It was probably inevitable that I would return wanting a campervan. . .

(yes, I am the blurry gnome in the tartan blanket)

. . . unfortunately, my only prospect of owning one right now is winning the one currently on offer over at Dorset Cereals. But who can argue with the luxury and convenience of van camping, especially when this is what you see when you look out of the window?

(leaping lambs at dusk!)

The van is a VW T5 and it was brilliant – comfortable and really well equipped. I particularly like the fact that its exterior is so unassuming — it just looks like a common or garden van, but then you open the door and find a whole bloody house in there: stove, sink, tiny fridge, roomy cupboards, table, seating, comfortable sleeping options, and all so niftily designed. (We slept on the fold-out sofa which was fine — no clambering about in the extended roof space for me!) Given the wild camping purists that we ordinarily are, so much about the experience felt almost decadent: imagine being able to just drive away if you don’t like a pitch; to stand rather than crouch while cooking; to fire up the stove wherever you like, and to drink a proper cup of tea with fresh milk and everything. . .


We hired our van from Andy at Open Road Scotland whom I heartily recommend. Under my present circumstances, it was a great option and meant that we had a wonderful time away. The weather was, at times, superb; Islay is a truly magical place; and I have come back thoroughly refreshed and enlivened. It is so reassuring to know that, within significant limitations, I can actually still do some of the things that I love in the great Scottish outdoors. This Thursday, I’m off to the cardiologist: he is going to stick a tube down my throat to get a good look at the hole in my heart. If it is the right sort of hole, he can then make arrangements to cover it with a tiny umbrella, which will be fed in through a vein in my groin. With such things on the horizon, it is good to feel strong and (relatively) capable, which is certainly the effect of our fun island jaunt. (Um, did I mention that I really want a campervan?)

(happy van camper at Machir Bay)

As you can imagine, I have a few posts planned, and 9483574579 photographs to process, but here’s a few to be getting on with . . .

Many thanks, by the way, for your comments regarding the blog’s appearance. I’ve still to make up my mind completely about some things, and keep tinkering away. Further comments and suggestions are always welcome. Also, entries are now closed in the Mini Manu draw – when Tom returns from work this evening he will pick the winner by randomly selecting a number between 1 and 283. More soon!

PS I heart campervans.