We always try to brush off minor worries with a cheery - and brave if a little trepidatious - "what's the worst that can happen?". Dear Traveller, one of the worst things that can happen whilst being away in the van is finding that also sharing the journey, sitting grinning inanely out of the windscreen, is a diarrhoea and vomiting bug. Murderous! Especially if there are no toilets nearby!! See, we have an agreement....no solids in the van toilet. Not that diarrhoea is solid but....you get the idea. How many holes can one dig without leaving the area looking like a mole army battleground? A toxic mole army battleground at that. The dreaded D/V struck us both whilst we were enjoying a peaceful weekend in the Suffolk countryside in an orderly and pristine campsite. Just making it outside at dark-o-clock to throw up right outside the van door is not conducive to a romantic break. Nor does it endear one to one's fellow field-sharers. Then there is the hurried trot (sorry!) to the camp toilet block ....again and again. Probably leaving a well-worn trail in the camp site's beautifully manicured grass. Never mind what we left in the impossibly clean facilities. Well....we came home. Having invented a new high number on the Bristol Stool chart, we did not want to share our new found infamy.
“A VW van….a Cree? CREE? What is that?” is what we usually hear when we proudly tell people that that is what we travel around in. They hear “van” and “VW” and assumptions are leapt at with misted-eyed nostalgia and longing. “VW” and “van” invoke teenage dreams of picnics in the woods and wild-fire parties on the beach. It is the CREE bit that throws them.
Then the mist clears….like that sobering moment when you see your parents are also at the beach party.
” oh….so not a proper V-Dub then….not a real one”.
That goes down well with us every time….NOT!
Yes, it is a real one….a Volkswagen “Camper-van” for grown-ups.
It is a camper-van for grown-ups who are prepared to not fit in with any group, sub-group or genre- it is a little enclave all of its own. Too reliable to be a “loved-by-all character” , too clumsy to be cute, too middle-aged-comfortable to be trendy and too old to be hip-hop-and-happening. We love the anonymity whilst mildly (in our grown up way)resenting the lack of recognition.
Being alone in the crowd is great….seriously great….but being ignored is slightly, unnervingly, irritating. We have a hidden craving to be different yet still want that “hey! How are you?” from fellow travellers.
A hidden craving which is not so well hidden sometimes.
We wave madly at other T4 drivers -and see them checking to see whether their indicators are still flashing, saying “What is up with motorhome drivers?”. Those who own those coveted, sweet little brightly-coloured, bunting festooned VW day-vans don’t even see us. Even the vehicle they drive thinks “Just a motorhome….not a proper van”
We use the word “van” and the picture of the iconic “splittie” or “Westie” springs to mind but the Cree is simply not that cute! Bunting doesn’t work in its chunky broad beam. It is a big amiable beast as opposed to a cute playful kitten. But it is still a VW van. The front of a T4 van, with living quarters added. VAN! See ?
Plus….we have a toilet and shower room.
Ok…we drool over photos of those little vans too. We probably want the picnics in the woods and the wild-fire beach parties…well…maybe a barbecue and an early night. But one has to be practical…we wanted room for four small to medium size people when necessary. And not have those people spitting at each other after a day or so of camping. And we wanted to be able to be comfortably spread out. And take badminton racquets. And clean clothing. And somewhere for the lady to dress. You know?
So we chose comfort. Dreams can be planned whilst settling down to sleep comfortably and then lived the next day. We are living our dream without breaking our sleep pattern. Or the bank.
Through the glass…a lot of what is written here will be observations made through the glass of the front windscreen of an old, lumbering, slightly shabby road ship of dreams – our beloved CREE motor-home.
As well as this, THROUGH THE GLASS carries a deeper meaning. Everyone looks at life through glass of some sort – our filters: our experiences, our opinions of what we are looking at, our upbringing and culture, our past and present – even our current mood which changes with the wind. NOT just me is it?? THROUGH THE GLASS will give me the chance to write – prose, poetry, thoughts, rants and general squit. It will allow me to explore my own filters…and challenge them. It will show me how to clean the glass that I look through and see what is really out there…and the possibilities that await.
The CREE will feature heavily in this – it is when traveling in that cumbersome beast that I lose the sense of heaviness which comes with living in this busy-busy rat race. I lose the sense of anxiety that the passage of time brings. I lose my sense of self – the ego sleeps a little more soundly. I lose the cage I created for myself and step outside its confines into a world where anything is possible – a world where I am not frightened to try.
I may even explain the word SQUIT for anyone who is not from Suffolk!
Love – TRUDI