We will now suppose that a van of the type we have just described has been obtained; there now arises the important question of companions. Let it be at once said that too much care cannot be taken over this matter. Caravanning has a tendency not only to develop the best elements of close companionship in the would-be gipsies, but possibly also the worst.

On most holidays " the good of the whole party is the good of the individual " is a true enough axiom. But when yachting or caravanning it is indeed the truth, and nothing but the truth. For this reason only congenial spirits should agree to go caravanning together.

In a van of the type described, it was found quite possible to accommodate six or seven comfortably, as one of the married couples would sleep out at various lodgings, inns, cottages, etc. Two girls occupied the back compartment, and the three men the floor and two berths of the saloon. By an ingenious arrangement, on a later tour two sliding shelves were constructed which could be pulled out from beneath either berth, and by means of stout iron struts could be firmly fixed so that the third bed could be made up at a level of about fifteen inches from the floor between the sofa berths on either side of the van.

Of course, if the party consists entirely of girls or men, the sleeping arrangements are more easily managed, and it is even possible to sleep four in the saloon and two in the back part, or sleeping-cabin, of the van.

Another quite excellent method of pro-viding extra sleeping accommodation is to carry with one a light and portable tent,

Q with a sufficiency of mackintosh sheeting to make it possible to sleep on the ground without risk. A floor seven feet six inches by five feet broad, made of matchboarding in two portions, and hinged so that it folds over to about four inches in thickness, including the cross pieces fastening the matchboarding together, can easily be carried on the roof or underneath the van. If used as a floor for the sleeping-tent, it does away with the necessity for the mackintosh sheeting.

Horses are an important consideration. They must be good, strong, and sound. The best type of horse is undoubtedly similar to that employed in light trade vans, a type coming midway between a cab-horse and a cart-horse proper. The 'bus horse, when it can be hired sound in wind and limb, is a most excellent animal for the purpose.

If one's holiday is to be a success, and trouble is to be avoided, great care must be taken in selecting the cattle which are to draw the van. The cost of hire varies in different districts and at different times of the year, but may be put down at anything from 1 to 30s. a week; probably 25s. is about the average. The keep of each horse will amount to from 10s. 6d. to 15s. per week, according to the price of corn and fodder in the different districts, and the amount of work done. It is a great mistake to be too sparing with the corn, as to keep one's animals in tip-top condition should not only be the ambition of every caravanner, but is absolute economy in the long run.

To take a boy with one to do the rough work and look after the horses, or not to take him, is a somewhat perplexing question. Briefly the pros and cons of the question are as follows. One has to place the additional comfort of not having to do the very rough work, attending to the horses after a long day, catching them again in the morning if turned out to grass, and all the outside cleaning of the van, boots, knives, etc., against the cost of the boy, say ios. a week wages, is. a night lodgment, and 8s. to 10s. a week for keep, plus the fact that the privacy of the party is not, of course, quite so great when a boy is about. Then there is the additional trouble of finding sleeping accommodation for him at night. This is not always easy to do, except at a price which makes him a somewhat expensive luxury.

An excellent type of caravan that would suit a party of six. As it weighs about two tons when loaded up, it will require two strong horses to draw it

An excellent type of caravan that would suit a party of six. As it weighs about two tons when loaded up, it will require two strong horses to draw it

Photos, Clive Holland

If the party consists entirely of ladies, then our advice is to take a man or a strong lad of eighteen to twenty, accustomed to horses, and of sober character, otherwise we fear that even the most daring and adventurous of lady caravanners will be somewhat tired of all the hard work before their holiday is half over, especially if wet weather comes along.

But assume that the party consists of several men and several girls. It will, of course, be necessary from the start to divide the work attaching to the tour and the van between the different units. The lighter work, such as dusting, cleaning, and keeping tidy the interior of the van, bed-making, cooking, and doing the lighter forms of washing-up after meals, the laying of the table, and the catering, will generally devolve upon the ladies; whilst the men will superintend the horses, do the outside cleaning, the rougher forms of washing-up, fetching and carrying water, marketing, and render general assistance. In cases where a boy is taken, a certain portion of the work generally undertaken by the girls and men will fall to his lot.

