This is my original blog for all our non-caravanning trips since 2009 and more recently posts about coming to terms with being single again having been widowed in 2018. And anything else too really!

My caravanning blog is (Get Your) Legs Down and all our trips in the caravan are there. My grog blog is The Ale Archive where I list every beer I’ve ever tried.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Five down, one to go.

Nearly there! Just one more week before the half-term break and gawd will I be glad to see it. It’s seemed a long old run since Christmas. Tough having to work 35 weeks a year aint it!

So, what’s been happening in the world of Nonsense! this last couple of weeks? Well, Patsy – our caravan is safely back in storage after the trauma of her annual service. Trauma for my credit card anyway. The suspected delamination of another area of the floor was, as expected just that. What wasn’t expected though was that we’d have to pay for the repair, adding another couple of hundred quid to the bill. Delamination, I was advised, during a frank exchange of views with the service manager, was not covered under the warranty. I pointed out that it was covered the last time it needed doing. “That was done as an act of goodwill” came the reply.”No, that was done, because the ‘van was like that when you sold it to me” I countered. I was tempted to try and find a higher horse to climb on to by knew it would be a waste of time, and as a friend pointed out: when it comes to warranties – if it moves or wears it probably ain’t covered….

So, with all work completed it was time to pick her up and take her the 30 or so miles back to storage. With the dealership still on their winter weekend opening hours – i.e. Saturday mornings – and us busy with another open day at the college, it meant picking her up during the week. So, yes, at the age of 44 it was time for my first er, solo tug……

Hitching up at the dealers was easier that I could have hoped. Yes, I could have asked for help, but was worried I might be presented with another invoice! Patsy was on slight downward slope so it was easy to ease her forward and onto the towball using the handbrake. Utilising a recently learnt trick of wedging the leg winder between the brake pedal and drivers seat to check the lights I was all set. The journey itself nice and straightforward.

Over at the storage yard I contemplated briefly reversing her back into her slot, but with limited space and no-one to spot decided the motor mover would be a better bet.  Having observed numerous arrivals on site in our short time caravanning, I am sure some guys consider that using a motor mover is somehow a dent in the masculinity. Not for me, I’ll take the easy option every time!

The undoubted highlight of the last fortnight (apply your own levels of sarcasm here) was the Open Morning at the school where we were employed to manage the parking and shuttle service. This was for the Senior School and is always well attended. Parking at the school is extremely limited and no vehicles, other than open morning attendees – i.e. potential customers - are allowed on site. Even the resisdents – housemasters and so on have to park elsewhere for the morning. Sadly though, some parents see the school as a handy car park for a saturday mornings shopping expedition in Brighton. We had at least two who, having dropped their kids off for whatever activities they were engaged in, blatantly lied and said they would be attending the open day. They didn’t of course and both sneaked off. One woman in particular dropped off two kids – both at senior school, so that’s aproaching forty grand a year in school fees alone. Another forty grands worth of Audi – and she has lied and decieved – in front of her children – in order to save a few quid in parking fees. What a great example to set. I find it astonshing – but probably shouldn’t. Anyway, the weather was resonably kind to us and everything else went smoothly.

Monday was of course the start of February, which meant ‘Dry January’ was up. Yes, I did manage a whole month without the grog and at the time of typing have still not had a pint – making it 38 days since my last drink, which is probably the longest time ever, since I had my first pint many, many (many) years ago.

Do I feel better for it? Well, physically no. If nothing else I hoped that laying off the grog would help me shed a few pounds, but in the last two weeks I’ve only shifted another pound, so still haven’t got back to under thirteen stone.

Psychologically, though I think it’s done me good, going without. It’s true we’ve not been out as much but when we’ve had I’ve not had a craving for a pint – not much anyway. This is important to me because, I am well aware of my addictive personality. Generally, if I like something I want more, be it a pint, grub or a leather coat! It’s probably just as well I never got into experimenting with drugs as a kid. Both my parents – once very moderate drinkers – became dependent on alcohol after my dad had a massive stroke when he was 46, rendering him severely disabled. He wasn’t a particularly active man but loved his garden and allotment. My mum had to give up her job in a shoe shop – a job she loved - to become his full time carer. The grog became a tool to numb the boredom of a rather stark existance for them both. I was 14 when dad became ill and as I got older went through a few years of spending nearly every night in a pub. I convinced myself that because I wasn’t drinking during the day, the grog didn’t have a hold over me like it did my parents. Nonsense of course.  That’s why I’ve found it important to have some ‘time off’.

Yesterday – Saturday at the time of typing – saw us back in our old home town of Cambridge to visit Trev’s Mum – the frequently mentioned HRH. We drove up Friday night, as soon as I’d finished the school bus run, and whilst the urge was there to get my foot down and get there as soon as possible, I managed to restrain my right foot, and Rosie our eight year old 99,000 mile Honda CRV rewarded us by returning over 50 mpg. With in-law duties complete we returned yesterday afternoon.

So, this time next week, will be up in London, retruning to the Caravan Club site at Crystal Palace. We have no specific plans yet, but I can assure you that ‘research’ will feature prominently, and we hope to get on the London Eye if the skies are clear enough. The London Dungeon was mentioned too – I haven’t been there since I was a kid – although concern was expressed that I might be mistaken for one of the exhibits…….