Saturday, 14 March 2009

Back to nature

We were lucky to be invited to help start to clear the dog walk at Canterbury Camping and Caravanning Site. It is a nice walk as they go, but very overgrown and unkempt. I know this is not a bad thing, as nature can make a nice spot without human help. However, this has become over grown with brambles and grasses, so a stroll down this path is uninviting to some and you don't get the feel of what is really there.
The East and West Kent Camping and Caravanning Club District Associations had arranged to work on this patch this weekend, and the Site manager invited us to help. We jumped at the chance, yes even Troy was excited about getting involved. I like nothing more than to be out of doors, and to be helping bring more nature back to an idilic spot is so rewarding.
So this was my little patch to clear, very matted with all sorts and no telling what lurks beneath the undergrowth!
So armed with a pair of shears and a rake I set to work. Troy did start to help, but found the shears hard work, then he spotted activity further down the line, so he was off to investigate, shears in hand just in case. Leaving me to continue alone with my little patch to uncover. Even though there were quiet a few of us it was peaceful listening to the birds singing as they watched us beaver away.

I was summoned to marvel at the feets the group Troy had joined, they were by the pond/swamp. This was to be cleared so everyone could see it, and for the wild life to enjoy without becoming embroiled with creepers, brambles and overgrown trees. It is sad to see trees cut down, but these were in need of tretment, most of the trees were dead. So they were cut back to the trunks and the wood used elsewhere.
Troy had worked hard helping in this area, and was talking about the chain saw, no not yet he's far too young for that experience. Don't get me wrong I'm all for learning new skills, but a chain saw, he can just about use a small saw.
It is like a hive of industry everywhere along the dog walk, people are chopping and clearing the mess that has tangled itself up, making it impossible to access anywhere except the main path. It will be lovely once everywhere is open to view, especially for the fauna and flora, who will be delighted with the space to move freely about their habitat.
After breaking for a cup of tea, it's back to work, Troy is off with the others, I am still plodding on with my patch. I want to have something to show for the aches and scratches I will be feeling later. Yes I am, my first finger on the left hand is a bit swollen and stiff, but I'm pursevering, other than that I'm sporting a few scratches. Nothing that a rub of Eucalyptus ointment won't heal.

It's lunch time and this is my progress so far, not bad for a single women eh? That is a plant pot! I had found a plant with the mud still attached to the roots, but didn't expect to find it's pot. Guess the neighbours thought they were safe throwing it over, after all it was waste land. Things will have to change. I also found loads of tin cans, half decomposed milk cartons, it was strange to find these white plastic tops with ghost cartons just hanging on. Bottles, empty of course, people are inconsiderate they could have deposited full ones for the unlikely passer by! Oh yes that fence, but it might not stay up long, I think the brambles were holding it together.

These are the people who have worked together today to make an impression on the wilderness that is the dog walk. Soon it will be a veritable feast of flora and fauna not only for dog walkers to enjoy.

I know this is not that clear, but through the trees the fence is broken giving access to anyone from the Psychiatric Hospital, our neigbours by the way!. A gentleman worked away quietly weaving a new fence out of woods chopped away from trees. Yes recycling is going on even in this environment. Some of course will probably be burnt, but leaving it on the forest floor, Ok it's not really a forest it's a wood, will give the mini beast loads of food and fun playing hide and seek.

Troy has been given this bench, which until this morning was hidden from view, to clean and paint. This is soul project after lunch, which is good as he worked hard this morning, so needs to have an easier task now. He is only 9, and has been working like a teenager. Everyone was shocked at his age at lunch, so I think they are glad he is doing this little job this afternoon. I never think to tell people, as he can manage to interact very well across the ages and will keep up with most on most jobs. So he's cleaning the bench ready to paint it. Unfortunately he's distracted at the moment, as a lady in the Psychiatric Hospital is having a moment of repetition in a very loud way.

This is the finished product, one new bench not quiet ready to sit on as still wet. Troy is also wearing said paint, as usual. He was given gloves, but they were invisible. He has trailed the brush from the tin to the bench and so has nice little splatter marks on this trousers. The paint has run down the brush on the journey and made it to his hands and arms. The stining nettles at the feet of the bench now have black stripes, where he painted the legs, but the bench looks really good. He has done a good job and feels pleased with his accomplishments. Can't be bad, and when he paints he tend to wear more than the object being painted, so why break a habit yet.

