Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Luggage that Makes a Bid for Freedom...

SOME people are good at packing for holidays. I am not one of them. Lacking the psychic powers of Mystic Meg, I have to rely on the Met Office for information about the weather and, since the experts who compile the forecasts are not infallible, I never know what to take.

I start by making lists. Will I need warm jumpers or skimpy T-shirts? Posh frocks or tatty jeans? What about a mac and brolly, just in case? And what about shoes, which always seem to take up so much space? Comfy flats for walking are a must, but I’m not going anywhere without a pair of heels, the higher and spikier the better.

A growing pile of garments for all weathers and occasions wobbles beside the case as I turn my attention to vital items like curling tongs, make-up, suncream, shower cream, and first aid supplies.

And I must have some books (three is ideal - a new read, an old favourite, and something connected to our destination), crossword magazines, a travel clock, a camera, my mobile phone, an old mp3 player, various chargers, pens, pencils, paper, tea bags, dried milk, travel kettle, an iron... throw in a cuddly toy and it's like prizes on the Generation Game conveyor belt.

The problem is compounded by the fact that we have acquired an ancient camper van (the successor to the House on Wheels) which requires an awful lot of equipment to be stowed away in a very confined space. Pans, crockery, cutlery, tins and packets of food, cleaning equipment, loo rolls, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets (in case it's cold), hot water bottles (ditto), the waste water container, a loo, towels, tea towels, dish cloths, the awning and all the bits that go with it... the list is endless.

Furthermore everything has to be securely battened down. At least with the caravan I could chuck stuff in and once we were on the road we could neither see nor hear it. But the camper van is not so forgiving. Last time we used it we were contemplating a trip to the garage to investigate the worrying rattle - until we realised it was the sound of the grill pan banging against the sides of the cooker. Any loose items of luggage have an alarming habit of making a bid for freedom by hurling themselves in the general direction of the Man of the House, who is not best pleased about fending off attacks from fast-moving shoes, jackets, bags while he is trying to concentrate on driving.

And it's not just the packing that I find so difficult: on our return home it all has to be unpacked and restored to its rightful place. Sometimes I wonder if life would be easier without holidays and packing...

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