Angie & Gids get trendy?

After a four hour drive to Leeds yesterday and an even longer return trip back we have finally added a ‘v-dubber’ to our fleet of life enhancing motors.

We were happy that if it was not right, to turn tail and return back to Theobalds empty handed but the pictures on the web and the conversation with Steve over the phone paid off and we have landed ourselves a beauty.

Here she is …

Far to trendy for a pair of old gits like us I’m sure.

She now sits adjacent to our compound awaiting our first days off next Wednesday and Thursday and we have yet to decide where to take her on her maiden weekend away ( we call Wednesday and Thursday our weekends). Anywhere within a few hours drive is on the possibility list and because of our location just north of London that includes a lot of central and southern England.

The trip back from Leeds was wet but uneventful until 20 miles from Theobalds when I fiddled with the windscreen wipers only to find that they just stopped working. This wasn’t very handy on the A10 with it chucking it down. Hazards on and after 5 mins poking and prodding around in the fuses, and fearing being rear ended at speed from a truck we  slowly made our way to a quieter commercial park and tested all of the fuses. Each of them was not blown. We considered waiting for the rain to stop and sleep there the night – it is a fully functional camper van after all but no loo on board and no food or sleeping bags. Not the best way to spend our first night in the van. We could leave it there and come back the next morning, but I was only driving on a third party insurance basis as the number plate needs to be changed and I was not going to risk our new purchase being stollen, so we had no other option than to pay the hugely inflated RAC premium and get a call out.

I dispatched Angie off home in the smart car saying there was no need for both of us to wait and I would follow. Two hours later the RAC man turned up to check all the fuses and agreed that they were all ok. He then checked them again with his multi meter before organising a tow only to find that there was a fault with one of them – Bingo wipers work. £145 for a fuse – not the cheapest fuse I have ever purchased.

I got home 10 minutes after Angie whos sat nav had chosen a different route and got stuck in the traffic jam from hell.

Apart from that the dub is a gem. Totally loved inside and out buy the previous owner who had a “no expense spared” attitude and who did the conversion himself over seven months with great skill and attention to detail adding extras rarely found on a standard conversion or indeed some of the factory built models. Solar panels, two leisure batteries, 60 ltr on board water tank 45 ltr on board waste water tank, lights every where, fridge, cooker, sink, heating, T.V, dab radio, Audi head lights, 20″ Range Rover alloys, air con, cruse control the list goes on. He was really sad to see it go and we were really glad to relieve him of it. Wipers aside she is a stunner.

All three of our motors now provide an extra quality to our existence, Catori the Autotrail for the life and long distance travels she alows us to do. The smart car for the ability to pop in & out any where and we tow her behind us wherever we go,and now the v-dub for giving us U.K adventures whilst we are working and a sence of weekends away. The dub also provides transit van like transportation at the end and beginning of our work seasons for us to get all our “stuff” to and from our work location and storage garage.

We wouldnt do without any of them now – oh and they all colour match (silver black and white) as if it was planned which it definitely was not.

Just need to get some chattels and sleeping bags and we are itchy to ‘go explore’.

Dub luv

Well we have given up the 9-5 life and so far are totally loving it. It’s funny how life changes as does your attitude to it. After my last mail where I said we would probably not do another post until November, we have decided to buy a cheap (ish) “Dub” otherwise known as a Volkswagen camper van.

We have settled in well to our new job, location and working lifestyle and the previous photos of our garden and awning/ conservatory show that we could settle in for six months staying where we are on our days off and relaxing in the ‘garden’. We however feel the need to escape from the site to just get away from our place of work and home for a couple of days and it will therefore allow us to visit parts of the country each week on our days off. A two hour drive each long weekend ( Tuesday 4.30 till Friday 12.30 one week and just Wednesday and Thursday the next) will give us at least two full days to explore and see the delights off the U.K.. This summer we will sample the area around us here in Hertfordshire. Next year who knows where we will be based, Scotland Cornwall, The Lake District or anywhere else in the country! What we do know is that we have a stunning county and we need to see as much of it as we can while we can and a camper van will give us that ability. It will also allow us to travel to see friends and family without the need for a two way trip on the same day. We will now post our travel adventures in the U.K too now which I hope will be enjoyed by all but especially our overseas followers. So our fleet of two  vehicles becomes three and we will soon add a funky new dub to the clan.

