Reading ranks as one of my favourite past times – at home but mostly when we are away in the caravan. Whether it be outside soaking up the rays in the lounger or inside on a chilly wet day, I love relaxing with a book. Nothing heavy and mostly crime fiction but a do like a good travel yarn too.
Some will know that BC – Before Caravan – we used to travel a lot further afield. Australia was our favourite but we also made it to New Zealand. Size wise it’s more manageable by car and back in the late 90’s we had a wonderful six weeks touring in an old banger stopping at motels along the way.
So a book about caravanning in New Zealand was a must read, although to be clear the caravan featured in the book is no longer a tourer, but now very much a static in the middle of the ‘wop wops’ – or the wilds of the New Zealand countryside.
The author spent a year or so living in the ‘van and his narrative is interweaved with that of the caravan. Yes, you read it right, the caravan tells part of the story. Unusual? Yes, although a number of us on Twitter have been ‘conversing’ with a caravan for a while in the guise of @elvisthelddis.
Ok, so it initially at least may seem a little bizarre to have an inanimate object tell a story but in fact it works very well. You hear about it’s life on the road – while it still had wheels – and some of it’s more eccentric occupiers too. It intersperses well with the authors own recollections of his time in New Zealand and in the ‘van. Particularly in the winter when he has none of the creature comforts that makes modern caravanning so much more enjoyable. Like heating!
You get a bit of history of New Zealand too – clearly a lot of research went in to this book and whilst that was interesting, personally I would have loved to have heard more of the Authors exploits too. Overall though it was an entertaining and informative read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jon very kindly sent me the paperback version that you can find on Amazon for – at the time of typing - £4.99, or those with Kindles can download the ebook version for 99p. It is also available from Barnes & Noble.