Things continue to move apace. The loan for the balance on the new RV is in the bank today. Ferry tickets are booked, camp sites are booked, rellies and friends are alerted to our impending presence. It is all becoming horribly real.
This morning we took Nell for chipping. I was once a believer in microchipping but have learned over the years that it has little actual utility. Given that plus the fact that Nell was effectively marooned here on an island and never going to be lost, I never bothered to get her a chip. She does however need one by law from April and so the deed is done. Given that we are now travellers, it may be a good thing.
When we returned from that errand we turned Brunhilde around ready for preparing her for her final trip. We took the opportunity to practice reversing technique and bringing her in backwards through the gate. When the new van arrives it is highly unlikely we shall be able to turn her around outside the house so we will need to reverse her in on arrival. Mr L has been googling and learning some tips and hints on reversing a larger vehicle and thus it was that he backed Brunhilde down the track and out of the gate, then reversed her in again – all without fault. He also measured the gate for me and proved that the new van will fit. I choose to believe him but my inner doubter remains concerned. I am unconvinced that knowing he can reverse a 22 footer in guarantees that he can do the same with a 32 footer that is also wider than Brunhilde.
Stringent saving measures remain in place and we came back from the shop without beer, snacks, or sweeties today. Dinner is to be a meat-free chilli. Abstinence reigns.
There are bright spots though – Norma the postie delivered a chocolate tasting box today – it seems our cancellation was too late to stop this month’s delivery. What a shame 🙂 I am going to pack the chocs into the van and forget about them until we go away. That’s one thing to look forward to. We have also decided to permit ourselves one good pub meal while we are away. Last night we sat in bed with the Brit Stops book, doing a circular tour of Wales, pub-by-pub. We have identified the one with the best menu and beer options and will duly drive up one night and have a slap-up. At any other Brit Stops we will either settle for a pint apiece or rely on the rule that says no purchase is necessary.
So, the plan is: Ferry to Kirkwall, overnight at Brodgar, Ferry to Scrabster, drive to Dornoch (70 miles) – where we will allow the luxury of fresh croissants and decent coffee for breakfast at Harry Gow’s before legging it down to the Bridge of Allan (180 miles) for a cod and chips tea at the Allanwater Cafe (the best F&C in Scotland). A camp site at Blair Drummond will give us a chance to service the van. The following day we’ll brave the Central Belt and do a dash for Teesdale (160 miles). The next day is a short run to Pocklington (90 miles) to visit the family, leaving the next day for a site at Cheltenham (narrowly missing the Festival, phew!) in readiness for viewing the new van the following day near Tewkesbury.
So, that’s taken a week so far – just getting there!
Assuming we agree to buy the van, or a different one, we then have to take off for a few days while the van is prepared for us. We’re going to see our friend Roz in the Newbury area but thereafter it’s a big unknown as we don’t know how long “a few days” will be. I do want to meet up with an online friend and former full-timer, Michele, who lives in Gloucester.
Once we have swapped vans we need to stay fairly local to Gloucester in case the van needs to go back for attention. We’ll spend a night or two in the Forest of Dean, then swing left and play around in Wales until such time as we have to come home, or return the van to the vendor for attention. Hopefully the van will be fine and we can effect an outline plan to follow the Welsh coast on an extended detour of our route North. I should like to visit Bodnant Gardens and perhaps the Centre for Alternative Technology. Mr L would like to do a railway – perhaps the Talyllyn.
Clearly we are unable to make any firm plans for the route home but we hope to catch up with Fenny in Daventry on the way. After that we have a commitment to meet up with the Pocklington family members so that they can admire our new bus. If we can time this for the weekend then we will meet up with them somewhere mutually convenient – we are considering Ingleton – before heading North for the ferries home. We’re fancying a detour via Glencoe, and the Brit Stop at the Loch Leven Seafood centre.
Somewhere along the way we would quite like to stumble across both an Ikea and a Costco. Tesco seems a distinct possibility too, given the size of the new fridge and freezer.
You know what – I think we shall need a holiday to get over this one!