Its been a big decision to spend quite a chunk of our savings but with the money from the sale of the house sitting in the bank earning us exactly 0%  per year and not enough to buy another U.K home and our plans for a future home at least 15 years away we have decided to invest in “life” yet again rather than keep it safely tucked away in a bank. We hope that the enjoyment that we get will out way the loss in security. We think however that it is the best way that we can become 12 month travelers who need to earn a wage for six or seven of those months to pay for it. We loved our Caravaning weekends years ago so what’s not to love in a Dub.

After hours of searching the websites and a few inspections we think that we have now found the best available in our budget and set off on a three hour drive to Leeds today to check this one out. Wish us luck.

What a difference a year makes.

So it’s the 6th April 2017. Why is that important ? Well exactly one year ago today we decided to change our lifestyle and to recognise our first anniversary of that life changing decision I thought I should sum up how it’s been. The ups and downs, the good and bad bits, warts and all. So here goes….

Firstly the bad bits and what we miss.

Well surprisingly very little but sometimes it’s the small things that count. The Convenience having a washing machine on tap 24/7, water that just comes out of the tap without having to fill it up every three days, a W.C that doesn’t need emptying every other day, the ability to leave things messy, our garden, our house. Angie misses ‘home’, Would any of the above change our decision. Not a jot!

More importantly our family, our friends and our son. Because of our forced absence we probably make more of an effort to catch up and see everyone when we return back to our home area. They also make an effort to come and see us. When we meet there is a real interest in catching up with each other’s news and a small sadness that it will be another few months until we see them again but in a way this actually makes the friendship stronger. My dancing friends make a real fuss of me on my return after two or three months away and all of this makes us feel loved valued and missed.

We also strangely sort of miss the routine of the 9-5 where you don’t have to think what day of the week it is or what you should do that day because it is already pre planned for you wether you like it or not (most of the times not). We have yet to complete a tour of duty for the club so are expecting this feeling to dissipate. We certainly do not miss the traffic jams or the daily commute the alarm clock or the daily grind. Neither of us miss work in the slightest but do miss our work colleagues although still see most of them when we can.

Selling the house was the biggest decision to make but one that needed to be done to make this happen. We were and still are nervous about being off of the property ladder but it is also quite liberating. No bills, no maintenance, no upkeep and all of our free time (which is a lot at the moment) is our free time. Having now met so many unconventional people that have also given up homeownership to live a free lifestyle we realise that you don’t necessarily need bricks and mortar even in your old age and there are so many other options open to us than having to own a house or flat albeit that may still be an option. We were unaware of just how many thousands of people live in caravans or a motorhome all year with no intention of ever buying another property and are so fit and healthy because of it.

Ryan- Probably our biggest concern. We effectively forced his hand and made him move out into a position where he now has to devote half his salary to the art of living.  He is 21 and six months on, he is a better young man for it. We support him emotionally and help out financially when needed. In all honesty if we had carried on the way we were he would still be living at home drinking his salary away down the pub and relying on his mum and dad for basically everything and probably be doing that for the next five years. As it is he is now renting a two bedroom house which he calls home has a steady girlfriend who stays with him some nights a cat called Kier and a much more responsible outlook on life. We have seen him flourish in his new responsibilities and so far so good. Would he want to move back to his old life – Nope!

So on to the good bits

Well firstly it’s 2.37pm on a Thursday afternoon. Normally I would be sitting in the office with another four and a half hours to go before I leave to go home and I would get home at about 7.30pm. Instead I sit here doing the last edit to this blog post in full sunshine wearing nothing else than a pair of jean shorts and topping up the tan. Enough said?

