Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Best Cream Tea - Worst Action Scene

Best Cream Tea

This is another case of the words 'best' and 'only' being interchangeable, as I'm keen to live a little more healthily on this trip. I think I have been moderately successful so far.

Primrose Tea Rooms in Lustleigh, Dartmoor, is a beautiful little place, owned and staffed by friendly and funny women. The tea was Cornish Tregothnan and served in the loveliest teapot I've seen since the 1970s. The scones were warm and freshly baked, the jam sweet and tart and delicious, and the clotted cream was totally and utterly exquisite.

As I ate and drank, my heart rate gradually dropped from about 450 bpm to my normal resting 200 or so. I would stand up, or adjust my position on the sweet little lilac seat cushion from time to time, to ensure that I did not impregnate it with any arse crack sweat which was still accumulating from the valley of my spine after the…

Worst Action Scene

T, M, E and H are a family travelling across Dartmoor in a compact motorhome. They have no idea what horrors await them…

M: So this is Lustleigh. And you reckon the Torygraph said it was the nicest village on Dartmoor?

T: Yeah, but I didn't really bother to read the article. Let's just have a look.

M: Oh God, they've got a village fair on.

E & H:
(together) Can we go to the fair?

M & T:
(together) NO.

H: Why not?

M: Because there'll be loads of traffic, and these lanes are really narrow, and we don't want to get stuck.

(There is a long, ominous and meaningful silence while the van winds its way into the village, merging with the queue of vehicles already leaving the fair because it's really hot and they've run out of soft drinks by mid-afternoon.)

M: Oh, that looks like a nice tea room. I really want a Devon Cream Tea.

T: There's nowhere to park because of the bloody fair.
So unfair. I'll give you a nice cream pie if you want?

(Another uncomfortable silence.)

T: It looks like this road just goes up out of the village…

M: It does. That sign says UNSUITABLE FOR HGVs, though?

T: It'll be fine.

(Enter a fabulously glamorous woman in her twenties, driving a tiny sporty car in the opposite direction and pulling into the mouth of a driveway to allow the van to pass. She leans out of her window, piles of golden curls tumbling into the small space between the vehicles as T draws the van up alongside.)

WOMAN: Hello.

T: (In a small voice, desperately trying not to sound like a creepy middle-aged sex pest) Hello. Do you think we will get this van through, up there?

(He does not add that the Hymer only has a 1.9 litre TDi engine, not because he does not expect her to understand that this is rather a low power to weight ratio for such a vehicle, but because he is trying, for once in his life, not to be boring.)

WOMAN: Hmm. Well, you would be very brave to try...

(INCIDENTAL MUSIC: A James Brown scream. Perhaps the beginning of 'I Got You (I Feel Good)', launching into the riff and the verse as T's chest puffs out, he shifts the van into first, and releases the handbrake.)

(EXTREME CLOSE-UP: T's already-slitty-little eyes narrow even further.) Thanks. That's what I will do. (The van moves forward purposefully.)

M: Oh God. You're going to have to keep your speed up - this is really steep.

(T says nothing. It's not just really steep, but really narrow, really bendy, and
really gravelly. He is already losing speed and the tyres are beginning to slip. After a few more bends, the vehicle is stationary and the tyres are spinning. Smoke is rapidly filling the leafy tunnel. Sweat is pouring down T's face, arms and back.)

(really hoping that the young woman will have gone by now) Shit. We'll have to roll back down.

(sighs, gets out of the van, squeezes between the flank of it and the trees, around to the back) LEFT A BIT, RIGHT A BIT, STRAIGHTEN UP... STRAIGHTEN! UP!

(Internal monologue, VO) I'm not really listening to what you are saying, but even if I was, I wouldn't know whether you mean left as you see it, or left as I would see it if I was looking backwards along the sides of the van from the perspective of each of the wing mirrors, which are perfectly adequate for me to do what I am doing, as long as I keep a roughly equal-sized sliver of light visible in each. Fuck. Why have we stopped?



(He tries, though, of course. SFX: the screams, growls, and cries of machinery being punished.)

E: What’s that smell?

T: Are you really asking me what that smell is RIGHT NOW?

E: Um, yes?

T: The van is stuck. I do not have the time to discuss any of the details at the moment.

