Martin Roberts

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Martin Roberts' "My home from home"’ written by Martin Roberts
In an ode to the caravanning gods, Martin Roberts shares his gratitude – have you ever felt protected by a higher spirit on your caravan holidays?

This is a heartfelt homage to the great ‘Spirit of Caravanning’.

Have you, like me, lived through an event that would normally have resulted in disaster and that calamity was averted because you were looked after by some inexplicable caravanning higher power?

Take the couple in the neighbouring caravan on a recent trip I took with my family. Lying on the grass to the side of their van were the remains of a caravan wheel, a battered mudguard and a pair of hubcaps, carefully arranged to create a happy, smiling face. I asked them why these scrapyard bits were lying as they were. And so unfolded their story.

The duo had been travelling along the dual carriageway at a fair old speed when the centre of one of the main wheels of their tourer disintegrated. No half-hearted malfunction this, but an explosive redesign that threatened both life and caravan. It was the sort of mechanical failure that would – and should – naturally have resulted in the caravan chassis dropping to the road surface. At best, it would have caused the whole outfit to come to a halt in a shower of sparks befitting a space-shuttle launch. More likely, it could have set off a chain of events that could have culminated in the caravan’s performing a spectacular loop-the-loop manoeuvre and spewing its entire contents over the Keynsham bypass.

“Where’s the caravan now?” I asked the lady who was peering from the window of what must obviously have been a replacement for their beloved tourer. But no. With a smile, she announced: “This is it!”

“We saw some sparks and pulled over,” she explained. “Hubby managed to get the spare wheel on in the lay-by and we were on our way.”

“You were lucky,” I said, with dramatic understatement.

“I know,” she replied, “which is why we put together a little sculpture as a ‘thank you’ to the Spirit of Caravanning.”

Now, at the risk of alienating anybody who hasn’t been as lucky in a mechanical crisis, I just want to teeter on the edge of otherworldly mumbo jumbo and suggest this: perhaps there is something/somebody/whoever/whatever that looks after us touring types as we trundle the length and breadth of this fair isle (and further afield), in pursuit of our beloved pastime.

And, on behalf of all of us, I would just like to state how happy I am to know that it/they/he/she exists.

Visit Martin’s website for information about him, his books and his property training weekends, and follow his adventures on Twitter
Share with friends

Follow us on

Most recent caravan reviews

The Practical Caravan 2017 Coachman VIP 565 review – 1 - The VIP’s looks have stayed fairly constant since 2012, yet it remains a desirable luxury tourer – plus, the front gas locker door boasts double locks (© Phil Russell/Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Caravelair Antarès 476 review – 1 - The Caravelair Antarès 476's quirky, one 'eye' looks hint at the unusual layout inside – it has an MTPLM of 1200kg (© Phil Russell/Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Buccaneer Galera review – 1 - The silver sides are new and give the 2017-season Buccaneer caravans a distinctive, upmarket look (© Andy Jenkinson/Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Hymer Nova GL 470 review – 1 - Its external styling is a little boxy and retro, but there's no getting away from the Hymer Nova GL 470's £27,690 price and 1700kg MTPLM (© Practical Caravan)

Xplore 554


The Practical Caravan Xplore 554 review – 1 - The new-for-2017 Xplore 554 is aimed at couples and has a 1335kg MTPLM (© Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Knaus StarClass 480 review – 1 - A Continental van with its door on the UK nearside, shows that Knaus is committed to wooing British caravanners – does it work with the StarClass 480? (© Peter Baber/Practical Caravan)