Martin RobertsSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Martin Roberts' "My home from home"’ written by Martin Roberts
"I can’t think of any other aspect of my life where I come into such close proximity to mould and algae...”
As the opening line in a book it wouldn’t exactly be an attention grabber, but as a harsh fact of caravanning life, it’s a reality. And it’s one that I have to deal with on an annual basis.
I’m sure that I can remember putting a shiny white caravan into its storage area at the end of each season – and yet each spring it sits there, looking as though it’s just emerged from a particularly filthy swamp. It’s a thousand shades of light and dark green, and home to more single-cell plant and animal life than a David Attenborough special.
Has my caravan developed a secret ability to take itself off to wild and exotic locations during its winter break, perhaps resulting in a collection of Herbie-like adventures of its own? A few nights in the forest here, another couple in the local pond there, and a few more in the grubbiest areas of a working farm for good measure.
However it happens, each spring I’m faced with the same dilemma: how to turn it back from primeval to pristine. A bucket of soap and water simply wasn’t cutting the mustard, so this year I invested in a power washer (with optional ‘Gyroturb spinning, rotating heads’, no less).
I excitedly unpacked it from the box and assembled the parts. I filled the additives dispenser with a proprietary fungal wash called ‘Gleamo Clean’, ‘Magic Sparkle’, ‘Algae Zap’ or something similar. I connected the water hose and eagerly turned on the power...
A few moments of whirring and slooping later, and a high-velocity stream of bright-orange foam launched itself from the end of my power-wash lance. It was like a scene from Ghostbusters. Within seconds, not only was the caravan covered in a thick layer of expanding bubbles, so was I, the children’s pets’ hutches, and most of the garden. And in the rapidly multiplying mountain of foam, the on/off switch for the power washer proved remarkably elusive. It was only my muffled screams that brought my wife to my aid – thankfully via the power-socket switch.
I’m not sure that the herbaceous border will ever be the same again, and the guinea pigs are now a very unusual colour. The only advantage is that I’m convinced my recurring athlete’s foot is now banished forever.
Eventually, I managed to rinse all of the foam off the caravan and there, finally revealed in all of its glory, was the gleaming white home-from-home that I know and love. Apart from the windows, which seemed to have become frosted for some reason.
I’m sure that I read the instructions properly. But maybe watching some expert cleaning advice from Practical Caravan would help, too.