Martin Roberts

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Outrageous or on point? It's confession time for our celebrity caravanner Martin Roberts, but does our beloved pastime suffer from bad publicity?

So I’m there in the shower in the toilet block on our campsite and I did something that I’m very embarrassed about.

Please excuse me if I use this column to relieve the burden of guilt that is currently weighing on my shoulders for my frankly shameful conduct.

If I’m honest, I even shocked myself.

Relieving the burden

Right now, I know I run the risk of alienating you and all my other loyal readers.

I’m just hoping that when taken on balance with all the good things that I hope you know about me, you’ll come to the conclusion that I am not as terrible as I’m about to paint myself, and that somehow, although forever damaged, our relationship can continue, at least on some level.

So, I hear you screaming, what happened? What heinous crime did you commit, what unsociable act did you perform?

Well, you’ll be relieved to know that it was more a thought process which my mind tumbled through after glancing at the most unlikely of catalysts.

Campsite confessions

On entering the shower, I noticed that someone had left a half-empty bottle of shampoo.

Now you’re thinking my hideous crime was that I didn’t hand it into the campsite lost property. But no, much worse.

Based on the type of shampoo, I drew shocking conclusions.

This was not a bottle of value brand foaming liquid, but one of those slightly unfeasible high-end designer shampoos that contained extract of cinnamon stick, wild flowers, cactus prickles, lizard skins and rhubarb (or something like that).

It was, quite clearly, a very expensive bottle of shampoo.

Jumping to conclusions

This is the bit that’s hard to admit. I found myself thinking, ‘Golly, you wouldn’t expect to see that kind of shampoo in a campsite shower block.’

There, I’ve said it. I jumped to conclusions about the social demographic and sophistication of my fellow caravanners.

In the weeks of self-analysis that have followed, I’ve been pondering how those who aren’t as familiar as me with the high calibre of your average caravanner might stereotype.

Do you think those on the outside still perceive us as matching Aran jumper and cagoule wearing semi-hippies, who subscribe to Reader’s Digest and sit around a whistling kettle all day, endlessly doing crosswords and sudoku?

Do they think that we drive 15-year-old beaten-up estate cars crammed with children and pets, and the flotsam and jetsam of our itinerant lifestyle?

We know that during a busy weekend, the average campsite probably contains cars of higher value than a Ferrari dealership, with more hi-tech gizmos and space-age, computer-designed, graphic fibre and aluminium reinforced homes on wheels than a NASA convention.

Does image matter?

So should we be bothered about how others see us? Maybe.

Perhaps a step towards changing perceptions would be for more sites to have ‘open days’.

Then we will just need to make sure that the shower blocks are suitably kitted out before the hordes arrive.

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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