If you own a caravan, there are some things you just never do. For example, never give the Bride a two-way, without two years of intensive training.
I had to reverse my caravan onto a tiled pad yesterday, following some tree trimming. A team of three tree trimmers trimmed the tree, not me. I just had to move the van out of the way. They wanted to STAND on the van’s roof, would you believe!
I had managed to reverse the van within a few feet of its resting place. The instruction manual for the radio was gone, so I ran through the procedures for operating the two-way. It’s a simple little thing, just one button for on/off and another for speak/listen.
The LISTEN circuit must have been faulty though, because the following ‘conversation’ took place. Although it wasn’t really a conversation, as it was kinda one-way on a two-way.
Bride: “Back… more… more… wait a minute, you’ve run over the Xmas bush. GO FORWARD!” [I ease the tow car into drive and move further out onto the road.]
Bride: “Okay, now, back… more… there’s a car coming. Stop! I SAID STOP… STOP. STOP.” [The car and van have moved a foot or so.]
I check the rear view mirrors, and every thing seems to be fine, if a little crooked.
Bride: “You can come back now. Watch that car… There’s another car coming the other way. I said stop! STOP!” Furious sounds of buttons being pressed, then: “WHY DON’T YOU LISTEN WHEN I SPEAK TO YOU! It’s not a question…”
“I TOLD YOU TO LISTEN TO ME WHEN YOU’RE REVERSING THE VAN ONTO THE BLOCK.” The Bride then practically throws the two-way at me and shouts: “I’M GOING INSIDE!” Which she does, slamming the front door.
However, rescue is at hand. A fellow caravanner drives by, sees my predicament and asks: “You need any help mate?” Is the Pope a Catholic?
He lines up the concrete and brick pad with his eye. “You’re a bit crooked?!” It’s neither a question nor a statement. An interrabang?
He walks up to my driver’s side window. “You’re not too bad. Just straighten ‘er up a bit…. go forward about ten foot.” Ah, I think, a driver born before dismal currency.
“Good. Stop there. Need to swing the back of the van round a bit so you don’t hit the railing.” I had hit the railing once before. How did he know?
“Right, keep coming back.” He knew that reversing means coming back, and knew his right hand from his left as well. The rest was all done with hand signals. Like a conductor controlling an orchestra, he signalled me and my van to the exact spot it needed to be.
I switched off my motor and smiled with relief. “Thanks mate,” I said. I was prepared to offer him my very best bottle of wine in exchange for his help. “No worries mate.” We shook hands and he left me with the comparatively simple job of fitting the van’s jockey wheel, then taking the car off the tow ball.
As I was sorting out the towing gear, a woman came by, walking her little black dog. We struck up a brief conversation and I remarked how difficult it was to reverse a van with a wife doing the instructions. Over a two-way.
She smiled, and pulled the lead on her puppy a little closer to the footpath. “My husband would agree with you,” was her reply. I just shook my head. “What is it about male/female communication?” She smiled and said: “We ladies get a bit panicky at times.
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