Martin Roberts

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Was your 2017 full of fantastic caravan holidays and happy memories? Practical Caravan's celebrity columnist Martin Roberts hopes his will be in 2018...

It’s the time of year for sweet reflection on the year gone by.

How was it for you?

Well, let’s hand this over to the person who actually matters… my wife.

She’s here at my side, fuming about the confusion over what to wear to a dinner event we’re going to this evening.

“What kind of dress code is ‘Glamorous’?” she’s spitting. “Is it a black tie do or not?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know, dear,” I respond, nervously.

It’s odd, isn’t it. When you’re asked a question sometimes, about things that have nothing to do with you, it’s somehow turned around on you when you don’t know the answer.

So suddenly I’m the organiser of this blessed event, and it’s all my fault – actually, I quite like ‘glamorous’, it is certainly a more inspirational concept than ‘black tie’, but I wouldn’t dare tell my wife that.

A caravanning catastrophe

Domestic squabbles apart, I managed to squeeze in a question about our summer holiday. To be honest, this was a bad move.

I hate to say it, but after three weeks spent in a soggy caravan, battered by August gales, with three damp dogs, four hungry guinea pigs, two bored children and a (fairly happy) hamster, for some reason she’s lost the plot when it comes to caravanning.

“I never, ever, ever want to go to that place ever, ever, ever again,” she states, clearly sitting on the decision fence. Dangerously, I probe further.

“Why have you adopted such a negative attitude, my sweet?” I prompt, suicidally.

She simply stares at me for a moment, her beautiful blue eyes dimming to a steely grey, her lips pursed and her body poised to strike.

“If I remember rightly, I was the one left there while you swanned off to Portugal for a few days,” she replies.

This wasn’t a very good start – she immediately had me over a barrel and after gaffer-taping me to it, so I couldn’t move, she was circling for the kill.

Looking ahead to 2018…

“I, meanwhile,” she went on, “was the one who was sleeping in sheets so damp they stuck to me… who developed trench foot from the leaking shower waste pipe that you somehow didn’t get round to fixing, and which left the carpet sodden on my side of the bed…

“I was the one keeping your children entertained through a series of increasingly desperate activities and pastimes…”

Clinging to my barrel as I am, I sense impending doom as the blackening clouds bang together prior to a lightning bolt.

“Oh yes, and let’s not forget the 48-hour stomach bug that turned your lovely daughter into that child from The Exorcist.”

The list continues. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to speak.

“So I suppose going to the same site again at the same time, next year, is out of the question, then?” I venture.

Luckily the voice recognition programme on my computer is working, enabling me to type this even though my arms are still in plaster.

I sincerely hope your summer was better than ours.

Here’s to 2018!

Visit Martin’s website for information about him, his books and his property training weekends, and follow his adventures on Twitter.