Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Bass bins, birds, babies, boats, bikes, bubbles and buddies





I've known Ed for about 33 years now. We have one of those enduring friendships that can quite safely take a few years off and there not be a problem. We have a lot of really crucial things in common and a few really crucial differences too. He lives in one of a row of three houses in the middle of nowhere in Norfolk with his four delightful children and their mum Henrietta. At the end of his huge garden lives Graham in a couple of old caravans and next door lives John with his wife and their two kids. In the field opposite, this year, is barley and to the side are some rare sheep and their newborn lambs. A few hundred yards down the lane is a house with dozens of cats and a sign that says "slow cats in road"

I loaded the whole sound system into Althea and chucked my bicycle on the top on Friday night. We took about 4 hours to do a 2 hour journey but it was fun. By avoiding delays we went through the Dartford Tunnel where the man on the toll gate let us through for the price of a bike saying "go on seeing as it's such a nice old vehicle".

On the way we stopped for fuel and a bloke driving a huge 4x4 with a huge boat on a trailer (worth about £250,000 all together I reckon) stopped me in the service station and asked "is that yours?"

"yep"

"it's brilliant! absolutely brilliant!"

I said "yes she is isn't she."


She was struggling a little here and there with the weight of the PA and generator but on the whole we had a good journey. The best part was the last few miles along the narrow and winding lanes. She seemed to love the challenge and being brushed by trees as she navigated her way along them.

In the morning I unloaded the PA, set it up and did the tests I needed to do. Xander (Alexander) the 2.5 year old who holds the Guinness world record for question asking and is in training to break that! I counted 120 questions a minute at one time. "What's that? What does that do? Who's that? Is that yours? What's it called? Where does it go? etc etc ...fell in love with Althea first and in no time had worked out how to open her doors and that the big red button I had told him not to press was well worth pressing (yes I know....)

This bit could go on for ever but suffice it to say that all the kids and their parents soon fell for with my old green van. The photos tell the story better than I ever will.

I really enjoyed sleeping and waking up in her. The local wildlife comes really close and in the early morning it's such a delight to wake up that way.

On the Monday I drove to Sandringham to join Hen and her sister and cousin with the kids and Denzil the huge Labradoodle. Noah(9) and Eleanor (11) rode in the back with their bikes. We didn't get lost but there were a couple of times when they asked where we were. " I don't know but the sat-nav says we are OK" was the reply.

On the way a couple of doves flew in front of us for a few hundred yards then along side us for about 2 miles as we drove along narrow lanes between fields of bright yellow rape seed flowers. It was stunning.

Eleanor said there were three of them at first but one hit a tree ....

Monday came and I headed home via Soham where I had arranged to pick up a couple of original front seats from an ad I'd found on eBay.

Claire's dad who met me told me she'd not only got an LD ambulance called...wait for it...Alfie...but had just come back from Ghana (where I was born folks) but that the MX5 in the drive was hers too... What a world... I bagged the seats and a couple of sun visors and after a lovely LD chat with her dad headed home.