This is my achievement, and I am very pleased with the end result, I have left bramble stalks, ready to regrow, as they are a beautiful plant and very good for all sorts of things. Especially if they are blackcurrants! You can now see the real ground, which will allow plants to grow, now the sun can reach it.
We have had a really good day, meeting new people and helping to create a little space for all to enjoy. Thank you for asking us to contribute our skills, however small they are, in your project.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


This is the height of luxury, I have a brand new carpet fitted in my van today and it is lush to walk on. Oh yes I am happy, happy, happy to have got rid of the original one as it has had so many things spilt on it over the last 5 years. You don't want to know what has hit the deck, or been brought in. So now the van is smelling very nice indeed, and looks like a 5 star hotel. Ok not quiet, but I would stay here, oh yes I do!
Troy now has to take his boots off before getting further than just inside the van. Don't know how long that one will last but it's worth a try. He was dead excited about the whole thing, even woke me up to tell me this morning that the event was happening today. He became bored very quickly when he couldn't help, well I mean how many does it take to fit a carpet as big as this?
I have also become the proud owner of a new duvet, one you can't see the daylight through, and last night was like barbados. Can't imagine how I've put up with that old thin thing for so long, but then we adapt. Along with the duvet I brought a new duvet cover and pillow slips, Sorry this must be very mundane for you all reading but it's a big event in our small world. So I now feel like the princess and the pea when I sit on top of my bed, it's so fluffy it makes my bed seem huge.
It feels good to bring new things into your life and although these are small compared to others I chrish them just as much. It seems to shed a new light onto all around, a bit like the countryside at the moment as the buds start to open and show their delicate colours to all who are looking.
As I reflect on the days events I know that we both have entered a new chapter in our lives, having discarded a lot of unwanted and unused items to make way for anything that may come along we need. I have been looking at changing our van as space is becoming a bit short. When we embarked on this journey, Troy was 5 and although we had downsized quiet dramatically we still had a few bits and pieces. Now he is 9 and we were down on living space, thanks to a lot of possesions we had acquired. So it has been very refreshing to go through all our stuff and decide what is necessary, a luxury and never seen the light of day for ages. The later tends to be the items who find themselves in charity shops waiting for their next owner. Very little is thrown away, unless it is broken of course, as we love to browse charity shops ourselves so know our stuff will find a good home.
Troy has grown as well and is a strapping nine year old, who is almost as tall as me, so you can imagin space can be tight. I have decided the next van will be less orthodox and more alternative. I had to have the security of a modern motorhome at the beginning. Well this was a big thing and although it felt right it was still a bit scary, and I didn't fancy breaking down or being totally ostracised and lost. I was already lost as a person, so to be lost with a five year could have been disasterous. I also did not know anyone else who travelled or owned a van, so had no-one to bounce ideas off. He has been a good van, taking us to many places I never even imagined existed. Now I am ready to through off that mantle and own something a little more than just a van, but something that will help us become a bit more self sufficient in every aspect of living. I have no fixed ideas or desires for perfection, as I know I can rememdy most things now, one way or another. So I am open to whatever vehicle comes my way at the right price, then we will have to sell Brian our faithful companion. It does seem a bit hard, but then we do the same with people. Not sell them of course, but come and out of their lives, upgrade them for different people with different outlooks. The important thing is not the sadness of it, but the lessons we learn and take forward into our own lives making them more enoyable every day.
It has been a forceful Full Moon, which makes me more reflective than normal, please excuse the tangents.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sunshine to showers

Yes it really was that sunny even though the sun still does not have all his strength yet.
We have been couped up not being able to go for long walks, as our little dog has been in season. I'm so glad it's not like that for women nowadays. Three weeks she has been confined to barracks, but today she was chomping at the bit as I pulled forth her collar and lead. Once we were on the grass track she was off snuffling and snorting her way through the undergrowth, smelling all the fresh spring smells. She spied a Pheasant and took off at a pace, but the damm thing took flight. She is a Staff cross Jack Russell, so not so fast to catch, but boy can she give it a good go. She has had good training, as her best pal is a Lurcher with Greyhound cross. So she's off like the wind, with Willow keeping a close second. It was good to see her enjoy her freedom even if it only for today, as I'm told she will still have the scent until after this last week. Never mind at least the odd walk is in order if nothing else.
We had good fun as well as Willow. We went walking and wood collecting with friends, Rima and Tui, for their wood burner. Troy found loads of interesting things along the way, and fell back into old habits very quickly. At one point he was so far behind I only just heard him calling for me to wait. It's amazing the rubbish that gets dumped on woodland paths, a few old fridges sank dejectedly into the mud abandoned as they were no longer of use. It's such a shame people can't take the time to dispose of things more sensibly, wouldn't like to find a kid trapped in one of those!
There was so much wood lying around on the floor that it was difficult to know where to start, but we all pitched in and gathered together enough wood to light the fire for a few days. Of course when I say we all pitched in I mean the adults! Troy was off exploring and teating out the gadgets left by other wanderers, even found a couple of rope swings to have a go on. Willow, well every stick you found she would pinch and destroy for you, 'that was what you wanted of me!' her eyes say as she looks longing up.

