There is only one thing on my mind, the open road- not sausages or astronauts nor bagpipes – the open road.
As it happens we’re currently on the M25 and it’s not very open but I’m sitting next to Donald Walnut in the back of the camper – he’s writing contracts or something equally lawyerly. Matt and Fergus are up front, eyes on the road, discussing the best things to dunk in tea. I’m just enjoying the rattle and hum of our Bailey’s Advance camper.
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I was thinking of the open road to this morning. As I snacked on a breakfast of reheated sweet potato falafels and homemade tzatziki, I pondered how exotic our trip was going to be.
So we’re off – at least in a fashion. Having solemnly promised to get to Matt’s by 10 am so we could leave at 11.20 to pick up Fergus at the station 12.30 and head on over to the BBC studios for a live broadcast from the motorhome with Bill Buckley. We all rolled up about 11 and then realised we’d just have to throw everything into the van and stow it later.
Also Matt was worrying that he had more stuff than everyone else. He spends at least twenty minutes making tea (with rye bread topped with honey and banana) and comparing the size of his bag with Donald and mine. To be fair Matt’s bag is very big and apparently it contained no warm cloths because when the sun goes behind a cloud and it starts to spit rain he realises he should include warm cloth to this now noticeably expanding expandable bag. Still, Matt is a natty dresser and I’m looking forward to some of his costume changes this week.
This all means there is an element of the Grapes of Wrath about us- we really just need to strap a mattress to the roof and we’d be pretty authentic Dust Bowl. Never the less we leave on time.
We swoop down through Reading and pick up Fergus. Arrive at the BBC and rehearse for the first time as a quartet for about 3 minutes before we play live on radio.
When we leave the BBC 20 minutes later we are pretty chipper. The bagpipes are a magnificent addition to the Walnuts.
We decide we need a bit of spice and some more complicated rules to our trip. We agree we must play everywhere we stop and it’s a Fiddles and Pipes Vs Guitars. Donald and Fergus are up first and make a fiver from the Bikers in the queue for Eurostar. We mange to negotiate Eurostar and get through Calais.
Then Matt and I are up to bust – we choose badly in an empty service stations a bloke in a van who is either on the phone or asleep. We play in front of his van and when we knock on his door (and wake him up?) for a donation we find he has no money – but he’s a scouser and lovely so he gets a pass. We learn a valuable lesson – look for a crowd.
We get to Rouen, park up in the city centre (Motorhomes are awesome) walk around the Cathedral and find a bar. We have Cheesy Nan on the way home – this is a genuinely genius idea for a snack but thats for another day.
Day 1 complete – it’s a success, to celebrate thr boys do s bit of a breakdance routine by the cathedral. We take turns getting ready for bed, Matt passed out ear plugs.