All that changed on Monday, when in under a week from being released on parole, Creaky had Grumbles dialling 999 once more for a free blues and twos ride into the very familiar welcoming arms of PPH AMAU ward.
The safari is postponed, but Herself still wants to spend the weekend in the van but be close enough to fulfil her hospital visiting duties. Longleat is cancelled, with a firm warning from the Caravan Club that as it is within 72 hours of our arrival I will have a black mark against me!
I'd located a few CLs on the Gower with space, but phone signal was dodgy in those areas, and Herself needs to be contactable, but as luck would have it, on my third attempt, a pitch came free at Pembrey. Some frantic thumb action bagged it, even is the price for just the two of us is weighing in at a scandalous £31.57 per night!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday 1 May
A half day in work sees me heading west by lunchtime. Luckily the road was quiet, and I''m getting more confident throwing the twin axle about on the mover, so getting the van out was drama free.
I'm hitched up and ready for the off in no time. I throw Toyah into drive, press the important pedal and nothing. She revved alright, just didn't move anywhere. I moved up and down her box and tried again ..... same result.
Getting out to survey the scene, in Herself's absence, I have to give myself a good slap. Not only had I forgotten to disengage the movers, but I'd also left the habitation door wide open.
I've not fessed up to Herself about this yet.
The van is in a sorry state. She was already suffering from about 750 miles worth of motorway grime, but we've had two significant drops of Sahara dust, we've also had Storm Hannah and the captain next door has been stoking his wood burner which has dropped a load of soot in the damp air.
I pause at Morrisons to give her the good news with a lance and hot foam brush, and 25 mins later I am cruising solo along the A484 in sunshine (with a sparkly clean caravan) on my last leg of the mammoth 12.5 miles to site from home.
Setting up was arduous. I am on my own, and Herself has decided we need to try out out Vango on the new van this weekend - to see how it fits. I've got a good sweat on, and by the time Herself bells me to say she's going straight to PPH from work to check on Creaky at 4.30pm I'm just about done and can announce to Facebookville that "I is arrived!"
I head back home to collect Herself and the dogs, and we're back on site just as the sun goes down and a chill descends. I'm knackered, and flop on the front bench with a glass of Henry Weston for company as evening dog walkers use our pitch as a shortcut to theirs!
By the time we turn in I am fully relaxed / pissed *delete as appropriate.
Thursday 2 May
Wow!! What a kip. Retired at 10.30 last night, just one wake up in the night for a pee at 4.30am and did not stir again until 9.45am. I am loving the layout of this van, particularly the separate bedroom at the rear with an island bed.
Anyway, buy the time the kettle is whistling Herself has presented herself in the lounge and the bed has been made, so no cuppa in bed this morning.
Herself lights a flamer under the pan and throws in some sausages to cremate before being squashed in between 2 slices of Braces' finest.
A stretch of the legs is called for as Herself's Fitbit is nagging. We manage 4500 steps meandering through the adjacent country park. The walk was a mix of open park land, forest tracks and even some tunnel action!
Progress is halted when we reach the cafe. Herself takes an outside table with the dogs and I'm dispatched to procure a black coffee and a tea. Somehow I accidentally manged to order a slice of fresh cream Victoria sponge to go with my tea, but wolfed it down before Herself had come off the blower to Creaky!
She starts the nagging process while I still have a mouthful, so am unable to retaliate.
Back at the van Herself has a quick (well as quick as Herself can be) shower, before we head back towards Turksville where I drop Herself off at PPH for visiting duties. I call in on Coupons for a catch up.
The dogs get another workout chasing a ball on the open grassland before we retreat to the van where I've had a lamb and mushroom concoction festering away in the slow cooker all day.
Won't be late again tonight.
Friday 3 May
Not quite as long in bed, but still a decent kip getting up at 8.45am. Two mugs of splosh into the morning and Herself lights a flame under the pan. Bacon and sausage baps are eaten in the awning before we motivate ourselves (Herself's Fitbit starts to nag) in to moving about.
