Posted By on 26th March 2018

Love them or hate them caravans are a part of holiday motoring here in the UK and offer a relatively cheap and flexible means of summer breaks for people on a budget, even if they do infuriate other road users. Back in the day we too were caravanners.

It was the year after we got married when we bought our first one, a cute little thing as you can see here.

Come on, it was 1974!

The artwork on the side of the van was done by ‘yours truly’ in one of my rare artistic moments and was one of the ‘Love is – -cartoons’, popular at the time.

Not long after we upgraded to a slightly newer model which you can see here, I’m afraid neither of the photos have survived the last 40+ years in very good condition.

Sadly the freedom of the open road came to an abrupt halt in Wales a few years later. We’d left the van in a sort of lay-by at the side of a country lane and gone off sightseeing for the day, when we returned to it in the evening the windows had been smashed, there was glass everywhere.

At the time we didn’t feel we’d done anything wrong, but with the benefit of age and hindsight we may have been pushing our luck, though a stern note on the door would have had the desired effect, they didn’t need to put a brick through the windows!

We had little option but to pack up, hitch up and head for home even though it was quite late, trouble was we didn’t have enough petrol for the entire journey.

You have to remember here that this was the late 1970’s, 24hr petrol stations were thin on the ground and mobile phones were still science fiction. I have no idea after all these years if we had some contingency plan, all I know is we just set off home.

Needless to say petrol began to run dangerously low. I can’t remember exactly where we were, which towns we were near or how we pulled off this miracle, but we did, we found a 24hr petrol station.

Trouble was in those days they weren’t ‘manned’ and credit card petrol pumps were unknown, so the only way we were going to get any petrol was if we had a load of 50pence pieces to feed into the pump, and we didn’t.

I was dispatched to find some. It was dark, so presumably quite late, everything was closed and there wasn’t a sole on the streets. I knocked on the door of the only house with a light on and the miracle continued.

I don’t know who was most nervous, me or the lady who answered her door through the letterbox. Well who could blame her. I explained our problem, could she help?

The third and final part of the miracle was the fact that she could as she did have lots of 50pence pieces, I have no idea why. We did the deal, I thanked her profusely and returned to Peter who was waiting at the petrol station. We bought as much petrol as we could and arrived home just as dawn was breaking.

After that we flirted briefly with camping in a tent, but it soon became clear it wasn’t for us, so that was that, and even though our caravan/camping days are behind us Peter still has a soft spot for an ‘Airstream’.

But caravans aren’t always a nightmare. Fast forward 40 years or so and my sister and her husband lived in a caravan for a few months while they were doing up their cottage in Scotland.

Even after work was completed and they moved into the cottage the caravan still provided useful extra storage.

But all good things must come to an end and so it is with caravans, but as we discovered with Glady’s shed and garage some old things often put up a fight

and the old caravan was no exception.

Where are Clarkson, Hammond and May when you need them!

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