Sunday, 14th January 2018 – The London Boat Show.

Having missed last year’s boat show due to a combination of bad weather and lethargy, Kim was keen to make the annual pilgrimage to ExCel this year. Armed with his “old person’s railcard” he headed off to London on Saturday morning by train. Wendy is still of the opinion that it’s a waste of time (and money) if you haven’t got a boat, not to mention rubbing salt into a still very raw wound.

The journey down by train and DLR was very easy and civilised and Kim was there by about 11 o’clock. Unfortunately, these days the London Boat Show is a bit short on saily boats, lots of mobos, big and small, and quite a lot of dinghy/day boats as well, but when it comes to 30-foot plus with masts and sails, well the likes of Bavaria, Jeanneau and Beneteau made a token appearance with a couple of boats apiece and that was pretty much it. The Boat Show has now been reduced to only four days and Saturday seemed to be mum, dad and the kids, tyre kickers and old boys meeting up for a social. Grand Soleil had a small stand with one boat, a 34 footer, which was the only boat Kim went onto for a look around and as a performance yacht it was all open plan, pale woodwork and lots of white GRP down below – not our taste at all. If, like us, you want to see Halberg Rassey, Malo and Najad, Linssen etc., you have got to go to Dusseldorf, which then becomes an expensive weekend city break for 2, as against a trip for 1 down to London by train.

The one thing Kim did go down to the show to get was a Becken calendar and even though the show had only opened on Thursday, they had already sold out. He did, however, manage to buy a nice pair of Musto shoes at a very reasonably price and, of more interest from Wendy’s point of view, a guide book to the River Trent and associated canals and navigations. The good thing about this book is that it is not only aimed at people on the water but also at those who are using the towpath, e.g. walkers, cyclists etc.

Kim was probably only there about 4 hours, including a bite to eat, but he had a good day and Wendy picked him up from the station at 5.30.

On a different note, we have now found a suitable caravan storage place about 20 minutes away, not quite as convenient as Hawkinge but not too bad. We have made arrangements to go down and collect the van at the end of February so will be ready once the weather starts to improve.


Sunday, 31st December 2017 – Review Of The Year.

Well, two months since the last Blog entry and the end of 2017. This has been a year of massive change for us; in fact it represents the start of a complete new chapter in our lives!

We started the year off with the sale of Emjaytoo. A Hungarian buyer, a British vendor and a Dutch Contract of Sale made for a long drawn out process and even entailed getting the contracts endorsed by the Hungarian Embassy in London. Eventually, it all went through. That just left us with Kate. We put her back on the market and eventually found a buyer!

No longer having cause to travel across to Europe, we started to question what point there was living down in Kent. Kim’s job? So then the house went up for sale and we started looking at property in Lincolnshire. By the beginning of November we had moved to Fenton on the Lincolnshire/Nottingham border and Kim had secured a position with a local company just north of Newark.

We managed a few trips away in the caravan, including a two week holiday, the first week in Yorkshire and the second in North Wales. Our last trip away was the August Bank Holiday. Since then, what with the house move and Kim’s search for a new job, we have not had time to get away.

The caravan is still in the storage yard at Hawkinge as the rent is paid up to the end of March, but as we go into 2018, we need to find a storage facility a bit nearer to home!

Christmas was a change from the past, we are now a lot nearer the family, so we enjoyed more visitors and in turn we were able to make short visits to family without them being major expeditions. Going to Maggie’s on Christmas Day for Christmas Lunch was the high point of the holiday.

2018, will hopefully be a year of consolidation, as we settle into our new life and start to explore a new part of the country aided by the fun of a touring caravan.

And now for the customary photo to sum up the year:

IMG_2718


Thursday, 26th October 2017 – Less Than A Week To Go.

The removals men will turn up on Monday to start the packing, so it really is imminent now.

Yesterday we picked the caravan up from being serviced. She got a clean bill of health, no damp. Water ingress leading to damp can be a problem with British caravans, we have a six year warranty against water penetration providing she is serviced, a bit like a car warranty. They also replaced the friction pads in the tow hitch which has cured an irritating moaning sound that was coming from the tow hitch. So all good till next year.


Sunday, 22nd October 2017 – Full Steam Ahead!

Suddenly, after all the frustration, everything has dropped into place! Last Thursday a couple of people in the chain were obviously getting as frustrated as us and read their solicitors the riot act. Immediately the obstacles disappeared and on Friday morning we all exchanged with a completion of 31st October. Add to this, the week before, Kim was called to a second interview for the job just north of Newark and has got the job, he starts on Monday 6th November. Wendy finished her massive piece of work and we are now seriously getting stuck into the remainder of the packing, not that there is really a lot left to do now.

Of course all this means we have been done out of any time away in the caravan, but it is better to get the move and the new job sorted out.

Tomorrow, the caravan goes in for a service, back to the place we bought her from a year ago, how time flies!


Saturday, 7th October 2017 – Still Not Moved!

Hoping to be moved by the end of September indeed proved optimistic. With no sign of exchange in site, moving by the end of October looks optimistic now. Both the sale of here and the purchase of up there are stalled by the endless exchange of questions & answers. We are prepared to put our stuff in storage if necessary in order not to jeopardise our sale. If only for a couple of weeks, we could have a holiday in the caravan.

The job situation for Kim is no better, not a sniff of an interview. Maybe once we have moved things will be better.

Packing continues at a half-hearted pace, well with no date to work to, it is difficult to get fired up. Wendy is very busy work wise, having taken on a huge assignment of four or five weeks’ duration and is trying to get as much done prior to the move as possible.

We could both do with a break away in the caravan, but no chance at present.


Thursday, 7th September 2017 – Job Interviews.

