Catch Up Continued ….
1899 – Saturday 8th May onward: Out of Quarantine
Saturday 8th May
We both quite enjoyed being in the Combe Martin House despite quarantine. Surrounded by our things and keeping busy organising, sorting and buying ‘necessary’ items online! But it was good, really good to be heading to Rothbury, my home since aged nearly 6, but not for much longer.
We stopped off for coffee in Taunton with fellow motorhomer Robyn. She has re-joined the corporate world. We spent a couple of nights with the Aged P’s as Jez was still in storage with Abacus in Andover. Maddy cooked for us all one night; she’s turned into quite a competent cook.
Unpacking some of my deliveries!
Maddy bought me a Peanut Kit Kat Chunky … Mum started it, then we shared this between 4 … we ate slowly!
I wasn’t aware Corrie needed reading glasses!
Re-acquianited with Jez – Temporarily?
We collected Jez from Abacus … he’d been cleaned and buffed. Engine service, hab service, lots of minor repairs. We paid, collected the keys and walked up to him. Sense of awe at how big, particularly tall he is. Climbed inside and thought how fab he looks. I bombed down the motorway, enjoying driving him. But not for long …. we’d made the decision during quarantine to sell him Reluctantly. Our issue is timing. As new Greek residents, we have to be in Greece for 6 months every year. Under Brexit, we cannot take a UK registered vehicle into the EU for more than 6 months out of 12. The sums just didn’t compute in our favour. No way could we import him … about 29% of purchase price AND we would never sell him in Greece as right hadn’t drive and over 3.5 ton. Logically it made sense to sell in the UK whilst prices are buoyant. No stock in Greece due to a luxury tax that killed the Greek motorhome market, so import from Germany. Under 3.5 ton so J could drive and left hand drive.
Before we reloaded Jez with all our stuff on pallets in the Aged P’s garage, we took empty photos and stuck them on AutoTrader and FaceBook Marketplace. I even did a YouTube video extolling his virtues and his few flaws! There was some interest, but a LOT of time wasters. We dropped the price and a chance mutual acquaintance introduced us to a lovely couple who even had a second viewing. I know we were pitching the price high, but he carries a serious amount of equipment for off grid, security etc etc. In the meantime, I started doing more research on costs and what we could import from Germany. With import duties around EUR5-6k, paying an import agent, costs of visiting Germany (if possible) or buying sight unseen, then properly equipping it for off grid. Oh, and worries about what we could carry … we’ve over 1200 tons of payload in Jez so carry serious cooking kit, 2 huge e-bikes, a doggy trailer and the twin tub. Lin and Bo have just bought a stunning new Hymer, but won’t be able to drive with all tanks full and it will be a choice between bikes or spare wheel …. could I (me particularly) manage without all my stuff? So with the prospect of dropping the asking price again and only being able to buy a bag of potential expensive trouble, we were starting to have doubts about selling. Our critical time for having a motorhome is whilst we are in the UK for our normal summer UK, Ireland and Scotland summer tour. We have a large tent and camping kit in Crete and AirBnB do good deals out of season for touring within Greece. So thank you Dawn and Greg for NOT buying Jez. A huge sense of relief once we made the decision NOT to sell.
We will have to find Gold standard storage in the UK when we return to Greece. The insurance for both UK vehicles has also gone up as we’ve had to take out ex-Pat policies. Very few specialist brokers. Jez has gone from around £550 with 365 days in EU to £980 with only 6 months in EU … and they didn’t even charge me the 10% premium for sole driver!
I have to just say we feel very blest with our friends. Lin and Bo offered us longterm storage fo our van stuff until we could return with the new van to collect it. And Robyn offered us the use of her A class Florian to bridge the gap between selling Jez and retuning to Crete.
A couple of the marketing pix.
The BIG Move
The Aged P’s had been seriously drasticreducing clutter for their downsizing. “It’s a lovely house but no storage” is now going on Mum’s gravestone! Everytme Clare and I asked about an item, oh I sold that, or it was thrown out. I got on the FB Marketplace game too and sold a driveway awning, Jormax panels, airbeds etc. Clare and Chris continued their good work with sale and purchase negotiations, dump runs etc. The Aged P’s were pleased when we took the last of our stuff down to Lin and Bo’s barn in Exmoor.
Stuff we didn’t plan to take back to Crete when we thought we would sell Jez.
Lin and Bo were away so we set up camp in the farm yard.
The new build house in Chichester had not been signed off and the Aged P’s couldn’t even exchange on it. The end of June, with the stamp duty concessions, was approaching and the buyers for Rothbury would have pulled out. So … the Aged P’s became homeless for about 10 days … could it become a family trend? Even when they had exchanged and completed on 25th June, they couldn’t move in until the removal company had a slot to deliver the furniture. So what do homeless folk do …. go on holiday of course! A night in a posh hotel and then off to Northumberland. They stayed with Clare and Chris and got the trades in to do quotes for blinds, bedroom furniture etc. It is a lovely house and the lack of storage is being sorted! Not enough for us to keep more than a wash kit each! And our UK car in the ‘car barn’ … But the spare bedroom is dubbed my room and the new bed coming is referred to as mine! So I’ve not been completely cast off!!!
Rothbury looking rather bare.
We’ve been double jabbed and have the NHS certs to prove it. Just got to work out how to get the UK vaccinations recognised onto the Greek health system, but that’s a problem for another time.
I had my slightly overdue woman bits checks. Smear was all clear. Mammogram was a call back. I was not unduly worried as I had a call back last time for a small cyst which was syringed out. However, this time there were small calcifications like grains of salt. These are normally benign, BUT can be the start of cancer. Given my best friend died at 49 from breast cancer and another bestie is going through treatment, it was a relatively tense time waiting from the biopsy result. But it was all clear. I am now left with a metal marker in my boob and a small scar at the site of the biopsy, but no need for extra screening. I am very lucky.
