....on how to manage at the caravan during a heatwave.
Actually, we manage quite well. Of course, it's basically a metal box, so it's going to be hot. My way of managing the heat inside the van is to open ALL the windows as soon as I get up (we do have 2 or 3 open overnight when it's hot), and both of the external doors, so any breeze can blow through. I also keep the curtains closed on the sunny side of the van, opening them and closing others as the sun moves round. We also have a big stand electric fan, plus 2 smaller ones for when it gets very hot. So far we've only needed the big one.
Betty is my main concern, she does like to lie outside in the sun, but doesn't stay out there for hours, it's just 10 or 15 mins at a time, then she comes inside and lies in front of the fan. I've given up with her cool mat, she just refuses to lie on it. I top her bowl up with fridge cold water several times throughout the day, she does drink quite a bit when it's hot. I also give her ice cubes to crunch on - Jayne, I've always given her ice cubes but she didn't always eat them, just had a few licks....now, with the heavily diluted chicken stock ones she licks and then crunches them up. I wring out a tea towel in cold water and try laying that over her.....she gives me a 'Mum why are you torturing me?' sideways look, puts up with it for 20 seconds, then shakes it off and runs off. She will, albeit long-sufferingly, allow me to rub her down briefly with it though. She absolutely hates sprays of any sort, so it's pointless trying to spray her with cold water, she just runs off. I do keep a close eye on her to ensure she's not showing signs of overheating...she hasn't done yet.
We have a large garden umbrella fixed to the fence so it doesn't blow away (it can be quite breezy here). However, that's not enough as the sun moves round, so we're going to buy another one to put in the parasol base we already have, so it can be moved around. I've tried putting up a makeshift sort of tent arrangement for Betty to lie under - she wouldn't even get in it. So a moveable sunshade seems the best idea.
The tomatoes we planted in pots here haven't done well at all, they look really sickly in fact, I doubt they'll survive to fruit. The radishes grew well to a good size, but tasted dry and bitter - lack of water, same as for the tomatoes. Trouble is, they need watering every day, and obviously we're not here full time. We do water our neighbours' plants when they're not here, and they do the same for ours, but of course they're not here all the time either (they're arriving today I think). So that's a failed experiment - it would have been nice to have fresh grown salad crops, but it won't work without daily watering. Although we only live 40 mins away, with fuel prices the way they are, we can't afford to pop back here every couple of days to water. Never mind.
We're going home Weds evening (when it's cooler and there's less traffic), our original plan was to come back on Friday evening. However, the forecast is for it to be even hotter this coming weekend so we're going to stay home until early next week when the temperature drops a bit. It's easier for Betty to find cooler places to lie in at home, and the back of our house (where the kitchen and diner and my bedroom are) always stays cool.
The one thing about the caravan in hot weather is that cooking.....i.e. using the oven.....is a complete No No. So whilst it's hot, we're eating cold food all the time, or things that only need warming up briefly in a pan on the hob. We don't have a microwave (no room for one), but do have an electric sandwich maker. I suppose a small bbq would be a good idea.....Joy's Cobb one looks ideal actually, but it's a bit more than I want to spend. We'll have a look around whilst we're at home.