Tag: Holiday

Jolly hols/ honeymoon

Hi, we made it! All the way to Inverness, within spitting distance of the famous Loch Ness.

Yeah verily, it rocked!

The journey wasn’t too much fun, the poor little Micra being thrashed mercilessly for seven or so hours each way. Two hundred and forty miles of toe-down motorway, then another one hundred and thirty three miles of (actually very good, fast, and challenging) ‘A’  roads. Poor little Micra. Some of those hills go on forever.

We had been warned previously, so I was able to…, make sure I was maintaining my usual law abiding progress, but there were two cops on the motorway bridges, and a third in one of those ambush vans when we hit Scotland. The roads get empty, there is nothing and no-one for you to hit, and coppers everywhere. Go figure, as the colonials would have it.

That aside, the drive into Scotland was grand in every sense of the word. It’s so BIG!

Massive countryside and it just keeps on coming. The roads are a bikers dream. Even in the mighty Micra they were superb. Get around there on a Japanese pocket rocket…wow!

You wouldn’t even have to kill yourself, the roads are so good.

Enough rhapsodising about the application of Mr Mc Adams finest.

We arrived more or less on time, having barely got lost, but couldn’t at first find the caravan. We rang Bonnie (the owner, nice person) up and found we had gone past it. We were relieved and gutted in equal measure. We had just (after driving for three hundred and seventy seven miles) realised I hadn’t checked to see if was just an internet scam. That would have been irksome. It looked to be genuine so we were relieved, but we had just passed a shabby, ill used caravan so we were at best apprehensive.

When we retraced our route Bonnie was stood outside and directed us in. The caravan was hidden around the back, completely screened by trees on all sides, and in a large field on its own. Joy!

The caravan was lovely, the setting idyllic, the vista picturesque.


We just chilled that evening, knackered as we were from the travelling. Later on I was waiting for it to get properly dark so we could see the stars. There were no street lights and no urban pollution so I thought I would get an unparalled view. Half ten and it was dusk, eleven, still dusk, twenty to twelve and you could still read a book in the light that was left! I gave up and went to bed. Land of the midnight sun!

We decided to go out to see Loch Ness and Urqhart castle the next day. I went searching high and low and couldn’t find my camera. I found the spare batteries, the battery charger, but no bloody camera, and I’d just bought a memory card specifically for this holiday. Bastard.

Not to let it mar the holiday we went and did the tourist things; saw the castle, made Nessie jokes, got fleeced for a cup of tea, etc. On the way back we went to Mc Tescos and I considered buying a new camera. I had put it in the basket, but then thought about another memory card, rechargeable batteries (it took AAA, I had AA’s) et al, and realised it would be over £50 for something I had at home. I put it back.

I think it was two days later I went to put on my shoes for some outdoors type walking, and found I’d packed the camera in my shoe for safe keeping. D’oh!

How we laughed.

We got to play spot-the-wildlife at the caravan. We had an owl kept hunting in the field we occupied, a kestrel once, rabbits, and even a deer. Bonnie said the locals shoot them as vermin. (Rabbits and deer.) We enjoyed seeing them though.

I’ve posted a bunch of photo’s we took. David Bailey is probably crapping himself right now. It’s hard to capture the blueness of the light, and the subjective stunned-ness of being in such a huge and beautiful landscape. So we just took snaps instead.

It has been really grand, and I’d like to thank everyone for the money they gave us for our wedding, which paid for it. Wendy was never so relaxed (except, perchance when in the car) and I have really enjoyed it.

Got to be said that I was glad to get back to my own bed, garden, and internet at the end of it though! How sad am I?



Day off, huzzah!

Finally got a weekend off. It’s been six weeks since my last proper one. (My last actual one, three weeks ago, I was dying with that cold and had the sinus pain issues. I would have preferred to have been working and well, than off and in that state.)  I had lots of vague plans about what I was going to do, i.e. gardening and generally pottery about having a good time. Not a bleeding bit of it.

