Monday, 26 May 2014

How many times have us "Poor Dabs" been here?

I've been taking some stick of late because of the way I choose to holiday. One joker constantly referring to us caravanners as poor dabs because we can't afford a proper holiday, and actually believes that all caravanners survive on a diet of tinned sausage and beans.  I've said before that caravanning is not everyone's cup of tea, and as it says on the top of the page, you either get it or you don't.

Friday 23 May

Another bank holiday upon us and another chance to drag the tin shed off to some far flung, exotic and sunny location.

Under cloudy skies we hitched up just after noon and pointed Miranda's nose west.  The tow to the coast of West Wales was interesting.  There are many steep climbs and roads busy with ferry traffic until we hit the narrow and winding B roads to take us to St Davids.

The Caravan Club advises to avoid the direct route through Solva as there is a very narrow section flanked by solid stone walls that would be very unforgiving should you be unfortunate enough to meet a bus coming the other way.  The alternative route is to divert through Wolf's Castle and Castle Morris.  Whilst it avoids the narrow Solva it does add around 10 miles to the journey and the road is always filthy.  As we thread our way out of castle Morris, true to form the road is covered in mud and cowshit.  Miranda's wheels do a good job of flinging globules of the stuff over both the front of the caravan and ramblers that we pass on the side of the road.

As we approached from the north from Mathry I noted that the outside temp had dropped a few degrees and the wind was picking up somewhat.  We rolled up at the Caravan Club site and Herself goes to jump out to book us in,before jumping back in poste haste and reaching for her fleece.  With the paperwork out of the way she jumps back into Miranda complaining of the bitter wind outside.

We selected a pitch away from crow alley and started to set up.  I should really have taken notice of the lack of awnings attached to the sides of vans on site,and Herself's continual questioning of the wisdom of trying to erect an awning in these winds.

With the van up on it's chocks I unpacked the awning and proceeded to open it out.  Have you ever seen a kite surfer on the beach?  Well, picture a very fat kite surfer, in a Mongo hat with his hands tangled in the guy ropes being dragged across a very slippery field!!

Herself again questions my wisdom, but by now it's a man thing, and failing to erect the awning would somehow be an affront to my manliness.

Ignoring Herself's pleading to abandon all efforts, I continued to wrestle with the kite and somehow manged to thread the beading into the rail.  Unable to fly anymore, the fabric proceeded to slam itself against the site of the van, taking one or two of Herself's fingernails with it in the process.  I was becoming more popular as the seconds ticked by.  I could tell.

By now we have an audience, which makes me more determined to succeed.  Herself is now on her knees begging me to stop, but I am on a mission.  We somehow manage to peg it down and put up the frame, but the awning looks in a sorry state and I've seen better looking erections in the shanty towns of Rio, but it's up.

I step outside to take in the admiring glances, but they've all retreated to the safety of indoors.  Herself screams at me that the poles are coming apart and that one had hit her on the arm in the process of making it's break for freedom.  My plans for later on this evening are unraveling fast.

To add insult to injury, the madly flapping fabric starts to pull the pegs out of the ground.  Our pegs are 10" rock pegs, and for those readers who are unfamiliar with them, just imagine 10" nails.  The pegs are being flung through  through the air with gay abandon, and at one point it crossed my mind that a nail bomb had been detonated nearby!  It was at this point that I considered walking up to the site shop to see if they sold any Kevlar body armor.

I didn't actually make the decision to take down the awning, the wind did it by itself while I just stood there dodging flying rock pegs like as if I'm stood on the oche at the Embassy World Darts.  The fabric was pulled out of the rail and again I went kite surfing across the site face down in the mud whilst herself nursed her bruised arm and trimmed what was left of her broken nails.

As always when we come down here I get a text from Mr Shag saying that they are lost.  When they do roll up I see something that makes me start to question Mr Shag's sexuality.  Mrs Shag is towing! We shall have words after.