(T does not know what the smell is. It might be burning rubber, or tortured clutch. He can now just about recognise part of M's forearm in his mirror.)

T: Stop trying to push it. It weighs three and a half tons - you won't be able to. And if I roll back I AM GOING TO KILL YOU.

(The sweat from T's upper body begins to collect in his hairy arse crack, threatening to permeate the fabric of Britain’s Favourite Walking Trouser.)
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK AND FIND OUT IF actually, dont bother.
It was fine in the end.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Best Record Shop - Worst Tip for a Stop-Off

Best Record Shop

Rooster Records in Exeter had a bewilderingly huge range of stock, including loads and loads of really good records. For 'bewilderingly huge', read 'lots, like most record shops used to have, but very few new ones have, as to acquire that much stock requires massive investment which is not very sensible when you're starting out in any kind of retail, let alone a branch that most people think is a retrogressive fad'. Yes, they had loads and loads of great records - so many, in fact, that I got bored. Because for the first time in my adulthood I'm pretty certain I won't be buying any of them, so what's the point in wanting them? And it's the wanting them that makes seeing them in a shop interesting, isn't it? But it is an excellent record shop.

Smugglers Records in Deal has some good quality stock too, as well as some great beers, but is much more on the new record shop side of things when it comes to quantity. It also, on my visit, hosted more than one of those crushing 'Bloody 'ell, is that album really worth that much nowadays? I used to 'ave that. I 'ad all their stuff on original pressings with the gatefolds and everything' bores that will be banned from the Blues Night store for their first offence. But it appears the guy there has higher standards of customer service/tolerance than yours truly.  

'If I could live anywhere else in England outside London, it would have to be Totnes, in Devon,' said a cool and well-travelled youngish teacher I was talking to instead of doing some marking about a year ago. We were back at school after the summer holidays, (which I won't be the week after next, ha-ha) and she was already wanderlusting. 'There's a real comfy Lordship-Lane middle-classness to it, they've got their own currency like Brixton, but there's a great mad old hippy thing there, too.'

'Sounds awful,' I said, but I was actually intrigued enough to quiz my geogra-knowledgeable friend about it.

'You're right, it is awful. And it's way past its best,' he said. 'But it's probably better than it was when my father-in-law lived there in a wigwam about twenty-five years ago.'

So I expected Totnes's record shops to be a capitalistic inspiration of badly-categorised, optimistically-graded, blim-burned discs of peripheral interest to any more conventional enthusiast. But I was massively wrong. Totnes is a brilliant town, and there are several places with some really good records for sale, but the very best I've visited so far, Drift, is wonderfully organised and uncluttered, full of really interesting new vinyl, and does excellent coffee. I take my purple and black jester's hat off to them.

Worst Tip for a Stop-Off

'I've just got back from Torquay, and they have loads of places like this there,' said an Italian man who had just started a 'Vinyl Cafe' (for want of a briefer phrase) in London.

'Really?' I was doubtful. 'It's like, er, a thing there?'

'Oh yeah. Those guys really love it. Really expensive sound systems, a very simple drink menu, great music.'

I probably looked impressed and annoyed simultaneously - this was MY business plan. But I made a very definite mental note to visit Torquay at some point on our family travels. It was only much later that I realised he had probably said Tokyo.

Nevertheless, we did stop in Torquay on Saturday morning, having struggled with some similarly inaccurate insider info. The new Devon resident of the last blog had shown me a phone pic of beautiful Maidencombe beach, its cliffs of the deep red sandstone, the water looking tropical. No Filter, he told me.

He didn't tell me that, at the end of a long and winding singletrack lane down from the main road, the car park he had promised had a totally unnecessary 6ft height restriction arch. After performing a 217-point turn in my 9ft vehicle, I didn't get out of first gear on the way back up. I could have watched the fuel needle dropping, but would surely have hit the bank.

His photo mightn't've had a filter, but the car park certainly did.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Best Pub - Worst Swannery

Best Pub

Today I bumped into another former resident of sunny Surrey Road, SE15. He's a very friendly guy that I've met several times in pubs around Peckham. I didn't know he was selling his house, or that he often goes to stay in Lyme Regis, which is where I met him today. I did know that those things both apply to the parents of a nice young bloke who lived locally and worked with M in the pub, but I hadn't made the link - this man who came out of a beach hut and shouted my name is, in fact, the very same father of the young man who looks remarkably similar to him. It makes one feel rather daft to finally make such a very simple connection, but it was also further evidence that I was living a life of serious social ineptitude when I was a slave to my mortgage and the gods of binge drinking.

