Martin RobertsSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Martin Roberts' "My home from home"’ written by Martin Roberts
“Let’s be honest: caravanning isn’t for everyone,” said my (former) good friend.
“It’s still for hippy weirdoes who have never given up on the idea of living half the year in a commune and the other half in a VW camper van with a hessian awning.”
I cleared my throat. But before I could begin my defensive onslaught, his tirade continued: “I mean... just the toilets would put off most people. Anything bigger than the size of a Malteser down there and you’re flushing for England.”
“But...” I attempted to interrupt.
“And then there’s the fridge,” my ex-mate surged on. “Or, should I say, the ‘salmonella incubator on steroids’. Doesn’t the World Health Organisation say that in order to be called a ‘fridge’, a device has to regularly propel the contents down to somewhere below room temperature?”
“Yes, I know, however...”
But I was being berated in full flow: “And don’t get me started on the heating. If there is any, it’s run on recycled cow methane or something equally unpleasant.
“And the most you can hope for, after three hours of use, is an increase in ambient temperature equivalent to the heat output from a birthday-cake candle.”
“Well, I suppose...”
“And that’s when the weather is okay. Let’s just introduce inclement conditions, shall we?” my assailant asked, rhetorically.
“Err, I guess we...” I stammered.
“So let’s just imagine you’re an ant, hiding from the rain under a giant rhubarb leaf,” he said, somewhat inexplicably.
“And then there’s a torrential storm, and all you can hear is the incessant pounding of the enormous raindrops on your completely inadequate cover.
“So now you’re me. In this metal box, with nothing but a thin layer of aircraft aluminium between me and the elements. Actually, scrap that. I’m inside a massive drum with the meteorological equivalent of Cozy Powell embarking on an epic drum solo before an overly excited Wembley audience.”
“Yes... but...” I ventured, my protestations by this stage becoming half-hearted.
“Oh, oh, oh,” continued my now extremely animated former pal. “I’ve forgotten the best bit: getting to wherever you’re going in the first place.
“It’s a foregone conclusion – in the same way that easily picking the first four finishing horses in the Grand National is a foregone conclusion... You’ve got two tonnes of prefabricated matchwood, glued onto an unstable trailer, attached to a towing vehicle via the engineering equivalent of a thimble and a ballpoint pen nib.
“You’ve got something with the aerodynamic capabilities of a pregnant hippopotamus, rolling down the motorway at twice the speed of sense, with the knowledge that your emergency braking scenario is similar to that of a fully laden supertanker!”
“Let’s be honest, Stuart,” I confronted him finally. “I’m never going to convince you to give it a try, am I?”