Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Selling Out!?

When we set out on our adventure in August 2010 our main goal was to cut down on our monthly expenditure.

This we achieved with great success.

If an opportunity presents itself whereby you are offered a chance to save even more money, still live on a camp site and enjoy the benefits of this, then would we not be foolish to let this pass us by?

Nothing is for ever, we make mistakes, learn and move forward. This we feel we have done.

Our time in our caravan was special, it was a real learning curve, we made plenty of mistakes and now in this period of time we are in, it is for us time to move forward onto another stage of our lives.

We may not remain where we are, our caravan is packed, ready and waiting.

But, whilst I settle into my new job, and enjoy having our new born Grandson just 5 minutes down the road, this is where we want to be.

Till later................

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Getting The Hang Of It Now

I think it has taken me far longer than it has "M" to adjust to living in something with walls.

It is still a strange feeling not having to go and fill the aqua rolls or empty the loo, instead we have running hot and cold water and a flushing loo!

We can see our caravan sat at the top of the field from our new home, it looks sad and lonely, but until I get my shift patterns confirmed we cannot make any plans to get away.

There seems to be an endless list of things we want to buy to either replace and put back in the caravan or to have here at our new home.

The caravan looks very bare at the moment!

"China" dog loves here new home, and has settled in extremely well, as I am on day off and it has just gone 0900hrs, "China" dog has yet to leave her bed even for a stretch!

The site is more or less full, with plenty of tents and campers, which means plenty of rubbish to empty!

We appear to get through an amazing amount of loo roll here on site, as I pointed out to "M" there are a lot of arses out there in that field! Take that however you want to!

Recycling still seems to be a mystery to most on site. I cannot see for the life of me that a bin clearly marked with plastic/metal/paper could end up with such an assortment of general waste!

Which also brings me neatly onto to the kind person who managed to smonge a Jamaican ginger cake over a pair of seats on the top deck of my bus yesterday and for the individual who stuffed two banana skins down the side of the seat! You dont' deserve a bus, you need a cattle truck!

I was out yesterday with another driver learning a route into Bournemouth, the bus was packed! I drove back, and it was really good to drive not only a comfortable bus but also one that worked properly. I got out of the bus feeling refreshed instead of getting out and being unable to walk due to the circulation being cut from my legs.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the week and driving.

Today I will be mostly sitting in the sun, and relaxing, but, as with most plans, I doubt if that will happen at all! "M" is home around 1500hrs today, so an early finish for her. I expect there will be plenty of little jobs that should only take 5 mins but actually take 2 hrs to complete lined up for me!

So off to make the most of it before her return!

Till later.................. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Another Chapter Ends!

Yesterday, (Saturday) was my last day driving for "Damory". In a way, it is sad to leave, as I was driving around an area I grew up in and knew well. Not in a million years did I ever imagine that one day I would drive a double decker bus up Shaftesbury High Street! Funny how things turn out

But, on the other hand, I'm pleased to be joining a company who pay better, have decent buses and are local to where I am now living.

I now only have a 10 minute drive into work, instead of an hour! That extra 2 hrs of driving was a real pain. Just to put things into perspective after a 9 hr shift plus the 2 hrs, a total of approx 11 hrs behind the wheel a day. I could drive from  Lymington and be in Aberdeen in that time in a car!

Driving older buses, is nice when it's a one off, as they can be a bit of a challenge. Brakes being either on or off, the accelerator being all or nothing with often a delay of several seconds before the power kicks in, and the suspension being no better than a hay cart with everything rattling including your fillings. But the sound of a Gardner diesel engine at full pelt is quite something.

Below was my last day of driving an Olympian double decker bus pictured in Shaftesbury, my home town where I was born. Good of them to put all those flags out for me!

Now, off to drive newer buses, I grabbed this picture below off of the interweb, taken in Lymington, where I will be based. Not me driving!

As you can see, a bit of a difference in the buses!

I'm looking forward to starting, I've been down to the depot a couple of times now and it all feels and looks good.

So Monday morning I have my short drive to the depot and away I go route learning.

Till later..................

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Still Raining!

When will it stop raining? This is the question that everyone seems to be asking at the moment. The answer to this is not for a while yet.

The Jet Stream which should be sailing right over our little island is firmly embedded below it bringing in all that the Atlantic has to offer.

Sunny days sat outside with the BBQ, forget it, instead stews and roast dinners indoors.

We just have not been able to get outside to do anything yet, I wanted to start cutting back the rather over grown garden that we have. I may just get on with it a little later.

Every day, I'm driving my bus through massive puddles, no wonder last saturday the electrics packed up on the bus! This week I have only broken down the once, well I say broke down, an alarm for a low battery came on, but after an hour of driving with a high pitched tone I could take no more and pulled over and sat there until another bus came out to me.

Only 5 more duties with my present company, and to be honest it's 5 too many. Every morning it's a lottery if your bus will start or on a couple of occasions even at the depot! This week I had one none start due to flat battery and on my walk round inspection in the morning I noticed that my bus for that day had the back bumper seriously damaged!

My new company has buses that are a lot newer, I drove a bus the other day with over 600,000 miles on the clock. Now, they were designed for high mileage but this was in a little Optare Solo with a 4 cylinder diesel engine! I could walk faster up hills! Even by taking it out of auto and using the 3, 2, 1, gear shift it made no difference! It was a long day!

Well, off for a wander with "China" dog, she does not like the wet! Then we will do a bit of tidying up before I attack the garden!

Till later...................

Monday, 9 July 2012

Static Caravan Leven 30

The static van we are now in was built around 1988. It is a Leven 30. However it has seen some major refurbishment which was definitely not on the original build sheet!

