Brazilian VW Bay Sleepover – 2016

Brazilian VW Bay Sleepover – May 2016

The Forum has held an annual get together since 2011, organised and co-ordinated by the Club’s founder, Tim Votier and his gang of able volunteers. The event has grown year on year and this year was the most ambitious yet.

In the past we’ve used a commercial campsite near Banbury in Oxfordshire, but, for this year, the venue was moved to a farmer’s field near Bicester. There have been various themes for the event over the years but this one was more like a Festival vibe with portable showers and toilets and 40 Kombis attending.

Arrivals started on Thursday as tents were erected, electrics and signing installed, ready for the arrival of the vans on Friday and Saturday.


We left home in Lancashire in Absinthe on Friday morning and after a short lunch stop at the M6 toll services arrived around 3pm.


Services are always interesting places with the van and trailer. We managed to get parked in the caravan section, but it was very busy and I had to ask a car to move, as it was blocking everyone in. A chap came over to talk to me about Absinthe – he desperately wanted a VW but couldn’t fit it into his life at the moment and he loved our van. As we were chatting, a motorhome pulled up and a “lady” got out, came over to us and started to swear like a trooper. We looked at each other knowingly, and she left, somewhat disgruntled, because there wasn’t much room to park. I hope she hasn’t put him off buying a Kombi one day.

The run was uneventful and as we approached our junction of the M40 Alison noticed that we were being followed by another Danbury, a tin top, in a very similar colour with an almost identical trailer. What are the chances?


It was great to arrive at the farm together – the start of an eventful weekend for the owners, Steve and Sue, but more of that later.

It always takes a long time to set up camp at Sleepovers – there are too many friends to talk to and beers to drink but eventually we had the Glawning erected and the sun canopy attached. The Glawning is really dirty after last year’s trip to Cornwall in September and we think we’ll have to get it professionally cleaned some time.

The theme for 2016 was the 80s and the plan was to dress the vans appropriately and also to wear fancy dress during the Saturday evening disco.

Friday night was chilling time, literally, as there was a strong and cold northerly wind blowing across the site, so we had a relatively early night, ready to party on Saturday.

We’d made two dummies of Thatcher and Regan to fit in with the theme and we sat them next to the van at a table.

Alison made Regan by wrapping me in Duct Tape then cutting it off and filling the dummy with the inside of an old duvet. The two of them have been in the house for about a month – scaring the living daylights out of us everytime we’ve come across them. One day, Boris spent several hours sleeping at Regan’s feet, thinking he was with me.


Lots of the vans were dressed and there were some brilliant interpretations of the 80s theme.

The winner of Spike’s Trophy for best dressed van: the lovely Tallulah








Next up, was the Charity Auction, rasing money for Cancer Research.





The Auction raised over £1,500 which was a brilliant effort and the total is still climbing – well done to everyone who contributed prizes or bought items.

There was karaoke and a chance to take part in Opportunity Knocks on stage – who knew there were such talented people in the Forum?



The night ended with an 80s Party with great music (if you’re a fan of the 80s…). Lots of people had dressed in Fancy Dress, which always makes the evening go with a bang, speaking of which, there was a new element this year, with a sponsored firework display. I’m told it was great although I missed it, nursing a nervous schnauzer.


Chubby, photo-bombing









Saturday was a brilliant night – I can’t get enough of Keith’s DJ-ing – it makes me smile and this old man dance…

Sunday was the time for the Dog Show in the morning – we withdrew Boris as he hasn’t been himself lately and he was still a bit put out by the fireworks. There were plenty of other dogs in the field though – and very clever some of them were too.



















After a gathering for lunch in the form of a street party it was time for sports.















I mentioned ealier that Steve had an interesting weekend, well here’s the reason why. He was injured playing rounders (it’s a tough game, you know) and had to have medical attention.



He tore his top ligament and had to have surgery on Tuesday – we all wish him well in his recovery.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to ride his beautiful bike back home.

After, a break it was back to the final of the Karaoke competion – deservedly won by Surfwagen Allie and her lovely dancers.





8pm brought 80s Game Shows, Blankety Blank, Mr & Mrs and Play Your Cards Right – a great idea, which brought lots of laughter and smiles.

Chubby playing up…
Royston waiting to go on Mr & Mrs


The Star Kombi Trophy was won this year by Elmer – a van sporting a truly brilliant wrap – why has no-one else thought of doing this?


Elmer – this year’s Star Kombi winner

Another first this year was the booking of a live band. The Heisenbergs were excellent and had everyone on their feet dancing.



Not everyone was dancing






The band finished, but in traditional Forum style we all grabbed our chairs, some beer and sat in the marquee chatting for an hour, before tiredness overcame a former smurfette, who needed her bed…

Monday was windy and grey, but dry, so we tackled the worst bit of the weekend – packing up.

There was a Maintenance Workshop going on with some excellent tips and techniques to learn.




All that was left, was to say our goodbyes and to hit the road home. We’d had yet another top weekend with a group of people, I’m proud to call friends.

Here’s a few more random photos from the weekend – I’ve got to go now to write an article for Camper & Commercial magazine.









Many thanks to all those people who have contributed photos to this Blog – you know who you are and I’m very grateful.

There is a full set of photos here: FLICKR

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