Sunday, 7 February 2010

And so it began...

Well, we've gone and done it. After years of sitting beside each other on long car journeys bemoaning the lack of adventure in our lives, we have now embarked on something we hope will be big, fulfilling and fun.
And Charlie dog is coming too.

We are going to travel around Europe for about a year in a smallish motorhome. Planning began a while ago, before Rob took redundancy, Charlie got a pet passport or I resigned my teaching job.

While each of those was a step along the journey for us, what made it seem really real (yes, that was deliberate) was picking up the van from Banbury last Sunday.

The van handover took about two hours and we made copious notes, none of which made any sense 30 minutes later as we struggled to work out how to get the gas on for our first cup of tea. Then Rob managed to get the carpet muddy as he came in from stomping around in frustration by the gas locker. So, after one carefull owner, our spotless van has already been trashed by ourselves, and that's before Charlie has given it his own post-Pollock mud splash effects. I'm still banking on my theory of house security working for the van too. If it already looks like it's been done, who else will bother us?

I have to admit, the van looked massive parked outside our house, and Rob keeps sighing and muttering about how big it is, but I just can't see how we could possibly live in anything smaller for a year. After all, Charlie dog is coming along too, and even a medium sized border collie/springer spaniel cross takes up a bit of room.

We took my sister on a tour of the van via a Skype link by carrying the laptop outside and sat in it for a while, ruminating on the amount of space and where all the blasted cushions, that make up the bed, could live.

Rob put the van to bed the next day in a nearby lock up storage facility until we have time to use it during the February half term. Until then I have to visualise where I will pack all the stuff we're going to need. The cushions are causing me some concern though.

When we bought the van the bed was laid out and I sort of assumed that the cushions would all pack away neatly into ready made spaces. They don't. Two of them do, but another two seem to have to reside in the over-cab space and I had plans for that. The spare cushion that makes up the single bed has no apparent home, though Charlie was eyeing it up. I'd be tempted to leave it behind, but you never know when you might need to kick your husband into the spare room do you? My thoughts are running to sewing a large waterproof bag in some kind of PE kit fabric and putting those three cushions, and the two others that do have a home, into the shower room. After all, we won't be using that for large parts of the day and when we need to we can take the bag out. This should give us space to keep our bedding in and free up the overhead cab for clothing.

So I'm sitting at the computer a lot, searching the internet for van bits. We need a step, a hose, a bucket and some way of attaching European gas bottles. We need to learn about the electrics, hooking up, not blowing fuses and reverse polarity. I've got to get a travel harness for Charlie and find out which campsites are open in Wales next weekend.

Roll on half term.

I am insisting that we travel there via the largest camping shop we can find en-route, if only to get something to go on the floor so that Rob and Charlie can't trash it again.

Oh, and I almost forgot, we've got to hoover the van carpets before we go!


  1. Very excited, having just come across your blog
    We are planninmg on doing the same thing maybe this year maybe next depends on work.
    I wish you both all the very best, hats off to you for taking the step, it seems to be the hardest bit for us at the moment!
    Such a life changing adventure. We'll be following your blog closely. Have a great time

  2. Hello Mrs Hale,
    I hope you don't mind that I have signed up to 'follow' you, but seeing as though Megs was one of the children that cried when you told your class that you were leaving, I thought she would love to see how you are going on your travels. I bet she would just love to tell all the children in 4H what you are getting up to! lol
    Would you mind letting me know if this is OK with you before we 'spring' the surprise on her?
    Thank you & here's hoping to a safe and very enjoyable journey of a lifetime.