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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

One Girl and Two Dogs on the Bummel: tantrums, time-to-kill and take-aways.

Missed the beginning? The bummel begins here

Strange, strange dreams last night... yet still woke early; the sun heated the air inside the tent until I was forced out and into the fresh air. It's an effective, if unpleasant, alarm clock.

I'd decided, in between dreams about castles and Young Americans, to go two hours along the coast to see Dad but, seeing as he's at work today, I was in no hurry. So I packed up slowly, letting the tent dry out properly and taking my time. Harvey, as always, was excited to be moving on; he's a proper Sagittarian dog, always looking for a new adventure. As the bedding was rolled and the kitchen packed away, his tail began to wag- I swear he'd help me if he could, just to get back on the road and onto the next spot faster! Alfie, the most laid-back Leo, watched passively. As I've said before, he's simply happy to be with me, wherever we end up.

Even with me going slow, we were ready to leave by midday. I waved goodbye to the horse and turned left, heading through the village and on to Lulworth Castle for one last try. It was another glorious day, and the sound of Cream's "I Feel Free" made the sunshine taste even better as I whipped along the coast road, windows open, Harvey with his head hanging out as usual. We arrived at the castle, but were disappointed to see that it was still closed. Oh well, onwards to Sussex then. I promised Harvey a paddle in the sea in exchange for walkies round a castle, and he was satisfied with that.

It was nice, driving "home" and seeing signs for places I'd known and loved. I'm always in such a rush whenever I visit Sussex now that I rarely revisit my old haunts. It's a shame really, but when I go south, it's usually on a time limit and seeing my family comes first. It hadn't actually been that long since I'd last been down; it was my Dad's birthday a couple of weeks ago so I'd driven down for the weekend for his garden party. It wasn't a very grown-up garden party, but then, my Dad isn't really a grown-up (I think I inherited that, along with a love of music, the great outdoors and hoarding things that "might come in useful"). Seriously, he had a water slide- and had a go! What a legend!

With family in mind, when I reached Littlehampton, I texted my sister-in-law on the off chance she was in. She was, but not for long. I drove to her house just a little too late; she was already on her way to the car to take my nephew to a sleepover, which upset him. In the very rigid mind-set of toddlers, he was excited to be going to Auntie Andrea's, so Auntie Lou turning up was wrong. Therefore, he screamed and refused to say hello. Bless him. I made arrangements to see them later and got back in the car.

What to do now? It was a good few hours until my Dad finished work, and I had some time to kill. Harvey reminded me of my earlier promise, and I drove to the beach, using my local knowledge to score some free parking (I do love a freebie). He splashed and swam quite happily while Alfie eyed him from the safety of the shore, torn between wanting to play with his brofur and not wanting to get wet. This is the pup who took a run-up and leapt into the bath with me once, and has no issue with dirty dykes or muddy puddles. I despair... He did join in when we moved further up and away from the waves though.

Paddling done, I headed to Worthing and Millionaires' Row. I call it this because my Dad and my step-mum, Mandy, live in a palatial bungalow in a prime location backing onto the South Downs and overlooking the sea. It's a long story of why they're there, but I do enjoy my visits, especially at New Year, when we have a superb view of the fireworks on the seafront. I was early, but I was fully equipped for spending a few hours in the back garden, having spent the last ten days living outside anyway. I had a rug, pillow, book, snacks and drinks and the sun was still shining. I pulled up and went round the back, wondering how long it would be before the Neighbourhood Watch rang the police to report a feral-looking woman with two dogs and a blanket trespassing on private property.

I tethered the boys, stretched out on the rug and carried on with my book where I'd left off that morning. It was almost too hot; I moved under the shade of the plum tree and dozed off. When I woke up, the sun had moved round and I checked the time, thinking it mustn't be too long now. I rang, wondering if they were working late tonight. Mandy answered; they hadn't got my message that I was heading this way! That's what you get for making decisions at the last minute, I suppose... I should have learnt now that planning ahead (a little) is a good thing when it comes to finding places to stay! She said they wouldn't be long, so I settled back on my rug and finished my book.

My Dad arrived alone (Mandy was staying the night with her mum) and was pleased to see me. We ordered a takeaway, I had a shower (their shower is the best- and not just because it has a door, tee hee!) and we spent the evening chatting and playing with the tablet I'd bought him for his birthday. Too late for a work night, we said goodnight and I curled up to sleep in the first proper bed I'd had for ten nights. Lush.

The bummel continues tomorrow...

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