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Sunday, 24 July 2011

The story so far......

OK.... setting the scene is harder than I thought but the starting place has to be why we are doing this. We all have dreams, some achievable and some not. 'We' being Mr H and I. We met and married whilst young, became young grandparents and have been fortunate enough to retire at an early age. We have always taken bold decisions, shit or bust but always having a plan B. We have designed and built a beautiful home whilst working full-time, studying at university and supporting each other, family and friends through life's trials, joys and grief, so this should be a walk in the park. Life throws you a curve ball sometimes and the catalyst for our adventure was experiencing the loss of both a loved parent and a life long close friend before he could enjoy his retirement. The caricature on my profile is a piece of art work created by this friend to mark the retirement of Mr H's father in the 80's. The word peregrination was the last crossword puzzle answer Mr H senior was able to complete with Mr H, it means a long journey and it is very poignant and personal to us. For many years we had thought about travelling through Europe in a motor home when the time was right and now seems as good a time as any. So we are selling our cherished home and possessions and have convinced ourselves we are not leaving family and friends but are just travelling about for a few years.

In November 2010 we found, bought and fell in love with our 15 year old American RV. 33 feet of left-hand drive loveliness.







We stored it through the worst winter in decades but when the snow melted we found the inside was soaked meaning the roof needed replacing and as we were going to be living in it for some time we bit the bullet and decided to have it pimped! In February we had our first overnight stay on board at http://www.marstoncaravanpark.co.uk/ before we delivered her (note the love developing, it has become her) to Signature Motorhomes in Wolverhampton the American RV specialists  to be overhauled inside and out. Bear in mind that Mr H had never driven such a large vehicle before and it was a very windy day, we bounced and rocked along the motorway much to the delight of fellow travellers! We'll call it a sphincter-twitching episode. The next morning we lost our way and at one point in our yelling I was evicted from the RV in a lay-by while Mr H found a route to the workshop. We eventually arrived and left her in Signature's capable hands with a long list of things to be done, picking her up again in April after parting with a hefty wad.

Later that month we had our first three night stay at Ripley Caravan park http://www.ripleycaravanpark.com/ in our pimped and buffed RV. The family visited us to see our RV for the first time and were deployed to help sort the satellite, hook-up and drainage. City water and black/grey waste were still mysteries to us. The site was full of play-areas, children and ducks, but we were far to busy repeatedly sorting storage lockers, trying to remember not to put toilet roll down the toilet (fluids only permitted) and checking the plumbing to sit outside in the sun on this trip, we felt like the virgin RV'rs we were.

In May we visited a posh site in Lincolnshire http://www.donamottparks.com/lakeside-park.aspx for three nights as more seasoned RV'rs. We enjoyed some cycling, fishing, swimming and even went in the steam room, very acceptable!

Our next trip in June was our first RV rally at Belvoir Castle http://www.belvoircastle.com/, beautiful surroundings but no electric hook up or drainage here. However, well-seasoned RV'rs are not fazed by this so I was brave and used the communal toilets and showers with a weak smile and never sat down without covering the whole toilet seat with alcohol gel and tissues. The first two days were not too bad then thousands of people descended on the rally and the toilet and shower blocks would not have looked out of place at Glastonbury. All the waste was on view behind the facilities as too many people were using the disposal units without replacing the covers. Why do children find shit floating in a neon blue effluence so fascinating? As much as I love Mr H and want to throw myself into this venture wholeheartedly the volume of people, rain, and experiencing an ice cold shower that turned my lips and the air blue meant we came home a day early, disappointed but by no means defeated. For a girl used to space, molton brown products and privacy this was a step too far for me. We came to realise we are more than happy on our own in our wonderful RV just pratting about moving things around and organising who has right of way inside the bus!.