Monday, 5 April 2010

New caravan

The call came from Joseph last Monday. "The van's sited. Should be able to connect the electrics, probably most of the plumbing, and Phil's moving heaven and earth to get the gas up and running on Thursday, so ..." I said I'd be down Thursday. He said "what time?" I said late afternoon. I could hear the relief, an extra few hours.

I get there about 3.30.  Joseph and Peter are crawling around under the van on tarpaulins, in Pembrokeshire rain. The entrance to this spanking new caravan is caked in mud. Nearly done, says Henry, few snags, sorry we can't connect the soakaway drains for the bathroom but the kitchen's OK. And look, here's Phil the gasman, and his lad, also called Phil.

I nod and smile, knackered after a wet four hour drive, and start to unload the car, across 100 yards of sodden grass. Normally I'd drive across to the van, but it's obvious that the car would sink in to its ankles if I tried, and I really don't want to ask Joseph to go and get the tractor to tow me out. (This happened once.)

So I unload and survey my domain while Joseph and Peter and the Phils do their stuff for me, outside in the rain. Finally everything's installed and tested, and I should be unpacking the four huge boxes and six huge bags which we parked in the living room three weeks ago when Linda, Alan and I downloaded the contents of the old caravan. That was difficult - I had to be a bit hard, discard some memories and mistakes. I told Linda to throw away a collection of champagne corks, each dated. (She didn't. The last one, I see, was September 2007.)

Finally, I'm installed, to basic camping standards. And now I can pour a drink, sit and remind myself why I did this. It's six-thirty, Thursday evening. The rainclouds have cleared and the sun is setting behind the trees on Peggy's Hill to my right, and before me is the sweep of Carmarthen Bay, from Monkstone Point across Worms Head and the Gower to the distant glow of Swansea thirty miles away - all through the panoramic picture front window. I could never be bored here. Just keeping up with the changes to the surface of the sea takes all your time.

I'll be back down there in a couple of weeks, to finish installing the fridge and the TV and the stereo. I might never come back. Come and visit me.