Job Tips for Campsite Couriers 8 : Top, Middle and Bottom

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

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Job Tips for Campsite Couriers 8 : Top, Middle and Bottom

There's no getting away from the fact that you will do a helluva lot of cleaning as a Courier.

Certainly during the Montage period in early season when you'll be spring-cleaning the caravans and equipment.

All the dirt, grime, mould and cobwebs accumulated during the winter shut-down need to be swept, brushed and scrubbed away.

Whether you'll be doing daily cleans after that will depend on the company you work for. Some make you clean up after the tourists others will make the tourists do it for you. The latter are the cheaper holiday options unsurprisingly.

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Because we had been so quiet in May with slow bookings for our campsite we had been gradually getting along with our Montage cleaning.

Tip: Take it from the top

In true professional and effective cleaning procedures to paraphrase the immortal Jim Bowen of 'Bullseye' fame it's 'top, middle and bottom' for the most efficient montage clean. Obviously when you're cleaning you start right at the top with the ceilings and end with the floors by which time all the dust and dirt will have gathered under your feet.

Tip: Don't get too carried away with cleaning

But you end up getting hang-ups symptomatic with obsessive-compulsive disorder as the more you clean the more dirt you see until you're manically scrubbing away at a tiny greasy black spot on the floor that nobody will ever notice unless they've got bionic eyeballs.

But because I'm on my hands and knees scrubbing at the floor I can get a close up look at it out of all proportion to its size.

Tip: If it looks clean, it is clean.

So as you see it's easy to get carried away with all this cleaning malarkey and it pays to keep it in some sort of perspective. A favourite saying of couriers the world over is "If it looks clean, it is clean" and don't fret about hidden nooks and crannies because the dust will soon gather and the bugs will take over them anyway when you're finished.

I must admit though I always clean the tops of the cupboards above the cooker as grease collects up there and dust clings to it like barnacles on a boat's backside.

The bedrooms are pretty easy as they usually just need a hoover, a dust and a wet-wipe clean. You pay particular attention to the kids room though as you want that perfect. It's still pretty straightforward though.

Tip: Mops can create more mess

But we never use a mop for the floor as one of the tips we got was that a mop only gleefully flings the dirt into the corners where it dries in and looks unsightly. The tip was to tear off a strip of kitchen roll, dampen it and get on your hands and knees cleaning from the extremities and reverse back towards the door.

That's when you start noticing those little blemishes from a few inches away and the OCD kicks in, meaning it's time for nurse to bring the medication trolley. It can be murder on the knees too so the mop is still a healthier option.

Tip: Don't forget your toothbrush

I had joked at cleaning training that we would need toothbrushes, or is it teethbrush? What is the plural of toothbrush anyway? But we were told in all seriousness that we would be issued a toothbrush to get at those hard to clean little corners and crevices.

A potato peeler is excellent too as it's sharp and can gouge out dried mud from inside the runners in window sills and at the corner of doors. Apparently it's handy for peeling spuds too as is a toothbrush for the cleaning of your dinner-manglers of course. Cotton buds are another useful method of cleaning hard to get places.

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Tip: Swallow your pride and clean that toilet

The toilet's are tiny so not much of a toil in there, just a little toil, hence a 'toilette' if you like.

You don't like? OK, no more lousy puns like that.

But all the same, cleaning a bog, how low can you go?

It takes a lot to keep your pride intact when you're on your knees reaching around the back of a manky pan to get that porcelain sparkling.

It kind of makes it difficult I suppose to mingle with the high society over on the Continent of an evening.

Try and explain that down at the local marina as the millionaires gather for cocktails and expensive wine after they've enjoyed a day swanning about on the water:

"Hey! der dat guy from de campsite, how yo doin?" they ask heartily

"I'm fine thanks, but you look like you've enjoyed the sun today" I reply

"Ohh yes! we hava been sailing arounda the Lake on ma new motaboat"

"Is that the big one over there?" I ask,

"Datsa right, we been fishing, snorkelling, waterskiing anda sunbathin alla day"

"Very nice", I smile faintly

"Yeah, very nice and we have justa been forra nice meal, we had oysters an' champagne as well, yo know"

"Sounds lovely"

"Whatta bout yo, what yo do today" comes the question

"Oh the usual, you know, scrubbing shite off a cludgie"

I didn't need to translate the vernacular as they understood all too well and stopped passing round the pretzels. I'm sure I overheard someone mumble "lavvy attendant" but I could have misheard something in Italian. After all the verb 'lavare' means 'to wash' but I think they were still talking about me all the same so I made my excuses and left.

