Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Follow the Van (Caravan diaries)

We’ve been from Norfolk to Pembrokeshire and back in the past week.  As a result, the caravan is now asleep until the spring.

I learnt two interesting things whilst we were there.  (Pembrokeshire, that is, not Norfolk.)  The first was one of those circular routes that start from somewhere completely irrelevant, accidentally take you through several relevant places and drop you off at another completely irrelevant spot just next door.

For some completely irrelevant reason, we started singing that song about my old man said follow the van, you know the one.  Turns out they were evicted, had to load everything onto this van, there wasn’t room for her so she had to walk, toting a completely irrelevant bird, got lost and pissed, etc etc.  The interesting bit was, of course, the van, which started its life as a queue of transport camels crossing the Sahara, turned into a single horse- (not camel-) drawn vehicle which later acquired an internal combustion engine, before performing a career swerve, regaining its full name and becoming a mobile home (a term now exclusively reserved for static ones, the mobile ones being termed tourers) commonly known as a caravan, or string of load-bearing camels but, to us insiders, knowingly referred to as ‘the van’.

The other thing was to do with Julius Caesar, who apparently didn’t say (in Latin) ‘the die is cast’ but (in Greek) ‘the dice must be thrown’, or some such thing that means more or less the opposite.  What I learnt was that I’d been wrongly taught, about sixty-five years ago, that the ‘die’ in question was one of those metal stamps for making coins and ‘cast’ meant ‘forged’, as in cast iron.  Ah well.  I have little of either language, and less of the other.

In other news, there was only one rabbit.


  1. You're in good company. I think the penultimate sentence was originally said about Shakespeare.

  2. Yes, Ben Johnson said of Shakespeare :-
    "He had small latin and less Greek".
    In good company, as you say.