Longer, colder nights, shorter days, and now a morning frost last week confirms our wonderful summer has come to an end. On Friday it’ll be time for us to return to the Island for the weekend and prepare the van for winter.
This is always tinged with sadness, as to me there’s nothing worse than the seaside and a summer-based environment empty and devoid of holidaymakers. Okay, you can brace yourself, put on your coat and walk along the shoreline, but it’s not quite the same as on a hot day is it? Also none of our usual cafes will be open either. It’s all rather grim…
Sam will be up a ladder jet-washing all the leaves out of the guttering and then cleaning the decking. I’ll take the curtains round to the industrial washing machines on site. Then we turn off the main stopcock, flush the toilets, and let all the water drain from the system before putting bowls of salt around and in the u-bends to absorb moisture/condensation and leaving the thermostat on its frost setting. The whole process is called ‘draining-down’, and if we re-visit before April we’ll need to ‘drain-up’ again and repeat the draining-down process before we leave.
We only have one visit planned between December and the end of March, and that’s for a New Year’s Eve dinner and dance at a local hotel. However, Sam will put some Christmas lights up, and usually the few staff left there run a Christmas lights competition for any owners who have decided to stay over the holiday period. There will be no other entertainment, the shop, clubhouse and swimming pool are closed, and to be quite honest, I find it’s a bit depressing to be there.
Some hardy souls stay on site for the whole winter, but it does get rather expensive to heat the vans, with each gas bottle costing £63 and only lasting for one week (we gained this knowledge from our neighbour, who tends to stay there most of the year). I prefer to leave it until the sun regains its strength before I return.
Every autumn in years past, my mother always used to state that she was going to become depressed because the summer had ended, and lo and behold she did. I only feel this way when I’m at the van in the wintertime, as I’m used to being there when it’s hot and when all the facilities are open. As soon as I return to Suffolk the change in season doesn’t affect me in the same way.
Nurses at the hospital where I work suggest that patients suffering from SAD syndrome (Seasonal Affective Disorder) get outside as much as they can during the daytime, and buy special light boxes to look at for a certain amount of time every day. I don’t really need a light box… I just need to lock up the van, return home to my family, and wait for summer!
Do you suffer from SAD Syndrome? How do you cope with it? Sam, as practical as ever, says there’s nothing we can do about the changing seasons, so we just have to get on with it!