Sarah's planted daffodils outside the mobile home. They might bloom in a month or so. She and her husband had a house, before their business failed, and the house had a bed of daffodils outside. The soil was better there.\n\nThe couple, who used to talk about a family, have four Yorkshire terriers. Or Sarah has four Yorkshires: it's she who walks them every day, and it's she who cooks them their dinners. But her husband's learnt to act as if he loves the terriers too.\n\nRichard has a mobile home a bit further back from the lake.\n\nCourtney, that child with the shrill mother and the bruiser of a father, walks the terriers with Sarah sometimes. Her family lives near Mike in the field by the motorway.\n\n[[Richard|Richard]]\n\n[[Courtney|Courtney]]\n\n[[Mike|Mike]]
Mike's one of the divorcees. The campsite has a collection of divorcees. Mike's wife met another bloke, and it's she who has the kids on weekdays, so she's the one who's kept the house. Of course, he came to the Happy Holiday Village temporarily; he didn't plan to stay here permanently. Nobody ever plans to stay here permanently.\n\nMike's kids, in their early teens, visited at the weekends for maybe a year after the divorce. Then they tired of walking in the rain to the toilet-block, and of the TV's unreliability. The boy, the older, hasn't come in a while. These days the girl, too, always has other things to do.\n\nMike didn't think he'd be here so much time. He'd meet somebody else, he told himself, and when he did he'd move off this campsite. He's been thinking, lately, that he might save for a mobile home. Move out of this field where types such as Will live. Get one of the mobile homes near the lake. Like Em and Tony have (nice kids, Em and Tony). Or like what's-her-name has. Sarah. The dog lady.\n\n[[Will|Will]]\n\n[[Em and Tony|Em/Tony]]\n\n[[Sarah|Sarah]]
Em and Tony like the concept of living on a campsite. After they left uni, they were thinking of joining a commune; but then a relative of Tony's left him the mobile home. They sketch Nature, with a capital N, i.e. the lakes and the trees. They watch Society passing on the motorway (they have a lot to say about Society, none of it complimentary).\n\nThe couple arrived here in the summer: they're recent additions to the Happy Holiday Village. They've become friends with a few of the other residents. Courtney comes to them for company when her parents send her out to play. They have Richard over occasionally; he has a history of which they approve. (Though they do find Richard himself rather a bore.)\n\nEm and Tony like the concept of living on a campsite, but now they're finding they're less into the reality. Mud traipsed into their mobile home, mud on their clothes all the time: they never knew they could loathe mud so. Winter's made Nature a lot less sketchable. And their artwork's not making much money - in fact it's making none. They'll have to start looking for jobs at this rate, the sort of jobs the people on the motorway have.\n\n[[Courtney|Courtney]]\n\n[[Richard|Richard]]
Richard was once a wanderer. Sometimes a hitch-hiker, sometimes a sailor; whatever came his way. He'd work as he needed to. His old school-friends, at reunions, would discuss him in his absence. Have you heard that Richard's in Africa? (Or in the Caribbean, or the Pacific, or wherever.) His friends - married, with mortgages, with nine-to-fives - would talk of him for a while, and then there'd be a wistfulness to their between-topics silence.\n\nRichard's in his late seventies, now, and his hand-to-mouth lifestyle's stopped being viable. When he ran out of other options, he came back to the UK for the benefits. He'd no kids to look to: he'd never found time for a family. His savings just covered the mobile home.\n\nIt was worth it, surely, he thinks to himself. He could tell some tales. Except he hasn't really anybody to tell them to. Em and Tony, who live nearby, do listen once in a while. And Will drops by from time to time, though he mostly comes for the whisky. Will, in any case, doesn't want to hear stories of Richard's past: he's too busy telling stories of his own future.\n\nRichard's school-friends, retired by this stage, don't discuss him much any more.\n\n[[Em and Tony|Em/Tony]]\n\n[[Will|Will]]
