Saturday, 19 September 2015

Only two more sleeps–part 1- returning to mortar home living

But only two more sleeps and we’ll be back on the road again.

I haven’t posted about our travels since May, but then we haven’t been on our travels so there seemed little point or motivation. But at last we are soon to be on our away again and I seem to have found the enthusiasm to share with you our experiences since then.  I know this is meant to be a travel blog, but actually having lived in our motorhome for some 18 months and letting our house out, it seems quite fitting to actually write about the experience of letting and the transition back into a mortar home.

The journey home back in May is worth a mention albeit brief.  For the first time we travelled up the east side of Paris.  It was a little longer than our normal route, but it was a lot easier.  We came roughly up through Lyon, Troyes, Reims, travelling our normal 200 to 250 miles in each day.  Taking some 6 days this gave us time to stay for a couple of nights on two campsites which were both lovely and situated beside lakes.  The weather was warming up nicely so this gave us some pleasant walks.  I really must ask Iain where they were.  especially as we’d be quite happy to stay at both sites again.

At the first site, because we were a large van and it was out of season they allowed us to park on the tent field so we had a massive pitch all to ourselves.

France 1France 2France3

This would be a great site for families, if only I could remember where it was.

The second site was just opposite a lake and it had a bar and a pizza restaurant, also with some lovely walking around the lake area but very popular with the locals and a lovely beach.  I forgot to take my camera, but at least I got a picture of the decorations on the site


Our last night in France was spent on an aire about 10 miles north of Calais.  The immigrant problems hadn’t quite kicked off then, but we didn’t really want to stay too close to Calais, as it’s been a problem for some time although not on the scale it has been over the summer.  Me being the worrier, we normally get to within about 25 miles of Calais (or any other port) and stay overnight, taking a fairly early ferry as I always worry about getting stuck in traffic or something happening and missing the ferry, but in hindsight though the journey up from our last campsite was really easy going and we both wished that we had done the last leg and the ferry in one day without the overnight stop, especially as we were only going 10 miles the other side of the ferry to Folkestone.  But hey, that’s one to remember for next time.  France for us is these days just a means to an end of getting to somewhere else.  We’ve done France many times when we had jobs and only two week holidays and it was a bit of a shock at the prices after being used to Spain for so long.

One night stopover with Iain’s brother and his wife and then we came straight back to Fillongley as the house had been empty for about a week by then.  We had planned to stay at the pub again for a few nights until the tenancy actually ended but the tenant had already left the keys behind and gone so we went straight back into the house.

Now that was a shock.  It felt really odd to be back.  Although the house wasn’t exactly wrecked, I felt the need to clean everything thoroughly.  There had been some damage to door frames when the tenant moved his furniture out and the garden was a mess. We only have a small lawn area but  Iain had spent years getting it to look good and we came home to weeds over two feet high.  You should have seen his face.

lawn 1front1tarmac1

The front looked no better, not much wonder we hadn’t had any viewings in the month it had been advertised, there really was no curb appeal. The tarmac parking area was so covered in weeds that when we (or rather Iain) pulled out the weeds, half the tarmac came with them.  Now I know that it was terrible before but at least it wasn’t breaking up.

Inside the house there were a few things that he really should have told us about, such as a tile had fallen off the bath panel and another couple were loose in the kitchen behind the sink taps.  Now we would have just got these sorted but of course with water getting behind the sink tiles the wood was soaked.  Luckily both these were rectified without any real trouble.  However there was an adjustment to his deposit payment to cover the gardening and the damaged door frames. The carpets really needed cleaning with many “puddle” shaped patches on them and we know they had a puppy.  The trouble was that we hadn’t had time to have the carpets cleaned before they moved in so there wasn’t much we could complain about there. So we just had to live with the carpet for ages, there wasn’t any point in cleaning them when we moved in as we would have to clean the when we moved out again.

We would rather have sold our house than rented it but after 7 years of trying and not being prepared to give it away we took the only option to get us on our way and that was to rent, it is also the most sensible option financially.  So “c’est la vie”.

We spent the first few weeks, cleaning, painting, gardening. The latter two (well almost completely by Iain), gave him something to do. I did manage to paint the kitchen though.

As for the transition back into the house, it was certainly strange having a deaf dog.  Normally when you want the dog to come you just have to rattle her food bowl or shout, but now we have to go looking for her.  She soon got back into looking out of the windows and barking at anything going past, but I think she has struggled with the stairs, especially when she’s just woken up.  The strange thing is that she was always an indoor dog but having been living outdoors for so long she loved just sitting in the garden on her own in any sunshine that we may have had over the summer (what summer).

The things I like about the house is 1.  being able to entertain friends and have them stay over; 2.  being able to do the washing when and how often I want without having to queue, book or even just having a terrible fluffy wash like the rubbish washing machines at Cap Blanch; being able to have a shower without having to trek to the shower blocks; 4.  Sooooo much space (especially in the wardrobe department). 5.  Being able to leave my “toys” out, ie laptop, printer, sewing machine and not having to put them away tidy after each use; 5.  Having an ironing board and a steam generator (I gave up ironing when we were in the van) and of all the household chores I’d rather do the ironing than anything else. 

The things I don’t like:  1.  Housework!!!!!!, with 13 rooms if you did it properly it would take at least a day a week;  2.  It’s 7 steps from the food prep area to the bin (not just the “drop it in the carrier bag” hanging from the cupboard handle); 3.  Paying the mortgage and the bills.

So all-in-all I’m happy about the two sleeps left.

Be back very soon..

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