Friday, 30 July 2021


 My first drawings for the caravan:-

The last one is a drawing I'd done a while ago, I just freshened it up a bit and added a bit more detail before framing.  The three of them are destined for the 2nd bedroom (where I sleep).

And here's where Betty sleeps at the end of my bed (although she starts off actually on my bed, but then gets in her own after a while, thank goodness.....she weighs a ton when she's lying on my feet):-

Some fun stuff

 I didn't get round to doing any drawing yesterday, busy doing other things.  I did do a bit of research on the sort of flowers I want to draw to go in the caravan, though.  Bought several pretty frames in a couple of charity shops, some brand new and still in their cellophane wrappings.  I'll be doing some drawings today.  I was challenged yesterday when in town about wearing my mask - some rude old man who barked 'what you wearing that for?  the rule doesn't apply anymore'.  I just said 'It's personal choice - if I choose to protect you and you choose not to protect me, well we each have our own conscience!'.  He just stared at me with his mouth open (fortunately not too close to me!).

Having had several doses of pain meds yesterday and slept quite well last night, my shoulders are now feeling much better......hip is still just as painful though.  Quite surprised I slept so well, as there was apparently a howling gale through the night, it kept husband awake and this morning our garden furniture was scattered around the garden, along with several pots.  Our gazebo is only just managing to survive, it's well anchored down but is bending sideways quite alarmingly.  Husband has been out and tied it to the fence, which has made it a bit more stable.  If we took the canvas roof off, the frame would be fine.  It's forecast to be very windy all day today, calming down tonight.

As well as finishing off the last few jobs in the caravan the next time we go, we're also (finally) going to be doing some fun things.  There's a very nice independent garden centre a short distance away, which our fellow residents say is lovely and not overpriced, so we'll be going there to get some plants for the caravan garden.  And there's a Thursday market with local artisan bakers, crafts people, cheesemakers, farmers produce etc in the next village, so we'll go and have a look at that.  And one of the days husband will be leaving Betty and I in the caravan and going out for brunch with one of his mates - the one who helped him fit the caravan kitchen, husband is treating him to say thank you.  So they'll have a nice male bonding session, with a big Wetherspoons cooked breakfast, and Betty and I will have a peaceful few hours in the caravan - win win all round.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

A drawing day

 Didn't sleep at all well last night (having to get up for the loo 3x didn't help.....must have been all the water I drank yesterday after the dentist visit), and my shoulders are really painful - just shows how tensed up I was at the dentists.  So I'm not doing anything much today.  Might do a bit of drawing, and have some lists to make for the next caravan visit.  Tuna salad for lunch, and dinner will be homemade chilli from the freezer and a jacket wait, husband's home grown new potatoes are ready, so it'll be those.

I want some picture frames for my artwork (seems pretentious calling it 'artwork' - I wouldn't call myself an artist at all, I just like drawing, flowers mainly), so will have to visit a few charity shops, they generally have plenty.

Sun is shining and there was a beautiful sunrise this morning.  Yesterday we had several torrential downpours, really hammering it down - whilst waiting in the car at the dentist (we got there a bit early, and you're not allowed in until your actual time) it was absolutely chucking it down yet there was bright sunshine too - weird!

We did our shopping Tuesday - I would say 2/3 of people were still wearing masks, me included, the rest weren't.  And there were LOADS of gaps on the shelves, it was just like the start of lockdown when everyone was panic buying (or was it Brexit panic buying?  I can't remember now).  Anyway, I didn't notice anyone stockpiling toilet rolls (or anything else), just sighs of exasperation from people at the empty shelves.  It's to do with lack of staff at the warehouses and delivery depots, I think - so many people being pinged by that damn app.  I know several people who have said they've deleted it off their phones now, and I can't say I blame them (I never downloaded it in the first place).

Husband has just got up, so peace is about to be shattered as the TV will go straight on ....perhaps I'll hide the remote 😂😒

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Done and dusted

 Well, I didn't have the wobbly tooth out, nor the gum treatment.....all that build up of anxiety for nothing.  I have no idea why she didn't do brain freezes up with fear so I don't really take in anything much she says.  Not only that, she wears a huge thick black mask with a clear face shield over the top of it, so as I'm partly deaf, I can hardly hear a word she says anyway.  I just had my teeth cleaned, and another mould taken of my lower jaw with that horrible pink rubber stuff....apparently it didn't work very well last time.  And I still wasn't allowed to rinse my mouth out!!  Although this time she did give me a tissue to spit all the stray rubber bits into.  I do understand all the Covid precautions, but honestly, they're very OTT there.  Not allowed to sit in the waiting room or use the loo either.  All I know is I have another appointment in a fortnight's time, I think to take the tooth out.

Oh, she did say I apparently have another 2 loose teeth, and did I want her to take them out at the same time as the other one?  Erm, no thanks!  The 2 teeth she mentioned don't actually feel very loose to me, so they can stay where they are.

My shoulders feel like I've been carrying a ton of bricks on them.....tension I expect.

Still, it's over for another fortnight.

D-day and power supply

 Dentist day today.  I know what the treatment will be like, as I've already had it twice before, and the extra complication of a tooth out today will add to the discomfort.  I'll take one of my anti-anxiety pills and a couple of paracetamol before I go this afternoon.  That's all I can do really.  Must remember to take a bottle of water with me, in case they're still not allowing mouth rinses! (how ridiculous is that).

Got washing in the tumble dryer, not ideal but showers are forecast all day today, again.  Next door has had a load of washing out for the past 2 days.....keeps drying in brief sunny spells, then gets soaked again.  Don't know why they don't take it in!  Mind you, she was out at work all day yesterday, her OH was in but I guess, being a man, he just didn't think to take it in.  I've got another load to go on overnight, it's supposed to be sunny tomorrow with no rain (we shall see), so hopefully it can be line dried tomorrow.

When I first organised the electricity supply to the caravan and set up the direct debit, the supplier wanted £65 a month - I immediately queried it in an online chat with them, saying that was a ridiculous amount as it was a holiday caravan and we'd only be there for around 2 weeks a month, for just 8 months of the year.  Their answer was basically....well we have to start somewhere, you'll only ever get charged for the amount you actually use, and you can adjust your payment amount after your first bill.  Fair enough, although I still think they just plucked an arbitrary (high) figure out of the air.  Well, we've just had our first bill in.....just over £10!  and that was with husband using umpteen power tools a lot, which he obviously won't be doing now.  So I've downsized the monthly payment to £5, and as we're over £50 in credit with them, that should pay our bills for the next year or two!  And our home supply will cost us less too, seeing as we won't be there using it whilst we're at the van.

Husband's bought himself a weed control tool.....a flame thrower gun tackle the jungle that is the back garden.  Boys and their toys 😒  What is it with men and fire?  Must be a caveman thing 😂  Still, so long as it keeps him happy, does the job - and he doesn't set himself or his shed/polytunnel alight!!

Right, I'm off to mince some chicken breasts to make this sort of cottage pie, just in case I feel like eating something tonight (doubtful), otherwise tomorrow.  Betty's going to the groomer this afternoon, finally, as it was postponed before because of that damn 'ping' app.  She really needs to go, her claws desperately need cutting and she hates me doing it.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

A kick up my (fat) arse!

 Had my annual diabetes tests first thing this morning - bloods, BP, weighed, wee checked, feet checked.  Bloods and wee will be sent off, I'll get the results in a couple of days.  My feet are fine.  My blood pressure, generally a bit high, is absolutely fine - I put that down to the caravan effect!  My weight has gone up a bit.....2.5 kg to be exact.  Oh dear.  I'm not surprised, I know why it is - not cooking many healthy meals lately but relying on takeaways and even *shock, horror* quite a few bought ready meals.  Oh, and a few bags of crisps and the odd chocolate biscuit might have jumped into my mouth too.  

Well, it's the kick up the backside I needed - and now we're not so frenetically busy with the caravan renovations, I have the time to get back to cooking proper, healthy meals that aren't carb laden.  Went shopping afterwards and have stocked up on loads of veg and fruit, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, lean bacon medallions, low fat minced pork.  We already have loads of chicken and fish in the freezer.  So no excuses!

