47. Thursday … Munchkin, shopping and indulgences
Early start and J drove me to Helsinki Airport. Gatwick into BR is a dream: the railway station is right next to the terminal. It was mayhemic, but I had pre-booked the ticket. Slight issue that my CC I had booked with initially did not want to work in the machine … something to do with lack of use for x number of weeks? Lots of staff on hand, helping people with luggage as well as tickets … excellent service.
It felt a bit like arriving in a strange country … the trees are a lot more varied than pine and silver birch, wider range of plants generally and different architecture. The biggest difference was the TEMPERATURE – it felt so warm, at least 10 degrees C warmer than Helsinki.
40 mins later and a brisk walk from North Camp station to the Aged P’s house. They were living it up in London, but had left me a key and LISTS of things for me to do and a FOLDER with labelled sections of our paperwork … I had to get listing from somewhere! I seem to remember the girls ribbing me about my Girlie Camping folder … but we were always booked in!
Picked up the car key (as well as admin, PA and hotel services, they also offer car care / storage!) and drove to collect the Munchkin who had just finished her last exam. I won’t dwell on how good it felt to have a proper squidgy hug, but is was bloody good. We went to Guildford (via a camping shop to buy a gas regulator … I had a list of things to do and bring back!). First task was to exchange a top: Maddy had spotted a top she thought would suit me … layers of floaty grey. Very me, but swimming on me. Check this: I’ve lost another half stone since we started travelling. Top exchanged and now officially lost 5 and a half stone and 4 dress sizes on my top half. Big :). Other bits of shopping, including a very smart bikini top for Munchkin, followed by lunch at Bills.
Sainsburys on the way home for chicken, crisps, chocolate, cheese and wine … we had a movie night and indulged. Tesco’s delivered at 8.00: various items, but most importantly 10 litres of gin, which Maddy decanted into emptied, bought for this purpose, 2 ltr water bottles … is there something wrong about getting one’s 17 year old to do this!??
Up and at ‘em. Into Reading for a Apple one to one to help set up the replacement Mac Book Air, which had been delivered to the Aged P’s, along with loads of other goods. Better add Receiving Office their list of support. Patronising American tit of a git who did not actually resolve some of the questions I had … but followed on by a helpful chap who sold me the replacement phone. Oh joy … new toys and back on mobile comms 🙂 Maddy had the blinding idea to book us a pottery painting session. I had attended children’s parties when they do this, but it was a really lovely time and very relaxed, painting away. Maddy did GCSE Art, so should be arty; I recognise that I am more autistic than arty, but neither of our efforts will rank better than the output from said children’s parties.
Munchkin had a sleep and I did admin, uploaded and downloaded on new kit. Please note: Maddy is 17 and needs nanny naps, I am 50 and as Finland is 2 hours ahead, had effectively gone to bed at 3.00am!!! A really pleasant supper with Maddy and David, catching up on news of his job, family and people I used to know.
It was a real wrench leaving Munchkin BUT we have agreed that quality time every 5-6 weeks is better than the odd evening when she can fit me in between College and her Sat/Sun job. In Maddy’s words, I had the nicest time.
Another early start – 4.30 UK time (so only 6.30 by my body clock). I had travelled over very light, with just a small ruck sack, but paid all of £10 to return with a suitcase. Final packing, weighing and re-packing and would you Adam ’n Eve it, I had to leave one of the 2 ltr Gin bottles behind … suitcases weigh about 4 kilo and I had other bits to bring back. Amazingly, the suitcase was dead on the 20 kilo limit! I put all the heavy, non liquid stuff in the ruck sack, but still got pulled at the airport scan as I was carrying 3 tins of red salmon … apparently liquid in the tin put the container over the 100 ml category … however, they let me through with them. It really does seem mad bringing salmon to Scandinavia, but tinned is either expensive or non existent – the fish counters in supermarkets have a massive range of smoked and cooked salmon … we will splash out and try some.
James easily findable at the airport as Chardonnay is rather large and back to the campsite. Easy afternoon as it was raining and feeling lazy. BBQ on the Cadac Safari grill (no charcoals on the pitch) using the new gas regulator and meat brought in from UK.
Interesting new neighbours … Finish Romanies. Not sure that they are the native Sami people as her costume did not seem to match the images I’ve seen. She sported a long skirt with a frame over the hips, so the skirt came away square from her waist. They played really lovely ballads. Just a shame they chain smoke and talk loudly and frequently on the phone. Away to bed: a very busy two days.