|A UKCampsite.co.uk Member reviews the International Caravan & Motorhome Show held at Birmingham's NEC in October 2010
Well folks, as promised here is a little taster of life as a competition winner, swnging in the international highlife of er, the M6! After winning a wonderful prize on here, yesterday we sallied forth and rolled up the M6 to Brum and the NEC. Yes we went to the Caravan Show.
Now I did have some problems, the night before I found my printer was virtually out of ink when I went to print the tickets. I was worried that they would not scan properly. Well they were read by the scanner, the Mark One Human Eyeball, ripped and dumped in the rubbish.
I had also predicted I would spend most of my time in the Real Ale area, and having that in front of you as soon as you walked in was not helpful, but I was strong, I resisted. I really did.
Buoyed by my resistance we saw all the static caravans, some of which had a free Peugot 107 given away with every purchase, well that poor little car would never tow that... Then we wondered aisles of motorhomes, some with cars in the back (I kid you not)! It was wonderful, breathtaking and I was still resisting the call of the beer, then someone waved a glass of Whisky under my nose, The Black Grouse, well I had to have a sample, then made my first purchase, well at £13.99 a bottle it was cheap!
So bottle of whisky jauntily swinging in it's bag and still resisting the beer I set forth again. More motor homes, but we were getting to the accessories now, Whale, who did not have any spare O rings for their submersible pumps with them, Truma, Towsure, we hung round and looked, prices seemed about average and equal to prices not at the show.
Anyways we went further in and discovered the Elddis stand, now we like Elddis, our Wisp, although 20 years old, is a good strong van, no damp, solid and a real peach, she is also a double dinette 5 berth and that is the sort of layout we love (3 adults, 3 manic muts, it makes sense). We discovered the new Xplore 495. We fell in love with it.
But there was a fatal flaw, one lethal and deadly flaw, not with the caravan, but where it was located, directly behind the Elddis Owners Club, a happy beguiling, manic bunch of nutters who sucked in those people lurking there and lured them into joining an organisation that was for people who had an Elddis. It worked, so now not only are we fully paid members, we are also going on a rally soon (I must be mad).
We entered loads of competitions, win a free caravan here, a free caravan there, and yet another free caravan, insurance, everything, we went through like a hit squad entering competitions (we just hope that one of them pays off, OK so none for them are for an Xplore, but the vans we would win would be approximately equal in value to one, swapsies?). Having a nose and generally wishing we could afford an Airstream, but barring lottery wins we will not get one of those, we continued persusing.
We saw everything from Awnings to Zebra Print animal beds, though some prices were overly optimistic (£3 for a bottle of Root Beer? I am sorry but that is extracting the urine so successfully I expected to see a sign saying Catheter Brewery above the seller, no thanks, especially not when The Black Grouse was being knocked out at £13.99 a bottle, very nice stuff I like it).
As usual the NEC prices for food were unbelievable, extortionate and immense. So knowing this from previous visits to the NEC, so I made sure we had a packed lunch with us. Tea and coffee requirements can be taken care of during the day by making buying noises at any caravan stand, where they will whisk you off and supply you with tea and coffee and sometimes biscuits. After consumption, say you have to go and view another caravan that you also liked and then you can escape without having to tow a new van home.
The show is big, it is fun and well worth the ticket money. OK so we did not buy a load of gear, but we are trying to make our mind up when we should get a new caravan, something we may not have considered. I also got a bottle of The Black Grouse, something I have not seen before. We are now back on the rally scene, something I would not have considered doing at all!
Go to the NEC, have fun, enjoy the show but take care, not everything is as cheap as it appears! I would love to know what Hills Science Plan has to do with caravanning too, but there again maybe Swift has a Stand at Crufts, I don't know... Oh I could not find a stand with the best website for camping and caravanning (but they did have a nice banner hanging up) and muppet man forgot his camera too...
Click here for more info on the International Caravan & Motorhome Show 2010