Saturday, 4 May 2013

Holiday preparations - not so long to go

Cleaning the car this morning in readiness for its Glyndebourne run tomorrow reminded me that the caravan could do with a good wash too. Inside, it's pretty immaculate. But a year's grime is evident on the outside.

Compared to a car, a caravan is much more of a rigmarole to clean, if you do it properly.

To start with, there are five very large outer surfaces to wash carefully: the roof, the sides, the back and the front. Plus the towing bit that sticks out at the front end. The roof needs a tall ladder, and I hate heights. Getting up there will require desperate courage. Where Eagles Dare or Die Hard all over again.

Each window needs to be opened, and its rims and recesses wiped. There are eight windows that open: the skylight in the roof, the window at the back, two windows on the offside, one window on the nearside, and three at the front.

There are two ventilation hatches in the roof. Two lockers on the nearside, one for storage, one for the leisure battery. One front locker. All need opening and a bit of a wipe.

So, a big cleaning job then - even though my caravan is only a small one! Definitely a task to be tackled in stages, lasting several cups of tea. I await a warm, windless, sunny day. And I'd better get down to it soon, because although I'm rationing my caravan holidays this year, the next outing is getting closer all the time. That's the Northumberland/south-east Scotland/Lake District tour, and it begins in mid-June. Only six weeks off, and time will fly.

I'm really looking forward to getting away again, and especially to these northern parts. I haven't seen Scotland since 2010. And Northumberland and the Lake District not since 2006. Long enough in the case of the last two for a revisit to seem like a complete rediscovery. And indeed I will be going as Lucy, and not J---, which will add a wonderful new dimension to those parts of the holiday. I was Lucy for Scotland in 2010 - but a Lucy who had to restrain herself so that M--- could feel reasonably comfortable. But this time it can be Lucy unchained, Lucy uncompromised, Lucy in full flight.

Good preparation will ensure that car and caravan do not let me down. Fiona has her annual service next week, and if the cost of that is not too great, I will go on to have her two rear tyres fixed - I've not only got a nail in one (definitely not repairable: a new tyre is needed), but now a screw in the other (which can be repaired). Neither tyre is losing air pressure, but that may not remain the case indefinitely, and I'd prefer to buy myself peace of mind before embarking on my Northern tour. But that's really my only concern.

Socially I have no qualms whatever. I'm going on my own, as always, but it doesn't enter my mind that there could be the slightest difficulty about visiting places, and getting meals out, as a single trans woman. There is only the general risk that any solo woman might run, and I think I am sufficiently vigilant to avoid the kind of awkward or troublesome encounters that one might expect in Sussex.

The only reason I'm even thinking on these lines is that I will be well away from my more usual haunts in the south and south-west of England. The north is exotic and exciting and slightly mysterious, and the attitudes of the locals more difficult to second-guess. Lucy in jeggings and a vest top will be a doddle. But I do wonder how Lucy in a summer dress might go down, if I decide to eat posh for example. We'll just have to see!


  1. I love road trips! sounds like fun traveling to the mysterious lands beyond Hadrian's Wall.

    Washing your caravan sounds like the chore that is cleaning and detailing the families Town & Country "mini" van, all white, kind of like scrubbing a beluga whale.

  2. Yes, it's all white, and so once you start you can't skimp. It's a chore, but the end result looks great.

    I'm surprised just how 'clean' it stays, but then in the UK it gets regular repeat 'washes' from the rain!


  3. Well Lucy you know why the North is exotic, exciting and a little mysterious......I live up here, well Northwest! I am not sure what you use for washing the main panels of the bodywork but when I wash my van I use soapy water and a sweeping brush that has soft nylon bristles, hosing off with water afterwards. It works for me and gets the job done in a fraction of the time. No scratches to worry about on the bodywork either. I hope your 'mini' trip goes well and that your trip up north goes without hitch too.

    Shirley Anne x


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