Everything is packed and ready for the homeward journey,Troy has been allocated a back pack with wood in to carry along with Tui, but when he gets it on his back he nearly topples over onto his face. Yep a bit heavy for the little fellow. So us women are going to have to help out and share the load as we go. Troy does not escape, he is given a bundle of sticks tied up with his string he found, see everything has a use even after it has been thrown away.
Troy and Willow head off together, and it's difficult to tell which one has the most mud on them. Willow has drunk from a puddle, yes I know it is water, but when she turns round it looks as if she has had a drink of chocolate. Her mouth is covered in mud,but she doesn't give a stuff she's having a ball thank you.
As we hit the final leg of the walk we are aware of looming storm clouds and the wind whips up letting us know we are in for some rain soon. Thank goodness we are nearly at our destination, I don't think I could bear wet muddy clothes. Back at the van and I de mud everything before relaxing to enjoy a well deserved cup of tea. It's only later that it starts to rain, but we care not as we are tucked up in our home entertaining ourselves. The rain does not last long before the sun pokes his head through the clouds challenging the rain to stop. There will be a rainbow shinning giving a gateway to another realm just for the briefest of moments, so be quick and hop inside you will be delighted with what awaits you.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Reflection and recuparation

Having survived the stormy weather of the other night, in that I did not succumb to sea sickness, we have been rewarded with some beautiful spring days. The frost was hard this morning, but was gone by 8.00 when the sun shone his golden rays warmly onto the earth. Later in the day I found out that it had snowed yesterday a little way outside Canterbury. Which is really amazing, even though again the sun quickly envporated it with his rays. So spring is really dancing her way around the countryside, getting ready to kick off her shoes and throw her coat to the wind. I love this time of the year, when everything is fresh and new, after a long sleep. However, Winter lurks in the shadows just waiting for a chance to bite back, even if it is ever so briefly.
The bad hair is in need of revitalising, and I await with baited breath the day its colours compliment spring in all her glory. Yes my hair is really an accessory which I like to play with and change according to my moods. At present it is neatly tucked up in a Mrs Pepperpot bun, with a spike poking through for good measure, so it's a bit plain and simple at the moment waiting for its tramsformation.
Our travels are a bit few and far between at the moment, as I am working at the local College, but at Easter we will be journey up north to visit friends and relax in the moody atmosphere of Glen Coe. It seems ages away, but in reality it is only about 4 weeks time. So we yearn to leave the city life behind and hit the peace and quiet of the Highlands of Scotland for hill walking and just being with friends we made so long ago now.
Our friends with the horse box have given us lots to think about how we could spend life travelling again, and we are both enthusiastic to get on the road and try our luck. Whilst we wait we will spend our time learning and earning, as not only do I teach students but also my son as well. He has been home educated since we first went on the road, and has enjoyed the freedom to learn at his own pace. Which sometimes is pretty speedy. The other day he was very fortunate to have a one to one lesson with an artist friend, who taught him how to draw faces. Wow the by product of his time spent was amazing, and today he produced another drawing of the same caliber. I have to thank you Rima for your help and time it was priceless.
These are exciting times as spring changes the colours and feel of our landscapes, and so it is with our lives, as they burst forth from new ideas culminated over the winter season.
Spring forth and live long

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

old to new

Well blow me down if that did not work just as it should. Have no idea why the gremlins decided to play with me last night, but I'm thankful they have let me off tonight. Now for my delicacy of words to start my blog off properly.
Hello one and all, especially those who have dropped by to read about our travels. We have been on the road since October 2004, Oh not that long then I hear a cry. Well in the greater scheme of things no, but in house living that's quiet a long time for me. The biggest difference is that when we get fed up we just move on and find some new adventure. Just like a snail with its home on its back, and funnily enough we have snails on the cab doors. Yes the van is called Brian, after a favourite TV personality. No not Big Brother, The Magic Roundabout of course, which other Brian could travel at those speeds eh!
For this I will have to talk about what is happening now, but have put together a little something about our very beginnings, no not the universe us as travellers. That is for another time, when I stop time travelling. By this I mean living now but writing about the past, I haven't actualy time travelled, as yet!
So where to begin, well I suppose this little venture is as good a place to start. I have heard about blogging for sometime, in fact since I was first on the road, but have never plucked up the courage to have a go. Then a couple of weeks ago we met some really nice people, with whom we have become friends, who have enlightened me on the wonders of blogging. Well in fact gave me a lesson in how to do it.
At the moment I am practising but will endevour to make things as entertaining as possible. Adding photo's as they are taken, don't hold your breath though as I'm not that good on that front either.
Whilst writing this I am having a bit of a Dorothy moment, as the wind buffets the van about. We are a bit exposed here, but it's wind and rain so I know it won't get too fiercesome. The sensation inside is very much like being in a boat on a rough sea, glad there's no duty free aisle.
With that in mind I feel the need to lie down and have a sea sick pill.
Ship ahoy!

Help! I need somebody!

Having given you a taste of my eloquince, I thought I would mix together an assortment of words to tantalise the taste buds for future reading. However, being me and new to this sort of thing, it didn't post. So i'm back again to just have a try out. sorry for the ineptitude but I am a novice, and this is not as interesting as the hair thing. I hope to post my delightful repose soon so keep watching.

Monday, 2 March 2009

bad hair days

how can hair look so bad, even after it has been brushed, and washed. I have now decided it is far better to let hair do its own thing, get greasy, hang around in clumps and just be. After all that's what it is for, not some accessory like a hand bag. If you want to use your hair as such, buy a wig!