Sunday, February 06, 2011

Planning take so much time.

Recently I seem to have spent more time on the computer than at the sewing machine. Mostly working, although some games have featured. I hadn't realised how much time and planning goes into longer or more densely packed bookings. Other than coordinating several groups and dealing with many bookings at one time there are all the travel plans to deal with. I am sure the internet does make this simpler but it also gives you lots of options.

For a stand alone booking I generally know which service stations are on the route and I can work out quite easily how long I need to allow to be there on time. I get up load the van and head off, hopefully with a stop for food somewhere. Simple, well I thought that could be tricky until I tried multi booking trips. We seem to have spent a lot of time the last couple of the weeks working on getting the van up to spec. When we bought it we knew we needed to look at it's electrics but so far I hadn't been staying it in long enough to worry. It turned out to have a couple of problems and no circuit to charge the battery while driving. It has all that now and an inverter. I also knew I needed to clean the onboard water tanks. I didn't know that the winter had broken the filter and thus meant I couldn't get water from the tank to the tap. I couldn't be sure if it was the pump or just the filter so I ordered both and I now have a spare pump when it does give up. We have also found some rugs for the van, a warm floor is much nicer than the laminate in the winter.

What I hadn't really given much thought to was the gas supply. I'd bought a new bottle so I had plenty, of Butane which freezes in the winter. Yes now we've dealt with it, it's clearly a problem but somehow I hadn't really registered how serious it was. Made a lot trickier by having a very small locker for the cylinders to fit in. To say it's tight would be an understatement, but it's in and it works.

Other than sorting out the van I also needed make some travel arrangements. Flights take a lot of messing about these days to find the best deal, especially if you need to take luggage. The sites on the other hand don't want you to check around and helpfully make you start again if you aren't quick enough completing the booking. I think I took about 5 attempts after I had chosen which one I was going to go for! The ferry was much easier, although I did manage to get it wrong, the company were great about sorting everything out for me.

Next comes showers. Yes really. I want to be clean and fresh for all my bookings, and washing is great to a point. I find I really need a proper shower or bath regularly too. Whilst I am familiar with service stations food, toilets and parking I'm not so well versed in shower facilities. Fortunately it looks like next weeks trip works out very well. There are longer stops I need to make that will handily bring me to showers, but it took research to work that one out.

Finally I wanted to find something fun to do on my day off, and that was probably the easiest part. I have a list of places in the UK I would like to visit and as my work takes me to the right areas I will go and see them. This trip I should get to visit Ironbridge. I know it is rather touristy but heck, on my day off that's what I am right? If everything goes to plan (yeah right) I should also get a chance to do some sewing and writing. I'm rather looking forward to that. I just wish the planning all did itself magically. Before anyone asks, yes the cats will be fine. I am going on my own so they will still have one of their humans. I am quite sure they will still be very cross with the reduced service though.


Susan Briscoe said...

Even though I stay with quilters on my tours, it still takes quite a bit of extra planning to get everything to link up just right. I have thought about building in an admin surcharge for fiddling around with stuff like airline bookings though.

Ferret said...

I thought about it too, but then decided that I couldn't add enough to cover the time I spend so I just had to suck it up and lose the time. It's been quite surprising how long it all takes. I know this one is worse than usual as I am doing things differently and have had to get the van ready but still. I'd rather be sewing :)

Susan Briscoe said...

Fortunately for my next two flights, the airline tickets have been booked for me. So instead of having the hassle of chasing up the best flight deal, it has been replaced with a feeling of nervousness because I didn't do the bookings myself! I know everything will be fine, but it just feels funny.

Susan Briscoe said...

BTW, if you are getting to go to Ironbridge on your day off on this trip, you may well be within visiting distance for Quiltfest at Llangollen - straight up the A5.

Ferret said...

I loved having my flights and hotel booked, it made things so easy. Not least because I wasn't spending someone elses money :)

If I have time I will pop into Quiltfest then. I take it it is open on a Sunday as that's my day off. That being said I may have some free time during the day on Wednesday as well.