What we have done. There is no denying that if we had carried on with our old life since September when we picked up Catori the motorhome we would have done nothing much other than work, have Christmas to excess and may now have been looking forward to a weeks holiday in the next month or so. What we have actually done is

Purchase and collect Catori the motorhome.

Uk Tour in  Catori – Verwood, Oxford, North Norfolk, Fareham, Bosham, found carefree (which we now feel is home).

Buy Smart Car

Set off for our first tour in France:-Pevensey, Dover U.K, Calais, Le Crotoy, Le Manns, Orléans, Château de Chambord, ChâteauDe Villandry, La Rochelle, La Tremblade, Les Mathes, Meschers-sur-Gironde, Bordeaux, Bizet-sur-Baïse, Condom, Midi-Pyrénés, Gruissan, La Grande-Motte Languedoc, Nîmes, Pont-du-Gard, Claremont-Ferrand, Thiepval memorial and back to Calais.

Came back to U.K  Chertsey, (for induction day) Lincoln,(tow bar and tow car fitted) Fareham.

Set off for Spain:- Portsmouth, Caen, Mouzillon, Montguyon, Castebon Pyrénéés, Zaragoza Spain, Benicarló, Peñíscola, Vinaròs, Pineda de Mar Catalonia, Castillion, Donzenac, Mont-Saint-Michel, Caen.

Came back to U.K for a month working in Theobalds Park.

Mini U.K Tour :-Kingsbury water park Birmingham, for N.E.C to buy awning. Cotswolds, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Burford and the Slaughters, Bibury, Bouton-on-the-water, Morton-in-marsh, Stow-on-the-wold, Castle Combe, Devises, Kennet and Avon Canal, Tavistock, Dartmoor National Park and finally back to Fareham (Carefree) before starting our first seven months at Theobalds park.

Slightly more interesting than the 9-5? Yep. What we have seen is parts of the UK that we had previously not seen and we have not even scratched the surface of UK touring! As for Europe well although we feel that we have seen a lot it we have not. To provide an analogy what we have done so far is not even as much as getting the screwdriver out of the tool box to take the lid off of the first tin of paint to start painting the forth road bridge. A Minuscule amount of traveling and so much more to see.

After being given 5 days to get set up mostly in the sun wearing shorts and a sports vest. The van is set up in its dog escape-proofed compound. Molly now has the run of the van the awning and the compound and grass under her feet. She is loving it. We have a sunny spot with a relatively private corner for our bistro table and chairs for breakfasts lunch and evening meals in the sun and  and a fourty hour a week contract for 30 weeks which by my calculations should give us enough savings throughout the summer to pay for five months of play time in the Spanish sunshine or similar.

I walk or run Molly most mornings and evenings along the new river and in the distance I can see the M25 and A10 which are gridlocked, I listen to the radio and the reports of the M27 junction 9 being slow or closed due to an accident and I truly feel very lucky that we have decided to change how we live life. Although we have seven months of ‘work’ ahead of us, mowing the grass on a tractor in shorts and t’ shirt in the sun , helping people on to their pitch or booking a weeks stay for a holiday maker over the phone isn’t actually work is it?

I am acutely aware that not everyone is as fortunate as we are to be able to make a huge change like this but I am also conscious that we nearly didn’t because it is/ was a risk we are aware that there are many many people who absolutely could do something similar but are not brave enough to do so. If you are one of those who may be reading this ….

LIFE IS NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER OF BREATHS THAT YOU TAKE IT IS ABOUT THE NUMBER OF TIMES THAT YOUR BREATH IS TAKEN AWAY.

GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS. LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGINED!

The easiest decision to make is to not make a decision!

Would we go back? – NO – 100% NO. 

Would we encourage others to do something similar if they could and willing to take the gamble ?  100% YES!

We have so many photos and memories but here are just a few that give a snap shot of our last six months.

