Not many people have a life like mine. There’s never a dull moment. It’s non stop, full on, highly fuelled, bordering on some form of undiagnosed hyperactivity.
Who would have thought our wedding anniversary would have been spent waking up in a Devonshire car park with a group of friends pleading with a ticket officer? If you’ve hadn’t guest it by now, my life is far from normal. We had all traveled down to Westward Ho! for a ATBShop kite demo on the beach. It gives our customers a chance to try kit out before they buy. I often think it’s weird when people walk in and spend thousands of pounds on kit just off our advice. The ATBShop team aren’t what I’d call sales people, but riders. They’re all very knowledgeable, as ATBShop owns an impressive amount of demo kit which the staff all have access to. This means they’ve pretty much tried and tested everything we sell, so know the products inside out. It also helps that some of the guys who work for us are also instructors, so can explain the theory behind the kit and offer flying techniques.
The kite demo weekend was a massive success with brands such as Flysurfer and LiquidForce taking part. This easily made this demo one of the biggest ATBShop had ever thrown.
Later on that Sunday afternoon, I snook off from the demo for a quick surf with a friend. Needless to say my friend and I were far from pro and had been beaten to a pulp my the swell and the board. We had gritty hard sand suck to the side of our faces. So needed to shower.
Washing our hair in a beach car park shower wasn’t exactly the highlight of my weekend but I could honestly say I’ve never laughter so much whilst washing my hair. I did my best not to make eye contact with any passerby, as these showers were very open plan. I could feel everyone’s eyes on us, as we washed our hair next to their expensive cars, whilst stilling donning our 5.3 wet suites. We knew we looked stupid but we didn’t care. The soaps suds were blowing everywhere, including our eyes. The icy cold water was running out of the shower and partly down the road. No we didn’t look like the girls from any of the hair shampoo adverts. This was as far from sexy as you could get.
After the longest 10 minute battle with the worlds coldest shower in the worlds windiest carpark, we each threw on a set of sunnies and then threw our hair into a turban using our towels. Unrecognisable, I could see people smiling at our ridiculousness, but behind our shades we didn’t care. We just giggled like school girls, quickly running back to the car. I literally would have died if anyone I knew had seen us.
Later that evening we set up camp in an Appledore car park. £5 a night gets you a space in the carpark with an amazing view over the estuary and the use of a carpark toilet. No luxury camping here fokes. This was primitive camping at its best and we lapped it up. This was how we were spending our wedding anniversary – with friends in a cold car park.
Tonight’s entertainment would be a dodgy BBQ running out of gas, a defeated hunt for a Fish and Chip shop and late night crabbing.
Like a child I was excited to go off crabbing even though it was close to midnight. Two of the group insisted they were too tired to take part. I explained to Ben (one of our friends) who would be hosting the crabbing soirée that we were bleeding troupes and that he needed to recruit. Ben is the kind of person you don’t say no to. 5 minutes later armed with crabbing buckets and nets, the four of us headed off into rainy mist of Appledore with bottle of Baileys, Captain Morgan and coke. Ben’s recruitment drive had fetched in another two people from the group.
I had been very vocal about winning the crabbing contest – right up until I saw my £4 corner store crabbing set had been trumped by a professional fisherman’s crabbing pot – Ben was going in equipped.
We all quickly realised after throwing our crabbing nets and pots into the harbour that you can catch more crabs at night. I feel a joke could have been inserted here but I know you’re all above that kind of humour of “catching crabs at night.”
We easily caught around 70 crabs or more. Obviously they were too small to eat, but Ben explained he was going to keep some for fishing bait. This upset me as I hadn’t signed up for this and was quickly thinking how I could accidentally knock his bucket into the sea. Fortunately Ben changed his mind before I could conjure up a plan to free the crabs. I’m not a vegetarian but feel terrible when I accidentally tread on a snail, so would have felt bad for the poor little crabs.
After releasing the crabs back into the water, we headed off into the car park back to our homes for the night. Yes this was how I was spending my 7th wedding anniversary. The view I woke up to was pretty epic. No £250 a night hotel could ever compete with that view.
Then things escalated quite badly as a ticket warden arrived quicker than the sunrise. Now in my defence we arrive at night and I could barely read the faded sign with my phone. It turned out I hadn’t used enough money, hadn’t used the correct machine or pressed the right button. I call that a hat trick.
If you are staying over in Appledore then make sure you use the correct machine as this nearly cost us £75 a vehicle. Apparently my face was a picture as it dawned on me that I’d made a mistake. Our two friends from the night before – Harry and Ben were both in separate vehicles and had packed up their cars and were just going to drive off and leave Stu, my hubby and I if tickets were going to be issued. They were both sat in their drives seats when I looked over. They were ready! Our T4 looked like an explosion of camping. Clearly there would be no Formula One exit for us. Far too much kit spread out.
Thankfully the warden was a kind man and let us all off with a warning. I didn’t even need to use the line – “Oh but officer it’s my wedding anniversary…”.
This was officially the start of a good week by the sea and a £75 fine would have just tainted the few days off, Stu and I would have had together.
Now this is where I tell you that you don’t need to spend thousands of pounds to have a good time. It’s the people who are around you that make your adventures what they are. It’s cheesy but next time you go to spend a fortune on your loved one think – will I remember this night in years to come. If the answers yes then you’re doing something right.
I’m dedicating this blog entry to my amazing and diverse friend group who I love very much.