Wild Swimming and Wild Plans (OS029)

Previously: We’ve just escaped from our traumatic stay on a campsite ‘Camp Horated’ and now have a new predicament. Pam still doesn’t want to return home and face Mal Evolent, my sinister lodger. I’d like to support her rather than see her homeless. For one thing, it’s not easy to find a replacement lodger and she does pay the rent. It’s difficult to know what to do about it and now I stupidly said that I have a plan. I don’t.

“OK, let’s hear your plan Oliver” Pam asked.

“Well, let me think how to put it” I stuttered, attempting to buy time to come up with something.

“Err …. It’s like this” I added, hoping to buy more time.

“You don’t have a plan, do you?” interrupted Pam “Oh no. What’s to become of us?”

“Pam, you sound like someone out of a Dicken’s novel. Chill … Anyway, I do have a plan” and I blurted out my own plan for a long camper trip abroad, which I’ve been working on for months. Of course, the trip was intended to have one passenger only, me, but I omitted to mention this. The more I spoke, the more I realised that this is a bad plan. It is a long trip and we are ill prepared. I hadn’t turned the boiler down, set the fridge to vacation or cancelled the milk.

“Sorry Pam, it’s not a great plan. I mean, we’ve not thought it through and it’s likely to be several weeks. I’m sure we can come up with something better.”

“It’s a good plan. Let’s do it” replied Pam, to my astonishment. I was astonished not only because of the ease at which she agreed but also because Pam likes one of my plans, which just does not happen.

“OK” I said. “Hull, here we come.”

We set off driving to Hull. On the way we past a beautiful Loch.

“Stop Oliver, look at that. ‘Loch Ers'” she said reading the sign.

We pulled up, Pam said “I’m going for a swim here.” She got changed putting her clothes in the lockers and swam like a fish.

“Come in Oliver, the water’s freezing.” It was. I suppose some would call it invigorating (in the same way fighting to survive is invigorating). I must have suffered no more than a minute and then rushed out to the relative comfort of a cold towel. My goosebumps had goosebumps.

There was a fair amount of green algae by the shore and so I thought a quick shower would be best. I was hoping to install a proper heated shower in the campervan but didn’t quite get round to it. Anyway, I filled up the portable shower bottle with warm water and pumped the handle, pressurising the unit.

“If you stand over there, I’ll hose you down.” I suggested to Pam

“Stop right there, Mr Sudden. You must know that this is not a workable solution.”

“It’s OK, honest. It’s really intended for removing the mud from dogs after a walk. It’s not a power shower, not even close, but it works. If you get the temperature right you dont come out all red. I could show you.


“You could go behind a tree. I won’t look.”

“No-one wants to shower in public.”

I looked around and it wasn’t public, in fact we were the only public present. However, Pam disappeared behind a bush with the pump and her ‘Poppins’ bag.

Eventually, she emerged, dressed and algae free.

We got back on the road again, driving past Gretna and back to England when Pam announced,

“Did you know, I’m one eighth Scotts and one eighth French? My great grandfather was a French, French Horn player called Pons De Monium who married my great grandmother Pam Cooper (who I am named after). She played the Euphonium. They were both in a Paris orchestra, fell for each other and moved to Scotland where they taught music.”

“So, your great grandmother was called Pam De Monium? My family are from Yorkshire as far back as I know. Of course, I may have Norman or Viking genes. You just don’t know do you?”

“I think you are more of a Norman than Viking.”

I’m not sure what she meant by this. Anyway, the conversation turned to preparing for the trip, with what we have in the campervan.

Pam had only what she was wearing at the moment and a couple of changes in her ‘Poppins’ bag. A shopping trip was needed. We decided call into Barnsley on the way to Hull as I know it well from being at college there, albeit some time ago. I pulled into a garage and filled up the campervan. In the shop, the attendant pointed to a  puddle on the counter saying in his Barnsley accent;

“Watch thissen. Not sure worritis.”

It’s funny how back in Yorkshire, my accent returns:

“Probly watr” I replied, “It’s lobbing it darn art theer.” nodding to the pouring rain.

“Yeh! Ee sez I tis burra berri tint” he said, nodding to his assistant filling the shelf behind him. He continued to blot the puddle with an oily rag.

“Awd on a bit. Lemi gemi ands weshd. Can yer tekovertill?” he said walking to washroom.

I went round the counter to lend a hand as requested.

“Wotyerdoin?” he asked abruptly.

“I fort yer sed tekovertill”

“Not U, me Assistnt, yer wazzock”.

I was in the process of concluding my transaction when Pam pointed to two customers in the forecourt studying the campervan. One was in wheelchair with both feet covered in massive bandages and a really red cheek like gravel rash. The other had sore looking scratches all over his skin. Pam whispered:

“It’s the walkers, from the narrow lane.”

“Oh! We should say hi to them. Thank them for getting out of our way.”

“No, they don’t look happy. Your driving was so reckless. I don’t think they’re a fan of yours. Go the other side of the shelf. Hide.”

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to add comments about the blog at the bottom of the blog. Here’s some thoughts:

    • Have you ever been in need of a plan but had no ideas?
    • Have you ever gone ahead with a bad plan? How did it go?

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