Dogs clipped on, we head out of the site into the open spaces of the country park. Totally different route today though as we stick to the right and pass the visitor's centre and into the "Favella"
We're quite amused though as someone with a seasonal pitch has marked out their territory with a 40,000 pole windbreak staked out.
We carry on into the forest, taking in an interesting sculpture before the dogs hunt out one of the many ponds here for a refreshing dip.
Soon enough though refreshments are on our minds, and we break cover and head towards the Cwtch Caffi for paper cups full of steaming tea and coffee. Yes, I also had a slice of Victoria Sponge (it would have been rude not to) much to herself's disgust.
What disgusted me though was the somewhat selfish attitude of a group of geriatric cyclists who abandoned their bikes against many of the outside tables while they went inside.
To make matters even worse, although together, they had spread themselves, with feet up, over 3 of the inside tables. I'm all for pushing a few bikes onto the floor, but Herself is content to take a seat at an inferior table and I'm told to wind me neck back in.
Back at the van the sun makes a fleeting appearance, so no time is wasted in getting out the chairs, kicking back and harvesting some vitamin D.
Soon enough though it;s time for hospital visiting duties, so a return to Turksville is required. Herself is adamant that she's only stopping an hours though, and soon enough we are back at the van chilling with a beer.
I often take stick from those that have never done it, or do not understand caravanning as a holiday. Claims of it being too much like hard work and surviving of tins of beans and sausage. Well here's tonight's plate of beans and sausages for you ........
The site is busier tonight though as families rock up for the BH weekend.
Saturday 4 May
Springing open the blinds reveals another fine morning, with our bedroom window looking out over open land towards Kidwelly. Opening up the front however reveals how much the site has filled up over the last 24 hrs.
Our reluctance to leave the comfort of bed means that breakfast didn't happen. Herself gets a message from Ronnie that they are coming down to visit. We need food, so a quick dash to CKs is necessary to replenish stocks before Beastie rocks up with Ronnie and YG - but I can't call her that anymore as she no longer works in the establishment. from hereon in YG will be known as Macmillan Book Worm (MBW).
On arrival, I waste no time in starting to play wit Beastie, firstly with a giant football that she chased around and next with her in a ball pit.
Herself's Fitbit starts to make threatening noises, so Beastie gets strapped onto her bike, the dogs get clipped onto their leads and we set off to start counting steps.
Out of the site and we turn right past the horses and then another left through the Favella onto some of the forestry tracks.
Ronnie lets on that they've not eaten. any thought of having a BBQ are put to one side as waiting for coals to get to a state that you can cook on them is out of the question, so food is cooked inside. Beastie is getting tired though, so we're waving them off at 7pm before taking the dogs into the park to throw a ball for the dogs as the sun drops down the other side of the dunes.
It's going to be a cold one tonight, and the dogs are quite content to slob out for the rest of the evening.
Sunday 5 May
Herself had a disturbed night. Gwawr had an upset belly and was nagging to go out at 3.30am and 5.30am (I only know this because Herself has informed me as such), so Herself was out in the freezing cold for most of the night.
When I wake at 9am Herself is missing, and so are the dogs, so I get up and light a flame under the kettle. It is over the first cuppa of the day that I am informed of the overnight exploits.
Our van has a rear bedroom with the transverse bed leaving little room to pass in it's nighttime mode. It was on our first trip out that Herself bagsied the left hand side, condemning me to sideways nighttime shuffles. Last night put a different complexion on matters and I fear Herself is starting to think that she may have been a little hasty on her choice of bed side.
A quiet day was had until it was time to go hospital visiting, grab some provisions and dart back to site. Roids and TF are calling down to see us after work, so there is no time to waste.
Roids is starving (just like Ronnie yesterday) so no time to faff about with a BBQ.
We lead the 3 dogs and head off out into the country park for an evening stroll, throwing a ball for the dogs to chase as we make progress.
