A VW bus is a lifestyle.

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I’ve just realised the answer to my current state at the end of a fourth triple Jack Daniels. Or maybe more? Pasrpt (Ha, Ha…) caring. Passed caring. Whoah! Passed? Past caring. I can type. Yippee! The fifth will render me past focussing. The sixth and I’ll be snoring. So get on with it. But why JD? It just feels nice. Right! My Blog…..focus!

My VW bus is, like JD, my perfect lifestyle. It really, really matters. I seem to have forgotten how much I loved the bus. But, I’ve put it on a back burner. Pushed to the back of my mind due to the fact that if I thought more about it….I’d go nuts. I’ve been without it now for four years. Now? I’m on yet another holiday. Yet again, from Friday I’m making stuff up as I go along. No holiday purpose. Just what I’ll do I’ll just do. My brother and one of my best mates are arriving with their wives on said Friday. When I knew they were arriving about a month ago, I had visions of all 6 of us popping to a local or near/far off destination to have an experience of the VeeDub chill factor. This chill factor was a vision of bus with inherents. The comfort of Billie Budd and all she provides in psychological comfort. Basically, my bus, a stash of needful stuff and the kettle on. Still not a realisation. But hey! That’s life. Then I thought of stress. My workload is dynamic. Being a nurse I have a shed load of emotional turmoil in my day. Every day is linked in some respect to other’s worriesome thoughts. Also, medically and clinically I have to keep people safe. In keeping them safe, they keep me safe. The pressures are relentless. In the past I have never felt so pressured as I do so now.

Then? I suddenly realised. Why did I cope then? When I drove into work every day in a ‘put-put VeeDub engine sound’ of lovely bus and not like now of ‘listening to car revs engine sound’. Now, just jumping in, starting the engine and simply driving to work. John Muir wrote about philosophy of driving a Dub. The thought processes required in ‘Keeping it Alive’. And Robert Pirsig wrote about Motorcycle Maintenance and it’s affinity with eventual answers to ultimate calm. Their vision, both of them in different approach, was Zen like and enlightening in the qualities they proffered and discussed. They are not book/author/philosopher best sellers without reason. They have also changed people’s lives completely. Mine included.

Work is work. Preparation in going to work is vital. A cigarette on the way. A bus or train journey of visual escape in the surrounding views. A time of reading a favourite novel or listening to a catalogue of music on the MP3. Or the knowledge that in 5 days you’re on holiday.

But actually thinking now…..when did I actually have holidays I enjoyed. My holidays have been a conundrum of planned visits to seek catch ups and resulting chaos involved. Not a number of days of relaxation selfishness. They have been a rush of inclusions. In other words. Feeling guilty you need to sort out the “Haven’t seen you for ages and must rectify this” situations. I don’t do selfish seeking. I try to seek calm in what ever presents itself. But I realise after years of not having a proper full break, my health may well be at risk. Maybe psychologically or biologically. A week in Tenerife and a 10 day holiday in Palma over the last 10 years is my only time of actual total relax.

But. Back to the subject of the VeeDub.  The bus helped me to survive. And in an everyday sense. Luckily I live near the coast. Billie Budd gave me the chance, on days off, to just pop down to the sea edge and truly seek life’s needed switch off ability. You’ll argue, ‘Get a life and just go for a walk. You’re lucky to live where you do!’ OK. I bow to your reality check. But, the bus gave and will give purpose to me. Others? A different focus. Many of us can’t see the woods from the trees. Focus is a needful and blessed thing. Sameness, tradition and the uniform approach matter. How many of us sit and watch the ‘soaps’ to escape? Or do other distractions in watching a documentary, football, Netflix or seek a chat on the phone. A phonecall full of nonsense chat that just blows away the tangled angst. My answer? It was the bus. Before I owned it? Music. A guitar and the ability to write my own or sing others’ songs. But now I’m all sung out.

So. The VeeDub. When I drove it to both work and for pleasure it was the same. Trundle to work for long day shifts and trundle home. Hectic at work so needed the bus to provide the thoughtful approach, chill factor driving to the hospital. It was calm preparation there. And separation back. Wind down and drive along in procrastination involving leisurely and the ponderous thought, with an eventual wind up to relaxation over the 10 mile journey after the day’s chaos. I’m in a car at the moment. No comparison. Maybe it was the VW engine singing to me. Like one of those new age cd’s that provide brainwave patterns. It’s like I’m on holiday in the VeeDub and I’m one of those tourists that point at everything in front of me. Wonder and delight. So slow is whoa and stay in status quo. Miss the bus. It’ll be nice to see her back. And 50 to 55 mph is perfick. Now is different though.

