In 1983 I bought a new left-hand-drive Murvi based on a Peugeot van, the first LHD the firm had converted. My wife, four children – ages four to 15 – and myself used to criss-cross Spain in it, with the two eldest sharing the settee-type bed, and my wife and myself and the two youngest strung out on hammocks – one over the two front seats and the other over the rear luggage area.
We used to sleep in hotel car parks, using their washing facilities, but every third night we booked into a hotel for a real clean-up and a good evening meal. We were young then!
In 1990, we gave up motorcaravanning and sold the Murvi. However, in 2003 my wife and I decided to give the pastime another go and went to Earls Court for The Motorhome Show.
Our eyes popped out when we saw not only the motorhomes on van chassis, but motorhomes almost as large as single decker buses. We were totally at a loss as to what to do. Eventually, we gained enough courage to visit some stands and spoke to the salesmen, explaining that we were new to the pastime and did not want to spend more than £30,000 for a LHD automatic vehicle.
We knew nothing about A-class, coachbuilt or Luton-type bodies and left the show with many brochures of new vehicles way above our budget.
Two weeks later, I was contacted by a Hymer dealership saying that it had two used Hymer motorhomes for sale. We eventually bought a seven-year-old Hymer S700 on a Mercedes-Benz base for £31,000 with around 50,000 miles on the clock.
Our family and friends told us we were mad, but when they heard about the holidays we started to have, they had second thoughts. Two years later, we again visited a motorhome show, the last one at Earls Court before it moved to the NEC Birmingham. We were now experienced motorcaravanners, and confidently inspected the A-class models. Then my wife saw the Carthago stand and fell for the Chic I47.
We paid a deposit on the understanding that the purchase was subject to a thorough test drive a few weeks afterwards.