Martin Roberts

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Personal ablutions should be just that, says our columnist Martin Roberts, recoiling at the memory of some recent too-close-for-comfort on-site experiences

OK, so there are some times in your life when you just have to say it like it is, and meet difficult and somewhat embarrassing subjects head-on. So here goes... I hate cleaning my teeth next to complete strangers.

There, I’ve said it.

Much as I love 99% of the communal spirit you encounter on sites, the one aspect I struggle with is doing my ablutions in the close proximity of others. And, while I am normally fairly open-minded and un-shockable, I’m really not keen on my fellow campmates doing theirs in front of me. It’s a bit like nose pickings. You’ll tolerate yours and those of your young children, but you wouldn’t want much to do with other people’s.

I think I may have become somewhat sensitised by a couple of recent unfortunate on-site experiences. One involves shaving foam, and the other involves a man in a tutu. And both were rather unwelcome... I bet that’s got your mind racing!

Let me set the scene. There I was, one early morning, minding my own business in the washblock, when the person at the sink next to mine decided to have a shave. He began by ejecting enough shaving foam from an aerosol can to extinguish a raging factory fire, then daubed it onto his jowls as if he was auditioning for a job as Santa Claus. As he began to shave, spikey goo made up of a combination of shaving foam and shaved whiskers was flicked in all directions – including onto me. I realise that there are worst bits of bodily waste I could have been covered in, but somehow this felt really gross.

“Sorry mate,” my semi-shaven neighbour said when he realised, before wiping it off me with his – used! – face flannel. I nearly ran from the toilet block.

The following day, having partially overcome the trauma, I returned nervously to the washblock and, having checked that the coast was clear, I settled in by the sink and unpacked my toiletries. Just then, the washblock door was flung open and a middle-aged man in a ballet tutu stood silhouetted against the morning sun. I have no idea why he was dressed like that, and I had no intention of finding out. I sprinted to one of the toilet cubicles and locked myself in, emerging only after I had heard his footsteps departing.

Is it just me? Or do I have a valid reason for being slightly paranoid about visiting caravan site amenities?

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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