Caravans and their strange owners are a rather well stooged stereotype for taking the piss. Still thatâ€™s not going to stop me, because an entirely new offshoot of dull to the power of pointless has come to my attention.
You see there was this bloke â€“ letâ€™s call him my boss â€“ who held two simultaneous world titles; one for being the most boring man in the world, and a second for the greatest use of adenoids in a single tedious monologue.
He was properly wobbly trailerist hard-core. Answering my entirely reasonable request to why he couldnâ€™t be placed on the weekend working rota, he responded with a magnificent statistic that the following 51 Saturdays were firmly booked onto non refundable caravan sites, leaving him the Christmas weekend to stay at home and go crazy.
This was sufficiently long ago for the Internet to be a bit of a geeky novelty allowing Mr Tediously Methodical an entire room lined with maps, drawing pins, string, road atlases and one of those complex colour-coordinated calendars. And probably an indexed drawer of graduated graph paper. People like that always do. He was keen to explain his next far flung destination â€“ with occasional asides on the importance of special wing mirrors â€“ to anyone who would listen/was not faking their own death/poking their eyes out with a spoon.
So far, so please fuck off and bore someone else. But what I didnâ€™t realise is many, many of these weekends away from home appear to take place in sight of your actual house. Incredulous Iâ€™ve quizzed a number of sane and rational people*in an attempt to verify the efficacy of such a claim. And they all say the same thing â€˜Yeah, sure, absolutely, my dad was a right one for it, drive 20 miles, park up in a field and crack open a Watneyâ€™s Party 7. Oh they were the daysâ€™. Worse than even this, they donâ€™t seem to find it odd at all.
What? How the hell did I miss this? Itâ€™s lunacy of the first order. Rush home, shove crappy plastic stuff into your car, hook up the wheeled aberration and gently motor for half an hour before declaring yourself â€˜arrivedâ€™. Watch fuzzy TV on a rubbish portable, sit on a rubbish sofa, eat rubbish food cooked on rubbish gas hobs, try and sleep on rubbish beds, all the time interspersed with taking ablutions amongst others screwballs who think theyâ€™re having a good time.
Someone still within sight of their sanity must shout â€˜PLEASE CAN WE JUST GO HOME WHERE THE GOOD STUFF ISâ€™. But apparently no one does. If we really are a human race, thereâ€™s some sections of our society clearly losing.
And there is nothing to do. Other than look at other caravans. I mean why, just why? Was it the need to belong to others of your kind? Some kind of pre-internet tribal gathering crammed into a damp â€˜Challengerâ€™ interacting with other proud cardigan owners? Itâ€™d be a like a worldwide meeting of the autistic society.
And what did they talk about? Is it like Petrol-Heads showing off their latest chrome bling and fancy paintwork? Do the caravan core excitedly share ideas on how theyâ€™re going to â€˜Beige up the Swift?â€™. â€˜Oh yes, weâ€™re having the cushions reupholstered to match the curtains, carpet and dog/the colour?/Oh we’re being a bit racey and going with the beigeâ€™
So once youâ€™ve risked Legionnaires disease in the breezy breeze block shared showers and watched your awning blown over the A49, then what? My working assumption is these are the very same people who buy those ridiculous magazines promising an simple to assemble model submarine in 104 easy stages. You know the ones â€“ a quid for the first week then a tenner for the following two years. A business model based on an expectation youâ€™ll run out of either money**, enthusiasm or life before the damn thing is due to complete.***
I can easily imagine Beige Bob carefully opening this weeks treasured mag on a horrible Formica table, removing and fitting â€“ say â€“ the periscope before having a sit down and a cup of tea to calm down after all that excitement.
The legislature in this country is targeting the wrong people. We need strong and enforceable laws to ensure anyone who parks their caravan less than 20 miles from their home AND has subscribed to the model Ponzi scheme, must be taken into protective custody for their own good.
And as for the people who maroon their caravan on some windswept headland in order to visit it once a month like some kind of unloved great uncle – well just deport them. Really, itâ€™s a kindness because we live in a crowded country that doesnâ€™t need individuals who drive a few hundred miles to sit shivering inside a mouldering fibreglass shell, while there are B&Bs going out of business. Itâ€™s just not setting any kind of good example.
I am never going to own a caravan. Unless I need something big to start a fire in.
* First test â€˜Do you own a Caravan?â€™ â€˜No?â€™ Right youâ€™re in.
** And you could quite easily fund a full size one before youâ€™re half way through building that model.
** Letâ€™s face it, this is not a bad thing. Because after two years, the tiny plastic facsimile of something vaguely submarine shaped is going to be a bit of a disappointment.