Tuesday 25 May 2010

Are we nearly there yet?

Please forgive the lack of blog over the last few weeks and, more than likely, over the next few. It’s not because nothing’s happening - quite the reverse – we’re full on house selling. Solicitors engaged, survey tomorrow, garage almost empty, furniture gone or going. We’ll try and keep you informed but entries might be a but minimalist for a while.

Unfortunately we’ve picked the busiest month in the farming year to do this, which means that Ann-Marie is doing two jobs at once, as well as writing instructions for her replacement. Dave is busy with the Kon-Tiki, we want to make sure that it’s as good as it can be before we give up the workshop. He took it for an MOT a month early – just as well – it needed new rear brake pipes and like everything else on a camper conversion they’re non-standard. It’s all done now though along with new wheel cylinders.

This all means that we’ve not had any spare time at all, especially as we steadfastly refuse to give up anything on our social calendar. Most normal people would make time for a dramatic life-altering episode. Us? Naa!  Last weekend we were at the Sherringham Beer Festival with Bourne Borderers. On Saturday we did three dance spots outside The Lobster Pot  pub, then went to Cromer and did two completely unauthorised spots on the pier. (Very anarchistic, just like morris dancing ought to be) A very nice official pointed out the error of our ways, but he let us finish, which was good of him. Then we retreated to our campsite   (which we can't recomend hightly enough, it's just idilic) and had a barbeque followed by an evening round a camp fire under a starry sky. Bliss

On Sunday we came back home and had another barby in the evening with our neighbours. The weather has been amazing for May. Fingers crossed it will stay good for the summer.

Lists. Added 0. Ticked off  11 (or there abouts)

Sunday 16 May 2010

Here we go again

.What a week!

Dave did a car boot on Wednesday afternoon, it was quite successful, the garage is noticeable emptier and his wallet is £70 fatter. Hopefully we’ll get a couple more in before we go.

Talking of going... the VW people, Pete & Michelle, came round on Friday with their son Joe and Pete’s parents, by the time they went home they were picking out wallpaper & carpets! They put an offer in on Saturday so it’s all go again, maybe with an even shorter lead time this time. It really is like being on a roller coaster; last week we thought we’d be here till Christmas, now we might well be out by the end of June!

On Sunday we took the Berlingo and trailer to Chesterfield. Dave’s sister Anne is looking after all the stuff we want on the boat but can’t fit in the van and we had lots of bits from our garden for her allotment too. Anne doesn’t have a car but had several moving jobs that needed doing, so we spent the afternoon lifting and shifting everything from plant pots to washing machines. There’s probably still one more trip to do up there, but we think we’ll be able to combine that with our weekend at the Belper Music Festival.

We then did a mad dash back home just in time to swap cars and go to our monthly 2CV club meeting at the pub. It doesn’t seem five minutes since the last one!

We really like Pete & Michelle. They’ve got two VW campers and a pick-up, all of which have names and allocated spaces in our garage. They went round the house taking photos of all the rooms and discussing where their furniture will go, but we’re still trying very hard not to get excited; nothing is guaranteed. Tomorrow they’re getting a copy of the HIPS, filling out insurance forms and arranging a survey. Maybe a little excitement will creep in by next weekend.

Lists. Added 0. Ticked off 3. Just as well really, if it all goes to plan we won’t have time to do anything that isn’t already on a list

Monday 10 May 2010

Bugs & Monkeys produce old grinder

We're not getting excited. Oh no. Not us. Nope.
We had two viewings this week. One was by a couple looking on behalf of their son who has at least two VW campers and needs somewhere to put them, and the other people drove all the way from the Isle of Wight to see our house! They all made all the right noises and the VW bloke is coming on Friday to look for himself. Time will tell, we’ve been here before.

Dave’ sister Anne is the family historian and has researched and produced a very thorough family tree. After reading last weeks entry she emailed to tell us that Dave’s (and hers – obviously) Great Great Grandfather used to be the miller at Tucks Mill near Upton-upon-Severn where we were last weekend. Anne has been to see it and took some photos.
The mill-wheel ironwork is still intact.
She said it was very strange to know that she was standing in exactly the same spot as William Wood, who begat Alfred, who begat Charlie, who begat Mary, who begat Anne. It's an odd feeling to know that 150 or so years ago on a May Day, he may well have stood in the same streets where we were, watching the same dances we were dancing, then drinking in the same pubs afterwards. We wish now that we’d paid better attention; we could have gone and had a look at the mill. Never mind, it’s only a bike ride from the river, and we will be back!  

We had a practice session on Saturday at Bourne – great fun, loads of lovely food and a good time in the pub afterwards. We’re learning a dance called Worcester Monkey. It’s a lively and fast dance, which a lot of other morris sides know and can be done by lots of people at once. Bourne Borderers joined in with it at Upton and thought it would be good to know it properly for the next festival we go to.