We take a spin to CKs for a mooch while they set up (wisely leaving their awning in the bag, and despite the fact that we have enough red meat back at the van to clog up the arteries of a rugby team, we are rather taken with a tray of minted lamb chops that we fancy for our tea.

Back on site I BBQ in the light rain while blowing the froth off a few cold ones with Mr Shag as we watch someone try to reverse onto their pitch for some 20 mins turning their little corner of the site into a rutted swamp.

With tea out of the way I promptly fall asleep on my chin straps, only to wake up at 10.30 to go to bed.  I open the blinds and see a figure lurking near the bushes, and once my night vision kicks in I see that it is Mr Shag.  I reach for my torch and wait.  I'm sat in darkness in the van he can't see me as I watch him furtively look around to make sure no one is watching.  Looking rather shifty he lines himself up against the hedge, looks around once more before he unzips, flops and opens the pressure relief valve, I wait a few seconds until he's in full flow, then bang, he's lit up under a flood light.

I thought it was funny anyway.

Saturday 24 May

Due to my very early night I was sat bolt upright in bed and wide awake by 5.30am.  Looking outside it was evident that the wind had dropped and it was a lovely morning. I briefly entertained the idea of going out to make a start on putting up the awning,but even the dogs gave me a 'you cannot be serious' look.

I held off until 7am then went outside to start clanking poles and hammer in pegs.

With the awning now set up it was time to take the dogs for a walk, and I take time to appreciate the scenery in this part of the world.

Then something happened that was so significant I wouldn't be surprised if the world shifted on it's axis. Wait for it ......... I breakfasted on cereal.  That's right, just cereal.  By now I've been awake for nearly 5 hours, and could have done with going back to bed for a nap!

Herself has spotted a flea on Cerys, so we need a pet shop.  I vaguely remember seeing one on the road here and have an inkling that it was on the St Davids to Fishguard road.  As we approached Fishguard harbour it is patently obvious that I was wrong, so while Herself popped into Tesco Express for some odds and ends I quickly Googled pet shops in Fishguard in an effort to make it look as if I knew what I was doing.

Fishguard is rammed and there's some sort of festival kicking off, so parking is at a premium.  Herself runs into Pampered Pets and runs back out clutching what appear to be very expensive looking small boxes.

We round the corner and park up near the Marine Walk and lead the dogs to go for a stroll.  It's very scenic (if you look in the right direction) but there's no hiding from the fact that the ferry port is bloody ugly.

With the dogs knackered we head back to site where It's still bright, but the wind had picked up a bit.  I've got lunch on the go on the Weber when I hear fain t cries for help.  I turn round and Mrs Shag is flapping her arms wildly.  They are trying to put up the awning and it's not going well.  It was all hands to the pumps until Mr Shag can get a few guys pegged out.

In a rush to beat the wind I am pegging from the outside while Mr Shag is faffing about with poles and pegging on the inside.  A lack of communication results in us both going for the same pegging point and Mr Shag's hand feeling the full force of my rubber mallet. He swore, but I didn't feel a thing.

With lunch out of the way I decide to have a power nap.  Some 4 hrs later I wake with a wet tee shirt, but feeling on top of the world..  Mr Shag has been out with his dogs and Herself clocks them returning with all three dogs sporting doggy coats.  Herself is quite taken with the idea,considering we had to spend 20 mins towelling ours down earlier, and I just know in my heart of hearts that this is going to end very painfully for me in the wallet department.

It is now Bow O Clock!

I BBQ some hefty looking rump steaks for tea before we embark on a mammoth session in the awning, all cwtched up around the halogen fire getting corned beef legs.  Mrs Shag leaves to go to bed but returns several times to tell us to quieten down.  The bow has taken a hammering and Mr Shag gets up to leave at what I think is 11.30 and I go to take the piss.  I glance at my phone and realise that it's close to 2am!

Very enjoyable evening was had by all.

Sunday 25 May

I wake with a very thick head at 7am and sit in the darkened caravan until 10am feeling very sorry for myself.  The dogs need walking, so pulling myself together I start to get ready and clean up the awning at the same.  Mr Shag puts in an appearance and lifts my spirits - he looks as bad as I feel and he informs me that he didn't make it as far as bed, spending the night in a chair.

