About Us

My name is David Klyne and with my wife Margaret we have lived in Milton Keynes since 1979. Previously we lived in Southampton, where I was born although Margaret hails from Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  We both worked for a famous retailer that runs both department stores and supermarkets.  Originally we built and used a small cruiser on the canals and rivers of England. We were based on the River Kennet at Tyle Mill, this was before the Kennet, and Avon Canal was restored. Although not actively involved in the canal movement now we still take an interest as we pass a canal.  From where we lived in Southampton it was a 40 miles journey to Tyle Mill. In 1977 our first son Paul was born, it was then that we decided to sell the boat, as it was not really equipped for a small baby. Two years later our second son, Simon was born and ten weeks later we moved to Milton Keynes. We now live within a ten-minute walk of the Grand Union Canal! In April 2004 I took slightly early retirement but I have returned to work in a part time position but without the responsibilities of management. I enjoyed my part-time job but as with many walks of life things were changing so I took permanent retirement in lat 2007 at the ripe old age of 61!  Margaret retired in March 2007 so we are now real pensioners. So far I have not noticed having any more free time - what has gone wrong!!!

 

Our caravanning started when Simon was about one year old. A friend who had a trailer tent was egging us on to join them on holiday. It was not difficult to be convinced, as we had been thinking about it for a while. Someone locally was selling an Ace Airstream, which was 10ft long with no toilet compartment or fridge, but it did have an awning. The price was £800 but we did manage to get it down to £600. Considering its age it was in remarkably good condition. 

 

 

Three years later we swapped it for a CI Topaz, which was 12ft long and included a small toilet compartment. Despite only being 2ft longer than the Ace it seemed to so much more room, especially as the lads were getting bigger all the time. We even treated ourselves to a new NR awning. It was with this van that we started many trips to Europe.

 

 

After 4 years we traded the Topaz in for our first new van a CI Esprit Flair that was 14ft long and had lots more features than the previous two vans. By now the boys were old enough to sleep out in a tent or in the awning with an inner tent. We continued our European adventures with this van including a 3-month trip in 1992 all round Europe. We kept the Esprit for 9 years. Some friends who purchase the Sprite equivalent at about the same time still have their caravan to this day.

 

 

It was only on a whim, around mid 1998, that we called into Nene Court Caravans at Wellingborough just to look at vans with no intention on changing at all. However there on the fore court was a newly delivered Sterling Europa 460 with just 2 berths and an end bathroom.

 

 

It was our van and two weeks later it was in our back garden!!! Nearly six years on, where does time go, and my pending retirement. We thought that we should consider changing the van. Having said that we had been delighted with the Europa and there was certainly nothing wrong with it. So in October 2003 we returned to the Nene Court showroom to consider the new range. The Europa's were still around and represented very good value. Despite adding extras compared to our Europa they no longer have removable carpets and we were not sure about the colour scheme. We even looked at the permanent bed model but were concerned about getting it in the garden. Although they did not have one in the showroom we were keen on the Sterling Eccles Topaz, which is the next model up from the Europa.

 

 

The same layout but with more 'bells and whistles'. The order was placed and delivery set for the end of March 2004. In the mean time we emptied the old van and removed the Reich Move Control. Early March I e-mailed Phil at Nene Court to check that everything was on time and it was. We even arranged a date to collect the van. A few days before the expected delivery I received an embarrassed phone call from Phil. They had carried out the PDI and the very last thing they do is to remove the plastic sheeting that protects the floor. To their horror the lino had rucks in it and to cut a long story short we rejected the van. I have to say this is a decision supported by Nene Court. Only problem now was how to get another new van, after all we had already waited 6 months and soon the production of 2005 vans would start. Fortunately we were in luck. They discovered a Topaz that whilst sold to another dealer had not been sold to a customer and on 28th April Simon and I collected the new van which was perfectly OK. In future may consider carefully what time of year I buy a new van!!!!

