Graham has written several books about education and is now a freelance consultant. He has also renovated an Autoquest 270 motorhome.
Our Talbot Express On Site in Somerset
Recently, I completed the renovation of a 1989 Talbot Express Elddis Autoquest 270 motorhome.
In this first set of pictures, she is on site at Home Farm Holiday Park in Somerset, just by the Quantock hills.
We were there last week for a three-night stay with our daughter and our two granddaughters.
The weather forecast was excellent and so, off we went for a few days by the beach. We were not disappointed.
We enjoyed 23- to 25-degree temperatures. This meant time on the beach, which was just a five-minute walk from the site, and then, at the end of the day, a barbecue by the Talbot.
This was our third trip since finishing the renovation: Our first was to Uphill, not far away in Brean, and then for our second trip we took our four-year-old granddaughter to Brean Sands Holiday Park.
Travelling in the Talbot
Since we completed the renovation, we have been busy travelling, as you can see. The Talbot has proved to be a great touring companion.
Having started off at Uphill, in Somerset, we then went to Holiday Resort Unity at Brean and then on to Home Farm in the Quantock Hills.
We don't travel above 60mph in general, but at that speed she is comfortable to drive and is now giving us 27mpg, which I am extremely pleased with.
So far, in the past few weeks, we have travelled about 1000 miles without a problem of any kind, other than the ever-present M5 roadworks!
And so we are now booked in for our next two trips: Padstow, in Cornwall, next week for 5 days; and then 3 days in a beautiful site in North Devon called Hidden Valley, which I remember from our caravanning days.
The sleeping arrangements have been great; the made-to-measure mattresses that I bought provide a really comfortable night's sleep, and I really would recommend them to anybody. Ok, there's a tiny bit of work involved in making up the beds, but nothing too taxing.
Once we convert the dining area seating into a bed, I just life the mattress down from above the cab, place it on top of the cushion bed and, hey presto; all done!
That leaves my mattress above the cab and then, duvets in place and all ready for a good night's sleep.
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Although Tricia and I don't bother with the TV, it has been a godsend when our granddaughters have been with us, as we have been able to provide them with children's TV and, thanks to the brilliant aerial that I was so scared of fitting (see my renovation article), we get superb TV reception everywhere we go.
I think the only thing that has arisen is that, when our grandchildren are with us, we could do with a bit more space. If they and our daughter continue to want to travel with us (or any of our other grown-up children and their kids), then next year we might have to think about letting our lovely Talbot go and trade up to something bigger.
Taking a tent with us is ok if the weather is warm and dry, but on a cold, wet evening it isn't the most ideal way for the grandchildren to be with us—especially as they prefer being in the motorhome with us!
So it may be that we have to look out for a 6 berth with an end bedroom that has its own doors. There are some with bunks, which would be ideal.
Still, let's see how things go. They might tire of the novelty, in which case our Talbot is just ideal for the two of us and occasionally three!
Sights From Home Farm and Brean
Arriving at Brean Sands Holiday Park
Improving The Talbot Autoquest
Of course, having renovated the motorhome almost completely, the beauty of taking it on the road is being able to find out which little refinements are still needed.
Through using her quite extensively, I have been able to fine tune the water system by striping down the cold water tap in the kitchen, and refitting the microswitch, which had previously been a bit temperamental.
Once I took it apart I could see that the tine bridging switch unit, which is so tiny that you need tweezers to handle it, needed to be re-seated. Now I have done that, the tap works like a dream.
Same with the windscreen washers, which had also been a little erratic.
With some investigation, I found an earth strap that had come loose, and once I had secured it properly and cleaned up the connections to the motor, it too works like a dream.
By using the fridge, we have also found out that it holds quite a bit and the freezer compartment really freezes well. It keeps lollies frozen for days and freezes whatever is put there, so we now feel confident about taking some of Tricia's homemade chilli and casseroles, frozen, safe in the knowledge that they will keep well and won't poison us!
So, Padstow here we come—and then on to Devon.
Then, once we return, we are planning to spend most of September away as our daughter, son-in-law, and our two granddaughters are moving in for a few weeks while their new house has a lot of building work done to it.
So, we get the chance to go away for September in the Autoquest, while they get a house to live in!