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Posts tagged ‘campervan’

Sounding out autumn on the Solway

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It’s quiet for now but the waves of Barnacles are close. Thousands of geese are migrating from the Arctic every day, settling on the Solway to escape the harsh Svalbard winter. The skeins speed overhead in a cacophonous cloud, swirling, unsettled, mad.  And when the deafening sky fades and the last outliers pass, an expectant stillness settles on the sands, fields and rivers. The next invasion is imminent and compulsively you scan the empty skies and listen for the elemental sounds of autumn. The long, languorous summer is over.

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Gathering no moss

P1050673I left my home in the hands of strangers today and walked away, feeling twitchy, unsettled,  a bit like leaving a child behind at playgroup for the first time.

The camper was just getting a service, but it has been my home for six months and I’ve clearly bonded. And yes, it does feel like home. I know it’s just a lump of depreciating metal but it contains everything I need and I really like living small, with only the minimum of everything around me;  clothes, books, food, recording gear, a slim laptop, camera and phone. And an excess of paper and pens.

And while I don’t carry much, I’m prepared for every eventuality. My tents, boots and walking gear are there, working clothes and high heels in the secret (no more) compartment under the floor . They don’t get many outings, but you Just Never Know. The van works well as transport, office and social space. Friends have stayed over, they’ve drunk wine and whisky and endless cups of tea, I’ve cooked meals in beautiful places as they’ve sat back and enjoyed the scenery. And it’s a pared down personal sanctuary too, a place where I can close the blinds and curl up in bed on a miserable night with hot chocolate and a book.

P1030845This has been a long, hot, wonderful summer. I’ve wakened early most mornings to the dawn breaking over beaches or hills and fallen asleep to the sound of water tumbling over rocks. There have been remote nights when deer and sheep  have been my nearest neighbours and the midges have battered to get in. I’ve spent nights in quiet city streets and car parks too, careful to pull the blinds tight, to shut out the light and keep my presence understated.

i’ve been caught in summer storms. And when the tail end of Hurricane Bertha blew in during the wee small hours, it felt a bit like being inside a black out washing machine, battered, shaken and blasted by squall after rocky squall. It was wild and exciting but the van stayed upright and I lay in the tumbling darkness feeling I was part of the weather. But warm and dry.

It would be wrong, though, to claim that there are no drawbacks to this nomadic life. I’ve  wanted to soak in a bath of hot bubbles after a hard day on the hill, or stare into a log fire on a chilly evening.There have been times when I’ve longed to choose a book from my collection that’s been boxed up in a garage for the last two years.

Occasionally I haven’t known which way to turn. Literally. North? Or south? Right or left? On the days when there’s no pressing schedule and no work, the options and horizons are almost too wide.

P1050064Then there have been weeks like this one, when I’ve been alone in a house, cat sitting for a friend. I’ve had the luxury of space to take stock, to do a thorough spring clean, to get some respite from being in perpetual motion. I’ve barely ventured from the house for the past few days, I’ve driven nowhere and hardly seen anyone or made calls, except for work. I’ve relished being still.

Maybe that’s the flaw. Maybe because there are wheels below my bed I feel I need to keep them rolling.

It’s coming to an end though. There are just a few weeks left till I need to settle down and hibernate till the long days start to loom again. But I’m not finished with this lifestyle yet.

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Van with a View (2)

P1040208Home.

Van with a View (1)

P1020783It took two years of deliberation, but finally the van is On The Road.

And the first camper adventure may have been brief but it was shared with my sons.

So on this momentous occasion my view from the back seat of the two co-drivers is the one I’ll treasure.

Happy days.

Love at first sight

I’ve found The One.

It’s taken years of searching and longing, numerous near misses and countless emotional highs and lows but yesterday I finally took a deep breath and committed.

The One is strong, lean, adventurous and has a name that promises off piste excitement and adventure.  How could anyone resist a  “Jazz Champagne” model in the colour of pale biscuity bubbles? Clearly not me.

It has impractical creamy leather seats, an awning for the Scottish rain, fly screens for midges, charcoal grey carpets to disguise muddy footprints and a multipurpose desk/dining table/bed which will surely become faster to manipulate as time goes by.

The fog lights, cruise control and reversing sensors are bound to be useful too. There’s a proper kitchen and a tiny washroom with minimal storage for moisturisers and shampoo. Engine? Er… Peugeot. Four wheels and probably a spare somewhere.

As with any partner the practical considerations and reliability will ultimately prove more important than initial impressions and outward appearances. But you have to fall in love first.

I’m picking in up in 10 days time.

A serious case of Camper Craving

Maybe it’s the longer light that’s fuelling the urge.

It’s been particularly strong in the last couple of days. I’ve spent hours online researching the options and poring over specialist magazines, then at night I dream of the wild sites I’ll park in, the prospect of a home and the freedom to roam.

I’ve narrowed the styles down. Again.  And tomorrow I’m going to do something about it. Yes, again. My long-suffering friend is coming with me. OK, yet again. But he’s refusing to return to the showrooms we’ve already spent days trawling through, trying the patience of salesmen, asking questions, wearing out the locks on drawers and cupboards and making permanent dents in the upholstery. Well, you need to be sure, don’t you?

Tomorrow it’s somewhere new, with styles I haven’t seen before. I’m so excited I may not sleep tonight.

Campervan, motorhome, RV; no vehicle escapes my attention. Out on the roads I’ve crawled behind the models I’m interested in for mile after mile, holding up the traffic (and often going in a direction I hadn’t intended) while I wonder how it would feel to be driving that machine, what my options would be for an overnight stop and if it’s really as good as camping. I need a home for a while but it has to be small and not too clumsy because it’ll also take the place of my dear little car and permanently packed tent.

As I walked back from the beach in the dark yesterday afternoon I saw a vehicle swing round the harbour and park up at an angle to get the best view of hills and sea and moon. It’s bigger than  the van conversion style I want but it was enough to convince me that it’s still an option in January. In Scotland.

vanThe problem is that (until now, at least) common sense kicks in before I sign the cheque and reminds me that I’d be parting with a substantial chunk of my limited resources. I don’t want an old one that’s going to cause me problems so I’m looking at new or almost new. Today’s favoured model is Globecar but I can’t predict what it’ll be after tomorrow.

I wonder if Camper Envy is a medical condition?