Downtime (UK)

Nov 2017

With the campsite closing and our work season for 2017 ending, life since early November has become unpredictably busy.

First off, the much anticipated campsite closure was hectic work-wise and socially.  The social aspect was driven by fellow colleagues leaving for their annual travels meaning of course that farewell drinks and food were a regular occurrence.

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Little and large.  Frank and Rosie’s RV just before they set off to Spain for the winter.  Hope you guys are doing well?

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The great escape!  Mick and Sheila leaving for Morocco and starting their retirement after 14 years working for the Club.  M+S – enjoy yourselves!!

So now we have entered our downtime and so far we have not stopped, but unfortunately not in the travelling sense.  Before all else we had to take down the awning before the worst of the winter weather arrived.  During this task we were disgusted with ourselves as we had managed to collect a load of ‘stuff’ that had been given to us: plastic cupboards, floor coverings, heaters and even clothes, going totally against our live with less motto (it is hard to write this sentence without sounding ungrateful, which we are not).  Luckily enough, there is storage space here and all the items will be useful next year and will make campsite living more comfortable, effectively delaying a trip to the local ‘recycling centre’.

The theme of worldly possessions continued as during a brief home visit we called in at our own storage to collect several items, avoiding duplicate purchases, but also to offload my beloved Renault Laguna.  This was truly a great car but also something I found to be totally worthless in today’s market.  Before it was dispatched to a breaker I rang around all the local second hand car dealers asking if they wanted to buy it at a really low price (the same price in the end that the breaker paid for it) only to be told that it really was not worth their while and that they would be stuck with it as people preferred to buy a higher value/newer car on credit.  This message, validating for me many of the issues with today’s society and environment, left me cold, knowing that a perfectly good car was going to waste and that the precious world’s resources are been consumed to create a new car that people can’t even afford.  When are we going to catch on that recycling is not just about smashing things up and then entering them back into the system as raw material but is also about reusing, redeploying and re-purposing.  It makes me more determined to avoid buying anything new as often all what we need is in the system already.

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I even tried to give this car away so that it could be reused….My perfectly good 2006 Renault Laguna 2.0DCI 175GT heads off to the breakers sadly proving to me the many wrongs of the consumer society where it seems the value of new is often misplaced in my view.

The trip home also meant we stayed in our house for a weekend and this stirred many emotions and thoughts.  Unsurprisingly we gave time to the fundamental consideration of what on earth are we doing?  There we were sitting in a wonderful house in a lovely part of the world yet we choose to live in a 6m by 2m metal box???  It felt crazy and both of us started wondering are we making the right decisions, is there another way?  It is our current situation that does not make any sense as we are stationary and we both agreed that currently we are not getting the prize of our current life style which is travel.  Leaving our jobs and our home was all about travel and having more time out of work, that was the goal, and we are at our happiest when driving around visiting new places.  It is at these travelling times when the simple decluttered life makes sense and without this element living in a motorhome doesn’t.  Therefore, we have reminded ourselves of what we originally wanted, after all on paper we have gave up so much, and in future we must plan to maximise the downtime periods and dedicate them to the reward, travel, giving reason and justification to the rest of the year.  This re-evaluation has added a hardened view of where we are and what we want, so much so that on the now nearing motorhome trip, starting in December, we want to make the absolute most out of.  This might mean we may even slacken our adversion to buy admission tickets to interesting places or even pay for the odd campsite if it allows us to visit somewhere where we want to be!!!!

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Being back home stirred some unsettling thoughts for the unsettled…….Photo taken from an early morning walk around the village.

Being home meant also that we could catch up with family and friends, something that we should also be maximising whilst being in the UK as that was one of the reasons of working in the UK and not abroad.  Without going in to detail about these visits one thing that stuck out was the amount of times we eat out, I alone consumed: a Balti whilst in Brum of course, three pub meals, one pub all you can eat breakfast, a delicious Chinese take away and a pizza delivery!!!!

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The first pub meal in a succession of several.  Cheers Mom and Dad for the pie and pint!!

November also saw a quick trip to Belgium, after all this is the Eurosuntor blog.  I managed to gate crash on a planned Belgium shopping trip making the overall divided cost less.  We had a fun day out visiting Tobacco Alley in Adinkerke and predictably the wine warehouses in Calais.  I can now vouch for the load carrying capabilities of a Ford Ranger crew cab pick up as a booze cruise vehicle!

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A typical tobacco shop in Adinkerke, Belgium.

As an end note, our current state is best described as itchy feet as we are looking forward to starting our trip.  On the other hand though we are also excited about spending time with friends and family over Christmas and therefore on balance we will be making the most of our extended downtime combining family and travel.

 

 

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