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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Wolverhampton ... Gateway to the South

Settling down to life in a yard surrounded by RVs http://www.signaturemotorhomes.com/.

Here is a link for our new RV http://www.acemotorhome.com/overview.php ours is the graphite version with stoney island interior!

We're quite impressed with Wolverhampton so far. Ventured into the city centre yesterday where everyone seems to be very amiable. Whilst waiting on a bench outside BHS Mr H made a new friend who offered to share his can of special brew with him :) Queued for ever for an egg sandwich and a nice 'kipper tie' in the M&S cafe but after the long wait we were not as disappointed as the couple in front of us when they found that the 'Dine in for 2 for £10' offer was not available!

Finding our way around, have discovered the local swimming pool where we have been granted a free 7-day pass and so are able to scrub our bits in relative comfort. About to go on a Slade trek to discover the birthplace of Noddy & co, he-he thanks Mike.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Oh bugger! We need to utilise plan B....

Well, we finally set off from York after furious locker-packing activity, having to dismantle a soaking wet gazebo, chairs and various cushions in the gentle but persistant rain. Mr H stubbornly working in his pj's refusing to shower and dress until all tasks were completed to his exacting standards. What am I doing? Well after dressing, I'm applying make-up and straightening my hair. I throw a few towels into the cupboards to stop things rattling about and smile!  We transported the soaking stuff  in the shower cubicle onboard as wet items are not permitted in the sacred lockers! Ironically, we eventually set off in glorious sunshine for Cornwall, via Wolverhampton and Bath as per plan A. Mr H determined to complete the trip in one go whereas I like to stop every hour on the hour for a fag, coffee and lavvy. We compromise and stop every hour lol.

You may recall we were calling in to Signature Motorhomes for them to investigate a 'knocking' sound in the rear wheel. As we trundled down to Wolverhampton via the A38 the 'knocking' got decidedly worse. Mr H needed reassurance at times but we arrived safely albeit noisily. The lads from Signature swarmed around the bus, bending and listening while trotting alongside as she was driven at a snail pace in the forecourt. They boarded and drove her out of the yard. I watched her bumping and rolling away with her rear mud skirt swinging, driven by someone else and I was aware of a sudden lump in my throat. On their return we were told 'it's the diff', the diagnosis delivered like a death sentence (heads shaking and the dreaded sharp intake of breath). Not sure what it is but dam sure it will be expensive and no mechanic available for 2 weeks!

As you can imagine this knocked us back a bit because we were booked in to a site in Cornwall from Saturday. We wandered aimlessly around the yard for a while mulling things over when we stumbled across a shiny new RV. Mmmm... basically, one test-drive later we decided to treat ourselves and part-exchanged our injured RV for a 29' Thor ACE! To be fair we had been considering this one for a while and 'the diff' going was the clincher. I guess problems are going to crop up along the way, shit happens as they say, just didn't expect it this early. So as we come to terms with the loss of our first RV (she has already been sold to someone in Switzerland who was sent 20 plus photos of her!) and as a mark of respect to her we try not to display the excitement and smattering of smugness we feel about our brand spanking new RV complete with slide-out and electric awning in which we can travel with confidence.

Following some negotiations, handshakes and instructions re pitching in the yard Mr H and I retire to the local pub for a meal and a beer. We discuss the bizarre and at times stressfull events of our day, checking we have done the right thing for us both and laughing at the series of events, ending up agreeing that men are from mars and women are most definately from venus! We diligently plan/list all the phone calls/emails we need to action in the morning to re arrange our booked pitches, hire car and expectant relatives! What a day, followed by very little sleep I relive the highs and lows, it beats working for living any day.  

So a few coppers lighter we're now taking an unanticipated break in sunny Wolverhampton for a couple of weeks. The guys at Signature have been great, letting us pitch up in their yard in the old RV whilst the new one is prepared and everyone else has been very accommodating re postponing our arrangements. Update to follow :)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Ablutions and day trips..........