 

During 2008 we started to think about whether a fixed bed caravan would be more suited to our needs as we planned to have 6 week plus trips to Europe. We already, in the Sorento, had a car capable of pulling a bigger van so no problems on that score. I think it was November 2008 we visited Nene Court Caravans and ordered a Sterling Europa 495 which had a right hand fixed bed with toilet/shower on the side. Not long into the new year we had some devastating news from Nene Court when Phil, the manager, rang to say that Nene Court were giving up selling caravans and they would not be able to complete the order for the new van. There was no issue with the deposit and that would be returned to us. This of course put us into a quandary as what to do next. We liked Sterling vans but there were no other really local dealers. Also in the meantime Swift had introduced a new design with a fixed bed with an end bathroom which in truth would suit us better. Initially this was only in the Eccles range which was a bit outside our price range but there were rumours of it being produced in he Europa/Charisma ranges later in the year. By a chance conversation with the young guy in the Riverside Caravans shop he mentioned that White Arches Caravans were going to do a dealer special in the design we wanted. Off we went to Rushden and discovered they would have a display model on show in about a weeks time. It did not take us long to make our minds and an order was place to be collected after our planned trip to Italy. The deal was perhaps not as good as we would have got at Nene Court but that was a little academic! On July the 9th 2009 we collected our new van. It seemed very big! I had already had to adjust the garden layout as the door was in a different place to our last three caravans.

 

 

Towcars have been many and varied. We started with a Vauxhall Viva 1.3 which had difficulty getting even the small Ace up to 50 mph! Then came the Ford Cortina 1.6 which after the Viva proved to be an excellent towcar. However although only about 2 years old when we bought it, rust immediately became a problem which has put me off Fords to this day although I understand the new Mondeo diesel is a very good towcar. Next came our only automatic, so far. The Carlton 2.0lt was a lovely car to drive and I came to appreciate the idea of an automatic gearbox. Unfortunately the price was high in terms of fuel economy getting only about 17-mpg towing. When we were planning our 3 months away in 1992 we thought that perhaps this would be a good time to buy a brand new car. Not that it was in our plans but we ended up with a Vauxhall Cavalier 4X4 with the old 130hp Sri engine and a previous winner of the Towcar of the Year Award. Undoubtedly it was a good towcar but was rather heavy on tyre wear. We kept it for three years and changed to a Peugeot 405 GLTD, our first diesel. This was a wonderful towcar. No problems pulling our vans and excellent economy.  After six and a half years its natural successor would have been the Peugeot 406 with the HDi engine. However a good deal was difficult to come by. Not true of Citroen who had some good offers on the Xantia with the same engine. The Xantia has proved to be an excellent towcar with of course the fabulous self-levelling suspension. However it has suffered some minor problems which has made me a little reluctant to stay with Citroen. At long last the decision on the next tug has been made, after months of agonising I decided to go for the Nissan X-Trail 2.2DCi. This was our first real 4X4 and it was lovely having a driving position that high up. I also found it a very comfortable driving position and hardly ever suffer form an back/leg pains as I had in previous saloon cars. There were many things we liked about the X Trail but our model seem to suffer from problems with turbo failure. We had already have to have a new intercooler which was another common fault and usually the first stage before the turbo went. Fearing what would happen once it was out of warranty we decided to swap to a Kia Sorento with an automatic gear box. That proved to be a really superb towcar, so much so that after 3 years we decided to trade it in for the newer more powerful model just before Kia introduced a completely new model. We kept the newer for near four years. It was certainly more powerful than the first Sorento but it lacked the self levelling suspension and to my mind was not quite as stable whilst towing. Having said that we towed successfully over many thousands of miles both at home and abroad.

 

 

Late in 2012 the caravan went back to White Arches for a gel coat repair. At the same time we asked them to adjust the distance between the mover rollers and the wheels. When we got home and were about to use the mover to get the caravan back into the rear garden I had great difficulty engaging the rollers to the wheels. I think they might have adjusted a little too far. We struggled to get the caravan back into the garden although eventually we did manage. The point of this little story is that it brought to our attention the fact that we were getting to old, and if not feeble, at least not strong enough to man handle the caravan if needs must. Although we had thought about it before  we started to seriously to think about a motorhome. We had always thought that it would have been to far out of reach cost wise. However I was concerned that to replace the Sorento was going to cost in the region of £25000/£30000 and as we had had the car for nearly four years that replacement would be fairly soon. We mulled it over into the new year and decided to visit the NEC show in February of 2013 where we were able to compare all the models that were on our short (long) list! It was handy going to the show for that very reason and armed with tape measures we measured beds and space generally. We liked the new Bailey range of motorhomes and some weeks later we visited White Arches Motorhomes and on condition that we could get it into our back garden a deal was done. Whilst there are lots of pros and cons of changing I think we are pleased that we did. It was a very large commitment financially but we got over that and the impact was lessened by getting a reasonable deal and a good trade in price for the caravan. Since the 25th March 2013 we have been owners of a Bailey 740SE Approach Motorhome.