A heatwave giving way to torrential rain, more than seventy flood warnings across the UK, gale force winds preceding ex-hurricane Lorenzo’s approach to the fair shores of Blighty. It could mean only one thing. The Lamberts are back on wheels!
Departing ‘The Brick’, a power cut scuppered our final clean. A still-electrified neighbour kindly connected us up via an extra-long extension. The moment that I plugged in the hoover, power was restored.
Packing was a work of art. We’re intending to be away for a year, winter and summer. This involves fitting in a few extras; three boxes of ski gear, two pairs of skis, four winter wheels plus the new caravan aircon system that we bought two days before our trip to Spain was cancelled when our tenant gave notice just days prior to our intended departure. To compensate for this extra baggage, we have left behind the awning and reduced our array of windsurfing equipment. Mark fastidiously weighed everything. We are within our weight limits. Just!
It was lovely to wake in the caravan. Rain pelting on the roof but cosy. It was not the most restful few nights. Parked at beautiful Corfe Castle, the sound of tanks and machine gun fire on the Lulworth ranges ceased at 10pm on the first night, although we remained under attack by acorns. Pitched beneath an oak tree, we enjoyed the full progression of possible tones derived from the impact of acorn with AluTec. As the gales and rain raged, acorns bounced along our roof like ping-pong balls. We giggled through the night as a sequence of seven acorn bounces set the record. Acorns rolled backwards and forwards along the roof in the wind, punctuated by staccato cracks, as though we were under attack by volleys of ball bearings.
Mark and I agreed that we feel so much more relaxed in the caravan, even though we’re still glued to the politics, which is very stressful. Despite the law preventing No Deal, Boris The Johnson maintains that the UK will leave the EU on the 31st October.
One thing is certain; to guarantee a clean exit, from the UK , we are definitely leaving before the deadline, come what may.
Brexit notwithstanding, we had a selection of insurmountable problems of our own to solve. The first, insurance, occupied a whole day. The dilemma is that we are effectively doing two trips. The first is six months skiing with off piste ski cover; then, six months touring in the caravan. A seemingly impossible combination in insurance terms. You would think that perhaps taking out two policies might be the answer, except that each policy must start in the UK. To go with a single policy, we have to submit to cover for off piste skiing throughout the summer!
Then, there was van discrimination.
We asked Saga a question about our vehicle insurance and they informed us that they don’t insure vans, which was odd since we had insured both Blue and Kismet with them. (Saga is one of the few companies to offer vehicle insurance for an unlimited period abroad.)
The theme continued when our local garage, which has looked after Big Blue for five years, suddenly decided that they could not do her MOT because she weighs more than 3T – 3.2 to be exact, so she needs a Category 7 MOT. Despite a wheeziness in the engine department and a squeakiness about her wheels, Blue’s service raised no costly catastrophes and once we located a suitable centre, she flew through her MOT. After ten years of loyal service, her only problem is peeling paint, which Mark remedied with a rather colourful, if idiosyncratic, application of stickers.
Other than that, all we had to do was source and replace Kismet’s defunct microwave and purchase supplies of porridge and PG Tips for Italy. In the interests of space saving, we’ve gone loose leaf; so much more compact than tea bags that I could secure a year’s supply. No Lipton’s Yellow Label for me this year! Eventually, we located the Milenco towing mirror that Amazon had delivered to a nearby farm, so we were all set!
We changed our ferry booking to a gale-free day and were allocated a pet-friendly cabin as a bonus.
It worries me.
It’s all going a little too well…
For further information about how Brexit will affect UK Nationals, please see Brexit Blues – How Brexit Will Affect European Travel and Pet Travel After Brexit.
Please follow my blog if you would like further updates on our latest trip. We intend to spend the season skiing in northern Italy before going on to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
For trips past, click here to check out my books on Amazon. Thus far, we have visited France, Germany, The Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and Romania.