Sunday, 3 November 2013

Month One

Well to be fair it’s month one of odd days of camping, and lots of days of being parked on peoples drives. We spent a few days at Wallasea Island (see previous post), then we went to our friends in Trowbridge for four days, followed by four days at Homefarm in Somerset followed by four days at our friends in Somerset. Before making a headlong dash back to Essex for birthday drinks and to get an awning and bike rack fitted ... next weekend.
We have discovered a few things while we have been testing and tweaking and travelling.

1.       All doctors surgeries are indeed populated by people (mostly grumpy middle aged women) who have systems and service that lean strongly towards saying no. To clarify the subject, I needed a repeat prescription of two of the most widely used anti asthma drugs available in the first world. Without getting into the deepest nitty gritty you would have thought I’d asked for a lifetime supply of Heroin, syringes and the doctors first born child. Needless to say it was easier to phone my own surgery and get them to post a repeat prescription than to go through the wringer at Amanda’s old surgery or deal with any of the local Chemists, who seemed to think the process leaflet given to me by the surgery was optional for them to take part in, despite those that I called being listed at the back of the leaflet indicating they were in on the process. This annoys me deeply, when I know I can buy whatever I like for asthma over the counter on the continent as long as I have my E111 (or equivalent ) card and a doctors slip listing my usual prescription (and to be fair that’s just because the stated does and spellings are in written form).

2.       Farmers don’t like thum thar townies on thar laaand. Understandable in a lot of cases when you see the litter dotted about here and there from those townies that have no concept of taking their litter home, not setting portable BBQ’s on the ground, or not closing gates.

3.       It’s better to run with a full water tank all the time than not.

4.       You can go a month without doing No2’s in the moho latrine if you carry a personal stash of loo paper everywhere you go. This is a good thing, because emptying what is essentially two gallons of cold wee treated with some disinfectant is far more `fun’ (I use the word loosely), than emptying two gallons of wee and solids that have been shaken and stirred with some disinfectant for four or five days. It is a sub-mission, to the primary mission of surviving two years in a tin can, that that I do not defecate in the moho loo for the duration of our trip. Do you need to know this? Probably not.

5.       If you open one jar of jam you have to use all of it before opening a second one. This makes sense if you like your jam kept in the fridge. It also means that you get to look forward to the next flavour more than you normally would ... though as a child this was a mandatory jam rule, because in the seventies `times was ard’, much like now, but without the sense of entitlement that that seems to sum up the current downturns misery for the masses.

6.       Lots of clothes will never be worn ... but; best not to put them in storage too soon you never know when you may have to eat hose words.

7.       Taking all your clothes off to have your picture taken while pointing vaguely to the horizon and captioning it on Facebook with the legend `The Vikings are coming’ is fraught with danger, but also horribly addictive fun.

8.       Wild camping where you can do (we are wild camping as this is written), is free, and by and large right off the beaten track, or as we are at Leysdown in Kent; at the very very end of the track, listening and occasionally going out to watch the distant firework displays along the Southend and Margate coasts. The sky overhead is clear, it’s blowing a gale and tonight, the unmoving cloud of stars we call the Milky Way is fooling those that don’t know what they are seeing into thinking they see a wisp of cloud. Meanwhile reminding those of that do know what we are looking at, that the nearest star to us Proxima Centuri is (if my rough sums are correct) 264902.4 Astronomical units away ... that’s 4.2 lightyears (very approximately) , or 264902.4 x 93,000,000 miles. If Voyager were heading in its direction at current speed it would take just over 70000 years to get there. We won’t be retrofitting the moho with a warp drive anytime soon. We are such a tiny speck in the cosmic scheme of things, that we really should get a long a whole lot better ... mankind that is.

9.       Water finds its way into very odd and disturbing places that are at times terror inducing, and make you hunger for warmer climes were condensation and rain are things the `English’ suffer.

10.   Not being able to leave the country makes you spend money on retro-fitting awnings and bike racks and re-engineering spare wheels so you can fit bike racks ... yes we succumbed to more gadgets as per paragraph one ... see note eleven below..

11.   Computers demand power, so a solar panel looks likely despite my misgivings. Without the ability to charge in the wild (Aires and Camperstops), blogging ... well writing anything will become a chore ... I have notepads and the phones voice recorder, but getting it down in electronic form and then sticking in it up in my bit of the electronic ether we call the cloud is vital for my sanity. That said, having worked in data centres for a bit of a while I wonder why the word `cloud’ was chosen as the name for what is cyber space. It’s a myriad directed invisible waves of electromagnetic radiation, or serial beams of bits whizzing down a fibre optic cable ... maybe it’s a cloud if you’re looking at it from a long way away with special goggles, and all the individual wakes are look mixed together.

12.   You shouldn’t try and write blogs in the wild with two Amanda strength G&T’s in your system.
I’m going to stop writing now and go and watch the stars while Amanda puts the bed together. As this is written it’s ten to nine. Night comes soon to those living a tin can far away from home.

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