Social being as I am, there are some times when I cherish a bit of privacy. Admittedly one of the delights of caravanning is the camaraderie, and it’s unfair to expect any campsite to provide Howard Hughes levels of separation. However, following a recent touring break, I’m considering what level of exclusion zone it’s acceptable to create around your caravan, and the most practical ways of achieving it.
Imagine the scene: early-evening sunlight glints through the trees, made visible by a fine haze of barbecue smoke that drifts aimlessly around the serene setting. Squirrels gambol. Fellow campers sip on wine-o-clock drinks – all is good with the world.
Cue the arrival of a family of campers. I watch as they survey the available pitches, willing them to carry on driving as they pass the one next to ours. Worryingly, they slow down. I see the adults in the front of the car discussing options – pointing around the site. Then they nod in unison. And stop.
Not so carefully, they reverse onto the pitch and explode into the space. Car doors fly open and an unfeasible number of screaming children spill out onto the grass. One is holding a small yappy dog.
Worse is to come. Dad opens the boot. It’s filled with three things: slabs of high-strength lager, three more yappy dogs and a ghetto-blaster system that Angus from AC/DC would be proud of. There’s no need for the army, because mum directs an artillery of high-volume commands towards the children.
Two hours later, they have erected the tent and are shouting and cursing and arguing and swearing, clearly unaware that three microns of tent fabric don’t provide much of an acoustic barrier.
I go for a walk to calm down, but feel my heckles rise as I return to a now-invaded pitch an hour later. Thankfully they only stay for the weekend, and peace returns.
So back to my point: in order to avoid similar situations on future caravan holidays, I’ve just bought a large, flashing neon sign, a high-volume PA system and a particularly aggressive-looking dog – all of which I can switch on, turn up and poke whenever unsuitable-looking, potentially extremely noisy neighbours pass by in search of a place to pitch.
My wife thinks I’m being unreasonable and turning into a Victor Meldrew. Pah!
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I’m considering what level of exclusion zone it’s acceptable to create around your caravan