There is nothing better, in my opinion, than to be snuggled under a nice warm duvet in bed in the Motorhome with a hot steaming mug of coffee whilst listening to the rhythmic patter of the rain on the roof. There must be a magical quality in the Motorhome as I always feel so relaxed whenever I am in it and generally sleep far better than I ever did in the bed in the house. The weather had taken a turn for the worse this week, days of rain and at nights the temperatures were dropping dramatically, the wind chill factor made it feel more like winter than the onset of autumn. We were fortunate to have the van hooked up to the house electric supply so we were able to utilise that and not the LPG gas heating. The electric heater was efficient enough and although we could have kept it on during the night we opted to turn it off as it did get extremely warm, too warm. Wakening up in the morning we had off to a fine art. I filled the kettle the night before ready to just be switched on, the coffee cups were ready and by the time I had finished my first cigarette of the day, to kick-start my lungs, the kettle had boiled, coffee’s were made and then back into bed and under the welcoming warmth of the duvet until the temperature had risen enough to get up and get dressed. Until we reached the warmer winter climates in Southern Portugal or Spain, this would become a common routine over the next three weeks.
Sharon had already taken a full load of our personal possessions to her mum’s but there was still a second car load to take !! There would only be one more trip as Sharon would be leaving the car at her mum’s this time and then returning on the train. We needed to make sure that everything would fit in so I set about doing a trial load. It all fitted very nicely and there was even a ‘small’ amount of space left just in case Shazza found any ‘other’ forgotten little items that may just have been tucked away as part of her ‘ruthless re-distribution’ tactics ? One of my other tasks for the day was to give ‘our‘ car a good clean, inside and out, and it needed it !! Conveniently, Shazza appeared just as I had finished the ‘intensive clean’ and with a big beaming smile on her face she declared “At least my car will never be dirty again” !! Which in Shazza speak means “Thank you Jeeves for cleaning our car”.
It had been another relatively active Saturday, although not as active as some other’s had been ! but there was one more ‘finale’ and that was the last visit by Raitis (Mama), Madara, Augustus and Valters our Latvian family, who were now more like friends rather than just people who had bought our furniture. This would be their last visit to us to collect my most prized possession, the 25-year-old solid oak hand-crafted roll top writing desk. Their now familiar van parked up outside the house and as soon as their young son ‘Augustus’ had been unfastened from his child seat he came straight across to where I was standing, waiting to greet them, and he put his arms out for me to pick him up. But Madara did not come empty-handed as the picture below shows……..
‘Traditional Home Baked Latvian Cake’ Raitis (Mama), Augustus, Madara & Valters
I had not told the ‘buyers’ of our house about the fixed tenant they would be inheriting ? Our invisible ‘Poltergeist‘ lived primarily in the kitchen and let me know that it had visited by leaving cupboard doors and kitchen drawers open !! Occasionally it would visit our bedroom, or more specifically, Shazza’s dressing table and again had advertised its presence by leaving drawers open. Now it was either a ‘kinky’ male poltergeist that enjoyed trawling through Shazzas ‘underwear’ drawers or it was a female that was comparing fashion accessories as it never left any evidence of having any interest in any of my dressing table drawers ? Unfortunately, it appears that our ‘Poltergeist‘ has become attached to us and wants to come along on our ‘Big Adventure’ as I have now discovered that cupboards and drawers inside the Motorhome are suddenly being left open !!