As for the next seven months? Well if our first 10 days of work returning to the site are anything to go on we are going to love it. It is so relaxed, we wake with the sun and if we are on five days of lates have a leisurely breakfast in the awning or in our garden as we don’t start till 12.30 and finish at 6pm with an hour for lunch. We remain on duty till 8pm but from the enjoyable surroundings of our sunny garden with a cup of tea in hand.The next week is five days of Earlies with a quick toilet check at 7am and then effectively 9- 4.30 with an hour for lunch. We have Wednesday and Thursdays off each week.

We move a few vans, mow some grass, do a bit of office work and if on earlies a toilet clean, chat to the guests and generally do our best to make the site as pleasant and friendly as possible –  job Done!

As this blog is to follow our travels and how we have been able to change our lives – (definitely for the better! ) there will not be too much to post over the next seven months so there will be very few posts.  We never can tell however, so if you wish to follow us without needing to keep checking our blog click on the ‘follow us’ tab at the bottom of this page and you will be e-mailed every time we do a post ( which may not be till October). But for now we will be signing off and we hope to catch up with you all again as we escape the cold of the British winter to see another small slice of Europe. If you wish to contact us then you can do by leaving a comment or e-mailing us direct.

Have a great summer everyone

Gids & Angie

Carefree at Carefree

We are back to what we now consider to be our ‘go to home’ namely Carefree Nursery. It is so relaxed here and Frank and his daughter Kay who helps him out are lovely hosts.

We are here until 24th and then off to our work placement for the summer which we are really looking forward to. With that in mind we have been able to test out and add our extension to the motorhome and put it up in the relative privacy of a five van site rather than in full view of a full campsite plus our work colleagues.

No planning permission needed, no Building regulations, just a pump, a mallet and an hour or two later we have more than doubled the size of our living space. Everything suddenly felt more ‘Holiday like’ as it brought back memories of our Caravaning holidays when Ryan was young and the awning that we always put up. A bit of tweaking (as the first time we couldn’t fully open the door back on to its retaining clip) moving it a foot or so forward, and now fully pegged it is soooo relaxing to sit in even when it’s cold outside. Designed for a caravan and not a motorhome we did a lot of checking it out before we took the plunge but are so glad we went BIG (and at 8M long by  3M deep it’s as big as they come) although we didn’t consider the placements of the roof poles so we’re lucky that it worked out right. It even totally unintentionally colour matches the Motorhome and the Smart car.

The aim is to effectively live in the awning throughout the Spring Summer and early Autumn creating a kitchen area in one end, a dining area in the middle and a sitting and T.V watching area at the other end. Our oil filled radiator and electric fan heater will keep us snug towards the end of the season if it turns chilly . We have yet to buy some flat packed rattan seating that we can take it apart again to store in our garage over the winter. We hope that the awning living  will reduce the wear and tear on the motorhome and being able to cook outside will more or less eliminate condensation.

When we met Trevor he took a nice photo of Angie and I outside the Motorhome and smart car. It’s the first photo we have had taken with both of us together and we love it. Thanks Trevor.

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Long Time – No See

It’s been 14 years since we last met and a lot of water has passed under the bridge for both of us but it has been a fantastic reunion with my old walking buddy Trevor and quite amazing that we are both naturally drawn to living in a motorhome/ caravan and enjoying the life outdoors.

Although Trev has been retired for 8 years he has kept himself  massively busy with charity fund raising and lots of long distance walks and in the more recent years has re found his love for cycling and accomplished some inspiring ( frightening for the non-cyclists among us) long distance cycling challenges. He also has a blog

http://purpletraveller.blogspot.co.uk/

He is now living life to the full and loving it in what he calls his pint size hobbit van ‘Eva’ the Eriba.

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Trevor and Ann’s iconic pint size Eriba which they absolutely love.

It just goes to show that one size doesn’t fit all and no matter your preference or how you want to do it, just find something you like and think you will feel comfortable with and it will work for you then go for it.

