Tuesday, 22 October 2013

We've made a decision

Since the last post we've had two viewings on the house, neither of them are takers and we have another one on Thursday - so fingers crossed - and toes.

Mr A Right is finishing work on 20th December and we've made a decision that regardless of whether the house is let or not we are going to be off by 22nd December, hopefully to visit Connor (Iain's son) in Cheddar and then moving on to Folkestone to stay with family for Christmas (we're taking our own bed of course, and parking it outside) and then we will be near to the ferry to get across to France probably boxing day or the day after (depending on the weather). The plan is to get to Spain for the new year!!!! The delay doesn't really matter as it just means that we will come back later.

Don't know where we'll be spending our wedding anniversary this year but I expect it will be warmer than here - unless we're still on Dover docks waiting for storms to abate.

It would be nice if we could get the house let before we go but hey - If we are not working then it doesn't make much difference where we are, it won't cost a lot more to travel so we'll just have to pay the mortgage with our savings!!!! We'll just have to leave it ready to be let so that we don't have to come back too soon.

Of course there's only one problem with a plan - 

The minute it starts, it starts to go wrong - 

That quote is from Mr Right who if you don't know, happens to have spent the last 15 years as a planning manager.

So as of today, only 60 days to wait - unless you know better!?!?!?!?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Is Patience a virtue - part 2


No lease signed because no tenant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Received a very polite email yesterday advising us they they were not in a position to go ahead with the tenancy at the moment.         WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 7 weeks since they viewed the property!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 weeks before they were desperate to move in.

Of course Mr Right is very calm about it and looking at the reasons they have given says "It might still happen, they only want to make a decision in a couple of weeks, it's not in their control".   Well Mr Right never gets rattled by anything, always calm. NEVER speculates, in fact he hates speculation, he calls the BBC News, the BBC Speculation.  When he has no control over something he just waits for things to happen and then deals with them.   He never sweats the small stuff. We still have somewhere to live, he still has a job (until the end of the year) and no-one has died. So whilst disappointed at least I don't have to throw all my stuff away - yet.

Well a couple  few glasses of consoling red wine later I was off to bed at 8 O'clock feeling a little emotional and confused - confused as a newt actually.

So as of today, we're back on the market and our dreams of full-timing will be a bit more than 7 years in the planning.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Am I losing the plot?

This is about the dog's visit to the vets.  Long story this one but stick with it, it's me eating humble pie for a change.

In August I took the dog to the vets to have her chip checked - that's a condition of her insurance.  It has to be checked within 2 weeks of going onto the continent or the insurance won't pay to sort out problems if it fails on return.

Well at that appointment I asked for an appointment on 10th October to get her rabies jab. The receptionist wrote down Tuesday 10th October for me and I was off home.

Then I realised that 10th October was a Thursday - oh 10th September is actually a Tuesday so I phoned the vet to explain that I wanted the appointment in October NOT September.  I was told that that's ok and an appointment was booked for 10th October at 9.00am.

Ok not a problem.................. until

On holiday on 10th September we got a call regarding our appointment and I explained very clearly that I had phoned to cancel the appointment and re-arranged it for 10th October - the receptionist said that she could not book  it that far in advance so would I please call one week before to make the appointment.

Ok not a problem ....................... until

I duly phone the vet this Monday 7th October to arrange an appointment for 9th October at 3.30 pm and arrange for the car for the day to get there.

 On Tuesday Iain got a text message reminder about the appointment for Wednesday at 3.30 and on Wednesday got a text message to reminder about the appointment for Thursday (10th) at 9.00am.

So I duly attended our regular Vets (Paws) at 3.30 on Wednesday. Horror - they had no appointment booked for me, nor did I have an appointment for 10th October.  What the hell was going on? Having ranted that I'd had so much trouble booking this appointment the receptionist was very apologetic and sought out a vet that would see us now.

Iain arrived at the vet to pick us up and checked his text messages - they were from "Your Vets" NOT "Paws Vets".    So all this time I'd actually been making appointments at the wrong vets.  The problem was exacerbated by the fact that Your Vets used to be Pets Vaccination Clinic and we used to be customers of theirs so they had our records. 

