Saturday, 30 January 2016

When Procrastination Fails

There is green stuff all over the caravan and she needs a clean before we take her for a service. It's the first rain-free Saturday since November so out of bed and straight into wellies and we're off. First, though is to remove one or two overhanging branches, because it's probably the dripping sap that's causing the verdant fecundity on the roof.  One or two branches! It started out that way. One branch, then two, then another, and then another... The plan called for half an hour of gentle pruning then an hour to wash the 'van then a relaxing afternoon's walk in the country.
But after a solid four hours of serious lumberjacking our plan was derailed. Sarah asked the obvious question, "What are we going to do with all the wood?" I had that worked out in advance. "The wheely bin's empty," I said. But unless the wheely bin had Tardis ambitions, I could see a flaw in the plan: we had more lumber than the Forestry Commission. "It will look better after a sandwich and  a cuppa'," I said.
It didn't.
We started to load it into the car ready for a trip to the tip. The council tip is my least favourite of weekend destinations for far too many reasons that I want to go into here. The forty-five minute queue is only one of them. We had no choice, though. We queued, we tipped, we went home for more. We returned and queued and tipped, and repeated, again and again, and each time my patience frayed a little more. My car is not yet a year old, and now looks like the inside of a timber mill, with sap on everything, despite the tarp I'd put down. Sap's like that - it finds the only bit you haven't covered then it oozes. Our tree has these purple floret thingys on all the branches, and when you touch them they disintegrate into a million tiny puff-balls and attach to the carpet, and no amount of hoovering will shift the buggers.
Three o'clock, though, and all finished. Except there's still a caravan to wash. By now, you have to understand, I have no grip left in my fingers and my legs are barely keeping me upright. But there is snow forecast by six, and tomorrow it will rain until June, so the caravan has to be washed or she'll be turning up for her service covered in green pasture. So as the light fades and the puddles begin to freeze I realise that I have to do this thing.
Do not be fooled by the blue sky. That is a late January blue sky. It signifies weather cold enough to chill your fingers off and freeze your feet to the inside of your wellies so that what you have on the end of your legs are these homogenous rubbery icy lumps. Then throw in the sopping wet jeans and you will appreciate that I'm feeling fairly sorry for myself. Sarah's not so happy, either, because she's down at ground level washing the walls and getting all the surplus ice water that's cascading down off the roof from my hose. My job's the hardest, though; the roof. You could graze cattle up there in all the green. Roofs are especially bad. I really hate cleaning them, at the best of times, because you can't reach anything. My brush-on-a-pole is great, but you can't apply any pressure, especially in the middle, and what I need more than a brush, today, is a Flymo.
But we worked on, and the caravan began to shine. It didn't take us an hour, it took us three. The light was all but gone by the time we finished, as had the feeling in our hands and our feet.
The job is done, though. She's booked in for a service in a couple of weeks and then we're ready for a new season. I want to start now. I'm building a list in my head of all the places I want to go. 2016, bring it on!

Afterword: Sarah took me for a meal in the pub as a reward for all our work. We even allowed ourselves a pudding, because according to my Fitbit we've each burned about 3000 calories, so what's a mere Chocolate Indulgence Sunday going to do? It was hard lifting the spoon though. Tomorrow we will ache. Tomorrow we will be the living dead. I know it. I've been there before.

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