I got back home from Mum's Friday lunchtime after a tiny bit of stress on the way home when i saw a sign saying the M25 was CLOSED from j30 clockwise... ie. over the Dartford crossing!! Luckily i am a little bit familiar with the roads around Thurrock and was able to nip off down the A1012 and go through Thurrock and Lakeside and join the M25 further round. I thought it would just save me sitting in traffic, at least i'd be driving for a bit longer and joining further on to sit in the traffic til it was re-opened but when i got to the M25 it was totally clear! The traffic was flowing smoothly and it was FAB! I later heard on the traffic report that it was actually right on the junction to the M25 from the A13 that a lorry had jack-knifed and that was why it was shut and the traffic was backed up and i was SO glad that i made my detour as i wanted so badly to get home. I managed to get most of the camping stuff packed up before Bloke got home and he helped load the last few heavy things in and then we were off! For a while...
We were headed to Bodium, it's a lovely drive - A21, A25, A21, lots of nice fields to look at, some picturesque villages and a rather nice layby 20 minutes from our destination that we all stood around in and scratched our heads and tried to figure out why there was SMOKE COMING FROM UNDER OUR VAN!!! Luckily we had our very clever friend Andy with us who was able to determine that it was the brake and not the engine or an oil leak which was causing the problem. After some frantic telephone calls to arrange for someone to go and pick up the locking wheel nut and the jack from our house so it could be brought later in the day the brake hose was sealed off and we carried on with one brake less for the rest of the journey which was thankfully uneventful! Camp was set-up, beers were opened, the fire lit, the music played and the rain held off for a Friday night PARTAAAAAAAAAAAYY!!
Saturday morning brought rain and lots of it, lots of flooded patches in the field but the ducks were happy! I did my usual trick, up at 8am, hours before anyone else. Rather sensibly though, i had sorted out mugs and coffee and water boiling facilities so that i didn't have to disturb Bloke who sleeps for a lot longer than me. I sat in the awning with my steaming mug and this months Gardeners World magazine enjoying the relative peace and quiet and oooohing over must-have plants and garden designs :oD
The news from under the van wasn't good. The brake was seized, men were despatched to motor factors, parts were bought, men got greasy, men got grumpy. Men found out that they needed another part as well. Shops were shut. Bugger.
Satruday night brought more partying, although slightly soggier than the previous night with alittle tension thrown in. Nothing serious, just music issues. It's not loud enough. It's too loud. I just thought it was crap! Hip-hop, drum'n'bass and rap are NOT my thing. AT ALL! I went to bed early (compared to everyone else) at about 2ish and laid in bed with the dog and read a book. A whole book :oD Admittedly it's a thinnish book but it's a really good read. I had a few deja vue moments while reading it which was weird, but it was good to read again.
Sundday brought more scratching of heads by Men under vans. A trip to the motorfactors was called for so off they went in search of more parts. It looked promising when they got back. They'd got everything they needed, they played with their new gadgets before they started the work and then they went back under the van only to find that they'd been sold THE WRONG PART! By this time it was too late to go back to the shop so the wheel was put back on and they admitted defeat :o( Much discussion of recvoery vehicles ensued, would ours take us home or to a garage, offers of using other people's AA or RAC were gratefully received and i wandered aorund loading up the van and trying not to panic!
Luckily after checking our breakdown policy we discovered that we were indeed covered and it said we could be taken to a destination of our choosing which was good news! I stood firm and said we weren't to phone until we were loaded up and ready to go, i didn't care how long it meant we had to sit there and wait for them to turn up, i wanted it done first. I am SO glad i did, we were told that someone would be with us within the hour and he was there within half an hour! We were loaded up and driven home and got home only half an hour behind everyone else!
I love my friends, don't get me wrong but sometimes they do annoy me (i am sure i annoy them a hell of a lot more!!) I really had to state quite firmly that i wanted to pack up before the recovery was rung - when i say quite firmly i obviously mean shrilly and with a slight tone of defiance. so what if it takes them three hours to get here, at least i'll be ready to go and not faced with a panicked run-around trying to get gazebo taken down, the awning taken down, everything packed and loaded into the van. It's not like i was expecting everyone else to wait with us, we were quite happy to sit there on our own and keep ourselves amused. I'm sure a nap wouldn't have gone amiss... ;o)