Out of this World in Ardley

Another year, another Brazilian VW Bay Sleepover, this year with 38 vans and a Space theme.

We left home around 10.30am (in the rain – the first we’ve seen for two weeks) to grace the M6 with our presence yet again.

The drive wasn’t too bad until we hit the 50mph restrictions which held us up and added an hour to our journey. Hey ho, it’s par for the course, as is a stop at the Norton Canes Services on the M6 Toll for a bite to eat and a coffee.

When I say bite to eat, I mean, on this occasion, a burger from MacDonald’s, at Mrs B’s insistence. After all these years, why do I still let her lead me astray?

The stop gave me the chance to stock up on my latest pet peeve – people who park in the Caravan/Trailer section of the Services car park, despite the fact that they’ve only got a car or van. We only just managed to get in, only to be blocked in for an extra 30 minutes by a lady in a van who backed up to the front of Absinthe and went off for food. Now, you all know we won’t (can’t?) reverse with the trailer on so we had to wait until a very kindly caravanner moved off to let us out into his space.

I did have a word with one guy in a car – “Excuse me”, says I, “I’ve got some bad news for you”. “What’s that?” replies a worried looking old boy in a Skoda. “Someone’s pinched your caravan”, I add, with a withering look. “Oh, I see. We’re only stopping to check the map – we’ll be a minute”. He then gets back in to his car and proceeds to get out some food. Another withering look and he drives off after 10 minutes, having already stopped another caravan from parking up. I’m on a mission people – beware!

The rest of the journey is fine and we arrive at the venue, near Ardley in Oxfordshire at 2.30pm. It immediately starts to rain!

After a meet and greet session (isn’t it great to see old friends?) we soon have the Glawning up and we start to dress the van. 2 hours later we’ve nearly finished!

Gradually more vans arrived ready for the Silent Disco in the evening which Alison had sponsored via Craftcover.com

It was brilliant fun and we danced the night away courtesy of some great sets from Ben, Tim & Keith.


Saturday morning started with a Driving Skills Course devised by Tim. We didn’t take part as too many things were already attached to Absinthe but we went over to watch and saw Daz in his lovely green Yoshi take first prize. Not quite as quick was Marcus – you can see a very poor hand held video here:


The theme for the weekend was Space and there were some brilliant displays of ingenuity – the vans looked great with lots of effort put in to try and win Spike’s Trophy, which is awarded in memory of one of our members who we lost a few years ago.

There’s another trophy, for Star Kombi, which is decided by votes from everyone attending the Sleepover, with the result announced on Saturday evening.

There were quite a few new faces this year and, as always, lots of mods to see and be envious of… (I’ve got my eye on LED lights for the flagpole, as demonstrated by Jon with his beautiful van, Lulu).

In the afternoon, after the traditional tug of war (won this year by the aquabay team – yay!) there was a quiz, followed by BraziBay’s Got Talent. There really are some talented people in the Club, particularly the youngsters who all gave great performances.


After a break for food it was time for a replay of one of last year’s 80s game shows, Play Your Cards Right. Now, I’ve got to admit to missing most of it, because of a little trouble that Gabbie and Jay had in finding the farm. I could tell you all a story about what happened when Gabbie pressed the Home button on her SatNav and got lost, or when she set off to Bolton and ended up in Halifax but I won’t…


“Higher, lower…”

It was also time for the raffle, (which raised nearly £500) and the Awards Ceremony.

Raffle Prizes



Daz – winner of the Driving Skills Trophy
John & Sharon collecting the Spike Lee Trophy
Angela who won Star Kombi (at last I’ve picked a winner with my vote!)

It was back to the marquee after we’d changed into fancy dress to hit the dance floor and throw some shapes with the odd drink or two…

When your pitch neighbour is on the same wavelength


Me, her & him..
Absinthe’s Space Krew


We ended up outside the van until 2.30am, chatting and eating cakes with friends – it’s what the vans are for after all, although Alison and I regretted it in the morning. I haven’t seen Mrs B suffering like that for quite a few years – maybe it was the shots of coffee tequila that did for her.

Sunday morning was time for the Dog Show – we declined to enter Boris – he’s too grumpy at the moment and there were so many sheep droppings on the field that he thought he’d died and gone to heaven.

We were packed up by lunchtime and set off back up the M40. We stopped on the M6 at Stafford Services and grabbed a sandwich to eat in the van.

As we were sat having a coffee, a guy in a car pulled into the caravan parking area (which is miles away from the main service area). It was obvious he was coming over to talk to us and, sure enough, up he popped. He asked Alison if she had a light and then proceeded to light up the smallest joint I’ve ever seen. It went out every 10 seconds and he had to relight it over and over again (I’ll be honest, it was starting to annoy me).

He was American (complete with baseball cap) and said he’d just flown in from New York and was on a driving tour. Apparently, he worked for National Geographic Magazine as a photographer and was on his way to Edinbro, although his story just didn’t seem right. I’m sure he told us he came from San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York in the space of 5 minutes.

He asked us what Scot Land was like and said he hoped to go to Glasgow as well as Edinbro, oh, and could we suggest anywhere else in Scot Land for him to go? We pointed him in the direction of Falkirk for the Kelpies and the Wheel – he wrote it down in a book, so maybe he’ll get there.

Before he left he offered to take our photos and send them on to us but we politely declined – I really didn’t feel comfortable with him and you all know how generally affable towards strangers I am…

Anyway, Alison got us home by 4.45pm after yet another top Brazilian VW Bay weekend and as I’m writing this Blog, I’m putting off going out in the rain to empty the trailer, wishing we were back there.











There’s a full set of photos here: FLICKR

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