 

An evening with a few beers on Wednesday and a lovely walk with Trevor to a col in the Dartmore National Park plus an evening with a Chinese take away and we are sort of up to speed with each other’s life events. Trev has vowed to return the journey and come to see us at Theobalds Park when we are working and I’m sure that now we have made contact again we will be following each other a little more closely than in the past 14 years but that wouldn’t be hard would it.

Tomorrow we head for ‘home’; a funny expression that as ‘home’ is where we park it but no matter how far we travel and the fact that we don’t actually own a house anymore, carefree nursery at Titchfield feels like home now and it’s still close to family and friends.

The weekend will see us hopefully add our extension to the van and after 2 weeks of catching up with friends and a few Cuban salsa evenings for me it will up to Theobalds for SEVEN MONTHS!

 

Devizes Surprises

One of the delights in doing what we are now doing is stumbling on new places that we have not visited in all the years that we have holidayed in our caravan or booked holiday cottages. The nature of our transient existence means that we have to move on from time to time. Wiltshire and Somerset were two of those counties that were near enough to NOT really want go to when we lived in Hampshire. Sure we did Cheddar Gorge, Bristol, Bath, Longleat and so on as day trips but there was never enough of a draw to make us want to stay for much longer.

A bit like when we needed to go to Lincoln to have the smart car and towbar fitted Devizes and in particular it’s surrounding area and villages have been an unexpected delight. The walks on the Kennet and Avon canal are a real treat and Lacock, & Castle Combe are both must sees for anyone visiting the area.

 

We wish we had more time to explore as we have not even scratched the surface yet, let alone walked out onto the hills with their chalk horse carvings and stone circles but having to cut our stay short to catch up with my old walking buddy means that we will have to return at some time.
The camping and caravaning club site is right on the canal side, run by Jason and Debbie it’s one of the prettiest we have been on. It must be stunning in the summer.

Now it’s raining and the ideal driving day as we are off to Devon and Tavistock.

Charming Cotswolds

 

Friday 25th February – Friday 3rd March

The site we are on is a ten minute walk from the stunning village of Broadmarsh
On arriving at the site of Friday we took a longer walking route into the village and stumbled upon The Crown and Trumpet before the village. It was sunny and warm (ish) so we sat and I supped a pint or two and Angie had to force herself to drink two dry white wine spritzers.

The village is a typical Cotswolds village – or so we are told – as it is the first that we have experienced it was hard to say but very pretty. Old Yellow limestone buildings each individual and impressive and most of them very large Manor House like lining the roads around a lush village green with a war memorial in the middle. Lots of curiosity shops bistros and tea rooms yet quiet as its mid February. We are sure it would be heaving in the spring and summer.

Saturday -the weather was not as good so we decided to do a whistle stop tour of some of the other villages in the area by car. Morton-in-Marsh, Bourton-on-the-Hill, Chipping Camden and Stow-on-the-Wold were the first to be ticked off and each of them vying for the top spot on the ‘pretty scale’ each with their own character and each totally different from the last, yet all of them picture perfect in their own right. Each of them were allowed a cursory wander around but ‘Stow’ as the locals call it won our patronage for lunch today and a cream tea for me was hastily ordered which consisted of egg sandwiches a scone with cream and jam and a slice of carrot cake, Angie trying to be good had an omelet. The drizzling rain meant that Angie had the perfect excuse to go into most of the shops.

Sunday – a good weather forecast stimulated a longish walk to burn off the calories that I added yesterday. Angie decided that the mundane duties of washing our clothes was now definitely needed and as she was doing to be site bound would also have a go at making one of her much loved Sunday roasts in the motorhome. We have been able to cook nearly everything so far but this was the first attempt on roast beef, her famous crispy fluffy roast potatoes, 4 veg, gravy and Yorkshire puddings. Sounded like a plan for me, a long winter walk with Molly followed by a swift warming whiskey and then a prepared Sunday roast and a bottle of one of our reds from France. I use a great app on my phone for planning walks and tracking our progress to make sure I don’t get lost. I headed out to the Broadway Tower at a fast pace to keep away the cold it was a long a arduous climb all the way to the top but the views were stunning. The walk down was equally steep but rewarded with the best roast for months on my return.

