Today’s the Day! :)

The final run-up to the off 🙂

20170116_072839Countdown to the Off!!

And we’re off!  (Literally, right now, as this posts…)  Okay, so I’ve cheated with this particular blog (in that I’m actually writing it a week before we leave and updating whenever I have a few minutes!)

I’m finding that I have some wonderful ideas for what to write – just as I’m falling asleep each night..!

To be honest we are almost ready now.  The house is almost completely packed up ready for moving into storage at the weekend, we have piles put aside to move into the van, 1 last wash to do and 2 loads of ironing (I know, this is almost too much excitement for you all – me too).

Had a little panic yesterday when I found out that I was meant to have got an independent valuation on the property (even though it’s sold through the proper channels).  I managed to get this organised quickly though (thank goodness for the January lull), the visit has been made and we’re just waiting for the report.  Phew phew-941

I’ve just got a few more letters to write to leave for Sam to fill in the completion date and pop in the post and then we’re good to go.

We’re even doing well with running down the fridge/freezer and cupboards contents 🙂

So I’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions so far this year.  You know that feeling you had through most of your teenage years (I know some of you are still there; lucky you! but for many of us this is 30+ years ago!).  The feeling I’m talking about is that sort of sense of expectation, not knowing what new experience you’ll encounter next, the idea that you’re just starting out in the world and you have your whole life ahead of you.  Also sometimes know as ‘the Christmas feeling’.

Well, yes, this is the feeling I’ve got as I enter my 50th year!  I genuinely have no idea what the outcome of this year will be.  This is very exciting at the same time as being a little scary – hence the emotions.  And you can stop feeling sorry for Calv as he has no issues with making me cry!!

I’m seeing friends at work tomorrow, then trying to see as many friends as possible before we go.  We’re moving out on Monday and will spend Monday and Tuesday nights in the van over at our ‘home’ campsite.  All we’ll really have to do on Tuesday is finalise our shopping, which will include a visit to Southbourne Farm Shop to stock up on their wonderful quiche and sausage rolls!

We visited a local campsite yesterday, to see if it would be suitable for us to use in April when we’re back for a few days (it wasn’t unfortunately).  However,  the lady who owned the site told us that she has many campers book in who live in their vans in Spain and come back to the UK for visits.  When we said we hadn’t booked anything she advised us that we should as the sites over there are generally small and get booked up quickly, even at this time of year.

Bearing in mind we had taken the decision not to even book our first site we found this information somewhat alarming.  However, I was a little sceptical, thinking that perhaps these were people who preferred smaller sites with no facilities (the site we were looking at turned out to have no facilities, except 1 toilet and shower for those staying in tents), which is not what we’re looking for – smaller sites, maybe, but sites with no facilities?  Not for us.

Armed with this information though we decided that maybe we should go back to Plan A (book the 1st site!)  So Calv started investigating.  And could find nothing that was open all year.  I went to the site that we had previously found – it was now saying it’s closed!  Aargh!! So I did a little more investigation.  I found a perfect site on the Camping & Caravanning website, and it was cheaper than the prices on the actual campsite’s website, until you factored in the ‘winter booking fee’ that was!

So we contacted the site direct asking to book with our ACSI card.  It’s on the Northern Coast, Gran Camping Zaurutz, and these images are apparently of the views we can expect 🙂

They came back today to say there are plenty of places and we have no need to book.  Success with the 1st site we found…  The moral of the story is, of course, by all means listen to other people’s experiences but always check for yourselves where possible :)/1/

17/1/17 – Oh my word, what a few days we’ve had!   As ever moving out was much harder work than anticipated (safety mechanism??)  We managed, somehow, to squeeze our whole life into 75 square metres… well wonderboy did anyway – thank you Calv 🙂

Saturday evening saw us meeting up with several friends to say goodbye before we leave for 10 weeks in Spain.  We only intended staying out for a couple of hours – this turned into a ‘session’….  Thanks all, we had a great night!

More hard work on Sunday and a Sunday night spent on the van mattress in the dining room – we both struggled to sleep, but as I had packed the Now TV remote we couldn’t even watch the next episode of ‘The Affair’ on Sky Atlantic!  I think we each had just over 4 hours sleep…. So with all the hard work and lack of sleep by Monday we were tired and irritable.


We said goodbye to the neighbours, watched our tortoises move into next door’s garden (now named apparently, Mandi and Calvin!) and set off separately to save hooking the car up.  After leaving my dad’s at about 4.30 we hit the road to Kia Ora in Nutbourne (about 20 miles away).  Almost 2 hours later we arrived….  The van was full of stuff, Calv was grumpy and we needed to eat….

Tuesday dawned, beautiful and cold.  We sorted the van out (several hours of work!) saw Calv’s daughter and grandchildren, had fish & chips (perfect) and then headed down to the Barleycorn to meet with a few of our friends and family who hadn’t been able to make it on Saturday.  This is where we are now.  I’m about to watch Sugarfree Farm on +1 and then go to bed ready to set off in the morning.  We learned something from a guy in the pub tonight – apparently Pamplona is only a 40-45 minute drive from the Pyrenees, so maybe we’ll go skiing sooner than we thought!….

Goodbye all – take care.  We’ll see you soon 🙂









Author: MandoraTheExplorer

Having given up full-time work we currently work a year to travel for 4-5 months, and we're hoping to continue this until we can retire properly! Currently living, and loving, life to the full :)

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