It is rare that I find myself agreeing with Jeremy Clarkson on anything. But I will grudgingly accept that the man speaks the truth on the matter of caravans. They are dreadful.
As I type, I am sat in what can only be described as a glorified tin can on wheels. The rain is pounding down and my husband and brother-in-law are studiously avoiding the fact that one of them has to go and sort out the chemical toilet.
Caravanning is wrong. It shouldn't happen. Alas, it does. Should you ever be unfortunate enought to find yourself on a caravan holiday, follow this handy guide and you may just survive:
1. Ask yourself "why the hell am I doing this?". If words like "freedom", "the great outdoors", "nature" and "relaxation" figure in your answer, reassess your options. Caravans DO NOT deliver on any of these promises - no matter what former Labour MP, Margaret Beckett says (because she is, obviously, your first port of call for advice on holiday planning matters).
Caravans do offer great opportunities to empty chemical toilets and have showers in dirty communal shower blocks! What fun! Please consider other options like a youth hostel, b&b, teepee or yurt. My research has shown that making a den under the dinner table offers more fun than a week caravanning in Wales.
2. If you really have to go on a caravan holiday, make sure that you really like the people you are going with. You will have to spend long periods of time with them in an enclosed space. Let me put it this way: you will be inhaling a lot of their bodily gases.
3. Take flip-flops to wear in the inevitably skanky shower block. I won't go into unnecessary detail on this, but I will give you two words: "foot fungus".
4. Take playing cards.
5. Take booze. Lots of booze.
6. Give up all hope of feeling clean or dry for at least two days after arriving home.
7. Make-up is pointless. Instead, revel in your own filth. It is liberating, in a way. In a very slight way.
8. Buy some of those cool mini-packs of cereals. Come breakfast time, you can even mix two different types of cereal together! This will provide a small glimmer of joy after a sleepless night of howling winds and rain drumming on the roof.
9. Only use the caravan toilet in emergencies. It is a courtesy to your fellow caravan inhabitants, especially the poor old schmuck who ends up emptying it. Number twos are the reserve of the toilet block only.
10. Don't do it. Just don't. Stay at home.
Image via Jacob Davies' Flickr