We'll have a chicken and Mediterranean veg tray bake tonight.  I'll also make a minced chicken cottage pie with a topping of low fat cauliflower cheese for tomorrow.....soft food as it's the dreaded dentist day tomorrow and I won't be able to chew anything for 2 or 3 days.

Some of you have mentioned how upbeat I am lately - thank you.  It's true, I am, I feel like a different woman.  The caravan has rejuvenated me and given me a purpose, I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to have found it.  The van is just lovely, I'm so pleased with the way it's turned out.  The garden will be lovely too - it's a blank canvas at the moment, and I have a good idea of what we're going to do with it.  The park and all (well, nearly all!) the residents are wonderful, we feel so much at home there already, we've been made very welcome.  It will be so nice to start exploring the local area, in a couple of weeks when we have more time, having completed most of the work.  We do have some knowledge of the nearby towns and villages, having visited some briefly over the years, but there are areas we're not familiar with at all.  We've already been told about a nearby cycle path that runs for several miles through some nice countryside, that'll be good for long walks with Betty.  There's a local farmers and craft market on a Thursday, and a huge boot sale that's on every Sunday, we'll look forward to visiting both of those.  The seaside town of Weston super Mare is only 20 mintues or so away, it's improved vastly over the years since we first moved down here to Somerset and is actually quite nice now, although not somewhere we really want to go during the school summer break, far too busy with tourists.  Come September though, it'll be nice.

My attitude to stressful stuff has changed a bit too, partly because I don't have time (or the inclination) to worry about it too much.  There's still stress going on, a family member is still being a complete pain in the backside and goes through phases of bombarding us with dozens and dozens of WhatsApp messages.  I'd worry about it a lot I just mute notifications for a few hours and ignore it.  By the time I switch notifications back on several hours later, or even the next day, things have generally calmed down.  I've also 'unfriended' a couple of people on FaceAche, people who I felt obliged to be 'friends' with, owing to the fact that they're extended family, but who give us nothing but trouble (and have a habit of badmouthing anyone who doesn't do what they want, basically).  Life's too short to be putting up with unwanted crap, Covid has taught us that, so I just don't anymore.  And, guess what, the ceiling didn't collapse, no bombs dropped and nobody died!

If I've bored anyone to tears, or lost readers lately because of all the dreary caravan renovation stuff - sorry about that.  It's such a massive and joyful part of my life now, so I'm afraid there'll be lots more 'caravan life' posts!!

Oh, this week following my nasty dental stuff tomorrow, when I won't feel like doing anything much for a few days, I'm going to be experimenting with some artwork to go in the caravan.  I have a few ideas I want to try out.

Monday, 26 July 2021

Back home and some observations

 Back after 5 nights in the caravan, our longest time yet....think we had 2 nights first of all, then 3 a few days later.  By October we might stay there the whole month......😂😂

We achieved quite a few things whilst there, doing them at our own pace and being able to stop for a rest and chat with the neighbours was really good, so it's not been all work and no play.  One of my plans didn't work out which was a bit of a disappointment, but there's always next time (hopefully).  We had a couple of boiling hot days (quite unpleasant in a tin box) followed by a few heavy showers and a thunderstorm in the early hours of one morning, which Betty didn't like at all, but she soon settled down after I got up and cuddled her.  The last couple of days have been warm, but pleasantly so rather than scorching.  Having spent some time living there now, I have some observations:-

1.  I am very tidy and organised - not obsessively so, but I do like everything in its place, I don't like mess and stuff scattered everywhere.  Husband is the complete opposite of me - he is extremely untidy and the most disorganised person I know.  After being with him for 40 years, I've learnt to live with his mess at home - to a certain extent, and provided it's contained within a small area, until it gets out of hand (every few weeks) and he knows then he's got to clear it or else!  Well, in a small space like a 31 x 10 feet caravan, mess is not tolerable.  Whilst he's working, he has 'stuff' scattered everywhere - and I do mean everywhere.....there's a trail of mess and destruction wherever he goes.  I have done my best to close my eyes to it whilst he's doing a job, despite having trodden on loads of bits and having to move a ton of stuff out of the way of doorways or cupboards I want to get into.  But when he's finished, the mess has to be cleared away - I can't stand sitting down and having piles of random DIY stuff wherever I look, it drives me nuts.  He also has a habit of leaving shoes, slippers, discarded t-shirts he's taken off because it's hot, or one of his 3 hats (no I don't know why he needs 3 at the caravan) just lying around everywhere - nope, I'm not having that in the caravan either!  One thing we're not short of in the van is cupboards, so he's got no excuse for not putting things out of sight.

2.  There's only one double electric socket in the 2nd bedroom and it's in the wrong place - wish I'd noticed that before the electrician came last month.  We'll have to get that sorted somehow, need a reading light beside the pillow end of the bed (it's not much use at the foot end!).  And no I can't sleep the other end of the bed.....there's no room for a bedside table at that end.  

3.  For the last 2 nights I've slept in the 2nd bedroom and have had the best sleep, both nights, I've had in months.  Bliss.

4.  We need to fence or box in the rear part of the garden behind the caravan, asap.  Our next door neighbour, the one who was offhand at first (she's not now) and has 2 small yappy ankle biter dogs, has a nasty habit of opening her van door early morning/late at night and simply letting the dogs out loose to do their business - which they do right beside or behind our caravan!  Husband has already had to ask her twice to pick up poo - she did it straight away and was very apologetic, but that's not the point.  We don't let Betty loose to crap wherever she likes, and we certainly wouldn't do it in the caravan park (it's not allowed anyway!  It's in the park regs).  Oh and we came back from shopping the other day to find that the neighbour had tied both her dogs to our aerial pole "because it's in the shade, whereas it's too hot outside our van"!!!  Honestly, some people are just oblivious to social etiquette.  Or is it just me being too fussy?  We don't want to report her to the owner, and we certainly don't want to fall out with her.  So I guess all we can do is just to fence our rear garden in so her dogs can't get there.  Fortunately, she and her husband are going home on Wednesday and not coming back until the end of August, so we'll have some peace for 3 or 4 weeks.

5.  Our neighbours on the other side, however, and the ones the other side of them, are all absolutely lovely, we get on so well with them all, it's like we've known them for ages.

6.  Although I have WiFi on my phone, using it absolutely eats up both data and power, so I haven't used it much (hence the lack of posts and comments on your blogs).  And I have to say I haven't really missed it all that much......I thought I'd be lost without my laptop!  It would be useful to be able to take and use my laptop, however, there are things I can't do easily on my phone.  Will have to sort something out.  I did ask neighbours what they use, if anything - they don't!!  (they're mostly quite a bit older so not big internet users).  Something to think about.

I've got half a page of small jobs to do next time we go back (probably Sunday).  The list is getting smaller and smaller.....😁

Oh, and I meant to take lots of photos before we came home today and completely forgot!!  So the big photo reveal will have to wait till next time we go, sorry.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Very nearly finished!

 Being in a caravan in a heatwave is just like being in an oven, roasting at a high temperature.  We've had both doors and all windows open, and curtains closed on the sunny side during the day, most windows open all night too.  Had to go and buy a second, bigger fan (took 3 shop visits before I could get one).  Still roasting, albeit at a slightly lower temp.  Can't wait for tomorrow, when it's forecast to be about 8 deg cooler and raining!

We have very nearly finished all the work now.....the bathroom is done and looks SO much nicer.  Small bedroom is almost finished, I ran out of paint when 3/4 of the way through the walls...we have another tin at home, husband is popping home tomorrow to collect a few things so he'll bring it back with him.

It's just a few odd small cosmetic things left to do now, which should mostly get done within the next couple of days.  And then we'll be doing the garden during our next stay.  Providing the weather lets us!

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Blimmin dentists!!

 I have a very long-standing phobia of dentists, which means going to the dentist is a very big ordeal for me.  Even more of a problem as I have gum disease, which means I have to go for check ups every 3 months and often have to have deep cleaning gum treatment, which I find quite terrifying.  It's not painful at the time, as the dentist thoroughly numbs my mouth with numerous injections (an ordeal in itself), but it is very painful for several days afterwards when the local anaesthetics wear off.  After several appointments in a row and having a very nice sympathetic lady dentist, I was beginning to get used to going, but it was still an ordeal.

