Thursday, 10 January 2008


It was all going so well.

The last couple of days have seen some of the worst weather in nearly forever. We've been sleeping in our silver cocoon whilst being buffeted by 80 mph winds with snow and rain coming in horizontally. Cold and wet. Very wet.

Yesterday, we took a trip over to North Yorkshire to have a look for some essential stuff (like lightweight plates, plastic wine glasses, wing-mirror extensions, plate racks, etc, etc).

Catterick Caravans is a temple to all things caravanny, providing that the caravan is a white plastic box. To be fair, they do have absolutely everything you might need for any caravan situation (remember the time you needed a 5/16ths thingummajig for the broken doobrywotsit? Well they have it here). From there, we took a trip over the North Yorkshire moors to pick up our new tow-car, taking in the awesome Ribblehead Viaduct on the way. Built between 1870 and 1874 (the viaduct, not the tow-car), it spans the river Ribble, stretches for a quarter of a mile and is just over 100 feet high at its biggest. On the right in a snow-clad Ingleborough, the second highest hill in the Yorkshire Dales.

On the way, the weather got interesting again. In one short stretch we were nearly blown off the road while rain hit us sideways. To add to the interest, the weather sprites threw a few handfuls of hail stones at us, and all the while we were basking in glorious sunshine. Great British weather.

The new car is enormous and it has more bells and whistles than the trailer! It was more than a little scary driving it home in the dark and rain. And it was freezing cold! I had to stop on the way and spend five minutes working out how the heating works. After that it was nice and toasty and a real pleasure to drive.

Around 10pm, it started to snow. I got pretty excited about seeing the trailer and the new car covered in snow in the morning, but of course it turned to rain about an hour later.

You may be getting bored with all this talk of the weather, but bear with me - there's a reason. Overnight it rained even more. The campsite was very, very soggy this morning, and horror of horrors, the trailer leaked. Not a lot, but there were a few dribbles of water coming through the walls and a couple of windows. Not great. I got in the car and headed out to civilisation (there's no mobile phone coverage at the site) and phoned Airstream. Anthony (the technical wizard) jumped in the van immediately and drove up to take stock of the situation. After unloading a few essentials, he took the trailer back to Tebay for further investigation. As soon as it arrived there were Airstream staff from all departments swarming over it; I felt a bit like a formula one racing driver in a pit-stop! It didn't take long for the problem to be found - a tiny gap in the silicon sealant around the TV aerial. They're keeping it in for a couple of nights to soak-test it, if you'll excuse the term. Luckily, we still have the flat in Keswick for another week or so, because we're trailer-less until Saturday.

What's the betting that the sun comes out?

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