The Half-Term Duo - Part 1

Welcome back everyone.

Yes, another school holiday can only mean one thing - another trip away in dear old Patsy. This trip would of course be different as it would be my first as a solo - and single caravanner. So, how did it go? Well those who follow me on social media will already know the answer but hopefully this blog will give a bit more of an insight. You don’t get away that easily!

I was determined to take less stuff away on this trip. In the past we’ve never travelled light but even with the obvious differences - one persons clothes, one chair etc - it still seemed to take forever hauling stuff down to the car on the Thursday afternoon. Never mind a previous visit to Patsy with some bits and bobs during the week. I may just have overdone the clothes, but one can’t have too many leather coats and jeans I find. Trev would have done his nut!

I’d already discovered how much longer everything takes when there’s just one of you and must confess to not being the most organised, dashing from inside to out following no sensible order whatsoever. Eventually though, her ladyship was hitched up and it was time to move off sporting her smart new towing jacket thanks to the lovely folk at Pro-tec.

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Now getting out of the storage bay involves a sharp right hand turn that needs to be taken as wide as possible to avoid Patsy getting personal with the protruding hitch of ‘van on the end of the centre row. It’s given us problems in the past but providing someone spots on the blindside we could usually get around in one go. Not so this time. Despite a number of goes reversing and changing line I still couldn’t get the angle wide enough. It was warm and I was getting pretty frustrated by now although the problem was of course fairly easily solved thanks to the motor mover but I did feel a bit of a failure at the time and it dented my confidence a little.

It was the first time I pondered the sense in such a big ‘van for one person. It’s not a thought I’ve entertained since and don’t intend to again.

Anyway, the tow was fine - the whole er, ten miles of it as I was heading to my local site in Brighton. My cousin Andy, Janet and friend Alison were already on site and I was able to pitch near them. I’d arrived with renewed determination after the carry on at the storage yard and was going to reverse that bloody ‘van on the pitch perfectly if it killed me. The reality was somewhat different - the first attempt I got it roughly right but had neither the energy or the patience to keep trying and the motor mover was pressed into service again. It is what it’s there for after all. Of course I could use the excuse that I’m preserving Rosie’s ageing clutch but that’s only partially true!

I'd decided to have a play with setting up the 'van differently. There was - obviously - more room now and thought I could use this to my advantage, so made the bed up on the left side and kept the right in the usual daytime lounge setup. The sides and backs just fitted underneath which meant they wouldn't be cluttering up the shower. Which also made the shower more usable. I’d got into the habit of using the onboard shower quite a bit at times in the summer.

We all agreed that a quiet night in wouldn't hurt so Andy and I were despatched to the Marina to procure some ingredients for a buffet, which was served in Andy and Janet's 'van along with a drink. Or two.

The girls retired at a sensible time but Andy and I carried on talking for a while, and of course talking can be thirsty work. Quiet night in? Yeah, right….

I honestly had no idea what time we called it a night but the fact that the first time I managed to prise my eyes open wide enough to look at the clock it was nearly 9am - almost unheard of for me particularly recently. Janet recalled it going quiet around 02:45am - ridiculously late but very enjoyable - at the time anyway. The more we 20181019_132116we talk the more we discover about each other.

Heads had cleared by about midday so we set off, having a trundle east along the coast, eventually dropping some coins in the meter near Eastbourne pier where we enjoyed a pleasant walk around for an hour or so. The gardens were looking good and the weather was superb.

The drive back took us via Beachy Head where we decided to stop at the pub of the same name for a late lunch. It was warm enough to sit outside so we did, relishing the lovely view to be had across the Downs to the lighthouse and the coast.

20181019_141932It was Alison that noticed an empty chair at our round table. There were plenty to choose from but we’d chosen a table for five - drawn to it perhaps. Of course it should have been occupied - and I so wish it was - but it got me thinking that although Trev and I had driven around here a number of times - mostly with his Mum - that in thirteen years we’d never ever stopped at the pub. A shame, as Trev would have loved the views, not to mention tasty food and a decent ale too. Oh well.

We stayed in again that night, devouring more of the buffet later on and generally enjoying a quieter more relaxed night. I for one was just so happy to be away in Patsy again.20181020_182610

Saturday lunchtime saw the arrival of Alison’s son Adam & partner Jamie. We sat around the ‘van in the lovely afternoon sunshine having a good chinwag and catch up before later heading down to the Marina for a lovely meal. Some went in a taxi - Andy and I walked. The operator had, perhaps understandably, mis-understood ‘a taxi for six’. It arrived at six pm but could only take four. Oops! Thankfully there would no such misunderstandings on the return.

Sunday, sadly saw the departure of Andy & Janet who had to cut short their stay due to work commitments. They were great company as always and it was lovely to have them on site with with me. I will be spending my first Christmas alone with them this year, pitching up on Andy’s drive for a few days, and am looking forward to making the best of what will likely be an odd time.

Right, that’s it for Part 1. I’d hoped to squeeze the whole of my stay at Brighton in one blog, but no matter. Stand by for Part 2, very soon. Probably!

Cheers & Beers

Rich

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