COVID has seen us accumulate our annual leave allowance in work and for it to remain there untaken. With the end of the leave year fast approaching both Herself and I need to take leave before losing it.
We've a week booked, but what with Creaky's health situation Herself is (understandably) reluctant to go away.
Monday 10 May
I'm sat up with Coupons while Herself goes over to Creaky and Grumbles on her first twice daily check up visits. My phone pings and it's a message from Herself.
"See if Pembrey has room."
No sooner have I closed it down than the sites app is fired up and we're booked on until next Monday. Far enough to be away, but close enough to be within rushing distance. Food from the cupboards and fridge is hastily thrown in along with some clothes, and b y 12.30pm the van is inched out, hitched up and it's "Wagons Roooolllll."
We join the queue to check in just after 1pm. Herself goes in to pay and gets a rather pleasant surprise when the pitch fees are significantly less than quoted online, due to the current VAT reduction that the club are passing onto members.
We settle on a grass pitch that won't be shaded by trees at any time of the day should the sun make an appearance throughout the week, and set about getting sorted.
Just a few weeks back after returning from Bank Farm we purchased a 2 year old Isabella full awning off Marketplace, and we've brought this along to try it out. It's a lot of canvas, and with the wind, getting it pegged down took quite some effort. Herself lost 3 nails during the hanging on process.
I'm 75% done when I hit a problem. The last pole won't fit. A few profanities were muttered as it dawned on me that I'd put the centre upright in back to front, and no matter how hard I tried, I had no option than to dismantle 50% of the rest to be able to turn it the right way round. took s a long time to set up today and it's 4pm by the time we can announce to Facebookville that "We is arrived."
We're chuffed with the awning, just 2 years old and immaculate, obviously been well looked after. I'll not be posting and pictures on the Isabella owner's page though for fear of ridicule at the state of my erection.
We get an SOS call from Ronnie. "Can you put some pasta on for Beastie?" They're out walking in the adjacent country park and she needs feeding. We sneak them in the get around the "No visitors" rule, she gets fed and watered before we take the dogs in for a good run on the open grassland.
Herself was insistent that we went round the back part, but soon regretted her decision as the biting wind cut through her cardigan in the less sheltered areas.
Neither of us feel like cooking, so we head into Burry Port to pick up a takeaway from Topolis. It was rank, bet left forgotten. The meat get scraped into the dog's bowls (they seemed to enjoy it) before we settle down to see the evening out with a few gins.
Tuesday 11 May
We only ever carry one dog bed with us as Tali has never been interested. He appears to have changed his mind and since our arrival the two of them have been bickering over the one bed.
Herself feels sorry for the old git, so after breakfast we head back to Turksville to pick up another from B&M before popping to see the olds briefly.
Back on site the new bed gets laid out, and would you believe that now there's one each they don't want to know!!
A lazy afternoon was had, content to sit around the van enjoying the peace and quiet, but feeling rather out of place appearing to be the onlt pitch without the latest thing. At the moment we appear to be camping in God's waiting room, and the latest craze with the coffin dodgers are electric bikes. Everyone has one, and the geriatrics are buzzing round the place like flies.
Internet forums are awash with complaints about unruly kids on their bikes breaking the speed limits and riding against the one way system, but honestly, the kids have nothing on this lot!
Early evening and we take a spin out. Firstly to the Co-op in Kidwelly for a few bits and then I set up Toyah's satnav to direct us towards Kidwelly Quays, I've been a few friends post visits there on Facebook and it looks quite nice.
After a while it dawns on me that the satnav has had a brainfart of sorts and we get a spin to Ferryside instead!
Wednesday 12 May
Today was a bit of a write off for me. Herself has passed her cold onto me and we all know men always get it worse. On top of that I've picked up a nasty stomach bug.
Washed out I was, and apart from a brief excursion into the Country Park I slept in a chair all day, albeit in the lovely sunshine.
Apart from a brief excursion into the country park, where the dogs appear to be guarding their rather fragile owner and are enforcing a strict 200mm exclusion zone around us, noting much to write about today.
Hoping to be feeling better tomorrow.
