As dusk fell, with heavy precipitation turning my slim fit jeans into a second skin, I entered the camper van to jokingly asking Sarah if she had an industrial size shoe horn. A utensil I’d identified as a useful accessory to ease me outta my sodden denims.
My partner and I had just spent an unedifying half hour affixing an awning to our holiday vehicle. A task undertaken in what’s become known to us both as the Great Goole Soaking of ’22.; this deluge, I’d venture, as powerful as anything Noah encountered in biblical times..
At least in Noah’s case he benefitted from a heads up from god, allowing him time to prepare and avoid a drenching. Sarah and me, bereft of omnipotent tip off or, indeed, the wood and inclination to build an ark, braving whatever the Greek weather gods threw at us. A rush driven by our desire to ensure Zella (our dog) had suitable protective shelter before nightfall.
Despite the literal soaking SL Brook and GJ Strachan endured, they refused to let the cloudburst metaphorically dampen their spirits. Writing off the drenching as an outdoor life experience; an occasional inconvenience to be expected when embracing camping as a pastime.
Sure, there are infinitely more advantages to raising an awning in dry conditions, not needing a industrial size shoehorn to remove your jeans being one. However, I’d posit more memories are created by suffering a challenging awning affix than a no issue erection in dry conditions.
Footnote – Anyone who, like me, chortled like a schoolboy at reading ‘a no issue erection’ above needs to grow up. Take it from me, as a middle-aged man, no issue erections should be lauded, not laughed at.
Anyhow, with awning raised and Zella in situ, SLB and me set about donning dry clothes and warming courtesy of our van heater and much needed coffee. And, do you know what, despite continued inclement weather we were mostly as cosy as church mice for the rest of our two day break.
Further footnote – Well, that’s if church mice are genuinely cosy… Sadly, though, unless yours truly learns to speak mouse, I can’t confirm the validity of the adage’s claim either way.
Sarah and my first night saw us imbibe vino, consume cheese with crackers and laugh as though the electric heater was emitting a laughing gas in addition to heat. It wasn’t, of course!
No, the giggles, which at one point made me ache as if I’d had suffered a hernia, manifesting from a raft of silly anecdotes, whimsical memories and my beau unceremoniously falling from her camping chair.
The latter episode witnessing her land on one of the awnings few parts uncovered by our ground sheet. As Zella looked on in, what I like to think was, dismay at her ‘mum’, after this tumble Sarah was forced to free her flowing brown locks from velcro, prior to unsteadily regaining her feet.
Upon regaining her balance, with us both in fits of laughter, we surveyed the collateral damage of the broken chair and her mud covered pyjama bottoms. The latter appearing to tell the tale my Ossett squeeze had defecated herself… She hadn’t, I hasten to add… However, at that juncture of the evening with alcohol heightening the hilarity, it didn’t matter. I celebrated with the mischievous glee as if she had.
When we woke on Saturday morning, the Brookster and me were greeted with an awning landscape of discarded cheese wrappers, empty wine bottles and broken chair carnage. At this juncture Sarah was, what is colloquially known by the Ossett chattering classes as, ‘hanging out of her arse’.
Her condition leading to her apologising she wouldn’t be able to play Kim to my Aggy and clean up the bivouac.
It didn’t take me long to sort it and walk Zells to the field which formed part of the splendid Apple Blossom Caravan Camping Park in Goole. The East Yorkshire site owners and staff affording a warm welcome to Brooky, Zells and yours truly.
Once tidied up, we cosied up with movies on the laptop, our only disturbance the occasional letting out of Zella for a wee, and surprise when a disorientated thrush inadvertently entering the camper van. t didn’t stay long though so I’m assuming it wasn’t keen on the drama Sarah and I were watching at the time.
Taking the awning down on the Saturday morning was greeted with the same inclement weather, meaning we were as soggy as a lisper’s chin upon hopping in Victor the camper van for the homebound journey.
The weather wasn’t great but the company, laughter and memories more than made up for the restricting meteorology.
For those interested, Sarah has now recovered and has vowed never to drink again. Stocks and shares in Gallo’s wine are plummeting as we speak… Foolish investors, she’ll be back on it during the coming weekend!