A life less complicated

Having reached a crossroads in my life I am choosing to step off the treadmill that is my busy life and take time out to travel.  On October 5th 2017 I shall set off with my Springer Poppy in our motorhome ‘freedombird’ initially to explore the remote beauty of the UK and then – well let’s see……

Time to move in and enjoy our new home…..

I am really quite pleased that we have the time to adjust to our new home before moving on – in my experience it always takes a little while to find new and logical homes for everything. I am also trying to make sure that it will take the minimum amount of time to get us ready for the road and that I have managed the spread of weight correctly to facilitate towing. Gosh I haven’t had to use my grey matter much over these last few months!

Anyhow, this is the view to the front of the caravan, with the fab picture window in the middle, which so drew me to this particular make.

Both sofas are 6ft in length so make adequate twin beds or a huge double- you can’t see in this picture but there is a pull out table on top of the drawers, which serves perfectly as an occasional or table for two, instead of getting out the full dining table if we are entertaining!

This is the kitchen area, with sink, hob, grill, oven, microwave and tall slimline fridge freezer- not a great amount of prep space (but not a great amount required for stuff that goes ping!), however there is quite a lot of space on the cupboard opposite as you can see in the next photo.

Lastly is the washroom, with separate shower, sink, toilet and lots of wardrobe space.

All in all – I’m sure you will agree a tidy little home for a solo traveller and her four legged companion!

Two thoughts of the day:

If you had a house this size (basically the size of an average garage I guess) you would imagine it to be impossible to live in – put it on wheels and it really is incredibly comfy and spacious!

This wind and rain is a bit annoying – have to keep on turning up the telly!

The new dream team…..

Poppydog continues to do well, but the vet decided to leave removal of the staples until Friday – so we are staying put until Saturday. She is still on a very strict minimal exercise regime – so on the sunny side this gives us plenty of time to enjoy, understand and make our own, our new dream team….

Peggy is incredibly comfy, well designed and well insulated. Our first night in her, Saturday, was really windy with gusts up to 64mph (according to BBC weather) and I must confess to have been rather anxious at 5.30am when the wind woke us! I was worried that we might take off and fall off our chocs (wooden blocks- placed under the front steadies to counteract the slope) – but in true British style I just cocooned myself in the duvet on the basis that this would cushion any fall and save me from harm! And so I stayed until Poppydog insisted on going out at about 8am. Throughout this and the last couple of days which have been extremely cold, Peggy has remained warm and toasty, which is brilliant, especially as I had started to feel the cold in the evenings in Birdie, not a lot but enough to get out a fleecy throw whilst watching TV or reading.

There is also a lot more storage space in the Caravan so I even have a few empty cupboards! (That won’t last) and making up the bed, which is the only thing that I was uncertain of (Birdie had a made up drop down bed), takes no time at all – remove the back cushions, turn over the main seat cushion (which has a separate mattress insert, that I leave with a sheet on) and add duvet and pillow from cupboard and we’re done!

The new car, arrived as planned on Monday morning, delivered by Ben, the salesman from County Motors, who happily spent a good half hour or so, showing me how it all worked – so many gadgets and ways to do everything – love it!My favourite feature so far is that you don’t even need to get the key out of your pocket to unlock, lock or start the car! It is also a beautiful drive and so handy to be able to pop to the shops! Oh the freedom!!!!

Two thoughts of the day:

Let the adventure recommence!

Ilfracombe is a bit run down!

And so we have moved to the ‘other’ side….

Poppydog is improving everyday – given half the chance she would have been off without a backward glance today and I think she is putting weight on which is great.

Well this morning we said hello to ‘Peggy’ our new home – yes a deal was finally done.

After much thought we decided that as for 5 months of the year, many of the sites are closed and it is impossible for us to complete our mission to visit as much of the coastline (and many inland areas) as possible in Birdie – we have traded her in against a Bailey Pegasus GT70 caravan and a car (Mazda 3 – arriving Monday). The idea being that we can set up on a site and stay there for a couple of weeks, whilst we explore the surrounding area, both on foot and by using the car to reach a wider area. It also simplifies the process of shopping (unfortunately one of life’s necessities) and running small errands, such as visit the vet etc. (again a necessity every now and then).