What is happening now is that I feel fraught in going to sleep, usually at midnight or later, knowing I’m in work next day, waking  up at 05.45 (or, in reality. often at 04.00) realising with a gulp and a downward spiral gut wise that today, yes…..I am actually on shift……fought with a ‘please NO!’ and a ‘maybe not’ with a vocal outburst of ‘shit….yeh…..I am in work today’ realised with my memory through the sleepy fog. The way the heart leaps when you realise that you have a day off is actually fairly worrying. No gentle knowing of life’s calendar. It’s chaos of shift work and hoped fors. Forever getting into a pattern of work that is the same old, same old, but with the gut wrenching adrenaline driven ‘Hope I make it through the day without making a mistake’. I love being a nurse. The NHS, as everyone can see, has Doctors and Nurses and other essential professional NHS inherent roles, living a life of challenges. Is it pathetic to seek answers in yearned for lifestyle to balance the difficult tasks? Not really. Life is very hard sometimes. And you need those times of escape. Maybe the musician that performs a night of singing to others on an open microphone event. The swimmer that visits the sport center and receives water’s regeneration properties with swimming a number of lengths. The pub up the road, a pint and the opportunity to talk to locals full of chitter chatter. The bath tub filled with bubbles and surrounded by candlelight. Me? A bus. Simply….a bus. And a fifth Jack Daniels.

4 Comments

  1. I won’t comment on the JDs Gray. I like, but generally prefer rum 😂.
    I have more or less come to terms with life without Lofty. When he was my every day ride, when I was working, he had the same calming influence on the ride to work (though it was nothing like as stressful as nursing, in fact not stressful at all). Moreover, he was not only my ride to work but my B&B as I worked some distance away (I did begin to question my sanity after two nights in him at -19degC but the answer was to instal a LPG-fired heater).
    I did wonder about how I would feel driving to Romania last year with ‘modern’ car and tent; the compensation was not to have Petronela’s panic when Lofty decided to have the usual ‘dub tantrums’: starter motor change in Germany, refusing to start on petrol when we ran out of LPG in Germany, finding there was no Woodruff key in the pulley when changing the dynamo/cooling belt in Romania so making one from a couple of washers with a junior hacksaw, etc, etc. All ‘fun’ to me, fun not shared by Petronela. And tackling 1:3 hairpins in Romanian mountains with mother-in-law in the vehicle was something not to be repeated. OK, I know the answer: leave mil at home.
    So this year we’ll hopefully do the trip again in Dusty with a tent. Only one big problem: getting up from prone in the middle of the night to stagger to the lavatories – at least one such visit necessitated by my condition; how I missed Lofty’s loo, particularly when raining.
    As I write this Lofty in ‘mooning’ accusingly at me from across the car park. He hasn’t moved since last summer.
    Assuming we make the trip again this year whatever the consultant says on my next visit – likely – I’ll document on this blog rather than in a Facebook closed group as in past years; I’ve more or less abandoned FB – dislike it intensely.

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    1. Sounds like you’ve read the John Muir survival book. Or, maybe your own mind can think and search for the impossible fix it answers. VeeDubs love pushing your buttons with their tantrum breakdowns. Lofty looking at you across the car park? Sulking probably. Planning what he’ll do to exact revenge on not being driven for so long. Woe behold the next owner. They’re in for a few testers. I reckon floppy windscreen wiper, a sliding door that just will not close properly, an oil drop onto the floor from the engine like it’s been on laxatives or the ultimate……you put it in first gear…..and it goes backwards. That’s been a few of my experiences. Well. Once again Roger…thank you for visiting and commenting and sharing your thoughts. Always welcome. And crossed fingers for this future exciting Dusty journey of yours. Petronela will be over the moon under canvas. Your mother-in-law isn’t going too is she? You’re gonna need two tents.

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      1. Your first two ‘solutions’ apply. Last year we took ‘big tent’ to accommodate parents-in-law (in fact Lofty’s drive-away awning); we took them to Transylvania. Struggled with room in car. This year we’ll take them for a shorter visit, 3 or 4 days, to Bucovina and put them in a B&B while we use little tent.
        Are you on Facebook? If so I could give you to my FB ‘diaries’ logging out trips in both Lofty and Dusty, is you wish.

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  2. Yes. I’m on Facebook. Gray Summers. I always use the black and white guitar and me photo. So you should spot it apart from the other GraySummers. If there are any. Should have thought so. It would be nice to see your adventures.

    Tents? I’ve got one in the loft that I’ve never put up. Big 4 or 6 sleeper I think. Swapped it for a coffee maker with the shooosh stick to make cappuccino with espresso base. I use a Gaggia now. Vintage you see. Temperamental or should that be temper and mental. It hisses at you if you don’t treat it right. Bit like Lofty and Billie. Oh no. They’re air-cooled. No water involved. Vintage? None of your modern pulp as book restorers say. Can’t remember when I was last under canvas. Portsmouth in the early 1980s I seem to recall. Ran down a grassy hill after visiting the shower block, stuck my foot into a hole and went flying. Yes. That was the last time. Process of association.

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