Onwards and Northwards (OS025)

Previously: Long story but Pam (one of my lodgers) was convinced that Mal Evolent (my other lodger) was involved in a suspicious flat tyre on my campervan. Pam refused to go back into the house, being nervous about Mal and so we set off on the weirdest road trip ever.

I was concerned whether the road trip was a good idea and so I put it to Pam;

“I understand you wanting to go on the trip with me, to avoid being alone in the house with Mal, but there is a bit of an issue. I mean were not….”

“Lovers” she added, still light headed after almost fainting.

“In a relationship” I corrected.

“We don’t….”

“Sleep together”.

“Normally socialise.” I spluttered.

“You won’t recognise this but I’m panicking here. Anyway, you don’t ‘normally socialise’ full stop.”

“OK, we can work something out but you’re going to have to…”

“Stop finishing your sentences.”

“Get some things together.”

“No way, I’m not going back in there. You’d be amazed at what I have in this bag already.”

I was to find out later that she was right about the bag. It put Mary Poppins to shame the things she pulled out of the bag. Anyway, we are where we are, forced together through circumstances.

“Just one thing. Where exactly are we going?” Pam asked.

“To Tony’s garage, to get the tyre fixed.”

“After that.”

That was a very good question. Naturally, I’d planned my trip day by day, mile by mile but I didn’t want to embark on a major trip abroad, under the circumstances. Being cautious, I decided that I must road test the van (and the situation) before venturing out further. I suggested a trip to Scotland, thinking this was more realistic than the international trip. I do know a few places in Scotland and suggested parking up by Loch Smith, a great place to walk, which could prove key to resolving the situation.

We headed up the M61 to Preston, past the Lake District and on and on. The van was behaving itself a treat appart from an occasional buzzing noise. Then, the source of the noise, flew past Pam who flung her hands wide smacking me on the face forcing an involuntary lane change and a concert of angry sounding car horns..

“Don’t do that.” I requested “It’s only a bee. I’m sure, it wont sting you unless you corner it. Eighty five percent”

“What do you mean corner it. I’m not going anywhere near it and stop doing the percent thing. You can only say one hundred percent. No other percentages are viable in normal conversation. You know that winds me up.”

“Just don’t annoy the bee. We’ll wind down all the windows and slow down until it decides to leave.”

The bee must have grasped the situation and left the van precicely 103.5 miles from home. Pam then started feeling guilty.

“It must have got in at Manchester. It’s a long way from home now. What about it’s family? They must be worried. I bet when it gets home, his bee family will be furious saying;

‘Where have you been all day?’

“It’s not my fault. I was abducted by aliens. There was this kind of invisible force field and I kept banging my head on it. Look at the bruise. I knocked myself out and when I came round, I had this red mark on my forehead. Look. There must have been a gap in the force field as I kept trying to get out and suddenly, I escaped. They had transported me bee years from home but I just kept going and going and managed to crawl back into the hive. “

“Are you crazy, I bet you’ve been on that fermented sunflower again.”

“Pam, I think you’re losing it” I suggested, a little concerned.

“Just having a laugh. You don’t seem to have a sense on humour do you….. Have you never been to a comedy show?”.

“Obscure question but yes, I did go to one in a pub once. Not a great experience. There was this guy talking on the stage who I think was the stage hand or doing some admin or something. You know, like the fire doors are here and here etc. I wasn’t really listening.  A few people were laughing though this one woman had tears running down her face. It was so weird. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Then the guy she was with came over and punched me in the nose.”

“What….what happened next.” asked Pam.

“Well, I had to leave, to sort out my nose. My friend had some tissues and I went out to clean up. The guy on the stage said “Could you not have gone before the show started?”

The crowd chuckled unexplainedly.

I replied “I’ll be back before the comedian comes on.”

I don’t know why but a mixture of more laughs and gasps went round the audience. Then he jumped off the stage and started heading towards me, with a menacing look on his face. On seeing blood streaming from my nose all over my Ed Hardy T-Shirt he stopped in his tracks and I took the opportunity to leave the room. I texted my friend and just went home.”

Pam was by this time in stitches.

“What’s funny about that?….I just don’t get it. You’re weird.”

By the time we got to near Loch Smith, Pam had stopped laughing and had read online about camping in Scotland. “According to the information, you can just park up by some of the Lochs and spend the night.” she suggested.


Unfortunatly on approaching Loch Smith there were bollards across the road and someone had his toolkit out trying to unlock the gate. The gate was having not of it. Pam chuckled.

“What’s up now?”

“Oh nothing. You wouldn’t get it anyway.”

So much for the plan. We drove on. In a few miles, there were signs for Ben Nevis and Ben Evolent and decided to head for the latter thinking Ben Nevis may be too steep and Ben Evolent a little more forgiving.

By chance, just around the corner there was a sign for a camp site

‘Camp Horated, Caravan Site.’

Having had enough driving, we agreed that this would be a good place to stay for the night. We got out of the van and was greeted by a strong noxious smell.

“Moth Balls.” said Pam searching through her bag.

“Sorry. Have you forgotten something.”

“No, moth balls. It smells of moth balls.”

I couldn’t place the smell. It was odd. Even odder was the sight before us. There was an ancient ‘Reception’ sign swinging on rusty chains hung on a decrepit looking forest hut, with a moss covered roof constructed of logs dripping with water. Window shutters sagged on their rusty hinges and there was a gap under the door that all manner of wildlife could have used. The chimney belched smoke probably the source of the smell.

We edged to the door interrupted by a number of fierce sounding dogs barking from inside the hut.

“I don’t like it.” Pam spluttered, grabbing my arm “Sounds like wolves.”

I was equally nervous but decided to attempt reassurance.

“It’ll be OK. We just want somewhere to park for the night. I bet it’s cheap.”

Just then, the door creaked open and there was a large menacing looking figure backlit by the roaring log fire.

This stopped us in our tracks.

It would be great to hear from you. Drop me a comment (at the bottom of the page). Just some thoughts on possible subjects but feel free:

  • Tell me about your road trips.
  • What’s the wierdest place you’ve stayed?

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