Anyway, I'm off in an hour or so to meet him in the pub. I've already ducked into the place, a cellar bar that acts as a brewery tap for the Dorset brewery Gyle 59, and it looks like one of the best I've been to on this tour so far. But I have in fact been to surprisingly few. 

There was a youngsters' specialist beer bar in Southsea, providing a wonderful contrast over twenty something years as it was just around the corner from my best mate's college hovel (where ten art students failed to clean or take out the rubbish for so long that the next door neighbours called the environmental health inspectorate). This had good beer, but was seriously lacking cosiness and charm.

We have sought decent wifi in a number of places, many providing it but offering only those grassy beers fit for a Greene King. A special mention should be given to the Ilchester Arms in Abbotsbury, with the best web access we've found, and which made up for beery shortcomings with some great ciders - we are well into the west now, it appears.

The best pub we have been to so far didn't have any wifi on offering at all. The Pub With No Name is something of a misnomer, as it is also known as the White Horse, because that is its name. It doesn't have a sign, we noticed, but it can be easily found on the Internet or electronic map things by either signifier, somewhere between Alton and Petersfield in Hampshire. 

M and I went there without the boys first, to attend the wedding party of some wonderful people, and get a chance to show off Mrs Ploppy Clickbait, as our uninvited children like to call the van. Without wanting to drag too many people away from the main proceedings for long, we Van Partied successfully with seven other guests at one point, which is surely the greatest accolade that could be paid to Hymer's designers of about fifteen years ago, especially when combined with the proud boast that we have managed to park it in a normal-size car space every single time for a whole month now.

Yes, the pub and its camping area were good enough to make us want to show our kids, but we probably wouldn't have found a reason to return there so soon if it were not for the total excellence of Reliance Motorhome Services just outside Chichester, who were the only people who seemed happy to replace our lost window. As it was, we could go back to this pub that has all of the magic of an inn from a Tolkien journey, despite not seeming to be on the road to anywhere much.

Edward Thomas's poem Up In The Wind, written about this same pub over a hundred years ago, seems to be mostly about the fact that it is in the middle of bloody nowhere. I loved it, and I can't wait to find more like it.

Worst Swannery

Alright, so it is also the best Swannery we have been to. Okay, so it is probably, in fact, the best Swannery in the world, because, well, it's the only one. And with good reason, because, after all, what in the name of Gideon the Long-Necked Duck is the point of a swannery? To raise swans, I hear you honk, but why?

I Googled 'is it illegal to eat swan' and got the usual levels of bullshit expertise - quite a few people seem to want to tell the world that 'you can't eat a swan because they all belong to the queen and eating them is still a treasonable offence and you can still be hanged for it' and so on. And then the next-level Swan Law geeks come in and say 'actually the queen doesn't own all swans it's just the mute swans in the upper reaches of the Thames between Berkshire and Twatshire blah blah blah'. And about halfway down the page some chap said his dad ran a swan over once and he thought 'waste not, want not' and 'the queen's not going to want this one anymore' so he plucked it and gutted it and roasted it... and it tasted like shit.

So if they are not for eating, are they any good to look at? We paid our money and we went in. The boys had some fun with the pedal go-karts and the maze (that you only really appreciate the swan-shaped-ness of when you cheat and use the satellite pic on your maps app to find your way out) but were interested in the swans themselves for a couple of minutes at the most. Each swan is very similar indeed to the previous and the following swan, you see. 

But it is the use to which this enormous tract of land on the Jurassic Coast has been put for a great many years, and who am I to question it? Just because the man who cleans the toilets (which were excellent) alongside the car park (which was the nicest we've spent the night in so far) was good enough to tell us that we shouldn't really sleep overnight on this land (that belongs to one of the richest landowners in Britain)? Or because I read a bit of Marx at college when I absolutely had to? Or because I took some acid in the Lake District when I was a teenager and totally lost all understanding of the concept of private property for several hours? Or because I've got some money to do this thing we are doing because I've just sold our house?

It was the best of swanneries. It was the worst of swanneries.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Where Are You?

Hi Big H.

