After a fairly frenetic few weeks, to say I'm looking forward to it is a gross understatement. We're in the final throes of getting the caravan packed up and have been working through our comprehensive packing lists, which now include a beach shelter affair for Small Dog to give her shade in the sun and protection from wind and rain on less clement days, of which there are forecast to be several.
She had her pre-holiday wash and trim yesterday. If you happened to be out and about in St. Leonards, anywhere within a 2 mile radius of here between 2-4 pm, you will almost certainly have heard her protesting, and if so, thanks for not calling in the RSPCA. She now looks less shaggy dog, more shorn lamb, although we keep seeing bits we've missed during the fracas.
We'll be taking our full caravan awning for the first time, as we're going away with friends and might possibly need a good sized party space.
I have never put up a full awning before, although I've watched it being done on campsites, usually accompanied by varying degrees of domestic disagreement amongst the participants, so I'm not holding out much hope for it being plain sailing. We unpacked it on the patio over the weekend and there really is an awful lot of it.
Undaunted, I found an online video which shows 'just how easy it is' to erect.....
I have watched this video several times now and if you don't have to put up an awning any time soon I don't recommend it as it's quite boring.
However, even as an awning virgin I can see several points on which we might differ when we do it for real ourselves.
Firstly, the two lads have a beautifully sunny day with not a breath of wind. Their caravan is perfectly level and they have acres of space by the side in which to lay out all their poles.
Secondly, they've definitely done it before. At no point during the process do they trip over each other, get in each other's way and start grumbling, install the poles the wrong way round or make any of the myriad mistakes which the beginner is bound to do.
Thirdly, the pegs slide in with just a few smart taps with the hammer.
Finally the whole process seems to take barely half an hour and they don't even break a sweat before they're both sat down relaxing and enjoying their perfectly erected awning.
I know for a fact that it's likely to take the two of us about 2 hours.
We will start off well enough, but after about 20 minutes we'll be snarling at each other. At some point one of us will get trapped against the side of the caravan under the awning by a sudden gust of wind, unable to move or breathe.
As neither of us are strapping 6 footers, we'll have to take a stepladder to be able to reach the awning rail at the top of the caravan and much time will be spent trying to find a level piece of ground on which to place it. Obviously, the only level ground will be at least 2 feet away from where we need the stepladder to be.
If by some miracle we do manage to get the structure up without major incident, the final pegging out process will be sabotaged by stony ground, which bends our pegs, breaks our mallet, snaps the ties and generally saps our will to live.
Very probably, by the end of it all, we won't be talking to each other and Small Dog won't be talking to either of us. We'll all sit with our backs to each other until we've simmered down enough to attempt to be civil to one another.
Meanwhile, we will have afforded fellow campers much in the way of amusement and schadenfreude, although it will take several hours until the sight of even one smirking face doesn't send me into paroxysms of suppressed rage and even longer before I can even begin to see the funny side of it.