Whenever someone buys me book vouchers as a present, I always try to buy something that feels like a special purchase that I will keep. So when I came across this wonderful book it was straight to the checkout with my vouchers and a smile, because anybody who knows me will know about my obsession with caravans.
I owned my own caravan, a static on a farm in North Wales, for 10 years, and she was my pride and joy. Sadly Big Bertha is only with us in spirit now, through photos and many happy, and almost legendary, times there, so I now indulge my obsession with pictures of other peoples caravans.
There was a time when caravanning and caravaners had taken a back seat to holidays abroad, and the modern caravanner was a dying breed, but I know many people of a certain age will harbour secret childhood memories of rainy family holidays staying in vans across the countryside. Like all icons of nostalgia, the caravan is enjoying a revival, for lots of different generations, and types of people.
This book ticked every box for me, lovely pictures of old retro type caravans, lovingly restored by their owners, with a piece for each one and their doting human companion. I wanted every one.
Every iconic type of van is represented, from The Teardrop and The American Airstream, to customised hybrids, trailers and other roadworthy dwellings. Some travel around, others are summer homes in the garden. All of them are highly loved and furnished with a befitting quirky style. Forty caravans are represented, of all vintages, and from across the world.
This is one of those books that not only gives me huge pleasure when I pick it up, but it also helps me realise there are many others who share my passion. There are others who understand.
I don't know if I will ever own another van. I think I have assumed that one day another will come my way, a Big Bertha II, or a Little Bertha. Who knows? Until then I have this book to keep me going.
There are many groovy caravan enthusiasts and societies about. If you feel inspired to see more caravan pics, check out this Static Caravan Appreciation Society set up on flickr.