I knew I wanted to write about a girl in a caravan. One of those round-looking ones that are so ridiculously cute they just cry out to be the setting of a short story. But there was a problem:
I knew nothing about caravans.
The story I was writing was for the Newcastle Herald short story competition late last year. I had the bare bones in my head, but I needed to add the setting. And that setting needed to be a caravan, preferably in a pastel colour, and it needed to ooze with history.
So I sat down with my favourite research partner (Google) and found myself at http://www.vintagecaravans.proboards.com.
What I found was a whole world I never knew existed. Hundreds of people who buy busted up old caravans and restore them to their former glory. It was exactly what I needed to research my piece.
Caravans must to be referred to as ‘she’, and sometimes they have names. The thickness of your plywood can make a big difference. And you can never underestimate a good solid set of wheel bearings.
But most of all, I discovered these vans are well-loved. They are adored by their owners and admired by strangers. In real life they often have a history of unique, deep and emotional stories because those who live in vans like these are unique, deep and emotional people.
My story ‘Yellow Wool’ was shortlisted, published in the newspaper, so I thought I’d go back to the Vintage Caravan forum and thank one man in particular for the inspiration he provided. His response was super sweet:
Have a read of ‘Yellow Wool’ by clicking this link here.