Tag Archives: horse drawn travel

Too hot to wash the Campervan

17 Jun

Had a day’s gardening today which turned into a re-hydration session for our scorched lawn. Went to move the ‘van , thinking that a wash wouldn’t go amiss but decided it was simply too hot at 27 deg C to bother. That’s 81 Farenheit for our US readers.

Inside the campervan it was stifling but flick the pop top up and unzip the two side flaps and it instantly cools down, even with only a very slight breeze. Useful for when the sun does actually come out seriously. I thought that an airing would be a good move.

Nothing worse than stifling conditions, especially when travelling in a confined space. I started some research last night on the old (e) English Mail and Stage Coach routes and found an account of an overloaded Coach somewhere in Yorkshire. It was a very wet day and everyone was wearing various overcoats and waterproof cloaks. Hygiene was not too good in the 1750s and it must have been very unpleasant cramming into an uncomfortable horse drawn coach. Most people smoked clay pipes too which would have added to the bad atmosphere.

We live on a relatively minor coaching route, connecting Wrexham ( and Chester ?) to Newcastle-under-Lyme. I have read accounts of very rough , cut up , local roads which were really just packed earth, usually mud laden. Certainly the road outside was dirt until the mid 1800s. One report claims that the writer measured ruts of 4 feet in depth (over a metre deep) and filled with liquid mud. Average speed could be only 1 mph on the worst sections.

Makes you thankful for the air-conditioned, smooth riding of modern vehicles, although I admit to finding the passengers’ stories from the 18th Century quite romantic. I have uncovered accounts of highwaymen and at least one highwaywoman, a Mrs Hues. When caught, with rewards of around £200 , that’s big dosh for the times, they were at best pilloried (where they were stoned, often fatally) or hung as an example. The final words of these vagabonds and cutpurses were published in newspaper form and were sold to the general public who , like now , love a scandal. These newspapers were very popular. Perhaps the first “Blogs” ?

We don’t need the use of coaching inns for an overnight kip. Not when you have a campervan. Back then you would eat big slabs of meat, washed down with Port if you could afford it or “malt” liquor (weak beer) which was usually free. I have evidence of one Inn at nearby Uttoxeter charging a penny for the malt liquor. Tight devils!

Couldn’t manage my recommended stewed steak, new potatoes and veg tonight in this heat, even in a cool Kampa, but a cold beer, a BBQ and then chilled wine sounds about right. You Lucky People ! You never had it so good !