We’re off on the road again. After our last trip to the New Forest, I’m a little more organised. I started to throw stuff, willy nilly into the van the night before, so, when our shift finishes, I’m still in uniform as he is motor moving the van out of our compound and into late night arrivals. Chucking on shorts and T-shirt, my little legs scurry across as he’s hitching the Volvo up and I throw arm fulls of stuff into the boot. We still have the tortoise, her suitcase is packed and flung in. Settled in the front seat, we hit the road.
When the tortoise first entered our lives many sleeps ago, The Boss, for whatever reason, referred to her as a hedgehog and within the family that term has stuck. Please humour me if I refer to ‘The Hedgehog’ whilst having the image of a tortoise in your head.
Destination this time, Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, Hurn Lane in Burnham on Sea. I’ve not seen the sea since Lanzarote and am craving the relaxing sound of the waves, sea air up my nose and sand on my toes.
Pulling into new arrivals at Hurn Lane, my stomach feels like my throat’s been cut, my tummy is screaming to be fed and my hips and legs don’t want to walk. It’s funny standing in reception waiting to greet people, watching whilst they try to free their seized hinges (hips, knees and anything else creaky.) Today, I’m the person unfolding themselves out of the car, trying to bend and straighten up freely to be able to put The Hedgehog on the car seat, then hobbling along towards reception, looking and feeling just like my grandma, who incidentally, would’ve been 116 in October had she still been alive.
Walking past the warden’s compound a tirade of welcoming abuse tumbles out of the caravan window. Wardens we met a couple of years ago out in Lanzarote, obviously pleased to see us again. Checked in by fellow colleagues that we had the pleasure of doing our induction training with, we have a quick catch up, hobble back to the car in search of a pitch.
Since starting to take these little jaunts out on our days off we’ve been amazed at how much we can actually manage without. No aqua roll or waste master for us. Walking across to the tap to fill a bottle and the kettle help me get my steps in.
Close to the seaside and the coastal breeze cools the air as The Boss throws the caravan onto a pitch and I settle the Hedgehog on the grass behind the van. Quick trot across to the tap and the kettle is on almost as quickly as the legs are down. Squawking seagulls the size of eagles with a mean glint in their eye soon put an end to the Hedgehog’s freedom, she is safely ensconced on the grass beneath the cage of her crate. Looking pretty fed up they wander off in search of new prey.
The site have a deal with a local chippy, place your order with the site and the chips are delivered at 6.30pm. Even though I was warned the portions were big, my eyes, as usual, were bigger than my belly and I ordered enough to feed a flock of seagulls.
Rain thundering on the roof during the night give the morning a fresh, petrichor, smell. Blurry eyed I aim for the showers and rub the sleep from my eyes, scanning borders and hedges for free Hedgehog food, of which there is non! The site has been well and truly weeded with no Hedgehog food as far as the eye can see, once I’m all clean and looking fit to face the world, I head for the lane outside site and go foraging.
Typical school holiday weather and the wind is bracing down on the front in Weston-Super-Mare, pulling my jacket around me, we head into the wind down the sea front. Not quite the seaside experience I wanted, sand in my toes etc… the sea is a sludgy colour of brown as it slaps the muddy, brown sand, miles away. I can literally just about hear the waves and smell the salt, if I close my eyes and put my ears and nose into overdrive.
Back at the van after a quick trip to a kebab shop in Burnham on Sea, we tuck into the biggest polystyrene tub of meat and salad imaginable. Again, my eyes were too big for my belly.
Tucked up for the evening, against the wind and the rain inside the warmth of the van, we contemplate and put the world to rights. No TV for us tonight, just good old fashioned chat and of course a cheeky Vimto or two to oil the vocal chords.
This is why we bought a caravan and love caravanning.