If you'd have told me 20 years ago that I'd own a caravan, I think I'd have been physically sick.  I'd certainly have launched into a diatribe about snails on the motorway.  Things change though.

Nineteen years ago I was injured when I fell off some steps in the garden.  After seven months in Salisbury, we wanted things to get back to normal for the kids.  We'd always gone on camping trips and so we just got the tent back out and had our family holidays again.  As the kids grew up and stopped coming away with us, and as the tent gathered more holes, we had a desire for more comfort - you could say it was a product of old age!  We've always liked moving around the country and having our weekends away together so we looked at using Bed and Breakfasts.  But it was awkward to find out which ones were accessible and so we turned to caravans.

For all my initial fears, a caravan is preferable to a tent; it's easier to pitch, it comes with with central heating, and there's a fridge to put the beers in.  It took quite a while to find one big enough for the wheelchair, but eventually we got one and adapted it - the doors were widened, we trimmed down the furniture so I could get sideways on for transfers and set up the ramps.  It's got everything I need and there's still plenty of room so I'm not squeezing through gaps or having to reverse.  And because it's ours, we can go anywhere in the country and always know we'll be OK to stay there.  Basically, it's taken the stress out of getting accommodation, which is a huge bonus for my wife as that was always her job.

We've recently found a place to hire accessible canal boats which has given us another brilliant holiday option.  Half a dozen of us will go away for the week and the pace of life drops away.  You can just sit there and watch the world go by at 3 miles an hour.  You see the countryside from a different perspective, and when I'm feeling too sedate, I can always get the handbike out for a ride along the tow path.  And brilliantly, you can't be drunk in charge of a boat!

I can always get the handbike out for a ride along the tow path

We're expecting our first grandchild next year.  Knowing that we'll be able to go away as a family is brilliant.  Taking them with us in the caravan or on the boat is going to be great fun.

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