Martin Roberts

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Not everyone loves caravanning as much as we do, but Practical Caravan's Martin Roberts has an idea to help improve the profile of our favourite hobby

Here’s your starter for 10: what is it that us caravanning types and farmers have in common?

“We both spend a great deal of time outdoors?” Yes, but there’s something else.

“We plough on regardless, in all weather conditions?” True, but it’s not that either.

“We have a closer-than-average association with sewage?” Getting there... but no.

The answer is that we are both almost universally despised when we travel on the roads of the United Kingdom. Take a straw poll of any group of people and ask them to name something they don’t like about either of us, and I can guarantee that they’ll answer: “Being stuck behind a caravan/tractor [delete as appropriate] on a busy road.”

I guess there’s not much else to dislike. After all, the answer isn’t likely to be: “Oh... you... you have toilets that you have to empty yourself.” Or, “You... you use barbecues a lot.”

Nope. It’s only when we stray from our dedicated enclaves that we begin to incur the wrath of complete strangers. I’m generally a considerate tower and, when I see a build-up of more than five or so cars behind me, I pull off the highway as soon as it’s safe to do so in order to let them pass. I think that there’s a legal requirement for tractor drivers to do the same.

However, there are some members of our respective groups who I fear may be giving the rest of us a bad name. I’m talking about you, Mr BMW X5-driving, Bailey-towing annoyance on the narrow roads as I was making my way down to Dorset a few weeks ago. And you, Mr John Deere-driving, slurry tanker-towing, headphone-wearing, inconsiderate pain-in-the-bum on the road from Longleat to Frome only yesterday.

So, as part of my ongoing campaign to improve the image of caravanning among the wider public, could I politely suggest that the readers of Practical Caravan be leading lights in this regard, pulling over when there’s just one car behind you.

Perhaps you could invest in some new, shiny and extended ‘superview’ wing mirrors, if you haven’t already got them. Alternatively, I’ve always quite fancied the idea of a pop-up periscope that drops down from the rooflining of the car, before hydraulically extending upwards to above the height of the caravan, enabling a complete 360-degree panorama of the car and caravan circumference (green roof algae and all).

Of course, I can’t enforce anything on our agricultural co-nuisance-creators, but we caravanners will at least no longer give Joe Public any cause to complain.

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