Tuesday 9th May
10.00 am – our expedition begins! We have stowed as much as we can in the car and the rest is in Pod. We are good for five days in pretty well every commodity, but hope to replenish stocks, should that be required, at stores in the vicinity. The weather is thankfully dry after many days of rain, and a thin, watery sun shines down upon us from a grey and cloudy sky. I take this as a good omen. Meanwhile the days have been growing blessedly longer and the weather warmer. I pray there won’t be further rain as we have an awning to erect. Without an awning we’re scuppered for space, being Pod is so very, very small. But I uphold my faith in God, and Pod.
1.00 pm – C, always faithful and steadfast, is readying Pod (my own endearment) for the journey. He is now attaching the tow bar to the car. C does this with ease, knowing just how to position Pod so the tow bar falls straight onto the tow ball. We are in high spirits. The expedition is upon us!
1.10 pm – C is repeatedly pushing on the accelerator but the car refuses to move. I have heard him mutter ‘what the f*ck’ under his breath several times (this is most unlike C and I fervently hope this does not bode ill for our expedition) but he has just now jumped from the car with a triumphant look in his eyes. ‘It’s the motor mover,’ he has just informed me, ‘I forgot to disengage it from the Go Pod’s wheels.’ We are now on our way.
1.30 pm – our expedition could not be going better (or be shorter.) We have already arrived at our CAMC destination and, moreover, no-one has beaten us to it! Our grass pitch area, which would normally house six other vehicles, is bereft of all caravans but our own. We could not have hoped for more. It is as though we have arrived in unchartered territory and are the first to make our mark. We have planted a little coronation flag in recognition of this fact and solemnly intoned ‘God Save the King.’
1.50 pm – the heavens have opened. C (so steadfast is he) has manoeuvred Pod onto our pitch and is, even now, beginning the laborious business of ‘levelling’ Pod. I am sheltering in the car. I occasionally wind the window down and shout various instructions. It doesn’t appear that C can hear me (which I attribute to the deafening rain) although he just directed a rather pointed look my way, after dropping the leg winder on his foot. Well, it is something to have got here and the weather may be our friend tomorrow.
2.00 pm – the rain is incessant. We are huddled in Pod. C is soaked to the skin and shivering. I pray he does not take a cold. In spite of his chagrin, we have had a cheese and cucumber sandwich followed by a couple of Belvitas. C is enquiring as to our rations and seems disappointed that it’s basically cheese and cucumber sandwiches from here on in.
2.15 pm – The sun has appeared, and the clouds have parted! The rain is no more. C is even now getting on with the important job of erecting the awning, while I sit in Pod, hot cup of tea in hand, engaged in the equally important job of writing this journal for posterity.
3.30 pm – The awning is up. Our new reclining camping chairs are installed therein, as is the table and a camping cupboard. We are basking in sunshine, with an unobstructed view of England’s green and pleasant land. C is snoring beside me in his reclining chair, having changed out of his wet clothes. I worry that he has the stamina for our expedition. I remarked earlier that he seems to tire easily, whereas I am still hale and hearty. C responded, in a rather ‘dark’ manner, that if I was so hale and hearty why didn’t I put the awning up? I am sure he is only suffering expedition nerves and that he will soon recover his bonhomie.
4.00 pm – a pheasant has appeared directly opposite our pitch. By Jove, what a splendid bird he is. He has been strutting back and forth near a little copse of shrubs and trees, making a delightfully soothing ‘cluck cluck’ noise. C slumbers on. I just retrieved my notebook from the floor. In my alarm I had dropped it, for the pheasant had, not a moment ago, given out such a cry as to wake the dead. And, indeed, C was shocked out of his slumber. ‘FFS! what was that?’ he mumbled, still somewhat comatose. It’s a pheasant I said. It just made such a terrific SQUAWK. It went SQUAWK!! SQUAWK!!! and I screeched into C’s ear. ‘It wants shooting,’ C said (directing a rather alarming glance towards myself) and made an imaginary gun with his hand. He aimed the ‘gun’ at the pheasant and said ‘boom, boom’ in a voice I didn’t like the sound of at all. Nor did I like his imaginary gun. ‘Pheasant for dinner,’ he said.
Wednesday 10th May
3.00 am – we are asleep in Pod. Well, C is asleep, his snores reverberate around Pod’s cramped interior. I cannot sleep. Our bed is fashioned using Pod’s upholstery which is unpleasant to lie on, to say the least. Hence, I am lying on three mattress toppers and a duvalay – indeed my nose is nearly touching the ceiling. Thank God for Duvalays! C could sleep through the apocalypse, but I am on edge and alert. I desperately need to relieve myself but the trek to the nearest water-closet is across hostile country in the pitch dark. I must switch the outside light on and brave the porta potti in the pop-up tent……………….I am returned to bed. My hair is wet and so is my nightgown. The grass underfoot was sodden. There was a curious damp cold feeling in the air which chilled me to the bone in no time. As I unzipped the pop-up tent water droplets drenched my hands. I sat down on the toilet only to find my feet immersed in a pool of water. The earlier downpour had leaked steadily into the tent. I suddenly feel dispirited. Great God! This is an awful place but I musn’t lose heart. I am now cocooned in my duvet, but it is still so cold. The weather has been so unexpected for the time of year. My feet feel like blocks of ice. I don’t like the look of them. I fear frostbite.
3.30 am – C continues to sleep the sleep of the just. I have put two pairs of socks on, two cardigans and a hat. I hope now for sleep.
