Local Heart, Global Soul

October 4, 2014

A Day Full Of Scrapes, Our Camper Bubble Bursts…

Filed under: ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,South Coast — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you think you have a “bright idea” only to find out later that there are many things you didn’t take into account (or didn’t know at the time) that would have completely and utterly changed your decision making processes had you known of them before.

Certainly when I went onto the internet and reserved a camper-van for the first time I didn’t realised that ordering a larger camper would make a very big difference to ordering a smaller one.

Now at this point of our trip to the United Kingdom I discover that it very much makes a difference: not because we can’t drive it but because there too many small roads here that Our Lady of The Sat Nav. doesn’t give us any warning about.

Our aim is simple: We want to get from “A” to “B”, we don’t want to use the motorway, we’ve checked that there are no low bridges along our route we need to avoid, we are careful drivers. It should be straightforward right?  To the contrary it’s getting increasingly frustrating. Given our seemingly simple requirements Our Lady therefore is appearing to be pervertedly delighted to lead us down “B roads” that all of a sudden seem to turn into “C or D”roads… or even alleyways. How can you go back when there is not enough room anywhere to turn around?  or when you realise the road in front of you is drastically narrowing and you have at least four vehicles behind you?

The road out leading away from Chilley’s Farm shop was narrow but ok,  and our paper road map borrowed from our Folkstone friends told us that there was a larger road that wasn’t a motorway a little way further in the direction we were heading, so we turned out of the farm shop feeling confident. This didn’t last. The road narrowed, then narrowed again. Branches from the hedges on both sides started to scrape against the side walls of the camper.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We had been driving slowly but started going even slower, fearing the nasty scratching noises, I pull the wing mirror in, the lane narrows even more and the branches get even closer. Then we come around a corner and see that there are some serious trees in the hedge and they don’t look like they’ve been pruned back in a long time. Not only do they extend their branches towards the side walls of the camper, they start to loom over the roof as well.

We are now creeping cautiously along at a snails pace. All of a sudden we hear a loud clunk and a deep scratching noise.

What looked like a leafy overhead bough was hiding a very decent branch which is clearly doing damage to the roof of the camper.

We instantly stop. Inspection reveals it’s way too heavy to lift off, attempting to reverse will probably do even more damage and we don’t by chance happen to have a chainsaw in our toolbox. With a big sigh and gritted teeth we inch forward. the grating scratching sound coming from the roof makes us cringe, and even more when another branch springs out on my side and whacks the side wall of the camper  for good measure. With a departing scape all is suddenly quiet. Even our kids the good sense to realise it’s an excellent time to keep totally, completely and utterly silent.

Himself gets out to survey the damage: a substantial mess of scratches the entire length of the camper roof and more along the top edge the passenger side too. He gets grimly back behind the steering wheel. This is the moment when we loose the deposit we put down on the camper… and it turned out to be an insurance claim for the owners as well.

Before this trip we thought that we would save money by combining our vehicle with our accommodation,  Several thousand Euro’s buys a lots of Bead and Breakfast stays so we have been proved wrong. We also said this this looked like fun when we set off, if we ever won the lottery we might even buy a camper. Now? not a chance, or at least not a big one, or a new one.

Our finances will recover of course, and no one was physically hurt, but it’s not a great way to end our day. We are certainly wiser and the lovely bubble of camper love has been temporally burst. We can’t get onto the bigger road fast enough, and be so relieved to see bigger traffic, and stay there. Be warned, small English roads can be vicious!

January 16, 2014

Sheltering In Doorways From Cloudbursts And Finding A Rubber Duck…

Filed under: ART,GERMANY,Monschau,PHOTOGRAPHY,Statues / Sculpture — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As regular readers will know, I’m documenting our 2012 travels through (snippets) of Europe with our visiting friend “Velvetine” from Singapore.

Here, in my last post from the town of Monschau, Germany, we are slowing walking back towards where the car is parked.We are about half way there when suddenly the heavens open and we are deluged with rain.

Tourists and locals scatter alike and we are forced to sprint  up the street and across another large square.

I say “sprint”, but in truth the able-bodied  amongst us fended for themselves and raced ahead, and I got to go as fast as crutches would allow at the rear, arriving in the shop doorway they were sheltering in looking like a drowned rat. The doorway was crowded with other tourists taking shelter, but we all squeezed in until the worst of it passed and soon the squall had gone and the sun shone again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The forced wait had a silver lining though, just as the sun came out we were treated to the sight of an approaching horse-drawn carriage and a bride on her way to be married.  We waved and watched with many others emerging back onto the street after the cloudburst, and then continued up the streets to a shop that Himself and the kids had spotted earlier and that had “stuff  you just have to come and see!”

The shop in question sold souvineers and knick-knacks, but the all important thing the kids wanted to drag me inside for was the impressive display of toy rubber ducks.

I got a photo of  one I might call the “local heart, global soul” ducky, but after much debate the one we bought in the end was a “bicycle duck” that had cycling goggles and was a gift for the young son of good friend’s “The Travelling Two” of the blog of the same name: http://travellingtwo.com/” . The walk back to the car ended up being a bit further than I anticipated, (up the hill near the back of the castle)  so Himself  sprinted the last bit to the car and brought it  back to where I’d gotten up to. Whilst “Velvetine”and I waited for him to arrive we found one final statue to photograph on the roof of some sort of garage or industrial building. A man plays what might be a cello or a bass whilst a lady dances. Now it’s time to head out of town and find somewhere less insanely touristic to spend the night…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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