Martin RobertsSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Martin Roberts' "My home from home"’ written by Martin Roberts
I never thought caravanning would give me an insight into pan-American shipping costs or the inner workings and politics of the Chorlingbury Women’s Institute. But here I am, suitably educated, thanks largely to some frighteningly indiscreet mobile phone calls made by campsite neighbours at various times in the past few months. And it’s led me to launch a campaign.
More of that later, but first let me set the scene...
It’s a wooded campsite, relatively early in the morning. Dappled sunlight filters through dew-glistened leaves. A squirrel gambols between trees. My family sleeps gently beneath night-warmed duvets. In the distance a cuckoo... errr... cuckoos. I step outside into the welcoming air and sigh with contentment.
Mornings like this are what caravanning is about. All is good with the world.
“You’re ’avin a larf,” someone shouts from a nearby pitch. “I could take it there myself for that much.” He’s shouting into a mobile phone. “Are you putting it in its own seat in first ****ing class?”
A chap is screaming obscenities at a square piece of metal and glass emblazoned with an Apple logo. He’s clearly a drug-dealing hitman with a signal-strength issue. In the process, he is disturbing everyone within a quarter-of-a-mile radius. I contemplate speaking up on behalf of the audibly assaulted, but fear for my life.
Eventually he stops.
Fifteen minutes later, he’s at it again, clearly shipping puppies to restaurants in the Far East or something similar. Does he not realise we can all hear him? Shouldn’t the male equivalent of Cruella de Vil be more discreet?
He’s like the Dom Joly caricature with the oversized phone, shouting, “I can’t speak now, I’m in the library!”
It’s all the odder, because it would seem that the people with the most to lose from overheard phone conversations are the very ones who don’t seem to give a monkey’s.
The (so I gather by what she screamed) vice-treasurer-in-waiting of the aforementioned WI, whom I’d overheard on a different site, would be well advised to keep her voice down in future. Machiavellian intent seemed to underpin her plans to overthrow the current regime. Surely she should have been more discreet if she’d wanted her fiendish takeover bid to remain unsuspected and unreported.
I just don’t get it. The point is, surely, that you never know who may be listening! The number of people clearly involved in some over-phone purchase whom I have heard loudly reading out their credit-card numbers, expiry dates and three-digit security codes beggars belief. Forget complicated identity fraud – just hang around train carriages and, so it seems, some caravan sites, and Bob’s your adopted persona.
Specific instances aside, I am alarmed by the increased and inconsiderate use of mobile phones on campsites. I am therefore launching a campaign for phone-free areas on all sites that we can request to be pitched in.