We set off for England with a brand-new, non-working dishwasher in the ambulance. Camped part of the way to the ferry near the beautiful town of Blois, on the banks of the Loire River. Too bad it was hard to find a decent boulangerie or cafe in the town when we tried to get breakfast the next morning - I hate to say I've come to expect disappointment when dealing with food and France. Without careful research and precision-planning I usually end up wishing we'd packed food and made our own pot of espresso in the van.
For the first time in several years they let me into the UK without a big fuss - I'd toed the line and got the family visa they insisted would make it simple. Uh, yeah - simple like back in the 18th or 19th century in that I can only travel if accompanied by a husband. Ah well, maybe being publicly referred to as chattel is the easiest way to a life of absolute leisure? Just don't tell Eric my plan.
England felt like a carnival wonderland - people! lights, shops open! We spent the night with Andy in Herne Bay - ate dinner and strolled around in Broadstairs. Interesting old seaside town, with Dickens' Bleak House up on a hill. Andy gave us the gossip on the guy who owns it now.
We found out the dishwasher is working after all! So now we've got a fully-functioning dishwasher, in the ambulance. Yes, in campgrounds people give us disdainful looks, moving their sleek behemoth campers away from our rusty heap, but we are smug in the knowledge that there's a fullsize dishwasher in ours. Not plugged in of course, just being used as an endtable/towel rack. We'll get it back to France eventually.
Rhythm Festival was fun, Coventry we had an amazing turnout. Blah blah blah - I could blab on about gigs and nice people and how the food has gotten very good in England, but looking back through my blogs and diaries of the last 20 years you can read that stuff any day (except the part about food in England). The big news is that Eric became a grandfather on Tuesday. His daughter Luci had an 8 lb 8 oz baby girl named Tiger-Mae. I feel so pleased to have shared this moment with Eric.
Just after we got the news (I say "got the news" as if we were busy doing other things but the truth is we were pacing the floor, street, wherever would have us anxiously waiting to hear) I was in the supermarket and the woman in front was telling the cashier she'd just been with her daughter who'd given birth that afternoon. "Harder going through it with your child than giving birth yourself", she said. I wanted to hug her, shout that we had sort of been through the same thing. I kept quiet, I'm only a step after all. But I felt like a brand-new honorary member of an elite club.