Saturday, 30 September 2017

Homey weekend

The weather forecast is not great for this weekend so we have put off our first night in the van. Windscreen wipers were fixed. O H fitted the new motor in minutes. That saved us a bit. I had my first drive. It felt a bit scary at first. I just did a local road away from too much traffic. I mastered the gears after a few minutes. The height threw me a bit. It caught on some overhanging tree foliage a couple of times. I have researched some sites that stay open all year round. To start with we will have a hard standing and electric to see how that all works. We have some busy times in the next fortnight so we will have to wait a bit. I hope to do some reviews and reflections on the sites we visit.
A visit to the opticians left me with a lighter purse. I paid £40 extra for an eye scan for macular degeneration. As I took the drug tamoxifen for 5 years after breast cancer treatment there were significant changes in my vision so I have to have regular checks. New glasses will be varifocal and transition lenses. All in all £355 pounds! I was expecting this amount so paid everything and tried not to dwell on it. My glasses have some lens damage and scratches so I am looking forward to seeing through crystal clear ones in a few days.
Nanny duty tonight. This little monkey is now 5 months old and hasn't slept through one night yet.
I think poor mummy and daddy need a break. They have tried everything and had expert advice but no success yet. Mummy is feeling poorly and daddy is looking shattered and has a long work shift today. Oh the joys! My 5 were all good sleepers but every baby is different. We are just weeks away from the next one arriving so he is to have another little cousin friend. I have the older ones next weekend. They don't even want to get out of bed for school sometimes!
Busy is good. They keep us young or exhausted I'm not sure which.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Tidy Tuesday

The sun was shining showing up dust and dirty windows so it has been cleaning after work today. Tidying found some lost treasures. My favourite scissors, 3 rolls of sellotape, £3.50 in change and a lost cardigan. It makes my day to find stuff I had forgotten about. The van cushions are done. I need to borrow the staple gun from work to cover the boarding underneath the bunk bed.
I won't miss that orange fabric. I found the little over door baskets in poundstretchers. It fits into the corner nicely. It was just 1.79 so I will get one for the other side of the van when I go again. I am also pleased with the plastic bathroom container just a pound. I has suction pads but seems very strong and I am using it in the kitchen area to hold dishwashing things.
The OH has been working on the windscreen problem. We have bought a new motor that he will try and fit tomorrow. There are not enough hours in the day for me at the moment. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Maiden voyage

Sunday we went over to the Malvern hills to give the van a run and have a picnic.

I like the way I sit up higher than the car. We went past Broadway Tower.

It was lovely  to park in the middle of nowhere and have a picnic. All went well until we came home and it started to rain and the windscreen wipers didn't work. Oh the joy of an old van! OH has had them to pieces today but nothing working as yet. I still could smell diesel fumes a little but I am not used to diesel cars so maybe it is me. It has new exhaust and was running well. No annoying rattling. I am hoping the windscreen problem is just a blip. I still have painting to do but haven't had time to do it. Looking forward to our first trip out to sleep in it.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Vera the Van

It is called Vera after my maternal grandmother who moved many times in her adult life. She loved making a home in new places. The grandparents would buy the most dilapidated, forgotten houses and work and love them into a home. Looking back I realise what a skill that was. She could find and bring out the beauty in almost anything that was salvageable. Well Vera the van is also looking brighter and fresher from some loving care. I bought some fabric from Dunelm and the seating area is almost finished. I have chosen soft pastel colours to replace the 1980s terracotta heavy patterned look.

Toilet update. The toilet and black water tank have been cleaned. It has made me feel much better about using it on "my terms." No 1. 's only unless a complete emergency situation. We won't be wild camping so this should work out. I used biological washing liquid and much scrubbing and rinse and repeating and I must say everything looks in brand new condition. It took a lot of effort though. We found out how everything works and empties. The grey water tank and fresh water tank have been cleaned and sterilised. The freshwater tank doesn't completely empty so I still think we will take our own fresh water in a container. Almost good to go. The gas hob rings wouldn't stay lit but this just required a look on the motor home forum online. OH cleaned off the tiny thermocouples with a scouring pad and they worked straight away. In the manual it said call your gas engineer! I have some painting to finish and then will pack with some essentials before our first trip. 
Steves memorial stone has arrived in the churchyard. As it was a churchyard we had to stay quite conservative about style  but we think this is very fitting for him. The image has been taken from one of his sunset photographic jumps.
That wasn't the actual one as there are many but his sister drew around the image and the stonemason was able to copy it. 
The flowers are a bit bedraggled as they are the leftovers from the wedding bouquet 2 weeks ago..It is good to have something permanent and I think he would like his spot ans he is pointing west where there are some stunning Cotswold sunsets.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Relentless researcher. Talking toilets.