We continue to say our farewells to family and friends but I think the time to move on is fast approaching. Why you may ask? Well, Mr H and I are starting to develop some bizarre habits and routines. Let's get this over with and talk bodily functions. Showering is best done by stealth under cover of darkness, avoiding the minor obstacles of ducks, low level shrubbery, the pond on the left and the ground works for the new shower block on the right. Like many motor home owners we have agreed our toilet is for decoration purposes only (we have discussed and agreed an emergency policy but hope never to implement this) so we use the communal facilities which are cleaned each morning by a most pleasant young chap who wears his headphones at all times and greets you with a cheery "g'day".  Timing is of the essence as there are only 2 gender-specific cubicles available for the whole site, so we try and avoid the cleaner and peak times by adopting a rigorous monitoring schedule of our fellow campers. However, this poses a significant challenge as the buggers keep leaving to be replaced by others on site every few days.

You may find this hard to believe but occasionally we need a diversion from this absorbing pastime so sometimes we don lycra leggings, fluorescent jackets and coordinating helmets to bike into town or if we feel like being tourists we take the bus and join the throng enjoying the local attractions, coffee shops and of course a pub or two. 

Within the RV, Mr H and I have slipped into a form of telepathic manoeuvring to avoid collisions and acknowledge rights of way rather like the wonderful breakfast routine of Morecambe and Wise, utilising low voltage appliances of course.

So the car goes to the dealers on Tuesday and we're on our way Thursday!!!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Au revoirs and moonlight manoeuvres ....

So we continue to prepare mentally and physically for our big adventure when we leave our pitch and head south to Cornwall in two weeks time. This will be the furthest we've travelled away from family and friends so I'll feel we've actually started, a tiny bit scared but excited as well. Yesterday I found myself saying "no dramas" just like the advert to my eldest daughter as we hugged. I choked back the tears as did she and we will hug again when we visit at Christmas. So how does Mr H cope on our return to the RV at 9'ish on a clear moonlight night? No deep and meaningful exploration of emotions here just the construction of a gazebo with perfect angles and optimal guy-rope tension to boot. We light the candles and sit under the canopy to admire his handiwork when we are visited by a charming couple from Newcastle returning from the pub who were very keen to hear of our plans and suggested a couple places to stay in France. However we can't remember either of these so if by chance they remember our blog address can they please remind us? :)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The transition to full timers continues....

I am convinced (hints of paranoia) that everyone on this site thinks we are nutters and look upon us as the odd couple to be avoided at all cost. So why do I think this, maybe it's because this morning Mr H eagerly collects his fishing gear from various lockers and vacates the RV while I clean the inside of the bus, happily shake the mats, peg out washing (yes I have a rotary washing line) and vacuum the interior while all around us chill, chat and sit watching me do my chores. Mr H and I witness the comings and goings of all manner of people who are here for a few days holiday whereas we are ensconced on our semi-permanent pitch with our windbreak and wheel covers proudly in place! I have now become accustomed to people stopping outside to stare at the RV and us eating at our dining table when they walk their dog. I can only presume it is in admiration as one such person said to Mr H this morning " It's smashing that, ai'nt it lovely" and I received a comment of "I am so jealous" as I sat outside enjoying the late evening sun. So on reflection I feel that I need to stand back occasionally, appreciate our beautiful bus and stop worrying about how we look to others. Some of the best features of our new lifestyle are about enjoying each day as it comes and embracing the culture we find ourselves in.

Monday, 1 August 2011

A new chapter

We've gone and done it. House and possessions (at least most of them) sold! It's scary letting go of years worth of stuff, 23 pairs of shoes, endless clothes that don't fit or see the light of day and several tons of cutlery! If we don't wear it or use it, it goes. Surprising how we hang on to things that gather dust. Mr H summed it up perfectly as I became tearful in the mayhem of emptying our home of loved possessions, quote " the only thing that really matters in this house is you". So 30+ boxes given to family and the RV getting the cream of the crop, we're done. 

We are pitched on a site near York. http://www.yorkcaravanpark.com/ adults only, temporary showers (although they are good) and on-site fishing. I have managed to clean the RV roof, god knows what our fellow campers thought as I climbed onto the roof in swimwear with Mr H up his stepladders, topless with hosepipe ready to spray off the foam and me! I have become more at ease in the 'suicide seat', that's the one on the right in the cabin who's role is to look right and say "clear now GO GO GO" then "NO NO NO" when the nutters wearing hats while driving come out of nowhere straight towards me. I am duty rattle adjustment coordinator and Mr H has developed a new set of habits over the past few months including repetitive locker sorting, windbreak and gazebo erection to order (subject to wind conditions) and drainage pipe adjustment.

Spending time with family and friends now before we embark on the next phase of our journey.