Friday afternoon 4pm and the start of one of our treasured weekends off. They only come round every third weekend and are normally spent at home doing mundane tasks like gardening, shopping and housework. Our grown up Jellybeans still live at home but there are always bits and pieces to do. This weekend is different. The weather is dry and we’ve chosen to stay on site. Time for some caravan time. Since starting as assistant wardens, I’ve missed caravan time. Time to enjoy the ‘van. Time to get that holiday feeling, albeit whilst being at work.
First, a bit of upcycling and a repair job to do. The kitchen area in my compound is seriously lacking in storage. I’ve got my tins and stuff stored in an online shopping delivery crate due to lack of shelving. A few days ago the site ice cream freezer broke and me being me, married to ‘The Boss’ who is notoriously tight sees the baskets in the freezer and sees an alternative use for them. Armed with a drill ‘The Boss’ sets to at transforming my wall above the sink, waste not want not.
As previously blogged, Surviving a Caravan Power Cut, we have been without a caravan heater since last September, The Boss has sourced the required ‘elements’ and now wishes to avoid four hours labour costs by spending five hours of his own scratching his head and taking everything apart in the Caravan, great idea on a busy weekend.
So much to do, it’s going to be a busy couple of days. Crack of dawn Saturday, well for us, 10am is early, and we are tramping through the doors of Lidl. Weekly shopping and a nice lunch. We’ve got friends joining us in a couple of hours. Neighbours from home, John and Anthea. We moved in, opposite each other, eleven years ago and our friendship was immediately set. They have been a huge part of our lives and support network since moving south and it only seemed right to allow them to see how our adventure was progressing. Butties bought and made, olives, salad, pork pies, scones (how do you say it?), crisps and other nibbley bits then await the phone call to say they are here.
Hugs and kisses and welcome to the site. I’m not quite sure what they expected. Club houses, bars and kids clubs? All we can offer is a walk around a beautifully coiffured site. Quite proud of how the site is looking, even though we say so ourselves. We are proud to show off our new home and extended ‘garden.’ The noises that our good friends make tell us that they are suitably impressed and happy with our life changing choice. It’s nice having someone close to me on site, it settles me. It’s nice showing non-caravanning friends what we now have, our new home. I hope they are happy for us.
Quick tidy up and a glass of wine in the evening and time to keep in touch with other friends.
Sunday sees a bit of a lie in. A lunch time meet up has been arranged in Shaftesbury with caravanning friends, Denise and Jez. We hit the road and point the Volvo towards Shaftesbury. The usual obligatory hold ups on the roads of the New Forest slow us down, but who cares, time to enjoy the moment.
After attempting to feed money into the parking meter while a man shouted “It’s free” numerous times (doooh) we saw Denise and Jez arriving at the agreed time, despite The Boss giving them a Postcode about a mile away. We dived straight into The Mitre public house for a fabulous Sunday Roast then wandered down to ‘Gold Hill’, most notable as the 1973 “It was like takin’ bread to the top of the world” Hovis advert, directed by Ridley Scott of ‘Alien’, ‘Bladerunner’ and ‘Gladiator’ fame.
We ‘freewheeled’ to the bottom of the hill and back up to town through the local park and into the nearest coffee shop where we camped for the next couple of hours chatting and laughing. Lovely to catch up with Denise and Jez, we only first met earlier this year but it could have been years ago judging how easy the conversation flowed.
We get back to the caravan, or should I say, the workshop of heater bits, plastic cowlings, screwdrivers, wooden frame and cushions. The Boss replaces the offending elements and rebuilds the heater.
Monday morning, after a quick ‘once over’ by our local mobile caravan service engineer, (Top Tip. Become a mobile service engineer near a big caravan site, literally daily call outs), its time for the big switch on, I can tell The Boss is not over confident, burning dust reaches our nostrils, oh dear…. then… the burning smell departs and is replaced by ‘heat’. The look on his little ‘warm’ face? … priceless.