Day 78 of #vanlife


Right OK, it’s time to talk about facilities at the various campsites where we have stayed. What has prompted this topic? Well, we have just landed here in Lanark at a place called Rigside. The site is on a working farm called Colliershill Farm. The facilities here are shall we say … basic! OK to be fair, it’s only £12/night and that includes electric so we do consider it “good value”.

Now bear in mind that we have just come from Pitlochry where the following photo should tell you all you need to know about the washing facilities there. This photo wasn’t taken at a local spa, it was actually taken at a campsite called Milton of Fonab which has some of the best facilities we have come across to date. It was like having an en-suite next to Fionnuala. Running hot water, heaters in case the temperature was too cold, clean sinks and toilets with toilet brushes and other tools to make cleaning up after oneself a really easy job.*

Now, this is what I call vanlife! Ok maybe not – as this bath is definitely not in the van!

*Now don’t assume for one minute that just because the tools are made available that people will use them. I feel that when one makes a mess, one cleans up after oneself and doesn’t wait for the wife to come and do it for them. I don’t want to gross you out but I have stopped counting the number of times I have been greeted by “presents” such as floaters in the toilet or a ”pebble-dashed” toilet bowl. Truly gross right? So in many places where there is more than one toilet available I choose to use a different and hopefully cleaner facility. In places where there is only one toilet that option isn’t available when one has a “pressing” need to relieve oneself.

You’ll be glad I haven’t resorted to using potty euphemisms here just to get a laugh.* Of course pressing may give you the idea of the desperate nature one may find themselves in after two hours on a road with no road markings and room enough for two cars at a squeeze. And squeeze is what one must do to avoid any accidents when services on the road can often be 70 miles apart.

*How easy it would have been to say “the head of turtle was poking out” or “the stump was touching cloth”. Please do share your favourite “dying for a poo” euphemism here, my mother-in-law Pam loves that sort of humour and will choose a winner for her favourite one at the end of our journey. Please do keep her busy.

Training people to be more considerate

Now a little bit of psychology here for you people who love the high-brow nature of these posts. Reinforcement is a behaviourist theory that says if you reward good behaviour this good behaviour will be repeated. This is called positive reinforcement. You punish bad behaviour (negative reinforcement) in the hope that it curbs unsociable or unwanted behaviour.

Now, the thing about a dirty toilet or sink or some other unwanted mess that confronts you when you go to wash the dishes or send some friends to sea* is that the culprit has long since fled the scene, so the opportunity to educate them is lost. However, not all is lost because you can do what I do.

*sorry sorry – I couldn’t not use that one

  1. Make a scene at the scene. This is important as it is my firm belief that the culprit will be within earshot at the time. If they are not, that’s OK you send a clear message to everyone nearby that this sort of unsociable behaviour is not acceptable so it should hopefully make people wake-up a little and be more considerate to other facility users.
  2. Clean up the mess if you intend to use the facility. If not just walk away and hope some other sucker will do it for you. I know it’s a tough life if you have to clean up some other inconsiderate person’s mess. But just for a moment pretend you are a Catholic and offer up this trial as a plenary indulgence that will knock maybe a week off your time in purgatory before you ascend to the gates of heaven.*
  3. When you get back to your tent or van speak very loudly about how you had to clean up another person’s mess. Again it’s my belief that the perpetrator will be within earshot and will adjust their behaviour. Also, it has the added bonus of letting other people know how good a person you are.**

*That’s a true belief that one – I was told that by Sister Mary when I was in infants school, so it must be true. I have also said hundreds of rosaries and served as an Altar boy so effectively I’m going straight to heaven when I die! And people said that I was wasting my time going to church – who will be laughing then eh?

**OK by doing this you will reduce your plenary indulgence by about 25% as the “good lord” would want you to do good deeds without bragging about them like some Sadducee or Pharisee. However, I believe that you have to cash in some of your chips here on earth, just to be sure that it isn’t a complete waste of time being holy all the time!

