Tuesday 6th October (Day 208 of 236)
As I am writing this, we are now finally down to the last four weeks of this year’s Summer Season as Elf & Elfette and in just five weeks time we shall, for the first time, actually be in our newly acquired Apartment in Southern Spain, enjoying, even if I do say so myself, fifteen weeks of well deserved rest and relaxation. Okay, perhaps a little bit of rest but if Shazza has her way, and let’s be totally truthful about this, she will have her way, it may not be as totally relaxing as perhaps one of us may wish for. I have tried the kicking, screaming, digging my heels in but as you well know by now ‘Resistance is futile‘, so I don’t bother anymore and just go to bed still wearing my walking boots as it seems pointless wasting time taking them off !!
Unless you are a time traveller or are a true descendent of the ‘Romany’ community with an exceptionally reliable ‘Crystal Ball’, generally, the majority of us can never look at what life has in store for us, however, occasionally, we may just be lucky enough to have an opportunity of taking ‘A Brief Peek Into Our Future’ !!
But before we could take that scintillating look there was the here and now to contend with. We may have had an indifferent kind of Summer, nothing to get too excited about, there were certainly some very nice sunny days but no searingly hot temperatures like those that had been enjoyed a wee bit further South in the Country, however, it hadn’t stopped the Caravanners, Motorhomers or the tenters from coming out in ever-increasing numbers. Our site had been virtually ‘full to capacity’ every day since Easter but we had been looking forward to the end of September when the numbers were going to start to decrease. Well, that had been the plan, according to the information on our advance bookings system. The ‘Work of Fiction’ had other ideas though and decided to have a bloody laugh at our expense. We could hear them having an enormous belly laugh as they once again connived to shun the normal routine of bringing September to an end and hail in the Winter proper, with freezing temperatures, fog, winds and rain. But oh no ! Instead of that, they had decided, at their weekly ‘let’s make up another weather forecast’ meeting at the Work of Fiction HQ, to play silly buggers, they sat around their gigantic weather map and said, “I know, let’s not do leaves on railway tracks this Autumn to disrupt public transport, the British population will be expecting that and let’s not bring down the wrong type of snow, that too was totally old hat by now, instead, they had giggled, like mischievous school boys, why don’t we do something totally unexpected like…………… extending summer !!” And so it was that in the last week of September and first week of October, just as everyone was bringing out their winter woollies, hats, scarves, boots and thermal onesies, they provided us with a bloody heat wave !! The on-line booking systems were nearly in meltdown and our site phone rung continuously, “Can we book a week at your site” please, the customers already on site, queuing at the office door like it was the morning of a ‘Harrods Sale’, even before we had finished eating our bowls of ‘Shredded Wheat’, they were clammering to extend their stay, before we knew it, we were fully booked again for the whole week, deep joy !!
Fortunately, or so I thought at the time, at least my enforced time in the office was almost at an end, just two more days, then I could look forward to getting back out into the fresh air, I hadn’t thought that I would have missed the daily bin runs as much as I had. Before I could do that though, I had to have my routine follow-up appointment at the Opticians, this was something required by the Consultant at the hospital, whom I had an appointment with at the end of the month. My left eye was still a little bit ‘gritty’ and uncomfortable but that is normal, according to my electronic medical advisor on ‘Google’. I was still using the eye drops four times a day but they could be stopped in another couple of days.
The Optician was very thorough but instead of informing me that my vision had improved and that he would now prescribe me my lenses for my new glasses, instead, he advised me that he would be writing to my Doctor as a matter of urgency requesting that I have an earlier appointment with the hospital Consultant sooner than the pre-arranged one. When I asked him how much sooner he stated “within the week” !! I of course, quite calmly, asked what the problem was, well it seemed a logical question to ask, and it would appear that I have some inflammation around the area where the surgeon had made the incision to remove the ‘cataract’ and where he had inserted the new lens. So, okay, come on it was only inflammation and not as if I had contracted some sort of ‘infection‘, which could have been quite serious and created further complications, so surely this just meant that my eye was still a little swollen from the procedure. He gave me more eye drops, well no, actually he hadn’t actually given me them, I had to pay for them, but this eye solution was, he informed me, of a thicker viscosity and would ease the irritation which was created every time I blinked !! Strange really, blinking is one of those things that occurs naturally and an action that you don’t normally give any thought to, unless of course you are advised to try to not blink too much !! Have you ever counted how many times you actually blink in a day ? So the really bad news came when he told me that I had to remain on ‘light duties‘ until my re-visit to the hospital, ‘why me‘ I thought to myself, everyone else I have spoken to, who has had this type of eye procedure, have never had any problems, so ‘why me‘ and for now at least, well it is back to the waiting game, yet again, blinking heck !!
