Friday, February 16, 2007

The Motor Caravanning Club of Great Britain (South East Division)

Kathryn Hughes has a great piece about Orwell in the Guardian Review this week. It's quite indescribable and surprising, very well-written, and opens with this rather entrancing paragraph (I remember Anthony Burgess had a Dormobile also, it was part of his flee-the-British-tax-system episode in the memoirs):

From the late 1960s my family spent every weekend and most of the summer holidays axle-deep in a muddy field surrounded by 50 or so other Dormobiles and Commer Highwaymen. Despite the rather raffish brand names of our vehicles, we members of the Motor Caravanning Club of Great Britain (South East Division) were actually a rather stately crew. There was Commander Rees, who had seen distinguished service during the "last war", as older people still called it, and whose caravan was still painted in camouflage. There was Rick, a postman from Crawley who, to designate his status as our unofficial master of ceremonies, always wore a fez. There was us, a preternaturally quiet and well-behaved little family in shorts who barely said anything except to ask politely the way to the Elson disposal unit. And then there were the Misses Buddicom, a pair of elderly sisters whose main interest, as far as my eight-year-old self was concerned, was that they shared their temporary home with two cats which were able to come and go as they pleased thanks to a special step-ladder with tiny paw-sized rungs propped against the open window of their caravan's cab.

The elder Miss Buddicom was Orwell's girlfriend when they were teenagers, and wrote a memoir about the relationship; but that's only scratching the surface...

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