Having only being back home for 4 days following CAMC training at Lingfield we were due at Moreton in Marsh CAMC for machine training on the 13th February. After much deliberation about taking the caravan for a few days away we reluctantly decided to just drive to Moreton in Marsh for the day. We were on the road at 6am and promptly came to a standstill on the M6, lost half an hour in multiple traffic jams but thankfully still made it in plenty of time for the start. We got booted and suited in our PPE and knuckled down for a day of classroom learning, hands on machinery handling and tractor driving.
The weather was a mixture of sunshine and showers but was continually freezing cold throughout. My feet although clad in thick tights and thermal socks were numb for most of the time, probably due to standing about alot rather than being on the go. The morning whizzed by learning about strimmers, hedge cutters, leaf blowers and fuel ratios,- fuel ratios? still a mystery to me. The afternoon was about the ride on grass cutter, pedestrian mower and bin run tractor and trailer. Although we couldn’t actually cut any grass due to the mud and potential damage to the pitches we learned it all in theory and had a go at driving the tractors on a quiet part of the sites roadways. The day ended with a 25 question test to check if we had actually been listening and had learnt anything, thankfully it proved that we had. It has certainly been a back to school couple of weeks, proving every day is a school day and you are never too old to learn a new skill.
Back home we have been taking it easy, days have mostly been spent in front of the tv and just enjoying the fact we are at home without having to rush about and fit in jobs on an odd day off. Thankfully the weather has given us a good excuse to do just that. We took the saying “there’s always tomorrow” very literally! Piles are appearing all over the house as we are gathering things together ready to pack into the car and caravan, and a pile for Steve’s Dad who is coming down to us with a loaded car the following day. The Ikea chairs for the awning have been gingerly manovered into the ‘van, thankfully without having to dismantle them, the tv and a few other bits having found safe travelling spaces tucked away. We have done a couple of trial runs packing the car to see how much we can get in and where, but the caravan cover still hadn’t come off at this point due to the ridiculous amount of rain and wind from storms Ciara and Dennis hitting the Country.
The car went in for MOT and service as it was due the first week we would be on site, we spent the day strolling around Wolverhampton reminiscing about all the places we used to frequent and amazed how a lot of the buildings have disappeared and the shops that are now closed. We did manage to fit in a couple of visits to Weatherspoons, firstly for breakfast and as we were still waiting for the car to be ready again later in the afternoon for coffee and cake, although they had run out of cake which was very disappointing, as that was my sole reason for going back for coffee!
A family “see you soon” get together at the weekend was a fabulous opportunity for us to say our thankyous to them for being so supportive of us in our decision to embark on our greatest adventure. We had a lovely day entertaining 16 of our close family with an age range of 98 down to 5, it was so wonderful to be with them all and talk over our hopes and dreams for the future, aswell as reassuring them that we aren’t emigrating to the moon and we will be back!
Into our final week and we still can’t get our heads around that we are leaving home as we know it and will be making a new temporary home in Ruby 175 miles away in the middle of a forest. I wonder at what point it will? Finally the caravan cover has come off and we really need to get going on packing everything in. Lists have been written and rewritten several times as to what item is going where, and sleepless nights are the norm as I mentally pack and tick off every item we might possibly need from home. Steve keeps reminding me that they do have shops in Portsmouth! but we’ll have enough to think about once down there so if we can pre-empt the possible need, aswell as not wanting to have to buy something we already have back at home, then we can just get on with setting up home, living, working and enjoying the new lifestyle.
As days now turn into hours our tummies are also turning over with a few jitters. We wouldn’t be human if there wasn’t some apprehension I suppose, are we able to do the job? can we live and work together 24/7? will we earn enough money to survive? We have always had a glass half full attitude to everything we do so am optimistic that the grass will definitely be greener and the sun will always shine – well realistically maybe not the latter but it wont be for the want of wishing!
A sudden change of plan was needed at the last minute due to the forecast of another storm arriving at the weekend, we are now leaving home on Friday instead of Saturday to hopefully miss the worst of the wind gusts. It is still going to be torrential rain by all accounts but rain is the lesser of the two evils when towing. After sitting about chilled out for the best part of the last two weeks time is suddenly racing by at top speed and with a day less to fit it all in. Thursday has arrived and we were up early ready to dodge the impending rain/snow/sleet and gales whilst packing. The piles from all over the house have now all been found space in either the car, caravan or Steve’s Dad’s car. Surprisingly it all seems to have gone in without too much pushing and shoving and there may even be a square inch spare to fit in a last minute addition if I suddenly wake in the middle of the night and think of something I can’t live without! Mitch and Chloe have had their final run down on “how to keep a house” and we are optimistic it will still be standing when we return for our days off visits. Better just give them plenty of notice so the washing up can be done and lounge carpet hoovered.
I don’t suppose there will be much sleep happening tonight, just a tummy turning mixture of excitement, apprehension, emotion and still marvel that our greatest adventure is about to begin.
Catch up with us in the next post – We arrive on site, set up home and start to explore the local area.