The 11th International Portafold & Ansfold Gathering (i.e. 2019)

Following the huge success of the 10th International Gathering we'll be at Retrofestival again. It's a massive show now and is popular with everyone.

It's held at the Newbury Showground, Priors Court, Hermitage, Thatcham, West Berkshire, RG18 9QZ; on the weekend of the 9th, 10th & 11th of August 2019.

Don't book with the organisers, just contact me to get your pitch saved.

The Diary of Mrs Pepperpot

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The Diary of Mrs Pepperpot

Post by Admin » Mon, 14 Jan 2019, 2:00 pm

In early 1973 a Portafold was spotted for sale at a caravan dealer in Oxford. This caravan would go on to be owned by the Partridge family for the next 45 years, and below is the first few pages of a heartwarming diary written by Mr Partridge from the viewpoint of the caravan, charting the story of 'Mrs Pepperpot'. Enjoy :)



The Diary of Mrs Pepperpot
Serial No: 45071


I was born at Fareham in Hampshire in, I think, 1971. I wasn’t called Mrs. Pepperpot then, that didn’t happen until I was bought by the Partridge family early in 1973.

Mummy saw me first standing outside Touchwood Sports in the Abingdon Road, Oxford, on Wednesday January 17th. Daddy went to see me on Friday January 19th, he liked the look of me and bought me for £220 and towed me home that night. Home is 129 Windmill Road, Headington, Oxford and at the moment I stand just outside the kitchen door but I have heard mention of a permanent place being made for me behind the garage where there is a rose bed at the moment.

It was Claire who christened me Mrs. Pepperpot, after a character in one of her books who shrinks – just like I do; I think that was very clever of Claire, don’t you?


27th January 1973
Today the family all trooped down to Touchwood Sports to look at sleeping bags, kitchen units, lights, tables, shelves, etc. It looks as if I am going to cost them a whole heap of money before I’m through. Daddy is planning to make extra table tops that can be used for sleeping on as well. Apparently five of them may want to sleep inside me all at once. Phew! - I suppose it will be alright as long as they don’t all breathe out together.

Daddy wrote to the place where I was made to get me a winter cover, which is very kind of him because it is beginning to get a bit parky at night-time now. He also asked about insurance and maintenance books, so it looks as if they plan to look after me which is a very comforting thought.

Today Daddy also received my keys, plus a couple of brackets to replace two broken off me. Intriguing though is that the keys are marked; Portafold U564, £295?


31st January 1973
I am really getting equipped now. First 3 new sleeping bags and one of those blow up lilo mattresses together with a foot pump – and a kitchen unit GYNK? and a rotating clothes line. Daddy now reckons we need another car to carry all the gear. No bill for this lot but apparently it cost £25.


10th February 1973
Today Daddy put my winter coat on. It takes the form of a large plastic cover bought from the people who made me.


11th February 1973
Oh it was a windy night, so windy in fact that my winter coat blew off and so of course it had to rain very hard.

Daddy has found out what my serial no is, it is 45071. Now the question is does this confirm that I really was born in 1971.


3rd March 1973
Big Deal, today I acquired a toilet and a toilet tent, and on a lighter note - an electric lamp - get it lighter note ….. No? Oh well, don’t bother.


29th April 1973
Insurance – with United Scottish Insurance via the A.A.

Sums insured:

Caravan and Awning & Toilet Tent £300
Contents:
Cooker £5
Bottles £10
Cushions 2 @ 6’ £17
6 @ 2’ £21
Spare Wheel £8
Lamp £3

Total say 70p £70
Personal effects £1.00 £100

Total: £320
Total Premium: £3.20

Asked for insurance to start from 6th May.

Daddy wrote to my makers and told them my Serial Number – also ordered some legs for my sink unit and some extra 24” table legs. He’s hoping to get a couple of table tops from the firm.

Ooh Daddy has been busy, he’s booked us in for our first trip together. The Forest of Dean site near Gloucester. End of May it will be – The Spring Bank Holiday.