After speaking to the owners, it was completely stripped out a few years back, in fact the only thing original is the outer skin!

New uPVC windows and doors have been fitted throughout, along with a new floor.

The walls were stripped out and insulated along with the roof and lined with plaster board, re plastered and painted.

A new hot water on demand (combi) boiler was fitted.

This static is certainly not a standard one, so hopefully, with fingers crossed it should not be too expensive to heat and keep warm during the winter months.

We will of course find out, and when we do we will let you all know!

If it does prove to be cold or difficult to heat we always have the option of our caravan, so either way we will not be out of pocket.

On site we have a camper van, an old caravan and the family still in their tent! The ground is still wet and with more rain forecast for tonight I feel a little sorry for the people in the tent!

At least we don't have to worry about the awning now!

Till later..............

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Settling In

We have emptied out the caravan completely now apart from a couple of draws, we are both still totally amazed at how much we carried around with us!

The site is pretty water logged, with just a few campers left on site. There has been a family staying in a single skinned tent all through this rain. They have been here for two weeks now. 10 out of 10 for putting up with the weather!

The weather has been very wet, with the wettest June since records began! July does not appear to be much better, and the forecast is looking grim as well. Lets hope that August is good.

My new role as chief rubbish bin emptier has been a bit of an eye opener. How difficult is it to segregate your rubbish, paper, plastic and cans in one bin, glass in another and then general rubbish in the other. 

To difficult for most I think, even though the bins are clearly marked.

When you put rubbish into a bin, why not tie up the rubbish bag, I had the unsavoury job of hooking a nappy out of the bin the other day, as the campers were too lazy to seal the bag up.

The site is pretty booked up through out the summer, so plenty more of that I suspect!

Back "On The Buses" it has been it's usual fun and games. I broke down 4 times this week! Mind you that is nothing as I was talking to another driver on Saturday and he had broken down 9 times in the same period.

My breakdowns consisted of, windscreen wipers falling off twice, an engine overheating and an electrical fault.

Only 10 more duties with my current company, then I move to a new depot, with a newer fleet of buses, so hopefully not as many problems!

Not only that but better rates of pay and conditions, can't wait!

Bins done, "M" is out doing the loo, then it's getting ready for a family get together near Christchurch. We are being picked up so it will be a lunch time pint for me!

Well, better get on with it, so,

Till later.................

Friday, 6 July 2012

Unpacking The Caravan

We are both totally amazed at the amount of belongings we have removed from our caravan so far!

Even more so as we are having trouble getting it all in to the static!

It would appear that we have spent the last two years living in a Tardis!

We are settling in slowly to our new surroundings, and changing things around to suit us better. It's the fine tuning of things to make sure it feels and works right. All this takes time.

I wanted to get out into the garden today to do some cutting back of the bushes, but as it's tipping down rain so it will have to wait.

It's been interesting in reading your comments about our change of abode, there were a few reasons why we thought the change would be a good idea.

Firstly, though I would like to point out once again, we started full timing for purely financial reasons. Fed up with paying high rent and high utility bills.

Now, some could say that we have jumped right back into the same situation that we were trying to get out of.

Our rent here is nominal, as we are helping out on the site to off set this, so any bills we do have are equal to or less (as it's summer) to what we would of been paying if we remained in our caravan.

We have been very happy within our caravan, and would recommend it to anyone. I do not feel that we have failed at all. Sure it's been tough at times, but I would have no problems with going back to that way of life at all. We undoubtedly will do!

In fact what is there to fail at? We have done two full winters, with the coldest weather down here for years, so fail? I don't think so.

Who knows how long we will be here for, it all depends on how we get on with it, but unlike most we have the option to go if we are not happy.

The caravan will be used for what it is intended to be used for and that's holidays and weekends away, which when I know my new rota's we will be off!

Still unpacking! The one thing that has concerned me is the amount of weight we were carrying around with us. We filled up two big plastic boxes with CD's and DVD's and odds and ends, both weighed around 20kg each!

After looking at how much gear we had in there, I'm without doubt that we were over loaded!

Once we are straight I will get some pictures of our new home.

Till later........................

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Living In A Mobile Home / Static Caravan

We moved in on Sunday after I had finished work. It is a slow process of transferring every thing from our caravan to our new home.

I am totally amazed at how much we managed to cram into our caravan! It didn't feel cluttered, but some how we are running out of room in our new home! How does that happen? It's bloody bigger!

So, we are now trying to find places for all our bits and pieces.

It is a bit of a novelty not having to change the water over and having a proper loo! I think I'm still out of sorts with this new place, it's funny what you get used to!

Monday evening I went back to the caravan to get some more gear, and I don't mind admitting I had a bit of a moment as I sat there on my own. A lot has happened over the last two years!

Could just do with some decent weather, so we can sit out on our decking!

China Dog loves it here, yesterday evening we both walked over to the caravan with China, now she has never run off before, but within 30 seconds she had done a runner and hot footed it back to the static! "M" found her sat on the front door mat!

There is two slight leaks that we have discovered, both around the sky lights so we need those investigating rather sharpish. Other than that, everything is fine.

We will when finances allow buy another kitchen worktop, we have seen what we want in IKEA, it will match what is currently in here. It's a stainless steel worktop. The good thing about this is that when we do leave here we can take it with us as it can be unbolted and we can store it in our trailer and use it in the awning.

This will be our third night here tonight, we have both slept soundly so far, just waiting for some dry weather so we can take our awning down!

Fajita's tonight and as I'm required to grate cheese, better get off of here!

Till later....................