I don't usually blog too much about family life but will make this one exception. We are now proud owners of a camper-van (or motor-home, as they are actually called). Or half-owners with my in-laws. Its a Fiat and it looks a like a giant beige billboard with wheels.
We tried it out this weekend with a gentle run up to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast. Rather than park without permission we dutifully booked into the Church Farm Holiday Park, a vast city of static caravan with names such as `Solitaire', `The Viking' and `Excelsior'.
We had, unwittingly, stumbled across around a thousand of the Fortunate-Retired (or F-R's). These are not the stinking-rich, obviously, but people sufficiently well-off to own a very large caravan next to the sea, drive a nearly-new car (normally an Audi A6 or a Skoda Octavia) and bake in the sun as they flick through Dick Francis novels.
Unusually, there were no children at all on site. Our two were looked at like exotic birds, or, and I find this strangely common in the younger F-R's, totally ignored. "Been there, done that", I see written on their always-downturned faces.
Anyway, except for Church Farm Holiday Park, Aldeburgh is cool and you must go there if you can. It's stayed small, despite becoming a bit famous and the charm is everywhere. You can get good coffee, even very early on Sunday morning and you can buy fresh fish from numerous tin-shacks on the beach. OK, it's a bit Boden in parts and quite pricey but Aldeburgh is very much my kind of place.
After a long morning walk, we drove down to Orford and Orford Ness. Another of Suffolk's high-spots. Bobbing boats, a working quay and a sense of being away from your cares. Except for an MG Rally arriving during our lunch (those F-R's again), we had a splendid time.
This camper-van is sort of my present to myself for leaving Speaking Up and doing something else. I am trying to say to the family `Let's do more together - and I'll try not be be that distracted, miserable old twat I have been for the last couple of years'.
Whether it'll work, I don't know. Depends on what I get stuck into next I suppose. One side of of me wants to just get a nice job and chill a bit. While the other side is plotting the next big thing. One thing I do know. When I go to Orford-Ness, I stop caring about which side will prevail.