I am delighted to report that Patsy has returned to service after a short break in Northern Ireland. She is currently perched on a beautiful site on the western bank of Loch Lomond near the pretty village of Luss. Luss was the setting for the TV drama “Take the High Road”.
The site itself is delightful with great views over the Loch and spacious grass pitches. Ducks waddle around all day hoping for food, rabbits come out in the morning and early evening to play. And shit. Lots..
The sun is shining and at times today it has felt genuinely warm too. We have just returned from a short cruise around the Loch, which was lovely if a little chilly.
Anyhow, time to get up to date.
The journey from Downpatrick to Belfast docks was uneventful, if a little stressful – and I wasn’t even driving. We arrived in good time though despite the traffic and were at the head of our lane again. The crossing was fine and a lot calmer than the last one.
We were to stop at Ayr for a couple of nights, just to break the journey and get back to our Sunday to Sunday travelling plans. It was only 45 miles from the docks at Cairnryan, much of it coastal and with the sun out, really quite pleasant. The site was, much like the one in Cardiff, right near the town centre and even easier to find. I tried my hand at reversing her ladyship for the first time and got her almost pitch perfect at the second time of trying. The motor mover done the rest.
We had one whole day in Ayr and to be honest we didn’t do much – just had a stroll through the town centre and down to the wide beach, very popular apparently during the Victorian times, but clearly not now. On the way back we called for a pint – yes, just the one. Trev had to pick me up off the floor when the barman handed over the change – from a fiver! Ok, it wasn’t real ale but was perfectly drinkable, especially at that price.
Sunday morning we continued our journey north, skirting Glasgow and going across the Clyde on the Erskine bridge. We were at the site too early again but they very kindly found room for us, although we had to wait for another caravan to leave. After the kindness shown to us in Cardiff on our first day, it was our turn to be saviours. A pin had snapped on the motor mover of the van that we were waiting for. I delved into our selection of nails and screws – bought earlier on in the trip for our mishap with the jockey wheel – and the problem was soon fixed.
It took a little longer to site the van this time as the pitch was sloping at all angles but we eventually got her set. After a snack and a cuppa we abandoned all hope and got the awning out. Well, after the obligatory swearing and cursing – at the awning and each other – I am delighted to report that we have a solid usable erection. And after some heavy rain on Sunday night it is still standing – and waterproof, although I am yet to be convinced that it is worth the effort. Time will tell on that one.
Yesterday, we had a really lazy day – up late then a stroll around the pretty village. This morning too was a late one. This week is all about relaxation.
So, there we are. Three weeks in and it’s all going quite well. I believe we are getting the hang of the the actual caravanning bit quite well. Once at a site we know what to do and, just as importantly, in what order. Once the van is unhitched and positioned, chocked and the steadies lowered, Trev gets inside to start unpacking the breakables and sorting out the kitchen whilst I set up the water, waste and loo. Without doubt still the hardest thing I have found is the towing, but am getting the hang of it. Usually we drive for an hour or so each and this works quite well. We don’t as yet have a satnav but have managed ok so far with maps printed off from the ‘net along with instructions from the sites – yes Patsy has a little printer on board too. Should we take the plunge and go into Europe however a decent satnav will be essential I think.
What do we do when not sightseeing – well, we have the TV but reception varies from excellent to non-existent. Here, it is Ok during the day – well it was after a running repair to the aerial lead – but at night is almost unwatchable. Some sites have WiFi – for a fee – at others I rely on a decent mobile signal for internet access to all the maps, site bookings and porn…..
Under one of the seats in Patsy is a computer hard drive, which serves not only to back up all my computer stuff and photo’s but also has a large collection of TV programmes and films which can be viewed through the TV. So, when we are not out and about we have no reason to get bored. Tonight though we have promised ourselves a meal and a couple of pints at a pub just up the road.
One of the great things about caravanning is observing how other people spend their time on site. Men will march to the shower block with a towel slung over their shoulders and a bottle of shower gel in one hand. Women stroll over and take a whole rucksack of stuff. It’s also fair to say, that at the tender age of forty, I am still one of the youngest on site. That’s if you don’t count the dogs. Every other van seems to have at least one, and they clearly love it. Many of you will know that we have our own dogs too – albeit the low maintenance sort and Trevor says he walks them (?) whilst I’m taking care of the water. So please so hello below to Teddy and Hamish!