Some news I've been holding off from talking about for weeks now, because it's not yet finalised. It will be soon, though, and I'm bursting to talk about it, as I'm getting more excited every day 😁
Some time ago, we'd considered buying a second hand static caravan, partly for our own use, but mostly to let out to paying customers, for the income. However, after joining a few caravan forums and getting advice from them, and a lovely knowledgeable fellow blogger (thank you Sue!), and also a couple of friends, one of whom cleans holiday caravans, we've decided against it. Too many cons - caravan cleaner friend had some real horror stories to tell of the state some holidaymakers leave caravans in (why? are people really that careless about property that doesn't belong to them? Obviously they are!). Increased costs, e.g. extra insurance, having to have all the appliances etc properly tested every year, cleaning and letting admin costs the park charges if you don't do it yourself, repairing/replacing things broken (or stolen!) by paying guests. And to make any money, the van would have to be on a large park with plenty of amenities, which means much higher site fees. Plus large parks like that have a strict policy regarding the age limit of vans (I've even heard of some requiring you to change your van every 3 years!). So that was a no no.
However, we've always liked the idea of having our own holiday place - can't afford a cottage, so a second hand static caravan is the next best thing. Husband, after a lifetime of driving HGVs for a living, and now having heart failure and being 70, no longer wants to drive long distances, even for a holiday, so the idea of having a caravan on a nice small, quiet park with no clubhouse or pool or playgrounds (and thus no screaming kids), and not far from home, really appeals. We've spent the last few weeks looking and have found what we think is a lovely park, which suits our needs and wants perfectly - it's only 40 mins drive away, has just 35 static caravans on site, all owner occupied and for personal use only, no letting allowed (although it does have a small area for 20 or so touring caravans). It has no leisure facilities, but is a lovely peaceful site surrounded by trees and shrubs and with amazing countryside and hill views (near to the Mendip hills), not far from Cheddar Gorge. Pub that serves food next door, and a small village with a couple of shops just down the road. Larger shops (and the beach) not far away in Weston super Mare. The site owner is lovely, the site has been in his family since 1933, started by his grandfather, and his daughter helps to run it now, she will take over in due course. He refers to the other caravan owners as his extended family and says they all get on like a house on fire.
Anyway, we went to look at a caravan there a few weeks ago.....for one reason or another it wasn't what we wanted, but the site owner thought another couple of vans would be available very soon. Well, now there are indeed 2 vans that have become available, side by side (owned by a now deceased couple and their son, who no longer wants to keep his van now his parents have died). One of them is on a plot that would be ideal for us and Betty - it has a readymade mostly paved garden, fully fenced, with lots of plants in pots. We're going to have a look at both the caravans next week. The site has no age restrictions, the owner allows vans of any age and for as long as you want, provided you keep the van well maintained - which we would, obviously, as it would be our pride and joy.
Although we've not yet got a caravan, we have been collecting equipment for it over the past few weeks - that's part of the fun! We've bought a few things brand new (kettle, toaster and lovely little wood-encased DAB radio, e.g.), we had a few things already (towels, bedding, some kitchen equipment) and have bought other things second hand on the local FB market pages, at a car boot sale or in charity shops. This morning I bought a second hand electric oil filled radiator (caravans, even with central heating, which some older vans don't have, can get very chilly) in a charity shop for the absolute bargain price of.......£5!! PAT tested and in full working order.
Depending on the state/age of the caravan, should we buy one (and I do have a good feeling about one of the vans in particular), we are expecting to have to do it up a bit and give it some TLC, we may well even paper the interior walls and paint the woodwork, using chalk paint. I doubt we'll be re-covering the sofas or changing the carpets (because of cost), but will get new throws and rugs.....although we may be able to get carpet or vinyl offcuts, there's a good carpet shop in town that does very reasonably priced offcuts. Having briefly seen the van from the outside, I think we may need to buy new curtains. Or they may be salvageable with a good wash but needing new linings, which will be cheap enough to make (even I, with my very limited sewing skills, should be able to manage to cut out and sew straight rectangles 😂 ).
Ooh, it's all very exciting!!