Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Caravan Diaries - 2014

The four sycamores at the bottom of the field are still bare.  I used to object to them – they spoilt my view of Monkstone Point – but now I see them as structures, like veins or nerves.  They are black against the sea upon which, today, the horses are travelling white.  I’ll get round to disliking them again when they sprout leaves in a month or two (can’t they be decommissioned for the summer, like snow chains?), but for now I’m happy to trace their random intricacy.

No rabbit sightings this time.  But there are lots of moles.  I worry that some day I’ll turn up to find the caravan has dropped into an overwrought sinkhole of mole warrens; Joseph assures me this won’t happen.  “We’re busy bashing them on the head”, he assures me, possibly with a twinkle.

One lesson re-learnt: don’t drive to Wales on Good Friday.  In fact, don’t drive anywhere.  Stay in bed.  It took us six hours.  Some of this may have been self-inflicted: the M4 having clogged up even worse than my brachial artery was on 9th January, we decided to duck down to the A4 at Newbury.  Good decision: a lovely empty road all the way to Bath, hardly any lorries or tractors; two-abreast cyclists the worst hold-ups.  So we stuck with it all the way to Bristol, which may have been a mistake.  Opinions differ over whether we should have rejoined the motorway at 19 or 21 – there’s not much point in arguing over the past, is there?  Especially when the relevant facts will never be known.

The site is nearly fully occupied.  Everybody comes down for a late fine-weather Easter.  Bee walked all the way round (I was too busy with the crossword) and reckoned that only a dozen or so vans were empty, and those mostly the ones who never seem to show up even though they’re happy to pay the rent.  So the power cut wasn’t well timed.

We’d decided to commission the pull-out bed under the sofa for the first time.  (‘Double’ beds in caravans aren’t quite what they claim to be.)  The procedure is simple once you get it, but not intuitive.  You need to follow the instructions (which consist of those infuriating step-by-step diagrams which I can never make any sense of).  Just after step one, the lights went out, and it became very dark.  I mean very – dark enough to be unsure which way is left, right or up, never mind find the torch, which turns out to have flat batteries – so we end up reading the bed-installation instruction graphics by the red light of the gas fire.  Bee went to her pre-installed bed.  Alright for some.

Next day, we discover that mains water supply has nearly been installed.  This is a major achievement, following on electricity (2002) and sewage (2011).  We confidently expect Wi-Fi next year.



  1. Double beds in boats can also be a bit of a struggle. I dread to think what it would be like in the dark. I hope you got it pulled out enough for comfort.

  2. I object to sycamores on principle. Why can't there be some awful disease or pest, like Dutch Elm or Oak wilt, that kills all the sycamores?

    Despite the travel and bed-making problems, it sounds as if you had a good time. I do hope so.

  3. *those infuriating step-by-step diagrams which I can never make any sense of* - me too! I need my instructions in writing.

    I hope the beds in your caravan are more comfortable than the arrangements in our touring van. It is reasonably easy to assemble, but rock hard to sleep on.

    We also made the mistake of driving on Good Friday – it took us a shade over two hours to do 60 miles, which even allowing for the fact that most of the journey was on the A140 and towing a caravan is still pants.

  4. The pullout bed practically installs itself once you've got the knack. Hardly Emperor-size, though, more like Minor-Princeling... V. comfortable though.

    Z, the only problem with killing the sycamores is that prevailing winds mean two or three would fall on top of the van once dead. Prob best just put up with them.

    Oh, and I packed in the fags. Well, so far so good.