Our long-awaited extended period of time off came and we had decided to use the time to take ‘A Brief Peek Into Our Future‘ by taking the two hundred mile, four-hour drive, from the North East Coast across to the West and a little further South. We were headed to what will be our ‘temporary’ home for eight months next year. We had booked onto the site at ‘Burrs Country Park’ for two nights and we were looking forward to meeting up with our good friends, Paul and Debs. They had been away in ‘Bugsy’, their very nice Carthago Motorhome and were returning home, ‘Bury’ was en-route.
It was an easy drive and virtually all dual-carriageway and Motorway, but the main thing we noticed as we left the North was how congested the roads were as we got further South. It served to reinforce our opinion that driving in UK is not a pleasant experience, driving in mainland Europe is much more relaxing and enjoyable. However, we made it, unscathed, in the four hours that ‘Snoopy’ had stated and she delivered us right to the front door.
We were given a really warm welcome from Allan and Jean the duty wardens, we had met them previously, two years earlier as it happens, as they were on the same initial Training Course as us, they invited us in for a cuppa but we graciously declined and re-arranged it for the following day. We needed to get set up on our nice spacious fully serviced ‘pitch’ and then freshen up ready to meet up with Paul and Debs at the local pub, it couldn’t get much more local, it was right outside the site’s main entrance, now there’s a bonus !!
It was great to meet up with our friends Paul and Debs again, although we had kept in touch via mobile, texts and Skype it was the first time we had seen them in person for two years. However, our re-Union was brief as they both had to return home ready for that appointment with another Monday morning at work, but we enjoyed a meal and a drink and then a coffee back in ‘Bugsy’ before once again saying our farewells.
After one of the best nights sleep we had had in ages we awoke, after a good lay in and morning coffee, totally refreshed. The site, as the name suggests, is located within a Country Park with the East Lancashire Steam Railway line running along one border, the other views are of the Park and the surrounding hills and countryside.
The site is certainly in a beautiful location and has a feeling of space but it is only a ten minute drive, or forty-minute gentle stroll through the park, into the town. We took the latter option and when we arrived into the town centre, wow ! After Berwick’s one main street, this was a metropolis, civilisation on a grand scale, big brand name stores, modern shopping malls, a multi-screen cinema, bowling alley, loads of eateries and a proper busy bus station and a Metro Tramlink with trams direct to the Centre of Manchester running every twelve minutes. Combine that with our growing list of things to do, at least nine different reservoirs, loads of walks and Canals, well let’s just say that I don’t think that we will be short of things to keep us occupied in our spare time !!
Upon our return to the site we went and had a cuppa with Allan and Jean and then Allan and I went for a walk around the site. This site, unlike Berwick, was completely flat and although similar in the number of pitches, it was more compact in its ‘footprint’, but if we thought that our current site had lots of grass and hedges then the amount of ‘greenage’ on this one was a bit of a shock !! It would certainly require one heck of a lot of regular cutting and maintenance so I don’t think we will be short of something to do !!
For our last evening we decided to be lazy, yet again, and chose to re-visit the local hostelry for our evening meal, I elected to try out their ‘Mixed Grill’ and boy, was I glad that I hadn’t bothered eating lunch earlier in the day !!
Tuesday morning arrived far too quickly for our liking, it was time to head back North and it would be fair to say, without any exaggeration, that we were not looking forward to it !! But on a positive note, four weeks today we will depart our site at Berwick for the final time and five weeks today we will be in our Spanish apartment, so something to look forward to……………………………………….