Noting quite like a last minute getaway. @DerekTheWeather has promised great things for the weekend, and when at 9.30pm last night Herself suggested a weekend in the van I jumped at the chance. This is the freedom that a caravan offers.
I managed to finish a few hours early and at 4pm I was parked up in B&Q adjacent to Herself's office waiting for her to finish work.
Not going far this weekend, just over to the CC site at Gowerton. All was well until we crossed over the Loughor bridge into Jacksville when it soon became evident that we were towing during rush hour. We hit stationary traffic by Swansea Sound and crawled past the Harvester and under the low bridge to the lights. It opened up for a little until we came to the lights where we needed to turn right onto the marsh road.
Herself went white and started to click. I looked right and took a sharp intake of breath. Put it this way, Pont y Cob road is no Yank freeway, barely wide enough for two cars to pass it is now choked with a long line of cars and transit vans. It's less than half a mile to the site entrance, but that measly distance takes me a good 15 mins to inch along with just cm to spare.
We join the queue to check in and Herself is a little fraught. Things didn't go too well in reception either, and by the time she emerges I can see she's ready to kill.
We find a nice sunny pitch, and are set up in no time at all. No awning this weekend. After chilling for a bit I get a result. I am supposed to be on call this weekend, so have come away without any shant for myself, but having put some pressure on the Omar Sherrife, my rota is covered. We head over to Asda to rectify the situation and collect a Chinese takeaway on our way back.
We pull up on site and as Herself is dishing up we get a knock on the door. It turns out that we have pitched up next to Herself's cousin and her hubby. What a coincidence. Herself promises that we'll be round as soon as we've eaten, so food is wolfed down before we make our way to their van, armed with chairs and bottles of grog.
They had not seen each other for a few years and we spent a delightful evening under their canopy catching up and talking all things caravanning and The Scarlets.
We had a bit of excitement at 9.30pm when an ambulance came into site with flashing blue lights to attend a caravan pitched 3 up from us. They were on site for nearly an hour and were attracting some attention, before leaving with the rather poorly caravanner loaded up.
Saturday 6 September
Having not had a long walk last thing last night the dogs are a little restless this morning, and as they coax me from my pit at just before 9am the sun is still trying to burn off the mist.
Not heading for the doggy walk this morning as they need a good run, and put Cerys and Tali in an open field and they will run their own legs off. I am reminded of a high security prison as I unlock the steel security gate, complete with anti vandal paint into no mans land, and then unlock an identical gate a little further on that leads onto the playing fields at Gowerton.
We join about another 30 dog walkers and council workers putting up the football nets and marking out the pitches.
I get back to the van and Herself has not yet stirred, so I make myself a cuppa and settle down outside just as the sun burns off the mast of the mist, and watch the site come to life.
Herself eventually gets up and we breakfast on bacon butties in the warm morning sun.
As ever when we are away, we decide we need something. This time it’s a little coffee table to use outside. Go Outdoors in Llansamlet had nothing but a quick trip to The Range just a little further up the road was a little more beneficial,
We went back to site for just long enough to drop off our purchases before heading back to Llangennech to watch Roids play rugby. It was a lovely warm afternoon down the Park and Tali enjoyed the game immensely.
A quick stop off in the Co-op for wine for Herself and something to cook for tea was necessary before we returned to site by 5pm to soak up the warm evening sunshine.
As we cruise around the site I see someone getting up out of their chair and making their way towards the Miranda. It’s Steve Williams’ brawd, who I used to work with a few years ago. His parents are pitched a few spaces away from us and he’s called in to scrounge a few cuppas and a bag of chips.
Turns out that his parents are away with the gent who got carted off in the meat wagon last night. The good news is that he’s still with us, but is undergoing tests in Morriston hospital to see what’s what.
We start on our stash of Stella. There is no better way to waste time than drink beer outside your caravan and watch the world go by. A familiar looking people carrier crawls past, then stops and reverses. I’m thinking to myself “What’s this fool doing?” when he winds down the window and points.
It’s Penarth, a guy who was pitched on the other side of the field at Trevedra at the start of July! This weekend is turning into a “lets meet people weekend.” We chew the fat for a while before I break off as my Stella is warming in the sun.
We put tea on to cook and blow the froth off a few more. Herself gives me the 5 min warning and I peel the ring off another one, just as SWB comes over for a chat. We spend some considerable time talking families and work before I retreat to the caravan for tea.
I’m not always the sharpest tool in the box, but my instincts tell me something is wrong. Herself is scowling at me and the atmosphere is decidedly frosty.
