Unpredictability - Good for your health

Our modern life is based on organising an environment free from the unexpected. The house needs to be as stable and reliable as possible. The job as safe as possible. Nothing should break down. Nothing but what we predict, should occur.
This is the life of the zoo animal. Let's explore the life of the Nomad. Let's live the life of the Nomad.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Weddings, Exhausts, Exhausted

For those of us lucky enough to have paid work during the week, and not have to work on weekends - the Saturday and Sunday are two fine days to be sure. Every now and then I like to have a weekend full of action and this helps me rid my mind of work and the general clutter of life - the clutter that can wear you down; specially this time of the year when the weather is turning as the clouds get lower and the temperatures approach freezing.

And so last weekend involved a trip to London, or an area on the outskirts of London to attend the Wedding blessing and reception of the youngest Uncle. The place was Harlington, near Heathrow which happens to have one of the busiest airports in the world. In a previous life, as a Global IT consultant, I spent many hours in this airport waiting to board a plane.

Regular readers will know that I threw away most of my belongings as a necessity when transitioning from flat dweller to trailer occupant. Thus I was in need of a suite. During the week I had taken a trip to a store called TK Maxx in a place called Waterlooville. TK Maxx sell designer clothes at reduced rates and if you have time to rummage around you can find some bargains. On my last trip to the USA I visited a similar store called TJ Maxx and I am sure they are one and the same retail company. The TK Maxx in Waterlooville was a bit of a disappointment, however I did find a decent Jacket to wear. Since the weather forecast for the Saturday was 4 degrees Celcius a good warm woollen jacket made good sense. Next door to the TK Maxx was a large clothing store called Matalan and in here I found a smart enough suite to wear.

The wedding was due to start at 4 pm on the Saturday and C had come to my caravan on the field on the Friday evening. On the Saturday morning the weather was indeed bitterly cold. On my job list was taking the awning to the caravan down - a task I have been putting off for a while, but a task that needed completing since I will soon be moving the caravan to a new camp site. I decided to delay this task until the Sunday, and get another task sorted. Christmas stocking present shopping for my two children. So we packed up everything for the weekend into the Transit van and drove to the nearest ASDA (known as Walmart in the USA). The rules were simple - five presents each for five pounds bringing the stocking present bill to a reasonable fifty pounds. The shopping session was fairly stress free and it's always a relief to get some shopping tasks out of the way - although I am sure C really does enjoy the shopping.

We then drove all the way into London and checked into a Holiday Inn hotel. Our room was on the third floor and we had a view overlooking one of the runways at Heathrow. This was great since I just love aircraft and I spent a fair bit of time staring out of the window as every couple of minutes some mammoth of a plane landed. I have spent so much time in hotels and in my last job was thoroughly sick of them - but now I was finding the experience enjoyable. To have a shower and not have to worry about the water running out - this felt very luxurious. The room temperature was a stifling twenty five degrees and since I am used to a much cooler caravan I had to cool the room using the digital climate control switch. The room had a huge television. I am not a television watcher but it was a pleasure to switch this on and gaze into such a huge electrical marvel.

My sister and her son and boyfriend were also staying at this hotel. We had ordered a taxi and at half past three we all got in for the one mile trip to the church. We made the classic mistake of not getting a rough quote for the cost of the trip before setting off. I was surprised indeed after spending a couple of minutes in the cab to be charged fifteen pounds - extortion. Reluctantly I paid the fee, although we made it clear this con-man wouldn't be getting our business again. It would have been nice to have dealt with this chap in the way he deserved, but who wants to create a scene before a wedding?

And so the Uncle married the woman he loved. To prayers, to music and to oaths of commitment - thus is the protocol of the wedding. How different is the wedding from the funeral!!! And even more different is the wedding to the divorce. I had had enough of funerals and divorces and so this wedding was something I could enjoy. I can only respect those that make the pledge and wish them every success with what lays ahead.

After the ceremony we walked a little way to a nice pub for the evening entertainment. There was a buffet and the food was delicious. The two man ban, one on guitar and one on banjo, that had also played the music in the Church, put on some great music. I must admit I do prefer this type of reception rather than the formal type where you are sat down for the three course meal and the endless speeches and the oil paintings and photographers.

My daugther Jessica has requested a mention on this blog. She is 12 and turning into a young lady. Last time she stayed with me I agreed to purchase her first pair of high heeled shoes. And it was obvious she was enjoying this reception as she mingled with the crowd looking tall and pretty in her new dress and shoes. The father felt proud indeed.

It was a great evening and as midnight approached our eldest uncle drove us back to the hotel. We discovered a basement section where a disco was in full swing and there was what looked like a company party taking place. There was more staggering than walking and dancing and it was amusing to be witness to this sort of thing - yes it's the time of year of festivity and great to see people enjoying themselves in this era of doom and gloom.

The next morning C and I went down for breakfast at around 8 and then back up to the room for a final rest before packing everything up to head back South. As soon as I started the van's engine I sensed something wrong - maybe it was a slight sense of engine smell in the cabin or a slight difference in the pitch of the engine noise. I put the van into gear and drove out of the car park and down the side slip road. There was a slight speed hump and after we drove over this there was an almighty rattling - it sounded like the bottom had fallen off the van. I pulled over to the side and got out to inspect underneath the van. The exhaust pipe, which looked fairly new, had broken away and was scraping against the road. Great!!!! It was very cold and C went back into the hotel for a second breakfast and coffee. I am a member of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC). I took out the premium membership which meant they had to get me back to my home address, or in this case, the camp site I was staying at. And so it is sometimes a good thing to pay a little extra for this type of insurance. Ten minutes after placing the call the mechanic arrived and half an hour later he had performed an operation joining the exhaust pipe back together with some holding pipe between the two severed ends. This was good enough to get me and C the sixty miles back to camp. I was very impressed with this mechanic and very thank full for having taken out the membership with the RAC.

After we arrived home I then decided it was time to take the awning down. So I began the back breaking task of pulling the pegs out of the ground - but then the rain began to fall. And inside the caravan a section of the carpet was drenched due to a pipe leakage. And then C discovered she had left her diamond watch and bracelet in the hotel room. Just one of those days where things would merrily go wrong. C phoned the hotel and to her relief the cleaners had retrieved the lost items and the hotel agreed to send them on. A couple of hours later the rain had stopped and so I could continue dismantling the awning. And if it took me a good six hours to erect this canvas extension, it was only an hour's work to get it down - nevertheless I was exhausted. Time then to get on the bicycle and get a Chinese takeaway and some supplies from the local supermarket. After this the rain's pitter patter against the caravan's roof recommenced and it was a cosy evening after which two exhausted souls got into a bed and promptly went out like a light.


  1. A while back my radiator split the RAC Man drove me to a scrap yard, sourced a replacement, drove me back and fitted it! Cannot fault the RAC

  2. At end of our trip to the UK in 2008 we stayed at Heathrow at the IBIS for three days. The window was so small we could not see much of the runway. It was however easy to get the underground to London and see the sights we had missed on an earlier visit.