We had to collect some chickens from Herefordshire and bring them back to Norfolk, so the obvious thing to do was go to Reading, go to Pembrokeshire, open up the caravan, stay there for a few days, go to Herefordshire, pick up the chickens, go to Reading, and come back to Norfolk. And so it came to pass. About thirteen hours driving in all, but I don’t mind that.
Opening up the caravan is usually straightforward – you put the drain taps and the shower mixer back in, sweep up the dead flies, clean the green gunge off the outside walls and cut the grass. This time, normality had gone slightly adrift. The grass hardly needed cutting (Joseph has a new mower, which goes almost all the way up the slope in front of the van, which used to be entirely my responsibility). Far less green gunge than usual (the overhanging sycamores have been fairly ruthlessly pruned, although not enough for my liking – they’re still above ground level, vile weeds). No dead flies at all (once some years ago I could hardly see the carpet for them, which was when I started spraying with Raid or Flit on departure, which helped but a few would still get through).
The plumbing, though, proved unusually problematic. Joseph had told me, ages ago, that the thing to do in the autumn was unscrew the four drain taps and just remove them. Of course, he now denies this, and tells me I should have been following a whole different procedure, the detail of which is too boring to relate… anyway, I had several leaks, the last at about 3 a.m. But once he’d fixed the underlying cause – a crossed thread – all was well and dry, and the problem will never happen again.
After that, it was just as it’s meant to be. We walked through the tunnels to Saundersfoot (I wanted to make ghosty noises in the long one, like when I was eight, but didn’t want to scare Z), had a nice fish lunch at the Mermaid (now rebranded the Beach View, which is more accurate but less romantic, but otherwise unchanged in twenty years), walked around Tenby, watched the pale everchanging colours of the flat calm sea, failed to connect to the internet… everything as it should be. No rabbits so far.
The chickens are gorgeous. Z will no doubt tell you all about them.