There are secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. You have to laugh and nd humour every day. You’ve got to have a dream: when you lose your dreams, you die. There are so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! The idea is to grow up by always nding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what they did, but rather for things they didn’t do.
Normally when you get to the ‘twilight years’, you look for a cottage with a white picket fence and two rocking chairs on the stoep, in a retirement village. Well, this is not our idea of heaven.
We decided that we needed a conversion done to our Jurgens Penta. Island beds, as beautifully put by one of this magazine’s readers, are not designed for ‘Teletubbies’. Now I know that there is the option of the front bed, but we like to have a permanent dining area. We approached Jan Groen of Durban Caravans & Outdoors and told him what we had in mind. Right from the rst meeting, Jan could see our vision and nothing was impossible.
Out went the island bed, with its headboard and the two hanging wardrobes, as well as the handbasin, cupboard, chemical toilet and electrics. Once the back of the caravan was open, it was easier to see how our vision was going to t together.
We now have two single beds, 750 mm wide, one 1910 mm long and the other 1815 mm. There is a bedside table with electrical plugs on both sides, so that electric blankets and radios can be plugged in. The longer bed has the chemical toilet concealed behind a door, standing on an inverted platform. At night, when the toilet is ready for use, this platform is turned over and the loo placed on top, which puts it at a standard toilet height. The shorter bed has two deep drawers for storage; the top drawer has been timber sealed to allow maximum use of storage space. Both bed bunks have hinged tops so that no storage space is lost. The only things we travel with that require hanging are two rather thick anoraks, which now live very happily in an old tog bag at the back of the Pajero, together with scarves, beanies and gloves, so the loss of hanging space does not affect us at all. If hanging space is important to you, the cupboard next to the kitchen could be converted for that purpose.
It’s amazing how much roominess we have gained from the conversion. When you get dressed, you no longer have to bend over at the side of the bed in order to get dressed. The single beds give you the same amount of room as you would have with a queen-sized bed. Jan and his merry band of workers were really great to work with and came up with some great ideas, like using the old headboard to create two single headboards. We decided to change the name of our caravan and now call it the Penta Senior. So this is an open invitation to you all to pop in and view this professionally crafted conversion for yourselves when we meet you in caravan parks along the way.
Our plans for 2011
We run a printing business in Scottburgh, and eventually there comes a time to hand over the torch, which we intend to do with our family. We are planning to join all the snowbirds and slowly move around the country, getting to know the back roads that you need time to explore.
Our Jurgens Penta Senior will also carry our tenting equipment, so that we can leave our caravan safely in a caravan park and go to places the caravan just won’t get to, such as the Baviaanskloof, the Richtersveld, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and all Andrew Bain’s passes. We also want to do Liuwa Plains in Zambia. For this we need to nd another couple with a 4×4, as you are not allowed into the area unless you have a group of at least two 4x4s. Liuwa Plains is a park like the Serengeti, but much less commercial, where thousands of wildebeest collect at the start of the rainy season in October. In closing, here are some very wise words: ‘We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.’ By Allanah Poynter