Everyone has a passionate attachment to the era in which they were teenagers. My passionate attachment is to the period from 1965 – 1967 when the Beatles first burst on the scene, followed by the Rolling Stones. I still know all the words to their hits, and my favourite songs remind me of the boyfriends I was going out with, the parties I went to, and of once snogging behind a sofa to the strains of ‘It’s a Hard Day’s Night’. Happy days!
My parents had their own passionate attachment to the stars of the ’40’s — Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers — and I still remember their shock when they heard Bob Hope had died. It was the end of an era for them.
The VW camper van’s demise is the end of an era for me.
Which is why the news that parts for the VW camper van — that boxy rectangular affair with the engine at the back that would go at 70 mph downhill and no more than 40 uphill — are no longer to be manufactured is so sad for Baby Boomers like me. VW have taken the decision despite the fact that hiring an old VW camper for a holiday or for weddings and parties has recently become very popular. It really is the end of an era.
I feel so nostalgic about the VW camper. My family had two of them, and I can still remember the number plate of the first one (KGL 512), bought just when Spain was opened to tourism for the first time. General Franco’s new found flexibility allowed all six of us to drive straight through France and explore from Andorra via Rhondda, Burgos and Guadalupe to the Mediterranean Coast for little more than the price of petrol, returning home via Paris, where we camped in the Bois de Boulogne. My parents thanked heaven so fervently and so frequently for the huge saving they had made on what would otherwise have been a prohibitively expensive holiday that they called their new camper ‘Gigi’. (They were fans of Lesley Caron and Maurice Chevalier, too.)
So hearing that the VW camper will gradually disappear from our roads is like hearing that John Lennon has died. Sorry — lend me you hankie, will you? I need a good cry.