Living in a tiny space requires two vital skills from its inhabitants; creative use of space and communication. One doesn’t work without the other. Apparently.
So, I wasn’t happy with the location of the Tupperware. I have never been happy with any location of Tupperware, ever. In any house. Anywhere. So, I decided the best space was in the oven. (Hold on, don’t go guessing the ending already!) But I forgot to mention this to Kate.
Kate was cooking Shepherds pie. Now, there’s nothing worse than cooking in a camper with 3 children. Literally. Literally? Perhaps not. However, it’s a bit of a pain. So I took the children out for a bike ride and a scoot. I was feeling a little bit heroic. It was tainted a tad by a stupid old Greek hag who, rather aggressively I might add, picked up Felicity’s scooter and put it on the pavement.
“It road!” She hissed at me.
“Yes” I replied, although I’m not sure my offish, sarcastic tone helped.
“It dangerous!” She gurgled, waving her hands about frantically. (It’s a road that is used by two cars a day and is a dead end).
“I watch” I briefly forgot I could speak the English.
She sort of huffed and waddled off with her silly little dog.
That aside I was feeling like I was doing a good thing. The kids were riding or scooting about on the road and generally getting some exercise, Kate was enjoying herself in the kitchen. Or so I thought. I casually popped back to check on developments and get an eta for dinner.
I didn’t get an eta.
Turns out that I hadn’t fully explained the new Tupperware arrangement. When I say “fully” explained of course I mean not at all. And when Kate went to put the lovingly prepared Shepherds pie into the now hot oven there was a bit of a plastic smell. When I say “a bit” I of course mean “really rather powerful and overwhelming”. It reminded me a bit of my old CDT lessons and hot glue guns and my snoopy clock that took me forever to get…but perhaps this wasn’t the time for olfactory nostalgia. I received an eyebrow look that said “what on earth were you thinking. I love you but honestly…” As they say, an eyebrow can say 11 words and a small amount of punctuation. How true they were.
And thusly the grill was turned on.
Despite everything the Shepherds Pie was delicious. And once Flossy believed us that it didn’t contain real Shepherds, it was polished off by everyone.
The Ball Run. Much less dangerous than the Spanish version with the horns.
If you fancy trying it at home (or at the beach smartypants) here’s how it’s done.
– Beach (sandy), cups for scooping, balls (with a bit of weight to them, ping pong balls are a bit rubbish for this).
1. Find a beach. Need a bit of a slope and damp sand.
2. Build a mound, the higher the better.
3. Scoop out your run.
4. Keep on scooping
5. And a bit more.
6. Test run and yes, more scooping.
(Top tip for ten – it’s all about being smooth. And watching out for those little bumps!)
Ball goes like the clappers. Woohoo!
The steeper the slope the better (which is obvious, obviously). Damp sand is key with the added bonus you can simultaneously build a sandcastle. Lots of testing and modifying.
After that, charge passing Italians for the pleasure of having a go and then spend the night watching people fall into it. Ah, marvellous.
Below dramatic footage of the Ball Run. It looks like I used a drone but it’s actually just me holding the camera. Good huh!
We crashed our first home into a ditch. We’ve all done it haven’t we. There you are dreaming of a life on the open road, the fresh winds of freedom thundering through the cars air conditioning unit, when you look behind you to see the house of your dreams (ish) bobbing its way off into a ditch. Crash. Straight into a concrete drain. What the dickens!
It was a disappointing moment. A bit of a low point. This was supposed to be our home for the next year.
“Why’s our house in a ditch, Daddy?”
“That’s an excellent question girls.”
Anyhow, no one got hurt and we have learnt that it’s important to get your caravan serviced before driving around stupid, rubbish bumpy French roads. However, we did insure it so you don’t need to start a crowdfunding thingy for us just yet.
But back to my story. It was only when we sold it on (it’s not roadworthy but it is liveable) to a recently divorced chap named Laurie, that I realised what a strange thing it was that we were doing.
“What’s Laurie going to do with it?” I casually asked our friend.
“He’s going to live it?”
“Live in it?! A caravan. Really?”
He looked at me with a puzzled tone.
Oh…oh…I see. Yes. In a caravan. Just. Like. Us!
I instantly had a image of Laurie; a bit smelly, hair unkempt, wearing clothes a day or two too long, grubby finger nails. Then he hit me. That’s me! I am Laurie. It was like Fight Club. I staggered backwards, gasping for air. Beads of sweating gathering on my brow. The room started to spin and my vision blurred. It can’t be. Can it?
“Does Laurie have kids?” I ask panting, panicking.
“Yes! Yes, he does. They visit him in his caravan.”
Ahhhhh, it’s me. I am Laurie!!!!
Actually, I’m not Laurie. Phew. But he is. Poor chap. And we are living in a caravan.
Living. Not for a week, or two weeks. Lots of weeks. Exactly. With all, well almost all, of our worldly belongings with us. Its a 7 metres long box and 2.5 metres wide. It has 3 bunk beds, 1 master bed, a kitchen, a bathroom (shower room to be precise), a small dining area, and a wardrobe for our clothes. Plus us. 5 people. And I’m not small. Not surprisingly our favourite phrase is “let’s get outside!”
It’s always a joy isn’t it when your toddler starts to learn their first words. Isn’t it?
Isn’t that so cute. She said Mama. Did you hear, she said Dada as well. Ah, what a wonderful world.
Sorry. What the hell was that. Did you just…
“Dadda. Fuck. Dadda.”
She’s not mine. No, never met her.
Shhh. Just shut up.
“Dadda. Fuck. Red fuck. Big fuck. Dadda. Dadda.”
She’s learnt the word “truck” everybody. That’s right, T…ruck. No gender stereotyping here. Yep, you heard it…truck.
That was Flossy. Middle daughter. Aka F2. She’s good for a story or two. She was recently learning and practicing (quiet loudly) the “w” sound, and words that she had “made up” that started with the “w” sound and rhymed with bank, in the back of the car. But that story can wait for another day.
Our current toddler, Felicity, is busy learning her new words. Usefully, and to her credit, she is learning words she actually needs. When I say needs I mean wants. And when I say wants, I of course mean NOW!
“SHEET, MILK, RINA”
(Rina is Felicity’s go at “Vamparina”, which I surely don’t need to explain).
“MILK, SHEET, RINA, MUMMY”
She likes to mix it up.
Mummy actually doesn’t enjoy having her name shouted at her, especially when she’s driving, with an attached caravan, down an impossibly narrow lane…the wrong way.
“MILK, SHEET, RINA, MUMMY.”
Dadda doesn’t get a mention interestingly. Although he has noticed England are 3 for 30 again. Unbelievable.
“Could you help her out…please.”
“Sorry, dear. Help who out?”
“Felicity? The one shouting at me.”
“No problem. What do you need, Fliss?”
I hear a collective groan of despair from my beloved family.
“MILK, SHEET, RINA!”
In perfect unison.
Despite her new mastery of the English language she has a hearing issue with regard to the word “no”. Interestingly she understands it very well when it comes out of her mouth but has no clue what it means when it enters her ear. Twice daily when I dare to advance at her with my trusty toothbrush in hand, I am reliably informed “no”. On loop. (Teeth is now a mummy job by the way). However, when she has a rock in her hand and she’s weighing up testing out her trajectory schema (throwing it at anything she fancies) the word appears incomprehensible to her. Must be my pronunciation.
So, we shall see or hear, what next she learns. I can’t wait….