My winter of love: It was our first holiday together. Could we find romance in a squalid caravan?

My snowy getaway with a new boyfriend was full of promise – until we arrived at a place unencumbered with luxuries such as heat, lighting or a chemical toilet

The first weekend away. An auspicious landmark in any relationship, but especially with the new boyfriend still living at home with his parents and me 200 miles away in thin-walled student digs with seven sharp-eared housemates. Such was the allure of privacy, I didn’t ask any questions. “My mate’s got a place in north Wales we can have for the weekend,” he said. “No one will bother us.” I thought it sweet and funny to call him Danno, and told him to book it.

It was February 1988. Our relationship was just days old. In the sharp slant of a winter setting sun, we headed off in my Mini, him (6ft 3in) in concertina folds. We were too young, too hooked up on the promise of adventure and what I will euphemistically call romance to bother with boring old weather forecasts.

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