I'm not too sure where this week has gone, I wake up on Monday, next thing I know its Friday!
Monday and Tuesday were spent gardening, I look after a pub with rather large grounds and on Tuesday I look after the grounds of a residential home for old folks.
Both different in what I do, the pub is simply mowing and strimming, so apart from muscle fatigue nothing too taxing.
The residential home is a bit of everything, from pruning, weeding, cutting back of hedges and reshaping shrubs which have gone a bit mad to fixing a water feature which had stopped working.
The water feature was a three tier system, the water was like a swamp and the hose which came from the pump was creased. I simply changed the water, gave it a good scrub, washed out the filter and put a new piece of hose on and away it went. They now have the sound of tinkling water, not sure if that's a good idea for the oldies, hearing the constant sound of running water! It made me want to go to the loo and I was fixing it!
Wednesday was spent surfing the net, constructively I my add! My quest for a proper/regular job continues.
I have had an application form back from one, but not wishing to tempt fate at the moment will keep it quiet for now.
Big Awning Up
Wednesday evening we put up the awning, it's a job that I must admit I dislike, I'd rather empty the loo in the rain and dark wearing flip flops and a sombrero than put the awning up! Once it's up I love it, so much room, but even though we have put it up many times now, we still manage to do it different each time!
After it nearly blowing away last time, I have added an additional storm strap to the centre ridge roof pole, by using a ratchet strap and a metal stake. We will see if this makes any difference.
Thankfully only a few of the poles were bent, and we managed to use all of them, even though it was tough to adjust a couple. So some new poles need to be found.
We have a good camping shop just down the road, which is where I get my propane from, chatting to the guy in there the other day I asked him had they had a good season. Now, I expected for him to say yes, it was brilliant. I was a little surprised when he said they were 27% down on last year!
I thought that more and more people were taking up camping and caravanning as an inexpensive way of having a holiday. But by the sounds of it maybe I'm wrong. They are competitive on price and have had some good deals on, so you cant blame it all on buying from on line as its cheaper.
But then again as we appear to be entering a new phase in our economic climate, perhaps people are just not spending money full stop!
I know we are watching the pennies!
Thursday it was time to turn the awning into a laundry! Last year we bought a twin tub camping washing machine. You can wash four shirts at a time, and the spin dryer bit is awesome! So it got it all set up outside.
I managed to do 5 loads, not bad, and pain free - oh and cheap! So if you do have a bit of spare time on your hands, it certainly beats sitting in a launderette - I've done a bit of that over the years, and they are really depressing places.
A number of times whilst serving in Germany we would go on a Sunday afternoon down to the launderette with a weeks load of uniform. Put it in the washers, then stroll across to the pub across the road, one thing leads to another and the next thing you know its 2300hrs you cant stand up straight and the bloody launderette is locked up!
It was a mad dash for when they open up at 0700 to get back in time for parade. I remember my mate "Diggers" having washed both his green woollen jumpers and not having time to dry them, put one on spun out but still wet. Wouldn't of been so bad in the summer, he would of got away with it, but as it was January and -5 with a couple of inches of snow and ice on the ground, he stood on parade and slowly turned white as his jumper froze!
He stuck out a bit! The Sergeant Major asked him what the hell he thought he was doing wearing a wet jumper on parade and turning white, "Diggers" being the sort of person he was "barking mad" replied "Blending in Sir" How we all managed to keep a straight face I do not know!
Thankfully the Sergeant Major had a good sense of humour and he got away with it. He was the same Staff Sergeant who before he was promoted was taking the Squadron Parade. All the troops were lined up at ease. He marched onto the parade ground, halted in the centre in front of us all, and barked out the command , Squadron, Squadron, Shun! (shun shortened from Attention)! This is the moment when we all spring to attention, standing perfectly still, not moving an inch! Poised and ready for the command we move as one.
However this was not the command he gave. What he actually said was, Squadron, Squadron - and after a slight pause said - "Give me the moonlight, give me the stars", as he sung the song and skipped across the parade ground! The place erupted in laughter! as the Sargent Major came down the steps to witness this he bellowed Staff Marsh, your not f***king Sargent Major yet, so stop f**king about and get fell in!
Once under control we were all dismissed, talk about boost morale! Sargent Major Eddie Marsh as he was promoted just a few days later was a top bloke!
I once had a Sergeant Major come up to me on exercise and ask me and unusual question. He asked me "What can you see wrong with me"? Well, what do you say? This particular guy was certified mad, so I had to be careful what I said, so taking the easy way out I said nothing Sir. Nothing he bellowed, look at my face closely! So I did, but how do you tell a Sergeant Major he hadn't had a shave! He then omitted to not shaving that day and was off to give himself a good bollocking! He marched himself off to the next field and for a full 10 minutes shouted every obscenity you could think of at himself!
A newly posted in 2nd Lt fresh from Sandhurst came up to us and asked us who he was shouting at. We then had to explain to him what the Sergeant Major was doing. He had the look of a bemused child! never forgotten!
He was the same Sergeant Major whilst on exercise we had to physically restrain by sitting on him or he would of seriously hurt a German farmer who after being upset that a load of British squaddies had come into his farm yard at night decided to get his tractor out and with the bailing prong on the front of his loader push it through the engine block of the lead Landrover and lift it off the ground!
Our Sargent Major saw this as a direct attack and wanted devine retribution! I must admit that having the order of "sit on the Sergeant Major and don't let him move" was one of the strangest orders I ever had!
I cant remember his name which is a shame as he was brilliant. We played mess hockey with him once in our bar, senior ranks vs junior ranks. Mess hockey is roughly played in the same way as normal hockey but in doors and with a few subtle differences.
Firstly the ball is replaced in this case with a large metal serving tray! The hockey sticks are replaced with 6ft ash poles! Yes I did say 6ft ash poles. The goals were two overturned sofa's Now if this isn't a recipe for disaster I do not know what is. The damage and injuries were quite high, several broken fingers, a broken arm and a fractured wrist if I remember rightly, I had a bruise on my thigh that took weeks to go down and a black eye! Holes in ceilings, walls with various light fittings taken clean out and the best bit was the same Sergeant Major as above fell (I say fell but I think was pushed) through an open window, thankfully a rather large bush cushioned his fall as our mess was on the second floor!
Our bar was a place not for the faint hearted. We had a pair of ski boots screwed to the floor in front of the bar where by new members to the squadron were strapped in and the only way you could leave was either by being unconscious or by out drinking the other members. The only good thing about being strapped into the boots was that you didn't pay for any of your drinks!
So many stories I could tell, but as this is a blog about caravanning (well loosely) I'll leave it there for today!