I had a few chores to do; shopping, nipping to town to the bank (while I was there I wanted to nip to Wilkinson’s to spend my £10 voucher that I got off Iceland for Xmas on lovely plants), and nip my sisters to drop off a (day late) card for her youngest.

I went to do the shopping at about half past ten. Half past ten, mind you. Not dinner time, not after work on a Friday, not Saturday or Sunday. Half past ten on a week day. It was chocker. Every doddering idiot, coffin dodger, and work-shy chav was in Asda. Why? They were out in force, all determined to stroll around and stop and chat in the middle of the narrowest isles, blocking my  passage (ooer, Mrs.!). Don’t let my attempts to shop interrupt your conversation you bovine, slack-jawed, ignorant, embodiment of the argument for compulsory euthanasia.

So that went well.

Then there was the ‘nip’ to town. Some fool in the council has decided it would be a fun idea to block of one of the main roads through Warrington. The joy just keeps coming. It had a knock-on effect of stopping dead all the roads that stray vaguely near the closed one.

So I aborted the card dropping off mission. I got home to find a letter on my mat from some debt collection agency saying I owe them £80. Apparently the DVLA had passed them the bill for collection after I had repeatedly ignored their letters about registering my Bandit. The last time I did the paperwork for the Bandit I informed them that it was SORN, and that I  had moved address. Sorn declarations are free, but only when the DVLA send the damn reminder to the right address. Oh yes indeed, that lifted my mood still further. I ran upstairs, went online to the thrice damned DVLA, and their website says ‘when changing address you have to send your registration document back to have the address changed.’

I changed my license details (with the DVLA. A pox on them) and assumed that all my driving details would be updated. Or at least that they would have the wit to check if my license details had changed before hitting me with an £80 bill and handing it over to a debt recovery agency. Especially as SORN is free. A curse on the DVLA and all who sail on her.

When the rage had subsided, after I’d had time to realise they had me and all I could do was bend over and take it like a man, I moped off to my garden, a broken and beaten man. The sun had moved round, the garden was in shadow and it was cold. Of course.

I did manage to get the washing done and dry, strangely satisfying. Also I went to Wilkinson’s and got some flowers (mainly dahlias). I went to B&Q as well. It being such a pleasant week I was expecting both places to be chocker block with lovely plants, a cornucopia of colour, a smorgasbord of scents.


Bulbs, pansies, trees. Bugger.

I got some seeds whilst there, and some ‘blood, fish and bone’ plant food for my trees. (And me a veggie, Buddhist-wannabe!) It was a three kilo box, opened it up and shook some around my four fruit trees and put the remainder on my acers. Then, as I was throwing the box away I noticed it said you should sprinkle two ounces per square yard! Damn and blast! I know there are twenty eight grams to an ounce, so in three kilos there are a bloody lot of ounces.

Don’t know how many grams there are in a kilo. If it’s a thousand, as I suspect, I’ve just put enough food out for fifty one square yards of orchard or whatever. Bugger. If it doesn’t kill them they should be like Jack’s beanstalk by the end of the season.

The silver lining to this particular dark and lowering cloud of a blog entry is that when talking to one of the night shunters at work I said about that lad putting in his license and being ignored. He said "bald lad, from the freezer, nights?" I said it was he. Phil (the shunter) said he had been banned, and had applied for a job as a shunter whilst disqualified! He has only just got his license back and he still has points. That is why he has been so comprehensively ignored. Phew! Hope renewed. Also today I got the cheque in the post for our holiday in Scotland. Then posted off my V5 for the Bandit. Now I’m going to dye my hair.


Because I’m worth it.



Getting there

Today has been better. I clipped one pavement, and struggled with that bloody reverse manoeuvre, but other than that it was a lot better.

I woke up this morning. and more or less my first thought was ‘hang on, no matter what vehicle you were in, if  you were too close to an object steering in to it would not have avoided it’. Double bugger. Any vehicle that has front wheel steering and a fixed set of back wheels must turn around the back axle. The front wheels turn the front of the vehicle but the pivot point must be the rear wheel. In other words if you get the back axle clear of an object you can put your steering on full lock and not hit it. So not only did I take out those railings, but I then deluded myself as to why.