I had an appointment for another check up/treatment in February of last year.  After 10 minutes of waiting, the receptionist came out and told me that my dentist was tied up with another patient and would be delayed a bit.  After another 30 minutes, with no update, with my anxiety levels rising by the minute, I went back to reception to ask how much longer it would be.....I was told sorry they didn't know.  At which point I said I was far too anxious to wait any longer, and left.  Back home I rang and arranged another appointment for the following month......which was then cancelled (by them) due to Covid rearing it's ugly head.  And then I couldn't go for any check ups for the rest of last year, as they just weren't seeing anyone.

In the early part of this year I started getting toothache in a very wobbly front tooth.  I rang the dentist, to be told that unfortunately they were only doing emergencies, I wasn't an emergency and I would just have to be added to a waiting list.  In the meantime, take painkillers and gargle with salt water.  😒 They finally rang to offer me an appointment a few weeks ago.  My lovely sympathetic dentist has left, so I'm having to get used to another one - she seems alright, but as yet I don't know her, adding to my anxiety.  The first thing she said was that my gum disease has got worse.........there's a surprise!!!  She wanted to take the wobbly tooth out there and then and do some more of the horrible gum treatment but I declined, we were going to a bbq at a friend's the next day and I didn't want to go with a very sore mouth and be unable to eat anything.  And I didn't like having that treatment sprung on me with no warning.  I just had an examination (I hate that sharp spiky thing they poke your gums with) and a mould taken of my teeth and gums with that horrible pink rubbery stuff that's like having a mouthful of Playdoh.  And the worst thing?  Due to Covid precautions, they won't allow you to rinse your mouth out afterwards, the little basin was completely wrapped in clingfilm!  So I was spitting out bits of pink rubber all the way home in the car.  The dentist did say sorry (well that's alright then!) and suggested I take a bottle of water with me to rinse my mouth out with - outside! - the next time (so I'm supposed to have a gargle and spit in the car park?!?!).  So another appointment was arranged.

The day before that appointment, they rang to postpone it - the dentist was self-isolating as she'd been pinged by T&T.  😡  5 minutes later, the receptionist rang back to ask me what time/date she'd rearranged the appointment for....she'd forgotten to put it on the computer!!

So now the appointment is for 5 pm next Wednesday.  Except that at 08.30 this morning, whilst I was in the shower (having just dyed my hair) they rang to postpone the appointment AGAIN - apparently they're having an emergency patient in today which is throwing out the whole appointment system for the next week!  Could I be there for 1 pm next Weds instead?  As it happens, no I can't as I already have another appointment at that time.....well actually, it's Betty's grooming session, which has already been rearranged from this week as her groomer is self isolating this week!  And Betty desperately needs her grooming session and claws clipping, so I'm not putting that off.  So my dentist appointment was rearranged for 12.30 the following day, Thursday.  And then - guess what - the receptionist phoned back again 10 minutes say could we keep to the original appointment of 5 pm on the Wednesday instead?!

I don't know what's happening at my dentists, it's like having not worked for a year, they've forgotten how to.  Oh, and another thing......we're not allowed to put our bag/jacket on a spare chair in the surgery anymore, we have to put them in a big plastic lidded box in reception! 

The world's gone mad.  I'm glad we're off to the caravan in a couple of hours, where life is slow and calm and relatively unchanged, there's no drama and everyone is friendly and chilled!

Back to the van for a few days

 Betty was supposed to be going to the groomers this afternoon, but it's been postponed until next week - by them - they're having to self isolate, having been pinged by T&T.  We're hearing of so many people that's happening to now, bleeding nuisance.  Ah well, means we can go off to the caravan this afternoon rather than tomorrow morning.

I slept better last night, although was still up early - just before 5 am.  Which was fine actually, as it meant I could put the oven on before it gets too hot in the kitchen and roast a chicken.  Once it's cold, I'll portion it up and wrap it to take with us, it gives us several meals and means I don't have much to do in the way of cooking, I did it last week too.  We'll have it cold with salad a couple of times, as a pasta bake for another meal, and some for sandwiches (and for Betty).  

Yesterday at the van we cleared out the small bedroom.  One thing we haven't done as yet - there's a small child's bunk bed attached to the wall, it's a fold down one.  I'd like it taken out really, but husband's a bit unsure as to how to do it, he can't see how it's actually fixed to the wall.  He'll have another look today, it'd be good if he could get it off before I start painting in there.

I'm still undecided about the artificial grass - opinions seem divided as to whether it stays cool or gets too hot underfoot in hot weather.  It would be nice to have a good looking 'lawn', even if a fake one (the current lawn is terrible - weedy, patchy and really lumpy and uneven), and not having to mow would be a great advantage, of course.  One good thing about Betty - she doesn't like the heat, although she does go outside a few times a day, she's only ever out there for about 10 minutes at the most, and she generally lays in the shade.  Here at home we have a table and chairs under a gazebo, at the van there's a big round wooden table on the patio area, with a big parasol - she lays underneath the tables in the shade and goes back indoors when she's had enough.  She is quite sensible in that way.

Better get on, food and clothes to pack.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

A quick visit today

 Firstly, a mention for Joy - just to let you know you're in my thoughts today xx

Last night was the worst in terms of heat - it was stiflingly hot, even with the bedroom windows and door open, there was just no air movement at all.   Poor Betty didn't know what to do with herself, she was up and down like a yoyo, couldn't settle anywhere for more than a few minutes.  She did eventually settle downstairs in the lounge, I gave her another bowl of cold water before going back up to bed, she'd drunk most of it by the time I came downstairs just before 5 am.  Think I should have stayed downstairs with her last was certainly cooler down here than the airless oven upstairs.  Betty does have a cool mat which she sometimes lays on briefly - I also have a pillow-sized one.  They're nice and cold initially, but soon warm up with your body heat after 5 minutes.

It's not going to be much better today, or tomorrow, although the temperature does drop a bit from Friday onwards, with thunderstorms forecast.  That'll be interesting in the caravan!

We're making a brief visit to the van this morning.....we need to take a few things over there - lawnmower, strimmer and the new mattress for the single room.  We've got rid of the 2 child-size beds in the smaller bedroom and bought a bigger single bed, just the one, the mattress came yesterday, the pine frame is arriving on Friday.  Won't be taking Betty, there won't be room in the car!  We just need to dismantle the one remaining bed base (the other one the Man and Van took last week) and give the room a clean, so that I can decorate in there when we go back on Thursday, whilst husband finishes papering the bathroom.  We're almost finished inside the van now, it's a lovely feeling.  

Once the inside is done, we'll make a start on the garden and the outside of the van - it needs a good clean for a start, we may consider touching up some of the exterior paintwork too.  It could do with a couple of new outside lights - the ones there do work, surprisingly, but they're rusty and not very nice looking.  We're debating what to do about the fenced in garden - the 'lawn', such as it is, is very rough and uneven, ideally it needs re-turfing.  Husband thought about getting rid of the grass altogether, levelling the ground and laying artificial grass.  I'm not sure about that.  We're definitely going to get rid of the invasive shrubs at the front of the van - the jasmine which we cut back heavily, is already starting to shoot up again and cover the windows.  Can't be doing with chopping that back every 5 minutes, we're going to lay a few slabs along the front and just have some pots with perennial (small!) flowering shrubs in.

Have to be back home just after lunch today, as I'm having my hair cut this afternoon.  

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday (Freedom day) to see that nearly everybody, us included, was still wearing masks when we went shopping for the frozen food.  According to the paper which I read online this morning, people in some areas got abused for continuing to wear masks - why?  It's personal choice surely, what's it got to do with anyone else?  None of us likes wearing a mask, especially in this heat, but if there are lots of people around or we're inside a shop then I will continue to wear one.

Monday, 19 July 2021

'Freedom' day - huh, too hot anyway

 Already too hot again, I'm not going to get much done for the next few days, as the forecast is for the same level of heat for at least another 2 or 3 days.  It just makes me feel so lethargic, even more so since it's too uncomfortable to sleep at night.

