Days 9-13 : On the road at last

Our lack of blogging since day 8 is good news, in the sense that we are now finally on the road. I (James) went up to West Lancashire on the train to pick up the motorhome and then drove it back down to Guildford. Since then I've been trying to get to grips with what is essentially one enormous gadget. Saturday morning was spent wrestling with water tanks, pumps and blown fuses and finally at lunch time I did what I should have done at the start of the day and RTFM (Renseignements Technique qu'il Faut Maitriser ... if you were wondering). 



Following the documentation step by step IKEA furniture fashion got everything up and running and so on Saturday evening we all slept in the motorhome ... or well in any case we spent various periods of night in there.



The last two days have been an uphill packing marathon as we took the contents of the dozen or so packing boxes, plus suitcases, and various other bags that made their way over from France, unpacked everything, evaluated what we needed for a month's camping and then repacked it all into the motorhome. I think we did really well in what was a stressful exercise for everyone. Laura's priority was to travel as light as possible and to reduce stress while travelling by minimising clutter in the van, while my priority was to reduce my stress by taking enough stuff to ensure family-security for every possible weather phenomenon and natural disaster known to man and ensure self-sufficency for a week in case we become cut-off from civilisation. Needless to say that given we were heading for South Hampshire we really had to put safety first and take everything plus a spare. In fact, dealing with the difficulty of the exercise was made possible by Laura's good grace to me and also by us both being able to identify and talk about the underlying emotions causing us to stress - fear of the unknown and the uncontrolable in my case.

This morning as we made our final preparations the sun was shining, which, after a weekend of rain, bode well for the start of our exploration of the New Forest, the Dorset coast, Devon and Cornwall. After a final blast around Sainsburys for food* supplies we finally hit the road after lunch.

The kids demanded screens and films for the 90 minute drive, and we suffered 20 minutes of moaning as we invited them to "look out of the window" - the oldest ones are the best aren't they. The drive became pleasant when we put some music on and had a sing-along which finally led to Myriam falling asleep. A good result for everyone.


Warm sunshine and a fresh breeze welcomed us to the campsite at Aldridge Hill, which is about as cut-off from civilisation as it's possible to be in Hampshire. The New Forest delivered the promised horses, donkey and cattle wandering about in the road and the campsite, much to the children's excitement. The campsite is wedged between the forest and a tiny river winding its way through the countryside. The place is busy which is not surprising for  mid-summer, but then it has no facilities what-so-ever apart from water and a place to dispose of chemical toilet waste. We're now running off batteries and gas for 3 days, with a tiny bit of solar for charging phones etc. It's all very exciting.

*whole blog post in itself to come but 
- argh the UK wraps most of its fruit and vegetables in plastic
- organic, fair-trade, locally grown : choices, choices. Went mainly for seasonal, locally grown, organic if available and price not totally loony.
- ribena, marmite, soreen malt-loaf, wispas.... hooray for yummy processed things from our childhood.

Comments

  1. Lol... my rule is to take enough clothes for four days maximum, and for any occasion that might arise in those four days, i.e. bikini, Coat, boots, flip-flops, pancho, and something fancy in case you get invited to a weddind (don't laugh that once happened to me in Paris) and only three pairs of underwear ...one to wear one to wash, one drying . Only travel with equivalent of hand luggage no matter how long you're going to be gone! But then again I'm not sure how much serious safety equipment you need? Maybe like a musket, bows and arrows, swords?
    I might have suggested that the venture would be best In New Zealand, which is super ego friendly, and has the best camping sites and sites for RVs in the world, I don't have much more to add! Wait to hear all about it, and I do suggest you ban the phrase "when are we going to get there! " Much much aloha

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    1. I'm not keen on hand washing every day! So we've gone for a 10 day supply, which allows us a once a week wash, with British weather drying time. It will probably amuse you that the major debate was around towels... James' family do love their towels and bedding!!

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    2. I'm training my children in the crafts of weaponry manufacture - turning sticks into swords and bows. If the worst happens we'll just sit in a circle and sing 1970s Christian worship songs - should scare anyone off :-D

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  2. James, funny that - u r the one that, whenever we asked a question about using something (usually computer related) , u used to always say to us "have u read the manual"! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Just the usual do as I say and not as I do advice. In fact I had read the manual, but I'd skim-read it to get the gist rather than using it as a step-by-step guide. Love to all.

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  3. "fear of the unknown" in South Hampshire.... sounds like your having fun guys! One day Laura will appreciate the jump leads, ratchet set and tow rope you doubtless insisted on James... Ed

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    Replies
    1. Luckily the farmer had a tow rope! Kit is increasing, but it's more of the outdoor table/extra tea towels style at the moment...

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