> Hi. Where are you?
I'm currently in a climbing and parkour (look it up) centre in Poole, Dorset. Actually that sounds like I'm implying that I am being physically active, but of course I am not. I'm sitting in the cafe taking advantage of the free wifi while the boys jump off walls and try not to snap their little collarbones.

This is an odd town. There's some sort of gated community that's recognised as the most expensive real estate location in the country outside London, but the only middle class people I have seen are either in here hanging from oddly-shaped plastic holds by their fingertips, or on holiday in neighbouring Bournemouth. I suppose it's possible that the resident middle classes are all away on holiday themselves. Perhaps Provence, which is, I understand, very nice at this time of year.

Most of the people I have seen today have been as common as muck, drunk, old and decrepit, or possibly all three. Not that I have any problem at all with people who fit into one or more of these groups, as most of my friends do. It is just an observation. It is probably not a fair reflection on Poole itself, either. Maybe I caught it on a bad day.

I have enjoyed conversations with two friendly, quick-witted young women who both happened to be beautiful and both happened to be Scots a long, long way from home. This has further skewed my perception of the indigenous population. One of these women sold me a pair of Birkenstocks that are playing merry hell with the tops of my feet as I attempt to break them in. She worked in a shoe shop, of course. I do not buy my sandals in the street, that would not be proper.

> Do you know the song "I've Been Everywhere, man"? You could learn it and all sing it in the car. 
This song?
That, I believe, is the first time I've heard it. It was very good. I've always wanted to go to New Zealand. Maybe when I've created my own UK version of this, I will.

> I'll try and think of some more travel songs.
Both "On the Road Again" and "Goin' Up the Country" have popped into my head a lot. But I seem to remember that you don't rate Canned Heat that highly? You've missed out. They're great.

> Hope "The Long and Winding Road" will lead to your door!
Well, I think we are settling in for as long a road as possible. We are really enjoying a simple life of few possessions which are all used frequently, and a big van that other road users give a very wide berth. But you will be less-than-surprised to hear that I now think it unlikely that the money will last a whole year. 

Remember, you can always keep up with developments on the blog. You might want to give the newest update a miss, though, as I think I'm just going to copy and paste this email. Free wifi is, after all, our rarest and most precious commodity.

> Love from Big "Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner" H XX
Smashing to hear from you. Much love, T, M, E and Little H. Xxx

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Best Pier - Worst Park-Up

I've found a nice enough pub in Alton, Hampshire, to sit down and write this, while the rest of the family has gone to the cinema. There are plenty of pubs in this town, but this one - The George - seems to be the only one other than the 'Spoons (the intimidatingly huge, and amusingly-named Ivy House) that serves any beers suited to my discerning palate. This pub came with a recommendation from the man in the outdoor shop, which was also excellent, while I bought myself the most Dad pair of shorts I have ever owned, or probably ever will.  

We've been in The Downs a few nights waiting for our new overcab window to arrive from Germany, and after tomorrow I hope to be able to write a glowing review of the work carried out by a motorhome repairs business not far from here. Why have we come so far from where it happened to get it done? He is literally the only man who appeared to want the job. The part itself, a piece of plastic about three foot wide and two foot tall, is costing about a grand.

This blog, like the travels that are its subject, is not turning out much like I had expected. It doesn't seem to be realistic to drive to a town, see what we think of it, and report back to you, because so many aspects of so many towns are so much like their counterparts elsewhere. And also because what we are looking for in each town is rarely the stuff of excellent subject matter. I could probably sum up most of the journey so far by telling you that there are an awful lot more branches of Waitrose in the South and East of England than a quarter-century of living in London had led me to believe. So instead, I shall attempt a new approach, where here, and occasionally hereafter, I shall tell you about the best of something and the worst of something else that we have experienced so far. 

BEST PIER: Southwold was our first. Here the 'Under the Pier Show' (which was on, not under) amused the boys for a while, despite mocking the authentic seaside amusement arcade experience with some arty pretensions and wry social commentary on the gentrification ship that sailed into this bay to stay some years ago. Next was Cromer's beautiful Alpha Papa denouement location, followed by Eastbourne's grand home to a Whack-a-Penguin game (bizarrely named 'Punku Tricks') and a Zoltar machine that had totally lost its shit.

