The one thing we didn’t expect to be broken in our new motorhome was the toilet.
We discovered that little problem on our first outing in the six-year-old Auto-Trail Excel 640G.
It was mid-December and we’d taken the precaution of going somewhere close to Spalding – just in case we needed to come home again.
We were staying at The Caravan and Motorhome Club’s site at Ferry Meadows at Peterborough where we discovered the facilities were excellent, so a broken cassette loo was no problem.
That weekend was a big learning curve, as was the post-Christmas stay in the Cotswolds: we were still getting used to the heating system, which appears to respond to fluctuations in electricity supply, or possibly extremely cold weather, by switching itself off...
We’re still learning, and no doubt will have to deal with more of the unexpected once we embark on our really big adventure: this writer is leaving the Free Press to become what my husband Mike and I laughingly call ‘Older New Age Travellers’.
We plan to travel in our motorhome, primarily in Europe to start with, writing a blog and hopefully selling one or two travel features.
A friend told us the French have a word for people like us: babacool, which translates as ‘hippie’. That’s highly amusing for a couple who have spent the past 30 to 40 years paying the mortgage, bringing up a family and being anything but unconventional.
Along the way we developed an ambition to own a motorhome, but always talked ourselves out of taking the plunge by estimating how many holidays we could enjoy for the same price.
By late last year there was no talking ourselves out of it. We started looking around motorhomes, telling ourselves we were being sensible and sticking to our list of key features we had in mind.
When we spotted the Auto-Trail we knew within minutes it was the one. We were not alone: according to the trade body NCC, more than 13,000 other people took the plunge in 2016, a 16.6 per cent increase in the number of motorhomes registered over the previous year. Wish us luck – better still follow us at www.oldernewagetravellers.co.uk