It’s the one thing you can’t avoid, when a campervan pulls in alongside that peaceful parking spot, out come the owners, bearing a striking resemblance to Clark Griswold’s cousin Eddie, in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (yes, remember that scene with the RV and the contents of the toilet?!). The shenanigans begin to unwind and all you can do in a very British fashion, is sit back with gritted teeth, whilst you contemplate your next move!
It’s enough to have you grimacing over your tea and biscuits, you peer up from your book, hoping to avoid eye contact, dash indoors for any excuse to escape or hide behind the dark sunglasses even though the sun has just disappeared behind a thick black cloud!
Well it’s great to have a bit of a chat every now and then, a few pleasantries, neighbourly greetings and quick small talk on the weather (ok we’re British!!). More often than not, it’s about the van or even the smell of the sausages grilling on the barbecue.
Sometimes, though, we can’t wait to get away from the small talk or even have to move the van completely to find solace from the most annoying of neighbours, or their habits.
Yes, I think you get our drift, you’ve been there, you know all too well what we’re talking about, so without further ado, here’s our pick of the most annoying thing about those motorhome neighbours!
We don’t even have a TV….heck I know, it’s extreme, we must be odd, slightly weird, maybe we just like to meditate all day whilst humming to ourselves in an eccentric sort of head clearing way! We’ll leave that one open to the imagination!
So, why do other people think that the sound of their TV should be heard loud and clear across the parking spot, through their doors, windows and over into our space?! That’s after they’ve spent hours fiddling with the satellite receiver, resembling something from NASA HQ. In the van, out, round the van, move the lead, get the spanner out, the whirl of the dish spinning out of control on the roof (or even worse, on the ground!).
Daytime, night, morning, there’s no escape, the most boring, dull TV shows, sport, soaps, films, it seems people will just watch any old garbage and they have no regards to sharing it with everyone around them!
Then there’s night fall, blinds stay open and they resume position, sat rigid in front of the screen, but now the bright flickering lights shine straight at us, so we’re not only hearing it but seeing it too!! Time to shut our blinds, hide away and get the head phones out to dull the pain!
Here we go, how many times have you had this one happen?! Yes, you’ve got a great little spot, nice view, just settling down to a good read or sip of your favourite Red when along comes a “Space Invader”!
They may look like they’ve landed from another planet with the way they look around at the empty campground, Aire or camperstop and whilst you’re hoping that they choose the further most spot away from your cosy corner, what do they go and do? Yep, they only drive as close to you as they can possibly get, coming in at an angle more suited to a F1 track, as you’re left holding on to your sun chair for dear life, waiting for an impact!
Is it some sort of game, do they do this on purpose, are they secretly having a bit of a laugh, seeing how many of us they can take out in one sweep of the steering wheel?! As the handbrake goes on, the clattering begins inside as the cupboards open, the kettle goes on and we’re left looking at the side wall of a van or if we’re really unlucky, right through the side window into their van world!
Oh goodness, there is nothing worse than the roaring, moaning, thumping, droning, seemingly endless noise of this dreaded machine!
You can hear them before you see them, follow the sound, ears pierced to the point of no return. That sound is in your head and you can’t get rid of it, nothing quells the vibration whirling through the air.
You think it’s the van next door, you’re just about to give the look of despair to your worried looking neighbour, when you notice the chunky box rattling outside of a van a few doors down.
Yep, they could be a million miles away, but the echo reverberates round like a bad smell. It’s the faux-pas of motorhome travel, exclusive to those who haven’t enough battery power to be off-grid, haven’t they heard of clean energy? Shouldn’t they really be hooked into power at a campsite, if they need so much power to warrant carrying the National Grid in a box with them?
Whatever, your thoughts on that one, you have to agree, they sound awful and look pretty bad outside the van. When the rest of us are trying to be discreet, it spoils the peace and quiet for us previously happy campers! So it’s a thumbs down all round!
You’re all parked in a row, door left, door right, nose in, nose out, habitation door etiquette is just so important, isn’t?
You’ve seen it, everyone’s following the flow, parking nice and sensibly, so as to not park door to door with the neighbour, then along comes the spoiler who only goes and parks the wrong way! Sooooo annoying!!! Or are we just too perfectionist having to have the Feng Shui just so?
We think not! Who wants to be that friendly with the stranger neighbour? Doors flung open, deckchairs out, BBQ sizzling, right next to each other! No thank you!!
We value our privacy and other people’s, after all, you just can’t help having a nosy into their van and vice-versa, what are they doing in there, what layout have they got? What’s that big fluffy thing dangling off the bathroom door?!! Goodness knows what their saying about us!
We’ve had the Generator, now the next best worst camper faux pas! Yep, it’s the dreaded time the engine kicks in and rumbles on and on and on to charge their leisure battery!
Please, get a solar panel, get two or find a campsite!! Anything to stop disturbing the sweet sound of birdsong whilst we gasp for air, as the exhaust fumes from their aptly located exhaust pipe, gushes out tonnes of smokey black omissions into the the side of our van!
