Phew…I think they’ve all gone now so it’s just you and me left. Thanks for hanging on to see how we’re dealing with ‘normal’.
We had no problems with the run into Calais last Wednesday; we’d seen a lot of scare-mongering about the migrant issues on the approach to the port, but we trundled through without a problem. In fact we were put on an earlier sailing as we’d left a little extra time, just in case. Unbelievably we were the third vehicle off the ship so we had a flying start through passport control and customs. Despite my shifty features we weren’t stopped, so we plunged into the traffic for our long trek back to the Midlands.
We were struck immediately by the amount of traffic, and its desperation to get round us. GB really is a crowded little island – I can honestly say that despite driving for over four months on the wrong side of the road – and in a larger vehicle than I’m used to – the drive back from Dover was the most stressful part of the whole trip. I felt I needed eyes in the back of my head and the reactions of a cat to dodge the nutters!
All that stress faded away when we got home however; our lovely friends and neighbours had taped Welcome Home banners on our windows and left us flowers and a bottle of bubbly in the hall. We love them dearly and we’re blessed to have such a great circle of friends. They’d even trimmed our lawn!
I have to confess that decompressing and returning to normal life is harder than I thought. Life is very simple on the road – do we have enough fresh water? Is the waste tank empty? Batteries charged? Fuel & LPG? OK, where do you fancy going..? We had a huge pile of mail waiting, mostly junk but some things which needed following up, and a lot of housey things needing attention. The windows were embarrassingly filthy, front and back gardens jungle-like and of course there were work things to be sorted. And that was before we had to turn our attention to poor Vince who needed a good seeing-to inside and out once we’d unpacked. We have a 13-point list of problems which need to be sorted by our dealer – hopefully mostly under warranty. Nothing too serious but niggly little things which made life difficult here and there while we were away.
Rather than get bogged down, we made a few lists and decided to do things bit by bit – doing a few jobs at a time but still taking time out to do nice things like backing up and sorting out our photos. Nobody wants to sit through a 2000 pic slide show so we’re putting together 30 or 40 of the best photos to show anyone who’s interested. Tickets are available from all the usual outlets. We’ve both done lunches with different friends and I’m not ashamed to say that after spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the boss for over four months – it’s very unsettling being apart even for a few hours. Gill might describe it as blessed relief, of course – I can only speak for myself!
Positives! It’s been great to catch up with everyone, and many people have been kind enough to say they’ve followed my ramblings; one or two have even been inspired to take the plunge and plan their own wanderings. My work here is done!
After driving Vince around for so long, my little Mini feels like an F1 car, although the first time I got in it felt sooooo strange. When I opened the garage door, my motorcycle bounded straight out like a puppy saying ‘ooh you’re back can we go out for a ride, can we can we pleeease ooh can we, go on, you know you want to I’ve really missed you, lets go for a run right now, go on, go on, go on!’ So we did a 140 mile blast along the Welsh border yesterday, to get it out of both our systems. Sublime.
So what next? Well, we’re off in Vince again in a day or two! Just for one night down to Cheltenham to visit our youngest, but it’ll be lovely to reprise our time away. We’ll be heading to Scotland for family visits soon too, although we’ll take the car for that trip. In the longer term we plan to get away again on an even longer Vince adventure but as this might involve selling or renting out the house it’s not a decision we’ll hurry over.
If you’ve subscribed to the blog we’ll keep you posted on our plans, as well as post an occasional update if we’re away with Vince. If you haven’t subscribed, please check in from time to time, we’ve enjoyed your company and it would be a shame to lose touch.
All the best!
Ken & Gill 🙂