Ok, so I have abandoned the writing news in favour of more travel escapades. The intrepid two brave the mini ‘beast from the east’ and head to Bristol, complete with caravan. Despite snow earlier, the road is now clear and the journey is uneventful. We near our destination. Cue a lengthy game of ‘hunt the camp site’, amidst dire warnings of ‘do not follow the sat-nav’. We’ve been told that, at some point, we will need to ignore a road closed sign. I am usually serially law-abiding but we do as we have been bid – just a bit of a shame it was the wrong road closed sign. Permanent bollards are strung across the road. We are now up a dead end, in a very narrow, car-lined street. The exquisite caravan-reversing skills of my travelling companion are duly exercised and we continue our site hunting. Eventually, site located, we set up for the night, with not a flake of snow in sight, although it is pretty darned chilly.
Day dawns. Ah. There is steadily falling snow and about three inches on the ground. Nonetheless, the decision is made (not by me) that we should proceed. The car starts first time. We’ve left the caravan attached overnight, so no problem there. We attempt to leave the field. We attempt this again. We attempt it several more times. Back and forth we slide. I am not normally encouraged to drive this vehicle, let alone in falling snow, with a caravan in tow. It may be a measure of our desperation that the steering wheel is entrusted to me, whilst my companion gives a hearty shove, to no avail. We are now stuck irretrievably between the gate to the field and the pitch where, potentially, we could sit it out until spring. If we stay where we are, our electric cable is too short to reach the hook up.
The site owners, suitably clad in many layers, appear, probably concerned for the state of their grass, which we have effectively ploughed beyond repair. But no. Bless them, they’ve come to our aid with land rover and tow rope. They offer to tow us to their drive, where we can reconnect to the electricity supply. ‘No,’ says our brave driver, ‘the show must go on.’ They now think we are certifiable; they may not be wrong in this assessment. They agree to tow us ‘up the hill’ to something resembling civilisation. Half way up what is indeed a steep hill, our way is blocked by another stranded idiot. It is now 7.30am and they have been stuck for two hours. They appear to be two fit and healthy thirty-something men but have been unable to push their car to the side of the road. One seventy-something and the site owner who is certainly more than thirty-something, if not yet seventy-something, come to the rescue. They are pulled clear and then our tow to the main road resumes. It has taken us 1½ hours to travel a mile; only 160 to go!
The upside of the conditions is that there is very little traffic on the road. The downside is that those who are stupid enough to venture out are reckless types who zoom along in excess of 70mph. After this the prospect of ‘feeling like I am having a heart attack’ as I tackle Peruvian altitude seems positively calming.