Do they not know we are choking on their carbon monoxide riddled plumes, are they too oblivious to realise where that exhaust pipe is located?! Yes, ignorance is bliss it seems, either that, or they just don’t give a stuff!
So if you haven’t experienced this yet, we’ll fill you in on a fine example from a time several years ago on an Aire in Reims. It was a dark, wet, Winter and the Aire in Reims isn’t the most scenic, it’s basically a car park, marked bays so you’re close to your neighbour.
On went the rattling engine of our neighbours Motorhome, whirling out the most grubby looking fumes into the atmosphere beside us. Unfortunately, these fumes were finding there way into our Motorhome, then a Carthago A-Class, leaving us breathing in the dirty fuel remnants and a very nasty taste in our mouths!
To escape the unpleasantries, we hot-footed into the city, but it did make us think what would have happened if we’d been asleep, could we have succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning? Who know’s, but the offenders kept that engine rumbling on for over an hour, with no shame, just who’s brash enough to do that sort of thing?!
So, we all like a bit of a natter but some people just don’t stop!
Just the other morning we we’re woken up by a group of noisy foreign language talk, giggling and high voices at midnight, followed by a 5am encore by the same neighbours! No respect for other people and total disregard for waking up the whole row of campers just because they don’t want to sleep!
Then there’s those that just don’t stop to draw breath….talk talk talk all day, into the night, early in the morning. We end up hearing every bit of dialect, not usually that interesting to keep the ears tuned in for – we wish!
Not forgetting, the ones that just love the sound of their own voice! Yes, they have to get those vocal tones shouting out above the rest, come over to start conversation, which is usually all about them!
We don’t think we fall into their category, but perhaps some would disagree! We’ve all seen them, pull into a parking spot, reverse, drive forward, turn around, forward again, back, slightly over to the left then to the right….phew, this is hard work! Then, just when you think it’s all over, low and behold, they change parking spot altogether and start the whole process again.
But that’s not it, they then decide to get out the levelling ramps….crikey, out pops the director (that’s usually the woman, not sexist, just fact), up go the rev’s and Whoa…..straight over the front ramps onto the grass!!
If that’s not enough, they try for a 2nd time, half way up, the handbrake’s yanked up, the van comes to an almighty stop, and the camper now resembles The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Rather than attempt a 3rd go at the blocks, they save face and stay poised in situe, hoping the ramps hold whilst they get the stepladder out to climb into the van and everyone else looks on in amusement!
We do have to have a bit of a giggle at these sorts, why do so many people in Motorhome’s think levelling ramps are an essential part of the parking process. Do they not know that the clue is in the name? Yes, they are intended for use on uneven ground, on slopes, where there’s big dips in the terrain but not for parking up on the level!!
In fact, we find them a pain and don’t actually carry any of the purposely made manufactured ones, choosing instead to go au-naturel with a couple of pieces of wood or even a rock (don’t try this at home!!), never on level ground though, I hasten to add!
We can never understand these types, but then again, we are rather hyperactive, we do tend to think we’re a long time dead, so would rather be out and about at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, than getting cosy indoors for a couple of hours shut eye!
Strange thing is, they don’t mind slouching it out for all to see, usually on the cab swivel seat, reclined as far back as possible, or feet up on the front lounge couch, propped up by cushions, mouth open, tissue to catch the dribbles! Which is when it begins, that loud, grunting, almost earthquake like, (yes we’ve had the shakes in New Zealand, so we know the sound!), the rhythm is rather good actually, it’s a constant tune, never sways off pitch and is enough to capture everyone’s attention.
So, whilst they are in the oblivious land of nod, we make for a sharp exit to get the ageing legs exercised and escape the thunderous groans from next doors vibrating van. Funny thing is, they wake up looking rather worse for wear, with a jaded lack of fresh air look to the complexion, totally unaware of the annoyance caused from their grunting noise levels.
They want to use the fine old Aire system or similar Motorhome parking facility so widely used across Europe, but hold on, they think they can bring not only the Motorhome but, a trailer, car, boat or whatever other towable item, that can be hitched on the back of the already very long Motorhome.
Just when space is tight enough for all those sticking to the one parking spot rules, they decide to take over 2 spaces to fit the oversized outfit, just how inconsiderate can people be! Unhitching the trailer, rolling off the tow car and parking them alongside too!
Then there’s the friends and family, insistent on getting parking spaces together, leaving a gap in between and setting out the party atmosphere on the middle parking space, where tables, chairs and awnings are now taking centre stage.
Do they not know that a camp site is more suitable for the spread yourselves out culture? Probably not and they certainly don’t seem to care, leaving other campervan owners out on the road, when the Aire is full of with the Double Parker’s of this world.
It’s a hot day, the blistering sun is out, the Aire (or similar European Motorhome facility) is full to bursting, there you are trying to find a space and there they are, sitting happily under the fully extended awning, almost laughing at you as you circle the parking area in desperation.
Don’t you just love your neighbours, they can be so inconsiderate, not one inch of movement from them, no calling over to direct you to the free space dominated by their massive Awning, no they just sit it out, they’ve marked their territory and they are staying put!