Have to go to the frozen food warehouse this morning to stock up on freezer food - at least it'll be nice and cool in there!  And the aisles are nice and wide and it never seems to be busy, so it's (almost) a pleasure to shop in there.

'Freedom' day today, when most restrictions are lifted and we can more or less choose how we want to live our lives from now on.  The reality for us is that nothing much will change - we will still be wearing masks in shops or anywhere crowded - not that we go to crowded places anyway.  I wouldn't travel on a bus or train if you paid me.  Nor will we be going to any big sporting events or concerts and won't be going for a meal or drink inside a restaurant or pub....although we might do it in outside spaces, if the tables are well spaced apart.  One of my biggest pleasures pre-Covid was going out for coffee and cake in cafe gardens, I do miss that, so we might cautiously start doing that again.  As for cuddling - well, I am a big fan of least, I was before Covid!  But I'm much more wary now, there are only a very few close friends or family I would be happy to hug.  And I will still be using antibac gel in shops etc, and the one we keep in the car as soon as I get back in it.  That seems only sensible to me - the gel must protect us from all sorts of nasties, not just Covid.

As for Boris and Rishi backtracking on whether or not they'll self isolate - frankly, I don't really care what they do.  What I find most annoying, though, is all these bloody politicians who preach at us that we should/shouldn't be doing this, that or the other - but do the exact opposite themselves!  Why the hell do they expect us to 'do what we're told' when they don't?  It seems to be the same with a lot of celebrities, or those with more money than they know what to do with - like Mick Jagger e.g., who apparently was going to be fined, erm £10,000 I think it was, because he didn't isolate when he flew back here from wherever it is he lives abroad, but went straight to the football final.  £10k is peanuts to him, so it clearly doesn't matter whatsoever in his mind to flout the rules.

A close relative, who is a tour guide in Cornwall and has just started working again after more than a year of not being able to (and not getting any furlough money as his business was too new and fell outside the furlough rules) was pinged by Track and Trace recently and had to self isolate for 8 days, cancelling several booked tours and losing several hundred pounds in the process, money he can ill afford to lose.  And he can't get that back, or rearrange the tours - they're tourists on holiday, they've all gone back home now!  And he is double-jabbed and takes lateral flow tests twice a week, all of which have been negative.  Crazy.  I bet he'd like to poke some of the politicians in the eye with a sharp stick 😈

Right, that's my soapbox bit done for the day 😂

Sunday, 18 July 2021

A change of mindset - an epiphany, if you like!

 Well, I was going to do some cooking for the freezer today - a couple of fish pies and some lasagnes.  But it's just too hot to be in the kitchen.....I have got a pan of minced chicken cooking on the hob (for Betty) but that's it, I'm not doing anything else.  We're having roast beef today, I've asked husband to cook it, which he doesn't mind, he's pretty good at doing roast dinners.  His elbow is so much better now, the swelling has gone down a lot and the redness gone altogether.  He says it still feels 'a bit funny' - his words - but doesn't feel sore like it did.

I've put washing out on the line, all I'm going to do now is make an anniversary card - I've already drawn the picture (some lilies, one of my favourite things to draw and a favourite flower of the card recipient) so it's just a case of sticking it on the card blank then adding some sentiments and decorative bits.  Then I shall sit and draw up a few more plan for the next week, both here and at the van, list of things we need to take to the van on Weds eve/Thurs morn (whichever day we go), and jobs we are planning on doing at the van this time.

Everything is going swimmingly right now (fingers crossed!!) - the van is coming on in leaps and bounds now, the end is nearly in sight, and I have some exciting things coming up that I'm really looking forward to.  Life is good, very good.

I've had my eyes opened a bit these past couple of weeks and have had a change of mindset.  I'm a big girl, as I've mentioned before - had a battle with my weight almost my entire life.  I've always been quite self conscious about it, as a result of having the mickey taken out of me when I was younger.  Now, whilst I have successfully lost weight a few times over the years, it always goes back on again - mainly because I'm a comfort eater, I think.  First sign of stress or anxiety and I'm stuffing my face with carbs.  I've always dressed to hide (well, as much as it can be hidden) my fat, although I don't dress conventionally (for a woman of my age!) and don't shy away from wearing clothes or patterns or colours that others might raise their eyebrows at - age is not a barrier to wearing whatever you want, in my opinion, although size has been for me, up till now.  I've rarely worn shorts though, as I feel self conscious in them - dunno why really as my legs are the slimmest part of me!!

Well, at our caravan park I've noticed that a) there are several women (and men) who are quite a bit bigger than me, and b) they all, without exception, wear whatever they like!!  Acres of flesh on show, and dressed however the hell they please.  And nobody bats an eyelid!  So it's kind of given me the confidence to realise that nobody really cares what anybody else looks like - or wears - and nobody is going to look at me and think 'what the hell is she wearing?!'.  Well, they might think it, but I very much doubt anyone is going to say it!  

So today, I'm wearing shorts - admittedly, I'm not planning on going anywhere, it's too hot, but I've already been out in the garden and chatted to a couple of neighbours WHILST WEARING MY SHORTS!!  So now it's to hell with it, I'll wear whatever I damn well please.  How liberating.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Staying at home

 Well, husband's elbow is a bit less swollen this morning, thank goodness - he's had 3 antibiotic tabs so far.  The GP told him on the phone to keep his arm raised in a sling for a couple of days, which would help the swelling go down a bit - seems he was right.  He says it's still a bit sore though, although it doesn't feel so hot or look so red.  He said he was going to mow the lawn and tidy the garden up....I said no, how's he supposed to do that with his arm in a sling? 😒  I've given him permission to sit and watch TV or sit outside and enjoy the sun for a day or 2, he should be thankful! 😂

We're staying home for a few days as I've got lots to do - shopping this morning (husband will stay in the car), I also need to go to Wilko's for a few things for the caravan (yet again lol).  First load of washing is already done and out on the line.  Then this afternoon I need to vacuum everywhere, which always wears me out.  Tomorrow I want to do some batch cooking and freezing meals for the caravan, I've got menus to plan, and a couple of anniversary cards to make.  Betty's ears seem to have settled down, she's stopped shaking her head, so perhaps it was just a bit of wax that's been dislodged, so looks like we don't have to take her to the vet after all.  She's going to the groomer on Wednesday - she normally goes on a Tuesday, first appointment at 9 am, but somebody (who shall remain nameless but it wasn't me!) booked her in for Wednesday afternoon....meaning we can't go back to the caravan until Thurs morning.  Oh well, gives me another day to get stuff done I guess.

It's forecast to be very hot here for a few days, still hot when we go back to the caravan, and then scattered thunderstorms are predicted for a couple of days.....that'll be interesting in a tin box! 😂

Friday, 16 July 2021

Home unexpectedly early - EDIT

 We weren't planning on coming home until Saturday....or Sunday, or even Monday.  However, yesterday morning husband said his elbow felt 'funny' - sort of itchy and uncomfortable he said when I pressed him for an explanation of 'funny'.  Looked alright to me.  However, throughout the day it started swelling up and by the evening it looked like he had half a red-coloured tennis ball stuck on his elbow, it felt warm to touch and he said it felt sore and uncomfortable.  There doesn't appear to be a bite or sting mark on it, upon googling it seems it could be bursitis, which can apparently become septic and infected and need draining and antibiotics.  So we decided to come home this morning, just in case he needs any treatment - I'd rather be home here where I have help available from neighbours if need be, than stranded in a caravan park with only a very few neighbours, whom we've only just met.  I kept putting a cold compress on husband's elbow throughout the evening, to see if that reduced the swelling (it didn't).  Rang the GP when we got home, who asked for us to send a photo of husband's elbow, which I've done.  Seems that even though the Government have said face to face medical appointments should resume, our surgery have no intention of doing so (they've said as much) unless absolutely necessary.  Now just have to wait for the GP to actually look at the photo and make a decision!

