Martin Roberts

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Discover the unwritten laws of caravanning – or at least those of our columnist Martin Roberts – in our latest blog, and enjoy on-site peace and harmony

All groups, organisations, sports and squeaky-leather-sofa London gentlemen’s clubs have their own unwritten rules. So, for the benefit of first-time caravanners (and as a gentle refresher to us all), here’s my take on touring etiquette.

1. Dress

Many of us still prefer the ‘matching Aran jumper’ look when taking part in any outdoor activity, and a cravat has never-ending appeal. But for those who have moved with the times, and ditched itchy wool for soft fleece, joggers and polo shirts are all the rage. Animal-print onesies are acceptable, but only if you dare… and definitely not after 9am.

2. Pitching

If you have a tendency to get territorial with your towel on poolside loungers, take note. While we caravanners are a sociable lot, pitching so close that you can see what the other person is eating for tea is taking it a bit too far. Leave a decent amount of space between you and your neighbours and, of course, it’s perfectly OK to erect a variety of space-delineating barriers, such as picket fencing and windbreaks. Some kind of animal or pirate-shaped kite on a converted fishing pole is essential.

3. Barbecues

These are all part of the scene, too, and if you want any caravan credibility, ensure that you’re frying the sausages with a gas-powered example that’s connected to your caravan, rather than singeing the grass with the small disposable variety. Note that ‘BBQ’ hour on your site (usually not earlier than 4.30pm) commences only when the self-appointed ‘BBQ King’ has started the process of heating up the coals. Once he’s made his move, everyone will follow.

4. On the road

Nothing riles our non-caravanning compatriots more than towing without due attention to the queue of traffic building up behind. Move over if more than five vehicles have gathered in a train, and be sensible when pulling out. A polite nod to fellow caravanners goes down well, and wild gesticulations and flashing of lights to anyone who’s got exactly the same caravan are a must.

5. Noise

Basically, keep it down. Radios and large ghetto blasters blurting out the sports results aren’t going to endear you to your new comrades. Aside from the traditional trumpet voluntary at 6am (only joking!), no loud noise is likely to be tolerated and you should be like a mouse after 10pm.

6. Chemical toilets

We all know what we’re doing, but we don’t like to admit it. Emptying the chemical loo isn’t a time for idle conversation because, in truth, we all wish we weren’t there. Queue an acceptable distance away from the disposal unit and just keep schtum, please. Obviously, thoroughly flush out the bowl when you’re done.

7. Dogs

On most sites, lovers of our four-legged friends are very welcome, but the woofers must be seen and not heard. Ideally they should remain within a 20-yard circumference of the caravan, and be tethered. Needless to say, clear up any doggy-doo straight away or you’ll be publicly humiliated.

8. Children

Just accept that, on site, everyone’s kids become everyone else’s. Groups of children spring up in minutes, and have a habit of moving around from one caravan to another like a plague of locusts. Stock up on multipacks of crisps and soft drinks, and you’ll be well prepared.

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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