Non-van life

Our beloved, trustworthy Homer is off the road at the moment. Has been for the past 6 week. Something about the engine – as it just won’t start. This began in the first round of the snow storms. But now it’s warmer it’s still not starting..

So, we’ve been back in a house since 3rd of March.. this is a weird feeling. So many stairs! But the community house, where we lived before, have been amazing to let us stay for this long. Having Casper with us as well, I’m sure it’s not always amazing for other people to listen to his moaning and whining.. But they have survived and we’re now at another house. Church friends of ours, who live near St. Andrew’s park. That is so lovely and it’s such a nice house. Again, we’re on the top floor. So walking up two flights of stairs to get to our room, helps to keep us active. Me, being 6 months pregnant though, I find it a bit hard work..

But anyway, we’re off to Denmark on Monday 16th for a week. Casper has a cousin we’re going to see. Should be nice. Also good for him to see and be with a baby a bit more, hopefully it will get him a bit used to his baby brother arriving at some point end of July. And Homer should be back and ready to roll again when we get back. Just need to get to Bedford, to pick him up. That’s where the new refurbished engine is being replaced. But we have another friend who’s driving to Cambridge on a Thursday morning anyways, and it’s kinda on the way — so really nice timing for us.

Living at Jeff and Jeanette’s, though, is such a luxury.

  • There’s a dishwasher, and Jeanette likes to fill it, cuz if we’ve done it wrong, she’d take it out and do it again anyway. So she just asked that we place the dishes by the sink.
  • We have our own bathroom with a jacuzzi! And a nice big shower. They have an en-suit with their bedroom.
  • We’ve been cooked for 3 out of 5 evenings.
  • Our room has a big sky light. And the bed is big enough to fit us all in. Casper starts off on his own little mattress on the floor, but sure enough semi-wakes up and comes in with us. He’s still sleepy, so usually just goes straight back to sleep.

So all in all, we’ve enjoyed it. But we are looking forward to getting back inside of Homer.

When we get back from the airport on Monday 23rd (still need to organise a lift), we’ll be in a third place until Thursday when Jonny can get to pick up Homer. Extended holiday time, I suppose. There’s always a way to look at life with a positive view.

~ Until the next update ~

Big Trip Planning

Sunny Thursday morning in the WorkHouse Cafe. Thursdays have become “date morning” for me and Lou as Casper the Great is now in Nursery School thursdays and Fridays. Van life allows us to do this..Working less allows us to do this..we find ourselves increasingly time rich, if sometimes cash poor. But not too poor for a nice brekkie!

 

7months into our vanlife adventure on the streets of Bristol and the surrounding West Country has brought several revelations. The first is that we have achieved total sanity and everyone else is insane. Ok, a BIT of a sweeping statement but I do feel like its brought about several moments of clarity relating to why we work and the implications attached to effectively selling our time to an employer until we retire. I’m increasingly convinced that the model we instil in our children is wrong with the exception of ‘learning a trade ‘, which was the advice my dear old gran gave me when i was much younger and failed to heed until relatively recent times. We do need skills to enable us to generate an income but after that we are strongly encouraged to ‘get a good job’, ‘Get on the housing ladder’, ‘prepare for retirement’. Surely the life that Jesus calls us to , surely it must be more than this. 🙁

In response to this we have decided that a search must take place, a radical departure from the norm, part of which we have already completed. Urban van life is fun and challenging and results in more than a few questions about how you go to the toilet..crazy huh?..of all the questions..anyway we feel like its only part of the answer and with child no.2 well on the way we needed to rethink life in a van. ‘Surely you’ll move out of the van?’ Has been quite common, but whilst we initially panicked we have calmed down and remain committed to the original vision..with a bit of a tweak. Currently our plan is to wait until November (baby due end of July), then head to Southern Europe for the winter. After that, who knows..ill try to be a bit more like my friend Mark who advises to just ‘follow the wind’..not to make too many plans and see what life presents us. So we may be a way for a year, following the wind and seeing what surprises lay in store. I’m totally convinced that this is the right thing to do. British society is becoming unbearable with its drive towards ever increasing work hours , desperate drive to increase productivity, less time at home and more time at work..all for what? To make someone else wealthy while we sacrifice our very existence to them for money. I can’t be part of this insanity any more. When I work, from now on, it will benefit me and those around me first. We will take portable skills with us on our journey and work when we need to, hopefully working for ourselves.

So come on November! A lot to organise before then but it’ll be fun.

It’s not all stunning scenes and beaches.. (thanks Big Daddy Steve..)

I was reminded this morning at Blokes Prayer, that indeed the van life must be somewhat less than a Sunday Colour Supplement experience at times.. With this in mind and the impending ritual of emptying the chemical loo looming, I thought I’d share some visual comments on said life.. Minus the chemical loo.. 

Lack of shoe storage.. 

Nowhere to hide washing up..

Lack of wardrobe space.. Or no wardrobe as I like to call it.

But it’s still awesome.. ☺️<<<<<<<

The Jam Pot and Back again.. 

Time on our own is precious, and yet somehow I felt like I needed permission to seek it.. Lovely Lou was obliging and so I set off to see the sea on this pooh style blustery day..

Amazing surf and four crazy windsurfers on the beach;I set off for coffee and cake as promised by the blurb on the campsite recommendations.. Off to the Jam Pot Café, an repurposed ancient circular coastguards hut.. Not disappointed.. Seriously where can you get a large mug of coffee and the world’s nicest lemon drizzle cake.. And I Mean a huge slice,   plus an awesome view for £3.80..certainly not in Bristol!

I kicked off my sandals and Sat determined to relax and take my time.. Why is that so difficult?.. Stopping is hard. I did My best but the call of the beach was too loud even over the rushing wind. I hit the sand still with sandals in my hands and set off down the beach, running parallel with the high crumbly cliffs, stacks and caves. Finally the cliffs descend like a staircase into the sand dunes, providing a safer way back to the van, across the dunes past strange plants plentiful rabbit droppings and mossy grass(must wash feet later). I remember reading an article last week about the benefits of walking barefoot.. I mean this is not new age  bull, scientists are saying walking barefoot connects us to the earth, reduces stress, keeps us healthy, helps to promote weight loss, hair growth and reverses the aging process.. Possibly.

An amazingly powerful squall barrelled up behind me on the dunes and suddenly I was soaked.. Head for the van.. Warmth, a loving greeting for the weary traveller..memories stored of cake and caves and barefoot wanderings.

Saturday 19/8/17

img_0023Today we met our neighbors. Three other vans around us on the Downs. Shortly after meeting them, we decided to move the van. But not because of them, we had talked about it before we met them. Might be nicer to have the door open straight out to the grass so Casper doesn’t have to cross the road first.

We were in front of the green one.

We also went via the house briefly to check our mail, and collected jam.
Jonny wanted to make jam, so we collected free wild blackberries when we saw some.

In the mail was the Homer sticker we had ordered from Germany (or was it Denmark?). But it finally arrived and now it’s on the van. Wanna see?

img_0023.jpg
It’s quite apt: he’s not carrying clothes or anything with him. And we’re trying to be as light as possible. But we’re not embarrassed about this lifestyle. People might not agree or even understand. But we’re all different and like our things in a certain way. Maybe we can still be friends anyway?