Thursday 13 May
I wake at 6am and without rising I know I'm feeling a whole let better. Just as well really as Beastie is coming down to us for the day. I put in my hearing aids and my heart sinks. Some people like the sound of rain when in the van. I don't as it means being cooped up in a small place.
Ronnie rocks up at 8am and we sneak him past border patrol (no visitors allowed) and onto our pitch. Beastie breakfasts on porridge being scooped into her mouth in-between giving Paw Patrol her full attention while we feast on bacon sandwiches. It's the first food I've eaten for days and I'm feeling a whole lot better for it.
It rained and it rained and it rained. So rather than walks over to the play park and playing outside it was a day filled with jigsaws, snakes and ladders, Connect4 and Storybots on my "Dodgy Box".
Late afternoon and we get a message that MBW is home from work so leave to firstly get some Calor gas and then drop Beastie off back with her mam.
Apparently there's a shortage of Calor gas at the moment, something to do with a sharp rise in the number of new caravanners and new canisters being held hostage by Egypt on the Suez Canal. Either way I'm starting to panic as I get turned away by 4 local retailers - gasless.
We drop Beastie off and then Herself gets thrown out of the door at her Olds' place while I set off on a hunt. Luckily our local Murco has a solitary full 6kg in the cage and I'm a happy bunny as I call in on Coupons to say hello.
Back on site the temptation is too much. I can't remember the last time that the two of us played a game together, so when Herself suggested a game of Connect 4 I didn't realise quite how competitive it may get.
We lasted a rather one sided 6 frames until Herself decided we'd better put it away before I threw the table across the awning. Her smirks as she suckered me didn't help mind!
8PM and we're back out. Roids and TF are going away for the weekend and we've promised to look after Gwen for them. We head to theirs, have a quick catch up then head back to site, via the Co-op in Strade to replenish wine stocks.
It's not been a bad day, but takes the path of a rather rapid decline. Herself pops in and comes out laden with wine, coke zero and doughnuts. I can see she's struggling out of the corner of my eye but was a little too slow to react.
Herself is struggling to open the car door when it happened. She dropped one bottle which smashed and emptied £7.99 worth of grape juice on the floor. Well it wasn't quite that simple.
The first bottle she dropped from a great height survived the fall. When bending down to pick up the first bottle she dropped the second bottle which must have been made from inferior glass or something.
This is gong to be bad. Whatever I say will make things worse.
"I was struggling to open the door."
"So I see."
Bad move!! I resolve to say nothing more.
Clutching the rest of the stuff Herself starts to get into Toyah, seething. She then wacked her head on the door pillar.
I try offering sympathy, but I think Herself is a bit dazed. She's a little confused, but is insistent on telling me who's at fault. I'm pleasantly surprised that it's not me (YET) but I won't name the person on here. Lets just refer to her as "that fat sour faced bitch L****e".
I realise that minors may read this blog, so there is an F missing above. I'll let you work out where.
Turns out that Herself and TFSFBL have history, and TFSFBL was less that helpful in the Co-op (she works there) and would not give Herself a carrier bag to carry the stuff out.
Herself isn't right though and is obviously seeing stars. I suggest A&E but get a silent glare as she twists off the cap of the remaining intact bottle and gulping from the neck to ease the pain.
Friday 14 May
I wake fresh at 6am after a great kip and try to kill 3 or 4 hours until Herself gets up. I've cooked breakfast and it's keeping warm in the oven when Herself emerges from her pit clutching her head.
Herself pushed a rasher around her plate for a bit then retired to the front benches clutching her head, where she stayed for a few hours motionless until gone noon.
She's a little less groggy when she wakes for the second time, but her head still hurts.
"TFSFBL" is still uttered frequently.
I suggest a spin out, so freshened up we head west. Firstly we cruise though the bustling Laugharn then onto the distinctly run down Pendine before hopping over to the busy Amroth and through the ridiculously busy Wisemans Bridge.
Parking in Saundersfoot was quite easy, but the place is filling up in readiness for the weekend.
