It is said that a change is as good as a holiday. What happens when you have a break and a big change? Do you come back doubly refreshed and full of vigour? Well, our family breaks were almost always to self-catering places because we needed a change from food-cooked-for-us to us needing to do a little bit of cooking!
At one point we owned a large Gypsy 5 caravan. It filled the entire garage and I’m almost sure it had double wheels. It was pulled by our old orange Range Rover… quite slowly, but we were a family of 6 and needed all the space. I loved the fact that there were cupboards and a fridge and a stove and every cup and plate had a little home. Carefully positioned for travel. It was a little bit like playing house.
Our mum has always been a worker. She qualified as a pharmacist and then landed up in the mountains doing the hotel books. Our old man, on the other hand, always kept an eye on the kitchen. Great menu plans spread over the desks and since he was more in touch with the food side of things, he was in-charge of the catering on the self-catering breaks. It must be a hotelier problem that all things came in bags of about 5kgs. So, when we started caravanning 5kg mince was cooked and we’d eat it nearly all week. I remember bags and bags of sosaties once… felt like that was all we ate! Kilos of bacon and trays of eggs and probably way too much food for one family but when you’ve been dishing up for at least 100 it gets quite hard to only cater for just 6.
So we washed and cooked and cleaned and had a proper change from hotel living. I am not sure that we came back home refreshed but as we got older and spent more time at boarding school, all we wanted was to be home for the holidays. The folks would then head off with their braai packs and travel to more exotic Southern African destinations during the school term. It worked so well. We loved being home during the holidays when it was busy and the folks could travel in the off-season.
Holidays at The Cavern were fabulous. Families would return from one year to the next and we made incredible friends and longed for their return trips. We hung out in the lofts or hid in the lounges. We had music at the swimming pool and climbed the odd mountain to keep the folks from moaning about how youth was wasted on the young! It was brilliant fun. The only down-side was the embarrassment of a father arriving in his night gown to march us home when we missed the curfew!