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CamperJam 2012 – Weston Park

CamperJam is one of our favourite VW events of the year (see CamperJam 2011 for last years event) and 2012 was no exception despite the appalling weather trying hard to spoil everything.


Tallulah at CamperJam 2012

We arrived at Weston Park slightly later than planned due to the intense rain and some flood related diversions, and the first task was so find our club camping area. That was reasonably straight forward, but our second task was to get to it without getting bogged down and stuck in the rapidly widening muddy patches.

Unfortunately we failed, but not before we got close enough to our fellow Brazilian VW Bay campers for a helpful push with only minor mud splattering and no damage. Others were not so lucky and there were several tractors being kept busy pulling out stranded campers for most of the evening.



We had friends staying so our awning needed to be put up between rain showers and all that was left after that was to have a few drinks and turn in for the night.

Saturday was much brighter and mostly dry, but most of the camping fields, the show arena and trade areas were already mud baths so the only thing to do was to pull on our Wellington boots and join the fun!

One of the entertainment marquees sprung a leak over the stage, so the Saturday evening entertainment was less than expected, but the Brazilian VW Bay team were fully prepared with the setup used at The Kombi Sleepover a few weeks before and the choons played out from our own event shelter into the small hours while flavoured vodkas were passed around.


The Brazi Bunch in Fancy Dress

Sunday morning brought the best weather of the weekend, just in time for everyone to pack up, but at least some of the boggiest routes began to dry out and made the exodus much less hassle. That said, everyone watched the first few campers leave with interest, trying too spot potential ‘sticky’ points and the tractors remained busy throughout the day.

In all, CamperJam was a very damp and muddy affair, but it takes a lot to dampen the spirits of die hard VW fans and most people still had fun.

We ave already booked our tickets for CamperJam 2013 – can’t wait!


Brazilian VW Bay Club Camping

PS: many thanks to the event paramedics an who looked after our son in his hour of need.
PPS: thanks also to the Brazi Bay Crew for the use of images.

VolksWorld Show, Sandown Park, Esher

Although Tallulah has been out a couple of times already this year, this was our first family outing, attending what is also one of the the first VW shows of the year, VolksWorld Show at Sandown Park in Esher – and what an amazing show it was!

We left Reading while the sun was only just peeking above the horizon to the East and the mist was still clinging to the trees as it does early on spring mornings. As you might expect, there was very little traffic on the roads at that time so before long we had caught up with Scooby, another Brazilian VW Kombi, heading to the same event.

Brazilian VW Bay @ VolksWorld 2012

The reason for the early start (aside from simply beating the traffic) was that we weren’t just attending VolksWorld, we were helping out by displaying on the Brazilian VW Bay club stand with 4 other VW campers, Scooby included. After a short coffee break at the rendez vous with the other Kombis, we headed off in convoy to the showground, queued for a short while to get in, then went about setting up our display as the sun cleared the remaining mist patches and got on with  making everyone smile.

All of the Brazilian campers looked amazing and generated lots of interest from other owners, prospective owners and VW enthusiasts who were intrigued how something so new could also look so ‘retro’ – lots of conversations were had about the improved reliability and fuel economy you get with the new Brazilian campers.

VW T1 Prototype

We made time for ourselves to look around the rest of the show, visit several of the trade stands to ‘catch-up’ with a few friends and acquaintances and generally enjoy the amazing weather and show atmosphere. There was a great selection of show’n’shine vehicles to look at and one or two VERY special ones brought over from Germany specifically for the show. The first was an original VW Beetle prototype (originally this was known as the T1, it only became known as the Beetle much much later), but even more impressive was the 110mph Type 64 K10, designed by Ferdinand Porsche for the Berlin to Rome race in 1939. The race never actually ran due to WWII and the insurance cost to bring this vehicle to the show was said to be in the region of £1 million.

Type 64 K10 - Designed by Ferdinand Porsche

We were staying with friends overnight and were back at the show the following day with three of the display vans from Saturday being replaced by a selection of vans of different colours, and although a little less busy it was another fantastic day with great weather and an amazing atmosphere. We were also visited by Martin Dorey, author, surfer and TV presenter – ‘One Man and His Campervan’, ‘The Campervan Cookbook’ – who declined the offer of a campervan cooked pancake, but did have a good look around Tallulah, signed a copy of his book and hung around for a photo shoot. What a nice chap, thanks Martin!

