Sorting out the tools . . . a mini-break in the offing?

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right tool in amongst all the wrong ones

It’s even worse than one might suppose: not only do we need a set of tools for fixing things around the house, but we also need another similar set for fixing things on the road in the ancient motorhome! Yesterday was a good day for consolidation, so that I don’t have to dash from one tool store to the other in desperate search of the right one. And there are so many redundant tools in my collection, I thought it might well be reasonable to try to create two discrete sets. Especially now that I’ve sorted out the new solar panel installation, configured an enhanced charge controller and added a handy meter to see what’s happening. Time for a bit of reconciliation with the tool miasma.

The motorhome set must be as light, flexible and multi-purpose as possible, while the home set must be as robust as feasible. Somehow, I’m sure that other folks preparing for a road holiday must face the same sort of challenges as we do. So I set to, earnestly dividing up the screwdrivers, sorting the spanners, identifying the mole grips I really need. It was a long job, and I’ve finally decided the motorhome must have a light-weight cordless drill, for those crucial on-the-road jobs where only a titanium drill bit will suffice. Just in case, you know?

And then, after all the sorting, I really should identify what’s in Harry Hymer the motorhome, and where it actually lives (that is to say, in which nook or cranny), so that I can find it quickly under emotional duress when a crisis hits us on the road. As it will, inevitably, we know from serious experience. The clerical work, at least, sounds like another lovely little job.

Soon we’ll move old Harry Hymer out of its parking place (it hasn’t moved since we returned from an extended holiday in Portugal last November, except perhaps to allow for the delivery of a load of wood), give it a good clean inside and out, and re-install the freshly dyed black-out curtains for the big front window. In a matter of days, it could be ready for the road again, even though we’re not really expecting to head out for months. Still, it never hurts to be ready. Maybe it’s because the school year is finished this week, maybe it’s the sense of the summertime, but something is motivating us into imminent holiday mood. Maybe we should just try things out for an overnight, or a long weekend, just to see.

There’s a great little camp site (Budle Farm Campsite) up at Budle Bay, near Bamburgh, with minimal facilities but a great seaside perspective. An ideal place to test out the solar panel array, in fact. Perhaps, if we can sort things out, we’ll carve out a little excursion.

But we can’t be gone for too long — the garden needs constant attention, after all! Just now, both white and pink elderflowers are in full bloom, as are the honeysuckle and the wild roses in the hedgerow. Our rampant semi-circular garden out of the kitchen windows is an absolute delight to look out at. No need for organising or tidying them — they seem to bloom on schedule all by themselves! But the nettles need to pulled in the chicken patch, the ‘oca’ patch needs watering, the polytunnel needs feeding . . . as I say, the garden’s needs are never-ending.

Still, if we can get ahead for a couple of days of hiatus, we’ll do it. Get the diary out, get thinking, keep planning, and soon, as in generations past, we land-lubbers here in the middle of the country could actually spend a day or so beside the sea. At least, come to think of it, our sojourn would be in the same county in which we live, beautiful, unexpected Northumberland.

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