Was having a sort through my hard drive earlier and found this blog that had not been posted. It dates back to November 2011 ........
We’d bought the van at an awkward time of the year. It was the end of November, we had little leave left in work and many sites were closed up for the winter.
We were both itching to try out the new van, but everything was transpiring against us. We needed somewhere local so that we could try it out to ensure everything worked and to leave Friday evening and be back by Sunday morning for Roids to play rugby.
Herself and Roids were out doing a weekend shop when I rang herself to drop the news that the van was hitched to the back of Mandy and ready for the off. Herself didn’t put up much resistance, and on her return from shopping the goodies were loaded into the van instead of the house, and we were off.
Three gear changes later, in the pitch black, we are pulling into Gateway Holiday Park in Llanelli. The site roads are poorly lit and cars are parked everywhere. My sphincter tightens as the outfit is threaded through the site and I instantly regret not booking onto a Caravan Club site. The hard standing pitches are narrow and overgrown, but we fit the van on and get set up.
Usually that late at night I wouldn’t usually bother with the security devices, but Gateway is situated adjacent to another site occupied by members of our dear travelling community.
After 45 mins of wrestling with our new Alko hitch lock and several ‘Black mans’ pinches’ later, I have enlightened the whole site to my rather extensive vocabulary of expletives.
We settle down for the night trying desperately to ignore the howling gale and lashing rain outside.
Saturday morning didn’t exactly dawn, it more or less arrived in the form of a slightly less dark outside. I put my coat and boots on, before losing my fingernails as the howling wind ripped the van door out of my now pulsating fingers, smashing it cruelly against the van side. I took the dogs down to the coastal path for a walk, not my best ever move, before returning to the van via the scenic route!
I took in the sights of the gyppos burning fridges in the adjacent field, the boarded up now defunct dog kennels and the piles of pallets and tarpaulins that occupy the outside space of the seasonal pitches at Gateway.
I failed to find the entrance to the widely advertised new toilet block, so the last 250 yds of my morning walk were completed in a fashion that would cause much hilarity on a Monty Python sketch!
It quickly becomes apparent to herself that dogs and a beige caravan interior do not make the best of friends. Cerys and Tali and bundled into Mandy’s boot before we make our way to Trostre Retail Park and the money pit that is Dunelm Mill. Several throws and loose mats later we return to site to dog proof the van interior.
The phone rings some time later and Roids announces he is going for a ride on his pushbike and will pay us a visit. It’s still hammering down, but he wants to burn off some energy.
We sit and wait his arrival, and we wait, and we wait. The phone rings. It’s him asking where we are as he’s ridden all round the site but cannot find us. After a heated exchange the sudden realisation is that he is at the wrong site and had ridden to Gowerton, some 5 miles further on!
He eventually makes it and looks a sorry sight. He’s soaked through to the skin and sits in the van drinking hot chocolate in his pants. We feed him before waving him off with the promise that he’ll ring us to let us know he’s home safely. He didn’t.
A very cosy night was spent watching Strictly and listening to the rain forming a lake around us.
Sunday morning actually dawned, and it was bright. But all was not well with Mandy. She started ok but was coughing and spluttering like a 60 a day smoker. My revving the life out of her brought disapproving looks from herself and the gyppos in the adjacent field.
There was noting else for it but to take her out onto the road to try and clear the problem. It didn’t work and with time running short we towed the van home on what sounded like 3 cylinders!