Onderweg naar .....?September 3, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 15 °C
After 6 weeks of being in the UK we are preparing to set sail back to the continent. We've relished our time here and indulged in all things festive and homely. Vicky made sure our diary was packed full of visits to close friends and family, most of whom we managed to catch up with.
We spent the first few days on Will's sister's drive. Glad of the time to acclimatise, we took the chance to do things we hadn't done for 17 months-
visiting the bank, the doctor and opening the huge pile of purchases we'd ordered online. There was good news for Vicky who had been suffering with severe weakness on and off for a long time. Blood tests showed she had a vitamin D deficiency and the prescribed capsules seem to be making a big difference. Over the coming weeks we continued to tick off our 'to do' list by attending our dentist appointments (4 times for Will 😣), getting the van's first MOT and taking Poppy for her booster. We'd been saving all these things up while we'd been away and it was good to get them sorted.
Hungry for fish 'n' chips, cheddar cheese, mince pies and a good pint, we made sure we had our fill, especially in our home town of Netherton where we revisited our chippy and were allowed to stay in the car park of our local pub, Ma Pardoes (thank you Tim!) It was strange to be back, yet have no bricks and mortar base. We dropped by our house and met the tenants, whose rent has come in very handy. Oddly, it was here in the West Midlands that it was most difficult to find places to stay. Height barriers blocking entry to car parks made us feel quite unwelcome. Luckily, the people we met up with who took us in to their homes more than made up for this! At the few times we found for quiet reflection, amidst the whirlwind of visits, we felt quite overwhelmed at their kindness and hospitality.
We travelled between Orpington in Kent and Alloa, near Stirling in Scotland to stay with people, but Christmas Day was spent in Dudley, with Will's daughter Beth, her husband Richard and Mum, Annette. This time last year we were in Vienna, Austria. The markets with their decorations and gluhwein were amazing, but sitting with the family in the evening, stuffed full of Beth's delicious food, but still munching mince pies, playing charades and listening to familiar Christmas songs, we felt that this was really what Christmas was all about.
Spending such a long time away from the people and things we are familiar with has helped us not to take them for granted. On the road, the sights and people around us change so frequently. We are learning more and more to appreciate what we have at any one moment in time and hopefully make the most of it.
Things had inevitably changed since we set off on our travels but we got to see houses that people close to us had moved in to and spend time with the grandchildren, our great nephew and niece and friends' kids who are growing up so fast! We enjoyed being able to see people opening xmas presents we had brought and getting our fix of TV and Radio 4. People were generous enough to let us use their baths, washing machines, wifi, electricity, water, toilets and Poppy enjoyed being able to once again mooch round a garden. We were even able to borrow tools and remove the van towbar to cut down on weight.
Being able to 'pop over' and see people, chilling out on a sofa or rug in front of a fire while catching up was great. Spending time in snug homes brought to the fore some aspects of life we'd chosen to give up. Often little things such as using china cups and having space to display photos and decorations. Don't get us wrong, we have no regrets about our life choice, but a big part of our enjoyment relates to the finite nature of our adventure. Knowing our plans are limited to 5 years makes it both easier to do without certain things as well as cherish the experiences we are having.
Sitting in the departure lane at Dover, our appetite for exploration was refreshed and we were ready to go sunseeking in Spain for the next 4 months. We are driven by the thrill of change and after the excitement of our trip to the UK we are looking forward to a less busy time where there is space to focus and digest.Read more
Longest continuous games in Scotland.
You might also know this place by the following names:
Clackmannanshire, CLK, Clackmannanscīr, Клакмананшър, Siorrachd Chlach Mhannainn, Swydd Clackmannan, کلاکماننشر, Siorrachd Chlach Mhanainn, Coontae Chlagh Manu, クラックマナンシャー, 클라크매넌셔 주, Clackmannanensis, Klakmananšyras, کلاکموننشائر, Клакманнаншир, 克拉克曼南郡