Well, it started well enough, loaded the caravan, put the cats on the feeders, and closed them in with their own toilets after they'd being out all morning. Headed up to Newark in Notts. Bit of a boring Motorway run but quick enough. Arrived about 2.00.
Lovely pretty green park to camp in, lovely sunny warm day, lovely friends to meet up with. Looking forward to dressing up and being in Newark Castle and the town.
Then things changed, as they often do when I'm about. Don't know why they should, but they often do. Perhaps I'm a catalyst for this stuff.
We were sitting in the caravan having lunch when I noticed that there was a man sitting on a park bench watching our caravan. We were on the outside of the camp, looking towards the Sconce and the parkland. The trees were newly green and full of blossom. All very nice except for this guy, who was staring at our van. He was watching the van for a good two hours, now and then on his mobile.
Dog walkers came and went, kids on bikes, elderly people came and sat for about five minutes, mums with prams and toddlers, family groups. Boys playing football. All fine
This guy didn't move.
Andy went out to clean his Musket and mine, and I started to scrape some Jersey Royals sitting with my back to him. I looked over my shoulder and he'd gone. Thank God for that. What a wierdo. Then I heard my hubby talking to two girls. Not that odd, Sealed Knot Camps are always a great pull for tourists, even when we are "off stage" so to speak. Noseyness I suppose.
I heard the girls talking. Both aged about 12/13 hard to tell,
they were plastered with make up
"Is this your tug?" One asked, "does it have a cooker?"
"Does it have a fridge?" The one with the scruffy plait asked.
"How many does it sleep?"
Gypsies. I thought they're scoping out the van for their dad.
Andy was chatting away, telling too much info. So annoying! He doesn't speak to his friends and relatives who actually want to talk to him and see how he's doing, but I have in the past
stopped him giving his bank account number to random callers over the phone.
"But they're Barclays." He said.
"How do you know that? anyway they'd have your details!"
I'm off the subject.
I thought it was time to put in an appearance. Both girls seemed shocked, it seemed they thought he was on his own.
They were just asking him if there was a toilet and if the back bedroom could be closed
off from the front, and how the front beds were set out.
"Hello girls - can I help you?"
"Oh, we're not doing nothing."
"What do you want?" I came out of the van.
"We want to come and put our tents up next to your van."
"You can't." I said, "This is a Sealed Knot site."
There was a short discussion about what we were in Newark to do. Yes we were the
people who marched through the town with drums last year and were at the Sconce
"We'll go over there then." They pointed to the football field.
"That wouldn't be very wise." Andy said being sensible, thinking two young vunerable girls should not be on their own in the middle of a park at night.
"You can't tell us what to do, we can do what we like." Came the retort.
"Tell you what, I'll go and get the security guards that roam the site and they can tell you why it's not a good idea."
They started to figit and get scared "We aint done nuthing."
"Not saying you have, just saying that the security guards can explain to you why you can't be here."
"My Dad's just over there and he's got loads of security guards, he'll bring them over."
"Where does he work?" I asked, the conversation was now taking a turn from the realms of reality into fantasy, as the two girls got flustered and started saying anything that came into their heads. "Work?" they both looked at each other puzzled.
"Tell you what - you go fetch your Dad and I'll get the security guard to talk to him ok?"
"We're travellers." they blurted out.
"I knew you were." I said, " What with all the fancy designer handbags and make up."
Cheap knock-offs obviously but I didn't say that to them.
"We've been to four places." They boasted
"Ever been abroad?" I asked.
"Probably on holiday." They seemed confused.
They were very sticky and hard to get rid of - eventually I said -
"Andy dinner's ready, sorry girls we have to go." Andy came in and we ate our food, the girls stood for a while and when the security van came (as it did every 15 minutes) they left.
I waved the van down and told the Security men what happened, and they said. "But they're only kids."
"Do you know why you're here? Because last year at this time our camp got raided by gypsies trying to take stuff and our Commander and his wife had to sit up all night trying to prevent trouble by calling for help on their mobiles."
"Blimey," said the younger security guard looking a bit excited. I thought this was going to be
I phoned my sister for advice. As a health worker she deals with travellers all the time.
"If I were you, I'd leave before it gets dark, they don't bring cars to tow vans anymore, about four or five men will snap the locks and push it onto a low loader, it'll be gone in five minutes."
SO now we come to the Wild West bit.
We told our CO we were leaving. He told us we were over reacting. My Gut told me I wasn't,
every time I ignored my Gut Feeling things went wrong, so I wasn't going to do it this time.
"My caravan is new, I'm still paying for it, call me a coward if you want, but I'm going home."
"Let her go," his wife said, "She won't be comfortable until she does. If it feels wrong, it's wrong."
"Last time." He said as if to comfort me, "When they turned up mob handed, we got our muskets and swords and charged them and they ran away. Knotters can take 'em."
Like the Wild West I thought on the way home. When we got in we found the cat feeders hadn't opened, they had at last worn out. So it was just as well we left when we did, or our poor cats would have been in a terrible state.
They say things happen for a reason, so perhaps that was the reason.