Saturday, 30 May 2015

At least two faux pas

I'm still alive: the silence of the last few days is entirely due to staying in places where there is non-existent (or very iffy) Mobile Internet. No Internet, no posts. I have a growing list of things that could be written about, but it's no good if I have no Internet.

However, I'm now at Yellowcraig Caravan Club Site, which is not too far from North Berwick in East Lothian - a proper town - and I can get online now and then. So there is some hope that this will go out.

It's taken me just two days to haul the caravan from Sussex to here, which is not bad going, although I didn't like staying only one night at Stamford and the Lake District on the way up to Scotland. It made the journeying seem relentless, and restricted the time for local sightseeing far too much. I'm at Yellowcraig for three nights, and although I intend to be out and around - Edinburgh tomorrow, and a day out with a friend the next day - it will feel far more relaxing. The rest of my stops on this mammoth tour are all for two, three, or even four nights, allowing plenty of time to unwind and enjoy the local area before hitching up and setting off again.

Midnight approaches! I will confine myself to describing how I committed two caravanning faux pas on arrival at Yellowcraig.

Faux pas number one: I jumped the queue to get in. Yellowcraig is an incredibly popular Club site. It's never a surprise to find someone already in the 'arrivals' parking spot, so that you have to keep back and wait for them to check in. Well, two big caravans were ahead of me on arrival, but neither was actually parked in the 'arrivals' spot. I'd been on the road for four hours, and was eager to check in and get pitched. It wasn't obvious why these two caravans were hanging back. There was however a prominent notice that the site was full. Perhaps they hadn't pre-booked, and, with their plan to stay at Yellowcraig thwarted, were deciding where else to try. I had pre-booked - way back in January, in fact. I drove past them and into the 'arrivals' space.

Of course, I was wrong. I was instantly admonished for jumping the queue. Oh, I'm very sorry! It wasn't explained why the two other caravans had hung back, but I'd got off on the wrong foot and no mistake!

The thing was, with the site so full, and all the best pitches already occupied, the few still vacant were likely to be the ones that were difficult to get onto. I would still have the pick of these. But the two caravans I'd jumped ahead of were going to have Hobson's Choice. There was no actual ill-feeling, but I earnestly hoped they would both end up with nice pitches, despite having a poorer selection.

There really weren't many places left. I found one that would be suitable for a little caravan like mine. It was a pig to reverse onto though. I found myself steering the wrong way all the time. I suppose I was tired. Eventually I managed it. I went through the usual setting-up routine. This included getting out the long electrical cable, connecting one end to a socket on the side of the caravan, and plugging the other into a socket on a post.

And that was faux pas number two. I chose the wrong post. I went off to reception for a card to work the entrance barrier, and when I returned a man with a lugubrious expression on his face was standing next to my caravan. Oops. What had I done now? Well, I'd pinched his electrical socket. Mine was off in the other direction. Really? But where? He showed me. The other post, which actually had an empty socket with my pitch number on it, was the other side of a bush. I hadn't noticed it.

How embarrassing! I gave him profuse apologies, and moved my cable. He seemed fine about it, but I wondered what he might be thinking. 'Daft old biddy' perhaps. I fervently hoped he wasn't one of the two people I'd queue-jumped. Surely not, otherwise he'd have much more to say...

I was relieved to find that the people next to me - a younger, friendly couple from Darlington - were nice to talk to. And the wife was firmly on my side when a Club warden passed by and informed me that the positioning of my caravan was verging on the unacceptable. For heaven's sake! I pointed out the tree I'd had to avoid while I reversed. My protest scarcely dented his zeal. But we sent him on his way. It's not a spacious site, and I suppose they have to be particular, and can't allow sloppy pitching. But, my goodness, I never have such trouble on my favourite laid-back farm sites in the West Country!

Apart from these embarrassments, my first afternoon in Scotland was very pleasant indeed. I went into North Berwick for a stroll. It was dazzlingly sunny one moment, then cold and very wet the next. I witnessed the fiercest hail I'd seen for a very long time. And it was almost June! Hmm. I would have to expect some dire weather once in Aberdeenshire, so much further north.

Tomorrow I plan to visit Edinburgh on the train. Just £4.50 return on the train from North Berwick, using my Senior Railcard. It's meant to be sunny all day. A summer dress then. But my padded winter coat and gloves as well!

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Lucy Melford