What a weekend. My awning was put up after I had moved onto the lawn and the toilet tent erected inside it, all very cosy. Daddy made a couple of table tops ½” plywood 24” x 22”, cunnng he is, one way round they fill in the floor area for sleeping, the other way round they store on the floor. The legs are the ones he got from Plastics (Fareham).

Two Calor Gas bottles hired from Crappers.

Bought a spring balance to weigh bottle and so determine how much gas is left.


23rd May 1973
Fitted a Hella heavy duty flasher unit to car, cost - £3.00 with warning lamp, connection and wire.

Started packing for the weekend holiday.


26th May 1973 - Start of first holiday
Most of my packing done yesterday evening. Daddy surprised at how much room there was in me – underneath my cushions. All the sleeping bags, crockery, cutlery, plates, etc., toilet, wellington boots, pillows, bowls, buckets, etc. – all travelled in me, oh and one of the holdalls. Still leaving some space.

Two large cardboard boxes of food, one holdall and a folding chair were inside the car and the awning, toilet tent and my spare wheel were on the roof rack.

Left Oxford at 11 o’clock. Arrived at Cotswold Caravan Park at about 1.30 pm, distance 72 miles. Park near Wooton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire. Found site in A.A. Handbook and phoned booking about a fortnight ago, when Forest of Dean Forestry Commission site had notified that all their bookable pitches (20 per cent of total) were taken. I travelled upright.

Mummy had bad headache when we arrived. Daddy put awning up whilst Therese, Claire & Paul played in children’s play area.

Cooked and ate in awning but this was thought, by Daddy at least, to be too crowded for safety so tomorrow we try cooking in awning and eating in me.

Sleeping – Mummy and 3 kids across me (3 table tops fill in centre section). Daddy on campbed in awning.


Sunday 27th May 1973
Mass at local church. Met Lucy and Jim McKenzie – spent day at their house at Charfield. Back quite late. Box of Black Magic chocolates and tin of biscuits opened to celebrate my first trip.


Monday 28th May 1973
Heavy rain in morning. Water runs along the channelling above the door and drips off it. Ground in awning area gets soaked. Need a duckboard. Rest of outfit very good.

Go for trip up Wye Valley then through the Forest of Dean. See the site we had booked there, very crowded, not nearly so nice as the one we are on. Long time before we find a Café for a snack but when we do it is very nice one on the Chepstow – Gloucester Road.

Necessities for future trips.

1. Storage boxes for food and clothing, especially shoes.
a) Could live under seats when not in use.
b) Travel under sink unit.
c) Live in awning during stay
They would have to be located under sink unit to prevent movement during journey.

2. A drop plate for the car ‘hook’ – it’s about 2’-3” too high for me at the moment.

3. Might bring Margaret’s folding lounger in place of camp bed – easier to store during day and can serve a dual purpose.


August 1973 - Devon
Monday 7th August 1973

Early 7 a.m. start on a fine Monday morning via Newbury – Andover. Then A303 nearly to Exeter (Honiton actually).

Hoping to have lunch in a Little Chef near Tiverton but find it closed up – out of business. Press on to camp site – on a hillside so need for support under van legs.

Go to small 2 table café in Coppleton for lunch – friendly chat with chap who serves us.

Buy walking stick from shop where business is run on the premises by elderly gentleman with beautiful accent. Stick cost £1. Good value I think. Camp site is Heatheridge Farm Caravan Park. Mr. & Mrs. Honeygood.


Tuesday 8th August 1973
In camp all day. Claire and Mummy walk across fields to letter box near church. Very windy site.

Mr. P. parked alongside ME and slope of ground meant Mummy slid down with Daddy, who then slid out of bed.



to be continued…?

Mrs Pepperpot_1.JPG
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Mrs Pepperpot_3.JPG
Matthew
portafold.co.uk
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Wanted: Any original Portafold, Ansfold or Mini-Motel brochures, adverts or magazine articles.
Also, any chassis numbers for the above caravans!

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