The house move plods along, seems very slow at times, but it is only 8 weeks since our offer on Allen Road was accepted. We still hope to move by the end of September, but that might be a bit optimistic.

On Tuesday we drove up to Newark as Kim had a job interview. Given that it is over three and a half hours’ drive and costs a fortune in fuel, Kim had said he wouldn’t consider any interviews until we had moved. However, this was a really attractive opportunity; only 20 minutes drive to work.

The interview went well, but Kim’s insistence on a four day week may prove to be a stumbling block! He was at least able to arrange another interview for the same afternoon, but that wasn’t really a job opportunity, more a case of networking, but since we were up there it cost nothing.

Wendy came along for the ride and we stopped over on Tuesday night at Kim’s mother near Ely, so that broke the journey up and enabled us to spend some time with her. Once we have moved, we will be nearer to her as well as the rest of the family, so should see more of everyone.


Monday, 28th August 2017 – Tenterden & Family Camp.

On Monday the 21st, we set off for Tenterden. We had now decided to go to Tenterden for three nights and go from there straight up to Warwickshire on the Thursday without calling back home, thus avoiding travelling on the Friday of the bank holiday. We had chosen a C&CC Certificated Site that was adults only, so it would be small and quite. And that was what we got.

IMG_3272

We had been given a voucher for a vineyard tour and wine tasting as a Christmas present by Kim’s son Jim and that was the reason for choosing Tenterden as the Chapel Down Winery is situated nearby. White and rosé English wines are very good these days. Forget red, our climate won’t produce a good red and the wineries don’t really waste much time with them. The tour of the winery was very good and we had glorious weather for it. The wine tasting was fun, more so for Wendy who wasn’t driving, so actually drank the wine! Kim did it properly and spat it all out! They weren’t stingy with the tasting, so the result was that Wendy was a bit tipsy at the end of it all.

We then went over to Sissinghurst Castle, a National Trust property where we had lunch in the NT café and spent the afternoon walking round the gardens.

P1060473

P1060467

On Wednesday we went into Tenterden to the Kent & East Sussex heritage steam railway,

P1060480

P1060482

where we got the train down to Bodiam.

P1060486

Bodiam has an impressive castle

P1060538

P1060520

One amusing feature is the moat with its huge stock of Carp, who have learnt that people mean food!

P1060525

On Thursday, we packed away and drove up to Warwickshire.

IMG_3273

Again we chose a C&CC Certificated Site, but this one said it was very relaxed about large family groups, so seemed ideal on paper. When we arrived it looked ideal as we virtually had it to ourselves.

P1060625

Maggie, James and the children arrived on Friday, Stewart and his girlfriend came on Saturday and we all stayed till Sunday.

P1060663

P1060661

Jim and Kim’s ex-wife Melanie, came over for the Saturday barbecue and we all had a good time. This was despite the camp site ignoring the Certified Site rules and booking in 45 units for the Bank Holiday!

P1060653

The site facilities were of a pretty poor standard to start with and grossly inadequate for that number, thus we were glad to have our own toilet/shower in the caravan.

One interesting aspect to the weekend was that the site had no electric hook up, so we had to manage entirely on gas and the leisure battery. The cooker, hot water heater and fridge will all run on gas and we only needed 12 volt electric to control the fridge and pump the water for the taps. We avoided using lights in the caravan, by a combination of sitting outside and using battery lights. We did run the car (with the caravan plugged in) for an hour or so on Friday afternoon to top the battery up and that lasted all the way up to our showers on Sunday Morning.

We had originally thought we would stay on until the Monday, but as the rest of the family were only staying until Sunday and in fear of Bank Holiday Monday traffic, we decided to leave on Sunday. It was a good move as we had a good run back to Kent.

This was the first time out with the new tow car and Kim was very pleased with it. The automatic gear box combined with hill start assist made towing a doddle. The Tiguan is not quite as powerful as the Passat, but it is heavier and can tow more, thus making it a better match for the caravan. It’s not as economical and we only just got 29 mpg compared to the Passat’s 35mpg, but it was definitely better to drive.

Now it’s back to the packing!


Friday, 18th August 2017 – How Time Flies!

The last week of July saw Kim formally made redundant and the company put into liquidation. So no redundancy pay and no notice period. Fortunately the government covers this eventuality with statutory payments. They are, however, capped and we now wait to see how much Kim actually gets. It won’t be very much but it might be enough to live on. The problem is that Kim can’t look for another job down in Kent because we may be moving in a matter of weeks.

So to the move. Things have progressed; there have been delays with solicitors being on holiday, people being off sick and various things not happening as fast as we would have liked. But it does appear to be back on track. We are now starting to get some of the searches back and the solicitors are now going through the process of asking each other ridiculous questions in order to justify their fees! If we are lucky we might get exchange of contract in two weeks time and completion two weeks thereafter.

Kim is using his time off to start packing and the library is now complete, we have over the last month or so taken quite a bit of unwanted stuff either to the charity shop or the council tip. Because Kim has the time off, we have elected to do all the packing ourselves. The house is now starting to fill up with boxes, both full and flat unused ones.

IMG_2543

Kim did get himself a replacement car, a VW Tiguan automatic 4x4. He had said he didn’t want another VW as it would remind him of the “lost” Passat! But in the end a two year old one presented itself at a good price, so he went for it. It should make a more accomplished tow car than the Passat as it weighs more and can tow more. 4x4 should be useful in the winter as Fenton is a bit off the beaten track.

We are hoping to give the Tiguan its first outing with the caravan on Monday when we go down to a site at Tenterden for a couple of nights. This is by way of a shake down before the Bank Holiday when we are going up to Warwickshire for a “family camp” near Edgehill.


For earlier entries go to the Blog Archive

Back to the Top