Courtney's parents have sent her to play outside. (She's not sure whether they're fighting or fucking this time.) It's cold outside, today, and it's getting late. She's spent a while sitting on the bank that slopes up to the motorway, watching through the barbed fence as the rush-hour headlights race by. When they first came to the campsite she'd sit here for hours at a time, watching the cars returning to the warm houses, making up the fairy-story families inside. But that was over a year ago. Now, at ten, she feels she's growing out of fairy-stories. Courtney decides to walk to the toilet-block. It'll be warmer in there, and there'll be paper to blow her nose. (They tend to have colds in winter, the residents of the campsite, those of the caravan class in particular.)\n\nTwo infected rabbits wait by the lavatory-block. One of them was there earlier: it shouldn't take it much longer to die. Half the rabbits round here have myxomatosis. It distressed Courtney in the early days, but now she's seen it over and over. A baby one lived by their van once, born in a burrow in the hedge. Its forehead had a white star-shape. No sense in giving it a name, because it was bound to catch the illness, to wind up sitting in the field with its senses rotting away. After she'd watched it for two months or so, she noticed the redness around its eyes. Later, off to see if Em and Tony would amuse her for a while, she found three crows ripping apart a rabbit whose forehead bore a star-shape. She recalls the colours: the blood, on the green grass, so bright it looked orange.\n\nCourtney enters the toilets (passing Will's flower-painted VW with its smell of herbal smoke). She finds some loo-roll and blows her nose. Her mum and dad might be done by this time. She'll head home.\n\n[[Em and Tony|Em/Tony]]\n\n[[Will|Will]]
"Manager came by yesterday," Will tells Mike. Will's blondish dreadlocks have matted themselves into one mass. Their resemblance to a dead cat, Mike reflects, is uncanny.\n\n"Oh?" Mike says. "Uh-oh."\n\n"Yeah. I told him I'll have the rent in a few weeks' time. Told him about the camper's engine. 'You can kick me out,' I said, 'but my camper's not going anywhere. You can take it as payment if you like.'"\n\nMike looks at Will's camper. "Yeah," he says. "I reckon he'll wait for the money."\n\nWill's always popping out from his van to talk at passers-by. One of the manager's moves (before the death of the engine) was to shift him to the site nearest the toilet-block. Mike, who needs to piss, mentally curses this misfortune.\n\nWill says: "Shit's coming together, apart from that, anyway. With my business idea."\n\n"Oh, yeah, your business idea." (Mike tries to remember which one. The beer-can holder with the remote locator? The solar-powered self-propelling shoes?) "Great. Glad to hear it. Er, right, I need to..."\n\n"When I get going with my idea, when I get some money, I'm gonna get a flat," Will says. "With room to stretch. Like this." He demonstrates; his hands do arcs in the air, and his arms reach as far as possible. "I can't even stand upright in that fucking van of mine. I'm gonna get a flat, with room to stretch, and I'm gonna stretch every day." He demonstrates a second time.\n\n"Great. Right, Will, I gotta go." Mike's starting to walk away.\n\n"OK, OK. Peace then. See you."\n\nMike continues to the toilet-block. He heads into the Gents'. That kid Courtney's entering the Ladies'.\n\nWill decides to call on Richard. He's not a bad old bloke, Richard, and he has a tendency to offer one alcohol.\n\n[[Mike|Mike]]\n\n[[Courtney|Courtney]]\n\n[[Richard|Richard]]
This spot, on the UK's south coast, used to be a quarry. Somebody bought the land, filled the pits with water to turn them into lakes, and opened a campsite called Happy Holiday Village. Business is slow in February. Most of the mobile homes and the pitches are vacant, and the only campers around are those who live here. You can tell the residents by their clutter. The inhabited mobile homes, where the residents' upper class lives, have plaster goddesses from garden centres outside. The occupied caravans are surrounded by gas-bottles and pallets and bicycles.\n\nSarah and her husband live in a mobile home by a lakeside. It's one of a row of mobile homes, most of which stand empty.\n\nMike has a caravan in the field by the motorway.\n\nHappy Holiday Village website:\n\n\n[[Sarah|Sarah]]\n\n[[Mike|Mike]]
Happy Holiday Village
Jo Schinas