The beginning started in our old van, a 15′ (that’s just under 5 metres) Compass from the 80s. I think it was a combination of a number of things, it was a 4 berth although the bunk was too light to be usable so the girls either camped out in the awning or a tent. The bed for us was made up from the seating every night and stripped every morning and became a pain – both to do and in the back as the cushions got thinner and we never did work out how the cushions were designed to make up into a bed properly.
Don’t get me wrong it did it’s job giving us holidays to remember away from the bustle of home and everyone enjoyed it, but we were never really satisfied with what we had. Of course eventually we were spending more and more of our time on dealer forecourts looking at layouts.
We knew what we wanted, a fixed double with bunks or singles for the girls – both teenagers. The first thing we found was that the size of fixed doubles were short to say the least and then there was that chopped off piece, not so bad on an island but massive on a side fitted bed and if you had the latter someone had to be climbed over at bed time (or in the middle of the night), and then there was the cost of a replacement van.
We had our last holiday for 2009 in Wales for the October half term and by then we were getting concerned about a couple of things with the Compass, one was the fact that it seem to have a permanent list and, on the same side, the wall was completely damp behind the kitchen units (probably due to badly sealed fridge vents and water inlet). I think it was then we really decided that it was time to get another van.
From November on we spent many hours looking for the van of our dreams – fixed beds – two singles or bunks – separate shower – toilet & washroom – seating and of course cooking facilities… at a price we could afford. Yes that would be the clincher, we had to be able to afford it, we didn’t want to be tied up with HP or loans, it had to ours from the beginning.
One of the first vans to go on the short list were Stirlings, they had part of what we wanted, then we found a Tec Travel King with a layout that did suit us but the price was just out of our reach. We looked at LMC as well and almost bought one, we had been going back to it night after night on eBay until eventually I put a last minute bid in for it – I can say now that fortunately I was out bid – but only just.
Then we discovered ebay.de – German eBay – and spent hours together giggling at the google translated descriptions, there were some nice vans on there though at reasonable prices but at great distances from us.
It was on the German eBay that we first saw a Tabbert in what we now know as the “Classic” design and it was in this country that we found the one we were to buy.