Monday – A quick drive to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare’s birthplace but the weather was awful and we decided to not get out of the car a wander around as most of it was just a big town albeit with some lovely buildings and the river Avon of course. Definitely a place to spend a day when it is not persisting it down, but not today! A longer visit to Morton-in-Marsh as the rain had stopped by the time we got there, a slice of cake and coffee to replace the calories used wandering around the ‘countless’ Nic nac shops! Then on to Chipping Norton.

Tuesday – one of our prettiest days with visits to Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter (they sound horrible but are really stunning) followed by Bourton-on-the-Water which was very quiet with the only visitors being mainly Chinese photographing absolutely everything including shop windows, signs, menus etc – what is it with them?  We then went on to Buford to complete a lot of walking and some great photos taken in some of the loveliest villages we have seen.

Wednesday – started by spending a lazy morning surfing the net and having another go at trying to find a long lost friend and walking buddy. Having tried numerous times in the past by different ways including Facebook, instagram, linked-in and google even ringing an old number and leaving a message but all to no avail we were shocked to find a blog on the net and on opening it there was a picture of Trevor. Unbelievably he is full timing in his caravan and has had some amazing experiences over the last few years. I pinged him an e-mail via his blog but as he had not added a post since December was not sure he would receive it. We then went to Evesham – not great! Enough said! We decided to head out to the local Gin distillery and try to get on a tour but we had missed the last tour of the day and the shop was deserted apart from a few very highly priced bottles of gin. We made a hasty retreat. A further wander around Broadway concluded the day.

Thursday – Whilst lazing over our morning coffee in bed (this lifestyle means a lot more lazy slow starts to the day) I started reading Trevor’s blog again and spotted a photo of his site which I recognised. A quick phone call to the manager at The Camping and Caravaning club site in Tavistock confirmed that Trev was indeed there. We changed our plans again and booked in to visit on Wednesday asking him to pass a message on to Trevor of our intent. Really pleased to have found Trevor again after at least 10 years. Thursday is our last touring day of the Cotswolds as Friday is forecast heavy rain all day and Saturday we leave for Devises. First on the list is Bibury, this was no 1 on our hit list as it looked so pretty. The day was a beautiful spring like day and when we arrived at the village there was a group of teenage Chinese girls in front of us in the small car park by the church. We purposely went into the churchyard to get away from their excited squeaking chatter. They followed! Lucky they disappeared as we wandered up to the small green. When we walked down to the small stream and the row of cottages that it is famed for they were there taking picture upon picture upon picture upon picture. I waited and Angie went to look in the small post office and gift shop coming back proudly holding two mouthwatering hot sausage rolls which were the best I have ever tasted. We munched on them by the stream and waited. After a while we decided to walk past the girls who were now taking pictures of themselves in stupid poses in front of the cottages. We walked up the hill and explored the rest of the village. On returning they were still there! There were a few people waiting to take a picture of the cottages without their group in it. We joined them. After a while we decided to walk back to the car and drive back to the spot hoping that they would have moved on. We parked up again and they were still there still taking photos! We waited again and I was just about to go and ask them to “bugger off” when they finally moved to the end I quickly took my shots ( the other people must have just given up and took photos with 5 Chinese girls front and centre) but they were still in the background -you can just see them in one of the attached . After the stunning village of Bibury we did a whistle stop tour of Lechlade and stoped for a pint on The River Thames before driving through so many pretty sandstone villages en route to Highworth, Fairford and Minster Lovell.

We returned home to find an e-mail from Trevor with a phone number – he had obviously been passed my message. I called and after a 10 minute chat over the phone we confirmed that we will see him on Wednesday which we really look forward to and catching up on his travels and experiences.

In conclusion we have truly loved the Cotswolds and have tried to exhaust it without success. It’s a great place to visit whatever the weather or time of year and although it would be stunning in better weather the additional crowds would spoil it especially if they were Chinese!!!!

