Saturday, 21 March 2009

Let's all dress up and go to a CARAVAN, why don't we

I got the new Kew catalogue today. I never bought anything from them - let's face it, I buy very few things from anywhere - but it's always nice to have pretty things to put into the recycling.

Kew models usually hang around in white rooms with posh furniture and big windows, wearing navy blue clothes and very red lipstick. They usually look very sullen. For some reason, however - perhaps to cheer them up - this year they have all got in their car and gone for a day out in a tin caravan.

Here is one of them standing outside it. See how she laughs! "Look at me! With a tin caravan! I know! In a field! That green stuff underneath my feet - I wonder where they bought that from?"

I don't know about anyone else, but I am sick to the back teeth of tin caravans. Over the last few years, models from everywhere you could possibly buy clothes from have had days out in their tin caravans. White Stuff. Cath Kidston. (Though, to be fair, Cath Kidston did used to make tents, and besides, if you were to find yourself wearing this floral-with-a-bow number you might want to drive into the middle of a field and hide.) The last Fat Face shop I went into even had the side of an actual camper van propped up on the wall of the changing rooms.

Here is K T Tunstall even singing a song in a damn caravan.

For anyone like me, who was actually forced to holiday in a caravan, the idea of swanning around in it wearing new clothes from catalogues is hilarious. For a start, we don't even need to talk about why wearing white on a caravan site isn't a good idea.

And where are the anoraks? One of the Kew models is wearing a mac with three-quarter length sleeves. Why? Are wet wrists the new way to go? Are we having too much fun to care about the water-resistance of our watches?

Why is no-one carrying a chemical toilet? Also, why are there no children anywhere? The only possible reason you would be on holiday in a caravan is because you have children - either because you believe that this will be a lovely holiday in the outdoors for them which they will remember forever fondly (I do remember it mother. Not fondly) or because you are too skint to afford a hotel because you have to spend all your money on keeping your children alive.

So. No chemical toilets. No knickers on a washing line strung up between the caravan and the car. (Usually no car. How did they get there? Were they abandoned?) No children, dressed attractively in dark blue waterproofs and scowling. No dads or grandads sighing and holding a mallet. No-one shouting at one another.

What is the point of them going at all, if they're not going to do it right?


  1. Too, too funny. Have never holidayed in a caravan myself so obviously crave the glamour of it all.

    Knickers strung up between cars though? Seriously? No wonder you're scarred.

  2. The opposite of the garden furniture section of the Argos cataloge where it is all placed on luxury patio's next to enormous swimming pools ! x

  3. Firm evidence of hubby's impending mid life crisis came with the fateful words 'we could get a caravan'. Aaaaaargh.

  4. Once again we have a mind link -- please note pop-up camper behind my scruffy kid-self in my latest post. All I remember are mosquitoes and having to tinkle in a little bucket. Not exactly glamorous.

    (That blouse?!?!? What is the greater cosmic meaning of all of this high fashion that just looks like maternity wear? Has to be a powerful social statement of some sort...)

  5. P.S. Poor KT has a serious wind problem. Must be camping on the Kansas prairies where I grew up...

  6. I once voiced the very same sentiment as yours ('I do remember it, mother. Not fondly') to my parents, and they found it incomprehensible. 'But we thought you loved our caravanning holidays?' Possibly when I was 5. Not when I was 14. But then no hotel in the world would have taken in a family with 4 children, a granny and a small dog.

    Oh, and don't even get me started on the lack of bathing facilities and having to make do with a quick wipe from a damp flannel.

    When we were in our NCT classes, they asked us to say one thing our parents did that we would do with our children, and one thing we would not repeat. See if you can guess my answer to the second question ...

    And now I shall end. I feel much better!

  7. do we think that knickers, mosquitos and buckets might not sell clothes....

  8. Would the knickers have been purchased from a Bloomingdale catalogue, by any chance?

    By the way, a fairly well-known mail-order catalogue in the fifties and sixties was named after me - and, as Michael Caine would say, "Not a lot of people know that."

  9. I've heard that if you want to make lasting family memories, you should take everyone camping.

    New clothes are about the only thing that makes that idea palatable.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. It's nice to make new blog-friends. :)

  10. Brilliant post. Two words that scarred me for life - caravan and Bognor. Yes, my parents combined those two for fun family holidays for years. And it always rained. I somehow can't envisage a model leaning in an alluring fashion against a cream and brown stripe static caravan with concrete flower pot and stripy windbreaker.

  11. perhaps you should have a lie down, maybe you could have a break, have you thought about caravanning?

  12. What is it with caravans, have you seen the Joules catalogue?? tis the same approach, although with kids involved too. Have to admit it looks pretty damn charming and beautiful, but then I never went caravanning as a kid so have not been emotionally scarred.

  13. Three quarter length sleeves on a mac?

    I'm going to be perplexed by this concept for several hours.

  14. I'm remembering now. We did this! I was 5. We went to Winnipeg and it rained and I have never been so frightened in my life.

  15. ...or food poisoning...

    (may be that was unique to our family camping holidays)

  16. This is too good. Take all that caravan stuff and place it in a country with cold summers, mosquitos and midnight sun where nobody sleeps and voila - my childhood... No. Actually it was only three weeks with a friend's family. I was lucky that way. When we got back the nightmare was over for me.
    But I've found myself wishing camping for my kids. Human nature is a mystery.

  17. i have just finished a stint of living in a caravan whilst attempting to badly build a house - the pictures of women laughing whilst wearing flimsy clothes makes me want to gag........
    i spent six months attempting to keep out the cold by wearing every piece of clothing i owned, washing as little as possible without actually offending myself or anyone visiting, scraping mud off every surface and wishing that the draughty, cold, damp and moulding metal box would be blown off the bloody cliff...
    i think it best if i never see the new Kew brochure....
    nice to have found you
    t x

  18. I feel I should share the most embarassing moment of my life with you.
    15 year old painfully shy girl sits on chemical loo in canvas tent in a field, jeans and knickers around her ankles.
    It is the day's end but it is not yet dark. The farmer's daughter opens the gate at the top of the field and slips the halters off four horses who have been ridden all day by inexperienced wannabee riders.
    The horses kick up their heels and race around the field in ever-decreasing circles. A chestnut gelding catches a guyrope of the loo tent... tent and elsan loo topple over backwards. Teenage girl is left lying on her back surrounded by the poo and wee of others with her bottom half exposed to the world ..........

  19. my mate Finbar says all the women on it would trundle up to your doorstep adn the fey naive look would look like mental institution or " my friend kimblery" type.

    you wouldnt leave any of htose women in charge of your kids



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