Friday, April 11, 2008

When the black cat from up the road stretched into the fuschia outside my front window and started sniffing at a nest, I banged on the window and shouted. The resident blackbird, numerous starlings and blue tits have been almost as busy as me, flying around with straw and hair. The crows keep to their peaks and the great carnivorous seagulls to the rooftops where soon they'll be screaming and yelling all day long, when they're not dive bombing postmen and schoolkids. Yes, those are annual events and seem to mark the start of the silly season.

But spring's sense of promise is an odd one this year and I'm hard pressed to work out what kind of promise is on offer with this combination of snow, rain, cold sunshine and the odd balmy hint of summer. Just looking at bikinis and summer dresses lined up in the shops makes me shiver and unleashes a profound sense of dread and doubt.

I'm on the verge of handing over some cash for a second hand caravan. Yesterday I had a tow bar fitted to my car. So I'm going to become one of those annoying people trundling down the A303 with a queue behind. The major challenge is going to be learning how to reverse it. I have some tuition lined up and am impatient now to get out there and use it. It feels like a dollshouse - everything in its place and secured, everything in miniature. But last summer's rain stopped me camping as much as I wanted. I just can't cram enough into my car with kids and clothes to make camping comfortable when there are stair rods of it. A caravan and tents is ideal - there'll be a retreat and I won't have to break my back bending over the camping gas for fry ups because the caravan has a hob.

I'm hoping I'll be able to give it an outing at least once this holiday before the school summer term starts in earnest, my son enters GCSE season and my quiet time between 8am and 4 pm is invaded.....for some odd reason the schools set the kids free before the exams start, for 'revision' time at home. I can't think of anything more ridiculous and unlikely. I was virtually chained to my desk the summer of O levels. All that remains in my memory is lists of dates, ink stained hands and pages of geography that got me nowhere.

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