James had another super low (perfect) PSA blood test … his prostate cancer is not showing any signs of returning and long may it remain so.
Friends and Falling for the UK Countryside
The weather remained horrid … it affected both of us. James never used to be affected by rain but has become more acclimatised to better climes. Walking was a pain as CO2 had to spend a lot of time in their body bags and we felt we were constantly trying to dry clothes. Bearing in mind, we’d left Crete thinking that we were coming to a UK summer and left most of our boots, warm and wet weather gear back in Crete!
Grey and wet view from Jez at our usual Coxbridge Farm, Farnham site.
We found solace from the weather by eating lots … a meal out for a another belated James’ birthday celebration, dinner with Caroline and Terry, partial Girls (Al and Gill) and Mum and I fed each other a good number of times.
Whilst waiting for the BIG Move, we headed off to meet up with friends and joined a couple motorhomer.com meets. And the weather did mostly perk up ….
1915-1919 – Thursday 17th May to Tuesday 21st May: Bron @ Blenheim & Littleborough
In convoy we set off for a motorhomer (aka Wildcaming.co.uk) meet in Littleborough. En route we stopped off to see Bron, the missing ‘Girl’ who’d not joined us a week back. We did a sneaky left the van in the free Blenheim Palace car par. As I hopped into the Merc for the short trip to see Bron, J declared that the Merc was still playing up. It had lost power a few days before and a local garage had cleaned a filter (£50 for cash) and assured us all was well. It obviously wasn’t and we didn’t have faith that it would make it up to Littleborough and onward. So we left it at local family garage patronised by Bron.
Littleborough was great … lovely location, although busy around the lake with folk from Rochdale over the weekend. We met up with old faces and relaxed after all our business.
Looking back to the meet. No rugby on but there was a cricket match.
Hollingworth Lake. We ran around it before the weekend crowds arrived.
Did a couple of walks and not a lot else!
1919 – Tuesday 21st May to Thursday 3rd June: Pately Bridge
Tuesday we shifted not too far to Pately Bridge; a Club Temporary Holiday Site. Margaret and Shirley shifted further, down from Melrose, Scotland, via the dealer they’d just bought their big new-to-them Hymer … a couple of issues … We had 2 nights with them before they had to return to the dealer with a nasty water leak. We ambled around, taking the dogs for walks, ate and chatted. Just wonderful to ooze with them. It was their wedding anniversary, so we picked up some tasty morsels from the fish shop, butcher and grocer. A rare good weather day had inspired us to BBQ.
We stayed on an extra night and revisited a cafe for amazing smoked salmon and cream cheese pancakes and to die for rhubarb ice cream. We both agreed that we could have happily stayed on and explored more of the area … gentle lush scenery. Judging by the number of walkers, good walking country too.
Corrie, tight rope walker, navigated the length of the wall. Oscar would have fallen!
1922-1924 – Friday 4th to Sunday 6th June: Overlander Show, Surprise for Danny and an Annual Haircut
Where does all the traffic come from? We’d thought congestion was the province of major cities and the south. Cars and trucks everywhere, even on what should be quiet roads. We set off for the motorhomer.com (wild camping.co.uk) area at the Overlander Show in Stratford upon Avon. A huge number and variety of visitors staying over in their mortohomes, overlanders, conversions, converted ambulances, horse boxes etc. We’d arranged to meet with Lisa and Danny, part of our Turkish family. Danny had no idea we were to be there and Lisa kept him in a pub nearby until we managed to get parked up first. We then walked back along the queuing traffic to leap out in front of their van! They were parked up one side of us and Pat and Jim, who we met in Orkney, were the other side. 3 good nights of sharing food and wine.
And Danny had the joy of cutting my hair … he’d cut it last in Hungary in July so it was due! Again, a man’s optimistic view of what 6” looks like!
1936-1939 – 18th to 21st June: Wet Wiltshire with More Turkish Family … David and Karen
We stayed on a 5 pitch site not far from Glastonbury … and it pretty much rained the whole time, so long walks were out of the question. We did 3 cities in 3 days …. Glastonbury, Wells and Bath. And frequented numerous coffee shops and pubs / restaurants. Oh and Clarkes Shopping Outlet village. A new pair of walking shoes for J as his existing pair were leaking, which had to be rectified given this English summer. New tops for me and bedding for Jez. Having made the decision to keep him, we are (or rather I am) changing the colour scheme!
Quirky graffiti in Glastonbury.
Well Cathedral, we didn’t go in due to the dogs … David and Karen suffered the queues.
Vicar’s Close in Wells.
Wells again … no pix of Bath as I think it was probably too wet to get the camera out!
Corrie being spoilt again chez thegreygappers.com aka David and Karen aka the dog parents.
1940-1943 – 22nd to 25th June: Burton Bradstock beach and walking
We moved south to the Dorset coast and the sun actually made brief appearances; at least the rain mostly held off.
Burton Bradstock beach.
A bit up and down on the cliff walk to Bridport. I did it alone with CO2 but when J and I walked it, we came back along the beach … but not too close to the cliff as you can see the landslip of parts of the Jurassic coast.
Camping and Caravan Club Temporary Holiday Site … plenty of space. Jez is in the middle row left, with the car and dog beds airing on his bonnet.
Someone on a FB group suggested a fab walk from Lyme Regis … we started with an ice cream!
We’d planned to have a cheap couple of days, but after the fabulous walk we found ourselves in one of the Burton Bradstock pubs … I had the lemon sole!