Had I asked the presenters/researchers from TV’s Escape to the Country to search for us, we could not have found a better property. Our house is fairly standard 1950s local authority architecture but with a few quirks, and my regular reader is well aware of my penchant for quirk. We’re in a cul-de-sac so no passing traffic and as we are no longer under the flight path into Heathrow we’re appreciating the quiet round here. We have a tiny patio garden, triangular in shape but which is going to look great when all the rubbish for the tip is gone and I’ve arranged the pots and other bits and pieces. Then it will take minimal maintenance, which even K will be able to manage when I’m travelling!
The unpacking and arranging of our goods and chattels is almost complete and the rooms are beginning to look like home. One of the advantages of moving house is that seeing your possessions in different surroundings makes you look at them afresh and certainly I am enjoying noticing and appreciating all our pictures and ornaments in a new perspective.
This morning, early to beat the heat, LWD and I went exploring our wider world and after chatting with other dog walkers and local cyclists I already know we have loads of walks to choose from; riverside and disused railway track.
Only sweet dreams round here!
🙂 🙂 🙂
… when it comes to moving house and after making 18 of them personally and having helped my kids on several more, I can with a lot of experience say that this one has been an absolute pig’s ear.
It was an inauspicious beginning, and continued downhill, with the van and two muppets turning up two and a half hours late. I’d already had to leave in R0X1 with the zoo (grandson, dog and cat) to meet estate agent on time leaving K to oversee the loading of furniture and boxes (already packed by us). A quick re-assessment of timing and I was expecting K in Huish Episcopi around 14.30 and van about an hour later. Nah …
Around 13.00 Kate phoned to say the van was already full with only 2/3 of our stuff loaded. Phone calls to firm’s HO ensued – K was accused of adding stuff that wasn’t on the inventory. K insisted she hadn’t and could prove it with her copy of the inventory. Conversations in a non-English language ensued between HO and the muppets culminating in an offer to get another van to move the remainder, magnanimously at no extra cost to us … !!! K arranged to overnight with a friend, and the first van-load arrived here at 18.00 without one complete bed aboard. The Smart One spent the night in R0X1 with the cat and I on a mattress on the floor on the house with LWD.
Despite all boxes being marked with their destination rooms marked on them a lot ended up in random rooms which had nothing to do with box contents. To and injury to insult boxes were all stacked 5 high, regardless of some being marked fragile contents; these guys were obviously not amongst those who consider me vertically or age challenged, and whilst I wholeheartedly disagree with discrimination this once I would have jettisoned my principles!
Having been told a van to move the remainder of our possessions would arrive at 14.00 the following day K spent a pleasant afternoon next door with our now ex- neighbours. The different van and 2 different muppets made a timely appearance at 18.30, loaded up and duly arrived here at 23.00. I refused to hand over any money before they unloaded as the previous day’s chaps hadn’t finished all they were supposed to, if they moved things where they should be, including K’s bed base from the conservatory upstairs to her bedroom I would pay them and then they could bring the rest in. This request necessitated several calls in a foreign language to HO, on speaking to the manager I was left with the impression that although human error had occurred on their part it wasn’t their fault as such and I should shut up, put up and pay up. The legs for K’s bed base were on the van, they would not unload them. I after the previous day’s experience of muppets clearing off without doing their full job would not give way I wanted beds made up before paying.
Stand off; eventually the bed legs only were removed from van; the van was locked closed whilst the bed was made; I paid; they emptied the van and sped away into the after midnight hours without bothering to give me a receipt.
We’re in … and still alive to tell the tale; just!
Neither K nor the Smart One are good at change so I shall be staying at the new, cheaper, much larger (no more car park sleeping for me!) Langport home for a few months and R0X1 will be spending a while in dry dock (SORN’d – Statutory Off Road Notice i.e off road and paying no vehicle tax – for six months) parked up on our new drive awaiting MOT, minor damage repairs, servicing etc. and then, after a fantastic four years and 34,874 miles together, I shall be downsizing her. It’s going to be a wrench but I’m more than ready to adjust my nomadic ways a bit.
