Next week it’s the Spring Caravan and Camping Show at Birmingham’s NEC. It’s making me feel a tiny bit nostalgic as it marks ten years since my first public appearance on behalf of The Camping and Caravanning Club.
Back in 2003 I was called in to help at the Boat and Caravan Show (as it was then called) because the Club’s Public Relations Officer had left at short notice. The truth is - I’ve been hooked ever since.
This year I’m scheduled to give a brief presentation on ‘the stories behind the articles’ and it's given me the perfect excuse to see how things have changed.
Some things are definitely better. Remember when caravans didn’t have a rubbish bin? We ‘made do’ with a plastic bag on the back of the door or kicking around the floor. I’m pretty sure most 2013 tourers will have a proper bin – though it might only be big enough for a matchbox and half a tissue...
I’m also hoping to meet some old friends – Club members and others – and put a few names to new faces. I love catching up with the volunteers who man the Club stand, some of whom have histories with the Club dating back five or six times as long as mine.
Talking of which, I’ve dug out some stuff from the Club’s archive for my talk as it never ceases to amaze me how much hasn’t changed over the years.
Take the technological advances in the Vango AirBeam, for example. We had a Kinetic 500 on long-term test last year and it’s a great tent. But I’ve also corresponded with Club members who enjoyed inflatable-tube tents back in the 1970s. They generally quote the Igloo – a tent that was advertised in our Club magazine way back in 1936 as a ‘real man’s tent’. What can you say?
So if you’re wandering around the NEC on Wednesday and would like to hear more, come along to the Club’s stand number 4220 in hall 4 for our 12.45 start. And please make yourself known afterwards - it would be great to meet a real blog reader!
Candy Evans is Test Editor for Camping & Caravanning.
She took a less conventional path into magazine journalism via physics and a decade in computer consultancy, turning to caravanning and writing during a career break as a full-time mum.
Her interests are wide and include the Club’s Archive – though she’s careful to wash her hands after checking 1919 editions of the Club’s magazine to avoid lurking traces of influenza.