We are home after a long weekend in Derbyshire. The weekend was fairly busy with caravans coming and going including the lovely vintage one that I took a quick photo of this morning. It looks like it’s got the original gold and mustard flock upholstery inside too! We didn’t see who owned it but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t one owner from new! The photo isn’t clear but it has a central section that runs down the middle of the roof that is raised and has little windows and extra head room. I didn’t get close enough to see a make or model name but it must be pre 70s.
M had a job lined up for Tuesday and because it was in a big city I decided to tag along and do some last minute holiday shopping. I didn’t have a huge list but I was on the look out for a plain linen dress of some kind. I don’t usually wear dresses but I’ve been keeping an eye on the temperatures in Madrid and mid thirties seems to be a common theme. I also wanted a plain coin purse with no frills, flowers or cute animals; it’s surprising how difficult it is to find such a thing. For previous holidays I’ve always left my main purse with room for cards, loyalty cards, cash, notes etc behind and taken one of E’s childhood purses, the least embarrassing of which is either a silver one with a butterfly or a denim one with a sheep on it. This year I wanted a grown up one!
I did find a linen dress too. It was a bit of an investment buy. I rarely top up my wardrobe with new items and manage to find perfectly good thrifted clothes but I liked the quality and simplicity of this dress and could easily make it work in a less sunny climate. https://www.johnlewis.com/toast-sleeveless-linen-sun-dress-slate/p3219141 Pretty much everything else in my holiday suitcase is thrifted or years old. I recently found two brand new vest tops with the labels still attached for less than £2 each, one in black and one in grey. I had planned to add a few embroidered stars or something but we’ll have to see how adventurous I’m feeling.
M’s job ran over by an hour or so and I basically shop like my Dad now; I have an idea of what I want and go in search of it and that’s that. Browsing is less appealing. I remembered mini toiletries at least and after that I bought a very large coffee and watched the crowds in this large multi cultural city go by.
Whilst the weekend was busy with people spending just a weekend at the site, the week days were eerie and quiet. M and I had already driven out to Buxton to add to our sightseeing days to Matlock and Bakewell. It just didn’t feel like the height of summer but we did at least pop into a few junk shops and charity shops. M was hesitant but I insisted on buying the three legged light oak stool in the photo above. When I got it back to the van and put it next to my favourite spot with a cup of tea on it he finally got it. There’s an L shaped arrangement of sofas in the van but nowhere to put a coffee within reach unless you get the big table out and even then it’s easy to spill drinks with the slightest of nudges. I’m sure it would be just as handy at home too. E has a similar one in her room and I’m always borrowing it to reach the top of a floor to ceiling book case.
My other good find for the day was the three balls of Debbie Bliss Luxurious Tweed DK. Only 150g in total but gorgeous yarn in a lovely light straw colour. I’m sure I’ll find some way of using it, a bargain at £2.
On those quiet week days we relaxed with crosswords, books, a couple of pre-downloaded films (one of which was rather disturbing; The Box with Cameron Diaz, not our usual thing at all but we made it to the end) and of course some crochet.
I chose a crochet pattern from a back copy of an American magazine I came across in a charity shop. It was a special edition of patterns for items that can be made in one day. Whoever reckons that this crochet top with front and back post trebles can be made in a day should probably try out for the Guinness World Record for speed crocheting! I’ve been crocheting away at it for days and I have still got a fair amount to do. Having said that though I have totally turned the whole thing on it’s head. Instead of crocheting from the bottom up I’ve joined the start of the two panels at the shoulders and created a top down construction. This was partly so that it ends up the length I like but also because the cotton I have in this rustic recycled look is limited. I’m also leaving out the edging altogether because I think the cotton lends itself to a raw edge. After crocheting enough depth to both front and back panels to choose where to finish the armhole depth I joined the two sides and started crocheting in the round. I figured that the post trebles make a dense and therefore weightier fabric so I’ve only stuck to that for the front (shown above) and I’ve replaced them with plain trebles for the back panel but still in the same arrangement of squares as the front. So in a nutshell I’ve butchered the original pattern to suit my needs but it seems to be working out. Initially it was not a relaxing thing to be making at all but once I’d turned it into a top down garment I was more confident it would end up the right shape.
M had a few very disturbed nights with the rain pelting down on our van roof. He eventually said that he did feel just a little envious of my ability to switch off and hear nothing. I really can’t comment on what it’s like to be kept awake by noise at night, I’ve never experienced it. I did find the daytime rain strangely nostalgic though. I’ve been thinking lately how similar some of our times at the van are to my childhood when we had what I now call our ‘caravan on water’. I wish I’d thought of that when I was school age and nobody batted an eyelid at anyone who had a caravan but it was spoilt brat territory to have a boat.
Mum was and still is an expert on making a tasty feast with whatever she has to hand. I’ve been revisiting some of the stock items we always had if it was a rainy day on the river and we were moored up for lunch. Simple warming things were the bees knees if you had been the unfortunate one to have to sit on the front of the boat in a mac looking out for shallow obstructions and jumping on to the bank with the rope. You can’t beat Heinz cream of chicken soup for nostalgia, though I think my brother preferred tomato soup despite us ending up with orange lips. Unlike caravanning you can’t rely on being able to nip to the local supermarket for supplies so we also had circular French toast, I forget the brand name, Melba toasts maybe? It was no hardship not to have fresh bread, we loved that stuff! I tried it out on M recently and although he did impressions of someone eating sawdust he did eventually concede that it was quite tasty with marmalade on it.
M and I will have been married for ten years this October. He has some wonderful ways but being very quick to have a strop or shout about something is not one of them. I have adopted a technique these days which is to let him rant and not throw fuel on to the fire so to speak. It tends to be over quicker that way and afterwards when he’s calmed down I describe an alternative response. For example, we took a wrong turn today and despite requesting no road rage today he let rip with all kinds of angst about this wrong turn. We were heading for the M1 in a southerly direction but I resisted the temptation to suggest we visit my family three and a half hours away! Amongst his shouted comments was a suggestion that it would take an hour to turn round again. It actually took four minutes. So when he had calmed down I quietly suggested that he could have saved all that anger and energy for when something actually happens, like it taking an hour to turn round, as opposed to before it happened, because half the time, the worst never actually happens.
In a similar vein it looked like we’d be needing to buy a new washing machine in the same month as our holiday expenses. There was a bit of a rant about this, of course. I looked up error codes, read forums and advice sites and eventually worked out that it could be the filter. Much swearing later and a cut thumb due to the screwdriver slipping, oh and a flooded floor of limescale bits and grey water, M had wrenched the filter off and found three wire hair grips, a broken ice cream scoop and 20p. Not mentioning any names here but M, J and I don’t use wire hair grips! M is so happy that we don’t need a new washing machine (it works perfectly now) that I haven’t the heart to remind him that the rant was completely unnecessary, again. I have put in a request for more thorough pocket checking though!