Towards the end of my 2017/18 eight month trip I was aware that I wasn’t enjoying myself as much as when I started motorhoming. First I blamed all the unfortunate incidents and associated expenses that occurred last trip, next I blamed the inclement weather. The Bezzie pointed out that I didn’t allowed myself time to recover physically and emotionally from all the hospital tests and procedures of August and September last year before setting out. I was tired and stressed and more than ready to head home a month earlier than planned.
So, after a period of reflection I have made the following observations and recommendations to myself;
- I miss my family and close friends too much to spend so much time away from them. In future I shall not be away longer than 10-12 weeks
- I’ve had the best time dashing thither and yon, fulfilling a goodly part of my photography bucket list but continuing at such a pace is giving me quantity of experience over quality, and exhausting me. I shall slow down rate of travel
- Much as I love Spain it’s so far away, that many miles travelling alone for so many months is not fun any more. I shall still visit Spain but France and Northern Europe will get more of my attention
- Our move to a bigger house means I won’t have to carry all my worldly goods with me therefore I don’t need such a large motorhome. A smaller Moho means I’ll be able to park more easily in the small towns I love to visit but currently find parking space in difficult
I’m getting my mojo back …
K has decided she would like more of my photos as art work on the walls of our new home, the theme in the hall stairs and landing, unsurprisingly for a family from Torbay, will be the beach. Here are a few of the 50 odd under consideration …
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
🙂 🙂 🙂
It was a much shorter cruise on the cut than originally planned because of the imminent house move, but a lovely five days nonetheless. I joined BB at Heyford and we meandered up to Banbury. With only 4 locks per day and making early starts, we managed to avoid over-exerting ourselves during the hottest parts of the day.
It was too early for this farm shop and café to be open when we sailed past; shame as those sofas look quite comfy.
The Oxford canal, along with the rest of the system, is not being looked after very well with CART having put profit well before the horse, badly neglecting the towpath which alternates being downright dangerous and on the point of collapse and almost completely overgrown. In other places the banks are so far encroaching into the canal that navigation is down to single file. CART are busy spending money; just not on maintenance to banks, falling apart lock gates or jammed paddles. The only work we saw being done was licence checking, equipment painting and the application of their brand new logo to anything canal-side that didn’t move. Never thought I’d say this but bring back British Waterways, the Canals and Rivers Trust is even worse.
It really is a Great British summer this year. The super weather showing the countryside off to it’s best. It’s a bumper year for insects with plentiful butterflies, large numbers of fat damsel and dragon flies and most of the ducks, moorhens and coots on their second broods. The quiet of the cut disturbed only by birdsong and buzzing, with he odd libation of wine or gin to the weather gods, made a great breather before I start the packing …
Views from the Cut
🙂 🙂 🙂
The winds of change blew at hurricane force this week.
Last week I drove K to Somerset to visit a few primary schools that she was considering, she applied and obtained interviews at the two she favoured. The interviews took place this week, one Tuesday and the other on Wednesday; she was offered and accepted her favourite on Wednesday.
We’d been keeping an eye online for suitable housing, a search which mainly revolved around locations with a decent secondary school for The Smart One, commutable distance for K from her place of work, 3 double bedrooms and space to park R0X1, in that order of importance. Hush Episcopi Academy, Langport has a good secondary school which was recommended by the Head of one of the primary schools K. interviewed at. Recommended as the Head’s son, another high functioning autie currently in year 9 the year The Smart one is going into in September. He is doing very well there and receiving great SEN support and pastoral care. Having spotted what looked like the ideal house, within that school’s catchment area, we drove down to Zumerzet (again) today.
We looked around the small town; independent shops, butchers, artisan bakers, fortnightly market and monthly craft market, riverside walks, decent pub grub (well we had to have lunch), pet shop, vet, library post office and Drs surgery all nicely wrapped up in westcountry olde worldiness with a free ATM in an old red telephone box in the market square!
We looked round the house; as of 31st July our address will be Garden City, Huish Episcopi, Langport.