Thankfully, a rather kind (usually French) camping-car gentleman or lady takes pity on us, waves us over, hops in the driver seat and makes enough space for us to squeeze in beside them, as we all make hand gestures directed at the rather smug Awning lover across the way.
Far-fetched, hardly, it’s an every day occurrence in peak season Europe, if you haven’t been yet but are venturing that way this Summer, you’ll soon know what we mean!
They think nothing of popping out for a few hours and leaving the little fluffy cuties sat in wait in the Motorhome window.
As soon as they’ve disappeared off to the shops or wherever it is they’ve gone to, it starts, the little cuties are no more and instead, they turn into the Hounds of the Baskervilles on heat! Yap yap yap yap, it does not stop! From adorable puppy dog eyes to monster guard dogs within a couple of barks.
Gone is the yearning for a dog moment that we’d had a few moments ago and in comes the thank goodness they’re not ours thoughts as everyone starts glaring at the van. As we all start willing the quick return of the owners, obsessed with every passer by, hoping this is them returning with doggie treats and with it a return to peace and quiet.
The odd thing is, when they do make an appearance, they have no clue that the 4-legged friends, who’ve suddenly become adorable again, have been such an attraction, for all the wrong reasons! When they go off for walkies, we can all breathe a final sigh of relief!
It’s hot hot hot and that means the sight of pale flesh browning, under the bright blue skies. Out it comes, all shapes and sizes, the fit ones, the tanned and toned, the ones that haven’t seen the gym for a while and those that have never tried to increase that heart rate!
They love to bare all to anyone who’ll take a peak, happy to come for a chat over the cornflakes, as it all hangs out, good and bad, casting a great shadow over the al-fresco breakfast table.
We’ve seen it all, shiny swimwear thongs, that’s men and women, underwear, dressing gowns flapping open in the breeze, skimpy shorts where there’s more hanging out than they realise, strapless, backless, topless….when the sun comes out, so does everything else!
You try and be polite as you catch their eyes, Hello, Bonjour, Hola, Hi, Guten Morgen, whatever the nationality, there’s always the grumpy ones, that look like they want to be anywhere but away in their van.
So you smile a little and pretend you just haven’t been snubbed, as the awkwardness sets in, they just blank you!
You can’t believe it, how rude, did that just happen? So to make sure you haven’t just dreamt it or mistaken the moment, you try again, only to get a bit of a half, under the breath reaction back, which confirms that, hey, they just don’t wanna be friendly today!
So that’s fine, turn away and carry on with the day, but it sort of makes it all a bit uneasy, like you’ve upset them or they just don’t like the look of you, so before we get too much of a complex, we retreat to neutral territory, turn the other cheek and pretend we’re not bothered.
It’s strangely apt that we’ve just experienced one of these arrogant types this very day! We’ve come across this sort before, watched from a far as they march forth, ensuring nothing gets in their way!
Whether that be the need for that parking spot you’re just leisurely eyeing up or jumping the queue at the dump area. Yes, we’ve seen them and I’m sure you have too, but what’s their problem and why is there so much urgency to get ahead in-front of us patient folks, are we all just waiting in an orderly fashion for the fun of it?
We arrived at a Freedom Camping spot in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago, to a chaotic scene, Motorhome’s reversing out, others coming in, nose to nose, no room to move. As we approached the scene wondering who was doing what and assessing the situation, one elderly Kiwi couple rammed on the accelerator to pass us, shouting out as they went “don’t think you’re getting in there bitch”!!
I don’t think I’ve ever really been called “a bitch” before, well certainly not to my face, but more than that, we had no intention of parking up where they so desperately wanted for themselves let alone our desire to park amongst motorhome folk of that nature!
Fast forward a couple of weeks and we are minding our own business, emptying our waste, filling the fresh, yes the chores! Now in New Zealand, there are no drive over waste drains for the grey water like our European friends. Instead there is a floppy plastic pipe which you attach to the waste outlet and dangle it into the same drain as the loo (it’s not a good idea!).
There is no way to quicken the process, you just have to wait for it to drain, rinse out the pipe, fold it all away and the next in line can then do the same. Well, astounded were we, when low and behold, along pulls up a motorhome hire van, out jumps a British guy who grabs his cassette toilet, darts over to us, almost elbowing us out the way, takes off his cassette cap ready to empty the contents all over our waste pipe!!
Thank goodness we were alert to his presence, keeping a close eye on his movements and had enough sharpness in our step to quickly grab our waste pipe, haul it out the way and watch aghast as he arrogantly tips his slops out over the drain, us two mere mortals, stood trying not to catch a whiff of the slop, plop spilling out in front of us!
Without a moment to catch breath, he’d disappeared back to his wife, who was by now hanging out the habitation door, hurrying him along!
Yes, you can feel our annoyance, but writing about it gets it quickly off the chest! Seriously though, this is something we’ve seen happen to other people and had similar back in Europe ourselves, do people have no shame, it’s all so territorial, so last century!!
Our Sprinter at an Italian Sosta, overpowered by the neighbours!