Betty's been shaking her head quite a bit over the last day or two as well, which usually means the start of another ear infection, although her ears currently look very clean, one of them is a bit warm, though.  So we might have to take her to the vet again come Monday.

We've had a really nice time, got some work done - the kitchen walls have had their final coat, half the bathroom has been wallpapered and the small bedroom cleared out ready for decorating the next time we go back.  We've also had a good look at the garden and made a few plans for it.....there's now plenty of space around the back of the van, so the side fenced area could be extended round the back, it's already paved round there (which we didn't previously know as it was covered with overgrown shrubs and tons of scrap wood!).

The site owner and partner came to look in the van yesterday evening, to see what we'd done so far - they were mightily impressed.  So much so that he's asked me to send him before and after photos so he can include them in the next Park newsletter and says we'll be this season's Star Vanners! (a lighthearted thing he does every year, apparently).  Met a few more owners and had several offers of coffee and/or beer/wine, it's all very social and friendly, we couldn't have picked a nicer place.

It's been very hot in the caravan, we have one small fan there but definitely need another (or a bigger) one.  Our neighbours 2 vans away, lovely couple P & D in their 60s, said when it's very hot overnight they sleep outside on their veranda in sun loungers!  Don't think I'd be brave enough to do that, I'd probably get bitten to death by mozzies anyway 😂  Plus I sleep naked.....I hope P & D don't!! 😳😳😂

We have a couple of appointments here early/mid week, so plan on going back to the caravan either Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.....hopefully next time we'll be able to stay a bit longer if nothing else happens!


Having looked at the photo I sent, the GP says he can't see any evidence of a bite or sting, so he thinks it must be an infection.  He's made out a prescription for antibiotics and told husband to keep taking antihistamine tablets.  I hope they work, seeing as it's the weekend coming up!  I do worry about things being missed if we only get diagnoses via phone or photo.


The swelling has increased and moved down husband's arm.  He had another phone conversation with the GP who, having previously told husband to collect a written prescription but only get it filled if the swelling didn't go, is now saying he should go to the surgery to get the prescription filled and start taking the antibiotics immediately.  He also said if it gets worse over the weekend, he should ring 111 straight away.  And he still doesn't need to see husband! (or so he says).

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Test post

 We're back at the caravan for a few days, glorious sunshine.  Hardly anyone here yet (although I'm sure the good weather forecast will bring a few more back) so it's very quiet.  Man and Van has been and taken the rest of the rubbish, then my bestie called in for a quick visit, which was lovely.  Husband sorted out the TV, so all's well.  Got the curtains up, just had chicken salad for tea.  Now doing nothing for the evening.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Busy busy

 I've got loads to do today, so there's really no excuse for me to be sitting here typing a blog post!  Except that I'm having a coffee and a break, having already done 2 loads of washing (one was done overnight) and got it all out on the line.  And been to 2 shops - the supermarket for a few bits and B&M for some more oddments for the caravan.  And replied to an email from the electrician re their engineer leaving the immersion heater switched on.  They admitted it was their mistake, said he'd been spoken to (he also admitted he'd done it) and have asked us to send them a copy of our next bill, so that's all good by the sound of things.  I've also written more lists of things we need to take to the van, and a job list of the next items on the agenda for the next few days we're staying there.  I've got the rest of the van lounge and diner curtains to take up - I'm not using the spray glue anymore, it does do the job very quickly, but me and everything else gets covered in sticky glue and it leaves the curtain hems quite stiff.  So i'm caving in and sewing them instead, I have 5 more pairs to do, having done 2 pairs with the glue.....I'll get them all cut and the hems pinned and sew as many as I can this afternoon, whatever I don't get round to sewing I'll take to the van tomorrow and finish them off there.

I'm glad my dentist appointment for this morning was cancelled, having a tooth out and more of the dreaded gum disease treatment would have meant I wouldn't feel like doing much.  Although they give me umpteen anaesthetic jabs (I'm a coward when it comes to mouth pain), so I don't feel anything whilst they're doing the job, once the anaesthetic wears off my mouth is very painful for a few days.  Also, the effects of the anaesthetic seem to last ages on me, the last time part of my upper lip and the left side of my nose were numb for a couple of days afterwards, a very strange sensation.

Husband is cutting the front hedge, the persistent rain we had last week (and being away for a few days) has meant it's grown so much the postman has to almost hack his way through!  And the back half of the back garden is turning into a tropical rainforest and, guess what, husband's strimmer has temporarily packed up 😒.  Well, he'll have to go the oldfashioned way and use shears then, haha.

Monday, 12 July 2021

A nice, if wet, weekend in the van

 Well that was a good first weekend in the caravan.....apart from the weather.  Early last week it had been forecast to be ok, but that rapidly changed by the time we went away - we did have a few brief spells of sunshine on Saturday, interspersed with showers, but yesterday it pretty much piddled down all day.  Not that it mattered much, except for taking Betty out for her ablutions, as we were busy a lot of the time.

We put all the curtain tracks up - a joint and somewhat fraught effort, and that's all I'm saying about it!  They're up though and that's all that matters.  Husband laid the new vinyl flooring in the bathroom - it instantly makes the bathroom look so much better, he'll be wallpapering in there when we go back again mid week.  I started painting the top coat around the kitchen door, in the lovely aqua colour kitchen & bathroom paint (we'd already undercoated the walls).  Hmm, whilst it is a lovely colour, it's a bit too bright for my liking, not really what I want in the kitchen, so I've decided we'll just do the kitchen in the same subtle dove grey as the lounge.

Well, husband couldn't get the TV working, he thinks it's a problem with the aerial (the message on the TV kept saying No Signal) - I haven't a clue, I know nothing about tellies.  So it was a good job a) we had plenty of work to do, and b) I'd bought the stack of DVDs so at least husband had something to watch in the evenings.  Just as well neither of us likes football and I'm not very interested in tennis, otherwise we'd have been a bit annoyed!!  We do have a lovely little DAB radio in the caravan, so it was nice listening to old classic rock and pop and Classic FM while we worked.

I was a bit worried that Betty might not settle for her first night in the van, but she did - not a peep out of her all night.  When I got up in the night, she was pleased to see me, but went straight back to her bed as soon as I told her to.  She's been no trouble at all, in fact she's slept most of the weekend!  

It was certainly quiet over the weekend - out of 37 static vans, only about 6 (including ours) were occupied, and none of our near neighbours were there so we were pretty much on our own in our little area.  There were only a handful of touring caravans, so again very quiet.  When we left to come home just after lunch today, just 2 or 3 tourers there and 1 other static van occupied.

Not best pleased when we got home, though.  When husband washed his hands when we got in, he discovered the water was very hot - which it shouldn't have been, as we'd turned the water heater off when we left on Saturday morning.  Upon looking in the airing cupboard, he found that the immersion heater was switched on - we never use that as our water is heated by the oil fired system, which is a damn sight cheaper than the immersion heater.  We had an electrician in to check and service the electrical system on Tuesday of last week, instructed by the Landlord - we left him to his own devices and went off to the caravan for the day.  The electrician must have put the immersion on to test it, I'm guessing, and then failed to turn it off!!  So it's been on for almost an entire week, gobbling up electricity no doubt.  I've emailed the electrical company to put in a complaint.

And on the way home, I had a phone call from my dentists cancelling my appointment tomorrow (the reason we were coming home today) as my dentist has been pinged by Test & Trace and is having to self isolate.  Oh well, I certainly wasn't looking forward to going, and we'd have had to come home anyway as I also have a chiropodist appointment first thing Weds morning.  But we're going back to the caravan straight after my feet have been done - we have the Man with a Van coming again to take hopefully the last load of rubbish from the van.  We'll be staying over for 3 or 4 nights this time, doing some more work there.  We'll be finishing off the bathroom and possibly the kitchen top coat on the walls and ceiling.  If we have time (or the inclination), we'll make a start on the small bedroom.

We've really enjoyed our first weekend staying there, being able to work at a slower pace and stop whenever we want, and not have to drive home and then back again the next day.  It'll be even nicer from midweek onwards, as the weather is forecast to be really good - dry, sunny and warm, 24 degrees apparently.  So there'll probably be more fellow owners turning up, which will be nice.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

And we're off

 All packed and ready and off we's raining, well showery actually, but who cares.

