Cirque Des Fees Episode 1: Two Faeries take on the World!

Episode One: Brighton – Bon Voyage!

Our plan in our little van – two Faeries set to conquer the continents of Europe, Asia and Australasia – should have had me brimming with excitement. But alas, instead it filled me tip to toe with an emotion that quietly bordered on vein bursting, blood bubbling howling! One day before we cruise off to fair France and the van was in pieces. Bits of wall were missing, wires bared to the elements, shelving on the floor – the ‘Beastie’ was completely unroadworthy and uninhabitable.

“It will take about 4 hours to install.” Kevin had said on Monday. Our skilled electrician friend had convinced us of the many merits of solar panels. A green supply of electricity; being able to monitor our amp usage; parking up for several weeks without needing to drive to re-charge. Yep, it seemed a lushalicious scheme. But what happens when you let a damn Phooka play with your electrics? Two days after he first popped his nose under our bonnet Beastie had become a maze of wire.

“It seems these crazy dudes that sold him to you have wired the earth to the body” he said. That sounded like a Chinese medicinal practise? “Yeah, this guy has been real dodgy with the electrics. Basically I’ve gotta trace all these wires right through the frame and make sense of them. Don’t worry though, Flame. It will be done by tomorrow”. But the light had gone from the sky and still Kevin was out there drilling more holes in our van.

And then there is the Awning. Beastie’s beautiful Awning. Now those of you who do not have a fascination with life on the hoof I can hear you sigh. An awning? So what, who cares? Park under a bloomin’ tree. You’re a Faery aren’t you? But on the one day we picnicked beneath it’s gentle shade I fell in love with that awning. Of course that was also the same day we had no idea how to put it up (or peg it down) and in half an hour the whole frame was wrapped around the van at jaunty angles while Izzy & Roge frantically joined us in trying to unscrew the thing as we were glared at disapprovingly by a local policeman. The awning, of course, was busted. And I was determined it would be back up – or we’d have a new one – before we departed to Dieppe at 4am on Thursday morning.

So here we were on Monday hammering, drilling, sticky with silicon. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. 6pm, 10pm, 1 am….. Thursday morning appeared peeping through the Brighton street lights…
‘Kev’ I said. ‘You know we really do have to be on the boat by 4am. I think we have to be at the wharf in two hours.’
‘Don’t worry about it shelia – check out the awning! It’s beautiful! The shelves are back in, you’d never even know I had to take off half the roof! And I found your missing 6 volts. Basically the leisure battery was ruined, it’s only been putting out 50% juice. That’s cool, you can pick up a new one in France’
‘OK. So what are you guys running the inside lights off now?’
‘The car battery. It will be fine.’

At 2am the RAC pulled up outside. Yep. The car battery was dead. We had to jump start the van. Through exhausted eyes I looked at those flashing yellow lights, the friendly man in overalls, Oli handing over £100 for a new battery and thought to myself ‘Can things get any worse?’
Well – yes they could. They could and they did. The evidence was in my pocket.

‘Oli – can I just show you something? It seems there is no 4am ferry to France.’
‘What? Flame – did you print out those tickets?’ my poor sleepy man asked.
‘Yeah… but they seem to be from Dieppe to Newhaven.’
‘Errr What?’ The poor monster. He was very bleary but I had to break it to him.
‘The tickets my love are from France to the UK, we’ve bought them the wrong way round. Pants.’
Yes. Bad. Bad. Bad.

The only resolution that presented itself was to spend the few hours that were left before dawn camped outside the Ferry terminal. At 8am the doors opened and we were still in yesterday’s clothes and looking dopey in the queue. Luckily there was a lovely French woman in there who rolled her eyes at us endearingly.
‘You Englieesh. So ‘opelesss’ she purred understandingly.
‘I’m from New Zealand’ I tried to get in.
We booked a new ticket anyway. Then we went to bed!

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