The Far Patio

 

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People with patios are fortunate – they have a space to go and sit in the warmer weather that is not inside the house. They can take a folding chair and a bottle of lemonade and a book and just sit there in raggedy shorts and a blue singlet and no-one makes them do anything. Except the insects – they keep the party lively. The sad thing is that people have a short span of appreciation and eventually get sick of seeing the clothesline and shed when they look up from the paperback. That is why Volkswagen vans were invented.

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That and Australian tourists who want to do the UK and Europe but have heard bad things about backpackers hostels – they hire VW camper vans from a ring of firms just outside London and head for Glastonbury and Oktoberfest. Yes, I can see you nodding your heads out there…

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Well, we all have that urge sometime. And the VW vans for some reason have racked up more trips through wet fields in France than Heinz Guderian ever did. Once experienced, they are never forgotten, and the sight of laminex-veneered particle board and tiny stainless steel sinks can induce awful flashbacks in middle aged Australians.

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These examples at the VW Car Club Show are just a tiny selection of a vast army of voitures de camping. You can find all the comforts of home in them, but not in the same van. Oh, I’ll amend that – the big flashy modern silver one does indeed have everything that opens and shuts and the chap showing it was delighted to take people on tours of the living area. It would certainly be as comfortable as living in a Japanese capsule hotel for a couple of months and I’ll bet it in a high wind it handles nearly as well as the hotel.

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The smaller and older ones give away a little in elegant finish ( though I do like the yellow curtains ) but not in functionality. The grey-blue splitty with the full length roof rack probably has a gas blacksmith’s forge and a wine cellar somewhere in the fold-outs. One could camp out in it comfortably until the warrants ran out and if you loaded the rack with all your supplies you could subsist for even longer. With a quiet beach to park by and a source of running water there would be little need to ever return.

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See? All you have to do is get close to VW vans and you start to get a desire to run away to a desert isle. Or if you are a gourmand, a dessert aisle…

 

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