Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


i`ve spent some time today going through ill-organised websites trying to find Dumbo Rats for my caravan friend. I`m not really a rat person, though I`ve killed a few in my time - yes you have to when you live in an ancient cottage in a wood, and even in the cities, folks, they say you are always within spitting distance of a rat

I`d hate to live permanently in a caravan. I spent every summer of my childhood caravanning, and can imagine what they`d be like in winter.

In those days caravans were made of wood. Not like gypsy ones - generally like modern ones, but design with a bit of post-war modernist flair, and lots of plywood and wooden beading that soon fell off. Usually well-buckled plywood, as I remember. I used to meet up with all my cousins as our vans were parked in some muddy field or other.

It`s the wet days that stick in the memory. The rain drumming on the roof, the merry plinking tunes played by drips falling relentlessly into many pans and tin lids and old cans. The chewing gum and (when I was very young) Plasticine called into service to fill the cracks. The gnawing unease of knowing that the toilet was at the very furthest corner of the soaking field.

On the good days there would be the walk to the beach, past the squatters camped in the disused barracks (lots of people were homeless just after the war, in the land fit for heroes) and good days in the sand, regardless of cold or rising wind - if my grandmother came to the beach she would dig in with many rugs and cushions, and only a hurricane would shift her. The word "bracing" was used a lot. (No, Easyjet flights to Lanzarotte were not even on the horizon then.....)

In the evenings there was the oil lamp glow, and the radio. This last was a venerable utility model, powered by an "accumulator" - a wet lead-acid battery. Another frequent excursion was to the garage to get this user-unfriendly item topped up. No, we hadn`t heard of Health and Safety then. Yes, I have had accidental splashes of battery acid and lived to tell the tale. KIds were different then. Expected to be tougher in many ways, especially practical ones.

Was itr fun? Yes.

Did it leave me yearnning today for the life of the open road?

What do you think?
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