The Brazilian Bay Kombi Sleepover, May/June 2014

How quickly time flies…

Unbelievably it’s a year since the 2013 Sleepover and time to party again with our fellow BraziBay owners. The event gets bigger every year and was given the theme of Mardi Gras Kombi Karnival for 2014, an opportunity to dress the vans and also ourselves for a Saturday night disco.

The Sleepover is held at Anita’s Site in Mollington, near Banbury and they’re great hosts, allocating us our own field where we can’t disturb anyone with our fun and games. The fun starts on Friday and runs through until Sunday lunchtime when we all depart bleary eyed to make our journeys home. Members come from all four corners of the UK and this year we became truly international, with two Kombis travelling from Germany to join us.

For once our trip down the M6 was a doddle – no stops, a small stretch of slow traffic through the roadworks but nothing major, and we were at the site by 12.30. The first job was to put up our new Glawning.

We’d only seen the bell tent type awning on line a week before and we were panicking in case it didn’t arrive in time for us to take it.The courier dropped it off on Wednesday so there was no time for a practice putting it up before the event. We know the suppliers/designers, Sarah and James – they’re fellow Forum members based in Harrogate and we’ve met them at a few events in the past.  Sarah had told me that they could put the Glawning up in 20 minutes and that James could do it by himself.

All I can say is, he must have had a few goes at doing it then! We struggled to follow the instructions (I’m a man – we don’t do instructions…)  and even with Alison’s practical knowledge (she was a cub scout leader, you know) it took us nearly two hours. To be fair, we took it down once and started again and, in the end, it was fine, but I’m sure we’ll be better at it next time.

At one point we thought about keeping our old awning, which we’d brought to pass on to Darren, another Forum member and giving him the Glawning. As it happened, Alison had forgotten to pack all the poles for the old Khyam awning so she was very embarrassed, although Daz & Claire were able to use it anyway. If you’re reading this guys, we’re very sorry.

Once the tent was up, Mrs B set about decorating it with the vintage trunk, cushions and fairy lights. It looked great and we got lots of admiring comments over the weekend. When we came back from the evening’s festivities on Friday night it was great to sit in the awning surrounded by the lights just chilling for 20 minutes.It’ll be even better when we’ve installed the Frontier Stove – we just need to pluck up the courage to cut a hole in the canvas for the stove pipe.


In the past, there’s been a disco on Friday night but this year, at the suggestion of Tony and Penny, it was decided that if food was available we could all gather together to eat on Friday evening. T & P had volunteered to provide curry for those who wanted it, with profits going to the club charity.

They brought enough to feed about 70 people and there were even choices of different curries, including a vegetarian option. I don’t know how they managed it, but hats off to them for making Friday evening, one to remember. As if that wasn’t enough, they were running an afternoon tea stall on Saturday with Penny’s fabulous home made cakes and tea and coffee from China cups. Guys, we salute you…




So, to bed, to be up in the morning for the Karnival day proper. We were running a popcorn stall and we’d brought a few different flavours. We were cooking the popcorn to order so we were quite busy, although we underestimated demand and probably under priced the tubs at 50p each. In the event, after selling our first tub at 10.15, we were sold out by 11.30. Next year we’ve got something else planned that should bring in more money and last a lot longer.







Saturday afternoon was sports day with the group split in to Air-cooled (the older vans) and Water-cooled (the newer ones). Traditionally, the Air-cooled team has won almost every event but the tables were turned this year with the AquaBays getting off to a cracking start by winning the Tug of War, despite the teams looking a little unbalanced. After that, there were wins in the Egg and Spoon and Sack races, Table Football, Rounders and, finally, the Five a side Football, much to the delight of the owners of the newer vans.













As usual there was a Charity auction in the afternoon, followed by the awarding of the two Trophies. One of the Club’s members died very suddenly a few weeks before the show and Tim the ForumMeister organised a trophy in his honour to be awarded to the best dressed van in the theme of the show.

Graham (Spike) Lee was a lovely guy and we were all shocked to hear he left us so this was great gesture. The Trophy was won by HarryHornet, who was a deserved winner, although Dickymint must have pushed him close.


The other Trophy is voted for by the members on the day and is for the Star Kombi. By coincidence (or maybe not, given how much work he’d done) this was also won by HarryHornet, the second Air-cooled to win (Skytiger won in 2013) and the first one based in the South. Come on you, Northerners – let’s have it back next year.

In total, the event raised over £2,000 for Cancer Research – a brilliant amount and one we’ll try and beat next year.

Saturday night was one for dressing up, drinking and dancing – three of my favourite things. There were some great costumes, some great drinks and some iffy dancing. but, hey, you can’t win ’em all. There was also an inflatable slide which seemed a big draw, particularly to the girls who’d had a few gins. I was dragged up there as well at one point and regretted it when I got to the top. I don’t do heights and sitting in the dark knowing the only way down was to launch myself off the top wasn’t my favourite bit of the weekend.


There were quite a few people with bruises and scrapes the next day, but no real harm done – it’s all part of the fun.

Camp Absinthe looked great at night and we certainly slept well.

Sunday was a day for packing up, chilling and then getting all the vans lined up in date order, from 2005 to 2014. Danbury had very kindly brought along one of the Last Edition vans and this took pride of place in front of our line up.






After goodbyes, we all set off home, tired but happy.

Here’s to next year…

Things we learned:


  • In Glawning speak; 20 mins = 2 hours
  • Boris looks good in a tutu #officialmascot
  • 10 pints of Hoegaarden will give you a bad head
  • Mrs B loves a slide
    • and a drink
    • and a dance
  • Serving 75 people from a fish and chip van takes quite a while…
  • …almost as long as a Charity Auction
  • I out-Danbury’d, Danbury, by supplying them with a fuse #officialsupplier
  • Uncle Joe’s vodka is still a winner
  • It’s all about the people…

Thank You

To all the people whose photos I’ve borrowed – you know who you are and I’m very grateful

More Photos

Can be found here: Flickr




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