Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The open road , camping and caravanning

The Pedlar's Caravan

I wish I lived in a caravan
With a horse to drive, like the pedlar-man,
Where he comes from nobody knows,
Or where he goes to ,but on he goes!

His caravan has windows two,
And a chimney of tin, that the smoke comes through;
He has a wife with a baby brown,
And they go riding from town to town.

Chairs to mend and delf to sell!
he clashes the basins like a bell;
Tea-trays, baskets ranged in order,
Plates with the alphabet round the border!

The roads are brown, and the sea is green,
But his house is just like a bathing-machine;
The world is round, and he can ride,
Rumble and splash, to the other side!

With the pedlar-man I should like to roam,
And write a book when I come home;
All the people would read my book,
Just like the travels of Captain Cook.

William Brighty Rands (1823 - 1882).

At this time of year thousands of people are planning to go on holiday in tents and caravans. For a couple of weeks they will share washing facilities with complete strangers, sleep squashed in a room with the children limiting all intimacy, wash clothes and dishes by hand and go on regular trips to get drinking water. The thing is, this way of life takes us all to a place where there is a feeling of freedom that can be easily lost in modern life.In a camp site everyone is on the same level. Bankers rub shoulders with builders all sharing the same facilities, getting together for all sorts of fun and games.There is freedom in the way we dress and an ease in striking up new relationships with people from all walks of life on a camping holiday, all social barriers created by city life and the work place disappear.My dad was brilliant on camping holidays. he was the sort of man that made everything alright, easily. We all joined in trying to help, but it was him that set the tone. Calm and easy-going and fun, our dad was the perfect holiday dad. His work suits were replaced with two pairs of shorts and two shirts. He would lie on the camp bed and we would feed him grapes, like a sultan. On holiday he was approachable, cuddly and fun. he had such success with camping holidays with a tent that he decided to buy a caravan. Our first trip was to a local woodland. we made a cup of tea and went home again. We went on holiday towing the caravan. He didn't like having to rely on my mum to tell him if the coast was clear. he didn't like not being able to see behind him. He didn't like having this thing on the back that made reversing difficult, he didn't really like towing it at all. So our caravan was put on a caravan site two miles from our home. It was by the river Thames. It was wonderful. We could enjoy all the delights of waking up by the river and seeing the early morning activity of the little creatures that lived there. We could enjoy the long Summer evenings watching the river mist, hearing the birds call to each other. We explored the banks in canoes and fell in love with the river bank.  We went fishing and learnt the names of the fish.We slept in the caravan with my mum. Our dad went home to sleep.From then on our caravan was to give us lots of lovely holidays, by the sea and on farms, but it was never towed around again.
Toad of Toad Hall's yellow horse-drawn caravan soon to be replaced by a motor car

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