Lockdown life eh..? Lockdown 1 was a step into the unknown, with silent streets and springtime walks, soda bread and miming “You’re on mute!” In front of stuttery Zoom screens. Lockdown 2 was about rolled eyes and “Here we go again, buckle in folks – at least we can see everyone at Christmas…oh.”
And now we find ourselves in Lockdown 3, a grey, grinding, relentless icy purgatory of moaning and neighbour-shaming, while we pray for vaccine dates and watch those holiday dreams recede further and further into the distance.
I desperately hope you haven’t been touched by tragedy during this pandemic; despite my moans we’re endlessly grateful that the few cases of Covid in our family all proved to be minor. And no lasting effects either thank goodness.
But we can’t travel. All the campsites are closed. The ferries are halted. Pitchfork wielding locals are seen all over the news chasing lawbreaking motorhome drivers from their villages. So what on earth are we blogging for?
I think it’s partly just keeping channels open: to our readers and friends (same thing really) and to our neighbours, travelling buddies and any random Google-er who lands on these pages by accident. We’re lucky enough to have a great bunch of readers who like to comment on these ramblings. Some of them positively! Many readers chat with us via email and WhatsApp or make rude comments on our Instagram. It’s always good to hear from anyone thinking of taking up the motorhome life or from long-time readers who’ve never stopped by for a chat – or from anybody really, who shares our longing for safer and sunnier days. Feel free to let us know what you’ve been up to in these tricky times. We’d love to swap stories and share a few laughs.
The other reason I fired up the blogging machine might have something to do with avoiding my next assignment on an OU course I’m doing to improve my writing skills. Goodness knows they need it – my former business partner is always telling me off for starting sentences with ‘and’.
And, for, using, too, many, commas. I do it just to annoy her really.
Lockdown life v3.0 for us has mostly been straightening things out after only three months in our new home. I just realised that since starting Travels With Vince our readers have followed us through three house moves and a homeless spell in Vince too! Hopefully we’ll be staying put here in Yorkshire for a while but you never know… Oh, hang on – Gill has just fainted. No, I think we’d better stay here for a bit.
The biggest issue with our smallish apartment is storage. We’ve left a messy trail of knick-knacks, clothing and furniture in charity shops all over the country as we’ve moved around. But when you buy an apartment which – except for the kitchen – has literally only one cupboard (and that’s half full of water tank) you have to look hard at all your possessions and be brutal about what you really need.
We’re very lucky in one respect; some of the spaces in the Mill’s basement parking area are barely big enough for a medium-sized car. Fortunately our space is in a corner. There are steel supports all around it and it leads to a large unused recess. This gives us enough room for one of those eternal objects of blokey desire, a man-shed! In fact, there’s enough space for two. We have a small plastic shed to take all the Christmas decorations and suitcases and we now have a large wooden hut where I can store my trusty motorcycle. The big shed arrived a couple of days ago – I can’t contain my excitement! It will swallow the bike, its luggage, my bike kit, all those essential tools a man can’t live without and the 473 toilet rolls left over from Lockdown 1.
So how’s our Vince coping with lockdown life? Well after my shameful revelations last time I’m pleased to confirm that I popped back to the storage place shortly after we posted, and gave him a good seeing-to with a bucket & sponge so he’s sparkling clean again. At least he was when we last saw him 10 weeks ago. That’s right, ten weeks – we haven’t clapped eyes on the big fella in all that time 😢. With luck, his batteries haven’t given out yet; we’re keeping our fingers crossed. We’ve disconnected his starter battery and any available solar charging is currently* directed to the leisure battery so hopefully he’ll fire up ok when we see him next. It’s really horrible having him so far away when we’ve been used to just plugging him in at the house. Better pack the jump leads for the next visit.
Realistically it’s hard to see much prospect of getting abroad with him this year. The vaccination programme seems to be going really well but even if restrictions lift in the UK it may be some time before the EU countries let us back in. Ah well, I’m sure there are lots of interesting places to explore at home this summer. Who needs sunshine anyway? Maybe, just maybe, we’ll pencil in a winter gallivant to Spain but only in very light pencil.
One trip which is definitely in Vince’s diary is the Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival in July. We’ve bought our tickets and reserved a camping spot for him. Those Hairy Bikers will be there and so will this one! You’re all invited too so book up, check in, and mine’s the first round. Possibly.
People fed up with lockdown life are snapping up vast numbers of camper vans and motorhomes – it’s all over the press at the moment. The dealer who sold Vince to us in 2015 got in touch last week to see if we wanted to sell him back to them. There’s so much demand that they can’t keep up! No chance. Nope – we’ll just have to spend the rest of this lockdown planning and dreaming of future trips, and catching up online with our travelling friends.
So until we chat again, keep warm, keep safe and if you’re feeling a bit bored – there’s five years of Vince malarkey to catch up on here. Now that’s guaranteed to cheer you up!
*unintended pun alert 😄