For my mother.
I have to interrupt my story of Baba to tell of a recent event which is intertwined in this tale.
My love of camping/caravanning is not new to me.
It was instilled into me by my parents from childhood.
My summer memories are not of some hotel with pool in Spain but of running barefoot with my siblings across the sand somewhere in the west of Ireland.
If I had stopped running for an instant and looked back I would have seen my mother standing at a table outside the caravan, washing potatoes or mixing flour to make bread in that large familiar bowl .
It must have been hard on her, but she said it wasn’t.
She said, we were so content playing along the strand, swimming, collecting shells, exploring the rock pools for hours on end, that she only saw us when we were hungry
She also said, she had way less house work to do.
Sadly On the 22nd of April last, two days after her 88th birthday my mother slipped serenely from this life.
Below is a photo of her favorite camping spot.
If I walk along the strand and peek around that piece of rock mid beach, I will see her and my dad sitting in their little caravan drinking tea and eating her homemade bread which she baked in the caravan oven.
THE STORY SO FAR.
At the end of February I had flown over to the Netherlands to buy a small Eriba caravan.
My intention was, to drive back there a month later, pick it up and instead of bringing it straight home, explore its country of birth, staying a few nights in it here and there.
But my plans were scuppered by the corona virus.
By the time I had organised my pick up dates, non essential travel to Europe was no longer permitted.
Eventually, thanks to the kindness of various people, instead of me having to collect it, it would be shipped over to Dublin port and I could collect it from there.
But the day it left the dock at Rotterdam, total lock down was announced for Ireland and although it had landed safely, I was not permitted to drive the 20 kms to pick it up.
Lock down has just been announced and I am laughing.
Not ha ha joyous laughing, but rather hysterically guffawing.
I just KNEW it.
After all this, the fact that my caravan was making its own way over, was too good to be true!
Two thoughts occurred to me.
A; This caravan was not meant to be.
B; Even if I did finally get it I couldn’t go anywhere in it.
But I’m not one to give up easily
I put my thinking cap on (and the thinking caps of my friends)
‘You could just take a risk and drive to the docks! Whats the worst that can happen? The Garda (Police ) will stop you and turn you back’ One friend suggested. ‘you won’t be any the worse off than you are now!’
‘You have your nurses ID, you could say your a nurse going to or coming off duty?’ another friend chimed in.
‘Towing a caravan?’ I raised my eyebrows.
‘You need it to isolate in?’
‘You could say its your home!’
But none of these options sat right with me and anyway I am not good at telling lies, my face would give it away.
‘Don’t worry, something will turn up. The answer will come to you’ My best friend says with such confidence that I believe her.
But I think she might be saying that just to shut me up.
At this stage I’m sure everyone is sick of me and my caravan.
That evening I sit at my laptop, sadly scrolling through old photos, taunting myself by looking at the places I could go if I did have a caravan.
As I gaze the answer did indeed come to me.
My attention is caught by a photo of my camper being lifted onto a tow truck. (It had been broken into and was being taken off for repairs).
I squint at the photo.
I couldn’t make out the name of the company but I could clearly see the phone number written on the side of the truck.
I pick up my phone and dial.
‘No problem’ says a kindly voice. ‘It will be tomorrow though’.
And so my best friend was right! the answer had come to me.
And now I have come to the end of my story.
As I look at Baba finally home, I am content.
Ok I cant go anywhere with her yet, but when I do that will be my next story.