First Impressions

For the past two weeks I have been living in my new home on wheels. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am learning the way to do things in this new environment. Enough of the functionality of the van is working to be able to live unsupported but, I suppose inevitably, I can now see what improvements I need to make. I have the three months of this summer to make these improvements before heading off to France in September. Making the changes will not be as easy as they were previously. I no longer have a garage in which to house materials or an area in which to work. So it will need to be done in small chunks as weather and time allows.

I am still working for Premier Inns having moved, at the beginning of this month, from a hotel in Huddersfield to one in Macclesfield. It is a job that suits me very well, in this phase. The four shifts a week that I work allows day off in which I can work on the motorhome and spend time with my family. When I am not working nights, I base myself at a lovely camp-site in Sutton, near Macclesfield. Jarman Farm is owned by David and Barbara Bullock. It is a lovely, tranquil spot that I happily share with mallards, Canada geese and the free-ranging chickens. There is also a busy stable block adjacent to the camping field.


Over the past week or so, I have enjoyed starting to restock the kitchen. I have very much enjoyed having my kitchen things back in use after nearly a year of being provided for by Issy and Ian. The range of things like herbs and spices that I carry will be smaller, and, where possible, I shall try to use fresh herbs. Part of the process of learning to manage these things was an early lesson in securing tops. I had a bottle of olive oil in the cupboard. One morning I found oil on the bottom of the marmalade jar and quickly discovered that the remainder of the bottle had anointed my cupboard and the floor underneath. It is not something that can be wiped off bare wood, such as remains still on the floor. So, I put it down to experience and now am more thorough in securing bottle tops.

Similarly, I am learning to be thorough in doing my final checks before moving off. I find it immensely annoying when I round a left-hand corner and the cutlery drawer flies open and jams. It does the mechanism no good and is eloquent witness to a lack of thoroughness. I do not yet have a mirror fixed in the best place to use it. So I rely on a hand-mirror that used to be my grand-mother’s. Three or four times that has clattered to the floor as I exit a corner, goading me for not putting it back in its place. However, I suspect these are lessons that other motorhomers have had to learn, and I shall too. Incidentally, I have not yet found the best way of stopping a drawer opening, so if anyone knows of a simple catch system, I would be grateful to hear.

I confess that I love living this close to the outdoors. It is so different to being in a house and, although I accept it would be more challenging in winter, in the warmth of the sun there is little to beat it. With luck the next three months will be more sunny than of late and I shall be able to make the most of it. After that, it will be up to me to find the sun and create my own living conditions. So it has been a good start.

3 thoughts on “First Impressions

  1. Hi Robin, great to hear you’re out there and doing it, living in the van and it sounds like you’re both enjoying it and already testing the water with the supermarket car park and your friendly policeman.

    I suspect if you cause him no problems, he’ll cause none in return. Our van’s drawers and cupboards all have a catch system where you have to press in a small knob to one side of the handle before it’ll release. They’re not foolproof, but work almost all the time and are easy to use as you just ‘grab’ the handle and it unlocks the catch, then push it firmly shut to close again.

    We’ve found to pays to have packed cupboards too – as full as they can be without being a total pain to get at stuff. I hit a speed bump in Germany a couple of days back and everything hit the roof, it’s easy done, no matter how careful you are!

    One thing I wish we’d done before setting off, and I’ll sort it in the years we’ve back before we go again, is suss how to forage for shellfish, herbs and mushrooms. We’ve seen so many locals doing it, especially in the poorer countries, but we’re clueless.

    Anyway, good to hear you’re enjoying it and all’s coming along well.

    Cheers, Jay

    • Yes, adhesive velcro will surely work for some loose items. I stuck soft side on my phone and rough side on kitchen cupboard, much better than any phone mount. You can buy it by the metre in B&Q.

      Also, the grippy rubber mesh you can put under motorbike tank bags is very handy, e.g. to stop things rattling in drawers.

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