. We were there fairly soon after it opened, but nonetheless it wasn’t exactly crowded. All the better to look at the new models, which we did. But we didn’t see anything we liked better than our Bailey Unicorn Madrid. Right now it’s as close as can be to our ideal caravan.

One thing that we did notice was the number of new mini-caravans, presumably aimed at younger people who now have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to get a license to tow a larger van.

This one folds down to the same size as a trailer tent.

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And here is Jean standing inside one of the larger (but still collapsible) models

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On the positive side, it has everything you need, including a kitchenette, a shower and a loo. And of course it’s easy and economical to tow. On the negative side, you have to dismount all the overhead storage and even some of the doors as part of packing up. We thought that perhaps that wasn’t quite the thing for us.

Here’s another, called a Barefoot. Not a folder, this one. Tiny these vans might be, but they’re almost as expensive as a full-sized conventional van, which is another negative.

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In the same spirit, someone had made a teardrop caravan out of Lego. It followed the t@b design, and was very well done:

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Of course, inevitably, we did buy a gadget.

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A Mr D’s Thermal Cooker. I was going to make a joke about there being no such thing as non-thermal cooking, but I suppose Heston Blumenthal has rather spoiled that. Anyway, it’s a haybox cooker, brought up to date by using a vacuum flask. It has two inner pots, so you can actually make two separate dishes.

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The great attraction for us is that we can start something cooking in the morning, switch off the caravan gas and electrics, and leave the thermal cooker to complete the process without danger of fire in the worst case, or more likely the site electric supply tripping out and leaving us with a slow cooker full of raw food to come home to.

We’ll be trying it out at home soon, but haybox cookers have been around for hundreds of years, and we’re great fans of slow cooking anyway, so we’re pretty confident.

We visited the Camping and Caravan Club stand, where they had some excellent talks and demonstrations. Here we watched Andrew Dickens do an excellent demo on how to prepare kebabs, pita breads and tzatziki on a modestly sized barbeque. Best of all, he showed how to clean the barbeque painlessly!

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And the C&CC also provided us with what was perhaps the find of the show.

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Ali Ray, who writes on campsite cookery for the club, has written a really excellent book. She provides recipes, but that’s not the real point of the book for us. The book highlights regional food specialities all around the UK, with advice on the best campsites to stay, the best local suppliers for ingredients, and the best restaurants to sample the local delicacies.

So 2016 could be the Year of the Foodie Caravan Holiday. We’re already planning our first short breaks from the book.

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