One Man and His Camper Van
It was quite by chance I came across this BBC programme Monday night. Don’t remember why I turned the telly on in the first place. Since changing my Eastenders viewing habit back to the Sunday omnibus, I’m watching increasingly less television weekday evenings. There are far too many better things to do such as cook good food, write blogs, wax lyrical on the internet and listen to music (tonight it’s The Ramones). If you happen to work for the dole I am of course eternally job hunting, even when I sleep, honest!!
Anyways I don’t care why I turned the telly on (everything happens for a reason). The point is I did, coming across this stupidly simple yet compellingly addictive concept. One which has invigorated interest in my own desire to get out and about that little bit more, helping rekindle a love affair with an old German machine.
The basic synopsis is take one man, his 32 year old Campervan and make ten programmes travelling round Britain. From his home in Devon, across then up and back down the other side. Since starting off in his own backyard, he’s ventured to The New Forest, Norfolk (almost my patch, just up the road!) and Yorkshire. To come is Northumberland, Angus and The Trossachs in Scotland, The Lake District before finishing off with a couple of stops in Wales. The next series should see him take his trusty machine over to Ireland, North and South. Then Europe… then the world! I can see some mileage in this concept. They still make old style Campervans in Brazil you know.
An added bonus, locally produced ingredients are sourced and served up in wonderful surroundings. Tasty looking dishes made solely with facilities in his camper. Well almost. He did cheat the other night by baking some Australian style bread on an open fire in a pot he borrowed. He is forgiven. This show ticks all the right boxes. Into the great outdoors, fantastic cooking and a Campervan. Possibly the greatest vehicle ever invented. Perfect!
The sole presenter – Martin Dorey – doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page although can see that changing sooner rather than later. So some further research was called for. He has his own website, he writes (I look forward to purchasing ‘The Campervan Cookbook’), he surfs, he shrimps, lives in Devon with wife and two kids. His Campervan is called Dave but now has the second name of Gordy. You need to watch tonight’s programme to find out why. He worked in the film industry for years and ‘followed his heart’ to write (well done, glad you did).
The confidence he oozes you’d think he’d been TV presenting for years. Considering how many god awful presenters parade our screens these days it’s refreshing to find one without pretension but who is naturally gifted for the job laced with admirable enthusiasm. It’s no surprise considering he’s making a TV series on things he’s clearly passionate about. Go look at the website yourself, it’s rather neat.
The high quality of the simplistic yet utterly fabulous nature of the food he prepares is a mouth-watering joy to watch. I get so irritated people are ridiculously lazy when it comes to cooking. I prepared a pork and apple casserole tonight that was made from scratch in 30 minutes. Watch yer back Jamie Oliver! It’s not rocket science but as a nation we seem to be getting lazier by the year. No wonder there’s an obesity crisis!
The programme has certainly given me ideas for dishes. I’ve never eaten cooked crab. The one cooked up whilst in Norfolk looked to die for. Living so close, going to have to buy one next time I’m up that way. My favourite moment so far was also in Norfolk. A game called ‘Campervan Roulette’; you stop at the next roadside food stall and prepare the evening meal with whatever food that stall sells.
I’ve loved Campervans ever since I can remember. It seems I’m not alone. Having not thought about them much for quite some time, I’ve discovered some very close friends are also fans. Now this programme comes along and I’ve fallen head over heels in love again. They possess something truly magical. I remember sponging a few Campervan lifts during my European hitch hiking days of the early 90’s. One chap I knew in Cambridge found God. He lived in one for a while in a car park and we used to hang out there. They bring a sense of freedom and spirit of the hippy.
Goals in life are good and have now made the executive decision that when I’m on a better financial footing to seriously look into purchasing one. Has to be an old type 2 one from the 1970’s. Might even paint it in psychedelic colours. I have no sense of art so in true Blue Peter would have to get a grown-up to help me. Using double-sided sticky tape and plastic scissors of course for added effect.
One Man and His Campervan is an awe-inspiring delight in amongst the vast amount of dire TV thrust upon us (hence I watch less of it than ever these days, can’t kick the Eastenders habit though). It has an old-fashioned feel. Martin Dorey is neither pretentious nor annoying but a genuine lover of three of the most marvellous things in life – good food (and drink!), the great outdoors and, of course, the haloed Campervan.
I moan about this country a lot with good reason. One Man and His Campervan has reminded me there are many things to love about Britain with much to see and explore. Cannot think of a better way doing it than in a camper sourcing local ingredients making delicious suppers to eat in fantastic surroundings. Wonderfully simple, utterly compelling and truly inspirational.
One Man and His Campervan is currently being shown weekdays 18-30 on BBC 2. UK people can catch up via the BBC i Player:-
For those outside the UK, you’ll just have to take my word I’m afraid!