Now in the third week of extreme social distancing our last trip away in the Van seems a million years ago!
I am not sure if looking back at it is helpful or if it brings more to the fore the adventures we are missing.
As we retired a few years ago from our teaching posts we thought we were used to staying at home. But in actual fact we didn’t spend as much time alone together in the marital home as we thought.
Friends and family who know us and our history well have kindly enquired how we are managing in solitary confinement, caught together like rats in a trap! Suffice to say that although I keep the frying pan close to hand….I haven’t felt the need to use it ….yet!
So back to our last adventure.
Our first stop over on the Friday evening was a place we had driven past on many other occasions always intending to “give it a try” sometime. The Metal Bridge Inn near Gretna Green just off the M6.
This is a well known motorhome stopover and the pub provides about a dozen marked out pitches in a car park at the back of the pub. There is access to clean water and also large tanks to empty all types of waste water. Even better, access to the pub’s toilets is available from when they open their doors at about 7am until they close late at night.
When we arrived at about 4:30 there was only one other motorhome in the car park , although by the time we went to bed there was total of 6…and this on a cold night in early March. At the height of holidays I would imagine that the pace is crammed. We opted to park facing the riverside…with a view not only of the river banks but also the traffic speeding passed on the M6.
Inside the pub was warm and cosy and surprisingly, extremely popular on a freezing March evening. People were even waiting outside for it to open up when we arrived before 5.
Part of the deal when parking up overnight for free in a pub’s car park is to have a meal and drinks in the pub. So we duly went in and happily complied with the unwritten rules. Gary was a tadge disappointed that the there was no hand pulled beer on offer but nonetheless enjoyed a couple of bottles from Scottish breweries that he likes….and later the several, inevitable glasses of red wine.
We sat in the conservatory looking out on the river and enjoyed a very pleasant meal in the busy pub. It looked as if many folk had come in for the meal deal which seemed excellent value…2 courses for £7.50.
We were just musing about whether to have a pudding or not when I went to the ladies. I was washing my hands…very carefully of course….when the door burst open ….Another lady customer appeared in a great rush and some distress. Before she could make it through the doorway and in to one of the toilet cubicles she directed a stream of projectile vomit right at me. Leaving me cowering in the corner before this most unexpected onslaught.
Ignoring my baser instincts of cowardice to head for the hills, I dutifully enquired of the poor woman, as she continued to puke into the toilet, if I could help in any way. Thankfully, she spluttered a negative. Unconvinced, I asked if I could let anyone know of her predicament…her friends or family…or …given the dire state of the entrance to the bathroom the pub management? Again her answer was a no thanks…she would clean it all up herself and not to trouble anyone.
Still unconvinced, I left the Ladies and headed for the bar. The whole area of the toilets would need a thorough deep clean….and any unsuspecting female could easily step right into the unholy mess and then tramp it through the whole pub!
At the bar I approached the very young waitress who had served us earlier that evening. Trying to minimise the vomiting lady’s discomfiture I discreetly murmured the whole sorry tale to her. Shock, dismay and very definitely fear instantly registered on her pretty face. Realising that something was up her manager bellowed across the pub asking what was wrong. There then followed a bellowing farce between the two of them before he finally got the message and she was dispatched to clear up the mess and check on the possibly still puking lady.
For myself, I glanced around looking for the spare seat from which the puker had hailed. Was she with her partner, family or friends. No, I couldn’t see a vacant chair. So I returned to Gary and told him the sorry tale.
Gary was horrified. I was worried that she might be really very poorly….he was sure that it would be alcohol related….even though it was only about 9 o’clock. Pudding was definitely no longer an option. I just wanted to get back to the safety of the van as fast as possible. So we agreed to finish our drinks, pay up and go.
Then I saw her return to the very table next to us. This was a party of 4 middle aged couples out for a meal together. I watched her take her seat and wondered what she would say to her partner and friends.
To my amazement….she said absolutely nothing and carried on eating her meal, laughing and joking as if nothing unusual had occurred!
Perhaps Gary ‘s analysis was correct. It was alcohol related. Nonetheless I worried for the rest of the night that as I was in her direct line of fire…and ugh splatter… I might become ill.
I rang Sue the next morning and explained the whole sorry affair. Should we return home or continue with the risk of bringing her some lurgy?
She urged us to continue on our way. I hadn’t become ill yet and we still had a couple more days of travelling before we would reach Raasay. If I did fall ill on the way we could always reassess our options. I should seal all the clothes I had on that evening up in a plastic bag and wash them as soon as I reached her house.
So off we trundled on our way again…
To be continued….