Surprise Gifts, A Purple Dream and A Birthday !!

Saturday 17th October (Day 219 of 236)

As I sit in my own little dream world, as I often do, counting down the days until the end of our second ‘Elf & Elfette‘ season, it suddenly dawned on me that we were actually three weeks into the ‘third year’ of our ‘Big Adventure‘. It’s amazing how time just flies by and although, in reality, we had spent twelve months of that time working as Assistant Wardens, we have looked back on what we have done, and where we have been, in both the UK as well as our travels further afield in the knowledge that we would never have been able to experience any of this had we have remained in our former ‘conventional’ lifestyles. As well as the places we have visited we have also met some very nice people, many of whom we remain in contact with via this blog and even Emails, Mobile Phone, Texts and Skype. There are also those that we have come to know, and remain in contact with, although we have never actually met, through their own travel blogs. This is such a wonderful life and with it comes an opportunity for ‘social networking‘ with people from around the globe, so whilst you can choose to ‘wander’ alone it does not mean that you have to be isolated, in fact, if truth be known, in our previous existence, we were probably more isolated living in a house in a large town with a population of thousands than we ever are now !!

I had first met Roy (Twernt on Tour blog) virtually through Email, when he initially made contact asking for some guidance on purchasing an appropriate vehicle for his own ‘Adventure’. We remained in contact even after he and Amanda had sold their house and worldly possessions and joined the growing band of ‘fulltimers’ and set off on their own travels. Quite coincidentally, we had actually met up down on the Algarve in Portugal when we discovered we were only a few miles apart. Since that time we have remained in contact and Roy and Amanda who, like us, have deviated somewhat from their original ‘Adventure’, which is another great thing about this lifestyle, are currently based back here in the UK. Recently, Roy had been Skype texting me and for several weeks now he had been telling me that he was sending me something, or as he called it ‘a Thingy‘ through the post. I waited in eager anticipation, and waited, and waited some more but Roy would then text me and say that there was a delay as he was changing the ‘prototype‘ and that ‘it‘, the ‘thingy’ would be with me soon. He was very secretive and would give me no indication of what this ‘thingy’ was but continually stated that if I didn’t like it that I could ‘bin it’ and he wouldn’t be offended !! You can probably imagine how intrigued I was, the more the delay the more my inquisitiveness increased but no matter how much I attempted to probe him to give me even the merest hint, he would not divulge anything, other than to say that if I chose to keep the ‘thingy’ that it may, in around ten years, have a re-sale value of around £1.00 !! Now Roy is also a bit of a joker, so my intrigue was also tempered with a large element of suspicion and scepticism, I wasn’t going to allow myself to become overly excited  at the usefulness of said ‘thingy’ only to be disappointed once I had received ‘it’. After a few days I received a text advising me that ‘Thingy’ was en-route, via recorded delivery !! We had been away on a day off but upon our return it had arrived, it was a larger parcel than I had imagined and well wrapped up and very securely taped. I opened the parcel with some trepidation, knowing Roy, something may have been primed to leap out at me, but no, when I finally unwrapped the mystery gift(s) I was very pleasantly surprised to find a very nice piece of craftsmanship that Roy had quite obviously spent a lot of time making…………………….

Roy !! Shazza trusts that you are not implying that she is fat !!!

Roy !! Shazza trusts that you are not implying that she is fat !!!

In April 2014, we were on our way to our first ‘Elf & Elfette’ assignment on the West Coast of Scotland, one of the campsites we stayed on during that journey North was ‘Maragowan’. Whilst there, I had a brief conversation with a fellow motorhomer, as you do, and of course mentioned my blog, as you would. Tom was a Paramedic and he, and his wife Jo, had also dreamed of taking up the fulltiming lifestyle so showed an interest in reading about our adventure. Subsequently, Tom and I kept in touch and within the year they too had given up their jobs and taken to a ‘nomadic’ existence living in their Motorhome. Now the reason for providing that bit of background is that just recently, on the 12th October, Tom and Jo came to visit us on our site here at Berwick, they had taken the big step of selling their house and also investing in a new fulltiming palace on wheels. Unfortunately, the timing of their visit was not during one of our periods of extended time off, however, we were able to meet up and go and have a meal and a few drinks in a local hostelry that evening where the time flew by far too quickly. I have left the photographic evidence of our brief Union for Tom to publish in his own blog ‘

Meanwhile, for us, the days were being ticked off and we were nearing our final couple of weeks and the sense of excitement was now beginning to build, that taste of freedom was so close we could almost taste it. But before that, another major event was about to happen, namely, my birthday !! Unfortunately, it would be a work day but we were off duty the day before and so, as the saying goes, we were able to kill two birds with one stone, a visit to my parents in Leeds, the last chance to see them before our next period of Winter sunshine travels in Spain, and a chance to celebrate my birthday with a ‘Fish ‘n’ Chips’ lunch at my mums favourite local fish restaurant. It would be a long trip to undertake in one day, no not the journey to the fish and chip restaurant, the three-hundred and sixty mile round trip from Berwick, but well worth the effort. Now my mum is a fan of that cooking programme, ‘The Great British Bake Off‘, and so had decided to provide me with one of her own ‘Showstoppers‘ as a birthday treat. It entailed ‘Choux Pastry, Fresh Cream and Chocolate’ and in good ‘bake off’ tradition, she had constructed it,  presented it with an appropriate birthday decoration and then walked it through to the judges table for the big taste test !!

