I struggled through three sessions of costume and armour in the seventeenth century with a lovely local history group and some bemused French exchange students. The struggle being occasioned by my having done something dire to my back, making movement next to impossible. Normally it is my colleagues who only make one fit person between them, whilst I am relatively in one piece but not today. Thankfully I am allowed to depart as soon as my activities are complete and then I have to drive about 7 miles to Bideford. Getting to work had been ok but I am now rendered more immobile by the armour hefting so changing gear is a near impossible exercise. I debate completing the journey in one gear but cannot decide which would be the most appropriate. In the end I go for changes of gear but the only way in which I can get my foot off the clutch is to physically lift my leg up using my left hand. Good job the road was quiet.
We are off in the caravan again to attend the One Day Conference of The Isle of Wight Family History Society, of which I am President. We go to fill up with petrol. Chris is muttering something like ‘dozy ****** ***’ with reference to the man in front, who has drawn up on the wrong side of the pump and is struggling to make the hose reach. It is our turn. We draw up at the pump with car and caravan. Hmm it seems we are on the wrong side of the pump. In Chris’ defence, he does have more than one vehicle and the petrol caps are not all on the same side. As we are towing the caravan, our only option now is to leave the petrol station, drive round and approach again. We do so with more success the second time. Now we need to re-inflate the tyres. Guess what, this necessitates leaving the petrol station, driving round and approaching a third time. Whoever is monitoring the CCTV must be beginning to be suspicious.
An uneventful journey to the New Forest ensues. The ‘how to find the caravan site’ instructions are typically incomprehensible. The sat-nav begins by directing us up things that, even by our standards, are clearly not roads and then falls silent. We spot a camper van and deduce that it may be heading towards our destination. ‘Follow that van’, I suggest. Unfortunately the driver is attempting to qualify for the next F1 season and hurtles along at a great rate with us in more leisurely pursuit. Thankfully this does however enable us to reach our destination in time to secure a pitch before reception closes. By now it is past our bedtime, let alone time for food so we are pleased to see a fish and chip van on site. By the time we arrive to make a purchase we are left with one portion of fish and chips and one of chicken curry – that sounds fine. I eat the lumps from the chicken curry, which actually do resemble chicken and most of the sauce. ‘Bob’ (names have been changed for this portion to protect the reputation of those involved) leaves the remains of the curry sauce on the draining board and opens the overhead locker, out of which falls a Jamaican ginger cake. I can reliably inform you that dropping a Jamaican ginger cake from a height of three feet into curry sauce causes the curry sauce to splatter for a considerable distance. If I hadn’t been laughing so much I could be more precise and may well have had photographic evidence to prove it. ‘Bob’ is covered from head to foot and is wondering how to remove his curry covered jumper without getting sauce in his facial hair. There is curry sauce on the walls, on the bedding, on the floor. It seems that ‘Bob’ is wearing not just a considerable amount of curry sauce but also the only respectable outfit he has with him. I foresee a trip to A*** for something other than jogging bottoms. It is my left over curry sauce so clearly this whole incident is my fault.
Next day, we have arranged to collect some Braund memorabilia from a Braund Society member for preservation – what a wonderful treasure trove. By this time I am feeling rather peculiar, what in my teenage years may have been described as ‘spaced out man’. Perhaps this is a result of the super-strength pain killers that I have taken. I make the most of the opportunity to have a quiet lie down in the caravan (the advantage of our snail like existence) whilst we wait for the Red Funnel ferry. I should place on record that I hate the Red Funnel ferry. Not only does it take twice as long as the other routes but they make you get out of the car and the cold plastic seats are uncomfortable at the best of times. It has been chosen on the basis that it was considerably cheaper (in the context of Isle of Wight ferries ‘cheaper’ is a relative term) than other options. We get on the Red Funnel ferry. I discover that there is free wi-fi on Red Funnel. I would like to place on record that I love Red Funnel ferries.