By now it was May 1952, and the Cotswolds house had already sold. We then needed to decide where we would live until the business was sold too, and all further arrangements made. There were a few more family discussions, which generated the idea of living in a caravan, until the time came for us to take to the road southwards. We all thought that this was a great idea, as the caravan could be then be sent on to Rhodesia by rail/sea when we left, and the problem of a temporary home on arrival would be solved! Many hours were spent looking at all the caravans available. Even in the fifties, there were many shapes and sizes available, at every price imaginable! We really had to find the right one, if we planned on living in it in U.K. for the next ten to twelve months and who knew for how long we would be living in it on arrival in Rhodesia? We travelled many miles in search of our 'new home', then Mum found just what we were looking for! Not at all the cheapest on the market, it was a real Rolls Royce of caravans at the time! It had all facilities, including a shower and a toilet and we snapped it up very smartly, before someone could beat us to it. What a beautiful home on wheels we became the proud owners of!
|A shot of the caravan, parked outside my Dad's Fiveways garage. A double bed folded down from the inside wall for my parents, and the seats, either side of the dining table which folded away, converted into single beds for David and I.|
The caravan was towed to our house, where we decided just what was going to move with us to Rhodesia. After packing it out with the necessary items, the removal van arrived and took all remaining possessions off to the sale room. I was given a bottom cupboard in the caravan and was told it was exclusively mine for any toys I wanted to take. Amazing what I managed to fit in; very few toys went off to the sale room! We owned the meadow across the road from the garage, so the caravan was parked there, in a lovely spot by the river Avon, and meanwhile we waited for a buyer to pop up and take over the business. We thought that eager buyers would flock in by the hundred, but of course these things never happen in real life! In this hiatus, we were being anything but idle - not a chance! Many hours were spent lying on the floor, poring over maps, which were spread in all directions! David and I were involved in all these discussions, as it was definitely a family trip. Where should we go and what route should we take? Decisions, decisions! We did in fact complete the trip many times and on many routes, long before we ever left the wet and cold shores of England!
A note book was purchased, (a great idea), for us to list everything we all thought that we might need for a couple of months on the road in unknown terrain, where shops could well be non-existent. This list became so long we would have needed a trailer to carry everything. This was obviously out of the question, so the list then was reviewed, cutting out the less necessary items. Dad was getting more and more enthusiastic by this time and he spent many hours working on the Land Rover, making it more suitable for the very long trip ahead of it. Strong metal roof carriers were put in place to carry our camping equipment, together with a large water tank. The tank was placed right at the front of the carrier, directly over the seats, as this was thought to be the best position to keep us cooler - or so we hoped! The tank held thirty five gallons of water; we were determined that we would not die of thirst, whatever else might happen to us in the wilds of Africa! A large canvas sheet was made to fasten over the top of the tank, camping equipment and cases, which would hopefully protect the tank and keep the remainder of the roof-packed items dry. Dad then extended the back of the vehicle with canvas to fold up and down like a pram hood. This brainwave extra extension was so that at night, it could be folded down to provide a five foot by six foot bed. Mum then covered the whole of the inside with netting which could be tucked in to give us protection against flies, bugs and mosquitoes. During the war, Dad had already experienced malaria, caused by a parasite introduced into the blood by the Anopheles mosquito. No repeats were wanted of this, as we could not afford to have a sick 'chauffeur'. Two rubber mattresses were bought to fit snugly into the available space and these could be rolled up during travel.
An extra 55 gallon petrol tank was then fitted inside the vehicle; this would be needed to travel the long distances between petrol stations. Extra leaves were added to the springs to take the abnormal weight that it would be necessary to carry. New heavy duty Michelin tyres were fitted, together with everything else Dad thought was necessary for the now much-modified Land Rover. A list of spares was composed and purchased, then packed into every nook and cranny, along with a mini work shop of tools.
To be continued : -)
The following weeks of the next part of my life story I have put on Kindle and you can obtain it at www.Amazon.com orwww.Amazon.co.uk I will however continue writing it here as well so that the blog is not interrupted. It can also be downloaded to computers, smart-phones or tablets see Here