We're just going to lay the new vinyl flooring in the bathroom today, and then probably do nothing.  If husband feels like doing any more (like decorating the bathroom) then we will, but I don't mind if he'd rather have the weekend off.  He's worked so hard, he deserves some time off.  I've bought him a stack of DVDs from the charity shop, so he'll enjoy watching those.  I've got a pile of books and some magazines, so it'll be feet up and reading for me.  We're having easy ready-cooked meals for our dinners, and Ploughmans for lunches, so no major cooking for me either.  (For overseas readers, a Ploughman's lunch is a plate of cheeses, cold meats or pork pie, with pickles and crusty bread.  Some fruit goes nice with it too, a sliced apple or some grapes eg).

I wonder what Betty will make of her first night in the van?  If she doesn't settle, I'll go and sleep in the lounge with her.  Our neighbours in the vans on both sides of us have all gone home for a few days, so it'll be very peaceful there, I imagine (depending on how many touring vans are there for the weekend).

I may try a short post on my phone tomorrow, otherwise I'll post again when we're home Monday evening.

Friday, 9 July 2021

All ready to move in

 Thanks for the comments all of you lovely readers.  Oh and Gemma's P, yes husband went off to get the mattress on his own - fortunately, it came rolled up like a giant cigar packed tightly in a big plastic bag, so he could get it comfortably inside the car, so that was good!  So no I wasn't needed to have my arm through the window clinging onto the mattress on the roof 😂😂 (much to my relief).

Whilst husband was gone, I unpacked 4 big plastic lidded storage boxes and 2 cardboard boxes and put everything away - now the lounge is looking clear and tidy again and things are in their proper place in all the cupboards.  So for the next few weeks, husband will constantly be asking me where everything is 😒😂 (he can't find anything unless it's literally right in front of his face).

Getting the mattress in the bedroom, the topper on and making the bed was, erm, interesting.....the bedroom is quite cramped.  Not that it bothers me, it's only the bedroom, we'll only be sleeping in it.  I'm pleased that the lounge is quite large and spacious, for a caravan, as obviously that's where we'll be spending most of our time, or outside in the garden.

The bedroom when we bought the van - the filthy cushions were hiding the horrible brown stains on the headboard.

Betty clearly approves of the new bed - she jumped on it as soon as we'd finished making it.  The headboard is a bit of a work in progress - we should have covered it before we put the bed in there, but totally forgot (schoolboy error), and there's not much room at all now the bed's made.  Anyway, within the limited space we started covering the headboard with the excess material I'd cut off the new long curtains, I was holding it in place whilst husband used his super duper electric staple gun to fix it down.  Except.....the bloody thing gave up the ghost after just 4 staples 😝, so we had to make do with double sided tape for the rest, and it's a bit skew whiff because the damn tape was sticking to everything including us and we had such a tiny bit of space to do it in and we were getting frustrated!!!  You get the picture lol.  Anyway, it'll do for now, it's better than the bare chipboard which is all that's left of the horrible headboard.

Got home, took all the empty boxes out of the car, put some washing on and then went straight out again to do the shopping, both for the weekend away and some for next week as the fridge here is bare having not had time to go shopping this week, and we're busy next week.  Home to put all the shopping away whilst husband nipped out to get fish and chips.  Andddd relax!!

Having an early night, then up early to pack the clothes and food and then we're off!  

Tomorrow we'll make a start on decorating the bathroom, but from here on in we're taking things a lot easier, so if it gets done, all well and good - if not, then that's fine, we've got plenty of time now.  I'm taking books and magazines, husband's taking his new TV and some DVDs - I just hope he can get it tuned in and working properly, or he'll be lost 😂

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Clean and fresh bathroom

 I must apologise for not commenting much on your blogs recently - been a bit busy! 😂  I have tried to read them when I get a spare few minutes, hopefully I'll catch up properly soon.  I also need to mention that when we're staying at the caravan (our first sleepover is almost here!! 😁) it may not be possible for me to write a blog post - we have no WiFi there, haven't got round to doing anything about that yet as it's not really been high on my list of priorities(!!).  Some caravan parks have WiFi, ours doesn't, we have to make our own arrangements for that.  I do have WiFi on my phone, but it's dependent on signal of course - and signal there at the park is very hit and miss, I can be getting 4G sometimes, but in the next minute the signal has completely disappeared.  It's better outside in the van garden, but even then it's still unpredictable - and I'm not going to be sitting out there in the rain trying to get a signal 😂😒

This morning we collected the bed frame on the way to the caravan.  Putting it together was less of a hassle than is usual for flat packs (it's a metal frame) - in fact we managed without swearing at each other, threatening divorce or getting my fingers squashed....quite an achievement.

We then moved on to cleaning the bathroom, which made me heave at times, it was so filthy and smelly.  Not anymore though, it's lovely and clean and fresh smelling now.  Here's the little bath and shower before cleaning:-

The bath was really dirty - initially we thought it was cracked, but it was just streaks of dirt, it was also very cobwebby and the skylight above the bath was in a poor state, although it doesn't appear to actually leak.  As you can see, the waterproof boarding is bowed and coming away from the wall on the right side, although it'll be easy enough for husband to fix back into place.

The bottom photo is after I'd cleaned the basin, it took several applications of the bathroom spray, lots of hot water and half a packet of antiseptic wipes, but it's clean now.  The toilet was yucky, we're having a new toilet seat.

The bathroom is very dated, but it's serviceable.  Ideally, we'd like the bath taken out and a shower cubicle put in, along with new basin and toilet - however, that'll cost too much so we're not doing it, we'll just live with what's there.  The plastic mirror and shelf unit above the sink is going, we'll have a new mirror and shelf after the wall's been papered with the same waterproof vinyl we put in the kitchen.  That's a job for the weekend when we're staying in the van for the first time! (did I mention we're starting to spend nights there from this Saturday? 😁😁).  I'll put more photos up once we've finished decorating the bathroom and laying the new flooring.

There are several plastic lidded boxes stacked up in the dining area, full of kitchen and bathroom equipment, linens etc, awaiting putting away - I'll do that tomorrow morning when husband goes off to collect the mattress.  Then we'll go shopping in the afternoon, and then move in on Saturday!

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Bedroom almost ready to sleep in!

 Thanks so much for the lovely comments, you're all so kind.

It's been a busy day today, with horrendous weather at times.  Typical British weather really - warm sunshine and blue sky one minute, absolutely torrential rain the next.  Betty didn't much like the sound of the rain hammering on the roof, it spooked her a bit, but she got used to it quite quickly.  One good thing about being in the caravan whilst it was raining so hard - we could check to see whether it was leaking anywhere....nope, dry as a bone, I'm pleased to say.  And a big advantage of our pitch is that it's high up (the site is terraced and on a hill, the lower slopes of the Mendips), so no chance of flooding where we're situated.  We also have a thick bank of trees and hedging right behind our van, so it's quite sheltered anyway.

The gas man came and fitted the new part to the boiler, so it's all done and working fine now.  We started off by thoroughly cleaning all the cupboards and drawers in the bedroom, including inside them - they were all filthy, as expected.  We then painted the ceiling - the walls are fine with just one coat.  Incidentally, we're using Wilko's own emulsion paint and I'd recommend it - very thick, goes on smoothly and covers well for a budget paint.  Vacuumed the carpet again, polished the 2 mirrors and all done - I can say I'm very happy with the bedroom now and will be content to sleep in there in the knowledge that it's all clean and fresh and we won't catch anything nasty!

Husband has decided to collect the new bed in 2 parts - the metal frame tomorrow, then the mattress on Friday.  At least that means we can put the frame together tomorrow, ready for the mattress to go straight on it on Friday.

We also fitted the kitchen window blind - had to cut it both length and width first, which went smoothly (for a change!).  Husband fitted the end panel of the kitchen worktop/unit, which he'd cut correctly this time.  He's just got a small area of pipework to box in and that's the kitchen finished - for now.  We still have the wall cupboards to paint white, but that'll get done probably next week whilst we're staying there.

