Well the summer has done what it was intend to do and has put some much needed pennies back in the bank. “We’ve earned the pay – lets go and play” and with our ferry to France booked for the 8th November we just need to complete the last few weeks of our contract here, get Catori the motorhome serviced, MOT’d and damp checked for her warranty, de- camp and pack away our comfortable enclosure, see friends & family and then we are off. There is a lot to do to de-camp as the awning needs to be taken down cleaned and re-proofed and then everything from the awning, the awning itself and other stuff that we are not taking with us (and that is a lot) needs to be packed, and squeezed into the Dub for the winter before she goes into storage. So no more trips away in the Dub for us this year I am sad to say.
Our minds turn to what to do and where to go.
The aim is to spend about 6 weeks getting to the south rather than making a mad Run For The Sun. We hope to see a bit of northern France, via Bayeux, Fougers, Nantes and Rochefort then head south through the Vandee to Biarritz before heading along the north Spanish Coast via Bilbao, Santander Gijon, Santiago de Compostella and Vigo. Then continue south into Portugal and down its coastline via Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon until we reach the Algarve. As it’s our first full winter away we have decided to have some time on campsites when we finally get to southern Portugal and Spain. This is to break the pattern of being on the road every day and enjoy a rest from traveling. We have booked about a week to ten days in five sites for very different reasons. Albefura in Portugal for Christmas and New Year (we arrive 21st December and leave 2nd January) and are hoping to join in some festivities there. We then head east along the Algarve into Spain and then via Seville, Cadiz and Gibraltar to get to Marbella for 16th January to see our friends Lulu and Paul who moved to Spain with their beautiful girls Angel and Arabella about two years ago and have never looked back. On 24th we then move north east via Malaga, Granada, Almeria on to Cartagena for February 1st where we hope to catch up for a drink or two with a friend and work colleague Dave and his wife Alison who moved to a villa in Mazarron in May last year. ( It’s true to say that both Lulu & Paul’s and Dave & Alison’s departure from the U.K prompted us to change our lives much earlier than planned). On 12th February we head further north via Torrevieja, Alicante, Benidorm, Calp (where we also have an invite from a couple we met on site this year who own a villa there), and Denia to a site just north of Valencia for 22nd February this will allow us to explore that special city. On the 1st march we then head north again via Benicassim, Peniscola, Salou and Tarragona to a site near to Barcelona for 7th March . In between the sites we will have a week or so to stay on aires and explore the towns, villages, sights, and beaches between our stops. Barcelona is the last planned stop and a natural “grand finale” in Spain before heading back to France on 14th March. There is the possibility of staying at a site in Paris for a week for a ‘Paris in the spring’ experience however a lot of the last leg will depend on our need to return back for work next year and if the contract starts at the end of March. If it starts a month later then I’m sure Italy will beckon.
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.
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.
We came back to the UK for an induction day with the camping and Caravanning Club which we think went well, although we still have to wait to see if we have a job for next year and where that will take us.
We aimed to be back for a week to ten days and then head back to a sunny climate again however that has turned into three weeks as we had people to see and a little car to fall in love with (unexpectedly we hasten to say) so much so that we could not bear to leave her back n the UK whist we were in Spain. A 12 hour round trip to Lincoln, a deep breath as we paid for the amazing fully braked ‘A’ frame to be fitted and she can now be towed with us allowing us to really explore Spain’s hidden gems. We have been warned that some Spanish police will not allow you to tow a car but will allow you to tow a trailer with a car on it which is far more unstable on two wheels rather than four so can snake and sway and with the substandard breaking that trailers have it seems crazy. We decided to take the gamble and if we get pulled over Angie will just have to follow me if it keeps happening we spend our money in another country. So “Sunny” the smart car is coming to Spain with us. She tows like a dream and if I didn’t have the rear view camera on the back of Catori I would forget that she was right on our toes. Having always hated the smart car I am now a devotee. They are dinky but inside they feel big, they are quieter than any other small car that I have driven or been in and she is comfortable. Molly loves it in the back and especially when the roof is fully down. They turn on a sixpence park anywhere £20 road tax a year and seem to never need filling up with petrol. For the two of us and a dog she is perfect.
We have decided to sail to France this time as its is the same price for a motor home and smart car as it is to take the train and it saves a whole load of miles getting to Folkestone and then from Calais. Portsmouth it is then and what a fab day to sail warm (I was in a t shirt) and so far the sea is flat and calm. We aim to stay in Caen over night as we don’t get in till about 9.30 and then head for Spain ‘tut suite’ so we can get to a campsite to settle in for Christmas and perhaps the New Year. Aiming to then go free ‘Airing’ then on. As always time will tell as we are beginning to realise that we change our plans as quickly as we make them.