The journey home was uneventful, but it reminded us of the adventures we have already had in our van, as well as what new capers we will have this year and in the future as the summer approaches.



VanFest, 3 Counties Showground

VanFest (www.vanfest.org) is the largest VW transporter show in the world, attracting many thousands of vehicles, fans and enthusiasts and is held at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern.

We had booked tickets a while ago and were camping on the Brazilian VW Bay club pitch with a few other Brazi Bay owners as well as Serena’s dad and brother on their non-VW motorhome.

We left Reading as planned at 4.30pm Friday heading for Cheltenham to collect the in-laws, then on to Malvern. We made good time, arrived on site and were pitched by 7.30. No awning to worry about this time, we were ‘wild camping’ with nothing but Tallulah and a pitch and had packed accordingly leaving all our electrical accessories at home – not even a phone charger!

How happy were we when my brother-in-law announced he had borrowed a generator and asked if we wanted to hook-up! Still, at least we could keep our beer cold.

Just a spot of food, a few drinks and a short exploratory wander on the Friday night. Diva Fever, Right Said Fred and Bucks Fizz were all performing in the main marquee but we decided just to listen from a distance.

Saturday morning saw us checking out some of the trade stalls as there were a few things we wanted to look at, back to the pitch for lunch then off again to look at some more – there were plenty to look at!

After a great meal cooked in our van – thinking about entering ‘cooking in your camper’ if we attend next year – we headed out again to check out some of the free entertainment.

Unfortunately we didn’t get far as the excellent weather we had seen up until then suddenly broke and there was a torrential downpour that sent people dashing for cover wherever they could find it. Even the most weather proof awnings and tents were suffering under the torrent of water but thankfully it reduced to just ‘heavy rain’ after 10mins or so.

It didn’t dampen our spirits though, we dried ourselves off, pulled on our wellies and rain coats and went out again.

Sunday morning was brilliant sunshine once again and everything was drying out nicely. We spent a while looking at all the ‘show and shine’ vehicles, watched a VW 4wd display and took one last wander through the trade stalls to pick up a few things we had spotted the day before.

All in all it was an excellent weekend with family and friends, and despite the somewhat soggy bit in the middle, VanFest was well worth the visit – a few new goodies to test out on our next trip too.

Thorness Bay, Isle of Wight

For Tallulah’s next trip we decided to be a bit more adventurous and go ‘overseas’… to the Isle of Wight. We also wanted to try a more child focussed site as it was the start of the Easter holidays and we chose one of the four Park Resorts holiday parks on the island, Thorness Bay near Cowes.

We had been to the Isle of Wight several times previously, for day trips and to the festival (and Bestival), but never in a vdub camper so our 5yo was amazed that we could simply drive Tallulah onto a boat.

We were booked on the 11.25 ferry from Lymington so left Reading at 9am for a very scenic and leisurely cruise south along the A33 to Winchester, A3090 through Romsey and finally picking up the A337 heading into the New Forest.

We arrived in plenty of time and ate our lunch on the sun deck during the crossing.

We arrived at the site soon after and once checked in, went about finding our allocated pitch – the pitch numbering system was somewhat out of sync with the map we were given – and setting up.

Tallulah was levelled, plugged in and attached to her awning after an hour or so – Oli had made friends with a boy of a similar age and was happily cruising around on his bike – so we relaxed in the glorious weather for a while before exploring the rest of the site and the nearby beach.

The site had a great atmosphere, very friendly and not too busy – although it was the very start of season when we visited – a swimming pool, large adventure playground, various ‘kiddy club’ activities throughout the day as well as shows and other entertainment in the evenings, two bars, a shop and a restaurant.

Most of the activities and entertainment are included in the pitch price so if you’re for a site with lots of things for kids, it’s a bargain!

We stayed for two nights making the most if the facilities and headed back to the mainland on the Fishbourne to Portsmouth ferry, passing the Isle of Wight festival site on the way.

Once again we took the scenic route back to Reading on the A3 and arrived home in roughly two hours.