Short Leads, Soapy Mouth & 1987

I had my boys for the weekend and I took them to a different campsite to the usual ones. Playground, laundry facilities, electric hookup, you know, what us vanlifers call “lording it up”. I reversed my van onto the gravel rectangle that I’d paid for, thinking “This is my turf. I am lord of this patch, no matter how small it is, it’s my land!”

The kids, all excited, jumped out of the van and legged it to the play area with a “we’ll be good and yes dad we won’t be bad” without me even having to say anything! I set about swapping the plug from the inverter that goes to the fridge to the very little used electric hook up consumer unit thing. I’m round at the back doors next, unraveling the lead to said electric hook up consumer unit thing, dragging it across the grass to where the ehu post is.

“Bollocks.” It was about 2 foot too short. No matter, I’ll back up a bit. So I jump in the van and reverse about 3 foot off the end of my rectangular piece of prime land and onto the grass. Still didn’t reach. How does it not reach? It should reach, I needed 2 foot and I reversed 3 foot. I tried again. I came back 4 foot. Why is it further away now? The laws of physics baffle me. 

I decided that what I needed was a longer lead. A new lead. A new shiny longer lead that plugs into mine to make it a ginormously long lead that will most definitely reach the post that supplies electrickery. I wander off to the site shop but alas, they don’t sell leads. Not new ones nor old ones. “We used to hire them out but people just kept them” said the guy.
“What shall I do?” I asked, tears welling up in the corners of my eyes. I was really looking forward to plugging into a post.
“Have you moved your van closer?” I told him I had, but physics didn’t work and thus my lead got shorter instead. “Let’s have a look then pal” and off we went. Me feeling well embarrassed.

After a lot of shunting and head scratching we eventually got the lead to reach the post. But as you can see from the photo, I was that van. That van that everyone stared at and pointed at and shook their head at. That van that looked like it had rolled backwards and came to a stop at an angle Max Headroom would have been proud of and was just left there.

The next day, I went back to the shop for some laundry washing pod things to do my laundry but they didn’t have any. They did however sell washing powder, loose, by the scoop. “Cool beans, I’ll have many scoops then please” to which came the reply “you’ll need a container”. For fucks sake… yet another wander back to the van and I return with an empty Nescafé Azera Barista style coffee tin (other brands are available but this is my preferred instant coffee brand and the tins are really nice and sturdy). Next it’s back to the van for the laundry and back again to the shop for change for the machine then over to the machine to find it in use and a line of baskets in front of it. *insert heavy sigh and many swear words here.

After a piss about with the boys in the park I manage to coax them back to the van for a bit of downtime but mainly so I could have a coffee. Kettle on, kettle boiled, coffee in cup, water in, 2 sugars scooped, another for luck and energy and a little glucose trip, kids moaning about some shit about the park or summat, milk in and stir. Arse on seat, feet on box opposite seat, coffee in hand, lips on cup and slurp.
“Oh my fucking good god what the fuck is that I’m drinking Jesus Mary and the wee donkey that is fucking awful!”
I spat the whatever it was I’d drunk back into the cup and tipped my head back trying not to vomit. I was instantly transported back to December 11th 1987. The day “fuck” slipped out of my mouth in front of my mum who despite her miniature pixie like build picked me 16 feet off of the floor by my ear and with a flash and a blur of a speed faster than light I found myself stood there foaming at the mouth with a bar of finest Imperial Leather shoved in it. That had to be the worst soap to ever be consumed by a human. It was super foamy, with thick creamy bubbles that burnt the back of the throat and nasal passage as they tried to escape via any orifice available. Then of course whilst wiping the snot and creamy bubbles from your face you inadvertently wiped your streaming eyes too which only made matters worse!

Anyway, I worked it out rather quickly. I also use one of the aforementioned premium brand coffee tins as a rehoming centre for sugar. I’m pretty sure you can work the rest out…After I explained what had happened to the boys, Marshall simply said “I’m never swearing in front of you because if that’s what soap tastes like, I don’t want it!”

A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time—and a very short one at that. Sometime during the late 18th or early 19th centuries, scientist Gilbert Newton Lewis defined a jiffy as the amount of time it takes light to travel one centimeter in a vacuum, which is about 33.4 picoseconds or one trillionth of a second. That's a short (and pretty much useless) amount of time indeed! So next time you say “back in a jiffy” you’d actually be back before you knew you’d even left. Or something…

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