TRISH TAKES FIVE: By blogger Trish Burgess
Whenever we go anywhere my husband Dougie packs three things: a Swiss Army knife, some Superglue and a roll of duck tape. He likes to think he’s Bear Grylls and hopes to be fashioning a watertight raft at some stage in the holiday. In reality, his efforts are rather less impressive.
Whilst other people might have turned off the gas and written a rather stiff note in the maintenance book, Dougie donned his gardening gloves
When our son was little we had a few camping holidays. Not proper camping with tents and groundsheets in the rain. No, we preferred the mobile home version, in sunny France. Nonetheless his trusty tools came in handy, taping up wobbly pan handles or leaky shower heads. Inflatable rubber rings were easily repaired and any cuts were glued and protected.
On one particular holiday, when we had driven to the Dordogne, he managed to repair a very lethal barbecue which hadn’t been connected properly. Whilst other people might have turned off the gas and written a rather stiff note in the maintenance book, Dougie donned his gardening gloves (which he had also packed in case of emergencies) and set to with his gaffer tape. Before long he had the steaks sizzling on the grill and could be seen, reflecting in his manliness, sitting on a deck chair whittling a piece of wood.
Whilst real survival experts will gut fish to stay alive, my hubby uses his tiny knife to cut oranges in half or butter a baguette badly. In Sweden he bought all the ingredients for a picnic, only to discover that we were about to butter our bread with a small packet of yeast.
Having unintentionally hired the worst car in the world in Portugal, the duck tape came to the rescue when the glass fell out of the wing mirror. Sourcing a small make-up bag in a supermarket, he removed its mirror and taped it into position in the car. It lasted for the rest of the holiday, which is more than can be said for the bald tyres and dodgy gear box.
Even before we reach our destination, the duck tape is put to good use. For many years our cases could be seen lumbering around the airport carousel with their corners plastered up. No need for fancy rainbow straps to help us recognise our baggage when Dougie’s bodged repairs did the job so well.
Of course, it’s not just during holidays that the duck tape has proven invaluable. Over the years the silver stuff has graced our home in many ways but its most memorable use was when the glut of fruit on our young Victoria plum tree caused its branches to sag and split. I’m not sure Alan Titchmarsh would advocate such a solution, but Dougie decided to tape the branches together with yards of duck tape before holding the whole tree up with a well-positioned clothes prop.
As I start packing for our forthcoming trip to Helsinki, I’m hoping the survival kit might stay at home for once but Dr Dougie tells me duck tape is a great cure for warts and you just never know when they will suddenly appear.
nYou can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com