Boys and their toys

I really don’t know where the time has gone over the last few weeks. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was saying we had booked a two week holiday in California and now that holiday is just days away.

I can’t even begin to tell you all the things that have been going on. At the time there seems to have been a constant stream of events to keep me from my computer. There have been many times I have thought ‘I must write about this’. But all too soon the moment has passed and we have moved onto the next thing.

One of the best things to have happened is that finally (in just the last few days) Owl finally got his driving licence back. He was told a couple of weeks ago that he could drive again but there was no guarantee that his actual licence would arrive before we fly off to San Francisco. However it has so I can now breathe a sigh of relief. I am quite prepared to drive when we are away but am apprehensive about driving a left hand drive car for the first time and having to get straight on to the freeway before I get a chance to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road. Now Owl can do that and he can’t wait, I shall be able to drive when I feel ready to preferably on quieter roads.

Talking of roads and cars (well loosely speaking) yesterday I had my first experience of a Military Motor vehicle show. It was not far from home and is one of the shows that Owl used to go to in the past when he had his own French Military Jeep. (Willys Hotchkiss). Several times Owl has asked me if I had enjoyed my 4 hours walking around a couple of fields looking at jeeps, trucks, tanks, and other military vehicles, mostly all painted the same olive drab green. There was one area which was nominated as the ‘living history’ area.Trenches had been dug meals were being cooked over fires engines were being repaired. Owl met a few old friends and made a few new ones too. Much to our surprise there was even a section of American cars. The afternoon was completed with a ‘World War 2 Battle Re-enactment’.

When Owl asks the question did I enjoy myself I had to be honest and say that ‘enjoy’ would not be the word I would use but it was an experience. Will I go again probably as long as it isn’t too often …..but don’t tell Owl I said so or he will be looking up to see when the next one is on.

Owl has not been sleeping too well recently, he has got into a habit of getting up in the middle of the night. In the early hours of this morning he was very excitedly telling me that I must come and look at his computer as he has found a car he wants to buy and he wants me to see the photos. Not likely …..he would have to wait until a more reasonable hour even if I was now awake.  Eventually when I was up and ready to go shopping I stopped by the office to have a look at this fabulous must have car. Yes it does look lovely and black is a good colour. But it is all the way up near Manchester!

I checked out autotrader and discovered that there was another one 72 miles away from us and £200 less. Owl phoned the owner and asked various questions. The next thing I know we are going to be driving to the other side of London to look at a car. We had a test drive of this beautiful electric blue car and Owl handed over his deposit. Later this week (bearing in mind we have to be at Heathrow for 7am on Friday) Owl will get a train up to London and another out to where this car is, hand over the remainder of the money, sign the papers and drive 98 miles home in his 2005 Vauxhall Monara. (re-badged Holden). In USA they are apparently known as Pontiac GTO. I did say that it might be better to wait until we get back from our hols but no he wants his new toy parked on our drive.

Getting excited

Tomorrow we are off to the travel agents, we have decided that after spending hours online we shall allow someone else to do all the work. We have done our homework so have a good idea of prices and what is possible.

We know that we want to fly to San Francisco for 2 weeks, we know that we want to hire a car preferably a mustang or similar. We know we want to spend time with family who live not far from San Francisco. (the reason we are going). We have a good idea of the dates we want. Late May/early June.

We know we want to visit Alcatraz, Lombard Street and of course Fisherman’s Wharf. We agree that Nappa Valley should be included and Owl wants to visit Sacremento for the State Military Museum. We know that Los Angeles is worth a visit. One thing we both want to do is take a hot air balloon trip.

What I need now are ideas from anyone who knows what they are talking about as to how to fill our time. I am fast beginning to realise that 2 weeks won’t be anywhere near enough time to do everything. Our conclusion is that we shall have to prioritise.

So come on all you good folk of California and those of you who have visited. What are the must see places for a couple of old crocks like us.

You should know that……..

I wish I had never told him that now.

Owl often asks me about things I have no memory/knowledge or interest in. Then he says you should know that ……you were in the military. It could be anything from what bullets a certain gun uses, the type of camouflage that is being worn, various military vehicles.

I wish I had never told him that at the tender age of 20 I was a part time soldier.

No I don’t remember my service number. Yes I know that military personnel are supposed to remember their service number until the day they cease to exist in this world.

I am sorry that I do not remember these things.

I was in the Territorial Army (TA) for a whole 6 months (if that).

I remember the plain green uniform we wore, I remember the evenings spent partly in the drill hall and partly in classrooms.

I remember the pain of running in boots that were a size too large for my size 3 feet, being dragged across the line by the sgt who helped me pass the fitness run in basic training. I remember having to struggle out of a tent in the middle of the night for my stint at keeping watch while on a training camp. I remember the rations we ate. I remember the gas mask training and the resulting sore eyes.

So as you can see I do remember some things about my time in the military. I remember that my reason for joining up was the lure of the assault course.

But I don’t remember everything ………it was 30 years ago!!