Locked Down but Not Locked in
“Our Paradise Campervan Kept Us Safe From Covid, Even Though We’re at High Risk,” Says David

After years of cautious, dubious wondering on my part, my wife Jenny and I finally bought a Paradise long-wheeled campervan during the pandemic. Despite being clinically vulnerable, we reckoned we could still shield from Covid in it while getting out and about. We love the sea but live 75 miles inland.

My early fears evaporated gradually: we found we could afford it, it is easy to drive, and my six feet of height are not a problem when it comes to sleeping, because the cab seats swivel round, creating a generous sleeping space. It is well-fitted out for our purposes. Also, we can just fit into supermarket car-park spaces or on the promenade by the sea. It’s so pleasing!

Our first night away was on my sister-in-law’s drive. Success. The stormy sea and cliff walk at Seaford next morning were a delight. Then we tried a small campsite (five pitches only) near the Witterings for two nights, which also worked well. I enjoyed seeing the rabbits hopping around in the evening. It’s great that I can do a five-mile walk along the beach at low tide, despite my near death in hospital in 2018. We were able to park well away from other people too.

Next there was a government-allowed window of opportunity to catch up with my brother and his wife in the New Forest. We had a memorable socially distanced meal as the sun went down under a large oak tree in a delightfully secluded camping park. Lockdown worries were left behind. A few days later, they returned and the gate was slammed shut, but we had managed a happy reunion just in time. 

It was a great joy to be able to spend three nights at a site near Shaftsbury to call on a long-term friend of mine and his wife in their garden, where he served us a delicious Turkish lamb dish from their slow cooker. Yum yum. It was so good to see him again.

Our campervan days are simple. No need to rush in the morning, a leisurely breakfast, then off for a hike clutching our book of local walks, attempting to decipher the instructions without getting too lost. A picnic on a fallen tree trunk is a highlight. Finally, back to the campsite for tea and Scrabble. Sometimes there is a Zoom call to be joined. It’s not a problem with roving internet, and we find the USB charging points in the van useful. We have fun cooking our evening meal in the Paradise kitchen. The fridge works well, and to my surprise, we are still on our first tank of gas. The campsite electric hook-up gives peace of mind regarding lights and heat, too. We bought a bijou oil-filled electric radiator and we leave it on all night to take off the chill.

Now lockdown has eased again (who knows for how long?), we will soon be off again, perhaps being a little more adventurous this time. We want to visit family in East Anglia and also West Wales. They will join in with the Scrabble. I find am mentally prepared for the game: suppose my rack contains the seven letters p r c a m s c e, I am ready to score the fifty point bonus by playing scamper, but I shall also have an eye to whether van is available on the board, with room on both sides, because if it is, with a little ingenuity, like the rest of us, I will be better off with campervans every time. A winning score.

No whiff of Covid. Well done the van. Have some happy trips this year!

Words and Photos: David and Jenny