It seems that I breached all blogging etiquette. Having grown a faithful following of people who were interested in our adventures, I went quiet. I hadn’t realised that people wanted to know the continuing story. I thought the fascination was all in the project…but it seems that many thought otherwise.
Our summer continued to be a great success. The van was everything that we’d hoped it to be – and more. It gave us the freedom to be flexible, it gave us a sense of identity and ‘home’, it became a place into which to escape (when the socialising got too much!), it released us from the endless packing and unpacking, and it gave my head a rest (mums, have you ever realised just how many brain cells you use up every time you leave the house packing everything you need for each child? When you carry everything you own everywhere you go, you are mercifully released from this task).
It was a place to enjoy food and drink:
(We particularly loved the fact that we could have our own brew at service stations – saving time and money. One could make the tea while the other did toilet trips with the kids.)
It was a place for fun:
It was a place to collapse with a good book:
It was a place to enjoy the atmosphere:
(We went to Sidmouth Folk Festival and I enjoyed cooking dinner in the van whilst the kids ran around on the grass and I listened to live music through the window – “Danny Boy” never sounded so sweet, or so fitting for our gypsy lifestyle!)
And it was AWESOME fun to drive!
All in all, it was just awesome fun and solved many of the challenges that we’ve experienced in summers past.
Last week we left the comfort of driveways for some proper campervan living. After staying with my best friend’s family and parents up North, we stayed on our first campsite outside Otley. It was so lovely to see the kids experiencing things that I enjoyed as a kid – to watch them running around the campsite with other kids, doing the washing up, buying fresh eggs in the morning.
We then spent a few nights on a site that wasn’t quite so nice while we visited family in County Durham, and dealt with wind and rain and cold!
Today we met up with good friends in Tynemouth and had a great evening messing around on the beach and enjoying fish and chips. As it was getting late we decided to stay over here and found a car park that seemed happy for vans to stay. We have the company of a couple more. Though it seems that the local ‘cruising’ yoof could be joining us for a few hours! The thud of bass music could be lulling us to sleep!
We came back to Hitchin last week for my sister-in-law’s wedding. The kids had special roles to play:
One of the wedding verses that we had at our wedding was Romans 12, which includes the instruction to practice hospitality. You’d think it wouldn’t be possible to host people in a campervan that’s crowded with 5, but we managed it.
Last week Nana met us in Street and joined us for lunch. This weekend, on the morning after the wedding Grandma came knocking and was invited in for breakfast. Then half an hour later, Ben’s cousin and her daughter came over. We made tea for the visitors (though they had to bring their own cups) and the kids played in their bed pods for a good half hour, colouring and making cards.
It was so lovely showing friends and relatives round the van and having people over. It was a reminder that the van is serving the purpose that we intended for it – it’s our home and the kids are loving the space and having people to share it with them.
OK, so maybe 5 people in a van isn’t quite the dream…but we’re having fun. We’ve enjoyed the flexibility of mealtimes – we’ve had breakfast in Tesco’s car park, having just bought it, and lunch in the car park at Street. We’ve decided to stay over at friends’ houses having visited them that evening (we’re very thankful for hospitable and flexible friends), and we always have everything that we need with us – which, given the nature of British weather, is very useful.
Bedtimes are becoming a bit of a challenge as Miriam wants to talk to the other kids rather than sleep, but the big kids have been opting to spend naptime in their pods.
The pace has got a bit too much for Miriam at times, so we’re having a few chill days with Nana.
Asher and Ben are keeping a check on the engine.
Yesterday Ben got the water pump working and the gas connected. There’s still other bits and bobs to add and tinker with, but so far we’re enjoying the freedom, flexibility and familiarity of the van.
It felt like it would never happen…but we finally packed up and moved this morning. Last minute jobs were still being completed this morning – last bits of our bed, securing the kitchen worktop etc.
Then of course there was the split hose to mend. Bernard drove to Dunstable this morning to collect a new part and he and Ben were able to fit it.
Meanwhile, I could get on with the business of packing up the van.
The kids were very excited to test out their bed pods.
And Bernard was keen to test out the seating!
The kids were eager to leave after lunch and seem happy with their seating arrangements.
So much so that they’d completely made it their own space by the end of the journey!
We even stopped off for a dinner of left over Chinese on the way to Somerset.
There was rather a lot of drama at bedtime as you might imagine. But they’re all asleep. So we’ll see what tomorrow brings!
Posted in Campervan
Tagged day 13
You know the closer that you get to the end of a job, the more there is to do? It’s like when you’re climbing a hill, you think you’re nearly at the summit, but the nearer you get, the further it still seems to be…
We are getting tons of stuff done, but there are still so many bit that need to be finished.
The kitchen pod was pretty much completed this evening (although the gas is still to be connected). So that was worktop cut and fitted, sink/cooker unit fitted, doors rehung, splashback reattached.
We had another lovely helper today who gave 3 hours of his time to move us along.
A late night job from yesterday – tucking the wires behind the window
An original wall unit that’s been rehung
The massive setback, however, was our discovery this morning that there is a split in the coolant hose. So we were unable to drive for our meeting as planned. Still, the new part should arrive at 9am tomorrow. We were meant to be on the move tomorrow, so I’m not sure how everything will work out.
Posted in Campervan
Tagged day 12
Ben is still outside working away with the electrician friend on the list of electrical jobs.
The thing with electrics is that you can’t really see them, so they don’t make for good pictures. These sockets have been fitted:
(Poor quality pic, sorry. It’s quite dark out there!!)
The fridge now works, and some other stuff. They’re working on the inverter, the water pump, and making everything work on 12V and 240V. Like I say, boring but essential. All progress…but still plenty to finish off! 🙈🙈