Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Going Nowhere Fast

We've been delayed again, minor engineering issues with spare wheel and bike rack, and fitting the awning. However the plan is still to get across to Santander (should have been Calais) and then head across northern Spain to the North East coast and then head South down the East coast of Spain, and up through Portugal and France as the sun moves North next year. This is just a dive further South to start because of the weather through Northern France. We could drive over night from Calais, however its 900ish Kilometres overland and it’s 800ish kilometres across the Bay of Biscay and a relatively straight run across Northern Spain 400ish Kilometres (and the boat takes the strain ... what’s not to like?).

We plan to be able to flick back and forth across Southern France and maybe Northern Italy once we're across Northern Spain, that little meeting point around the central axis of the South of France (in my fevered imagination) speaks of all sorts of cosmopolitan delightfulness.
It’s tough right now, we are homeless, unemployed, it’s been wet and cold ... I think I said this before. Almost inevitably we are now both down with Autumn Lergy. And right now, bedded down with The Essex Harrions, trying to recover, and waiting for a weather window to do the engineering tweaks mentioned above.
Amanda's Driver licence name change has finally been sorted out after three attempts (part DVLA pedantry, part badly laid out form, part dizzy blonde).
There is one other minor bugbear that needs to be looked at. I have a mole that sometimes gets irritated in sunshine, and the weekend before last, it did exactly that. So Amanda has pushed me to see the quack, which I have deferred for maybe three years; her reasoning being that if I intend to spend several months in sunshine then I should be sure that I'm not actually giving myself skin cancer. However there is no denying that the dermatologists will be looking for exactly that on the 22nd of November ... that wasn’t easy to type.
I have an idea why. Once upon a time, there was a film called Philadelphia with Tom Hanks, about a man who gets HIV and subsequently succumbs to AIDS, and there was a memorable line used by a character when trying to help Tom Hank’s character reconcile the fact of his rejection by his once friends and his imminent demise, that I shall paraphrase “it’s a disease not a disgrace’. It just feels a bit embarrassing that you get this far and then as an afterthought nonchalantly mention that you have a mole that exhibits the base signs of being a melanoma. I feel if anything, a bit stupid that I’ve buried my head in the sand with regard to it for so long, and that it announced itself so spectacularly after we’d been fishing in the Autumn sunshine a week and a bit ago. It is still `active’ if that is the right word, now.
Why the sense of shame at going to the doctors with a mole I’ll never fully understand. It's possibly a disease, not a disgrace.
The thing is, I know of melanoma. Who in the western world who has a TV doesn’t? And even though from what I’ve briefly read about it ... and what I have is:
A. an as yet unknown quantity.
B. likely to be nothing.
I find myself in a bit of a stir. Not because the of the thought of malignancy, spread to other areas, imminent death, removal of half my face blah blah blah all of which are the very very very worst outcomes ... but because it’s now. And now it’s a delay on NHS timescales, 14 days for an appointment; tick, 14 days for the results; tick, followed by all clear, or treatment, time unspecified.
It’s been an inconvenient mole for a long time, now it’s a positive pain in the arse. And it's at time like this you wonder how on earth any project ever runs to time if at all? It's 21 degrees in our target area of Spain today, it's 16 degrees in the Toledo region on the plateau, Perpignan is 20 degrees, and all of these places have sunshine forecast for the next three days at least. To shuck off the autumn snot and sore throat lergy, a dose of sunshine would not go amiss. Yet paradoxically, I now have to go and have a mole poked prodded and likely be removed (local excision) before we can get to the sun. The sun that excited the mole again in the first place, and may be the worst course of action that I could take Mole outcome dependent.
I have been chided for turning a desire to see a lump of Europe and all England into a task rather than just an extended holiday (sabbatical), however the whole business, the highs the lows have made it so in some ways.
We could have bailed out in January when the previous Moho got written off, we could have bailed at any-time since, but we haven’t ... it’s become personal in a way that maybe isn’t in the spirit of the original aim. Some days recently it’s just been a matter of surviving the weather and each other. In the absence of TV or anything else to do you have only each other to watch, and unfortunately the audience is want to heckle the current performer (Guilty as charged, there may be more than one way to do the same thing).
Somewhere recently we both read that living full-time in a Caravan/Motorhome is mentally and physically demanding. This is true. Fatigue has become our shadow, cold has kept us from sleep, snoring has kept us individually awake, Pied Wagtails (not the worst way to be woken up) using the roof vents to sound the dawn chorus have woken us up, fireworks, heavy rain ... lots of that, have all contributed. Muscles ache from walking, both leg and spine, the bed we make and unmake everyday is a little workout on its own, our `Tango’ around each other in the confines of the galley sometimes means that hurts are aggravated or revisited. My earlier near broken wrist has a nasty habit of leaving my forefingers and thumb entirely numb after a nights sleep, and Amanda’s constant banging of her head on just about every protruding surface in the moho (while amusing for me), means the her BVVP has no chance whatsoever of getting right and she has pain every time she brushes her hair.
We hope, or we live in hope that once we are away from the elements of an English Autumn Winter, that we can worry less about the vicissitudes of the weather. The cold and the wet are only comfortable in this day and age, when looked at from behind double glazing sat in front of a wood burning stove, with several other rooms to escape to. My hat is off to all those families that already manage to live this lifestyle all year round as part of their culture (Pikies, Gypos and Tinkers in common parlance ... Romany’s in days of yore).
We'll get there before Christmas, it just seems a bit insane that we finished work in August and we're still here in November. But as everyone keeps on saying, these things happen for a reason.

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