The pavement I clipped (OK, mounted, damn you) today was at an offset island. The painted hump in the road was to the right of centre on what would have otherwise been a large open T junction. You were drawn helplessly into steering to the left of the painted island. The instructor warned me to steer straight across it, and that it was a huge temptation to try and steer around the island, but steer straight across it. Even hearing all this, and him saying "don’t steer to the left, don’t steer to the left" as I’m on the island, my hands still moved the wheel over to the left. Damn those treacherous hands! If only there were some way to bring them under control and bend them to my will!

Well, that was a pain. the other instance of lack of control on a cornering exercise was where the road was approaching a roundabout. It opened up into two lanes, there were hash markings on the road and a raised pavement with railings. All of these things are clues that the corner is going to be a bastard for trucks. So I went in a bit wide, pinching some of the next lane, got my front into the island then fixated on getting my arse end through without hitting the pavement. I saw it was getting tight so I swang the cab out further into the next lane. Right idea, but I should have gone in holding that line. As it was if there had been anyone beside me I would have squashed them like the insignificant car-driving bug they were. There wasn’t anyone there, thankfully.

The other source of stress is that reversing exercise. You have to start in one lane, reverse backwards and to the side to line up in a different lane, with a lane or two (road lanes size) separating them. I’m still having to be told what to do. On my last attempt today I started by doing what he said, then went my own way a bit. Instead of starting the turn, straightening up, moving diagonally across the yard, then turning in to the coned bay (which for me involves taking two shunts to straighten up and reverse) I started the turn, then as soon as it was turned did a huge turn in the other direction. This essentially just put the trailer through a huge ‘S’, leaving me straight on to the bay, and most of the yard in which to make a few tiny adjustments as I reversed straight in. I’ll give it another go tomorrow, if I can repeat the manoeuvre I’ve got it sussed. If not, and I have to return to learning the other way, I’ve got a long way to go.

The instructor keeps bulling me up, saying how I’m off a really good standard, I stand a really good chance of passing and not to beat myself up over little mistakes. If I miss a gear don’t flap, just try again, find the gear and move on. He keeps telling me that I have no reference by which to judge my performance but he’s seen lots of people, and I’m among the better ones.

At first I found this encouraging. Today, as I was going for my third attempt at the reverse manoeuvre, I couldn’t help but be a tad irritated by it. I still don’t know what I’m doing, so it is pointless saying I’m doing well.

And now I have another bleeding headache. I think it’s to do with my sini (sinuses, according to some). It’s weird but over the last six months I seem to be getting them all the time. On the one hand I want to get it sorted out ( I don’t want a head cold putting me through the amount of pain I was in with that last bad cold) but A, the doctors never treat me when I do go, and B, what if it affects my eligibility to drive trucks? That would be too ironic. It seems to always be in my right temple, and as it gets worse it feels like the pain is coming from my right eye as well. It could be as simple as a malignant brain tumour, or a headache. I might get my eyes tested again, I am at the age when eyesight starts to go. No, I’ve just thought; I was two days with hardly any light and still in incredible pain.

If my brain doesn’t explode within the next few weeks, here is a possible destination for our holiday :   http://www.directholidayhomes.co.uk/sprop_ref_938.html

Cheap, in the sticks and not on a ‘holiday camp’, I googled one near Loch Lomond and the satellite view looked like a POW camp. Row upon row of caravans, about four hundred in regimented rows. The thought of a possible eight hundred rampaging kids is enough to make me never go on holiday again.

Kids should have kennels so the parents could rejoin the human race for a fortnight. Hmmm, business opportunity there. What is the number for those Dragons Den tossers? On second thoughts, if you are rich enough to afford it they already have institutes where you can absolve yourself of the onerous task of parenthood; boarding schools. Buggery. (Apt as that is part of the curriculum.)

Right, off to try and get better, poorly Bucky again,