So anyway back with the theme of facilities. It’s clear that some people really don’t care about the message they give their customers as you regard the following pictures I took on arrival. I mean providing basic facilities is OK, as long as they are clean. However, providing shoddy facilities and not enough of them for the number of people on the site is in my humble opinion a disgrace! Before coming here it was advertised to us that there were five pitches here, so it would seem that one toilet and shower would be enough, right? But what if there were 13 pitches onsite?* So I find myself rather trapped here in Lanarkshire and looking for an escape that doesn’t involve alcohol or meditating for 12 hours a day.

*SPOILER ALERT for next post. We escaped the site for a few days because of noisy inconsiderate neighbours pitched less than 3 metres from us. More about that in a later post once I catch up on some sleep. Upon our return the couple two pitches down from us informed us that there were 13 pitches onsite two nights ago – NOT as advertised … naughty naughty! Bad review definitely coming your way Colliershill Farm – Catherine will have the last say!

8 thoughts on “Day 78 of #vanlife”

    • I know, just waiting for the best … although today we can definitely say that Biggar is Better. I’ll be reflecting more this afternoon and have some more posts to attend to, just to keep you entertained while in France. safe journey 🙂

    • hahaha – was seeing if you were paying attention. I’ll judge the entries myself then. And yes had a lovely shower this morning (after I cleaned it first- the guy before me hadn’t even washed the suds off the floor). Toilet brushes aplenty, washing machine £2 – drier £1 Bucko Wealth Management Likes!!!!

  1. Oh Poor souls

    How unlucky…Rigside is a pretty poor area… ex coal mining and hasn’t recovered since mine’s closed down. Try and avoid that whole swathe of geography …..Douglas Water…Lesmahagow…Blackwood down to the industrial belt of Motherwell ( British Steel as was etc) … Bellshill .. down into Glasgow. Hope you find better sites at Biggar/Lanark but no excuse for those poor facilities. I’d complain to their accredited body as well as website reviews etc. it might help fellow travellers.

    Better luck going forward … keep posting J

    • A poor area sums it up quite nicely. Very depressing, although the Tesco in “the Gow” was well stocked and its employees were helpful and friendly. We did stop by the New Lanark World Heritage Centre as recommended by John from Planet Balthangie. It was very nice and had a lovley waterfall walk. As of last night and today, we can definitely say the Biggar is Better!!! We will consider complaining by to be honest I have no faith in complaints procedures and if they actually do any good. These accreditation bodies tend to serve their members (who pay accreditation fees) rather than serve customers (who pay the campsite fees that in effect pay accreditation fees). As you know Jim I am rather jaded by bureaucracy and every having to engage with those sorts – we will post an honest review and hope that wise potential customers do avoid.
      As ever thanks for the support.

  2. The mentality of ‘it’s only a campsite toilet, so anything will do’ I find perplexing. The first question any campsite in charge of should ask themselves is- Would I use it?
    Supermarkets are also a good example of how not to do it- ‘These toilets are checked every hour’ A *staff member walks in, signs the curled filthy piece of paper pinned to the back of the door to say they’ve been checked, but actually checks nothing- completely missing the german battleship in the toilet pan. (Or as Katrina in our office once replied when I mentioned I had to deal with another German battleship in the loo “What, the Graf Spee?”)
    *On a related point have you noticed how now in supermarkets, the signs say ‘if you need help ask a colleague? Well, looking for toilet rolls the other day in Asda, I did ring our office, and not one of them knew where they were, so that’s another waste of time too……

    • Excellent one there – the first entry: “German Battleship”, although judging from my mother-in-laws comment above she may have removed herself from the panel of judges 🙂

      Re the Colleague hahaha – you’re right that one had got past me, my lack of attention to detail is making me miss important material!!!

      You’re right too re the above the campsite toilet attitude and it is clear from staying at Planet Balthangie that you have a very different ethos. We left a day early yesterday while the campsite onwer was busy with another worker repair and hole in the building wall. The worst about it was that the people in the tent (positioned closest in the picture above – notice the plywood covering – that is the gaping hole being repaired) were trying to pack up and leave while heavy machinery was being driven around the site!!!!! Seriously??? As we left the site we waved at the owner who gave us a half gesture back in return. A VERY different leaving committee to the EB one. Catherine’s theory is that it is because he has no love in his – shame – a smile and some good nature go a long way, then he may get some love in his life!


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