Get Yoursen Back In That Caravan

This week we had the pleasure of going on a new type of holiday, namely staying in a holiday home. We got rid of our caravan in an attempt to set out on a morning not already dampened in more ways than one.

So we began our trip by travelling down, purchasing food and getting settled in. The next morning we arose, had breakfast, showered and, well… That was it! It was 9:30 and we were ready to go. So we did, and we set out to climb Snowdon. Now in the league of lame excuses, we only made it half way up, because we had young children, but by the time we got back to the car it was 2:30, and we were still 3 hours off dinner time. So we ended up going and looking around shops and driving around the countryside until an acceptable hour to eat. And after washing up, it was still wasn’t yet 7pm, so out we ventured again for a walk down the beach, and when we arrived back home again at 9:30, I was fit for nothing but to drop to sleep.

So what about the next day? Well we had the plan to and view a house on sale for future holidays. All seemed to be well, except that during recent weeks one of the neighbors had bricked over the gate, in an attempt to try and claim the rear access for their own. We went to investigate, and found her threatening us with court and shouting at us for being tourists if we dared mention the idea of taking it down. We then went for a few more walks, around here, there and everywhere, and by 4pm, I was once again ready for bed.

So what is to be drawn from this?

Caravanning is a special experience, like a snail you get to carry your home (which is barely big enough for you), behind you, and you get to congregate with other like-minded families in a wet field. It sounds miserable, but actually, the joy is in the journey. If you go for all the luxuries then quickly there’s nothing left to do. Showering, cooking and washing up in the caravan are a sacred experience. Gathering everything together, marching to the facilities block, waiting till the last person is finished, and then washing, drying and carefully restacking, it takes forever, but it adds colour to the adventure.

And while you’re at it, you can talk to the next man about anything! What caravan have you brought? How long have you had it? What’s it like? What do you tow it with? Isn’t diesel expensive now? The traffic on the M5 yesterday was chronic wasn’t it? When you go in a holiday home you end up exhausted and verbally abused!

I’ve often thought how wonderful it would be to live in an absolutely trouble free world. The answer is it’s boring! Give me some cold, rain and a few spiders and I’ll be just fine.

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Enjoying the British Summer

Well that was it. September is here, and now we’re moving in to the colder and latter end of the Summer. And it seems to have been a pretty rubbish summer doesn’t it? Statistically, this was the coldest August in 17 years, and according to weather know-it-alls, the temperature did not once exceed 27 degrees [1]. That is dissappointing isn’t it? Now that we’re enduring the consequences of recession, none of us can afford to travel far away, so we all flock to the coast, in the hope that there will be some good weather waiting for us when we get there.  But there wasn’t was there? We work hard all year round, waiting for summer, and that warm time that we’ve waited for just doesn’t turn up, giving us instead day after day of overcast, cool weather.

But actually, I enjoyed my holiday, and I want to tell you why…

Our Noble Castle

On a Monday evening, a few weeks ago, I got in my car, and drove down to Pembrokeshire in South Wales, to join my family, on their Caravanning holiday. As I drove, the sky’s darkened, and I arrived to driving rain, coming in from the coast. At 4am the next morning, we were awoken by my younger sister reporting that her bedroom was now full of water.

Now, I had the idea to write about this at the start of the summer, obviously not knowing what the weather actually would be, yet anticipating quite a degree of disappointment. But really, that was the worst of it. Apart from that, I really must be honest, the weather was not at all that terrible.  Yes is was cold, and the sun was only there when it pleased, but the only consequence from the previous nights weather was that the local coastal path turned in to a bog, and even that had fixed itself by the end of that day.

So what is it that made this summer so bad? Was it really so bad?

When I walk through caravan parks, I do wonder what exactly people wanted to get out of their holidays. There’s caravan after caravan, of people, sitting in their deck chairs, with their Sky dish nearby, just being roasted by the sun. Well, there wasn’t this year. But if that is your idea of a holiday, then I’m not surprised that you’re disappointed.

Wading through the frankly not so bad quagmire...

So how did we make the most of the weather? Well on my first day, we walked the coastal path to nearby Tenby, got fish and chips, and came home again. That was it. It took all day, but we had fun doing it, and no amount of cloud and cold was going to stop us, it was foolproof. We had varying degrees of weather throughout the day, sometimes sunny, and sometimes on the verge of raining, but it simply didn’t matter.

Yes, you can actually win prizes for having the best looking cow...

The next day, we went to the Pembroke County Show, which may not sound like the most thrilling concept, yet we had great fun. I should inject at this point that I am not an animal enthusiast. For me, the natural beauty of a cow is when it sits in my frying pan, at the last stage of its journey to my mouth. But it was brilliant watching the dogs doing their little jumps and then getting distracted by spectators eating their lunch. Or looking at the classic car display, or the classic tractors, or the motorbike dare devils. In fact, dispite how frustrating it is seeing horse riders blocking the road, it didn’t even remotely stop me being impressed watching them in their show jumping tournament.

Unfortunately, it was but a short holiday, but for the last day, we visited the Pembertons Chocolate Farm, a local chocolate manufacturer. In the afternoon, we checked out Pembroke Dock, which at one point was a military strong hold; we explored the area around about, seeing the old military buildings and towers.

And that was my summer holiday. It was only three days long, but I’ve spent all summer doing things like that, and have had one of the best summers ever. The simple point I want to make by all this, is that the most filfilling activities do not depend on the weather, that you can have quality, uplifting family fun, in any circumstances. So if you want to have a good holiday, don’t bother going off to Disney Land, or Turkey, or anywhere like that. Go down to some coastal town or other, and go grab from the Tourist Information all the leaflets for those places you’d previously dismissed as boring.

You may still be feeling a little hard done to, that we didn’t get to see Mr Blue sky, but there’s no need to worry. September’s here now, and the sun will be getting back to work along with the rest of us.

[1] Source: The Daily Mail, so yeah, take it as you will.