Job Tips for Campsite Couriers 9 : Pillows on the Brush-Pole
Click on the link below for Part 1 of the series.
Job Tips for Campsite Couriers 9 : Pillows on the Brush-Pole
More advice on that Montage clean. But this time on the outside of the mobile home.
You may find your improvisational skills tested to the limit, your stamina to the utmost and your temper to the extreme. Always make it easier for yourself by being organised and using the technology available to augment your elbow grease and honest sweat.
Most of the Montage cleaning I'd done was on the exteriors of the mobiles.
I was quite happy cleaning up outside as I don't like being cooped up for too long.
Tip: Be aware of hazards at all times
I'm always banging into walls, cupboards and tables or tripping over hoover cables or mop buckets.
The mobiles are a good size inside but they suddenly seem to shrink when you introduce your lumbering, uncoordinated bones and cleaning equipment into them.
An early failed 'Tardis' model de-commssioned and re-used as a campsite caravan.
Tip: Remember 'Top, Middle and Bottom' again
The 'Top, Middle and Bottom' adage applies out there too of course. When I'm scrubbing the cladding I start with the gutters and work my way down to eventually finish at the skirting board at the bottom.
Sometimes also the little chimneys on top if we have high-altitude spider aerobatic teams and once actually to clear leaves from the terracotta roof. We didn't get supplied with step-ladders of course as that would involve even more training on how to go up and down things.
Tip: Be careful what you're standing on
So you stand on one of those all-plastic moulded chairs that you see the world over. In wet weather the chair would start to sink in the mud which helped you ease your way down with the brush a few inches. Occasionally you hear a loud crack which makes you leap for your life anyway in case the thing collapses. You discard the chair and if anyone asks, you blame one of the customers' kids.
As you're cleaning on the way down the wall you're passing lights, signs and airvents.
Also windows with fake shutters that don't move as they're merely there for presentation purposes.
One mobile had been delivered from France and this was covered in patches of green moss.
Thankfully it came off effortlessy just with cold water, leaving the walls gleaming and almost as good as new.
I think I'll put that on my CV and apply to the Dover Town Council to scrub their off-white cliffs during the winter. I'll need a much bigger chair though.
Tip: Adopt a technique for cleaning walls
With the walls I worked out that you scrub in vigorous circular motions first to get the muck off, just like the Karate Kid then turn the brush long-ways to get in the grooves before brushing the dirt to the side with plenty of water to make it run off at the bottom.
I went through gallons of water to wash them. No! make that galleons of water because there was enough to sink an Armada;
"Stevie, Stevie!!" shouted the campsite owner,
"Ciao Giorgio, what is it?" I replied,
"You drainin the lake"
"I'm draining the lake?"
"You admit it then?" he said,
"Well, I knew I'd used a lot of water but...."
"Dont'a worry" he said, "Keepa usin it"
"But the lake?" I asked
"Dont'a worry, still plenty left"
"Em, OK then, righty-ho!"
"Yeah! You done us a favour" he said,
"I have?" I asked,
"Oh! You knew that?"
"Erm No!!, I haven't clue what you're on about" I said,
"It's them beaches"
"Yeah, they is gettin bigga" he explained,
"What's that got to do with me" I asked,
"You ain't too bright afta all are ya?"
"Just what are you on about?" I asked impatiently,
"You drainin the lake an making more room on they beaches" he revealed,
"Ohh!!, now I see what you're getting at"
"Thats'a right, and we gettin busier now so we need more space on they beaches you know"
"Well, glad to be of help"
"No problem, justa keep chucking all that water around"
"In fact use the bloody hose, cos we gotta six busloads of German schoolkids comin tonight"
"Yeah, and I betcha them German kids is big lumps, so we need plenty more beach tomorrow"
Any fans of The Goons may recall a similar incident in a story set on Loch Lomond. A highly unbelievable tale in my book as it seemed grossly far-fetched. With the rain we get in the West of Scotland I don't see how anyone could possibly drain that Loch in any great hurry.
Tip: Don't fight the impossible
Water stains are no fun though. You just can't shift them completely even with hot water, detergent, wire-wool and plenty of elbow-grease. I asked one of the maintenance team for advice and she said just to forget it as they wouldn't budge. Good advice, less work for me. Maybe bleach would have sorted it.
The gutters are also covered in cobwebs since the spiders need something to do. Even after you've brushed all of the webs away you can guarantee that the next morning the nightshift will have spun their way around the mobile.
Tip: Choose the right tool for the right job
At first I was using cleaning fluid in the water which meant lots of suds. But lots of suds hang on to the walls which meant when it all dried in the dirt clung to the surface. So I decided to just use water and that worked fine. Then I would finish the job by wiping the walls dry with old pillows using my amazing and incredible improvisational skills.
I'd even perch a pillow on the end of a brush to wipe dry the gutters which was an interesting circus act.
That was until I had the brilliant inspiration to use a squeegie mop.
I think all my infinite common-sense had finally drained away so it must have been pretty finite after all.
I cleaned the decking too and because the fence was a bright white colour all the dirt showed and you needed to dry it quickly before the water left stains.
After a couple of dunks of the cloth or scourer into the bucket, the water is dirty and you end up causing more filth than there was in the first place. Totally self-defeating.
But we managed to fix up the hosepipe to the kitchen taps so that was terrific for ensuring a fresh supply of clean, running water. It meant that after scrubbing the white furniture you could hose away the excess dirt and have a free shower into the bargain.
Tip: Prepare for cleaning a lot of guano from above
But back outside with the furniture it's not so easy of course or that much fun because you have to get stuck in to clean the sticky spots of sap that have fallen from nearby trees. That takes a scourer or even wire wool if it's particulary stubborn. It's stronger than superglue.
I also began to notice blue spots on the furniture as well and blamed some Irish kids for being sloppy with the felt-pens. But it was actually caused by the birds eating blueberries or plums. I've never seen royal blue bird crap before.
Of course lots and lots of ordinary bird-droppings dotted around all our gleaming white tables, chairs and sun-loungers. If the spiders aren't trying to cocoon your mobile the birds are off-loading on your furniture.
But don't get carried away with the fun. When you're slewing the mop around the decking and the attached steps you might realise you've just spent five minutes splashing dirty water around. Mostly in the direction of that lovely white furniture you had just stacked neatly and cleanly six feet away.
Tip: You can actually use glass-cleaner on glass after all
Last job to be done after you flung all that muck around is to clean the outside windows which are, of course, the same as the inside windows. These windows suffer from split personality. I had begun washing the windows with a bucket of water containing washing-up liquid and carrying a wet cloth, a dry cloth and a leather chamois.
But I quickly gave up my cleaning arrangement as carrying all that paraphernalia around, swapping items during the process whilst all the time balancing on a dodgy chair was another circus act I didn't fancy continuing. Back to the glass cleaner for the purpose it was intended and a lot easier to apply.
And there you have it, one beautifully clean, shiny and good as new mobile home. Until next morning when the evil arachnids have left behind their fiendish, sticky fly-traps all over it.