This morning we were wakened bright and early by the sound of rain pounding on the roof. There is something comforting about that unmistakable hammering on an evening when all the days outside tasks are done and the van is warm and cosy. Not so much though, first thing in the morning, when the dogs need to go for a walk and the plan is to move on to the next site. I must confess that I was guilty of a little schadenfreude when I rolled over and realised it was Shirley’s turn to take the dogs out for their morning trot.
Poppy is on a strict regime of staying on lead at the moment after thoroughly disgracing herself with yet more rabbits the other evening and then refusing to come back when called. I was so irritated with her bad behaviour that I walked back to the van without her, dragging a reluctant Boo who kept looking up at me in dismay with a “you’ve left one behind” expression. After depositing him in the van with Shirley I went back to look for her and could hear her wailing in the woods. “I’m lost!” is a rough translation of the sound she was making. When she heard me approaching she bounded towards me, soaked, bedraggled, filthy and with not a care in the world … until I soaked her with the hose again. She didn’t like that much but then again she wouldn’t have liked sleeping in the trailer either, which was the only other option. She wasn’t getting in to the van smelling like that.
So, this morning, while they were out having a more controlled walk, I began the process of getting the van back into travel mode. As Adrian said the other day, you really have to remember to batten down all the hatches, close and lock all cupboards and drawers and clear all surfaces. This is the moment when the ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ rule should apply but unfortunately we can’t always remember where ‘the place’ is. The preparation for travel usually ends with stuffing a few things in random corners and hoping the brain cells will remember where they are later.
Today’s destination is Killin in the Trossachs. For those who don’t know Scotland, this is a place, not the title of a third rate crime thriller or indeed a strange sexual deviation. Maragowan Caravan Club site is one of our favourites and we usually come here a couple of times a year. It is right beside a river, within a short walk to the banks of Loch Tay.
The little town of Killin has everything you could possibly need. It has a good Co-op, outdoor shops, great coffee shops and a pub next door to the site that serves excellent food. At the other end of the town there are the Falls of Dochart that are quite magnificent, especially after rain, so that’s pretty much all the time. We call them the Falls of Derek because our pal Derek fell in once – but that’s another story.
We stopped en route to the site at Dobbies in Stirling for one of their brilliant cooked breakfasts. One of my well-rehearsed arguments for buying a motorhome was that you could save a fortune in eating out en route but that particular good intention frequently falls by the wayside. Suitably full of bacon, sausage, egg, mushroom, beans and toast washed down by a bucket of coffee we staggered back to the van and set off up the A84 through Callander and beside Loch Lubnaig to Killin.
Through the windscreen wipers on full swish we oohed and aahed at the fabulous scenery. The route is a real treat on the eyes, if a little hard on clenched bum muscles, as you negotiate narrow roads and encounter tour buses and logging lorries coming the other way.
There is a bridge on this route that we have renamed “Fridge Bridge”. This is because on our first outing in our first motorhome we’d forgotten to lock the fridge and as we took the narrow bridge with a sharp right angled turn a little on the fast side the fridge door shot open and the entire contents of the fridge flew round the van. Fortunately the Bolognese was still frozen.
The other half of this partnership was less than pleased, especially as I was the one who packed the fridge and I was also the one who was driving a bit too briskly. I’ve learned my lesson now. I make sure Shirley always drives that bit. Today’s excitement on Fridge Bridge was the dreaded cutlery drawer debacle. Someone (who me?) forgot to lock it after stopping at Dobbies and taking out the dogs’ fork to feed them. The sound it makes when it flies open is truly terrifying. Oops. Sorry about that…
We arrived at the site in good time and were pleased that the warden didn’t demand that we go away until the correct arrival time. We were soon on the pitch, trailer reversed neatly in, van in place and on to its levelling blocks. The other warden was emptying the bins right next to where we were pitching and paid no heed to us at all. Imagine my chagrin when I returned to the lady on reception to tell her which pitch we had chosen, only to be told that her husband had radioed in to say that we weren’t correctly lined up with the peg on the pitch. Apparently it’s all to do with fire safety but they let us off this time as we were next to the bins and nowhere near another pitch. I wonder what stopped him speaking to us as we reversed in and before we struggled with the levelling blocks?
Ah well, this is the Caravan Club and as we all know when it comes to the Club – Rules is Rules.