Job Tips for Campsite Couriers 6 : The German Spring Offensive

Click on the link below for Part 1 of the series.

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Tips for Campsite Couriers 6 : The German Spring Offensive

We are now into Easter time and the campsites are gradually opening. Depending on where you are as they open at different times.

You'll probably find the further south the earlier because the weather is better.

But be prepared for cold weather even down south. We had snow in March in Italy as well as rain and the nights especially can be cold.

Nevertheless you'll find many holidaymakers descending onto the sites come Easter.

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Tip: The best language to try to learn is not necessarily the local one.

It did occur to me that I may be learning the wrong language. Outwith the confines of the campsite Italian is all the rage apparently and has been for many years.

However, within the boundaries it's practically useless as all the Italians can speak fairly good English.

On the other hand in early season all the tourists seem to come from Germany or to a lesser extent Austria.

Not to mention masses of Dutch folk, but they all speak English better than me. My immediate thought was that this was the 'Clarkson Campsite from Hell' if such a thing could ever exist.

Because, seemingly, if there's two things that the infamous presenter of BBC TV's 'Top Gear' can't stand, it's Germans and mobile homes. Here we had a combination of the two. This would certainly be his vision of Hades with the Devil himself in charge of campsite entertainment.

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'Pool-Side Party today folks!!!,

€10 per person, children half-price, 1st born children free if you let us drown them up the deep end'.

'Barbecue Nite Tonite!!! only €15,

Bring your own pitchfork, roast fraulein in a giant bun our speciality, no waiting required, eternal fire guaranteed forever'

'Fancy Dress Ball tomorrow €20!!!,

Orgy Room open, Venetian masks and goat horns recommended but nudists welcome'

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I half expected Clarkson to strafe the complex in a World War 2 Spitfire trailing red, white and blue smoke trails behind him.

And all the while blasting 'The Dambusters' theme tune from onboard speakers.

I think most of the Germans came in camper-vans and some of them were huge, bigger than the house I lived in back home. I think they must have gymnasiums and swimming pools inside them.

But I saw the weirdest vehicle parked near the mobile home I was crashing out in. It was a huge articulated lorry with a load that looked like a cross between a chicken truck transporter and an American automat.

Except this automat had people in it, encased in about 50 little coffins with windows.

It was a mobile hotel.

Tip: Don't be discouraged if foreigners don't seemed impressed by your language attempts. Keep plugging away.

Our live area was next to the tennis court and you would have German folk out there early in the morning.

Sitting outside the tent drinking coffee you could see just one end of the court so you didn't indulge in that left-right, left-right movement of the neck that a typical tennis spectator may make during a rally.

A ball flew over the fence and landed somewere, "The ball, please" a tall German chap asked me, "Wo ist est?" I replied to show off I knew some of the language. "Behind you" he said unimpressed.

I fetched the ball. I wonder if they've raised the age limit for ball boys at Wimbledon, I may apply next year.

Tip: Take some 'me time' occasionally and chill out

Since it was my day off I did absolutely nothing as I felt I really needed to recharge my batteries. We had been working hard for a few days so I felt like just chillin' and it was a beautiful day in Peschiera del Garda into the bargain so I retired to the shingle beach and lazed in the sun.

I scanned the water and watched the ferryboats cruise by as German kids jumped off the little pier that jutted out into the lake.

The water was still a bit cold to swim in though but I guess the Germans rear them tough straight from birth. They fill the font with ice-cubes during christenings.

After a few minutes I felt a faint splashing of water on my face and I thought the waves must have been kicking up a bit.

But when I opened my eyes I was confronted with the sight of a German dog dripping water all over me. "Gut hund!!" I said, "Gut hund!!" but he ran away.

Not very polite, I think, especially since I made the effort to speak in his native language.

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Tip: Appreciate the joys of nature

I then walked along the shore to stretch my legs and see nature taking place in its natural environment.

It seemed the most obvious place for it.

But I definitely noticed that I had been paying more attention to nature and wildlife since I went over there that summer.

It's a combination of no access to television and being outdoors so much.

A very illuminating discovery as back home you lose sight of the fact that there's a whole civilisation of creatures of amazing diversity and character going on around you without even paying it much attention.

From the humble but industrious ant, the spiral-architecture of the spider to the myriad species of birds that inhabit the area competing for resources. Nothing too exotic or astounding but remarkable in their own way.

Who needs television anyway? It's mainly "Chewing gum for the eyes", as once described by someone far more erudite than me. It divorces you from your environment and makes you forget reality and you're true place among nature.

I know TV is mostly mindless escapism, with the emphasis on the former. but that begs the question of what you are actually escaping from.

Life surely can't be that bad that we have to seek endless hours of solace in the goggle-box to divert our minds. There's a whole different world out there.

But I must admit, I did miss 'Harry Hill's TV Burp'.

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