We didn't get time to clean the bathroom (had to leave the park early as we had a couple of things to pick up in town), so that's on the list for tomorrow.  Husband and Betty are both snoring on the sofa here at home.....I'd join in if I didn't have dinner to cook and washing to put on 😂😒

The site owner said he had a peek through the van windows and is very impressed at what we've done - I'd told him when we bought it that he'd be in for a pleasant surprise!

Bedroom being done, and a card

 We were taking the horrible old bed out yesterday morning, prior to painting the bedroom.  Husband took the mattress out - on closer inspection, it was truly disgusting, no way could (or would!) we have slept on it.  When he lifted up the divan base, we found piles of rubbish underneath it - tons of used tissues, bits of paper, old receipts, a pair of scissors, a small toolbox complete with tools and - yuck!!! - several dirty socks and underpants, much to my utter disgust.  Once that was all picked up (with rubber gloves on, by husband), I filled the Vax up twice, vacuuming the terribly dusty carpet.  

I'd decided that rather than attempting to steam clean the filthy stained padded headboard, we'd just use a Stanley knife and cut it off the wall, or as much of it as we could, so husband did that.  He got all the material and padded sponge off, leaving just a 2cm thick piece of chipboard, which appears to be screwed to the wall from the outer side, so no chance of getting that off.  Doesn't matter, I'll stick with my plan of covering it with the leftover material from the new (long) curtains, it'll be easy enough to staple or even glue it in place on the chipboard.  The new bed is a metal framed one with a headboard, so we don't actually need a padded headboard on the wall, the material will just nicely cover the chipboard up.

We painted all the walls in the same dove grey we've used in the lounge - as it's a small room we did it fairly quickly, we'll see today if it needs a second coat.  The Venetian blind in there is also broken - most of them throughout the caravan are - so I'll be buying yet more net curtaining.  The bedroom looks nice now with freshly painted walls and a reasonably clean carpet.  We're not changing the carpet, will just get a couple of small rugs to go each side of the bed.

Husband couldn't finish the kitchen yesterday - all he has to do is fit an end panel to the worktop, but it needed cutting to size at home, only he didn't cut it the right size (normal for him!! 😒).  So he had to bring it home to cut a bit more off.....fortunately, he cut it too big, not too small - that would have been very annoying.  He's also got some pipes to box in.

Today we're doing the 2nd coat in the bedroom, if it needs it, then thoroughly cleaning the bathroom, which clearly hadn't been cleaned for ages by the previous (in poor health) owners.  Husband has the new vinyl flooring to lay in the bathroom.  The walls need painting (in a lovely aqua bathroom paint, which we've already got) in the next few days.  The gas man is coming to fit the new part to the boiler, it shouldn't take him long.

Things are moving along quite rapidly now, thank goodness.

Oh, here's a card I made the other day, drawn continuing my theme of monochrome with one feature colour:-

Tuesday, 6 July 2021


 I'm having sleepless nights at the moment (just for a change!) worrying about everything that needs to be done for our move into the caravan.  Which is daft really, I know - there's no pressure, it's not set in stone, we don't HAVE to move in on any particular date.....just that we have other appointments coming up here at home, so working out when we can stay over in the caravan (and get on with the rest of the work whilst there) means some juggling of dates is necessary.  So it's not critical - but try telling my brain that!!

There's just so much to do and think about and gathering of stuff together to take over there - it's just like a house move, but on a smaller scale - and all this whilst doing a complete renovation too.  It's wearing me out, frankly.  I think I need a few days off.  

There's other things going on too - we have an electrician coming here (to our home) today, to do a full electrical service and check, landlord's orders, it's going to take several hours, apparently.  We're going to the caravan once he's arrived and just leaving him to it....I'm not really keen on leaving workmen (complete strangers) alone in the house, but needs must - if we were here, we'd just be in the way (or he'd be in our way) and presumably he'd have to have the electricity turned off (or keep switching it on and off) so that would interfere with anything we could do here anyway.  We'll be leaving him a key, I just hope he remembers to lock up when he leaves.

I was supposed to be going to the chiropodist yesterday, but she wasn't well and had to reschedule it for next week, which meant I had to juggle a few other things around.  I also have a dentist appointment next week for some major work, which I'm dreading and is already preying on my mind.  The physiotherapy for my sore back and hip was supposed to restart in June - they'd temporarily suspended all physio as the staff had all been commandeered to help out with Covid vaccinations instead.  However, yesterday I had a letter from them saying they're currently snowed under and have no idea when my appointments can start up again.  So I've just got to put up with the pain, which is much worse lately, for x number of weeks to come.  I'm also awaiting a first physio appointment for another, unrelated problem - who knows when I'll get that?

I just feel really stressed by everything at the moment.....wish I could be more like husband who breezes through life with hardly a care in the world.  I know all the caravan stuff will be SO worth it in the end, I do love it already.  It's just such a lot of work right now, although husband does the bulk of the physical alteration works, it's me who has to organise everything.  Case in point.....when we were leaving here yesterday to go to the caravan, husband sauntered out to the car carrying.....a drill, and sat there in the car with the engine running waiting for me.  Whereas I was loaded up like a packhorse with about 6 bags, including our packed lunch which I'd just made, and had to juggle all the bags to get a hand free so I could lock the front door.  The bags were all sat in the hallway by the door, so husband could have taken some of them to the car.....but was oblivious!!! (Men, huh!).  At least now the new fridge has been installed at the caravan, I can leave cheeses, cold meats, milk etc in it, so no need for me to prepare packed lunches to take anymore.  But of course the fridge has to be stocked me.  I even have to remind husband to take whatever tools he needs, plus his glasses, wallet, phone, dog lead etc - he nearly always forgets.

And the personal stuff we have going on at the moment is not getting any better, so that's an added stress.

Monday, 5 July 2021

Nuisance - but alright in the end

 Got to the caravan this morning with the intention of steam cleaning the headboard and mattress.  The mattress is covered with a valanced sheet - clearly original, as it matches the headboard - and we hadn't actually lifted it and looked at the mattress, nor sat on the bed.  Husband had prodded it and said it felt lumpy.  We'd decided we would take a chance and not buy a new bed, just steam clean it and have bought a thick deep mattress topper to go on it.  Well, on lifting the valance and examining the mattress and bed (it's a divan) this morning, we found it's knackered - the mattress is horribly lumpy and the divan base underneath is broken, it's collapsed in two places.  How the previous owners had been sleeping on it I really don't know.  On mentioning it to our caravan neighbours this morning, they said 'oh yes, Phil always said they needed a new bed, he was too tight to buy one though!'.  Huh, wish they'd mentioned it to us (or we'd actually checked the bed) before, it's a bit last minute.  So we've now had to buy a new bed, it's coming Friday.  Well, we're collecting it on Friday, husband is insistent we can transport it to the caravan on top of the roof racks on our (little) car....I hope he's right!!  Bit of a nuisance, and another expense, but I'm not sorry really, I wasn't too happy about sleeping on a very old second hand bed.  And it does mean I don't have to deep clean the old mattress, and we can just chuck it and the base out in the garden, leaving a completely empty room to decorate, which will make things easier.

Oh and when we came to put up at the kitchen window the new Venetian blind that we'd found in the wardrobe, it turns out it was actually an old and broken blind, that for some inexplicable reason the previous owners had put back inside the packet and shoved in the wardrobe, rather than throwing it away.  So we also had to go and buy a new blind.  Luckily, we found one 50% off in a sale in Dunelm this morning.

We're going to have to get Shaun, the man with a van, to come back again and get rid of yet more rubbish - the old bed for a start, and the blinds from nearly all the windows, as most of them are broken (fortunately, the nets and curtains I've bought in replacement were all a bargain price).  There's also several more bags of garden rubbish.  

I'm glad we set a budget right at the start for all this caravan work, we're getting close to the top of that budget now.  But, fingers crossed and barring any more last minute surprises, we shouldn't need to spend much more.  We have the gas man's bill to pay (he's coming back on Wednesday to fit the new part), but that's already taken into account.

