Friday, 29 June 2007

A Soggy Interlude

After the euphoria of the book launch, I went with him indoors up to Edinburgh. It was very lucky that we took a plane, because the floods in the midlands would have made the journey impossible.
We flew into Scotland and drove straight out again, heading for Berwick on Tweed. It was raining. The reason for our visit was to celebrate a friend's sixtieth birthday, and he didn't know we were coming.
Found the campsite - yes, I was going to have to camp for three days, and him indoors knows that can only spell trouble where I'm concerned. Give me a hotel any day. It was still raining, and there, hiding beneath the awning were our friends. The champagne was open, the beer flowing and the rain chucking it down with a vengeance. Much later, after a game of pool - not the watery one, but the one involving long sticks and coloured balls - we retired to the caravan. The rain was thundering on the roof, and I actually found it rather soothing, for I began my life in a caravan on a site at Bluff Beach in Devonport Tasmania, and the sound of rain on a caravan roof took me back to my childhood. Enough of that soppy stuff. It was chucking it down so loudly you couldn't even hear him indoors' snoring - but then perhaps that was a blessing.
Morning dawned. Actually, it didn't. It was still raining. Nothing for it, but to sit in the awning and drink even more champagne.
It stopped raining. We got everyone together and headed for the beach. The beach? In this weather? Only the English would be mad enough. So, off we trot. It's blowing a gale and there's definitely more rain in the offing. The sea is broiling, crashing onto the sand, rising in great plumes on the rocks and almost dwarfing the lighthouse that stands so precariously on the end of the jetty. A quick walk. Several photos. An ice-cream. Yes. Well. This is England, and I'm as mad as the rest of them. Back to the caravan. The rain has returned with a vengeance. There's mud everywhere, and I'm sure the caravan was further up the hill when we left.
More champagne, more beer and then a stagger through the downpour to the clubhouse for a steak. Greatly refreshed, and somewhat unsteady on our feet we emerge back into the rain. Horrors. The caravan has shifted. In fact we can see it slowly descend into the mire. Him indoors and his mate wrestle with it, shoring it up with anything that isn't already soggy, and after stating that it won't dare sink any more, we retire to bed.
The rain is thundering, him indoors is snoring - as is his mate - and I feel the soft, but steady sinking feeling that only comes when a caravan has had enough and has finally collapsed up to the fender under the deluge. I snuggle back under the blankets. It won't go any further now - it's as low as it can go.
Come morning we discover said caravan has slid several feet down the gentle slope and is resting quite peacefully against a tree. Much swearing and sweating goes on as it is hauled back and tethered very firmly - which of course means we have to open even more champagne to cheer ourselves up and replace used calories.
Camping's a weird practice. You get out of bed and dress so you can walk across a field in the rain to a bathroom where you get undressed, shower, dress again and walk back, getting even wetter on the way. I had warned him indoors this was not my thing, but because we were staying in a caravan he didn't class it as camping. I'll just say this. If I'd been forced beneath canvas for those three days I would have killed him - unless the rain drowned the pair of us first.

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