Four days of packing, dismantling, loading, un-loading, cleaning and a final two car dash full of boxes and essentials for our life on the road and we are now officially homeless. Cash rich and property poor for the first time in our lives.Emotional farewells to neighbours with a vow to meet up again.
It dosn’t feel real at the moment -NO HOME! and no house in the planning for the foreseeable future. Presently camped up at Mum and Dads using their caravan for a couple of nights till we pick up Catori tomorrow. The contents of our life all boxed up and in the lockup garage or Dads spare room. We hope that Catori will become our comfortable new home. A house is just a house if its not made into a home and there is no reason why a motor’HOME’ can not be as homely as a house
Its been a whirlwind 5 months from conception and the thought of being able to live the dream on April 5th to it actually happening September 1st – Quite exhausted! One last push on Friday and Saturday to move everything out into storage and then officially non home owners! Hopefully me + best bud Steve + our son Ryan + 7.5 ton tailgate truck = a 1 day move even thought its going to 5 different places.
When we collect Catori it will be a quick visit to the Verwood site where we did our work experience for two nights, on to Oxford for a couple of nights and then the North Norfolk coast for a week or so – time to relax unwind and start thinking of where to go in Europe if we are not required to work for the Camping and caravanning club for a month or two first.
Back Ache? – Well we are now the proud renters of a lock up garage, suitably pelleted out and now even with carpet as a safe (hopefully) place to store some of our wordily possessions as well as storing the most valuable and prized ones at Angie’s Dads. Removal van booked – motorhome insurance purchased and most of the house in boxes marked with M – Motorhome, F – France, S- storage. There are far too many M’s.
Heart Ache ? Angie came home from work today with a final leave date of Thursday 25th August – she is then officially un-employed / retired until we hear something from the camping and caravanning club with hopefully a job offer. Sad in a way excited in another.
Brain Ache? – oh my god two weeks on Friday we actually move out of the home we have had for 13 years and out of bricks and mortar for the foreseeable future. We have still got so much to do – I am sure it will be fine but despite us thinking and believing that it is the best thing to do it is still very un-nerving.
HOLIDAY BOOKED HOWEVER – that will keep our mind off of the sadness of leaving – hopefully.
After a wonderful afternoon with my Best mate Steve his gorgeous wife Nat and their two lovely kids Danny and Georgia (and a morning to get over the hangover) Packing is the order of the day. We have a four bedroom house to pack up and store in one single bedroom of Angie’s Dads house and a single garage – yet to be sourced. I feel the next 5 weeks will be busy.
“EXCHANGED”!!!! Yep just over 12 hours ago my brilliant and talented solicitor rang to say that she could not believe it, but she had just made us homeless. For a very brief moment we had that awful sinking feeling of “what have we done” – it lasted but a few moments as it was immediately superseded buy the euphoria of “OMG it is actually going to happen.”
On Tuesday 30th August 2016 we will officially become homeless, and for the first time in our life together Angie and I will not own a property.
At 10a.m on 1st September 2016 we will collect our motor-home “Catori Halona” and the dream will become a reality. A 10 day holiday in her somewhere in the U.K will follow (no fixed agenda, locations or even where to go planned yet- how laid back is that) and then back to work on 12th until the end of September for Gids, living from the motor-home. We will probably go back to the campsite in Verwood we did our two day work experience at for the first couple of nights to say Hi to Richard Angela Andy and Lorraine who were so nice to us, and then just head off into the yonda for the first time. Cant wait.
Our buyers now have their mortgage offer and we hope to exchange in the next week or two as their solicitor seems to have the belief that if it takes longer it looks as though they have done something for their money. Cant grumble though, 3 weeks from offer we are nearly ready to exchange. They popped round today to have a final look prior to exchanging – lovely young couple with a sweet little daughter we hope and trust that they fit in with the neighbors. We are sure they will. Spoke about completion dates – 30th or 31st August seems to be agreeable to us all, that means a month or two working from the motor-home.
So anyway I was at work on Saturday and the regional support manager from the camping and caravanning club rings up and asks if we could start any earlier than spring 2017 as they may have some vacancies that need filling for a couple of months from October and if so would we be interested. We had planned to work till beginning of November but if two months work was available from the C&C Club this would mean we could start what we want to do earlier and actually earn a bit more and save on site fees – win win. This could be just the ticket to earn a few more pennies to allow us to have a better first tour or even pay for the expense of getting us up and running in our motor-home that we have called …. Continue reading Were coming Catori Halona.→