|In 2008, Arran Diaries appeared, to very limited acclaim (!) although it wasreviewed by Sarah Wakely in PracticalMotorhome Magazine: "A laidback style and a wickedly dry sense of humour … makes ArranDiaries a pleasure to read" and Alison Prince of the Arran Voice said: "Often amusing, they can also touch moments of lyrical appreciation”. -”
Loitering with Tin Tent,the follow-up volume, chronicling 2008’s travels, made even less of a splash, although it did widen the geographical area, by also taking in tales of travels to The Lakes, in search of a daffodil-free experience, and other destinations as far afield as Pembrokeshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and Little Gidding. It also strayed from the relatively safe territory of camper vans to the hitherto-uncharted wilds of collapsible (in every sense of the word) caravans.
Now, the third and final volume in the Trilogy, Two Returns to Arran, (May 2010) tells of the summer of 2009, the long hot barbecue that never was, and concludes this story of four years’ worth of wanderings through the UK in a battered old VW T25 camper dubbed The Arran Silkie.
Having been forced by mechanical troubles in 2008 to leave the Silkie on the driveway, and chance their arm with a vintage 1980s Rapido Folding Caravan, 2009 saw the Silkie on the road again after an extensive (and expensive) restoration programme. As none of its inhabitants were getting any younger, and the van itself was on borrowed time, it was tacitly recognised by all concerned that this might be their final trip on the road together as one combined unit.
Nothing was left to chance, and the final preparations included packing what seemed to be most of the house into its interior in preparation for the long, lumbering trek North.
At first, it seemed just like every other holiday on Arran. The dog was dunked in the sea, fires were lit and food barbecued, kayaks were launched and watercolours were painted.
Although the stage seemed set for yet another idyllic holiday "boondocking” along the Arran coastline, though, this time, an unexpected and unpleasant surprise was lurking in the shrubbery, leading to a huge questionmark over any potential future trips to the green jewel of the Clyde.
Bringing the story of Steve, Debbie, and Tiggy the Dog to a surprisingly downbeat close, this is the story of "what they did on their holidays”, and afterwards, ending, as the summer itself ended (without ever really beginning) on August Bank Holiday Monday, 2009.