And so my Chronicle entries draw to a close as we have now hired a Luton van and taken a trip down South to collect our furniture.
We still have the tent, sleeping bags, and most of the kit, but sold the caravan as soon as we could after moving here. As things turned out, it would have been cheaper to have B&B for the remainder of our house hunting time, but winter was coming, the weather always seemed to be against us, and we couldn’t have stayed in the caravan forever, especially as there are restrictions as to how long you can stay on one site.
As well as proving your identity, you also need to provide documentation, no older than 3 months, showing your previous permanent address to the solicitor acting for you when you buy a house. We didn’t know that, but luckily our temporary accommodation address was acceptable (we had been able to have our mail forwarded using the Post Restante service to a particular post office of our choosing) , so when we ‘signed on’ with a solicitor for our purchase, we had a week or so to spare!
As a choice for B&B though we couldn’t have got it more wrong. After we’d replaced the windows, got a new central heating boiler and updated the plumbing, got rid of the damp, put in a new kitchen and decorated throughout (let’s just say the colour schemes in each room were all different but equally bright) , we discovered that we couldn’t do what we’d originally intended and had to scrap the idea.
The place is definitely in a better state than when we bought it though. We sorted out the garden finding 3 filled in ponds and so many buried bricks, we thought we might uncover another property! We allocated part of it as a veg patch to try our hand at growing our own and had great success.
We kept chickens for a while too, so our time here hasn’t been wasted.
It’s too much for us now, so we are looking to downsize once we get a buyer.
I think though that our camping days are over. It was certainly an experience and despite being rained out so often, it wasn’t all bad. We had a lot of fun in the early days and learned a lot about ourselves and each other. In 2007, we saw each other at our worst, our most frustrated, despondent, angry, tearful and downhearted, but we still pulled together and came out smiling as we were determined not to let things get the better of us. It’s how we have always been and how we still are. We said when we first got together that we were both entitled to our bad or off days. We just weren’t allowed to have them at the same time. It turned out to be a good philosophy.Here are just a few of the benefits we found during our months under canvas:
Much of the modern everyday household stuff we didn’t need (or miss, we still don’t have a TV) ;
“Bad” foods (margarine, ready made sauces/meals, convenience foods, chips, crisps, sweets, processed meats) have been reduced or removed from our diet;
We didn’t starve, ate exceptionally well and actually lost weight;
We slept better than we did in a stuffy bedroom;
We were ‘regular’ (Mum would’ve been so proud!) ;
(When it didn’t rain) It wasn’t difficult to keep ourselves, clothes (and tent/caravan) clean and hygienic;
We were never ill;
We saved money as we only bought what we needed or intended to eat on a day to day basis.
Would we do it again? Now there’s a toughie.
Hubby says he’s happier out in the open and does not like the trappings of modern living. I like roots and stability and although I can do without the advantages of living in a house (apart from flush loos and showers!) for a holiday, I would not like such a life on a permanent basis.
We joke and say a compromise would be for me to live in the house and he can have a tent at the bottom of the garden. The nights would be lonely and cold though, and it might confuse the dog as she doesn’t like it if we’re ‘together’ but apart, if you see what I mean.
Perhaps when we eventually find a buyer, we’ll have enough money to get a camper van as we are both agreeable that we would not want another caravan. We could then ‘get away’ from modern living as and when the mood took us and thus have the best of both our worlds.