Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Ready for the off?

The move was about as smooth as it could be, although the removal men arrived at half seven in the morning when my brain was still sleeping, and I forgot to show them the loft. Predictably, they weren't best pleased when M remembered it, so I had to shift all the things up there myself and attempt to pass them down without sweating onto this muscly Polish bloke. I didn't have the heart to bother him with the three dozen ‘last few bits’ that were loose up there, as he had long been receiving boxes I could barely lift with his fingertips, a grimace and tightly-closed eyes.

So I had to do an extra run to the lock-up at Jumbo's Safari Shithouse and didn't get back until
three o’clock on our last London morning. In an otherwise empty house, I found H blissfully asleep next to M on the inflatable mattress we’d borrowed, leaving me a foam dog-bed that was squashed completely flat under my weight, with a towel for a blanket. I got precisely three hours’ restlessness before getting up, seeing the boys off for their last day at school and making my testimonial visit to the dump. After overloading the Focus to the point that my tearful sons in scribbled-on uniforms had to sit cross-legged on piles of pillows, we headed for our bolthole in Suffolk, where my dad was pissed and my mum went to bed straight after Celebrity Mastermind.

Living with my folks again (four nights, so far, is my longest-ever stay with my whole family) has been surprisingly comfortable and easy. They are lovely old people who live a quiet life and have made space for us in a home that would usually make our ride out of Peckham look roomy. Both are fond of whisky - dad a little too much so, as evidenced by the loud banging we heard when M put a half-load of washing on yesterday morning. We stopped the machine and found mum had hidden a litre bottle of Lidl blended Scotch from dad under a towel in there.

We are picking up our van on Wednesday evening and are planning a short trip up to Cromer first, for that inevitable first-week breakdown. M has friends near there and my great aunt has a chalet that's  hardly ever used, so we have somewhere to stay while Norfolk’s least-reputable mechanics go mental rebuilding the entire bloody engine and giving us a bill that doubles the price we paid. They are probably Norwich fans, although they don’t actually exist yet.

My brother saw this van, a Hymer box on a Fiat Ducato, advertised on a noticeboard at work. This appealed to both M's instincts to get some kind of bargain that very few people would know about, and my instinct to hastily throw cash at the first thing that comes along. A couple in their fifties had been using it for the last SEVEN YEARS while getting their even-older-and-more-ridiculous camper fixed up. After a little conversation I had a lot of faith in them, and therefore their vehicle for sale. But I have been known to be wrong about these things.


  1. It's awfully enjoyable to read about your travels and experiences exactly 100 years in the future!

    1. Thanks Peggie, that means a lot coming from such a strong, adventurous character as you are. Keep up the good work!