Mavis's Shoe

Author of two novels and a creative memoir.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Latest campervan trip #1

Being the second overnight campervan trip of the year, packing the van was easy peasy. Also the weather was predicted to be hot, hot and hot so there was no deliberations over clothing either. I knew what I was doing. I was going to write the next section of the new novel.
Heading south, I found a lovely layby on the brow of a hill on a small road just outside Auchenleck. Great, except the little road seemed to be a cut-through for juggernauts. Continuing south I turned to Dalmellington then west towards Straiton pausing halfway for tea and to write, and finally to sleep.
In the evening I wrote an article in praise of libraries and watched the windfarm workmen zoom up and down the little single track road in pickups, vans and cherry pickers.

I wrote all morning, this time the novel: yay! And did a bit of knitting.

Thence west to Girvan and the seafront. Beyond the line of vans is a promenade and then the beach, the sea and Ailsa Craig, the island commonly known as Paddy’s milestone. Sixteen of these vans and caravans spent the night there with the apparent blessing of South Ayrshire Council who know we bring our dosh to their town. There is even a standpipe at the harbour if you know where to look and paying toilets. Vanessa is the little white van just right of the centre.

This is the view out to sea.

Girvan seafront is of course a car park and full of (very nice) people, so the following day I went inland and stopped for tea at the first available layby. It turned out to be directly above a 496m long railway tunnel linking Girvan and the port of Stranraer. The layby is also close to a small but perfectly formed prehistoric hill fort called Dinvin Motte. I stopped a passing farmer and asked permission to cross the field and view it and he nodded. Just nodded. So off I went. On the way I found this:

It's a gorgeously squiggly chunk of wool direct from a sheep. I had to bring it and some others I found with me.

There are three rings of banking to the fort with two causeways to cross on either side if you want to reach the top. The dips between these concentric banks are deep. There was a small flat stone at the very top of the whole thing which I was nervous of standing on in case I was teleported to Mars without warning.

While up there I whipped out my phone and did a little video diary. It began with the van, a tiny white square in the distance, then panned round to a farmer on the opposite hill rounding up his cattle, then to an incredibly neat vegetable garden which on closer inspection turned out to be stone banking for the railway. Just at that moment a train appeared round the bend, a whole two carriages, then vanished into the tunnel. What uncanny luck! I immediately swung back to the other end of the tunnel to await its emergence and was soon duly rewarded. From this great excitement I did a panoramic shot to capture the whole green grandeur of the surrounding hills, speckled with farms and forests and, closer by, fields shared by cows and sheep all cheerfully cohabiting. Satisfied and elated, I pressed the stop button. Which turned out to be the go button because I’d pressed the wrong one earlier and captured nothing. Sigh and drat.

I had a strange sick feeling when I tried again, and of course, without the train and the spontaneity of my experience, it was never going to work. So I gave up. The point is, my job is to paint pictures with words. I should really stick to that. The great thing is I paint what I see either with my eyes or in my head, but from my words you see different pictures in your head. Isn’t that great?

I still think a video would have been nice.

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