My Canvas Story – Morag Dean
In the week of our 50th anniversary ball, we introduce you to the five customers who won tickets to the ball by telling us their Canvas story. First up, is Morag Dean. Her story begins in 1989 on Dol de Bretagne…
It would be much more apt to call this ‘Our Canvas Story’ because without Canvas Holidays, there would be no ‘us’ !
We are now a family of four, with two young boys, but several years ago my husband Paul and I were 2 impoverished students looking for summer jobs. I was in Glasgow, regretting not having studied languages as I’d been desperate to spend time working abroad, and he was in Liverpool hoping he’d find paid work and come home with a sun tan. We didn’t know each other then but both went down the route of seeking courier jobs in France. I made the right choice and took a courier job with Canvas Holidays!
After training in Hertfordshire, I was bound for Brittany – to Dol de Bretagne. Canvas looked after us, taking us by bus and pretty much dropping us on site. Not so, the competition! Unbeknown to him, Paul was also being sent to Dol, but he was given a train ticket and left to his own devices. This is where we may never have met, as he was given a ticket to Dole. Makes quite a difference that little ‘e’. He knew his site was in Brittany, but as his train sped off towards Switzerland, being a geographer, he knew something was up when there were mountains on the horizon! Not to be deterred, after a meal of toothpaste (he had nothing else with him and his travellers cheques weren’t much use on the train) and, using his best school boy French, he made it back to the right Dol, hitching a lift to the site in the middle of the night.
And that’s where ‘Our Canvas Story’ starts. They say Glasgow and Liverpool have similarities so maybe that’s why we hit it off but our clichéd holiday romance started on the tennis courts at Domaine des Ormes. But that’s also where it might have ended. No mobile phones in those days of course and when it got to démontage 3 months later and Paul left for the Loire, our only method of communication was by pay phone on site. Had he not called the phone the night before I too left site or had I not waited that extra 10 minutes beyond the appointed time in the hope he called, our story wouldn’t have been worth writing. But I waited, he called, and we next met up in Paris.
That was in 1989, and the rest, as they say, is history. I went back out to France with Canvas again the following year (to Villandry in the Loire) whilst Paul got his sun tan doing his geography dissertation on the beach near Southport in Lancashire.
We holidayed with Canvas with our own boys at Steinach in Germany a couple of years ago which was a big hit as all previous camping trips had been slummed with our own tent. But we think about Canvas a lot: I still have my uniform although the shorts and t-shirt are used for gardening these days (good old Canvas quality – 24 years later!) and we’re still in touch with a mutual friend from Dol who worked for a Dutch company, both families getting together whenever we can, either in the Netherlands or over here in the Lake District where we now live.
So a toast from the Dean family – ‘Long Live Canvas Holidays’.