As members of the Caravan Club, we get a monthly magazine full of stuff about camping, campsites, new products, test reports on caravans, motor homes, tow cars etc.
I was leafing through the latest issue earlier today when I came across an interesting snippet.
Apparently, camping has now become very hip and cool, and people are taking it up in their droves as a cheap alternative to package holidays in hot places full of foreigners and swine flu.
I'm not quite sure how I feel about that........all these Johnny Come Lately types muscling in on MY leisure time pursuit, with their screaming kids and their killer dogs, drunkenly carousing till all hours of the morning and generally making a nuisance of themselves.
Well OK, they're not all like that. But my heart does sink when I'm sitting quietly in our awning/tent, enjoying the peace and quiet, immersed in a good book, and a huge, great 4x4 arrives, towing a leviathan caravan. It sinks even further when the back doors open and a load of kids spill out, named respectively Wayne, Dwayne, Shane, Darren, Kyle, Kylie, Chardonnay, Bianca, Tiffany and Sharron.
Plus a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Butch.
Each child has a bicycle, which they proceed to ride around the site at breakneck speed, through other people's pitches, between awnings, a hairsbreadth from cars and caravans.....the dog barks its head off if anyone sets foot within half a mile of it. Once on site and set up, the parents completely abrogate all responsibility for their spawn, instead delighting in exposing acres of sunburnt flesh complete with builder's bum, while keeping up a running commentary on the minutiae of their lives so that everyone can hear.
It's the camping equivalent of cretins on trains who bellow into their mobile phones at every opportunity.
As with everything else in this life, there is an etiquette regarding the acceptable way to behave in any given situation. I don't blame them for not knowing how to behave first time out, but surely some discrete observation of how other people are doing it might be a good idea.
OK, I'll get down off my soapbox now. I'll be signing off as 'disgusted of St. Leonards' at this rate.
Anyway, the whole point of this post, before I came over all reactionary and militant, was this...........
My daughter when she was very young, loved Sylvanian Families, and despite my feminist reservations, they were then really quite good quality and encouraged imaginative play.
This little ensemble is very cute, and obviously pandering to the zeitgeist.
Not quite sure about reinforcing stereotypical gender roles though. I know of no caravan which has an integral ironing board so that mummy rabbit can do some impromptu pressing.
Love this innovative foldaway toilet.... hope young master bunnikins has flushed it first though........eewwww!
It must only be a four berth caravan, despite the novel sleeping arrangements built into the roof, so I expect the grandparents are only visiting. Looks like a mother rabbit's work is never done though, as she slaves away in the admittedly stylish kitchen. I expect pater familias is out hunter-gathering......or preparing the BBQ. Although as rabbits are vegetarian that might be a bit redundant.
Anyway, I thought it was interesting to see how current lifestyles influence the playthings of today. And nice to see how well behaved the bunny children are too. They are a lesson to us all.....