Bank balance much lighter!

We had a hit list of things that we needed to look at and buy whilst at the NEC Caravan and Motorhome show and within an hour of arriving we had purchased an awning and all of the extras we wanted  and with the savings we made on the “deal” we were able to get a new telly too so no more complaints from other campers on the site due to the noise from our inbuilt speakers. The telly is up and running and a brilliant addition to the van. We look forward to collecting the awning in 2 weeks time and testing it out at carefree nurseries for the first time. It is a whopper at 8m long and 3m wide and although designed for caravans it will fit our motorhome nicely and give us an enormous amount of space and it still goes up in 20mins with the air pump.

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What a huge show and it was really interesting to look at some of the other vans and motorhomes there ( and also re-enforces how much we like our motorhome) as well as everything that any outdoor enthusiast could possibly want. We spent a small fortune and walked 5 miles!

Windy but lovely canal side walk yesterday with a rainbow at the end.

Having braved Storm Doris and survived her wrath unscathed we are now off to the Cotswolds for a week and it’s sunny today.

Job Done!

Tuesday 14th February 2017

Well we have completed our month at Theobalds Park and really enjoyed it despite the cold and the muddy grass the ice and sometimes snow. It was a relaxed way of earning a living and a fantastic taster of what is to come. We now sit at Titchfield Carefree nurseries.

We have about two months to kill before we start in earnest and in the better weather – we hope! We envisage long free afternoons relaxing in the sun with a BBQ after competition of an early shift or lazy mornings with breakfast al fresco before commencing the late shift. 2 Days off each week to explore the delights of London in the summer and 40 hours of work each week for seven months to pay for it.

Between now and then we have a few housekeeping duties to perform.

No 1 – Help our son Ryan settle into his new home. We forced his hand when we decided to do our life change and he accepted the change initially begrudgingly, then happily when he realised the freedom that it gave him. This was followed by a little resentment when the full realisation hit of the cost of living and that it did not feel like home. Later, worry when he was given notice to vacate by the head tenant and then excitement when he realised that he could rent the whole property as the head tenant and make it his own, sub letting the other room. The first week involved renting a van and collecting home making furniture and Chattels from friends family and from our storage garage and setting him up. It looks homely now and he is surrounded by familiar furniture. He finally feels that he is home at last. We also took the opportunity to take all of garden furniture fridge and other homley things up to London in readiness for the season.

No 2 on the list- buy an awning to attach to the motorhome. We always expected to have to buy one but the month working re-enforced it massively. Muddy boots and cream carpets do not go together and there is a huge need for outside space and a covered area to chill relax and cook.
Hours of internet searching identified only one real possible and it is a bit smaller than we wanted 3m wide and 4m long but with the additional annex to provide a cooking area and space for the additional fridge and cooking hob, it should fit our round table and 4 chairs a small sofa and table for an outside telly. A bit of carpeting, lighting and a heater and it should be a great and cozy addition to our already cozy van. The chosen one also is an inflatable one that goes up in 5 mins so could come with us when we tour.

A trip to the NEC in Birmingham for the motorhome caravan and camping show is now firmly on the cards on the 22nd February and we have booked into the club site in Birmingham for 4 nights as a base. After that 8 days in the Cotswolds in a Caravaning club site -(the opposition we know, but cheaper than the camping and Caravaning club and always great sites) then on to Devises for 8 nights and then back to what feels like our new home where we are at the moment Carefree Nurseries until we head back to Theobalds again for the spring and summer.

Other things on the to do list- Dentist annual check up, Molly annual vaccination, meet up with friends and family – we struggle to have a day to ourselves before we head off agin – nice really! Gids to Catch up with the salsa gang and get his “hit” of Cuban

Our only disappointment is that we had to leave the amazing weather in Spain. At least it gave us the opportunity to help our son and prepare for the summer season.

So far would we change ANYTHING …. Nope!