Aaaaah, that's nice. Although Club Sites necessarily mean that when you step out of your own little private space, you see nothing but other caravanners scattered through the trees, rather like a sylvan hotel, undeniably the handy facilities are pleasant, and they can make a difference. I've just had a really good shower, and washed my hair, and I feel fresh again. I also exchanged amiable hellos with half a dozen people on my stroll to the toilet block and back, and with two ladies inside the shower section, just as I was smearing oil onto my hair, to help with the split ends. All terribly enjoyable.
How nice to feel that the ladies toilets are my territory, and that I have a government-backed (and irrevocable) right to go into a ladies' shower block, strip off, and let hot water work its magic on skin that felt rather sticky after yesterday afternoon's heat.
In fact it struck me afterwards that maybe it wasn't all about getting clean. Perhaps in a small way I wanted to assert my rights, or at least (because I'm not a political person, given to shouting loudly about what I ought to have) to indulge myself a little, to make a statement of sorts that I, Lucy Melford, was comfortable and carefree about tripping off to a female sanctum, and acknowledging greetings from Manchester Man or Worcester Woman on the way.
And these were not exclusively ancient, retired men and women either: nowadays caravanning - with an elegant touring caravan I mean, not those ghastly box-like static caravans on huge sites like the one at Porthcawl - has become popular with (well-heeled) young families. Because after the initial outlay on caravan and towcar, the rest is peanuts. Well, comparatively so. I've done some sums, and the fuel cost rules out another tour of Scotland till my State Pension kicks in. But if I were a parent with a young family, with an income of £50,000 a year, and I was tired of airport hassle, tired of all the extra costs that seem to get heaped onto a supposedly fixed foreign holiday package, and reluctant to speak anything but English, then I'd be looking at self-catering holidays in the UK - or caravanning - as a cheap and flexible way to take the family away for a couple of weeks.
And such families come to proper Club sites, because it's nice for the kids, nice for them, a guaranteed easy time in quiet surroundings. They tend not to visit the farm sites, where I like to go, because there's less for young children to do, and they get bored. And nothing kills a holiday more than bored children. Except perhaps a simmering marital breakup.
It started off overcast today, but the forecast is hot sunshine, and it's brightening up. I think I'll stroll into town this morning, suss out the place, find out where the action is, have a coffee and a baguette somewhere, take some architectural photographs, visit the Museum maybe. Then relax this afternoon. And if there's a sunset - or a wild thunderstorm - take Fiona out to some vantage point and feel the wind in my hair.