Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Bringing up the Caravan
Saturday sees us bring the caravan up from the Silverwood's to the new house. This involves the whole family coming up to deliver it and to have a good look round, but with the dogs too, that's too many people for the one car so we decide to make the trip in three cars - Mr S's people carrier to tow the caravan, and Mum and Dad's cars just to get them there. This is a Saturday morning, and the S's don't normally like to do Saturday morning too early, having spent the week doing long hours at work or early ones at School, so Mum and Dad offer a lift to anyone who can be up, dressed and ready to rock by 07:30. This proves to be Em-J and J-M. It's a frosty morning and they don't do road gritting in this part of the world, so there is some ice and black ice about. Mum, with the girls in the Fiat has an interesting sideways moment on a bit of road just north of Athlone, ending up stopped broadside across the road with Dad (and we dogs) coming at her in a T-bone manner. Luckily Dad has just enough room and grip to dive round the back of the Fiat across the hard shoulder. It would have been sad to damage both the family's cars in one incident.
The people carrier and caravan are following us along a couple of hours later when it's daylight and the frost has had a chance to melt. In between these Mum's brother "Sparks" arrives to look at the electrics and also to take a good look round and see if he fancies doing "project manager" on the rebuild, with Mum and Dad effectively acting as unskilled labourers and him telling them what to do. Much to their relief he agrees to do this. His normal work is electrician and electrics tester and certifier on big civil engineering jobs like Dublin airport, Dublin's dock road-tunnel and more recently Dohar airport but with the financial situation here at present there's not a lot of that kind of work so he's available to play on (what he would call) small (but we don't!) projects.
We arrive at the house and start to light fires and sorting stuff out. The girls race off to explore, returning periodically to see is it all right to go in an out building, or touch various bits and pieces (old cookers, wheel barrows, planks as potential bridges over steams etc.) We get a text from Mrs S to say they are only 10 minutes away and soon the caravan roof is visible above the hedges coming down the lane. The turn into the drive is a bit tight for the people-carrier and caravan, so the van gets unhitched and pushed by hand into the drive, re-hitched for towing up the drive, and then released again while it's pushed into position behind the house in the cattle-race bit. By now the girls, and now the younger ones newly released from the car have found the wet boggy bit just beyond our cattle yard and the new wellies are taking a hammering from the delights of leaping off piled up grass into the muddy puddles. Mum meanwhile wrangles up spuds, sausages and beans on the range which is now nice and hot. Everyone retreats indoors for some hot food and a chance to warm up, dry the feets and dry the wellies. We have limited bowls and cuttlery, so it's a bit of a serial meal taken in sittings.
Mid afternoon all the guests retreat, Sparks armed with his measurements and details, the Silverwoods in a variety of borrowed warm dry clothing. We adjourn back to the dining room and caravan feeling like we have finally moved here and are about to spend our first night at the new place (all be it in the caravan, rather than the house.