Continuing The Lockwood Echo’s series ‘Then there was that time…….’
All true anecdotes. Mostly highlighting my utter stupidity & world-class ineptitude.
This story is Part Two of a Comedy of Errors, that although funny to look back on now, could rival any soap opera for tragic content and feasibility of storyline.
Part One; Then There Was That Time We had To Call The Rescue Helicopter, will walk you through the story so far. It leaves us at a point where, having been on a camping trip that only came about via a sense of obligation, we ended the holiday not having done much (other than save a man’s life), so we recklessly decided to return. Because we had FREE TICKETS to a theme park.
Here then is Camping Trip Two…….
THEN THERE WAS THAT TIME WE WOKE UP TO FLOODS
Whilst planning Camping Trip Numero Uno, we looked to see what was on offer in the area. There was a theme park, bit of a drive, but I was able to procure FREE TICKETS via a loyalty card scheme. So onto our list of ‘exciting things to do whilst on holiday’ it went. (Just under ‘enjoy the local honey ice-cream’ and above ‘get caught up in an air-sea rescue operation’).
Alas we never got there. My partner being travel sick combined with events thus far had rendered him so ill every time we drove even 100 yards, it really seemed a doomed adventure. But the tickets, which were FREE, were valid for 6 months so we vowed to return.
Our Anniversary is Halloween. (I can hear you thinking that maybe we’re not helping ourselves in the Jinxed Department). We’re not married, but that was the day, after 6 months of a nauseatingly happy joined at the hips friendship, we both confessed our undying love for Johnny Depp. And for each other. What a perfect way to celebrate an Anniversary then, drive miles into deepest darkest Wales and sit shivering under a sheet of polyester cursing at damp matches.
This time we booked a campsite near the sea and closer to the theme park for which we had FREE TICKETS. It all started really well. We were nestled amongst trees, in a pretty location and a walk through the woods took us to the beach and a pub. I had a Guinness. I wouldn’t normally drink Guinness, but I was on holiday and wild abandonment took over my mind and senses. Looking back, I believe it worthy of a place on our ever-expanding list of unfortunate decisions.
The next morning I awoke to my stomach having an argument with itself. Being the anti-social types that we are, we had pitched up at the farthest point from all the facilities, save the risk of bumping into people once or twice a day. I temporarily took up sprinting as a hobby. You don’t need any details here, but suffice to say I was in that most awful of predicaments where you’re not sure which end is going to forsake you first. I don’t cope well with bodily functions, not even my own, so my distress levels were off the scale. As was my ‘dying rear’.
Despite this degrading turn of events, we ploughed on with the trip to the theme park, because you know, we had FREE TICKETS. It may seem that all logic had left us now, but I’d discovered the oddest pattern to my ‘inner turmoil’. As long as I MOVED, I felt ok. As soon as I stood still, I felt so poorly, I could have happily wished for death.
On arrival, we launched into Operation: Locate All Facilities Including Disabled Access Toilets. It seemed only fair that the dignity, decency, personal space and right to breathe non-toxic air, was respected and preserved for my fellow theme-parkers, whilst offering me the privacy to dissolve from the inside out.
Keep moving, keep moving. It really worked. It was the craziest thing. Even though it was late in the year (as Halloween usually coincides with the school half-term holiday), it was busy enough for a really nice atmosphere, despite it not being the best of days weatherwise.
Alas, the busy-ness also meant the odd queue here and there. And queuing requires standing still. I couldn’t do standing still. We were waiting to go on a wooden rollercoaster (I know how ludicrous that sounds given my current state), and I really thought I was going to die just from the standing still. I looked around me and wondered what everyone would think if I lay down on the floor for a bit. I became incredibly distraught and disorientated and my partner had to literally hold me up. And all I wanted to do was get on the rollercoaster because I knew I would then feel ok. When we finally sat down on that ramshackle bone-shaker, I cried with relief. Every bump and turn made me feel better and I didn’t want it to end. So, interrupted by regular pit stops at the shit stops (I really didn’t want to use that phrase but it flashed through my head and shouted to be included), we went on many of the rides and my pain and torment melted away on every one.
At the end of the day we decided to go on a water-flume. It was a heck of a climb to the top and I can’t remember now if we sat on mats or in little boats. But I do remember my partner kept asking if I was sure I wanted to do this, because once we were on our way, there was no stopping or getting off and it looked quite wild. At this point, I was already a very dehydrated shell of my former self. But we had FREE TICKETS and I didn’t want to regret missing out on anything. We sat ourselves in position, my partner wrapped around me from behind, and we were off…….
As we slowed to a halt at the end, my man stared at me with the greatest concern in his eyes. My expression was gaunt, I was a shrivelled wreck, by now I only weighed about 2 stone and my soaking wet clothes felt like they belonged to someone else. Feeble and faint, every orifice hurt like hell and my organs were so weak they were shaking. As he gently turned my face towards his and asked if I was ok, the only reply that I could muster was;
‘AGAIN! AGAIN! AGAIN!’
We made the most of our few days away and in between me being desperately ill, we squeezed in much fun. Alas, the Camping Gods had one more trick up their sleeves…….
Camping usually has us awake early. It’s the nature of nature. It was raining, had been all night, comes with the time of year. We’re well use to it. Poking our heads out of the tent brought an unexpected scene. Caravans were leaving the park and the campsite owners were running round like headless chickens. From our elevated pitch we looked down to the entrance and instead of tarmac we saw water. Lots and lots of water. We dressed. Very quickly. The forecast was for the rain to abate, so rather than make a rash decision to leave, we opted for a ‘be prepared’ approach. There was a ditch running beside our tent that overnight had filled with rainwater. To aid us in monitoring the situation, we found a big stick to use as a ‘Very Scientific Water-Level Measuring Device’ and stuck it in the ditch. We spent several minutes staring at the Scientific Stick and watched it gradually drown. We decided maybe it would be prudent to start packing. Fortunately our car was also in an elevated position, so we threw in the non-essentials in the hope we wouldn’t really need to go. At this point we couldn’t even if we wanted to due to the road into camp being flooded shin deep. Only 4 x 4s and large vans were getting through, hence the caravan exodus.
The camp owners’ experience was that if the rain stopped, the flood waters would dissipate fairly quickly. The predicted lull in rain looked to be short-lived though, so the risk of returning floods was a real one and we both absolutely had to be back in work on time. We needed to make an executive decision. If the water subsided it was our chance to escape. It meant foregoing the last 2 days of our holiday, but we no longer trusted the Camping Gods and so resigned ourselves to an early exit. We finished packing then put on our wellies and waded through the floods for one last walk through the woods to the beach. We waited for the rain to ease and for the water level to drop enough for us to drive through. It did. We did. Home we went.
Reflecting back on the whole saga from the first trip and through fate’s twists and turns, we felt gratitude for all that we’d been able to do and see and already found our ability to laugh and philosophise on all that had happened.
It’s never put us off camping, we aim to go at least once a year, usually Halloween. Every trip has its own tale. As commented on the lovely Heide’s Blog, when life goes wrong, it often leads to a story or a standing joke that will last for years. It was Heide’s post and story of her worst date ever that prompted the early publication of this tale. I intended to ease and tease you in with some shorter pieces first! Sorry.
Like everyone, me and my partner have been through thick and thin. We have anecdotes that we will reminisce on till the end of our days. Finding humanity and humour when life throws a curveball is at the HEART of why I started this blog and why I’m here.
Thankyou all so much for reading and staying with what’s turned out to be a couple of very long posts. What stars you are!