What was it like surviving storm Arwen in our campervan? Well we did it – just about!
After our lovely afternoon / evening out last night on the Somerset Railway ‘Winter Lights’ steam train we picked a parking spot just outside the station at Bishops Lydiard. The station is at the end of a small industrial estate with a single road running through it. There are no parking restrictions and several other campers / motorhomes were parked up so we found a safe spot away from trees and near several street lights to settle down. Our thinking was that the industrial units either side of the road would shelter us from some of the wind.
The plan seemed to be working and we had un uneventful evening, going to bed about 10pm. It was windy outside but nothing worse than being at the coast and we all quickly fell asleep.
Things started to go wrong about 1.30 in the morning when both me and Nik were woken up by the wind buffeting the van. Unfortunately the wind was blowing straight down the road we were parked on, so instead of protecting us, the buildings either side of the road were funnelling the wind, making things worse. We were parked into the wind, rather than across it, but even so the van was rocking and the back doors were creaking and rattling. After a quick discussion we decided we had to move so within 5 minutes we had the window blinds off and everyone was sat safely in the front.
We didn’t need to go very far, just into the car park of the unit opposite where we were parked. Pulling up alongside the edge of the unit the wind instantly dropped. It was still noisy but the van was protected by the side of the building and we could settle down again. At this point I would like to say that I am not one for just pulling over wherever I feel like it and would not normally park on someone’s private property unless I had spoken with them first. However, in this case our safety definitely came first.
As it turned out we would get the chance to speak with the owner of the unit quite quickly – as at 5am the building alarm started going off. By 5.15 the owner was parked up outside, checking to see what had set the alarm off. I therefore took the opportunity to go outside and speak with him to apologise for parking in his car park and explain why we were there. I have to say the owner was very understanding and said we could stay as long as we needed. He was even glad that we could confirm that it was just the wind setting off the alarm, and not a break-in.
After a few more hours sleep we were on the road again by 8.30 as we had plans for the day but in a funny way I was pleased that the owner had arrived and I had had the chance to speak with him. It gave me the chance to explain the situation and proved (if only in this instance) that generally people will be understanding and happy to help us. It was also good for Poppy to experience a situation like that as one of her worries is if we get told off by someone for parking in the wrong place. At least this experience proves that talking to people and being polite is always the best course of action.
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Surviving Storm Arwen in our Campervan
Storm clouds gather above Bishops Lydiard before storm Arwen arrived in the early hours of the morning.