Well I blame it on a bad phone signal "Yours"/"Paws"  not a lot of difference and plus hormones and maybe I might have a bit of a hearing problem.

I then phoned Your vets to cancel the appointment for the following day and to apologise for not turning up today.  And did I apologise to the poor receptionist at "Paws Vets" - well yes I was magnanimous enough to apologise but I took the cowards way out and did it by email.

Never mind the dog has now had her Rabies jab and it's ok for us to take her with us - and to hopefully to get back into the country - roll on Spain!

Couldn't resist this one

Is patience a virtue?

Aaaarrrrgggggg - still no lease signed..............  and until the lease is signed there is nothing certain ............... and it's only 3 weeks now until the tenants want to move in.

There was me, so na├»ve (perhaps not) thinking that when we got back from holiday that all necessary paperwork including references would be ready for us to peruse/sign so that Mr Right can resign from his job and we can be ready to move out on 31st October and head off to Spain (once we’ve visited some friends and family of course). 

And what’s happened – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!  No lease ready to sign, no references taken.   What’s going wrong? 

Agent says he hasn't received the paperwork from the tenant - tenant says they've given it to them and all this time the clock is ticking.

I’m only too pleased that we are only letting and not selling – that would be 10 times more stressful – and I feel really sorry for Eric and Shazza for all the stress they went through with their house sale.  At least tenants are easier to find than purchasers – especially when you have a house that’s over 400 years old.

Although we have thrown out all the rubbish we still have to empty the house – without a lease we don’t have tenants, without tenants we don’t know what we have to get rid of or what is staying or what is going into storage – and now they have brought the date forward two days, if everything goes well,  we have less than 3 weeks to get everything sorted. I’m not prepared to empty the house and have it echoing if things go t*ts up and we are going to be staying for a while. I still think I’m in a position to be ready to go in 2 weeks if necessary.
Mr Right has been discussing his release from the company but I can’t mention that at the moment, however his boss knows that he wants to go, so I suppose there’s no going back now.
So NOTHING is sorted and NOTHING is happening – how frustrating.  The only thing I’ve done is to tell school that I can’t commit to anything after half term (4 weeks) and may be around but only on a “when it suits me” basis.

The stress is rising.  Last week Mr Always Right was complaining that we were out of soap. Of course my answer was "there's a bar in the van" meaning no need to buy a duplicate.  No he went out and bought some soap.  You may have realised that I don't like throwing anything away - so what am I going to do with 4 bars of soap.  Yes 4. Do we really have space to store 4 bars of soap that we don't need?

In the ensuing heated discussion he exclaimed "it was £1.60, throw them away if you need to! It's not like I suggested a bacon buttie from a burger bar". - you have to read "Big Momma's" blog to appreciate that one.

Then Sunday morning we were doing a concerted effort to get rid of STUFF, when it was all a bit much for me.  I don't consider myself to be a bad hoarder but that might be why I have to move frequently and I now feel very sorry for those people that you see on TV who live under piles of junk because they just can't part with it.  Anyway the cry was "stop throwing my life away!" following by floods of tears with "I don't want to go, I don't want to leave my house, I don't want to get rid of everything!!!!!!  I don't have a problem with getting rid of it all if only I didn't have to look at it.  If I could just go away for a few days and then return with it all removed I wouldn't have a problem.  We even found 6 crystal champagne glasses still in their box in a cupboard.

Anyway after about half an hour of stomping around the house I finally said "ok let's now get practical - what's going?".

I'm wondering if that's why I'm not actually getting organised enough to get the house cleared yet.  I'm still living in denial that it's actually going to happen.

It also now looks like we'll be in the UK at least until Christmas - Mr Right has to give 13 weeks notice and even if he can get released early it's unlikely that we will be away until mid December at the earliest.  By then we might as well spend Christmas here with rellies and then get on our travels. So we're looking at potential campsites near to work but WIFI is a must.  I might be giving up my house but I'm not giving up WIFI.

Oh well, got to get on, the dog has to go to the vets this afternoon for her Rabies booster - better not forget that or we'll not be taking her with us - I think not!!!!!!!


Friday, 4 October 2013

Are we doing the right thing going Full Timing?