One thing that should be remembered is that willingness to assist one another, and a, desire to make things go smoothly, is the spirit which should actuate all in their daily work on the road. It is wonderful how one disagreeable, slack, or unwilling member of a party can disorganise the work which it is necessary to do, and cause trouble to all the other members.

As regards routes and possible tours. These, although some districts in England and Wales are more suitable for caravanning than others, are almost innumerable. Four very favourite routes out of London are as follows :

No. 1, through the Eastern Counties by way of Chelmsford, Coggeshall, Colchester, Ipswich, Stowmarket, with a detour to Bury St. Edmunds; thence to Diss, Long Stratton, Norwich, Cromer, Fakenham, Cambridge, Bedford, Hitchin, Hertford, and home.

No. 2 is along the Thames Valley by way of Richmond, Kingston, Staines, Windsor, Maidenhead, Henley, Wallingford, Abingdon, Oxford, to Woodstock, Banbury

Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth, and Coventry, back by way of Rugby, Daventry, Northampton, Towcester, Stony Stratford, Dunstable, Tring, St. Albans, and Watford.

No. 3, from London to Richmond, Kingston, Chertsey, thence to Guildford, Farnham, Alton, Whitchurch, Andover, Amesbury, Salisbury, Wilton, Warminster, Westbury, Trowbridge, Bath, Chippenham, Wooton Bassett, Swindon, Great Farringdon, Abingdon, and back through the Thames Valley, by way of Wallingford, Reading, Windsor, Chertsey.

No. 4 is by way of Croydon, Tunbridge Wells, Uckfield, and Ripe to Eastbourne, thence to Lewes, Brighton, Arundel, Chichester, Havant, Southampton, into the New Forest at Brockenhurst, back by way of Fordingbridge, Downton, Salisbury, Andover, Whitchurch, Basingstoke, Wokingham, Windsor, and Chertsey.

Either one of these four tours, with or without modifications, will prove delightful, provided good weather prevails. None of them include many steep hills, an important matter in arranging a caravan tour, as these entail additional horses and expense; whilst all four routes provide a variety of scenery which cannot be otherwise than pleasing and interesting. Any one of the tours roughly sketched out ought to be easily accomplished in a month, making due allowance for staying a whole day in any place should it prove particularly attractive.

Much has been said in the past regarding the expensiveness or otherwise of a caravan holiday. My own experience has proved it to be neither cheap nor expensive. That is to say, it is less costly than an equal amount of time spent at a fashionable watering-place, or other resort, in a really good hotel or first-class lodgings. On the other hand, it is not a very cheap holiday, as many people can manage a seaside or even Continental holiday by cutting down everything to a minimum.

But when one considers the amount of rest, pleasure, fresh air, and healthy enjoyment that one has on a gipsy holiday such as we have described, then the matter of cost becomes the least part of the consideration with any accustomed to spend a fair amount upon their annual summer vacation. Below will be found a list of the chief items of expense, 'and an average cost per week for a party of six persons. This amount should not be exceeded except by extravagance, and may be cut down two or three shillings a week a head by the exercise of a little extra care and economy. But, after all, when one comes to look back upon the pleasant, humorous, and almost always varied experiences of a caravan holiday, the cost, which works out at about 2 4s. per week each person, cannot be considered to be excessive.

Cost Per Week For Six Persons

s.

d.

Hire of van, 3 3s. per week .. .. ..

3

3

0

Hire of horses, two at 25s. per week .. .. .. ..

2

10

0

Keep of two horses at 12s. 6d. a week each .. .. .. ..

1

5

0

Wages of boy, 10s. a week .. ..

0

10

0

Sleeping accommodation for boy, 1S. a night .. .. ..

0

7

0

Keep, say, 8s. a week

0

8

0

Board of six persons at 10s. a head .. .. .. .. ..

3

0

0

Extras, about 14s. a week

0

14

0

Incidentals - shoeing horses, extra help up steep hills, tips, renew-ing brake blocks, repair to har-ness, hire of camping places, etc., say, 1 5s. a week .. ..

1

5

0

13

2

0

Total cost for each person per week .. .. .. ..

2

3

8