For the third leg of Gaz and Kim’s Excellent Adventure, we were beginning to feel a little spent. Which is strange, because I haven’t had a break in a year and I really needed one, and yet by week three I was thinking of all the things I was looking forward to back home.
My own bed, my quartet of stupid chickens, my home grown tomatoes, even the ones with gout, or whatever it was that was wrong with them. I missed my gym sessions and my healthy diet, which had gone out the window on week two of the trip, whereupon I’d mostly resorted to a daily diet of coffee and salt and vinegar crisps.
The mood wasn’t helped by the fact we’d left beautiful Scotland and re-entered familiar territory. Okay, I’d never been to Northumberland before, but it looked pretty similar to the places in England I had been to, so rather than feeling like I was on an adventure, I just felt like I was driving around the motorways of home.
We reminded ourselves we were still very lucky to be travelling all round the UK and should be soaking it up and having fun, not complaining that we were in England again, where the ungrateful drivers don’t beep as you pull over to let them pass, where the sat nav actually gets you where you want to go and where places are efficiently, sufficiently sign posted.
I was cheered somewhat by my own cheeky holiday within a holiday. I left Gaz to his work and nipped into London for a friend’s birthday. While there my bud and I went out for brunch, to the aptly named restaurant, Caravan. I left my caravan holiday to go on a mini holiday and dine at the only establishment in London called Caravan. Ain’t that a thing?
I had a thirst quenching Virgin Mary, followed by pulled pork on kimchi, which I only ordered because of the similarity to my own name. But it was quite possibly the best breakfast I’d ever had, which was not at all determined by the fact I’d been living off coffee and salt and vinegar crisps for a week.
Back on the road trip, we arrived in Walton On Thames, where Gaz and I were to spend a day apart. He had a photoshoot with a celebrity in London and we both know how I get around celebrities so I was not allowed to go with him. I had to stay in Walton on Thames like a good little civilian.
At this point, I’ll introduce you to the suitcase of piss.
You know those suitcases with the little extendable handle? Good in airports aren’t they. You fill the suitcase with miniature shampoo bottles, a bikini and a good book and you go on holiday.
Well this little suitcase gets filled with piss. That’s why Gaz and I call it the Suitcase of Piss. When you live in a motorhome, you don’t just flush-and-forget. Every few days, the suitcase gets full and you have to wheel your suitcase to a waste disposal point and empty it, which is traumatising and disgusting.
The first time we had to empty it, we were still giddy with the excitement of the adventure. We did it together and we laughed so much at the reality of the situation that I had actual tears rolling down my cheeks. We had a strictly number-ones-only policy for the suitcase, so it wasn’t so bad, although the waste disposal area reeks of other people’s problems, so I wouldn’t recommend hanging out there.
The next time, I was in London, dining at Caravan. Gaz took one for the team but texted me to let me know he’d got piss all over his shoes while emptying the suitcase.
And this time, in Walton On Thames, a bit tired and jaded as I already was, it was my turn. Gaz was in London with his celebrity, no doubt doing his pissing in the celebrity’s loo, while I dealt with the suitcase. I walked the walk of shame through the campsite, trailing the suitcase of piss across the gravel, which is very noisy when you’re dragging a heavy suitcase and trying to be incognito. And I too got piss all over my shoes, because it just isn’t very well designed, this suitcase, and it just sort of sloshes everywhere.
So I’ll add a flushing toilet to the list of things from home that I miss and look forward to seeing again. You lot, with your creature comforts, your flushing loos, you don’t know how lucky you are not to have to wheel a suitcase of piss around every few days.
Leaving Walton On Thames, we headed for the New Forest. And lo, we suddenly felt like we were adventurers again. I thank thy horses! They were everywhere, to welcome us to the new (forest) world.
As were the donkeys.
And the cows.
That’s when I realised – to feel I’ve been on a break, I’ve got to tread on unfamiliar ground. It’s no use going to Fleet Service Station, where I used to go on my way to and from school every weekend as a child. It’s too familiar.
In the New Forest, there were horses, donkeys, ponies and cows, all just roaming free. Look! I’m stroking a wild cow calf! This little bit of rump steak made my day and saved the final leg of the tour.
Funny isn’t it. You spend all year longing to get away, only to look forward to going home. I guess you need to get away in order to appreciate
flushing toilets home again.