When I was about 14 my parents bought our first caravan, a slightly shabby Sprite Musketeer. The whole family set to sprucing it up and there began many years of happy weekending and holidaying.

It was entirely my fault! I had been invited by a friend to stay for a week with her and her parents in their caravan. The event was a youth rally with the Surrey branch of the Caravan Club. A youth rally is an event organised by the youth section of the branch, and we put on a ‘cabaret’ at the dinner dance, I went to my first pub and had my first French kiss. Quite a baptism for a girl!

Of course I wanted the whole experience, mixing with a crowd of young people, socialising and so on, to continue so I persuaded my mum and dad that caravanning would be a good thing for us all to do. I don’t think they needed much persuading really. We began going to weekend rallies and also holidaying around the coasts of Devon and Cornwall.

You would think that all these happy memories would have encouraged me to get a caravan of my own once I had left home but surprisingly, it was not until I met Whizz that we cottoned on to the idea.

We started with a folding camper, bought with the help of Grandpa’s bequest, and enjoyed a few weekends away and a fortnight in France before Whizz began globe-trotting for work, and the camper sat on our drive losing value daily. Eventually we sold it for half the purchase price and spent the money on a new bathroom.

The one thing we learned from having the folding camper was that it took an awful lot of time to erect and fill. Items could not be transported inside as the space was needed for the folding top so everything needed to be put in the car and then, once the roof was erected and the wardrobe and sink put in place, the camper had to be stocked from the car. This was not too bad for a fortnight’s holiday but for a weekend away, with a young Mavis running about and complaining of hunger, it was stressful and we were at each other’s throats quite quickly. Not a good start.

Recently we have had another bequest, this time from poor old Sloggo, whose M.S. finally gave in to pneumonia and a not unwelcome demise. This time we have bought a proper caravan and here begins a series of articles charting our successes and disasters as we travel about the continent.


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