With the dogs on their leads I join the throngs of serious walkers exiting the site, except that I don't really fit in.  Whereas they are all clad in Craghoppers' finest, I have thrown on some jeans a tee shirt and a pair of Crocs!

Back at the van Herself has got the bacon going and I guzzle a few gallons of orange juice in a bid to revitalise myself.  With bacon sandwiches wolfed down Herself reminds me that today we must purchase water proof coats for the dogs.  My protestations that they already have their own furry coats falls on deaf ears, so I storm over to Mr Shag's caravan and shout at him through the front window that it's all his fault.

We leave the site in light rain, drive through a heaving St Davids and take the very scenic road through Solva and Newgale and its new road towards the metropolis that is Haverfordwest.  We park up outside Pets at Home and I know exactly what's coming.  I get mugged.

As we line up at the till I ask myself why I let myself in for it time and time again.  herself not only is clutching two rather expensive looking doggy coats, but is also struggling to hold onto a bag of dog food, some doggy treats, some doggy deodorant and some soothing cream for doggies with irritable skin.  MUN.

Morrisons is the next port of call.  firstly because they have a toilet, and secondly because Herself needs wine.  It's like a Building Regs convention in there.  I meet my Pembrokshire counterpart at the tills and bump into my RCT counterpart in the foyer while waiting for Herself to powder her nose.

We take the same scenic road back, stopping at Newgale to picnic out of the boot of Miranda.  We're parked up on top of the pebble sea defense with the St Davids peninsular to our right and Milford haven to our left.  The sea is like a millpond and there's a few out on the water on stand up boards paddling around and just three kids trying to body board on the massive 6" rollers!

It really is hard to imagine the carnage that this place suffered in the January storms when these defenses were breached.

Back on site the sun is out, so we drag the chairs outside and soak up some rays.  The dogs get to try on their coats and we have a problem with Cerys' in that the belt is almost cutting her in two.

It was the biggest one they did, so an extension to it was hastily sewn in.  During this procedure I had a bit of a senior moment.  I'll spare you the full detail, but it involved a 20 min search, emptying of cupboards, lifting of seat cushions, emptying of bed lockers and much swearing, before finding the buckle exactly where it should be (attached to the coat).  I had to take myself off to have a quiet word with myself after that episode.

As I BBQ a massive rack of ribs for our tea I watch as all the walkers trudge wearily back to their vans on site.  I take a long slug of my Cobra beer, beltch, and remark to Herself that if I'd been out walking for as long as some of these I'd be wanting a ticker tape parade to mark my return to site!

With tea out of the way, Herself and Mrs Shag head off for an early night, whilst myself and Mr Shag have a go at blowing the froth off a few cold ones, but to be honest after last night's effort our hearts really aren't in it, and we call it a day at around 10.45.

Monday 25 May

We woke with a bit of a  start this morning, well Herself did. I was lying in bed when all of a sudden I got cramp in my calf.  I do not do cramp quietly, so was screaming and thrashing about in bed.  Herself thought I was having a heart attack!

We were both awake now and the sun was streaming through the blinds so as it was about 8am we both thought it better to get up and make a start at breaking camp.

The above is a lie by the way.  Herself was pissed off at me waking her and got up thinking that we'd both make a start at breaking camp.  I went back to bed leaving her to it.  By 9am I can stand the banging no more and winch myself up out of bed to pitch in.

Breaking camp in the warm sunshine was pleasant enough and we are pulling out of the site gates at 10am - just at the very same time that hoards of day trippers are heading in the opposite direction towards Whitesands.  Lets just say the few miles to the main road were interesting.

Oh yes, the title?  Well, all weekend Mr Shag has been asking how many times he's been to this site.  He's been 4 times in total, but is convinced he's only been 3 times.  The conversation took up far too much time that it should have, and despite efforts to convince him, he remains unconvinced. Poor dab.

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