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Finger on the buzzer

July 8, 2013

There is a current fad locally for the so-called “infinity pools” where the level of the water in the swimming pool can appear to merge into the horizon. These are, for the most part, a very expensive option but That Nice Lady Decorator has found a very cheap alternative; merely forget to take the hose pipe out of ones existing pool when refilling the water lost to evaporation et voila! I was impressed with the new arrangement but to be fair, she was not as impressed as I.

It is always a good idea to get an early start when you are travelling in Bluebell the camper and have a long journey in front of you, so we set off at the crack of noon, direction Italy. Merely 30 degrees at the height of the day was suffice to overcome the air conditioning system not fitted in the 1969 hippy van, mainly because the concept of air conditioning means “open the windows wider”. There were as open as they would go and it was still hot. But there is something very endearing and intrepid about being a camper in a classic vehicle. We did not add to the score of 2 for the number of vehicles we have overtaken in the 5 years since we bought her, but speed is not what is required. If a lack of speed was the watchword then we would have been all over that like a rash. She is comfortable at 70kms per hour, will Stretch to 80 on the downhill but even the slightest incline usually means a maximum of 50km per hour. For the most part this precludes the use of motorways because it is just too darned dangerous when even cherry pickers are often travelling at a speed close to double of that of dear old Bluebell the camper.

For all that, I love driving her. Modern cars are so easy to drive, this is a challenge. There is zero chance of dozing off when you are fighting the gearbox, the steering the brakes and That Nice Lady Decorator. Talking about not being able to doze off, I ask you to consider the implications of my picture today.

buzzer to summon waiter

I said, more wine, please

We had managed about 150kms and had reached Finale Ligure and, after seeing a couple of very unappealing campsites we found Eurocamping in the Italian seaside visage of Giuele. With Bluebell settled down for the night, and I had signed up a new customer for Currencies Direct, we ventured up to quite a smart looking restaurant (for a campsite) where That Nice Lady Decorator found a wonderful innovation that was bound to irritate the waiters. A button saying push to call. Never the most patient of people, this was a god given gift. Did they not know what they were getting into? I think after about the 50th time they must have disconnected hers. You see, when she pushed it, and a waiter didn’t appear in under 10 seconds, she pushed it again. I think she imagined that it would have the effect of a dog pacifier, giving the waiter a little electrical shock each time it was pressed. Later on, I also saw her trying to turn the dial up, presumably to see if there was a maximum setting. In fact, now I come of think of it, they changed waiters half way through the meal, perhaps she had managed to electrocute the first one?

There is an odd atmosphere about camping abroad. I could never camp in England as it is usually too cold or wet, especially at night, but with temperatures seldom dipping below 20, even at dawn, a trip to the loo (a necessity when one is at my advanced age) can be undertaken in shorts and a t-shirt, rather than a sou’wester and Wellington boots. Unless you have camped in the south of France or Italy, and been awoken by warm sunshine and the sound of cicadas then you will not understand. What I don’t understand is why the birds needed to crap on our matching blue and white stripey deck chairs. If That Nice Lady Decorator could have got get hands on them there would have been feathers everywhere.

Chris France

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