Chocolate Eclairs !! A Winner in my book mum !

Chocolate Eclairs !! A Winner in my book mum !

Now let me tell you a little story, this is completely true and I have been given permission to share this with you. My mum had been suffering with a ‘frozen shoulder’, which often limited her use of one particular arm, however, she has become quite adept at utilising both arms when needs must. She was talking to her ‘physiotherapist’ at a recent appointment and when asked how she was getting on she very proudly stated that she had now become ‘Ambidistrus‘!! Her physiotherapist smiled and said “I think you will find that that is a plant, I think you mean ‘Ambidextrous‘” !!

And so, another blog post comes to an end, and with it, nearly our time here in Berwick-upon-Tweed. With just two more weekends to go we are now beginning to prepare for our departure and the start of a new Chapter in our ‘Big Adventure’. But before that, items that upon our arrival here were transferred from ‘Big Mommas’ garage to our on site storage shed now have to be re-packed into ‘Big Momma’, the van needs a good clean, inside and out, and then there are a whole host of other bits and pieces to sort out, but it will help pass the time a little more quickly. The Campsite has now begun to get quieter and although there is still a daily average of between forty and fifty units on site, it looks and feels quite empty, the sea, on a daily basis, is now more grey than blue, the mornings are quite dark to wake up to, the trees are very Autumnal with their red, orange and brown leaves with more falling each day to form a blanket on the ground. Yes, it certainly is nearly time for that migration South, to the warmth of the winter sunshine in Andalucia…………………………..

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16 Responses to Surprise Gifts, A Purple Dream and A Birthday !!

  1. Happy Birthday! And those Eclairs look absolutely delicious. I remember making profiteroles many years ago – which I believe is the same kind of pastry – and I swore never again! I love that sign too: what a lovely thought from Roy!
    I hope your trip down to sunny Spain will unfold with no troubles at all and I that your eye will heal quickly. Feliz viaje! 🙂

    • Thanks Fatima for your recent assistance too, I am most grateful 👍 It was nice of Roy and he also made us four very nice ‘coasters’ as well as the Big Momma sign 😄 I have to confess, my mum didn’t actually make the chocolate eclairs !! But they were still very nice 😄

  2. Baxterbus says:

    Am now very much looking forward to the “virtual tour” of the new home. Remember, will need all the sunshine we can get this winter so relying on some top sunny photos on your Blog as Wales is unlikely to be obliging 🙂

    • One good turn deserves another, seeing as you have kept us going with your blog, the words and the amazing photographs, then I shall endeavour to keep you warm over your Winter 😄👍

  3. Chris/ Belgian Beauty (= our motorhome, not me!) says:

    Happy, belated, birthday!! Final countdown – for your trip , I mean, of course! ;-))

  4. carla en cor says:

    Happy birthday….and a good trip to your new adventure in Andalucia….we still at home due to my illness…no plans yet…big hug Carla and Cor

  5. Ste T says:

    Happy third full timing birthday! Funny but we were talking, the other day whilst driving through France, about the number of people we’ve met and have contact with since we “cast off”. The spread of the “social class” of these people is as wide as it is long. We’ve met, and kept in contact with all sorts from a millionaire company owner who owns property in three countries, (as well as his motorhome!), to an 11 year old girl who travels with her parents and has never lived in a house in her life! We even “know” someone who full times and works for the Caravan Club! 🙂

    Bon route mon ami for the future and enjoy your Winter break.

    • It’s only actually our second fulltiming birthday, but thanks anyway 😄 I know what you mean, I think that there are some people who think that ‘fulltimers’ are people who cannot afford to live in a house but nothing could be further from the truth. The travelling community is amazingly diverse, we have met a Dutch couple and he was a retired Director for Audi NL. There are some really lovely people ‘out there’ on the road, of all Nationalities and all backgrounds and circumstances, it’s a great life 👍 Funny you should mention knowing someone from the Caravan Club, we know people from that ‘other’ club, doesn’t make them bad people though 😂😂😂 Hope you enjoyed your recent travels and hope all is okay with Anne’s mum 👍

  6. Debs says:

    Happy Birthday Eric. i hope you had a good one. the Eclairs looked yummy!!!!
    I bet your both looking forward to getting to a warmer climate
    I hope the next few weeks go well 🙂

  7. tomhope2421 says:

    Happy birthday Eric! Great to have seen you both all be it for a short time, have a easy last few weeks and enjoy Spain. 😃

  8. Happy Birthday to ya’ 🙂 I hope the change to the Spanish lifestyle is smooth. I/we’ve had to modify plans a little with regard to travelling in our RV, with the crap weather here in NIreland, France just wouldn’t do in the winter so, like you, a Spanish bolthole is looking more likely within year. I still want to travel the roads of Europe so a downsize to a smaller Euro motorhome will be my plan and the ‘boss’ can soak up the sun. As you know, if she’s happy I’m happy 🙂

    • Thanks Paul, another year older, doesn’t necessarily mean any wiser though 😂

      Some may disagree with me, however, never be afraid to review and/or change your plans to suit your own personal requirements 👍

      Even now, we discuss ‘options’ for our future travels, that is the great thing about our lives now, the only people we actually need to please are ourselves 👍

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