So after a very thorough hand over by Giles at Stowford Farm Meadows this morning – we moved over this afternoon- Poppydog was a bit confused to start with but has settled quite happily. We have quite a lot more space and it is so so comfortable and cosy- very happy so far!

It has a motormover (enabling you – well me actually to manoeuvre the caravan by remote control) fitted which is great fun – we performed a scene from Swanlake – beautiful! All we have to do now is tow it!

We shall be on the move on Tuesday as the car gets delivered on Monday and Poppydog is due to be signed off by the vet then as well- so watch this space!

Two thoughts of the day:

We were comfy in Birdie but this is positively luxurious!

Millions of people tow caravans, most of them much bigger than ‘Peggy’, so how hard can it be?..,..

Even had time to read a book…..

I am pleased to write that Poppydog is doing well after her op and eating proper food as opposed to the mop variety, albeit with some rather dramatic difficulty in negotiating the cone she is wearing – to the degree that she has taken to struggling for about 3 seconds and then looking rather pathetically at me until I hold the bowl up for her to eat from!

The cone is a bit of a nightmare for both of us in the confined space of Birdie but Poppydog has become quite good at reversing and flipping her head up to get the cone round a tight corner. For some reason she has taken to sitting immediately behind me with it wedged into the back of my legs whenever I am trying to do anything about the van! Good enough reason to do not a lot apart from read a book and so I did.

I have hundreds of books downloaded on the IPad but sometimes there is no substitute for the real thing and this is one of those.

The only actual book I have on board is ‘The road to Little Dribbling’ by Bill Bryson lent to me by my Dad (who incidentally must have read every travel book, especially about Britain, ever written – I wonder who I get my desire to travel from?).

Well, I did not expect to be so captivated by this book (my normal style is for British crime thrillers). It is absolutely enchanting from cover to cover and I’m not sure what I liked most about it:

  • His erratic wanderings from place to place – very loosely following a line from Bognor Regis in the south (somehow via places like Tintagel in Cornwall and Sherringham in Norfolk) and Cape Wrath in the very north of mainland Scotland.
  • His amazing research in finding little known facts about the most random places and visiting them to see for himself. How on earth to you go about finding information about places you’ve never even heard of?
  • The awesome way he describes the tangents of thoughts he has whilst travelling from place to place and the fact that he invariably follows these up with an array of statistics to prove his point – on such random subjects as Housing, Heathrow’s expansion, the Industrial Revolution – oh and a big bugbear of his the poor use of punctuation and random capitalisation! Believe me when I say it is much more fun than it sounds!
  • Finally and probably my favourite – the wonderful conversations (mostly in his head) he has with the people he meets – who shall we just say are less than helpful!

And so as Poppydog recuperates – I have added substantially to the list of places I want to visit and probably extended this tour by another year!

Two thoughts of the day:

Bill Bryson is definitely on my list of ideal dinner guests! – Oh and he would be pretty useful at a Pub quiz too!

Need to think of a way of recording all the places we must visit – maybe I need another colour highlighter for my map?

We take an enforced holiday from holidaying….

Where to begin – well Poppydog has surpassed herself – she started vomiting during the week, otherwise seeming ok, but I took her to the vets on Saturday as she wasn’t improving and was losing weight she doesn’t really have. Well to cut a long story short – she ended up having surgery that night to remove a large mass from her gut. General consensus is that the mass looked like a mop head? Anyway surgery went well and she is home with me recuperating and feeling very hard done by, sporting a huge plastic cone around her neck which she hates and is making life in the motorhome somewhat interesting.

Because of the surgery she is on a no exercise regime for a couple of weeks – so posts from me will be scant until we are able to get out and explore some more.

Two thoughts of the day:

Atleast Poppydog had the foresight to get sick only a couple of miles from an excellent vet hospital and thank goodness for pet insurance!

Oh it was so hard here without her!

