Sunday, January 6, 2013

Caravan of love

Today is a special day for two reasons.

First, it is exactly twelve years since Andy and I went on our first date in London. We met below the clock at Waterloo Station at midday and proceeded to take in a “Women at War” exhibition at the Imperial War Museum before catching a bus (From Lambeth Walk no less) to Piccadilly Circus where we indulged in a curry and a drink or two. A few more drinks were had in Soho before we met up with some friends of his and hit a nightclub that only played incredibly hip 60s music. We parted at 4am in different black cabs (but not before he’d stuck the lips on me) with the knowledge that something rather wonderful had just happened. We’ve been a couple ever since and I can honestly say that we’ve had a blast. So here’s to you Mr. L, I love you, like you and appreciate you; you’re the cat’s whiskers and the bee’s knees.

Second (and almost as importantly) today is the day I bought my first Vintage Caravan Magazine. Somehow, this publication managed to get up to issue 11 without me knowing about it but there’ll be no more of that! I will henceforth be an ardent subscriber.

Caravanning is cool
I have always wanted a caravan. And by always I don’t mean since it became kind of cool to be into all things kitsch and vintage. I mean that when I was a kid I used to ask for a “Gypsy” caravan for Christmas (I never got one, though I did receive an excellent beanbag and a Womble one year).

There is something magical about caravans; they appealed as a sort of giant dolls house on wheels when I was a child, a home in miniature with cute gingham curtains and sofas that transformed into beds. The extravagantly decorated Romany caravans represented freedom, a life off the chain, filled with adventure and warm nights punctuated by music and dancing, firelight and stars.

As an adult I came to see the humble caravan as a way of establishing a “room of my own” (though I’m fairly confident a van is not what Virginia Woolf had in mind when she recommended it). I’ve long held the dream of buying an old caravan and renovating it, turning it into a study/craft room/reading and tea drinking space, parked permanently in the back garden. And I’ll confess that I know this is where the kitsch would come in as I simply couldn’t resist the pull of retro colours and a vintage fit-out.
But lately I have come to the realisation that the caravan can be all of the above: a miniature home, a mode of transport, a taste of freedom and a special space for the things we love to do. Inspired by this knowledge I have just floated the idea of towing one along the Great Ocean Road, an idea met with surprising enthusiasm by Andy. The thought of our midgets (plural! Only 10 weeks to go…) running in and out of the van while we cook dinner and chat about where we might head tomorrow - knowing that a complete change of plans is only a turn of the steering wheel away – fills me with the sort of joy that makes you squeeze your eyes shut and raise your shoulders a little bit.
Currently we aren’t in a financial position to make the dream a reality but I will make it happen, watch this space. In the meantime there is caravan porn (my new mag even has a centrefold in the shape of an 8-foot 4-inch 1950s caravan called Jellybean) and time to create the perfect van… on Pinterest at least.
Happy travels y’all!


  1. You make ME want a caravan! Every part of it sounds fabulous :)

  2. I love it! Are we related?????

  3. I'm a caravan pimp! There is something so special about those little vans, something comforting I think.

    Lisa if you're a shapely bookworm with a penchant for tea and creme eggs then I'd say a familial bond is a certainty!