We were all sick in early May. That fact and a week-long run of strong wind and heavy rain caused us to think more seriously of a better winter set-up.
Nick had to rescue the gazebo very early one morning, before it blew away completely. Of course, all the stuff that lived under the gazebo (semi-protected) also needed to be packed away - something of a challenge at 1:00am! (You can see Nick holding a rope attached to the gazebo in one of the pics, in another the rope is tied to a cooler jug weight).
Although it looks as if our van had an annexe at some stage, it isn't set up for one now. In any case sourcing a second-hand annexe was tricky - and buying a new one, far too expensive.
After a fair bit of discussion we decided to get a cabin-style canvas tent. Nick found one listed on Gumtree and we brought it home the same day that we inspected it.
The "new" tent was larger than we anticipated, so we moved sites to better accommodate it.
Our new site is better protected from the elements, so there were a few benefits to moving.
We spent a weekend shifting from one site to another. The plan had been to start early but we were still recovering from our lurgies, so slept in and were only moving slowly when we did surface.
The new tent had a pole missing, so we bought a new one from Rays Outdoors. The replacement pole worked well in terms of height but had a thicker spike on the end, so other parts required modification as a result. (Nick used his drill to make larger holes in some of the connecting poles) Even with those hiccups, everything was done by the end of Saturday, though we still needed to fully empty the old tent at our former site, plus pack it down.
The new tent is marvellous - a huge improvement to our living space! The kitchen is set up in the front room, which is an awning with velcro-ed on walls. There is no attached floor, so our foam mats are covering the ground. It's still vastly better than the gazebo. In fact, the whole tent is far more stable than the gazebo and being able to stand/walk throughout is a huge bonus. (The gazebo stayed down often, cos is was more wind resistant that way. I needed to duck under it to get to the tent and then duck down again to enter the tent).
The main tent is divided into two rooms, both with sturdy floors - and these now have carpet! We use the room adjacent the "kitchen" as a dining and sitting area. The back room is our walk-in-wardrobe and storage area. We have a small heater in the dining room and when the doors to the other two areas are zipped shut, we feel rather cosy - hooray!
Our carpet came from Spotlight. We bought four rugs during a recent sale. Even better, we had a voucher that gave us an extra discount, so our rugs were cheaper than foam mats - and a lot more stylish!