What Caravanning Was All About

There was no way I was ever going to become a caravan convert, particularly after caravanning with my parents and grandma when I was just 13 in 1963.

All I remembered was this uncomfortable caravan that afforded no privacy to a teenager. To get any light meant the use of gas mantles which were prone to breaking at the slightest touch, so unless many spares were taken along, fewer and fewer lamps became available during the holiday.

There was no hot water supply, only a small Calor gas hob to heat any as needed. A temperamental pump had to be worked to
make water come out of the primitive tap.

The final humiliation was the toilet – or rather lack of it. A bucket to use during the night was all I was offered, and even then not in the privacy of a cubicle.

My father shuddered every time grandma sat down, or rather plonked down heavily, because he was convinced she’d go right through the floor!

The only redeeming factor was my father’s cherished Rover car, so at least he wasn’t restricted to towing the smallest caravan available.

I still get cold shivers remembering a holiday at Wells-next-the-Sea, and if ever the word
‘caravan’ was mentioned for years afterwards I would always give an abrupt “No!”.

Then, at the end of the 1980s, a friend invited us to look at her new caravan – a far cry from what I thought it would be. There were lights at the instant touch of a switch, a 13-amp plug to plug in what no woman wants to be without – her hair dryer – running water at the touch of a tap and hot water at that. The final pleasure was a flushing toilet, all on its own in a mini-bathroom.

I was converted, and now actually enjoy caravanning – but only as a modern caravan addict. Thank goodness for progress!

Mrs. S. M. Shaiu.