Sunday, 7 August 2011

Storytelling Sunday - The Day The Caravan Died

Come on in! I was just about to start..

I wanted to give you a summery story for August. I thought and I thought; and in the end I decided to borrow one.So let's go back to one of those long hot 70's summers, when boys were men and the whole lot of them wore shorts. Back to one curly haired nine-but-nearly-ten boy who was sitting in the back of the car. Thinking about his birthday and playing pencil and paper games with his sister.

Taken at lunchtime, just hours before it happened..
They had been travelling for a while, towing their caravan behind them; and he and his three big sisters were getting hotter and stickier and hoping for a break. There was food in that caravan. Maybe secret hidden birthday presents too...

It all happened so quickly and yet time seemed to stand still. It was three o'clock in the afternoon when the curly haired boy heard a bang bigger than anything he had ever heard before. He knew his Mum was shrieking, and then he knew that what he was seeing through the car window was the caravan swinging round in the road, and the caravan roof slowly unpeeling itself and flying through the air towards the layby, and the rest of it breaking into pieces, and then he felt life slow down and wait.

This wasn't good. This wasn't good at all. The curly haired boy felt his dad's anger rise and then start to fall away. Their caravan had been hit by a car; but now the driver barely seemed alive. He had suffered a huge heart attack. Wrong place, wrong time. But then there is never a good one, is there?

They put him onto one of the caravan cushions and then the ambulance took him away. When the firemen arrived they took their big brushes and started sweeping things out of the road. All the curly haired boy's things and all his big sisters' things and all his parents things. In bits. Being brushed up. They tried to find anything that wasn't broken. One of the firemen came across the road bouncing a ball and offered it to the curly haired boy. Yes, that was his. They offered him a little toy car, still in its box. No, that wasn't his. Ah, but it was. It was one of those surprise birthday presents he'd just been thinking about. Hidden by his siter, just waiting for the right moment. Now he was standing in a layby, beside a pile of plywood and he was being given his present two days early.

Good folk gathered to see how they could help. And things really started to look up when the local vicar arrived. What with the curly haired boy's Dad being in the same business. They were taken to the Rectory and cared for. No one was hurt. Things can be replaced. Caravans too. And the curly haired boy had a good birthday after all because, as a special treat, he was allowed to ring the church bells.

The new caravan being packed up. Everything they rescued? It's that little pile to the right of the picture
But he has never forgotten the day the caravan died; or the heart attack man (who did recover); or the firemne; or the kind vicar's family/ In fact, if you ask, he'll tell you how a Christmas card used to arrive from them every year after that until he was quite grown up. And caravans? He still loves them! But that, I think, is quite another story altogether..

Now that's my story for today. How about yours? Write your post, including a link back here so your readers can join in too, come and add it to the linky and then sit back and enjoy. It doesn't have to be long, it doesn't have to include a project or layout. It can be new, it can be from right back in your past. It's up to you. We love them all and everyone is welcome!

34 comments:

Amy said...

I think anyone who has ever owned a caravan has a story not dissimilar to this one to tell - I have cousins with one almost identical!
And, would you believe, mine is of the travel variety today too ... we have had a few with the same theme!

Melissa said...

Oh my, that is quite a story! How neat that the Christmas cards continued to arrive for years - reminds me of a story . . . I'll have to save it for next month though, already have mine ready for today.

Jane said...

what a story, so glad the man recovered and everyone was ok, makes you realise how precious life is.

Mary B said...

Oh boy that was a dramatic start to a holiday.
And as Amy says I could tell of the time we turned our caravan over. But that is not for today. My post is Sisters & Brothers.

debs14 said...

Oh my goodness, what a start to a holiday! So pleased that there was a happy ending though.
I have a confession, I've never had a caravan holiday - I know, what a deprived child I was! My friend Jill used to go on caravan holidays and I used to really envy her!

Becky said...

So glad that never happened when we had our caravan! The best thing was that you were all ok and the heart attack man too. Yet another brilliant story Sian - I really look forward to your stories. Great that you had some photos too!

