Here we go then, finally, after many years in the making, we’re very proud to announce the launch of our new camper hire business… Happy Days!
As we begin to venture into the unknown, we’re reflecting just a little on how it all started and how we got to where we are today…
Over the fifteen or so years we’ve been together, we’ve had so many amazing trips in our various different campervans that we have trouble remembering them all! We’ve headed off to some amazing places in vans, like the Lake District, Devon, Dorset, Scotland, Wales and even further afield to places like the Netherlands (Shout out to Camping Zeeburg!), Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and even Italy, where we took our VW T4 at the time down to camp by the lakes once, but every year, we’d always try and fit in at least one trip to our most favourite destination….Cornwall.
There is just so much to see and so many beautiful places to visit, that you always come back feeling so relaxed and recharged. Even now, having been so many times and even having lived here for a while now, we still only feel like we’ve scratched the surface of this most amazing part of the world…
We’d always dreamed about moving down to Cornwall, particularly around the Falmouth area. My best mate and his family had already moved down, so we’d visited them many times and Clare knew the area well too as she got her degree at Falmouth University, so had already lived there for three years…
Then the kids came along (two in rapid succession!) and made the whole conversation a lot more complicated, never mind the business that I also run in Bristol! Then one day,when the opportunity presented itself, we just said to each other, shall we just do it?! Our oldest boy was already three, so it seemed like we had an window to make the move and get setup ready for him to start school here, so we wouldn’t have to move him away after getting settled into a school in Bristol.
Anyway, to cut a very long story short, we sold up our cottage in Bristol and moved into a 10-acre small-holding here in Carnkie, just outside of Falmouth, where we could both see our shared vision could be possible… We have several dreams here, aside from the Camper Business; at the time of writing, we’ve also submitted a planning application to provide some glamping facilities on our land here – we’ve also been working hard to restore these few beautiful fields to their previous glory as the whole place had been left to do what it wanted for many years and is very overgrown and hidden. We’re loving uncovering and looking after a wonderful, tranquil, natural wilderness that hopefully people will want to come and enjoy for years to come. On top of this, we’ve also started to setup a small communal farming operation here with a small group of us, where we can hopefully grow lots of sweet sweet organic veg, fruit and salad.. mmmmmm.
Being still unsure (and quite overwhelmed!) as to what to do first when we finally arrived back in June last year, we’d go on to have many discussions about camping, glamping, springs, farming, alpacas and campervans, and I’d developed an almost obsessive disorder around for-sale sites (mainly eBay!) learning the market and trying to keep an eye out for exactly the right van at the right price – until one day, it just happened – the right place at the right time, and the right van! We both began to take on these silly grins for a while and once more started to get really excited about the possible fruition of something we’d been chatting about doing for years and years now!
We’d done a massive amount of research and were only really interested in a specific type of van, the mid 1970’s Westfalia conversion, as quite simply, it’s the best out there. It’s proper retro-cool and practical to boot. A full width bed, fully kitted out, walk-through interior and a great pop-top for standing or sleeping. They rock – and now we owned one! My Mum took one look at it and named her after the Orange Blossom Special (Shortened to Blossom) and we all fell in love instantly.
We tinkered about on Blossom over the winter and she soon went into the local specialist to bring her up to spec, make sure she’s all safe, new brakes etc and the engine all serviced and running sweetly, then we got her all ready for her new paint. Local legend Victor John did an amazing job with her shiny new coat and once we got her back, she got treated to some shiny new parts to finish her off and now she just looks stunning. The engine absolutely purrs along too, an absolute pleasure. I truly love this van!
We also knew though that one van was not going to be enough. With all the overheads and time and effort involved, we’d need at least two to make it worthwile. It’s taken us a further 6 months to track down another van good enough to join Blossom in the stable here at Fairview Farm and we’ve had to up our budget significantly too – some of the prices out there are just eye-watering, I’ve come across 1970s Westfalias priced at £35,000+ and even then paint coming off them etc and most are left hand drive! I’ve been to look at so many vans, even drifting away from the Westfalia vans just in case I could find something as good, but each time it would seem that one man’s definition of “very good condition” is another man’s “ in need of full restoration!” and would just lead to dissapointment. They all look so great in the pictures! But one day, it finally happened and there she was, an unusual pea green colour, but definitely a grower and an absolutely stunning example of an early 70s Westy. Finally we could stop the hunt (for a while at least!) and we could focus on all the other stuff like a name, logo, website, booking system, marketing plan etc etc!!
So there we go, roll on just a few months and Happy Days Camper Hire Ltd has now been formed, the website (as you can see!) is up and running and we are now officially open for business. It’s been an absolute delight to get to drive these awesome vehicles again and get all the attention and waves as you trundle along with that silly grin on your face, we’d almost forgotten how great that was! We’d always love to hear any comments, questions or whatever that anyone might have, there’s an opportunity below this post.
PS – We’d like to give a big thank you to everyone that’s helped out so far, helping with the vans, website, photography and various challenges we’ve had; John and Hazel, Sam and Helen, MetalKraft in St. Agnes, Rory, Victor John, Gary at McMath Media and Matt Ryan.
Safe Journey! Clare and Tim x