"Sorry must go, forgot to remove hairs from a plughole, Ciao!"

"OK!, Ciao!, Meester Cludgie Man!"

Tip: Adopt a customer's eye view

I think though that the most annoying part of toilet cleaning is actually the little sticky patch on top of the cistern that they all seem to have. It's caused by the gum on the back of those little air-fresheners placed there last year.

It's yellow in colour but that soon changes to black when you scour it and all the dust gathers on it. Out with the wire-wool and you end up scraping the white veneer of the cistern.

So best thing for it is just to stick a new air-freshener on it. If it looks clean, it is clean. But seriously though, one piece of excellent advice we got on training about the toilet was to sit on the pan and see things as the customer sees them.

I also extended that to the bedrooms where I would lie back and look up and around from my prone position to spot anything I've missed which the eagle-eyed customer might see. But who the hell is interested in the view from the toilet pan?;

"Excuse me" says Mr Pedant,

"Yes?" I reply

"I'd like to complain about the view" he moans,

"Yeah, I know it's a bit cloudy today" I acknowledge,

"No! it's not that"

"Really?"

"Yes, it's the view from my toilet seat" he complains,

"Excuse me!" I ask,

"I said it's the view from my toilet seat, it's just not good enough" he repeats


"I'm very sorry, but we do our utmost to provide the best for our customers"

"Well it's not good enough, I'm not happy"

"Again, I can only apologise" I say, "But what exactly is the matter with the toilet?"

"I've already told you, there's no view"

"I don't understand, what did you expect to see?"

"I expected to see a thoroughly scrubbed door, no dust in the corners and no spiders running amok all over my curtains"

"I see"

"Yes! And there's a bloody awful sticky patch on the cistern too"


"Ah, yes, I knew about that, very difficult to move, you know" I explained

"I don't care, it's spoiling my view"

"But isn't that actually behind you?" I enquire,

"Don't be cheeky" he responds "I like to enjoy a panoramic vista when I'm on holiday,

"Of course" I agree, "We must supply the full holiday experience"

"I would expect nothing less"

"Once again I can only apologise" I say obsequiesly, "We'll come around and clean up the dirty bits"


"I should think so" he affirms, "I've paid enough money for the pleasure"

"Of course you have" I unashamedly grovel ,

"Yes, I have" he says,

"Would you like some postards" I offer,

"Postcards?"

"Yes, we have some very nice postcards with toilet views"

"Really?" he asks,

"Oh yes," I continue,"We have a magnificent visual collection of the splendours of bog-room doors, upturned lavvy pans and distended toilet rolls"

"I'm sure I would be interested in those"

"I'm sure you would, you sad bastard"

The fridge isn't too much trouble surprisingly although you have to be extra vigilant as any speck on the virgin white purity of the interior could result in a major customer crisis. So use bits of paper roll for that as cloths can just spread particles of dirt if they've already been used.

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Tip: Be aware of chemical cleaning agents

As for the shower, it takes ages to clean and full of awkward little places where dirt and grime gather.

The shower room is also a tiny space to work in.

This means much banging of the elbows and twisting of the hips to negotiate your way around it.

Ironically I decided never to use water and never turn on the actual shower as this just makes it worse by spreading the dirt.

I used plenty of glass cleaner on the walls, door and taps etc and gradually poisoned myself from the noxious fumes. But it gets it clean and after all that hard sweaty work it's time for a shower. But not that one because I've just cleaned it.

Tip: Always start with the worst job first

My first major mistake however was to complete my Montage clean by washing the dishes, cutlery, pots and pans etc at the end. Big mistake as it's the worst job for me personally and demoralising after you've spent all day cleaning to be confronted by tannin-stained inner tea-pots and limescale inside the kettles.

At least with a teapot you can reach inside and scour it with wire-wool after soaking it with vinegar but the kettle has too small an aperture and has the handle looping over it too. The only way it seem is to stick the wire-wool onto the end of a spoon or something and try your best. So! Always begin your cleaning with your least favourite task. It makes the day get easier.

The draining-board was an awkward customer too, only made of plastic but with greasy coverings inside the thin segments that hold the plates in place. I came up with the ingenious idea of cutting a thin slice off the chunky scourer so it would fit.

If I had 30 grand spare I could take out a worldwide patent on that I think. I could call it 'Scour-slim' or 'The Slimscraper - an elegant way to clean'. The possibilities are endless.

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