You would think, looking on, that six months in a motorhome would involve making simple decisions about where to go next and just going with the flow. It’s certainly what we dream of, when we’re at home and looking longingly at big white Holly standing on the drive.
Leaving, as we did, with not a lot of notice. meant that there were a few things we needed to do before we could truly set off into the great blue yonder with not a care in the world. Those few things have grown into quite a few more things and we are struggling not to feel a bit impatient with it all. Every year I have a blood test because I have poor glucose tolerance. Usually the result comes back with the same comment “Poor glucose tolerance – watch what you eat” but this time I was asked to come back for a second test. Unfortunately we were in Killin by then and I didn’t want to come back. I sulked a little but then I gave myself a talking to about the great health system we have and how lucky I am … I stopped sulking and felt guilty instead.
Just before we left I went for my six monthly dental check up. Usually the dentist grunts a bit and says “See you in six months” – not because I have great teeth but because the ones I have left have had so much work on them there’s not much room for any more. This time he said “Oh dear – you need two more appointments, two weeks apart.”
So we’ll be calling back in to West Lothian a few times in the next few weeks.
We love Killin. There is so much to do there, as long as you like walking, cycling, fishing, golfing and looking at mountains that change colour several times a day. I would have loved to stay for another week except perhaps for a small embarrassing incident. We were on our way to the showers on our final morning when Shirley had a burst of uncharacteristic concern for my state of dress (or undress). She was walking about 50 yards ahead of me when she suddenly and unaccountably turned around and shouted, “Have you got your clean undies?” There is a funny story in our family that our Mother used to hang out of an upstairs window and shout “Have you got your hankie, have you got your knickers on?” as her brood left for school. I believe it was because my oldest sister Joan once went to school without her knickers on. At that moment, walking across the rather genteel Caravan Club site I fully understood how mortifying that must have been.
We set off on Monday to come back to Beecraigs Caravan Site by Linlithgow so that I could have my blood test on Tuesday morning bright and early. We left beautiful Killin in full sunshine with the other caravanners and motorhomers strolling contentedly around the site and arrived at Beecraigs in a howling gale with horizontal rain thrown in. It’s a wonderful site with probably the best shower and toilet facilities in the known universe but that’s poor comfort when you have to step out into freezing wet conditions to get to them.
We lay in bed on Monday night with the van bobbing about in the wind and the trees in the forest creaking menacingly. The last thing I remember thinking was that it would be better in the morning. It wasn’t. The rain was heavier still and the dogs needed a walk. Shirley got all happed up in several layers and braved the weather but even the dogs said “Enough already” and they were back in double quick time. By the afternoon we had given up on doing our alternate day Couch to 5k training so we manoeuvred the motorhome into a busy car park in Falkirk and went to the cinema. ‘Eddie the Eagle’ – what a fabulous feel good film! I went in thinking that it wasn’t going to be up to much and ended up loving it. We were crying and laughing whilst simultaneously eating chocolate and drinking diet Pepsi – never let it be said that we don’t know how to have fun.
Later that evening the rain stopped and an eerie mist fell over the forest at Beecraigs so we put on our coats and took the dogs for a walk. All was going well until we made a major error of judgment. We let them off their leads. Boo, being Boo, just trotted along as usual in exactly the same position as when his lead is on but Poppy raised her super scenting nose into the air, waggled it like Samantha in Bewitched (if you don’t know what that means ask your mother) and disappeared into the forest. We shouted, we whistled, we bellowed and we swore. We said “sod you then” and went back to the van but the little bxxxer still would not come back. Eventually, after we’d had a serious discussion about going to bed and leaving her outside she returned. I so wish we’d thought to take a photo but we were too cross. She was soaked from end to end, a kind of mottled grey and black colour and she smelled like a stagnant pond. We rubbed her down, gave her a drink and sent her to bed. Then we had to sleep with the smell of stagnant pond until the morning when we got our own back with a large bucket of soapy water, a watering can and no mercy at all.
Our next stop is the Motorhome Show at Peterborough followed by the Lady Motorhomers’ Meet by Rutland Water. Neither of these events seemed ideal to take the dogs so our good friend Mary offered to look after them while we’re away. She is brilliant with dogs and is definitely our dogs ‘other mother’ and they were delighted to see her this morning when we met to hand them over. After a coffee and a catch up in Klondike Garden Centre café we waved them off and headed south, stopping for the night at Durham Club Site just off the A1. We would have got further south if it wasn’t for the fact that the A1 at Newcastle is completely gridlocked with road repairs that have been going on for more than a year. Not only was it solid slow traffic for miles but other road users were doing those strange manoeuvres that involve changing lanes every hundred yards because the other one is moving at two miles an hour faster than theirs. I don’t think it occurs to them that it is those manoeuvres that are causing the lanes to slow down and speed up. Numpties. So having been spat out of a traffic jam to rival the M25 we gave up and rolled in to the site at Durham and pulled out the electric hook up cable to get settled in. I don’t know if anyone was watching what happened next but knowing our own habit of observing the behaviour of new arrivals there’s a good chance they were. Oh dear ….
We have two electric hook up cables. A long one that is on a big plastic reel and using it involves unravelling the full length of cable for safety. Rolling it up again in the morning is a lengthy and potentially messy process, especially if it has rained during the night. The short cable in contrast is carried loose in a bag and it simply gets tipped out and plugged in with no fuss at all. Naturally we prefer it if we’re on a pitch where we can use the short cable. After parking up on the pitch we looked at the electric point and walked round the van and decided that we could manage with the short cable if we could throw it underneath the van rather than go round it. I tried it a couple of times but only managed to get it half way under. Shirley rolled up her sleeves and said, “Leave it to me – after all I can cast with a fly rod” – and right enough with an expert flick of the wrist and a couple of attempts, one of which hit the plastic side of the van with some ferocity, she got the cable right under the van and out the other side. That’s when I noticed that the electric socket on the van was not on the other side at all. It’s on the front offside, about 5 metres from the electric hook up stand. We felt silly.