I may be over thinking things but I have done relentless researching about grey water and black water   tank emptying. It seems a right old faff to me. We don't want to live in this motorhome just the odd few days away at a time. I went on YouTube and was a bit horrified at the performance of emptying and cleaning filling etc. When I caravanned many years ago we had a good old portapotti with a small handbag thingy that disconnected and was taken to emptying point and hosed out with the hose in the cubicle. TMI (sorry) but contents were liquid and blue coloured from chemical. All very civilised. The grey water from the sinks just went in a glorified bucket called an aqua roller. The children liked to help push it to the emptying place. Job done. Now it is hoses and fittings and pumps... I am befuddled why the evacuation of waste has become so technical. We have a van nearly as old as my last caravan. It has no side access in the van. It involves kneeling, fiddling with caps and hoses. Rubber gloves and a warning about dangerous germs. I'm beginning to wonder if the old ways were the best. I would happily remove the toilet and put a portable in in its place. When I mentioned this to OH I got a dark stare and harumphhh!! At least the grey water isn't quite so dangerous to hang around in the tank until we get home. I looked for good old Milton tablets that used to be used in baby sterilisers. No one seems to sell them these days. The internal water tank is also an anxiety. In the aquaroller days I knew it was fresh and clean because I could see it. I think I will have to chill out and relax a bit over the waste thing. I know OH is a bit "Out of sight , out of mind.." I just want to relax when I am away. I don't want nightmares of what germs are multiplying in the tanks. Maybe keeping away from google is best for me. I do like to plan ahead though. I think that there must be some kind of degree course at college for motorhome users.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

More weddings and thunder storms

What a difference a week makes. This weddding was heavy rain. We were almost late and I had to run in heels to get to the registry office in thunder and lightning before we got a dousing. We just made it!
I then had a blister and a hole in my tights. Luckily I had other shoes in the car and plasters in the first aid kit.

I just smiled through the pain and no one noticed.The place we stayed at was called Sandy Balls.
Yes it really was! Not at all sandy. We had a plastic log cabin in amongst the trees.

It did the job and it was a comfortable base to come and go from over the weekend. The New Forest is peaceful and we had to drive around donkeys and cattle who sit in the road if they choose to. There were houses tucked among trees with beautiful late summer cottage gardens. The trees are just beginning to turn golden. It was really stunning. I think that houses here are an extortionate price here and the bride and groom have no choice but to rent for the time being.

Before we headed home we couldn't resist swinging by the coast for a bracing walk. The wind was 
getting up and there waves were impressive. We stopped for a coffee break at Barton on Sea with a 
view of the Needles on the Isle of Wight. 

We got back to Oxfordshire just ahead of some thick heavy drizzle. A good weekend and now looking forward to a quieter time where I can get some jobs done at home and in the garden.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A doer upper

Well the motorhome has taken our time and sanity today. I am still cleaning lots of years of grime away . We were sad to discover a leak and the ceiling was wet inside. There has been some repair done at some point but my sense of smell is good and it does not smell of damp. OH went on the roof with sealant and tools looking for the problem. It rained hard again and water was still coming in. It is really old but I didn't expect a leak. I wonder if the sellers knew this. They seemed such nice genuine people. We have to replace the exhaust too. We knew that. There was a mot advisory. The plan is not to spend too much money on this as it is quite old. It still cost a bit though and I don't want it to rot away. We will find the leak and dry out the insulation in between the roof and ceiling. I have touched up the scratched wood interior and covered the cupboard top and table with fablon and a decorative trim(tape from Aldi) and it is looking brighter already. OH has laid some new vinyl floor in kitchen area. I will get some carpet tiles for the rest but first we must sort out the leak.

A before and after photos. The veneer on the cabinet was chipped and scratched so it got a sticky back plastic makeover. The same with the table. It was dull and scratched and I couldn't restore it.

We went out for a short run to the local Poundstretcher for some carpet tiles. About 5 miles into the journey there was a persistent screeching noise. OH thinks it is the brake pads so I think they might need doing too. This van was had better be worth the money! 
On a brighter note I went back to work today. The little people were genuinely pleased to be back after the long holidays. No tears today as the new tiny ones start on Monday. Last years tots have grown like weeds over the summer. I am planning to do a few extra hours at work to cover the initial expenditure of getting the van up and running. I'm very fortunate that I can choose whether I work extra or not. I like to keep to my part time contract though just in case health fails and it gets too much.
Another family wedding on Saturday. It will be in Salisbury and we are staying over in the New Forest. I would have liked to take the van but it won't be done in time. This wedding is on OH s side of the family and we are sharing a lodge with Mum in Law and his brother and partner. Mum in law is recovering well from her heart attack and is looking forward to the day. She has a new outfit. I will love it but am looking forward to life being a bit quieter for a few weeks. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A whirl of a week.

It was my son's wedding on Friday. It was a glorious sunny, mellow September day. The hotel was called the Hare and Hounds in Tetbury Gloucestershire. It was a beautiful place and they got married on the lawn. My nephew did the official photos but the are not released yet.
The happpy couple.

The beautiful dress.

My son with my Dad the oldest wedding guest..

His twin with the youngest wedding guest who only managed to wear his wedding finery for a few minutes before he  did what babies do best and needed changing.
It was a lovely day with both families. Life isn't ever perfect and we all missed Steve with that dull ache that never goes away. He was to be the other best man. His little brother did an amazing speech on his own and just brokedown a little  at the end which was heartbreaking but we picked ourselves up and carried on. We enjoyed the day just as he would have. We all felt him there with us.