I awoke on Sunday morning, it was the usual chilly start but there was no rain, there was no sun either just grey clouds but more importantly, for the first Sunday in almost four months there was ‘No’ Car Boot Sale………Yeee Haaaah !!! The heating was turned on, the kettle was turned on, I kick started my lungs, made the coffees and retreated back into the beautifully warm confines of the bed. We tuned in the radio to ‘Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs’. After the first hour I made us another coffee and then back into bed to listen to the final hour of the programme. We stayed in bed until eleven o’clock, because we could !! In addition to listening to the ‘romantic’ tunes and drinking coffee we also browsed through the Internet and ordered our updated publications, “All the Aires Spain & Portugal”, “LPG Gids” (a book that shows all the LPG outlets throughout Europe) and a CEPSA road map of Spain & Portugal that had been recommended by one of our ‘Motorhome365′ Forum members. I had been advised that this was a much better map than the more popular publications as it showed all the very minor roads and hidden coves dotted around the coastlines and this would prove to be very useful when we required to find some ‘Wild Camping’ locations. We also decided to get an ACSI Discount Card as this would enable us to utilise campsites which offered low season discounts. Once we had forced ourselves to get out of bed I decided that it may be worth just checking to see if their were any updates for ‘Snoopy’ and discovered that there was. As an additional bonus, whilst uploading the new data the programme also updated some of ‘Snoopy’s’ system software so all in all a rather lazy but very productive morning.
The weather forecast for the week ahead did not make pleasant reading and I was glad that I had taken the opportunity to clean the car when I did. The mornings started off a bit on the chilly side but warmed up a little throughout the day but by early evening there was a cold bite again. I was hoping that the colder weather would stay away for a little longer as we still had three weeks to spend in the UK before we could point the ‘Big Momma’ towards the Northern Spanish coastline. I had been keeping regular checks on the temperatures in Spain and Portugal and was pleased to see that they were still consistently reaching the high 20’s and low 30’s (Celsius) and praying that they would continue to do so for a few more months. We still did not know in which direction we would be heading once we got off the ferry on the Spanish side although we did favour heading West to Portugal if the weather stayed favourable.
This was to be a week of cleaning the house. Shazza had been cleaning each room as we emptied it but we were still using the En-suite bathroom in the master bedroom and until very recently the main kitchen, although Shazza had now moved all of the kitchen appliances into the Motorhome and the contents of the house food cupboards and fridge/freezer were now also re-located to the vans galley. So she set about the big kitchen clean up and washed all the cupboards and pulled out all of the ‘white goods’ appliances and cleaned the spaces they occupied as well as the appliances themselves. Shazza would not leave an unclean house !
It was also a week of farewells and ‘last suppers’ and on Monday evening Shazza prepared a lovely roast dinner with all the trimmings and we were joined by our Son and his partner. Because of the amount of cooking she decided to prepare and cook in the house kitchen, as there was more space, and then convey the plates of food into the Motorhome.
Shazza enjoys cooking and baking, and I enjoy eating it !! Now that she is a ‘Lady of Leisure’ she is enjoying trying new things and is becoming extremely proficient in the use of the very versatile ‘Ramoska’ cooker we had received as a farewell gift. As well as cooking ‘normal’ type meals she had also baked scones and cakes in it and her latest venture was a home-made ‘Carrot & Ginger’ soup. We had a bowl each with a lovely freshly baked warm baguette. Mmmm just right for this Autumnal weather, I think I will be prompting her to make that again when we get on the road !!
Whilst the weather remained overcast, windy and wet we both set about ‘inside’ jobs. Shazza inside the house and me inside the garage. We had agreed to let the ‘buyers’ use our garage to store their furniture before the completion and they were due to start utilising the space at the weekend. We agreed that we would hand over all the ‘garage’ keys to them and that we would have no liability for any of their possessions whilst stored on our property. So, the last of the garage contents were cleared, apart from some items that would be collected on the Friday, the floor was swept and that was another job completed.
Another farewell and final supper, this time it was my turn to say farewell to my fellow colleagues, Barry whom I had known for over 30 years, 22 years in a ‘former life’ and 11 years in my current one and Eric (the Boss), John and Jeff (who had retired 12 months earlier) who I had known and worked alongside for 11 years.
Another week comes to an end, it has certainly been a lot less hectic than some of the previous ones and we were now ready and ‘itching’ to get on the road to start this adventure. I guess that since actually selling the house way back in June it has been a bit of a rollercoaster of a journey but we now had just 5 days remaining before the ‘real adventure’ begins !! …………