About Basil John Mandy

A sixty odd year old born in Ladysmith, South Africa. Manchester United supporter and a great fan of the city in general. I worked for Kelloggs since 1982, apart from a year's sabbatical that I took to ride a bicycle to South Africa. I retired at the end of 2015 and have 2 grandsons, Lenny and Ellis. And now I've got a granddaughter as well - Dottie Joy!!

77. Why is the Sick Bay like Huddersfield Town Football Club?

Right now Joy and I should be trundling through France on our way to Barcelona. Instead of which we have delayed our departure until tomorrow. What was so important that we had to give up two days of our holiday? Firstly, when we get back, I have promised to let a bunch of lads use […]

69. You’ve bought an old VW – how do you cope with Buyers’ Remorse?

I first saw the Sick Bay on the 3rd October 2010, a few days after I had actually bought the van on an Ebay auction. The previous owner lived in Cornwall and so with a pocketful of cash I flew down to Newquay, paid for it and drove it three hundred miles back home to […]

68. Says his name’s Basil but I think he’s having a laugh.

A friend has recently announced her pregnancy and she joked that if it was a boy she might call him Basil. I told her that there was only one country in the world where the name is not met with utter derision and that is France. So, to test my theory, when the ‘barista’ in […]

65. The best 63 euros I have ever spent on a ski trip.

When I first started to ski I learnt the basics fairly quickly and fell in love with the sport immediately. The refinements like proper turning, planting your pole correct stance etc all took a lot longer and, as all I wanted was to have fun in the snow, I got exasperated when people tried to […]

64. No snow at Christmas in Venosc for 3 years – what’s happening to the white gold?

Those small minded buffoons who deny that global warming is happening should speak to an old chap I met today in a cafe in Venosc. (When I say ‘old chap’ I mean he’s about my age, or just a bit younger.) He told me that as long he he could remember he has never been […]

63. A trip to the Alps in winter – lessons learned so far.

Setting off for the French Alps on Monday 2nd January I felt a bit apprehensive to say the least. As a rule I really felt that the Sick Bay was a warm weather vehicle. It’s always a pain when something goes wrong but if it’s nice and warm then it’s no more than a nuisance. […]

60. Hull – Rotterdam – Groningen. ChickenPoxDays.

Nobody could accuse my son John of being a stick-in-the-mud. His first career job was in Catalonia, he met his beautiful Colombian wife in Madrid, (or was it London), and he has recently moved to a new job in Groningen in the northern fringe of Holland. So Joy and I have never been short of […]

57. There’s more to owning a VW camper than owning a VW camper.

Before I bought the Sick Bay all those years ago I thought that people who owned old VWs did so because they were a cheap and reliable way to go away on holiday. The funny thing is that because the vans all looked so old and scruffy, I assumed that they had been owned by […]

56. Getting much use out of your campervan these days?

After the sustained months of excitement and activity of my daughter’s wedding at the end of August I was thinking life might ease up a bit afterwards. No chance! The following week was the wedding of a friend of a friend and I’d promised the Sick Bay to transport the bridesmaids. My friend Andy was […]

55. What has my daughter’s perfect day got to do with old Volkswagens?

Adele got married a couple of days ago. The months of planning, organising, cajoling, stressing and running around finally came together in a day that was so perfect and so happy that I wondered how on earth I was ever going to relate it all to a blog about old camper vans. Luckily for me […]