On Sunday we weeded the veg beds – again. Then we went out and spent £30 on plants. We know that sounds a lot of money to go chucking at a house that’s for sale, but the veg plot was a weedy mess and we were slightly ashamed of it. Once all the weeds had gone it looked an awful lot better but very bare. Now you expect Tom Goode to come marching through the archway with a piglet under his arm.
We’ve planted Calabrese, runner beans, French beans, courgettes, onions, peas and early and late crop potatoes. We moved the asparagus to a sunnier, better drained spot and we’ve planted up three hanging baskets for the front of the conservatory. £30 well spent!

Lists. Added - 1, ticked off - 4.    

Thursday 6 May 2010

No bells or whistles

There's a very real danger of this turning into a Morris Dancing Blog, so to try and avoid that here's a bit without bells on.

Upton-upon-Severn is a delightful little market town, very much on the river with GRP river cruisers, narrowboats and wide beams moored on the bank. There are shops that remind you of your childhood and enough good-looking pubs to satisfy anyone. It was only on Saturday afternoon that we realised we’d been there before – probably eight or nine years ago we stopped off on the way home from a 2CVGB National Meeting in Worcester, as there was a boat festival on the August bank holiday weekend. Back then, as we looked at all the beautiful craft on the river we thought that boat living was just a pipe dream. Now, if you’ll pardon the pun, an awful lot of water has passed under the bridge and we’re well on the way to making it a reality.

Just a brief re-cap to let you know where we are. We’re both still working and will continue to do so until we find a buyer and the money is in the bank.  Ann-Marie needs to give a months notice, but has got a couple of weeks holiday that can come off that. Dave only needs to give a weeks notice. There’s a campsite not far from where Ann-Marie works, so our first two weeks in the Kon-Tiki will be spent just down the road. After that we're really not sure; we might jump on a plane to Australia, we might take the van to Spain, if it's next year we might go boat hunting. If Ash is still for sale we might put a silly offer on it. We'll probably toss a coin at the time. We’re still doing car boot sales and putting stuff on freecycle, plus trips to the tip and the scrap yard, although we’ve just about got rid of all the metal now – another tick! Stuff that we can’t fit in the van but will want on the boat is going into Dave’s sister’s cellar, or into a friend’s spare room. The little blue van is going into a barn near Winchester; we’re going to keep it until we’ve been to the World Meeting in France next year. After that we’ll decide what to do with it.

Other than that we’re just keeping it all tidy, or trying to!

Tuesday 4 May 2010

River Dancing

This week we can report some actual travelling! We've just come back from another terrific weekend. On Friday night Ann-Marie packed up the van and went to bed in it; the idea was that when Dave came home from work at 3am we'd go straight to Holme Fen so Ann-Marie could join Pig Dyke Molly for some May Day Dawn dancing. It's only an hour or so away, so we thought we'd get a couple of hours kip before the rest of the side turned up. But by the time Dave had got home, showered and changed and we'd managed to not find Holme Fen straight away we'd only got about half-an-hour before the sun and everyone else appeared.
 It was wonderful morning, the music and the sunbeams filtered through the lazy mist in the trees while the dancers twirled around each other. Ann-Marie did loads of dancing and Dave was quite moved by the whole experience, but that could have been the lack of sleep and the cold!

Then, after a quick Bucks Fizz, or orange juice for drivers, the rest of Pig Dyke went for a day of fun fun fun in Cambridge. We set off in the opposite direction to join Bourne Borderers at the Upton-upon-Severn Folk Festival. There were at least fifty other border morris sides there, which we worked out meant about six or seven hundred big sticks being wielded around most of the day; it’s only a little place so you had to keep your wits about you! We were reasonably lucky with the weather considering the forecast, which was dire. The rain held off till about five, then it threw it down all night, which meant our walk down to town in the evening to see the outstanding Mr Sid Kipper was very wet. The walk back was even wetter, but we managed to get to sleep and it stopped around breakfast time. By then our guest room was occupied; Heather’s tent was underwater when she got back to it, so she came aboard the Kon-Tiki for the rest of the weekend. Thank you for your company and food Heather, we’re glad we were able to help.

Sunday was chilly but didn’t put anyone off and the procession through the town was brilliant. Dave even put on some face paint and joined in, and believe it or not, did some dancing. He’s blaming lack of sleep again but no one believes him, he looked far too much like he was enjoying himself. Sunday night saw us back in town to see another concert, and then on Monday morning two more dance spots, again with Dave joining in.
To top it all off we got a phone call on Saturday from the estate agent about another viewing. We’ve learnt not to get too excited, but it’s something to look forward to!

Added to lists - 4. Ticked off lists - 1. (Looks worse than it is; three things are the result of spending a weekend in the van.)

Brentford to New Haw Lock. GU mainline. River Brent. River Thames. Wey and Godalming Navigations.

We had just over a week at Brentford waiting for the Thames strong stream warnings to come down from red to amber, and we made good use of o...