We are all off for another weekend of caravan living where we can meet Mum and do a proper family weekend again. We're missing that and looking forward to all this being over so that we can start doing it for real again on the other side of all this mallarky. First, though, Friday sees us off to the Fire Hills, Hastings's answer to the Burren scenery - rabbit-grazed close turf and gorse thickets constantly in flower. It's Friday morning and full sunshine, so the world and his wife are out there walking the dogs. We meet hundreds.
It's after lunch that we head for the caravan planning to hit Faversham early enough for Dad to do a couple of errands in town and then heading out to the boat yard to set up and wait for Mum to finish work. Dad lights the big log-burner chimney fashionned from an old LPG bottle by 2CV Llew and sorts out the power and gas for the caravan. There is nice red wine breathing. Mum arrives with a chicken to spatchcock and roast but they realise there is no roasting tin and no foil. The chicken gets jointed instead and then slow-fried in butter (which becomes "braised in its own juices"). It's a warmish evening, so we eat outside, all be it wrapped in some chunky jackets and coats. Mum has brought some cooked rice along (Thanks Diamond) and green salad. All the 'braising' is good news for dogs, as we get our normal tinned food enhanced by delicious gravy.
The bed in the caravan proves to wrangle into a king sized double bed. We know this because the fitted sheet off the bed from home only just fits round all the cushions and there's acres of space for all of us. The caravan games become a sort of practise run for when we move - Mum and Dad are looking at buying a second hand caravan similar to Llew's to use as home while the house is not yet habitable, so Mum is having fun 'playing caravans' imagining how she will organise the living side of things while we're first over. The feeling is we'd prefer a slightly bigger van so that we can leave a bed permanently set. It would be annoying having to convert back from bed to 'table and seats' every morning and back again each evening. We'd also need the shower to work. (Llew has not set his up as he does all that at home). We've sussed out though all the heating, lighting, kitchenning, storage and even emptying the toilet "cassette" (don't ask).
Both mornings at the boat yard are really frosty, with white rime all over the cars and grass. A taste of things to come, maybe, but in the caravan we are as warm as toast. We wait for the sun to melt the frost away before anyone takes a car out to source breakfast or the papers. Mum is also keen to blitz the caravan, which she finds a bit 'bloke-ish' under Llew's command. Cleaning materials are obtained and multiple saucepans and kettles of hot water are heated up so that all the cupboards, worktops, kitchen equipment etc are cleaned and put away. Dad jokes with Llew that he won't recognise the place but also won't be able to find anything. Llew laughs that he "hates it when women do that" but I don't think he's serious. We also dispose of some seriously old ketchup, BBQ sauce and bean tins, replacing them with new. There is also a very old solid jar of Safeway coffee at the back of a cupboard. How long have Safeway not been in existence?
Fun times had by all. More on this weekend in the next post.