Non-van life, part 2

I feel so disappointed.

Homer is still not fixed.

This weekend it’s been 11 weeks since he broke down; a cold snow covered March morning on the Downs in Bristol.

Green Flag tried to fix it, but couldn’t. So they moved him to a garage of our chose. They spent somewhere around 5 weeks trying to discover what was wrong .. also with no luck. We did change a few bits though, which they thought might do the job, but no.
Enough is enough; give us a bill and we’ll take it elsewhere. We felt like they were just getting paid by wasting our time, guessing at different things there could be wrong.

Have you ever had this feeling?

So off to another garage who is a bit more electronic savvy. However they wanted to spent 15 hours (at £75/h) to unpack the whole engine to really get in there and see what’s wrong. In this 15 hours was also included packing it back together again, but not the time for sorting out what they might find. (!) So we kindly said no thank you and looked around for refurbished engines instead. These guys looked around for us as well, but only found places that was way more expensive.
We found a good fair priced one in Bedfordshire. So 6 weeks in, its now in their hands. We’ve agreed a set price, but payment will happen once it’s finished! They told us it should take 10 working days. That’s their usual turnaround time.

So we moved in to some church friends of ours for 1 week. This was our 2nd place to stay, as the first one was asking for rent, and we felt like we couldn’t actually afford that as well as this massive garage bill. And then we spent the other week in Denmark. A flight trip that was booked a while ago. Over to see the new nephew. This was mentioned in my previous post, see it here, if your interested.

3rd house was planned and booked in before we left for DK, from Monday to Thursday we told them, as that’s when Jonny would be able to go up (via a lift) and collect the van (if it’s finished).

However Wednesday comes around, and we manage to get in contact with this garage, but it’s not finished. So lift is not needed and we have to ask the house if we can stay a bit longer.. but who knows how long?

Looking at train tickets, the cheapest one around was around £70-80 (for a single!!). Too expensive for us. So Spilt Ticketing to the rescue! It’s a ticket buying website that base the prices on many separate journeys. As if you bought each section on the train or train station, like in the olden days. This came to a total of £25. Much better. So tickets booked for Sat the following week.

However, can you guess what happens?? That’s right, it’s not ready!!

~ Until the next update ~

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 ~

Fireworks

I don’t like fireworks. This is what I’m going to talk about today. 

Today is ‘Remember remember the 5th of November’. Which is known as ‘Guy Fawkes Day’ or ‘Bonfire Night’. You might all know the story of Guy Fawkes and the men who wanted to kill King James 1 and his parliament members to restore England back to being Catholic. If you didn’t know the story, here’s a synopsis..
They planned to blow up the parliament with gunpowder, on this day, because every MP and the king would be present together. So Guy Fawkes placed and stayed with the gunpowder until they were ready to get started. But the plan got rumbled and they were all caught. A member of the team had a friend working in the parliament, so he sent him a letter warning to stay away on the 5 November 1605. But the Kings men got hold of the letter and then searched the whole building and found Fawkes in the under croft of the parliament. 

This event was from then on commemorated every year. But not during the war! It was thought that indoors celebration was better to avoid being seen by the enemy. So hand sparklers was used. Until 1959 it was even Illegal Not to celebrate this failed murder attempt. But it’s still being celebrated today. My question is: Why? 
But I just don’t like fireworks. And there are a few actual reasons to go with it. These are my options, and it’s gonna sound like a total kill-joy. You are free to love fireworks as you did before you read this. Don’t mind me. And don’t get me wrong if I’m already standing by a window that has a good view I will watch for a minute or two. 

In no particular order at all: 

  1. It’s all basically the same. You go uhh – ahh – wow, but when you’ve been watching for a few minutes, it’s not gonna change much. 
  2. It leaves a cloudy mist in the sky around you. Sort of like pollution. Messy. 
  3. The little wooden sticks are left all over the streets. Also messy. 
  4. They Are Dangerous! I have heard so many stories of kids playing with this and loosing their fingers. In the news the other day was the little girl who got her neck burnt because it got court in her scarf.
  5. I was ‘chased’ by a fireworks when I was younger. Either a fountain that came off and went after me, or maybe a ground spinner. It was very uncomfortable. 
  6. Dogs and other pets get frightened. And babies get disturbed in their sleep.
  7. You are basically blowing up money. Shooting it up to the sky for a moment of – wow. 

