Home away from Home


We meandered our way down through the site following the signs to the “Site Office’ which was in a house set amongst several smaller annexed outbuildings. This time mum and dad decided a combined charm offensive was the best approach, although I suspect Dad let Mum do the talking.

They disappeared inside, and reappeared a short time later accompanied by a kindly looking white haired gentleman who bore an uncanny resemblance to James Stewart.(Dad’s favourite actor). That he turned out to be called Mr Robinson, Lemon Barley water was my favourite ‘Squash’ drink – could only mean The Gods (sorry, One True God- once a Catholic always a Catholic..) had finally decided to smile on us.

My dad reversed car and caravan ( a maneuver he was now becoming quite skilled at) and then drove slowly behind a walking Mr Robinson through the site and into what I later came to know as ‘Middle Field’.  Like some sort of New Age caravan shepherd, Mr. Robinson guided us toward a far corner close to a large hedge. Then followed another 10 minutes or so of serious reverse to-ing and froing, during which we kids had to “Get out of the car!’. With sometimes conflicting instruction shouted by both my mum and Mr Robinson the Sprite was finally parked and orientated to everyone’s apparent satisfaction, and Mr Robinson left us to it.

“Here’s to you Mr Robinson!”  my mum shouted after him. (A joke that I would not get until 50 years later as I write this.)

Dad unhitched the Viva, and pulled a big crank handle out of the boot and set to work winding the mechanism that lowered the Sprites stabilizer legs, both front and back. From where I was stood it looked like he was winding up some sort of giant clockwork toy, and half expected it to start trundling around whilst playing a tune. But after 5 minutes of red-faced grunting and winding, he finally declared the job done with a triumphant. “There! That’s not going anywhere!

This apparently meant that it was now safe to finally enter our new home away from home.

Those familiar with Doctor Who will be aware that his preferred mode of transport around the Universe is the Tardis; a Space Craft which externally resembles a regular sized British Police telephone box (approx. 6 feet x 6 feet x 7 feet high), but internally the interior is much larger, and can comfortably accommodate The Doctor, his assistant, and robot dog K9, with enough room left over to swing a robot cat (K8?) if he had one.

The same peculiar twist in the space time continuum at work in the Doctors Tardis also applies to the Sprite. Alas it adds another twist and so works completely in reverse. From outside it appears to be an approx. 12 x 7 x 7.5 box, but internally, despite the ‘surprisingly spacious’ reviews expressed in ‘Caravans and Campers, actually seems rather smaller.

My mum unlocked the door and one by one we entered. At the far end was a small table with a bench ‘sofa’ on opposite side and my sisters and I squeezed around it on either side, while my mum fussed around her new ‘kitchen’, flicking back various, bolts which then allowed hinged surfaces to swing upwards revealing a small sink, drainer, gas hob and grill.

My dad we could see from the window was still wrestling a Calor Gaz bottle and various other items from the boot of the Viva, but in a moment appeared at the door, clutching the large white plastic container which would soon serve as our main water supply once filled.

“How is it?”  he asked.

“Cosy?”, said mum.

“Great! I will just hook up the gas. Myles can you go and  fill this with water?”



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