Martin RobertsSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Martin Roberts' "My home from home"’ written by Martin Roberts
I love this time of year. It’s a bit of a school playground question isn’t it? “What’s your favourite season?” (Closely followed by “What’s your favourite colour?” and “Who’s your best friend?”)
Each year I mull it over – 53 mullings on, I’ve come down hard on spring.
There’s no doubting the joyous colours of autumn: kicking leaves; collecting conkers; open fires in country pubs.
The wide-eyed anticipation and frosty morning magic of winter: steaming dogs; Christmas carols; mulled wine.
Or the hopeful anticipation of summer: rockpooling; old-fashioned ice cream; barbecues with friends.
But in spring, this beautiful country of ours goes from contender to award-winning, red-carpet recipient of the ‘Most Beautiful Place in the Whole World (With Knobs On)’ category.
On your caravan's doorstep
There is a point in April or May when nature gives its most perfectly choreographed performance of the year.
The last of the daffodils still smile beneath hedgerows. Unfeasibly beautiful blossom covers the trees. Unfurling leaves are still everywhere.
Our gardens explode with life. Birds serenade our early mornings. There is renewal and growth all around.
It’s a natural affirmation of hope – and the perfect time of the year to get out on tour.
While chaos and uncertainty fills our man-made world, Mother Nature just skips along merrily and puts on a display of positivity on the doorstep of your caravan.
The actual day may vary from year to year, but I guarantee there will be one moment in the coming weeks when everything aligns perfectly – or maybe you have just enjoyed it, basked in it.
The early morning sunlight will be cascading through the trees. There will be a crisp sparkle in the air and you will spot a drop of condensation clinging to a bluebell trumpet and sparkling like a diamond.
If you haven’t got a camera, stop and pretend your eyes are a shutter. Stare, blink purposefully and capture the moment, then commit the image to your brain’s SD card.
Hopefully we all have many more springs ahead of us, but you never know. I was at a busy road junction last week and, as I pulled out, a car overtook on a blind bend and narrowly missed hitting me.
Had it collided, it would have pushed me under the wheels of an oncoming juggernaut, and I almost certainly would not have been talking to you right now. It would have been a classic ‘senseless waste of a life’ – on this occasion, mine.
Not surprisingly, the whole experience affected me quite dramatically, and I spent the rest of my journey in shocked, contemplative silence.
Get out on tour!
‘How ironic that would have been,’ I thought to myself. ‘I’ve survived bungee jumping 300ft off the Victoria Falls road bridge. I’ve skied black runs with warning symbols at the top. I’ve backpacked through China, Tibet, Africa and Nepal. I’ve parachuted from aircraft.
‘I’ve filmed in the favelas of Brazil. I’ve survived a terrifying riverboat accident on a remote Amazon tributary. I’ve survived cockroach smoothies in the jungle and cheap, late-night curry houses. And yet, the thing that finally gets me is some muppet crashing in to me when I pull out of a road junction.’
Eventually, I became so overwhelmed by post-traumatic shock that I had to stop driving. I pulled in to a lay-by and noticed a footpath sign. Spontaneously, I hopped over the style and just started walking.
At first I was crying. An outpouring of emotion as a result of what had just occurred. But gradually I started to lift my bowed head, and for the first time I noticed the beauty of my surroundings.
I wasn’t in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, yet even this random woodland was beguiling.
Like a soft blanket and a warming cup of tea, it comforted my soul and soothed my anxious mind.
Hopefully we’ve all got many more springs ahead of us, but I guess what I’m saying – without being morbid – is that you never know. So get out there in your caravan and take those mental photographs. Now.