Wednesday, 24 February 2010

School "girls"night out.

This is an annual occurence . Don't want to overdo the reminiscing ! Five 40 something school friends meet up for a meal and a laugh. Sadly four out of five were driving so only one was able to partake of copious amounts of liquor .

One friend resides in Toulouse and when visiting her parents in Southend makes time to see us too. When collecting her and seeing her parents, revisiting the scene of so many "teenage memories " I can honestly say "How did I get here? Where have the years gone?" We'd even discussed having a sleepover (alcohol could then have been a significant contributor to the evening!) but that would have just been too weird.

Lovely restaurant cleverly named "SS9" (Its postcode) . We meet at the bar and start a tab for "4 diet cokes and a bottle of Chardonnay ! I shall save my large glass of "red" til later. Never mind says the only non- driver, I've seen you lot pissed on "Port & lemon"......or was it "Malibu & pineapple" ? oh the joy of youth......the crap we drank.

Anyway to the need to picture the scene..... dim lights... ..small know how it is "fading eyesight" as you get to a certain age. Luckily I had remembered the (+2 ) reading glasses. I haven't laughed so much in years as these "spectacles" were passed around the table. Not what used to be passed around between sad have we become ?

Safe to say we are all pretty much the same age however our "offspring" range from 7 to 26 years therefore we are at varying stages in parenthood ! However one of the group remembered a family photo .The best I could come up with was from a photo booth that the kids had taken for their passports. This reminded us of how we regularly used to pile into photo booths to see how many people we could get in one snap ? Oh so much more fun when you could have 4 different photos .Think we'd cause a stir if we all tried to get in a booth now...but we'd have a laugh!

Til the next time.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A Caravanning Calamity!

Purchased caravan April 2009

1st weekend away (to practise you understand) May day Bank holiday. We went to St Osyth nr. Clacton less than an hour by car. All went fairly smoothly. Parked on site…. 3 hours later awning finally erected, but hey, the beers were flowing by then so did we care?? (Courtesy of Dave the Barman ! Ever present friend of caravanners globally.)

2nd weekend away at Whitsun just 3 weeks later to sunny Skegness! Family in Lincolnshire, so an excellent way to kill two birds.… (Not literally) of course! Significantly longer road trip but all went well and the sun always shines on the righteous! Glorious weather again.

Getting brave now (ha ha) let’s book summer break in France. Old friends also new to caravanning keen to holiday with us. Kids same ages so will keep each other entertained. Online search find site with lots of activities / entertainment. Book site and book ferry crossing !

Departure day (Outwood bound) Sunday 9th August 2009

Ferry 12.15 Dover to Calais latest check in 11.45 am. Agree with friends ETD from caravan storage site 9.30 am –them always on time /early, us -not a hope! They are departing as we are arriving but hey how long can it take to hook up a caravan? (30 minutes) believe it or not! At least M25 and M20 are quietish on a Sunday morning. Driving, well within the speed limit (?) No. 1 son urgently needs a toilet break. Pit stop towing a caravan fine but you have to halt in the lorry park -long trek to the facilities ! Back on the road making good progress arrive at Dover . Join P&O queue at 11.35am. Six cars in front of us (surprisingly takes more than 2 minutes per vehicle !!!) Guess what?!?!? We missed ferry by a nanosecond (a.k.a. pee break).

At least good old P & O put us on the next ferry…… only 45 minutes later. From the dock we waved farewell to our friends.

Arrived in Calais drove to Le Touquet for overnight stop. Small but busy site OMG the nearest toilet block (pour Madames) had 1 acceptable loo and 2 holes in the ground (aaagghhhh!!)… However copious amounts of vin rouge made everything seem better.Fresh croissants and tea in the morning set us up for the next leg of the journey to Brittany.

Day 2

Hubby studies map and plans lunch break stop at 1 pm (ish) at an agreed rendezvous. Sensibly our friends put final destination in sat nav….in hindsight feel this could have been beneficial as dog leg on motorway link and “Bugger it “we’re going in the wrong direction! Phoned friends to advise we won’t be joining them for lunch. We’ll see you at the campsite (we may be some time) later.

Day 3 to Day 14

Excellent campsite, indoor pool, outdoor pool, wave pool ,horse riding ,golf ,paintball ,fishing .Good entertainment for kids and teens (including WiFi) leaving grown ups to do what they do best.

Absolutely nothing!

Le Touquet bound Sunday 23rd August

Take down awning, roll up groundsheets, empty water, waste and loo ! Fit everything back in from whence it came. Lock down moveable objects ready for departure (including kids). As previously admitted ETD for us and friends about 2 hours different but hey what’s the hurry ?

Roughly midday and our wagon is ready to roll. Slowly and carefully we leave the pitch. We’ve been going all of 2 to 3 minutes and….”oh shit ” the caravan is (stationary) 100 yards behind us………We reverse rapidly and get out of the car…well thank god the safety device- (a.k.a. the breakaway cable) a thin steel cable attached to both car and caravan brake -has done what it says on the tin !! (i.e. stopped our caravan causing mayhem as it rolls away .) Carefully avoiding eye contact with the golfers… standing mouths open watching the scene…. we re-attach caravan to car and pull off the road . Next job is to mend the breakaway cable! (I refuse to go anywhere without that attached.) Hubby gets hammer and pliers to attempt to mould what is left of safety device into a ring to re-attach………it snaps! Bugger !! Using our initiative and childhood memories of Blue Peter…(here’s one I prepared earlier) I ask if a wire coat hanger would suffice and with that we make and mend to continue on our journey.

Rest of the journey is uneventful, however keep checking in the mirror to ensure caravan is still firmly attached!!

Homewood bound Monday 24th August

Final day fridge is playing up…. not a major issue as we have a plug in fridge too. Off to Calais we set sail for home. Back in British waters we phone local caravan service centre and ask to deliver it straight to them for repairs to fridge and replacement of broken breakaway cable too .

Passing home (we hover in bus lay by) drop kids off and empty a few bits out of caravan before 20 minute final leg of journey to service centre. Ha bloody ha caravan starts to wobble….motorist behind flashes his lights we only have a sodding puncture . What fun at side of busy ish road 4.30 pm (what time does service centre shut??)…..

1st find caravan instruction book

2nd find how to remove spare wheel (under van)

3 rd locate jacking point

4th Have a meltdown !

Somehow we survived all the trials and tribulations thrown at us !!!