1. Partner’s should remember that ‘silence is golden’ and that sometimes it is wise and diplomatic to say nothing and/or resist the urge to retort “I suggested that but did you listen…..?” This is especially the case when your other half claims the handheld control for the motor mover is broken; then blames you for not bringing spare handset batteries; questions the installing engineer’s integrity and workmanship and finally discovers what you already knew, namely that the motor mover hadn’t been switched on inside the caravan.
2. Partner’s should avoid being a ‘clever clogs’ and never start a sentence with ‘I think you will find……!” Your partner will soon discover what you already know; that the motor-mover won’t work because the handbrake for the caravan is still on. Remember, this is an invaluable opportunity to let them work this out for themselves as it means they won’t make the same mistake a second time! Of course, this supposition is based on the premise that you didn’t marry an idiot in the first place! Remember idiots are people who don’t learn the first time and go on to repeat the mistake again at a later time and place!!
3. A partner should always be encouraging even when their spouse is being dumb! For example, when you are trying to reverse up to the caravan and trying to align the tow ball precisely under the caravan hitch, be very diplomatic and encouraging when your partner follows your instructions to the letter and goes and stands behind the car, in the only blind spot and then whispers reversing instructions using a set of invisible hand instructions which you can’t see and which work contrary to the way you want to actually go.
4. And, remember to always thank them afterwards for this invaluable type of help!
5. Partners should not take things literally! For example, when I said ‘please can you go to the back of the caravan so I can position the towing mirrors’, I didn’t mean you should actually go and stand directly behind the rear panel of the caravan out of view; where you can’t be seen…..ever…….from any tow mirror……attached to anything other than the space station!
6. You should NEVER abandon your partner whilst caravanning. Think it by all means but never, never do it in reality even with partners who keep saying “Well if it was me who was doing it, I’d have….”. Resist the temptation to let them find themselves doing it far more quickly than they imagined….. because you will have taken the car and gone home to finish your work bench!
7. A partner should never resort to shouting or using bad language. In response to the incessant phrase from your other half …..“The manual says…..” a partner should be very diplomatic, count to 10,000 first and then think carefully about what they want to say. “**** the bloody manual” should never, never be uttered, even under extreme duress. Remember a four-hundred-page manual is there to help in those times when water is gushing out of the wrong end of pipes.
8. One should never distinguish between ‘boy jobs’ and ‘girl jobs’. This is the age of ‘gender equality’. Everyone is equally capable of filling an aqua-roll, emptying a waste water container and disposing of toilet cassette waste at the appropriate disposal point and yes…it is a messy job but that doesn’t make it immediately a ‘boy’s job’!
9. A partner should NEVER use ‘alluring’ tactics to try and get their own way or preferential treatment from their other half. Consequently, lying alluringly on the sofa with your arm held up at right angles and wine glass being constantly proffered up for a refill in now banned. Should either partner have an over consuming need for alcohol, then an intravenous alcohol drip can be rigged within minutes thereby allowing the other partner to have peace and quiet so that he can read his very exciting book!
10. One is to exercise extreme care when going to the toilet at night. Crawling over one’s partner during the night does not necessitate kneeing them in the groin and then sniggering about it with glee.
11. Likewise, there is to be no unauthorized torch shining. if you shine a torch in your partner’s face at 3am whilst crawling over said person to reach the toilet then yes, it seems only fair that you should expect a stream of invective back.
12. If you know something is empty, do the decent thing and go and replace it or fill it up. Standing there, knowing that the aqua roll is empty, and giggling, whilst your partner swears blind the pump has broken and ‘it’s a brand-new caravan and isn’t that shoddy workmanship’…….is not sporting! It’s mean!
13. NO unauthorized duvet rolling. It is mean AND selfish to roll yourself up in the duvet at 4 in the morning to mimic a cocooned caterpillar. You may arise like a butterfly in the morning. Your partner, who froze all night, won’t! That is just plain selfishness!
14. Buying and equipping a new caravan is very exciting. In the interest of harmony, partners should take it in turn to choose one item for the new caravan and refrain from criticising their partner’s choice or taste. Thus, no partner will be able to dislike every single item of crockery, cutlery, oven gloves, table mats and cooking utensils that the other partner suggests for the caravan in an attempt to assert her tastes on everything! Sometimes your other half may have ‘superior taste’. After all he did choose you! In addition, his parents and sisters now all live in the Cotswolds and shop in Cheltenham and Bath – so naturally, he will predisposed towards good taste.
15. Agree, straight away not to damage the new caravan. For example, pulling the knobs off the draws on a brand-new caravan on day one is likely to be justifiably met with severe distain from your partner!
16. Negotiate the opening of doors, windows and skylights. Knowing that your partner gets cold quickly, it is very mean to wait until she is dozing, and then open every window and skylight in the van to let in the ‘bracing fresh countryside air’.
17. Negotiate and agree the precise place for each item in the caravan and then STICK to this arrangement! Having instructed your partner to load the van whilst you are at work; having listened patiently as he explains where he has put everything; telling him he has done very well, and then whilst he is sorting out water, waste water and toilet cassette outside, you re-arrange everything so he can’t find anything on his return……. that’s just plain childish! Funny, but childish! Telling him that you used common sense whilst he didn’t think at all – is likely to wind him up further!
18. It is courteous to ask before altering the heating system. Sneaking on the thermostat to raise the temperature, hoping your partner doesn’t notice - that’s devious!
19. Do not deliberately find ‘character buildings tasks’ for your partner just for the fun of it. Letting your partner go out in the pouring rain at 11.30pm to refill the suddenly empty aqua roll instead of insisting that he stay nice, snug and warm in the cosy caravan………. was not about allowing him to ‘feel good about himself’. Laughing yourself silly inside whilst listening to him outside struggling to connect a water pump in the dark, in the lashing rain, in a quagmire was immature.
20. Only those who empty the toilet cassette can use the caravan toilet. Those who don’t, rightly deserve to have to trudge through the rain to the nearest toilet block. On their ‘trudge’ they might reflect on their argument about ‘boy’s jobs and ‘girl’s jobs’!!
21. We are not here to entertain the rest of the caravan/camping site. Seriously? Making silly ‘Happy, sad and bad bunny’ silhouettes against the caravan curtains to entertain the rest of the campsite at 10.30 at night……. Seriously?
We have survived our first mini adventure in our caravan. We clearly need to agree some rules! But we didn’t kill each other or plead ‘justifiable manslaughter’ in either case and we genuinely can’t wait to do it again……caravanning that is…. not justifiable manslaughter.