We mosey on over to take a look at the WW1 Weekend Click HERE) to see what's appertaining.
Not much to be honest, a few prancing about in military outfits of the time, but most in bloody onesies!
We did wonder though as a nutter clinging to a bed sheet with a lawn mower engine strapped to his back did a few fly overs. Not exactly an Albatross D.I, but was it just some random adrenaline junkie or the poor bloke who lost at cards last night around the fire who is this evening's target practise?
We wave off Roids and TF before I do the outside jobs and then settle down with a few G&Ts to help relieve my aching bones.
Now regular readers will be aware that I am very tolerant of others and have the patience of a saint, but since we've arrived there is a couple in a motorhome that have getting on my pip, you see, they spend their time holed up inside with the blinds down. They are quite entitled to do this, but every night they turn on a strip of LED lights on the side of their van that lights up out paddock like a bloody football field.
It's like being pitched up next to the Griswalds at Christmas mun!
Monday 6 May
Herself has been feeling the cold, so last night I was persuaded to leave the heating on low. Big mistake! I wake at 5.30am gasping for breath in what feels like an oven.
I get up, fling open the door and turn it off before realising I am too tired to get up proper and go back to bed until a far more sensible 9am.
Herself is also now satisfied that the Vango fits, and I am allowed to take it down, packing it away neatly (following @herewetow method), which I must say worked a lot better than my previous folding method.
Clark W Griswald stops me for a chat on my way back from the refuse and I'm given his like story ....... all the while my bacon and sausage butty is getting cold. I never got round to having a go about his light!
We play at being Wayne and Waynetta round the van for a while before I motivate myself enough to scrape a few day's growth off my chops and have a shower.
The dogs get clipped on their leads and we, once again, head on into the park. We have season tickets for here but are really enjoying having it literally on our doorstep this week. Herself's knee is giving her some serious gip, and no matter what her Fitbit says I really cannot see her making her step count today.
We get as far as Caffi Cwtch and Herself wants to stop for a coffee, I also procure a slice of sponge to go with my tea. Well it would have been rude not to.
From our table we can see the WW1 camp, and there appears to be a bit more going on than last night, so I drag Herself over, kicking and screaming, for a mooch.
We cut over the pitch and putt to return to site, jump straight into Toyah and point her in the direction of PPH ward 3.
Back on site we note how it has thinned out somewhat. Was it something we said?
Tea is a lamb and mushroom curry that's been festering in the slow cooker all day, and is washed down with the alcoholic beverages left in the fridge - well there's no point in towing all that extra weight home in the morning is there?
Late on we take the dogs for one last walk in the country park, and quite frankly we are disgusted by the litter left by day trippers, and in some cases with 30m of a bin too. What is it with some people?
As darkness falls on the site Clark flicks the switch, and our paddock is once more like a football pitch. Roids has seen the pictures and is firmly of the opinion that they are better than the floodlights down the main field in the village with us.
Tuesday 7 May
Crap night's kip last night, mainly due to Herself leaving the heating on when she joined me in bed. Come 3am I can take it no more anf fling a window wide open and watch it start to get light.
I'm outside by 8.30am quietly and slowly finishing off the process of breaking camp, and by 9.30am we are hitched up and ready to roll.
By 10.30am we are pulling up outside "Home is where you drag it" Towers and the van inched back into it's cwtch until next time.
Our 6 nights in the van have been a real tonic. We've not done much really except walk in the adjacent country park in between hospital visiting. That said there will be other times that we can take Beastie on Safari and the dogs have probably enjoyed the break more than if we'd gone to Longleat. The bonus was we were able to see Ronnie, MBW and Beastie as well as Roids and TF.
Creaky is looking much better for her week in hospital, and so is Grumbles who is her full time carer. Herself and I have enjoyed some down time, and it's been a relaxing 6 nights in the van.
The beauty of a caravan is that you don't always have to be away to be away.