5.00 am – I was awoken from a fitful sleep by a tremendous SQUAWK!! SQUAWK!!!, right outside the window, followed by the rapid sound of fluttering wings. C jumped out of his skin and would have fallen out of bed had there been anywhere to fall to. A second later we were assaulted by a full dawn chorus. ‘Bloody hell’, C said. And such a dawn chorus as I’ve not heard in years. C is up, unable to sleep. ‘That pheasant’s better than an alarm’ C said, wielding his imaginary gun.
12 noon – we are exploring the area. We have found a track which passes alongside the camp site, accessible by a gate and a special code. The track winds through a forest. C is in a t-shirt, I am in short sleeves and an acrylic gilet. The sun was out on setting off which led us to believe we were in for warm weather, but it is surprisingly cold here in the woods; again we had not foreseen such conditions in May. The way is uneven and very muddy. We should have anticipated this because of the rain. I am attired in walking boots, but C is wearing trainers. His trainers are already caked in mud, almost to the level of his socks. C is equipped with Nordic sticks, but they keep getting stuck in the mud. I am assaulted at all sides by huge holly bushes, feeling a continuous painful pricking at my legs. We are not without ailments. C suffers from inflammatory arthritis but with nary a single complaint. I am plagued by low back pain, which I endeavour to suffer in silence but cannot help making frequent comments to C about how awful it all is. We have been walking for 40 minutes, avoiding fallen tree trunks and great puddles and boggy ground and, by Jove, this is tremendous labour.
Thursday 11th May
9.00 am – C’s mood is greatly improved today. Last night we were informed that a burger van visits the site at 5.00 pm. He is already planning which burger to choose and has left off thinking of ways to eat cooked pheasant.
10.00 am – there was more rain yesterday, hammering down on the awning. Such was the sound that we could not hear each other speak. I begin to suspect that this was a boon to C. I had to shout to make myself heard and C, in turn, had to shout back. For my part I couldn’t hear C at all until he owned up to having ‘mouthed’ everything, just for effect. At least his spirits are up. I had thought he had nearly broken down in brain yesterday, for he began to take an unhealthy interest in our pheasant, going so far as to map out his territory by following him around. C believes we are squawked at regularly because we have invaded the pheasant’s territory. He has a point. Mr Pheasant regularly patrols alongside the awning and up to the pop-up tent before emitting his shrieking squawks. And these are always at the most inopportune times. There is nothing like the shock of being loudly squawked at just as you’re settling down on your portable toilet.
12.00 noon – I have just got back from washing up. I had stood at the row of four sinks outside the water closet block, basking in another moment of glorious sun, my back to the camp site, when an enormous sound reached my ears, which very much suggested that the camp site behind me had blown up. Turning cautiously to survey the expected carnage, I had felt a large drop of water fall on my head. Looking up to the sky I’d realised the sound had been a clap of thunder and saw a great mass of grey/black clouds floating over from my left. In an instant the heavens had opened, and I was drenched before attaining Pod. Oh, but the weather is all against us here, making anxious work.
5.00 pm – C raced to the burger van as soon as it appeared over the hill. He is now sitting in the awning devouring his burger and a huge carton of chips. For my part, I am consuming a cheese and cucumber sandwich with a couple of cherry tomatoes. I have asked him if such unhealthy and climate change inducing fodder, such as his, is suitable for an expedition and would he not also partake of a cheese and cucumber sandwich instead. C appeared to choke on his burger at this, so I fell into silence. He has now gone the whole hog and purchased a lager from the trading post on site. I am seated in Pod sipping my water drawn from the camp site tap.
Friday 12th May
C is beside himself. Today the fish and chip man will arrive at 5.00 pm.
1.00pm – we are taking the awning down for we leave for home tomorrow. I have extracted pegs from the ground and helped to expel the air from the awning support beams by trampling all over the awning. C got down on the ground and rolled himself over the entirety of the awning, so as to completely flatten it. I forbore from doing this – my poor lower back I moaned. My poor legs C replied.
2.00 pm – the awning is down, and just in time, for a downpour has begun. Good God but this weather is awful. Four days in low temperature and almost incessant rain. C has packed everything into the car and we are prepared for our last night in Pod.
5.00 pm – C has arrived in Pod with his fish and chips, a pea fritter and two huge, pickled gherkins. I have allowed myself a veggie burger from the fish and chip van which, upon taking my first bite, proved to be a culinary disaster. I am leaving the burger bun, as it is rock hard and totally inedible. I am forcibly reminded as to why I maintain a healthy diet. C scoffed his dinner in record time – really, it’s as though as he hasn’t eaten for four days.
8.30 pm – We are in bed, exhausted from dismantling the paraphernalia of our expedition. We have another long night ahead of us and I will no doubt toss and turn within my bed. C seems off-kilter tonight as though his mind is on other things.
Saturday 13th May
2.00 am – I was roused from sleep by a rustling sound on C’s side of Pod. C was in the act of getting out of bed. ‘Where are you going?’ I asked. He replied: ‘I am just going outside and may be some time.’
I take it he’s gone to relieve himself. I await his return.
(Apologies and full acknowledgement to poor Captain Scott and his intrepid but sadly doomed Antarctic crew)
2 thoughts on “This being the journal of our go pod expedition 2023”
Did you… make it back alive? You definitely can’t fix the weather, but that means you definitely do need to plan for the food!
Yes, we survived the ordeal. It was quite enjoyable really (caravan trips always are in retrospect) but we are more and more feeling our age! I twisted the facts somewhat to fit the Captain Scott narrative (my husband is always of a sunny disposition in reality, important to say that, but he did use an imaginary gun!) Some sentences are lifted straight from Scott’s diary and fit the caravan life perfectly 🙂