The Nostalgic Spring Sojourn | Part 1

Right, here we go again. Easter might be late but the school’s Easter holiday remains the same so once again, the middle of March means it’s Patsy time once again. Be prepared for vaguely regular blog posts recording my trip up north, calling in on some of the sites and areas that Trev and I enjoyed so much, along with a new one too.

There were, as it turned out, two spanners trying to get amongst the works on my day of departure, the first of which bore the inscription Royal Mail. I’d ordered something online the weekend prior with a promised 48hr delivery and, even allowing for the weekend I thought I’d be OK but it wasn’t until the early hours of Friday morning that I got the delivery notification text, stating sometime in the morning. Great.

The other issue of course was the weather. I’d kept a very close eye on the forecast, particularly concerning the high winds. I didn’t want to delay but also there was no way I was going to put myself, Patsy or others at risk - there’s too many memories and anyway I love her to bits. A look through the forecasts at various points on the route though revealed that as long as I took it steady I’d be OK. So I got the car packed up as much as possible and waited for the intercom to go, thinking gloomily that the one time I need the postman to be early, he’ll be running late.

Thankfully he wasn’t so by 0930 with the food loaded in I was on the way to the storage yard – and in fact the timing could not have been much better as the winds had improved considerably. I was still behind my planned schedule though so there wasn’t much unpacking done – the food was thrown in the fridge, Patsy’s nuts and tyres were checked and we were ready.

There was no need to negotiate the sharp right turn as Patsy’s right hand neighbour was absent and the solar panel had kept the battery alive enough for me to turn her out and inline with the car. By 1030 we were away.

My decision to travel proved correct. Prior to each service area I pondered whether there was a need to stop and decided to carry on. There was little sideways movement and keeping the speed down certainly helped – sometimes forced by roadworks and traffic anyway. 4 hours later I was pulling into the arrivals area at Somers Wood Caravan Park near Meriden in Warwickshire. Many will know that we were here exactly a year ago on the start of our trip then. It’s a lovely site in a great location and it was good to be back.

Check in was swift and the lovely Angela had sorted me a serviced pitch and a few minutes later I was alongside pitch 42, next door to the one we had last time. Now us humans are funny things – I don't need to tell you that. Normally I would have one quick go at reversing then engage the services of the motor mover, and given my current state - tired, skull ache and aching bladder that’s probably what I should have done. But no, the empty pitch opposite was too tempting and within a few minutes and only a couple of corrections I’d got Patsy perfectly on the pitch. Or so I thought. I’d been concentrating too much on the offside and while indeed she was inline and level, I’d not left enough room for the car on the other! Numpty. This is when the remote would have normally appeared, but no, I had another go and – get this – managed to get her spot on. I congratulated myself as I scampered to the loo…..

Lunch consisted of a hastily thrown together cheese and paracetamol sarnie which preceded something approximating a nap and, later when I returned, somewhat reluctantly to the land of the living I was already hungry again so decided to start dinner – one of my er, delicious concoctions from the freezer at home, namely a sausage casserole – thank you Colmans.

It was when I put the fan on above the cooker that it became clear there was an issue. The radio cut out and the display flashed on and off, and the lights started dimming at regular intervals. Luckily Patsy has a couple of wall mounted mains lights as well as my table lamp and globe so, after switching off the 12v – and switching it back on again just in case – I was able to continue with dinner.

The toolbox came out soon after and some prodding with the multimeter probes revealed that the battery was clearly suffering from a dose of CBA, only offering up 10 volts and clearly not being charged up by the onboard charger.

Now, attentive readers may recall that, some years ago, the charger failed as we began our usual Easter holiday trip up to the north-east. Patsy was still under warranty then and a quick diversion to Marquis just south of Newcastle got it sorted.

So, this was the target of my investigations assuming – not unreasonably, that it had failed again. It sits, rather too snugly in my opinion, above the fuse box and is not easy to extract – but whilst swearing and cursing and being generally cack handed, normal service was resumed – the lights resumed their normal brightness and the radio came back to life. Clearly there was a loose connection somewhere but it was getting too dark to investigate properly so I adjourned further investigation until the morning.

It may surprise you to read that not one drop of beer passed my lips that night. You see I’d bought my caravanning starter kit – beer, wine, cheese, cooked meats and biscuits - a couple of days prior but had accidentally drank the beer the night before – well it was the end of term of course, an event always worthy of celebration. I have to report though that the Co-Op Merlot made a very pleasant accompaniment to the inevitable cheese salami and biscuits later on. And with Patsy nice and cosy, a good book on the go and the radio playing quietly I was back in my happy place and looking forward to what the trip would bring.

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