The Caravan of Enlightenment

I am just back from a week away in a caravan with my kids, my grandkids and (in a near-by ‘van) various accumulated ‘in-laws’* and during those seven days I have learned many things about the world in general and more specifically, about myself and my place within it as I get older.  I lay before you here, in no particular order, some of what I have learned…

  • The caravan, like the world in general, is filled with good intentions and disappointing outcomes.
  • There is nowhere in a caravan in which the keys cannot be lost.
  • The world’s most efficient noise-amplification system is also known as the caravan bathroom.
  • There is a huge amount of storage in a caravan – which you will discover on the day you leave.
  • A single raindrop inadvertently introduced to a sealed caravan can render everything within it damp within twenty four hours.
  • It is possible to sleep whilst a fox evenly distributes everything from your bin across a thirty acre campsite.
  • It is not possible to sleep whilst someone is snoring in a caravan three blocks away.
  • A banana is just a banana – unless it is the last banana.
  • Never give your opinion when your shoe size will do.
  • Life is always easy when one person knows the answer.  Life is never easy when two people know the answer.
  • It is easy to understand how easily history is manipulated when you realise how quickly your own contribution to any conversation is erased from it.
  • The sun may well shine on the righteous, but when it rains on the beach, you all get wet.
  • The only person more right than the person with proof is the person who doesn’t need any.
  • A watched kettle never boils – especially when you can’t work out how to turn it on.
  • I am just as strong as I have always been – just not for as long.
  • I am physiologically incapable of tolerating the North Sea at anything above knee level.
  • There is absolutely no point in fighting it – I am to blame.

I hope it helps…

PS the caravan was absolutely nothing like the caravan in the picture at the head of this piece, although I did spend a great number of the weekends of my youth in such a tin can. If you would like to read about it, you can do so here in ‘A Pied-a-Terre of Yellow-Glossed Metal – The Van Beside the Sea (and Will There Be Cockles Still for Tea?)’.

*Hence I have not really been able to keep up with blog reading, an issue that I will endeavour to rectify over the next few days.

18 thoughts on “The Caravan of Enlightenment

  1. Hahaha… The last three are me in a nutshell.

    I am just as strong as I have always been – just not for as long.
    I am physiologically incapable of tolerating the North Sea at anything above knee level.
    There is absolutely no point in fighting it – I am to blame.

    I’ve slept in a caravan twice in my life. Once in the 1970’s and once in the 1980’s. Both of those experiences I have tried to expunge from my memory… You have just brought those sad memories flooding back… Thank you!

    The caravan was invented for the traveling gypsy, not for people with a perfectly good house with all of the modern conveniences. As you age, toilet privacy becomes paramount. You should not have to lie in a cramped bed with no outside sounds other than the rustling of the leaves, listening to a family member sat on the equally cramped chemical toilet, slicing the cheese!

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      1. I introduced my niece and nephew, at a very early age, to the euphemism ‘Slicing the Cheese’. It means breaking wind, letting one go, a noxious back blast, an opportunity to shout out “More tea Vicar”… Et al…

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  2. I don’t think I ever went camping like that. It’s always been tents or, in years gone by, a sleeping bag under the stars. Nowadays I do use a cot in the tent. You have laid out a set of truths that cannot be denied.

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      1. Hahahaha…Sleeping out in the desert you need a very warm sleeping bag because it does get quite cold but no, I’ve never suffered hypothermia for that reason. I’ve also never had my trousers stolen.

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  3. ‘The only person more right than a person with proof is someone who doesn’t need any.’ That has been the encapsulation of secular v faith beliefs (or disbeliefs) since the just and Good God on high enlightened the world and us blind befuddled benighted sinners with His heavenly illuminations. Or the bloody Big Bang, whatever.

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    1. Do you know, I nearly took that line out because I was worried about how people would take it. As you yourself do so brilliantly, I write things with the hope that they can be read in a number of different ways and then I panic when I see one I hadn’t thought of. Some of the biggest concepts can hide really tiny ones: I remember an occasion when my gentle dad was so driven to distraction by my mum’s argument that he went off to consult an encyclopedia in order to furnish the proof that he was correct. He flourished it at her with a triumph I had never before seen on his face. My mum slowly read the encyclopedia entry and said ‘It’s wrong’. The subject was closed. Those who do not need proof (about anything) simply cannot be proved wrong. Those who have faith- proper faith – however, are very different. I wish I had some!

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      1. Yeah. Sometimes you can’t win. Truth and logic should meet somewhere, somehow but they can be taken off on some fantastical tangents. Sigh. What can you do?

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  4. I’ve some of the fondest of memories of living in a caravan, up on The Loons above Stromness. I’d fetch my messages on a pony an’ cart. 🐎 One roll of wallpaper decorated the whole kitchen. An actual open fire in the sleeping/seating area. Gas lights lit with matches. Washing clothes in a big ol’ square hand washing machine near the stand pipe, often in the rain. 🌧
    It’s all gone now, but here’s the Google map image of the stand pipe:,-3.3070506,3a,15y,356.57h,75.42t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7IEYop44oIfxRD3F1PoIgw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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