If you’re in the north London area and you see this camper coming your way, run! The occupants have no idea what they’re doing!
What do you get when you combine two jet-lagged Americans, a manual-transmission camper with the steering wheel on the wrong side, a broken sideview mirror, a SatNav (GPS) that doesn’t work properly and a long drive through London’s narrow roads and roundabouts in the rain, during rush hour?
A recipe for disaster, that’s what you get! Grounds for divorce, is what you get! Two people wishing they’d just stayed the hell home, is what you get!
Nope, that’s just wrong.
I hope and pray that this disaster of a day was merely a crash course (no pun intended, but now I know where that phrase comes from) in how to drive on the wrong side of the road and that it gets better, because otherwise this month-long trip is going to be a horror show.
Oh yeah, did I mention that the SIM card I purchased and inserted into my phone immediately after landing at Heathrow didn’t connect to the data that I bought it for, and I didn’t realize it until we were well on our way and didn’t have time or resources to deal with it? I had to wait until we finally settled into our campsite, with their weak WiFi signal, to get ahold of tech support.
My phone now has data, thank God, so perhaps I can use my own GPS to compensate for the camper’s insane SatNav, which took us around in circles back to Heathrow over and over and over and over for more than 90 minutes.
This is NOT something you want to see in London traffic, in the rain, while learning to drive on the wrong side of the road.
About halfway through this drive is when we discovered that the sideview mirror was only taped on, because it fell out of its casing and dangled by wires during the most strenuous part of the trip. I had to keep reaching my arm out the window and putting it back into place so Jeff could see to change lanes.
What should have been a one hour drive took over four hours. It is truly a testament to the strength of our marriage that we didn’t kill one another.
To make it even more horrific, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve had dreams about going to England for as long as I can remember. Many of those were about driving endlessly through a dreamscape that looked exactly like parts of the city we drove through, with strange, pale lighting and feeling exactly like I felt during this interminable drive. I literally relived a recurring nightmare that I’ve been having for years.
On the plus side, we did make it one piece, without saying anything unforgivable in anger. We did manage to find a grocery store, even though the desk clerk at the campground told us that the nearest store was 20 minutes away (he was wrong). This was due to my diligent planning before we left home. I searched for and mapped out (and even printed) directions to a nearby Asda store, so we’re stocked with enough food to get us by for a couple days.
We were planning to go sightseeing in London today, but instead we’re going to regroup and depressurize. Jeff has been asleep for over 12 hours, he’s so exhausted. It’s been a hairy couple of days so today we’re going to get unpacked and settled into the camper, and maybe just pop over to the nearby Poundland store (the Brits’ version of the dollar store … isn’t that awesome?) for a few household items that didn’t come with the supplies the camper rental place is lending us.
A room with a view. Jeff is sleeping in the bunk over the driving cab. I’m in the lower bunk, at the back of the camper.
Speaking of which, the description of the camper I rented, while still in the States, said that we would have a double bed. What they neglected to mention was that the double bed is up a ladder, above the driver. Otherwise, we have single bunk beds. Fortunately, Jeff is okay with using a ladder in the middle of the night and kindly offered the lower, single bunk bed to me.
Oh yeah … they only gave us bedding for the double bed. One sheet, one duvet, and a duvet cover with two pillow cases. Jeff took the sheet and used the duvet cover as his blanket, and I took the uncovered duvet and made it into sort of a sleeping bag for my single bunk.
Our first camper cuppa
Today though, it’s a gorgeous morning, sunny and breezy and the birds are chirping in English accents, “Cheerio!” It sounds like the opening to the Beatles song, Good Morning.
Mmmmm … chocolate Weetabix
We’re about to have our first cuppa in the camper, and I’m using my first souvenir, a gorgeous teacup I found at Asda, and we’re having chocolate Weetabix for brekkie. Fingers crossed for us that things improve, okay? That was just day one of a month-long epic journey so it has to get better, right?
Also, here’s you a therapy dog that I met at the Phoenix airport while we waited for our flight to board. I could sure use a therapy dog right about now!
Lisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author. Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first is entitled The Poppet Master (previously published as Be Careful What You Witch For!, now revamped and with a new ending). The Poppet Master is a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. The Poppet Master will be available in summer 2019. Its sequel is in the works.
Lisa is also writing The Maxwell Curse, a fictionalized version of a story she found in her own ancestral lineage about a witch trial, a generational curse, and massive mine explosion, all of which left ripples of destruction in their wake, devastating one family’s tree.