This pretty much sums it up why I won’t be going out tonight to a bonfire event. Or yesterday.
And yes, my opinions are the same for New Years Eve. 

Enjoy yourself. And stay safe!

Ps. Guy Fawkes was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered on 31st of Jan 1606, but fell off the scaffold shortly before his execution and broke his neck, there by avoiding the painful process there were to follow. If you’d like to read more here’s a link to Wikipedia. 
We’re also going to watch the new BBC show about this ‘Gunpowder plot’.

Gwithian, Cornwall

It’s a bit like being at a silent retreat. No one talks to each other (unless you’re friends and came together). I mean I don’t know if it’s the same all over, but this is just my first impression. We arrived here to Gwithian farm Friday afternoon. This morning (Sat) I went to do the washing up at the communal washing up sinks. But no one said hi. There were smiles and nods – but no sound. Even to the extent that the couple who were next to me at the sinks, where walking back up as I was walking down again cuz I forgot something, were laughing together and then stopped as they saw me and gave me funny looks. I don’t know what was going on; if they were actually talking and laughing about me, or just thought it better to be quiet when walking past a stranger on a campsite ?!

But later in the day it seemed better to me. Especially when I had Casper with me. He makes people smile, so they say hi.

We’re gonna be here for a whole week. So will see if it gets better.

***UPDATE***

I never saw those people again. And from there mostly everybody was nice and spoke to me. But like I said, when a kid is with you people smile, and sometimes laugh.

A bit more about our story

We used to live in a Christian community house connected to Woodland Church in Bristol for almost 4 years. Really enjoyed it. Got to know a lot of people over the years. Have counted that we’ve lived with 18 different people. It’s a 7 bedroom house.

1277278_10151913911681457_1846752526_o

During this last year we started to feel a stirring happen for us. Should we root up and move to Denmark as a family? Lou is from DK so her family would very much like it, if we went there to live. But at least 6 months past, and we never got a proper sense what would be the right thing to do. So we decided to stay. Might have been “the easy choice”. As we wouldn’t have to root up relationships and say goodbye and move all our stuff. Find new jobs. A place to live. And start to build new relationships to fit in and feel like we’d belong.

But as we had already given up our room at the Shrub (that’s the house name), to give it to another couple expecting a child, we couldn’t really move back in. Or rather we could, but it would be to a smaller room. And then we’d have to pay rent again. Who wants that?!
– You see we had bought a van, for easy weekend get away’s and to transport costumers bicycles for Jonny’s bike repair business. A blue VW T4. Jonny did it up, from a builders van. Took around 2 months and then it was ready. Ready enough. So we decided to sleep out in the van, give up our big room, but still keep the little room for Casper and to have our clothes and stuff somewhere inside. So we stopped paying rent to our landlord, but still paid money into the house account for bills and food. This happened end of Sep/ beginning of October 2016.
When April came around, we had decided to stay.  And the landlord had made strong hints that we couldn’t keep up this arrangement of not living in the house, but still kinda living there. We had been telling people “we live at the Shrub, but sleep out in our van”. So we had to make another choice. We went for it and bought a different van. A bigger one. A gray Fiat Ducato Maxi. This was a much better choice as we can actually stand up in it. The other one we wouldn’t be able to live in. Could have put a pop-up roof in it, but even then that wouldn’t be enough space. We joked that we VW could actually drive into this one and fit comfortably.

In June we gave our notice and 7th of July we were out. From there we went straight to a campsite with our friends the Bee’s to test it out and call ourselves nomads.

So this is the ‘quick’ overview of why we are in this van. There are more nuances and deeper stories within this, and we might share in later posts along the way.

Please stay with us and follow along. Comment with questions or remarks. Are we crazy or would you love to do the same one day?

Davids Tent.. https://www.davidstent.net/event-2017/

We’re off to this festival of worship this weekend.. Excited and curious to see how God shows up..

**

Turns out he didn’t for Jonny. Though I had some nice encounters with God and met some nice new people. And Casper had fun riding on the bike. – So much better this way than with a buggy over the lumpy grass.. !

jtcas

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?