Forests, Funerals and Family

Afternoon dear followers and greetings from a very congested M1. Just debating which services we shall grace with our presence to take on board the obligatory motorway burger. Just heading back to Hampshire after spending the last 5 days back home in Bakewell saying our final farewells to my Father in Law, Jack. It’s been emotional to say the least. We gave him a bloomin good send off it has to be said. Mark’s Mum Wendy and Sister Jen did an amazing job with all the arrangements and the two boys, his much loved Grandsons did him proud with their quirky speeches from the heart, paying tribute to their dear Grandpa. Funerals are never easy but we were all determined this would be a celebration of Jack’s life. Tears were shed, both of laughter and sorrow. We laughed, cried, sang, danced and some fantastic stories were shared. It was so good for the Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren to hear the tales from back in the good old days. Love our little family.

And so we all must forge ahead and move on. The old boy will be missed by many. In the words of Uncle Roy, Jack’s brother, (in broad Yorkshire please) that’s another good day they can’t take off us!

The journey up north was hideous. We decided to get straight on the road after a 9 hour shift in the Forest and all was going well until the van started to fill with ammonia fumes on the M40. At first we thought it was coming from outside but then our eyes started streaming and we were literally choking so we had to pull sharply over onto the hard shoulder. A gloopy luminous yellow liquid was pouring out of the external fridge vent and seeping all over the carpet inside from beneath the fridge. Oh dear. This was not looking good. Lucky for us we have a very good rapport with our Dealers, Timberland Motorhomes. I messaged them not expecting a response at 9pm on a Saturday but received advice back almost immediately. We isolated the fridge and mopped up as best we could. The fumes were unbearable. The groceries I had just picked up at Waitrose had to be binned and more importantly, how the hell was I going to chill my wine? We limped back to Derbyshire, tired and feeling quite yukky from the stench but at least the fridge wasn’t running on gas or the van would have gone up. A very scary thought. The van had to go into the Dealer first thing Sunday to be assessed. Not ideal in the circumstances but it had to be done. We had enough beds at home so it wasn’t the end of the world. The kids arrived from Devon shortly after us and we shared a late supper and a few drinks whilst reminiscing over old photos.

Sad stuff over with now. I’m going to do a quick rewind to the week before the Funeral. We spent our day off just mooching around Brockenhurst. We visited the old Church of St. Nicholas. It was really interesting and very beautiful. I just love old Church yards. Is that weird? This is the oldest church in the New Forest. It sits at the top of a hill shaded by a huge Yew Tree which is deemed to be over a thousand years old.

To the rear of the Church lie the commonwealth graves of servicemen who died in the Brockenhurst Hospital during the First World War. There is also the grave of a famous New Forest character called Harry ‘Brusher’ Mills, a snake catcher. There is a pub named after him in town.

We spent ages poring over the ancient headstones. It had a restful and ethereal feel to it.

Next day back in the office we had a huge surprise when Mark’s cousins all the way from Yorkshire appeared at the window. How fab was that?! They were down with their caravan. We planned a little celebration for the next day. We scrubbed up and strolled into Brockenhurst. It was such a lovely sunny evening for a walk. We hit the gin bar in the Snakecatcher and spent a couple of hours catching up with family goss in the beer garden.

We then wandered down the High Street to Dynasty, the town’s Indian Restaurant. The food was brilliant as was the service. I had a Sri Lankan king prawn dish. Delicious and very highly recommended. We continued to put the world to rights over far too many bottles of wine then poured ourselves into a cab back to the site. Himself had the bright idea that we would get out and walk the last part of the way for some much needed fresh air. One step forward and three back on my wobbly wine legs in the pitch blackness. We must have looked hilarious!! It was just fantastic to see Julie and Michael though. We had such a laugh. They spent the next day enjoying New Forest County Show while I suffered in bed with the hangover from hell! What a lightweight!!

It’s been a crazy busy start to the school holidays. The campsite has been full to bursting. The weather has been so hot! It finally broke the day before we left. We suddenly found ourselves chasing stray gazebos across the site and helping campers rebuild their trashed awnings after the high winds and sharp showers. The shower blocks were a mud bath. What a contrast. We had two more surprise visitors. Maria and Bruce, our friends from Portugal. Such a shame we couldn’t join them for a reunion. Never mind. We will see them again in foreign parts in October. Very kind of them to call and see us.

The sunshine seems to have returned to Hampshire now. Bet our pond hasn’t filled up much! Looking forward to seeing our four legged friends as well as our two legged work colleagues and things returning to some kind of normality. Is that even possible. What is normal anyway?!

I didn’t touch them honestly!! Not with my hands anyway, I may have accidentally kissed a baby donkey muzzle!!

Whilst we are talking horses, I’ll share a last couple of photos because I am in awe of this man. Mark’s 79 year old Uncle, his Dads brother. Still rockin it! Go Uncle Roy! What a legend.

So we are going back fridgeless and ovenless. Not happy. The relevant parts have been ordered and Tmberland are arranging for a Dometic Engineer to visit us at the site. We don’t have a timescale. This makes me more than a little nervous. Maybe a word of warning for any of you Motorhomers with a Dometic Techtower. Get it checked every habitation check. Our van was only registered in 2016. Apparently the vibration of driving had snapped the holding brackets and punctured the pressurised cooling system causing the release of the toxic and potentially flammable ammonia based coolant. Shouldn’t really happen in a van this age should it?! And so we are heading into the middle of the Forest, 3 miles from the nearest shop with 30 degrees forecast from tomorrow with no fridge. Priceless. Oh the joys of being a traveller!

Right I need to navigate so I shall sign off. We’ve just crossed over the National Park border and it’s a pinky golden sunset. Thankfully it has been an uneventful journey.

Cheerio for now dear readers. Love to you all. Remember to cherish your loved ones. You never know how long you have them for. ❤️

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s