JO SOWERBY said...

the same thing happened to my parent's friends on an Alpine road and the caravan ended up over the side of the ravine. So sad to lose such a wonderful possession especially around the birthday, however ringing the bells is a pretty awesome bday gift too.
another fab story told well,
jo xxx

Ladkyis said...

Thank you Sian, I love the way your stories flow. I have never heard your voice but feel I would recognise it because of the way your stories "speak". My story is about a holiday too, but mine is about a tent

Ruth said...

The way you've told this tale almost made me cry! So lovely to think of TA as a 9-year-old.

Lisa said...

what a wonderfully evocative story. We were a caravan family too although I hated every minute of it (!!) but I am glad to say we never had any drama on this scale! But you have reminded me of several stories I could tell so thanks for that.

I know I say this every month, but you have a lovely "voice"- thanks for the memories (ps. cool 70's photos!)

Gem's Crafts said...

Gosh what a scary thing to have happened. We had a caravan for years and luckily nothing like that ever happened to us. I do however have a caravan story which I will save for another time!

Wanda said...

I saw the aftermath of an accident where the vehicle and the travel trailer it was pulling rolled over. The used-to-be trailer was reduced to matchsticks!

I'm glad this boy's birthday turned out to be special, though quite different than he expected.

Ifa said...

That was some holiday.

Sandra said...

It was such a lovely story, again you bought us right into the heart of your family.

S said...

Great story - not the best kind of birthday excitement - but glad it all turned out okay in the end. Will we hear another caravan story?

Gail said...

What a great story and you told it so well. So glad the man recovered and no one was hurt.

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Ah, Sian, a lovely story told in your own charming way. I always look forward to the first Sunday of each month for this very reason. xo

Jimjams said...

Oh what an experience - not the best of journeys for anyone, but just goes to show what generous, kind spirits people have. Especially touched to hear of the ebbing away of TA's dad's anger when he realised that there was a bigger problem than material damage.

Winnie said...

Great story Sian! I'm glad to hear the man did recover from his heart attack!

Maria Ontiveros said...

Sian,
This is told with such poignancy. You do your Irish story telling roots proud! There's some phrases I truly love in there . . about the men in shorts in particular and the description of your near and dear one getting his birthday present early. Bravo!
rinda

Ginger said...

A holiday no one could forget! I love your stories Sian, so intricate and always well told :) Thanks so much for making the first Sunday of the month special!

laurie said...

so relieved there was a happy ending! you nearly had me in tears. it is amazing how stories can connect readers and characters so quickly.

scrappyjacky said...

Not the greatest start to a holiday....but told so wonderfully,Sian.

Louise said...

another great story and oen that could have ended so differently - thankfully every one was safe!

We were a caravan family too (upgraded after a few years in a tent!) and you've brought back fond memories xx

Karen said...

Lovely summery story - all the right ingredients, suspense, drama and a happy ending.

jennifer said...

I'm glad the story had a happy ending. I've never been on a caravan holiday. I'm quite happy with a tent, though these days I also like to take an airbed! x

Alison said...

Great story Sian...accidents can happen so quickly! Must have been scary for everyone involved...sorry, but no story from me today :(
Alison xx

Cheryl said...

What a lovely story Sian, and so glad that everyone was ok, thanks for sharing x

alexa said...

Gloriously told story, despite the panic and drame (or perhaps because of them). Glad all ended as well as it could - and such a lovely lesson to remember, that strangers can become friends.

Sue Althouse said...

A modern day Good Samaritan kind of story? And told so well! Plus, I am a sucker for a happy ending.

Cheri said...

It's scary to think about what might have been with a few seconds change in that story. So nice to have a happy ending for all involved!

Sandie said...

You had me spell bound, Sian. Told beautifully. So sad about the caravan and a close call for the driver (glad he survived). That's one holiday and birthday that will not be forgotten.

Scrappi Sandi said...

Truly a memorable event...& how great that there are so many positives to remember too!

Missus Wookie said...

Glad it was a happy ending. I've always wanted to ring church bells.

Thanks for linking me up - I'd have got to it probably... was just thankful for getting my story posted!

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