Just a matter of days left of the season. This time next week and we’ll be on our holidays. The start of our four months off work. Still so much to do on site, the holiday seems like it’s still a long way off.
A little over eight months ago we drove onto site, leaving behind our Jellybeans, our home, our jobs and everything that was familiar to us. The last time we did anything big like this was twelve years ago when we upped sticks and emigrated from Lancashire to Hampshire. I struggled to settle and resented the move initially. How would I cope doing it all again?
This time round, I fortunately had The Boss by my side 24/7. Would that be a good thing? I hoped so.
Friends threatened to visit us during the season. Upon our arrival, our more seasoned colleagues said “Yeah, everyone says that, no one ever comes.” That burst my bubble a little, I’ll be honest. It’s at this point I apologise for anyone I failed to get a photo with. The first visitors were our Jellybeans, who over the eight months made loads of trips down the M3 to see us, sometimes with boyfriends Jack and James in tow.
In quick succession, were our neighbours and my rock, Anthea and her lovely hubby John. Six months after moving south we met and she became my shoulder to cry on, someone I could vent to, knowing that no judgements would be made and a friend for life. It was lovely showing them around my new home and my garden, the site. Could kick myself that they are one of the people I didn’t get a photo of.
Posh Joseph from my previous job, a new camper van owner, also came to spend an afternoon with us. Hopefully, it helped him in his new adventures on the road.
This is where my virtuals, our own nickname for our social media friends, start appearing. Early on in the season, a surname appeared on our arrivals screen, a quick check, revealed it was Chris, a lovely gent from quite a sizeable caravanning community that I’m part of on Twitter. Having met him at the NEC on a couple of occasions, I was looking forward to him arriving. Stepping from his Motorhome armed with a couple of bottles to celebrate us getting the job and big hugs.
Nicky, from a Facebook group I’m part of, booked in and we chatted about the long awaited arrival of the groups imminent twins.
Then dear to us virtuals arrived, staying for a whole week, I counted down the days until their arrival. Trevor and Richard in their beloved Patsy, rolled down the drive. Also bloggers and vloggers they had arranged for other virtuals from the Twitter community to visit.
Lee, Charlie and their lovely Bailey Maestro, Gladys, came to spend time with us all. Samantha came for tea with Trevor and Richard.
Gail and Mark braved the traffic from deepest darkest Wiltshire on Bank Holiday Monday, in horrendous traffic to share a drink or two and a bbq with us all.
Before Trevor and Richard left Site we had a visit from the lovely Stephen and Karla who brought cakes, perfect with a cup of tea on a balmy summer evening.
Dawn from the Isle of Wight, also a virtual off Twitter came to spend a week with us and despite several meals and shared drinks, I failed to get a photo. I promise I will get one soon though. Having never met Dawn in the flesh before, we are always a little apprehensive as to whether we will get on. Online banter suggested we would and we instantly hit it off. Similar in looks and humour we could be sisters from another mother.
Dee and Jez, fellow first year assistants that we met on training in February came across from their site, Longleat, to spend a very hot afternoon at Hengistbury Head with us. I’d like to say that Chris Evans also came to visit, but he didn’t, we just met him on the beach.
Another sister from another mother was the lovely Annette and her hubby Chris. Again similar in looks and humour, with The Boss and Chris having loads of things in common, a couple, I feel we will be friends for life with. With plans to meet up during our winter time off, I feel lots of laughter ahead.
Mary, her hubby and the gorgeous little Ella, followers of our blog, arrived with hugs and loads of recommendations of places we should visit whilst here in the New Forest, of course we may have sampled a glass or two as well. Would be rude not to.
Carl and Claire, the perfect family, with two adorable children, Martha and George. Also virtuals from our online caravanning community. Waves and shouts from the youngsters as we did our daily bin run made us smile. Squealing outside the toilet block as we did our toilet clean and Carl ran up and down until George mastered the art of riding his bike.
Aaron and Vicky with their beautiful little fur babies, Max and Ronnie. Honest, I really don’t like dogs, this job has really cured my fear and these two little pooches helped. Again, virtual friends that we’ve met through the caravanning community and although only a few years older than our children we had some fab meals out and drinks back on site.
October half term saw the arrival of Dan, Ang, Chloe and Chops the chocolate lab, who did win my heart and help with my fear of dogs. Dan, a fellow blogger and vlogger, who we originally met about three years ago and have remained really good friends with. We helped them reduce the weight of their new caravan by sampling their Tanqueray. Also really good to see Dan switch off and relax and enjoy his family and holiday time.
Steve, Diane and our godson, Ryan. Friends in real life for around thirty years, towed their caravan for six hours to spend a few days with us. Meals, drinks, chewing the cud, walks on the beach. Just like life used to be before we became honorary southerners. It’s funny how with some people you just slip back into it, as though you’ve never been apart.
Marion and Mervyn. Not friends or virtuals. We met over the counter, booking in and the fragrance that enveloped her. I love a good perfume and couldn’t help but comment on how nice it was. That was it, friendship struck. We clicked. They live not too far away from us and now it seems that after 3 visits to see us they may just be stuck with us.
It was also lovely to catch up with Paul and Libby, who talked us into doing this job, dropping by to see the whole team on two occasions.
Finally, in the very last couple of days of the season, Richard and his son George. Richard also follows our blog and has interacted online with us on numerous occasions. After only spending a short time in their company we are looking forward to seeing them again next season on site.
Thank you to everyone who made the effort to come and visit, we, I, really appreciate it. More than you could ever know, you helped me settle, you kept me grounded, you gave me something to look forward to, and proved that ‘Yes’ people do come.
This blog is dedicated to Trevor Webdale, who sadly passed away 1st August 2018 whilst on holiday in his caravan.
With permission, Richard Easy, photographer, Dan Trudgian.