We're intending to spend all day tomorrow and Wednesday at the van, husband finishing off the few remaining bits in the kitchen and me decorating the bedroom.  I'm just painting it, no wallpaper, so it should be easy enough, it's the same dove grey satin emulsion we've used in the lounge and it dries very quickly, with no smell.  Then Thursday and Friday it's just a case of taking the rest of the stuff we need over there, plus the new bed of course, putting up the curtains and making the bed, and then we should be staying there for the weekend!

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Getting ready for moving in

 As I said in my previous post, we're hopeful of being able to 'move into' the caravan from this coming weekend, provided we get the bedroom decorated with no hitches, and the toilet in good clean working order.  Our plan is to stay at the van for a few days at a time - no set plan as such, just whenever we have no appointments at home and the weather looks good for a few days.  I'm not really wanting to stay there if it's going to be persistently raining - we had lots of caravan holidays when I was a child and I have many memories of rain hammering down loudly on the roof and us kids miserably looking out of the windows, bored to tears.  If we're going to have prolonged rain, frankly I'd rather stay home than endure it in the caravan.  Fortunately, the weather forecast seems to be pretty good for the coming weekend.

I'm going to need to write lots of lists for the next few days - lists of things we need to take to the caravan every day, to stock up for when we move in.  Clothes, toiletries, bedding and towels, kitchen equipment, dog stuff (a bed for Betty, some of her toys and some treats are there already).  Books and DVDs, a pack of cards and dominoes, some craft stuff (a couple of drawing pads and pencils).  And food, of course, mostly tins and packets, coffee, tea and long life juices (neither of us drinks much alcohol, hardly any in fact).  Some basic crockery, cutlery, mugs and glasses are already there.  I shall take a selection of stuff every day - we wouldn't be able to fit it all in the car in one go anyway.  We're taking the new fridge over tomorrow.

I've been getting the Gardeners World magazine and a static caravan park life mag delivered for the past 2 or 3 months (both subscriptions were bought on a very good special offer for the first year).  We haven't read any of them yet, I've deliberately kept them to take to the caravan, so that's something to look forward to.

There's a small garden centre on the way to the caravan, we've not been in there yet.  I want to have a look in there sometime this week and hopefully buy a nice perfumed rose and a lovely pot for it to go in, using some of the legacy money my friend left me.  She loved roses, as do I, so having a nice rose in her memory in the caravan garden will be a fitting reminder of her.  Toni loved purple, it was one of her favourite colours, so she would have approved of my colour choice for the van lounge!

The bedroom, both bedrooms in fact, have padded headboards affixed to the wall - the one in our double bedroom is in an awful state, heavily stained, although the material is in good condition.  Ideally, we'd like to take the headboard off the wall, take the material off and re-cover it.....however, the headboard is firmly fixed to the wall and there's no getting it off, we've tried very hard.  It appears to be stapled or even nailed all round, and may even be glued as well.  So tomorrow I'm going to firstly have a go at steam cleaning it with my electric steamer.  I've bought new curtains for the bedroom - I chose a long length, as I had the idea of cutting off the extra length and using the material to cover the headboard, we'll staple it all round using husband's super duper electric staple gun.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Quick visit

 We nipped to the caravan for an hour this morning - I wanted to see the kitchen, as I wasn't there yesterday, and a couple of things needed finishing off.  Once again when we arrived I was a bit dismayed to see all the mess the boys had left - it looked like we'd had burglars....bits of rubbish, tools, discarded empty packets, screws, unwashed cups, oddments of vinyl flooring and messy bits everywhere.  I tried to keep a lid on it, as the boys did such a good job of installing the kitchen, but it did annoy me, clutter and mess drives me to distraction.  I did say that in future, if he's there on his own, I would like him to tidy up before he comes home, even if he doesn't vacuum.

The kitchen cupboard doors and drawers are all in place now, and husband silicone sealed all around the edges of the worktop.  The vinyl flooring is really lovely, that and the white units have made such a difference to the light in what was a very dark gloomy space before.  We've got a new venetian blind to go up at the kitchen window - we didn't buy it, we actually found it in the bedroom wardrobe, obviously bought by the previous owners and never fitted, for whatever reason, so a few quid saved.

We're not going tomorrow, we need a day at home to do things here.  On Monday, husband needs to finish a couple of things in the van kitchen, whilst I wash down the walls and paintwork in the bedroom, ready for starting to decorate on Tuesday.  It's looking hopeful that we might be able to stay over in the caravan next weekend - fingers crossed.

This little holiday home of ours is really shaping up to be a gorgeous space and I'm so pleased with it, as is husband.  We both feel really content when we're there.  Husband's mate who was there helping him with the kitchen yesterday said it's a lovely place - the park, our plot and the caravan - and thinks we're very lucky.  We are.

Right now there's a lot of emotional stuff going on in my private life, and the caravan is the one thing that's keeping me sane and happy.

Friday, 2 July 2021

The kitchen!

 I've just been sent this photo of the kitchen progress:-

Oh it looks so good, I'm so happy with it!  The wall cupboards aren't being replaced, we're just going to paint them white and have new handles to match the bottom cupboards.  The flooring makes the kitchen look bigger, and the wallpaper is lovely.  The cooker cupboard needs the height raising a bit, it's currently a few inches too low, but that's an easy job.  The boys have done so well, I'm really pleased.

We'll take the new fridge tomorrow, to slot in that gap.  Then it's the bedroom to decorate early next week, and we might be staying there by the end of the week 😁💜

Kitchen going in, and curtain shortening the easy way

 Thank you so much for all the lovely comments.  We've just discovered the caravan is 31 or 32 years old - wow, a real old lady.....I'd guesstimated it at around 25 years.  It's in amazingly sound condition for its age, even more amazing is the fact that there's no damp - it's obviously been unoccupied for nearly 2 years and not well maintained for a couple of years prior to that, as the previous owners were old and in poor health.  It's just grubby and very old fashioned looking, so we're dragging it into the 21st century!

Husband is there with his mate, they've already put together the kitchen units (flat packed) and are currently laying the vinyl flooring in the kitchen, prior to installing the units.  They then need to cut out the holes in the new worktop for the sink unit and fit that, and then fit the worktop, finally sealing all edges with silicone.  I hope they get it all done successfully today, but there's always tomorrow to finish off if not.  It's only a small galley kitchen - one double base unit, one drawer unit and a single half height base cupboard for the table top cooker to go on - so they should do.  Husband's mate is not a kitchen fitter, but he frequently helps out his son in law, who IS a kitchen fitter, and he's also good at carpentry, so he knows what he's doing.

I made a start on shortening the curtains here at home, cut the first one to size, ironed the hem to make a crease and then put in the wonderweb stuff and ironed it in place.  Except it didn't stick - at all.  I assume it's because of the coating on the back of the curtains....they've got a thermal and dimming layer on the back, some kind of special coating, and the wonderweb just doesn't want to stick to it.  Oh bugger, I thought, that means having to hand sew 7 pairs of curtains.....But then I remembered I have a can of spray on craft glue, it says it's for all sorts of craft work, including some fabrics.  So I tried it, and it works fantastically well, and is so much quicker and easier than messing around with the webbing stuff.

There was a phone call here at 10 am, for husband - it was his physiotherapist, he was supposed to be having a phone physio session with her for his foot.  Only he'd obviously forgotten about it, hadn't mentioned it to me and hadn't put it on the calendar, so I clearly couldn't remind him seeing as it was the first I'd heard of it!  Honestly, he's a nightmare 😒

Thursday, 1 July 2021

A quick photo

 Here's the dining area as it was when we first bought the caravan:-

The seating was very uncomfortable, and the fabric horrible.  The table was warped and uneven, so we wanted it all out.  Here it is in the process of being ripped out:-

Betty inspecting the progress!  And here it is now, with new table & chairs, nice new crockery cupboard, new carpet and nets in place (we left the back wooden framework in place to stabilise the walls, and because it was less work to leave it there!):-

We're so pleased with it, I think it looks lovely.  I've got new curtains to put up, they need shortening though as I mentioned before, I'll be having a day at home tomorrow to do that, whilst husband and his mate spend the day at the van fitting the kitchen.