Built in the 60's in South Australia, these caravans were sleek, roomy, and had so many cupboards that you couldnt possibly say that there wasnt enough room for your toothbrush, bathers AND extra large holiday novel. They had a big tin lined icebox, round sink with a laminex insert to create extra bench space. Bunks at one end for the wee ones and a nifty lounge area at the other that converted into a double bed for Mother and Father. The wardrobe (yes, this caravan even had a wardrobe) could open out and provide a room divider when extra privacy was required. Absolutely everything (except a loo) was included to make the holiday a memorable one.
I checked the bank balance, and then bribed the kids with a fabulous play in the park of their choice if only they would be quiet while I inspected the caravan, then off we went to inspect the grand Furness. The caravan (lets call it Francis) was a treasure. She had the original mattresses (horse hair I suspect), all the original clasps and locks, a wooden screen door, more cupboards than I could ever dream of, windows that slid along runners rather than opening out, and as if she was calling to my heart...........lots of orange and retro green soft furnishings!!!
Even as I write this post, my heart is racing and pupils are dilating! I had dreams of us jumping out of Francis onto warm sand in Strahan, running carefree down the beach and then playing cards at night. I could actually visualise me towing Francis to various craft markets around the state and setting up Otter and Wombat as a relocatable stall where people would come and marvel at her beauty. Francis would solve all our accommodation woes whenever we want to go anywhere. Wanna see a concert? Francis would be waiting for us in the car park afterwards....welcoming us home. Of course I would need to alter my attire when I was with Francis - 60's housewife frocks and aprons, hair neat and curled, lips painted...It was all figured out.
STOP PRESS.....even my husband had agreed to the purchase! A man who doesnt see value in anything old was agreeing to welcome Francis into our lives. Perhaps he could tell from the way I was speaking that I was already in love - higher pitched, fast, not letting him get a word in......
Suddenly my world crumbled. At first I wasnt sure what was happening. The owner agreed to the sale but then said he might have been confused - maybe Francis was the more expensive of the two he had for sale. Maybe the cheaper one was the caravan still in the storage container. Surely this wasnt happening. We went back to his office, he consulted paperwork. Sure enough, the cheaper one was still in the container and had been badly water damaged while in storage. It needed a whole new ply wall, re-wiring, didnt have the bunks beds, and no orange or retro green to be seen. And there was mould. Lots of it. About the only thing it did have was fabulous paintwork. I was devastated. An honest mistake on his part, but inside I was gutted. Our budget just cant stretch that far at the moment and I couldnt possibly agree to buy Francis at the higher price when we have the added costs associated with the old house.
Tonight I think I will shed a tear for what could have been. I wont be able to invite girlfriends around for tea and scones in our 60's vintage dresses. I wont be able to drive up to markets with my head held high knowing that I was towing a piece of Australian history. Francis wouldnt belong to me.
Goodbye Francis. I hope someone else loves you as much as we would. We would have been such wonderful friends. xxx