“Tea is ruined!” she barks at me. I look at the cooker, and in a heap are some dried our burgers together with assorted other bits that are far beyond their best.
I try and rescue the situation using the microwave, but to no avail. We sit down and Herself says “This is disgusting!” making a show of her disapproval. I’m in deep doodoo here, and even the offer of walking into Gowerton for a takeaway is thrown back in my face.
So, in silence, I do my best to chew down on some burgers that are the texture of cork and crunch my way though a few slices of Houllami. The chips are far too gone even for me.
Herself is not moving, so by the powers of deduction I figure out that it’s my turn to wash up after scraping the burnt offerings into the bin.
I’ve been having a little trouble of late with an attack of gout in my big toe, and it’s a little tender to say the least. I’m sat on the bed whilst Herself scowls at me from the front lounge. To escape the frosty atmosphere I suggest a dog walk. No answer.
In my temper I throw open the wardrobe door to get my shoes. And in doing so the door scrapes straight over my gout ridden toe. I see stars immediately and am close to crying. Herself starts to smile a little. In addition to knocking the gout ridden joint, the door has also taken a layer of skin off my violently throbbing toe.
Shoes are now out of the question, so I put on my flip flops and pick up the dogs leads. They get excited, springing towards me, and give my toe the good news with their thundering paws. I am now beyond help as my vision is taken over by star bursts.
Herself than announces that she’s coming with me as I obviously cannot be trusted!
In the rapidly fading light we make our way over the gates of Tenko, and I’m leaving a trail of blood droplets! The walk is shorter than expected as Herself does not want to be seen in public for too ling with someone walking like John Merrick!
Back at the van the Gin gets a hammering while we watch the sun setting through the trees before we turn in quite late in the early hours.
Sunday 7 September
The sun is already hot by the time that I get up with the dogs at 8am, and we head towards the on site dog walk. This is one of the best I’ve come across on and site, be it Caravan Club or commercial.
Late last night we decided to stay another night and I would go to work on Monday direct from the site. I get told off by the wardens for not following the correct procedure. Instead of making another booking for 1 night online, I should have just popped into the office and extended our stay.
With that business sorted, Herself announces that she’d like to invite her parents over for the day, so another trip to Asda is called for while she sorts out the van.
Nana Creaky and Grandpa Grumbles rock up at 11.30am with the savage straining on his lead, and the Coffeeathon commences. Nana Creaky’s coffee habit is getting worse.
We spend a lovely day in the hot sunshine, taking some time out to walk the dogs, but mostly eating and drinking, as well as watching the bloke on the next pitch giving his family food poisoning. The dopey so and so was only trying to BBQ chicken thighs over an open flame. In 5 mins they were charred black on the outside and in another 5 they were taken off and served up, still raw in the middle!
It's that hot today that I erect the UV shelter for the dogs, but they refuse to go in it, instead preferring to roast under the midday sun.
I’m doing some of the “outside” jobs on the van, when at the service point a Jag towing a big twin axle van draws up along side me. He winds down his window and I recognise him as the bloke who was pitched 2 up from us at Trevedra earlier this year.
How many is that , that we have met this weekend on site? Small world!
Entertainment is provided by a van and tow car being recovered. I suppose it's one way of saving a few bob on fuel.
Ronnie shows up with my suit for work and has his new girlfriend in tow. Farmer Girl (FG) lives and works on a farm but has thankfully changed out of her cow dung covered wellies for the day.
An hour or so later Roids turns up with The Fridge and we are out of chairs, until Nana Creaky gets a cramp episode and they leave for home.
Herself bribes Roids and TF to walk the dogs with her while I head over to the shower block.
I spend what seems like hours under the hot gushing water and am feeling on top of the world. I’m dried off and make to step up out of the shower area to dress. I misjudged the step and scraped the bottom of my gout ridden toe down the step and slapped it onto the hard tiled floor below with some considerable force.
Herself said she could hear the swearing from the field some 150 yards away!
Monday 8 September
Early start this morning. The alarm was set for 7am, and I’m up, showered and dressed in my suit by 7.30am.
The view from in my wing mirror this morning is somewhat different to my usual “en route to work” view.
We have to break camp and then I have to get to work for a 9.30am meeting after dropping the van off at Ennis to have some repair work done.
Big toe agony aside, it’s been a lovely weekend. Wall to wall sunshine. We’ve not done much, but then you don’t have to. This site is only around 8 miles from home, much nearer as the crow flies, but it’s away. Away from the phone, away from the list of DIY and away from the builders next door!
Nice to catch up with so many people that we’ve not seen for some time, and those we’ve known for rather less time.
Till next time.