Having just spent three weeks travelling around France in the motorhome………………..

YOU BET YOUR LIFE WE ARE!!!!! Just got to tie up the loose ends now and off we go – 7 years in the planning……………………………………………………………

an only a few more weeks!!!!!!

Can’t wait.

Who thought LPG was a good idea?

One last post about our holiday  final practice for full timing.
We were in Alton in Hampshire and had to get to home – about 120 miles – Sunday morning we needed LPG – the tank was on reserve.  Got the sat nag out and checked the nearest garage.  Oh here’s one – Shell – great – only about 6 miles away – typical when we got there it happened to be on the wrong side of a dual carriageway.  A roundabout up ahead but we hadn’t passed one for some miles so a decision here – turn around and use it or go to the next?  We decided that we’d push on, LPG isn’t that hard to find in England - is it? On a Sunday morning?  In hindsight not a good idea.  It’s like supermarkets, you know you need one and you find one but what you don’t know is how far it is to the next so USE it when you can.
According to the sat nag, there’s another garage in Farnborough – not too far away – sat nag takes us off down a B road and onto an industrial estate.  I didn’t think there was much hope as soon as we went onto a B road.  Absolutely no sign of any LPG filling station, luckily not too far from the route so hadn’t wasted too much of our reserve.
Next stop along the route, Asda in High Wycombe – over 40 miles away. Decision now – go back to the one on the wrong side of the dual carriageway or push on to Asda.  12 miles round trip back – that’s over a gallon of fuel – we’ll push on and hope we get there.  Sat nag took us off the right junction of the motorway – only to put us into John Lewis car park – fantastic – not!  Had to wiggle our way around their car park and find Asda, not too difficult a job, next step to find where the gas pump is – that might sound strange but it’s amazing how they can hide these LPG pumps sometimes.  We often have to stop at the entrance to a garage while the other one walks around to find the pump BEFORE we commit our behemoth to the pumps.  Yes there it is on pump No 8. Fantastic we got there without running on Petrol - not so fantastic  – out of action.  That’s now 2 wild goose chases and still no LPG.  Next stop WARWICK services on the M40.  I said we were already on the red when we left Alton, so we had now done over 40 miles with another 50 to go to the nearest LPG. 
The lights on the LPG gauge were totally confused – flashed red, constant red, all green again – hey that’s magic, we’re full again.  No lights at all, back to red, and all this time, STILL running on gas.  We were within just 22 miles of Warwick Services when beep, beep, beep, beep we tripped over to petrol.  Stupid thing is if we hadn’t been on the wild goose chases we might have got there. So 22 miles of running on petrol – what!!!! At 9 miles to the gallon!!!!!!!!!!  Not something that we want to do very often.  Having said that when we first got Jan we didn’t really know how the LPG switches worked and I found that we had run all the way to Devon on petrol - £75 worth!!  What a biga mistake to maka – paranoid about doing that again.
Lesson learned – 1. Check you are running on gas
2. We can actually do about 90 miles when we are on reserve.

One last thing – totting up the mileage and fuel usage we have now calculated that Jan does an average of 9.6 miles to the gallon if driven at motorway speeds and around 6.7 if we go through towns – so back to an earlier question To paeage or not to paeage – well EVERY journey has to be considered on the length, stress levels and time to get there and then decide.  There’s really no hard and fast rules. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Are we really going home?

Well on our way home now, just two nights on aires and then a night in Hampshire visiting Iain’s daughter.
Decided to stay at an aire the Calais side of Rouen so programmed  the sat nag (with co-ordinates given to me by Mr Always Right) and headed off.

He was driving for a change so I was navigating.  I wasn’t happy about the route that the sat nag was taking us so I kept questioning where this aire was.  With very little help from the driver and not having my notebook or the aires book handy and Rouen looming I made an executive decision to head through Rouen towards Calais and worry about it when we got out the other side – fantastic decision though I say so myself.
Had a fun time driving through Rouen – doesn’t everyone – especially as the main road bridge across the river was closed so EVERYONE had to drive through the city centre.  It took ages and we started getting fraught about where exactly we were going.

