Thursday, 22 January 2009

Roofers, Rain, & Matches

It came to me today that caravan living is not such a good place to be when the heavens decide to empty out their water reservoirs. Puddles abound. Here, there and everywhere. In the gazebo are mini ones. Outside larger ones. Did you know water and earth make mud? Squelching to the water tap for refills of the water bottles certifies this to be a true fact.

Oh so our roofer, Danny, finally turns up on Tuesday, with his assorted crew of French helpers. Great! Our hearts lift. It's looking good for our roof to be done sometime soon. Already snow, ice, and cold have made delays. But sunny weather, quite warm too, had prevailed for several days, drying everything out, making one feel that perhaps camping was a good thing to do. And bonus time! Our absentee roofer turns up, .....with scaffolding and planks...not many, but at least a few bits of roofing-stuff to make us think that it was finally going to happen!!!! Roof-time!

Enthusiasm is ignited, off I go with trusty wheelbarrow to do bramble-root-kill-time. Seriously, earnestly, I put my back into it. A spit. A plop. A drizzle. Some spits. More plops. No drizzle but downpour! With my trusty wheelbarrow I hurry to make a return to the tall barn, only getting marginally wet. Off come my gloves. Down comes the rain. In torrents does it fall. Where does all this rain come from? Surely a tap gets turned off in Heaven at some point, but apparently not at the moment. I can't leave the tall barn. I will get soaked if I do. So I do what any sensible person would do - I sit myself down, and me and Boolie watch the splashing of the rainwater in the puddles.

A face peeps through the half barn door. Ah! One of the roofers! Still here then. But not on the roof: taking shelter like I am. Mmmmmm. "Let's go" I say to Bools, and we splash our way through the quagmire that has become our courtyard. Wrestling with the zip on the gazebo I hear footsteps splashing in the mud behind me, opposite to the direction I have come in. Ah! The roofers! Evacuating the mud bath. Going home in other words. Not to be seen since! But there are a couple of scaffolding poles sticking up through the inside of the house, so I think it safe to say that our roof might possibly have been started. Providing, that is, that the taps get turned off sometime soon, and we get some dry weather.

But, then, what is camping without the experience of The Mud and The Rain? Camping is good: it maketh the feet damp but the spirits healthy, it keepeth at bay all thoughts of boredom, it giveth the opportunity for puddle-watching, and it doeth good for the soul.

A word about French matches. They are best lit with a cigarette lighter first. It is best not to light the gas with the cigarette lighter, if that is your intention for needing a flame, because you will, quite frankly, burn yourself. No, be sensible. First get your match out of the box. Do not attempt to ignite match on the side of the box which is usual practice, but these are French matches, so don't work. Oh but that's not fair! You can get a light but only after loads of tries, which produces a pile of broken and unlit matches, and to save your carbon footprint therefore ( a theme you will notice is occasionally mentioned here) it is best to use only ONE match, lighting it with a lighter first. In left hand the lighter. In right hand the match. Ignite lighter (can be tricky and you might singe your finger first, but practice will win the day), then unite match and lit lighter. Et Voila! A lit match.

Now all you have to do is turn the gas nob on, and approach the match to the gas jet. But be careful, because this could create another singeful moment. It is my privelege to pass this info on to you, in case you are camping in France, just like us! I will let you know when the roofers return. I expect you will be watching this space for when they do! So will we!