‘S No Guarantee

In my naïveté, when we placed our order for our caravan, Billy, and the dealer said one would be available for delivery in February, I was quite pleased. “Great”, I thought, “we’ll be ready to start enjoying it when spring gets going.” And so we were and so we did.

Billy is now six years old and, despite a bunch of new technologies being introduced in caravan manufacture, we remain convinced that Billy is the pinnacle of caravan design for empty nesters. In our case, of course, we never actually filled the nest but that’s a different issue. For a couple wishing to enjoy travelling freedom on their own, Billy is the bees knees. I have, however, learned a valuable lesson that will come into play as and when the time comes to consider a Billy replacement: never buy a caravan in February. Come to that, don’t buy one in January, either.

OK, so what’s the problem?

Fortunately, given British manufacturing skills, modern caravans come with a so-called “water ingress” warranty. Baileys exhibited a fair amount of confidence by supplying Billy with a 6-year water ingress warranty. Another manufacturer, Lunar Caravans, earned the nickname “leaky Lunars” for obvious reasons. I know, our previous van was one and it did, indeed, leak to the tune of over £1000. Longer running warranties are very nice but the problem is, in order to maintain that warranty you have to have the van serviced at an authorized dealer within a few weeks of the purchase date anniversaries. Sod’s Law being what it is, in the middle of February that pretty much constitutes a snow guarantee. Quite apart from the delights of facing a journey towing a trailer on slippery roads, I have to go to Billy’s field, remove his frozen stiff cover, refit his battery and water pump (the water pump needs removing over winter to avoid frost damage) and drag him over to the dismal depths of dismal Luton. Joy unbounded!

J01_1084 Siskin in SnowJ01_1086 Blackbird and SnowRight on schedule, tomorrow is time for Billy’s sixth annual service and, for the second time this season, snow is precisely what we awoke to. I’d have put money on it happening. The birds were clearly impressed! You can just see that Blackbird thinking, “you’re not seriously going anywhere near a caravan in this, are you?” 🙂 One year, I had trouble getting Billy’s gate open because the bolt was frozen into the keep. Getting Billy’s cover off covered in two inches of snow is probably impossible so I hope this stuff melts tomorrow. Then I’ll just have to get very cold and wet.

Being Billy’s sixth year, this is the last year of our warranty cover and, despite any future problem being on our own bank account, I’m quite looking forward to being able to schedule future services at a more clement time of year.

The construction technology used on Bailey’s latest incarnations come with a 10-year water ingress warranty. You definitely don’t want to take delivery of one of those in January or February.

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