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That Deflated Feeling
The Caravan June 1957
K. M. McCAW learns the hard way that a spare wheel for the caravan is well worth its weight and bulk.

WHY do so few caravans carry a spare tyre ?
When I first bought a van I used to wonder what would happen if I had a puncture. The obvious thing seemed to he to jack up the van, remove the wheel and take it to the nearest garage.
But suppose I were travelling through a city centre ? Suppose it were a Sunday, or at night? My mind boggled at the thought of a puncture at night.
Eventually I equipped the van with two stout tyre levers and a repair outfit, and hoped for the best.
As time passed and I journeyed happily punctureless I forgot my worries.
Then came last summer. We started off on our annual caravan holiday. I had finished a day’s work in Manchester and we drove away in the evening in nice time to make our own special little triangle of grass off the main road beyond Ripon before it got really dark.
Travelling in the evening, we made excellent time through Manchester and Oldham and up the
Pennines on the road to Halifax.

That deflated feeling

Where the road reached its highest and bleakest I casually mentioned to my wife that it was just the place for a puncture.
My wife gave me a sharp dig in the ribs for that foolish remark.
She is a strict believer in not tempting the Fates. Then a moment later she said, "What's that noise ?"
I opened the car window. A horrible screaming, flapping sound was coming from the caravan. We stopped the car and found one of the van tyres was flat —and ripped to ribbons.
In a way I suppose we might have had a puncture in a worse place. At least there was a grass verge a few yards ahead just long enough for both car and van. We would have to spend the night there.
I inspected the verge. It seemed reasonably free from ditches, boulders or other snags, and fairly firm under foot. I drove on and was just able to make it.

We could neither go backwards nor forwards, but at least we seemed secure for the night.
Then we got out of the car and went to open the van door. What a hope. The van was wedged against an almost vertical grass wall and the door wouldn't open more than an inch or two. We sat down on the grass, miserable and cold.
"All we need now," I said, "is for it to rain."
It did, too. The Heavens opened and the rain came down in torrents.
But everything comes to an end sooner or later. Eventually we did manage to get into the van. I dug a hole in the hillside with my trowel. So the night was com­ fortable enough.
Next morning, by the light of day, things did not seem quite so bad. We drove off in the car and were able to get a new tyre in Halifax.
One thing, though. In the boot of our car there are now two spare wheels. One for the car —and one for the van.

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