Recently, I’ve been having some very strange cravings, an overwhelming desire to engage in activities that before now have never remotely appealed. So I thought I should come out of the closet and just confess….

I have a deep desire to stroll around stately houses and their gardens; appreciate their herbaceous borders, ogle at their Hellebore Grandifloras (I don’t even know what these are, which makes it all the stranger), and marvel at their topiary. Years ago, I would have asked that someone shoot me if this ever occurred but I now feel that the correct response is just to get it out of my system by sating this peculiar calling. I am hoping that once I’ve done a few, the desire will wane and I will go back to normal. Heaven forbid that this should be a trend … perhaps hanging net curtains and watching Coronation Street comes next!

At this stage I am unsure whether the symptoms are temporary or whether this is a deep-seated need that I have been suppressing over the last 20 years. Or, is it every girls worst nightmare come true …. am I turning into my Mother!!

General update

The swimwear shopping trip was a success and it only took two shop assistants, two daughters, two hours, the entire size 10 stock of the Blue Dude swimwear shop and copious amounts of giggling to find a bikini that I would feel comfortable wearing in public. The solution was a bottom half that has a little skirt attached … it is very Tarzan and Jane. There was some discussion as to whether I would need a large knife to go with the ‘look’, and further discussions on the problems that the large knife might cause when going through security at the airport. It was concluded that perhaps I would have to make do with a spork tucked into the waistband. (We have recently discovered that a spork is a combination spoon and fork, often with a knife positioned somewhere on the device as well). When I was last traveling, campers just used plastic cutlery … often ‘borrowed’ from some food outlet. Apparently, the spork is a ‘must have’ item for camping these days but I don’t know that I have the technical skills required to eat with it so may regress to cutlery use. I’m also not quite sure the spork will help me pull off the ‘beautiful and dangerous’ look I was going for in my swimwear, but realistically the spork is probably the least of my worries in this department!

Another new invention we have come across is the microfibre towel. It feels very odd to touch and I had an initial repulsion to the fabric (See Bri-Nylon experience) but it makes such good sense when you consider how quickly they dry. And realistically one only has to endure the ‘nails down a chalk board’ revulsion for the brief period required for drying. I will probably do a bit of window shopping for this item this weekend.

We have come up with a special shopping technique for the Trip, given the long lead time. We window shop and identify an item that we want and then wait ….. until it goes on sale at a good discount, then we pounce. It’s working well so far and I think the Christmas sales could be a busy time for us so we’re forging on with the Trademe project … this week we’ll list the baby bassinet and perhaps the tricycle … ‘it’s all gotta go’ as they say!

We now have an ‘in’ pile and an ‘out’ pile. The out pile sits in the corner of the office and fluctuates as sales are made and items are added, and the in pile now has a new home. In preparation for the Trip, a sort of traveling equivalent of a Hope Chest has evolved. The chest in question has been with us for 30+ years and during these years has been a blanket box, a coffee table and a bedside table, a hope chest during pregnancy, a bassinet stand, a toy box, general camping gear storage, and now a hope chest for our gap year – it is a very useful chest.

Equipment update

This Saturday the weather was horrid and I gave my new rain skirt its first test run to the market. The rain was hammering down and the skirt was absolutely fabulous. It performed like a dream and I arrived home as dry and warm as toast. Unfortunately, the Husband had not faired as well, although why he imagined that tweed would be waterproof is beyond me!

I have continued investigations into waterproofing options for my top half and also for the Husband. I have come across a couple of truly strange ideas, including this bicycle umbrella, which I have dismissed as just plain silly.

However, I have managed to track down another potential rain jacket that could do the job quite well. It has a hood and is waterproof and is very styley.

As for the bicycle, and the electric option, two pieces of information have come my way this week. Firstly, a friend kindly posted this idea on my facebook page.

Personally, I find it a bit too high-maintenance and the price is eye-watering but I suppose it has its place. It’s a very interesting concept but the big problem is that the pedals don’t actually directly turn the wheels so if you run out of battery, you are stuck. And there is a big part of me that says “what’s wrong with just a traditional bicycle?”.

The second piece of news is that the e-Brompton has run into problems and it is unlikely to be out before we go … so, on the plus side, that makes the choice really simple for us … a standard Brompton it is!


Additions to the hope chest this weekend include 2 silk sleeping bag liners and 2 microfibre towels. I also found an Opinel folding knife that we will use for cooking – it is French and they have been manufactured since 1890 in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in the Savoie region. This wasn’t officially on the list of things to get but … what can I say, I’m a sucker for French things, especially with a date.

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