And today the sun came back….

Hooray! Still a bit chilly out there but in the shelter of Birdie I was able to enjoy a sit and cup of tea in the sun outside after Poppydog’s morning walk- so not bad at all.

It’s funny but yesterday I was amazed by the dramatic clouds but didn’t think to take any photos – some were so dark grey with a sort of yellowish tinge which you know from experience usually brings heavy rain – nature is so clever – I often feel that even if you could paint exactly what you saw to the casual observer it would often look over bright with the strength of colour being overplayed but that so isn’t the case – the natural colours we see all around us are often very vibrant.

So today I have been cloud watching and just how beautiful are they?

Also in the sky – two large low flying aircraft were flying around – seeming to fly up the valley below the site and then off in the direction of Exmoor – we saw them quite a few times but I cannot find out on google what type of planes they were – with my limited knowledge they were like the Lancaster but I would say not as quite as big or noisy – will let you know if I do find out.

Two thoughts of the day:

We might be a bit stuck out here with nowhere in reasonable or safe walking but we are not even slightly bored – quite happy to take a week out of exploring!

What were those planes?

Rain stopped play again!…

My fault saying what a lovely run of weather we’ve been having! This rain is serious, great big dobs of the stuff – so we did the bare essential Poppydog walks and spent the rest of the day in the warmth and dry of Birdie – me on the laptop and Poppydog in pole position on her front seat!

Been doing a bit more research into possibly of changing from Motorhome to a car and caravan to give me more flexibility and freedom to explore the places beyond walking distance – will keep you posted!

Two thoughts of the day:

Got a lush chicken roast dinner to look forward to tonight.

Should I get a small Christmas tree for Birdie?

Rain stopped play……

The day started with some early sunshine but unfortunately it went downhill from mid morning and on and off rained most of the rest of the day.

Still four legged souls need walking so we donned the necessary layers and off we went – till Poppydog was suitably bedraggled and had had enough (yeah right!) of chasing the scents of who knows what to who knows where and then retired to the warmth of Birdie for the rest of the day.

Poppydog with today’s treasure

Now last week I was banging on about how lovely to have a relaxing Sunday with nothing more pressing planned than reading the paper – well that assumes of course that you can get a paper! So we conferred with Mr OS in search of a likely village, mmm nothing within reasonable walking distance, so guess what? We have done without! and yes, still had a very relaxing Sunday thank you very much!

Two thoughts of the day:

The washroom in Birdie makes an excellent drying room.

By gum it’s chilly out there…..

Little burst of hailstones during the night – I thought we were being shot at!!! Still the sun came out to say hello several times during the day but that wind was chilly!

We didn’t stray far today – to be honest the site is so huge that just wandering around all the mostly empty fields and letting Poppydog romp around the various dog walking areas (most of the camp fields have a wide rough grassy area around the perimeter for dogs to play in) – was enough to keep us amused today.

Two thoughts of the day:

Am seriously thinking about the flexibility a car and caravan will give me to explore a larger area from a base such as this – hmmmm!

Those new Heinz soup cartons are good!

From down south to up north (Devon)……

Another sun shiny day – can’t believe this run of weather – how lucky are we?

After a run around in the country park we left Dawlish behind and headed up north. We drove through some lovely open countryside and arrived early afternoon at Stowford Meadows Farm just inland of Braunton. Another very big site, mostly empty (yippee) and very rural in location.

After setting up we took the opportunity to enjoy the remaining afternoon sunshine and explore this site’s Woodland Walk. The walk follows and criss crosses a stream down through the valley through mostly woodland. There are lots of different routes to follow which should keep us busy, the only downside being the ground was very very wet and muddy! I am guessing that there has been much more rain here than we have had this last couple of months and we squelched whichever way we went. Poppydog was lagged! Mmm dirty dog – can’t say I’m keen!

We headed back to Birdie as the sun was going down for a towel off for Poppydog and a glass of wine for me!

Two thoughts of the day:

TV is full of Christmas- maybe time to give it some thought?

Pity you can’t go to a doggy car wash!