After gong through all the COVID protocols we take a table outside the Captain's Table and share a late lunch of Pizza and chips, taking advantage of the roadside seats to people watch. Herself's attention is drawn to a bride darting across the road, followed by the Bridal party for a photo opportunity outside the ice cream kiosk. It would appear that the cones are dessert following a bag of chips from over the road!
And why not?
It's while we're sat there I can see Herself's cogs turning. She's looked at the forecast for the next few days, and it's rather mixed. The Isabella is a lot of canvas to handle wet, and with it being bone dry now Herself wants to drop it and get it packed away.
It's all systems go when we get back. The job gets done and I hot foot it home to drop that off and collect our lightweight canopy.
Saturday 15 May
I'm sat outside having my first cuppa, and again I'm feeling out of place. The vans either side of us have developed grandkids.
An SOS is sent to Ronnie and MBW and in return MBW promises they'll pop down with Beastie as soon as Ronnie get's out of his pit after being in work until 4am this morning.
A few hours later I smuggling them in past border control and a pleasant afternoon is spent chatting in the sun and watching Beastie play with the other kids in the play park and around the vans.
I've been on the lookout for a new portable charcoal grill for the van. My one no longer cuts it, well to tell the truth it never has. It's too small and the coals are too close to the grill so everything burns. My Weber Q is simply too heavy and cumbersome to bother with when it's just the two of us for anything shorter than two weeks. I've had my eye on one of those Japanese type grills, so have borrowed one off Ronnie to try out before committing to getting one.
The cooking station is set up and a trial run performed. I'm impressed. It used a miniscule amount of charcoal and is ready to cook in just 5 mins after lighting.
I'm getting one. Not a Lotus though as they are stupid money.
Sunday 16 May
The site is slow to come to life this morning. Not surprising really given that most were sat outside until late last night. I take the dogs over the country park and find a quiet spot away from the early morning walkers and cycling clubs.
Back on site things are livening up. The weekenders are starting to pack up and we settle down in our recliners guzzling tea and coffee observing the toings and froings.
One of my gripes is speeding on site, and it often sparks debate on the internet forums, with opinions and blame divided. What I can say though is that having watched one load of geriatrics leave on Friday, the family weekenders arrive and leave, and now a fresh lot of Saga's finest arrive, I'm firmly of the opinion that the elders of our community are by far the worst offenders for speeding around the site and going against the one way system.
Late afternoon and one of the wardens is on his bin run. He's cleaning down one of the service points and his attention is drawn to a VW campervan 4 pitches down from us. He jumps on his tractor and careers across the grass at breakneck speed, jumping off it Starskey & Hutch stylee.
He stomps up to the van banging on the side and opening up awning flaps. When it becomes apparent that they're out he goes to speak to the bloke on the adjacent pitch. It was all rather animated and left such an impression on the adjacent pitch that he felt the need to also go and speak to the ones on the other side of him!
Wind on 15 mins and the warden is at another service point, when through the trees he spots the VW couple returning from a spin on their bikes. Brushes get thrown in the cage and his Kubota is once again skidding to a halt. Off he jumps and is banging on the van side. The owner comes out just as the adjacent pitch goes to hide.
There was much gesticulating and animated waving of arms. It was very frustrating though for me. I was on high alert now, and all of a sudden something needed attending to at the side of my van. I've even got the settings changed to long distance on my hearing aids, but all to no avail. he's left the engine running on the Kubota so I can't hear what they've done wrong.
I'm guessing it's one of the control measures specified on the club's risk assessment for when dishing out unwarranted bollockings to paying guests that the Kubota must be pointing to the way of escape with the engine running to facilitate a quick getaway.
I've no idea what their crime was. but the young couple were left dumbfounded as he disappeared over the rise.
We get the message that Roids and TF are back from their weekend away so take Gwen home to them, ordering a Chinese takeaway on the return journey from Burry Port. We were a little early to collect so wasted a few mins down by the beach soaking up the angry view towards Llanelli.
Monday 17 May
We're up early breaking camp, and are hitched up and off by 9.30am. A text is fired off to the Captain to clear the drive so we can put the van straight back.
It's been a funny old week. Mixed weather and frequent trips back home. But still, we've been away. Had some down time and a break from the pressures of work.
We've not gone far, but then you don't always have to, do you?