I have driven through Moscow many times in my life….just not the Russian one. There is a little village near to where I stayed after I started driving that shares its name with the more famous Soviet city. It has but a few houses and only two streets, neither of which have a Kremlin on them.
The truth is that we didn’t drive to the old Soviet Union this week either, we just covered the equivalent mileage within the borders of our own island.
It has been some years since my passport expired anyway.
When I was 19 I had this mad notion to drive across to Italy, it never happened, partly because I was always bereft of money and mostly because no car that I owned at that time would have been capable of the trip without a real degree of certain disaster. This coupled with the fact that I was a terrible driver on the left hand side of the road, never mind attempting the right side.
To say we had fun these last two weeks would not be an understatement, on week one we visited 5 glorious beaches, soft creaking sand and one wide pebbled beach that stretches for twenty something miles along the southern UK coastline. I saw the white chalky cliffs for the first time and immersed myself in the English channel, resisting the urge to swimming to France….purely out of time constraints.
Week two saw us grace the shores of the Northern coast of our fair land. I cannot adequately put into words the joy that sweeps my soul as our wheels roll past the sign with that town’s name on it. It is like a tonic to my being rounding the corner and crossing the river with the sea on our right and the broad golden sand just over the dunes.
Four days there feel like suspended time.
The mixture of joyful memories old and recent meld into a glorious whole that fill up the tank of my weary body like any good vacation should do. Friends and family made a dull day better and brought laughter with familiarity.
On our final afternoon we sat eating lunch in the car as the rain bounced off the windows, 2pm was to be the randomly selected cut off point then we were to head back to the spa. But as if my magic, the blue section of sky multiplied and spread at an incredible rate and within ten minutes we were were thigh deep in sea water.
Our return trip is usually a rushed affair, I point the car for home and press firmly on the acceleration pedal for three hours until we enter our driveway.
We were not ready to give up that easily this time.
The executive decision was taken to saunter home down the West side of the country, the tourist route. Our first stop was a veritable United Nations of visitors pouring from coaches into the money traps carefully positioned. The plan was to find some overpriced gluten free cake and sub standard coffee. As it transpired the cake was a reasonable price and the coffee was exceptional.
Stop two was only a comfort break. Stop three was our final beach.
The long awaited crab fishing request of child two was finally satisfied, we relaxed in the afternoon sun as we waited for our dinner reservation in the finest seafood restaurant anywhere.
The world of employment has been a vague distant and forgotten entity for two whole weeks now, there are three more days before it will impose its demands again upon me.
Lying here tonight in my own comfortable bed I appreciate the tent with the basic facilities and blow up bed. I love the huge bed in the hotel even although it is too hard. The days that were made possible because of miles covered and beds not my own are blessed days. They were spent in the company of my favourite people and the memories of those 1700 miles, 7 beaches, two destinations and fantastic shared meals will keep me going for a long time to come.