A hairy but semi-aquatic friend of Blues Night then kindly donated a Paddle Around The Pier (Brighton, I think?) sticker to cover an unsightly burn-blemish in the van. So we didn't even bother to visit the world's longest at Southend when in neighbouring Leigh, as we  decided there had been quite enough pier pressure.

My favourite was the fit-for-purpose cold war construction at Deal that was absolutely heaving with fishermen on a hot and sunny afternoon, but the next day cut a brutalist line through pure turquoise sky and sea in a fine and mist-like rain, in such a way as to make me feel as if I were briefly visiting another planet. Admittedly I was off my tits on Sinutab at the time, but I think even the straightest square would've sensed something otherworldly. If they had been there too.

WORST PARK-UP: I think it is fair to say that we are not even considering making our new home in any of the counties that dissolve into Greater London along one edge. We've spent more time in these counties than others so far, perhaps to eliminate them from our enquiries, or maybe for fear of nosebleeds if we stray too far from the mother's milk of polluted London air. Essex is one of those counties, no more and no less.

Okay, so it has an old-fashioned reputation for badly-behaved, even vaguely menacing younger people with unsubtle tastes and educational shortcomings, but I've rarely seen examples of these people myself. This is probably because I have spent more times in Essex's beautiful open spaces and rolling countryside, unaffected by the sights, sounds and smells of those who have given their county a bad name. Until last Thursday night. 

A good old friend of Blues Night, himself a smart and sophisticated product of Essex (as is his partner) recommended Two Tree Island, way out in the raging waters of the Thames Estuary, for our overnight stay.  On our arrival, wind and rain was hammering at the walls and roof of the van, and our very brief excursion out into the long grey wetness revealed only a few other vehicles, whose occupants were presumably either quietly dogging or contemplating suicide. This remained the case until about eleven that evening, when the rain let up enough to encourage several carloads of people born around the turn of the century to blast music out while running about shouting, driving their cars around in circles, hitting their horns to the beat, and generally having a lovely time without any apparent concern for the feelings or sleep patterns of the family in the motorhome about fifty feet away. This was the only vaguely menacing aspect of their behaviour - their total disregard for what we, in this lone Other Vehicle, would make of it.

Nevertheless, I had still decided to leave after about half an hour of twitching the curtain between cab and bed, as the shenanigans was impossible to ignore, and I was a little concerned that it might get worse, or one of these kids would get bored and decide to let our tyres down or something. I mean, I've seen friends of mine do that sort of thing. About 25 years ago.

Then, all of a sudden, they left. I couldn't decide whether to be relieved or disappointed, as I had my clothes back on and the keys in my hand ready to go. I'd also sent a text to my Local Friend describing the situation on his much-loved nature reserve and he had already suggested we park up outside his house instead. So I drove off, relieved to not be making a spectacle of myself (or my family's van at least) while doing so, and almost pleased to have to pull in before crossing the bridge back to the mainland, assuming this was one of the groups of lads coming back for more. But it wasn't - it was the cops, and it had obviously been the sight of them passing Leigh-on-Sea railway station that led to a local lad calling his mate down on the island and all these asbomobiles driving off without delay.

The last vehicle to cross the water was a motorhome with two children travelling (illegally) asleep in the overcab bed, a woman in the banquette-bed admonishing the driver for being such a wimp, and a driver whose nerves were frayed down to their last threads, despite being well over the legal limit after a large bottle of an Imperial Stout. Thankfully the police didn't bother stopping this vehicle either, and its occupants were able to get an excellent night's sleep just a mile up the cliff from Two Tree Island. The lesson here was that residential streets are much more comfortable and inconspicuous places to park up for some stealth camping. You don't want to be on your own, away from modern civilisation, because you won't be for very long.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Sussex - Kent - Essex

Of course, we are not the first family to realise that there must be other places worth living in the UK. We have friends (at least they were the last time we checked) dotted all around the country, and have taken the chance in this first fortnight to check in with some of them. 

Because we have something fairly fundamental in common, there are some nice and obvious reasons why these friends they have chosen the localities in which they now live. We have been able to appreciate some lovely towns over the last week - Worthing, Eastbourne, Rye, Deal and Leigh on Sea all shared their food and blue waters, beers, records and excellent company before an unchecked over-cab window was stolen away from us by air resistance and smashed to smithereens. Getting it fixed is now Top Priority, pushing "Does A Leaky Skylight Over A Wet Room Matter?" and "Why Is The Toilet So Smelly So Soon?" back into Rhetorical Status.