🙂 🙂 🙂
P.S. Too busy for photos but I’m about to have a cheeky little cruise with BB so next time …
I’m still “enjoying” lots of face ache. It turns out that it’s entirely possible to have toothache concurrently with sinusitis. I’ve cured the toothache part of it by having the offending molar removed yesterday. It remains unfortunate that the sinusitis has settled into the opposite side from the offending tooth socket so both sides of my face remain sore – thank Waitrose for fish crumble and mashed veg last night, and mashed bananas and strawberries with yogurt for breakfast this morning.
Last week was half term and we took the Smart One to one of his favourite haunts, Didcot Railway Centre. We always go by train as the centre is on the old marshalling yards adjacent to Didcot station. We picked an “in steam” day but surprisingly the place was the least crowded we’ve ever seen it. This year there is an ongoing exhibition covering the part the railways, in particular the Great Western Railway, played in the first world war, in commemoration of the centenary of it’s end. I found the inclusion of two of the GWR locos and a couple of the coaches used as ambulance trains during that war particularly interesting. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to provide treatment to the wounded whilst in a moving train.
The GWR ambulance train
In the field.
These days the Smart One is allowed to roam the large site unsupervised, he had a hoot availing himself of several free rides on both “in steam” trains.
The two “in steamers” for the day
A few days later and totally unconnected to our day out, following a long family discussion, K handed in her notice at her current school and sent out her first applications for posts advertised in Somerset. Rents in Berkshire are horrendously high and becoming unaffordable for a single-parent teacher’s salary. In the area we are looking at we will be able to get a 3 double-bedroomed house for less than the rent on the current 2 bedroom flat. Apart from the rent issue there are other advantages to the move. We shall be closer to J&B, who are delighted that they will only have a 45 min drive to visit and to quite a few old friends of mine and K’s, including my Bezzies. We know and love the whole of the south west and for K and I it will be going home. The Smart One is a little apprehensive but there are several “outstanding” secondary schools in the area, he will be closer to his Uncle and to his maternal Grandfather and only an hour and a half’s train journey from his Dad. He’s delighted that we shall be close to the West Somerset railway, a heritage line which ends at Minehead beach (!), and is already putting forward towns and villages with stations on the line as potential areas for me to house hunt! K will be doing the hard bit, applications (two already sent) and interviews and I’ll be doing the fun bit – finding us somewhere to live.
Watch this space …
🙂 🙂 🙂
As I was feeling so crappy I wasn’t able to travel quite as fast as I wanted up to Dieppe but that meant I managed to appreciate some rather nice stops.
First was a very peaceful aire at Rignac, it would be hard to find a quieter one, for an overnight.
Second was a site at St-Germain-les-Belles by a lake at the edge of a very sleepy and pleasant village. I swear the site’s friendly, funny and quite mad Dutch owners only bought it to have enough room to display all their
hoards of junk very eclectic mix of collectibles. I stayed two nights.
Third was the aire at Mennetous-sur-Cher, picked for it’s convenient halfway-point placement between the previous night’s stop and my final overnight destination in France. I had no preconceptions it was just a place to put my weary and aching head down. It was a lovely treat to find an intact medieval village centre that has not been over-restored or over-touristified and is still thriving. The boulangerie there sold the most divine croissants I’ve ever eaten and M. Bun the Boulanger was to be seen busy baking his bread in the background (apologies if that’s just too much alliteration for your taste).
Fourth and final was the aire at Giverny as I couldn’t resist the urge to visit Monet’s gaffe again to see the gardens in spring.
La Manche was a millpond, the drive to the car park was easy and by doing my favourite shortcut via Ascot I missed all the M25/4 early evening congestion. My lovely daughter was sitting in her car awaiting my arrival and guarding my parking space in the corner. I got the tea, hugs and sympathy I needed.
My GP agreed that four or five weeks of sinusitis deserves a good helping of antibiotics. Hopefully I’ll stop looking like a weasel-eyed hamster very soon …
🙂 🙂 🙂