I have never had much to do with caravans; well apart from a heavy old trailer thing we used to own, with a floor that dropped down and suspension made from, and I am not making this up, used inner tubes. It was made of plywood and angle iron and weighed more than the Queen Mary, and yes that is an exaggeration but only a little one. So not knowing much, I googled and looked around. New Zealand caravans are old fashioned, heavy and expensive. Australian ones are funky, heavy and very expensive. Imported English ones are light, well designed and comparatively cheap, so English it was. I found a little business in Palmerston run by a wonderful English woman named Amanda and her Kiwi husband Geoff. Amanda's dad apparently spends his time scooting round the English countryside looking at caravans. When he finds a really good one he buys it, puts a few stamps on the side and posts it off to Palmerston. There are a lot of dodgy English caravans around - stolen, rebuilt insurance write offs, leaky, shabby, all that kind of thing but you won't find any of them in Amanda's showroom. Her stock is- all of it - immaculately presented, in great nick, legitimate, and very competitively priced. And she has a great customer service ethic and a fastidious attention to detail and knows A LOT about caravans. So I bought one, and yesterday towed it home.
It's bigger than I had originally intended, but it's very comfortable, is insulated and heated, has ablutions and cooking facilities and my middle sized car tows it easily. What with its great slab sides and the howling Southerly as I headed home over the Kilmog, I learned quite a bit about towing in a very short time.
I'm sitting in it now to write this and soon will sleep in it for the first of many times. I left home very early and was for once very glad that the forecast snow din't arrive as I navigated very familiar roads for what seemed like the first time. An hour ago I finished the third archdeaconry meeting in three days, this one as well attended as the other two. At the end of the meeting all present came outside while the Revd. Gillian Swift and a local Kaumatua blessed my Bailey Ranger 510/4L and then tramped the house ( a few at a time, obviously). And now I am alone at last. I want, over the next year, to visit every church in my Diocese, to stay beside some of them and pray in all of them. I will try to listen: to God and to the people of each district as the Spirit reveals the exciting news of what is to follow after the end of Christendom. I am really, really looking forward to it.
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