While we are getting used to the van, and tied to a single very definite date on the south coast, we have still been awkwardly circling London - literally, in fact - we have driven almost every mile of the M25 anticlockwise already. We would all like to turn left and park up outside the Ivy House for a while, but need to see a lot more of Not London before we burst our way back into the old bubble. So long as we can keep the Northern Weather outside, it's probably time to brave it next week.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Bucks and Sussex

So we have been at it for a week now. A kind of Holiday of Readjustment, traipsing from place to place on the map in an absurdly haphazard way, bypassing cities and towns in which we might consider making our future home, in order to string together random locations that we would surely not. This wildly disorganised and expensive vacation season must surely give way to something more methodical soon, if only to spare the lungs of the people from the evils of our diesel fumes. We've clocked up over 500 miles, and yet have felt like we haven't really started.

After a visit to the small and weird Royston Cave left our children wondering what on earth it was that their parents were mistaking for something important, we spent the night in the car park opposite The Harrow, a nice-enough Chiltern Hills coaching inn with friendly staff, tasty chips and the most unremarkable beer offering imaginable. This was conveniently close to Great Missenden, where I sought the truths behind Roald Dahl's farmer and old lady of whom he told my friend Big H. But did not find them, of course.

We then moved on toward the South Coast. M has wanted to visit Charleston for some years, and so wasn't about to let the Philistine Men of her family ruin it for her. We remained in the van in the car park and made pasta, then I sat over E while he ate it, explaining in some detail why Making Himself A Sandwich Instead was no longer an option. 

We found such a good parking spot outside the fantastic Snowdrop Inn in Lewes that I was reluctant to leave, especially as they had all sorts of delights from Burning Sky and Wild Beer on the bar. It's pretty clear why Nice Families left East Dulwich in droves for the home of Harveys throughout the early 21st Century. Lewes is a very pleasant town indeed, apart from the shitbiscuit who hit his horn when we had to stop at a >6'6"< width warning and turn around. Perhaps I should have proceeded regardless and wedged my new home firmly into the thoroughfare in front of him, to see if he liked that any better.

Now we are parked outside the boys' oldest friends' house, in Worthing, where they've lived for about a year. Toilet cassette and waste water emptied, the best broadband we've had in a week, and a gilt-edged parking voucher in the windscreen, we are getting pretty comfortable in a great town that has a bit of everything we are looking for. But there is an awful lot to see out there, and we do seem to be really getting started on it at last.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Norfolk - Suffolk - Cambs

We are gradually getting to grips with this vehicle. The water tank, which fills all of the space under the kids' seat, and takes about ten minutes to fill with my Dad's garden hose at full blast, only seems to last a couple of days' modest use. 

I filled it a second time using the AIR AND WATER machine at a BP garage near Lowestoft, which cost me about three quid in tokens and cramp in both hands, but seemed to work in the end. The toilet cassette, likewise, demands attention every couple of days, despite a whole-family commitment to keeping Materialisations of The Brown Lady for special occasions. On the suggestion of some bloke on the Internet, we've been using biological washing machine liquid instead of the blue stuff that is designed for the job, and the jury is still out on whether it is as effective. 

We've done another three nights without paying to camp. The first was in a council car park at Overstrand on the Norfolk coast, a gorgeous cliff walk to, and beach walk back from, Cromer, which is a much nicer town than one might ever have guessed from the expensive campsite of lost souls. 

The next night we drove to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk, en route to pick up a few eBay essentials (mains hook-up cable, another USB power bank, and a charging cable to connect this to the kids' 3DS) from my mum and dad's. We spent the night in a secluded muddy lay-by, and the nice fella who informed us the next morning that we are "not really supposed to" camp on the heath seemed to accept that there is very little that can be done to make the policing of it possible, and that even if there were, he certainly isn't being paid to do so. 

Last night we were as comfortable as we have been so far in a tiny cul-de-sac in Cambridgeshire. This was obviously all in the head - the fact that M's mum lives in one of these neat little bungalows wouldn't have made any difference to the way that passers-by looked at us, as nobody knew who we were, but we were confident in our right to be there. Maybe this frame of mind might serve us just as well when it is erroneous, too?