Sunday, 30 January 2011

Piccadilly Circus

I think we've maybe got a little too used to having the campsite to ourselves.  This weekend, within the space of a few hours on Friday afternoon, we went from being an isolated little van in the middle of nowhere to being stuck in the middle of Piccadilly Circus.  Not literally of course, but the hoards of people who turned up on Friday reminded me of the chaos I thought we'd left behind in the South East.  Although it meant a temporary end to our blissfully quiet existence I'm also impressed at the number of families here with small children, all intent on enjoying the outdoor life rather than being stuck at home in front of a TV, Games Console or computer.  I'm also very impressed with the two tiny two man caravans that parked near to us, both containing two adults and three border collies - that must have been rather snug for everyone.

The weather this week has been nice and dry but has been becoming steadily colder as the week goes on.  Twice this week the water pipes on the pitch froze and we had to wait until late in the day before they thawed enough for us to fill up Delores.  Sod's law dictated that we ran out of water the moment the pipes froze and I'm waiting for the gas bottle to run out anyday now, though I suspect it's waiting until we're in the middle of a hefty downpour late one night before it gives up the ghost.  This will, of course, force us to trek outside decked in our finest, and sexiest, waterproofs, torch clenched between our teeth, as we wrestle with unfathomable straps whilst cursing loudly.  Meanwhile, snug & dry inside, Monty will be peering down through the window at us with the look of scorn on his face that only cat's can master, clearly convinced of the fact that if only the good lord had blessed him with opposable thumbs he'd have had it sorted in a jiffy. Why is it that dogs only ever seem to gaze at you with eyes full of undying admiration, whilst cat's glare at you with disdain and irritation - once they figure out how to open sachets of Whiskas their use for us will be at an end and their quest for world domination will begin in earnest.

Work continues to go well and I'm most proud of the fact that I can now navigate myself to all the training venues without the use of SatNav or maps.  It's really wierd but we're both more aware of how to get around up here after only four weeks than we ever were in Fleet after 4 years, maybe it's because there are fewer roads so our options for taking wrong turnings are greatly reduced.  We've even perfected the art of driving along single tack roads and performing the "pass me" shuffle when meeting on coming vehicles, and already we can spot the tourists who are far more cautious and somewhat less keen to hurl their car into a roadside hedge.  Mind you not that Steve's best pleased when I do that, but I figure a scratch free car in these parts is an idealistic dream.

Campsite from Arnside Knott this morning.
Yesterday my family all met up for one of our twice yearly family meals and it was wonderful to see everyone again.  Although we're busy making new friends, it's always nice to see some familiar faces.  The restaurant - The Walton Fox - had been recommended by just about everyone at work and rightly so, there was an extensive menu which catered for our very diverse tastes and dietry requirements, free refils on all the coffees and the waitess was really friendly and helpful.  Shame our next get together isn't until June - tough as it's only just down the road for us maybe we'll find a reason to pop back before then.

Today, having managed to do very little in the way of exercise all week, I decided I wanted to do some serious walking so I headed off before brekkie (9am, so not that early) and shot off up Arnside Knott.  I went on my own becuase a) Steve's not a morning person and b) he's already been up there.  (But the main reason was (a) )!  That only took an hour so after a hearty brekkie of bacon and scrambled eggs on toast we headed off for Wickbarrow Scar about 15 mins drive away.  From the top of there, on a clear day, you can see many of the fells in the Lakes to the north and away over the Dales to the south.  Sadly today wasn't all that clear but the views down over the Kent Estuary were still very impressive.  Whilst we were taking some pics on the phone at the top Steve's parents called and it seemed really wierd chatting away with them whilst we were at the top of an impressive hill in Cumbria and they were tucked up in the warm at home in Bucks.  I maybe a child of the digital age but these things still impress me - I remember when I was a kid that anyone who wanted to call us either had to ring our next door neighbours or call the phonebox down the street and get someone to come and knock on our door.  Man that makes me feel old!

And on that note I shall call it a day.  We're currently warm and toasty in the campsite bar nursing a find bottle of Shiraz and catching up with our friends around the world via email and Facebook.  And to think it was me who thought the youth of today were wasting their time on computers and social networking sites instead of enjoying the great outdoors.  The words 'pot' and 'kettle' suddenly spring to mind...

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