"When," I hear you say, "are you going to get off your soggy backsides and actually travel somewhere?"
Well, dear reader, the time is near.
We got up early (for us) today and set about breaking camp for the first time since we moved out of our flat. A wholly pleasurable experience, since there was relatively little wind to accompany the downpour. It seems that we didn't have as much of our "stuff" stowed as we thought we did and that, combined with getting the two rabbits ready for the road (did I mention we had two house rabbits? No? Maybe that's a story for another day...) meant that the whole process took a lot longer than we expected. Still, we were on the road by noon(ish) and heading for Tebay to get the awning fitted at Airstream HQ. Immediately things didn't feel quite right. The trailer felt heavy (I know we didn't overload it because I had the joy of weighing everything we put in it) and the car was having to work very hard to tug the beast. I stopped at the first lay-by and had a look around. All four brake drums on the trailer were hot. Very hot. After a moments worry to check everything (which way is the handbrake lever supposed to go?), we set off again. Still not right. A quick call to Airstream from the next lay-by and John was on his way up to meet us near Penrith. By the time he'd got there, the brakes were free and the brake drums were cold again. I felt like a bit of an arse, but I've still got the burned fingers from checking the drums, so I wasn't making it up. Honest.
We made it to Tebay (after a thoroughly unpleasant drive with strong crosswinds and heavy rain), where John set about fitting the awning. Not a huge job, but not something I would have liked to try on a wet and windy campsite. Michael had the coffee ready for us and showed us around the latest additions to the workshop. There was a Dutch trailer having a couple of panels replaced (note to self: don't hit anything...) and an empty shell of a 532, bound for Germany to be towed by a mini of all things!!! Michael also suggested that we didn't bother going all the way back to Keswick (cf. weather...) but stayed here in the yard outside the workshop. After a very small amount of umming and ahing, we agreed to stay. We did, however, have to get back to Keswick anyway - we'd left the bikes in the barn at the campsite, and hadn't paid the farmer for the stay (an excellent old couple, and the Caravan Clubs oldest CL). So off we sped, through the rain and wind (with only one wiper - I hit a pheasant yesterday and snapped a wiper clean off. The pheasant didn't fare too well either) to carry out a quick, commando style exit from Keswick. It turned out more like a Gulf War exit - Lots of promise, but it never actually happens. After terrible traffic and a few too many errands, it was nearly 6pm by the time we back to Tebay. Michael, bless him, had stayed late to let us through the gate and give us a key.
So there we were, in Tebay. What happens in Tebay on a Tuesday night I hear you ask? Bugger all, as it happens. But we did manage (after a 15 minute trek) to find a pub that was open and still serving food. I heartily recommend the "Barnaby Rudge" to all visitors. It's a place that has definitely seen better days, and was probably once a very up-market inn. Today, it was sad. When we walked in, the clientele doubled in size. The food was, shall we say, interesting. I ordered the veggie Kiev. Sadly, however, they were out of Kievs, so I changed my order to the veggie lasagne. Fifteen minutes later a meat lasagne arrived. I alerted the landlord to the problem, but as there were no more veggie lasagne portions left, I had the option of either a spinach and cheese cannelloni or a Tuscan three-bean crunch. I opted for the cannelloni, so fifteen minutes later the three-bean crunch arrived. That's what I call service - I managed to get through the entire vegetarian menu in one evening. Splendid.
The beer, however, was excellent (Old Faithful from Tirril Brewery near Penrith). After a few pints of that, all was well with the world and we sauntered happily back to the trailer.
Tomorrow we've planned a quick trip to Settle to have the Landrover looked at. There's a problem with the wing mirrors (and a broken wiper), and once that is sorted, we have our sights set on the sunny South. Apparently it can go for hours without raining down there. I'm not sure I believe it, but I'll let you know when we get there.
In case you were wondering, the Tuscan three-bean crunch was actually very good.