Note here – not easy to get through Rouen when the signs say – “for Calais follow Boulogne” then you have a sign that says Calais left and Boulogne right.  Now when you are driving a 7+ tonne truck you have to plan ahead when you want to change lane, however a bit of bullying goes a long way – not many people argue with you.

Poor Iain, one of the few times he was driving. As soon as we were through Rouen we pulled over into a motorway aire and Iain rolled a cigarette – a proper one, not like the prison issue ones I’d been rolling along the route to help with his stress.  One was so bad that the filter fell out one end and the other end didn’t have any ‘baccy in it.  Rolling cigarettes is a practice for FT. Personally I gave up (again) at Christmas last so I’m a bit smug and tend to rub it in a bit about the need to smoke. Time to relax and calm down before moving on.

Now we  found that we were about 20 miles north of the aire that we had been heading for – and actually (not that I wanted to be smug about that, but I was really glad that it wasn’t my fault) and had I not overruled the sat nag we would have been miles away from where we wanted to be.   Settled on an aire about 20 miles further on in a village at Mesniere-en-Bray. Turned out it was a bit of a community centre in the village.  Dump facilities only but nice spot and FREE.  Only one other van around, shop and bar close by. Crib update 5/4 down.

Following morning left fairly early for and aire just south of LeTouquet – another freebie – what a result, park up on the side road by the sand dunes at the end of a (closed) campsite.  Not a bad spot, close to the beach  and probably very busy during the season.  With 40 miles to drive the next day for a morning ferry, we remembered to do our shopping before the day of our ferry as we’d had some very bad experiences in past trips of rushing to find a supermarket in Calais to buy our extensive stock of cheap wine to return to the uk with. One year we even ended up buying at the tunnel and paying their prices. Only bought 35 litres of wine as we would be returning………. Very soon hopefully.

Before bed it was time for a last game of crib – time to get even or lose miserably.  I’d gone from 1/0 down to 3/1 up now it was 5/4  down – that was a good run for Iain.  Time to save face or face defeat.  Yes EVEN’s and no time  for a re-match – final score 5 all. Not that I’m competitive at all!!!!
Early night (no telly for 3 weeks) and got up really early and left for Calais.

It’s the first time I’ve driven Jan in the dark and that was scary (that  seems to be my favourite word for driving, doesn’t matter who’se doing it) to say the least.  It was really difficult to see the kerb to the near-side and if I had to do that often I would want lights underneath the van to be able to see.  Yes I was driving again as Iain doesn’t like driving in the dark (no he’s not a woose, he’s been having some surgery on one eye and it’s difficult so see in the dark).  Luckily at 4 am there wasn’t much on the roads which was lucky, especially as I seemed to be driving on both sides at the same time. Ok when we got to the paeage though.
Totally uneventful crossing except that the seats on the ferry were absolutely filthy – not that we were very clean – two nights on aires we hadn’t bothered very much – but I mean they were filthy.  We attempted to brush off a few crumbs and if you banged your hand on the seat, once the cloud settled it left a dusty mark around where your hand was.  Disgusting.   So we decided to sit on the plastic seats.  Think I might write to customer services about that.

Drove up to Hampshire where we got a freebie night in a pub called The Three Horseshoes in Alton.  For those who like a freebie, they allow you to park your motorhome overnight as long as you eat with them.  The food is excellent and very good value for money.  Look them up if you wish but always let them know you are coming and book at table.  There were three vans in that night and all were pretty big ones.  Not much more space left. Desperate for a shower (had to be clean to go out for dinner, not to mention meeting up with Iain’s daughter and partner) used the facilities in the van and then very extravagantly of me, turned on the generator – just so that I could dry my hair – how wasteful is that?!!!! I was as quick as I could be.

In the morning I was chatting to the dog (as you do) and I said “Well Connie, we’re off home today” and suddenly realisation hit me............  

This might well be the LAST time we will be “Going Home”  – in just a few short weeks Jan WILL BE HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just a couple of quick pics of the smelly one - she likes a sunny spot - but what's all this stuff on the settee taking up her space?

She's becoming quite an expert at sleeping now that she's getting to be an old lady. Her bed fits rather nicely between the cab seats - but she sleeps in her travel kennel when we are driving along.