This title, ‘Two go to Gin School in a Campervan’, does sound a bit like one of those Enid Blyton style stories re-written for middle-aged readers, does it? Well, we did have an adventure and we were offered lashings of gin!

When I told my son of our plans for our weekend in Staffordshire, he smiled and said, “Now that’s a middle-aged shout out!”  I decided not to mention our intention to also watch ‘Strictly’ and complete a few Sudukos in our leisurewear while spending our first weekend in a Citroen Pulsar campervan (which we hired on a ‘try before you buy’ basis from the impressive WildAx of Elland).

Both Adventurous G and I have harboured a hankering to dawdle through Europe in a campervan for some time now. We have visited the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham twice in the last three years. A decision was made to test the reality of driving, cooking, eating, washing and sleeping in a defined, confined space. Would our imagined freedoms be matched by the realities of a November weekend in Staffordshire? Our campervan adventures (and I am sure there will be oh so many of them) are shared in ‘The Campervan Chronicles’ section of this blog (which is at the time of writing this blog, just a twinkle in my eye). Needless to say, our campervan trip was a happy success, though I question the wisdom of me preparing a chickpea influenced dish as the first meal in our close environment!

After a smooth, comfortable drive down the motorway, noting the enhanced views from our superior height above the tarmac, we parked up in a peaceful, delightfully clean campsite/caravan park, the Lower Micklin Touring Park which for the time of year, was surprisingly busy.

It is astounding what we still had available to us on four wheels! You can click on the WildAx link above for all of the specifics of this amazing little home, but I need to mention the tables, comfy armchair seating, gas hob, sink, fridge/freezer, loo, shower (yes a shower!), DAB radio, digital TV, convertible double sleeping space and so much storage space that even my excessive packing was very comfortably consumed!

The Highlights of our first Campervan Experience:

We slept remarkably better than we had expected.

There was more than a nod to all of our required home comforts. How lovely to have a cup of Yorkshire tea with fresh milk in the morning without stepping out onto the dewy grass in the dark.

The accommodation and food were tailored exactly to our needs and timescale without fuss.

We had beautiful clear views towards the Peak District, clear air and near silent darkness after lights out.

Our campervan experience allowed us to explore and relax, and to enjoy our favourite home activities at this time of year, like watching International rugby and Strictly! We could be the home us … but somewhere else! 

Why Staffordshire? Let me tell you. For Christmas last year I bought my nearest and dearest experience vouchers. As this Christmas approaches, I believe that most experiences are still unrealised – however not gin-loving G’s! His Gin Experience at Nelson’s Gin Distillery, near Uttoxeter, was our destination.

 

I cannot praise the experience enough nor thank David, our ‘instructor’ for sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm throughout the journey of making our first ever bottle of bespoke gin. If you are not sure what to buy a gin-lover in your family for Christmas – I wholeheartedly recommend this!

 

Our gin is, I must say, delicious! Nelson’s Gin Distillery has kept our unique recipe and will make more bottles to order! How fabulous is that?

A middle-aged shout out? That’s fine by me. This weekend has defined our middle-age as being still keen to have an adventure and broaden our experience and knowledge while being long enough in the tooth to accept that we are also defined by some creature comforts – and why can’t we have it all? I believe we did – and we’ve got half a bottle of gin left to prove it!

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Published by Carol

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