Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Three Locks

The packing is all finished, and the boxes have been taken away by the removalist.

We had a few bits and pieces to to take to my mums place so today we took ourselves down to Milton Keynes.

We passed under this bit of graffiti on the M6.....what is it all about?

We arrived at mothers around lunchtime, so after unloading the car we went for a drink at one of our favourite canalside pubs, The Three Locks at Stoke Hammond.

It was an amazingly warm day so we sat outside.

A few boats passed whilst we sat there.

Its good to see the pub doing well as a few years ago it was looking pretty ratty.

Still looking good on the motorhome front, the interested couple came back on Saturday and went for a test drive, which was all good, we have agreed a price subject to the van passing a damp check test on Tuesday. I am 100% certain she will pass that, then we will deliver the van to the new owners on Saturday and catch a train back to Macclesfield whereupon we will be officially HOMELESS! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A blog-able day!

Well, I said I would blog when something interesting happens, so today is the day!

We or, should I say, Elaine has been very busy packing up a our worldly belongings in preparation to being shipped back to Oz.

Bombo sat on top of the boxes in a supervisory capacity!

Wednesday was MOT day for the motorhome - we had to take it to Middlewich as it was the only place that could check it properly ...

It was an impressive set up with 3 lanes checking trucks, buses, horse floats and of course motorhomes ...

I would have to say it was a very comprehensive and rigorous test - they checked everything!  The test took 40 minutes to complete.  Back in Oz it's lights, tyres, wipers and indicators and 'she'll be right', mate!! 

Very pleased to say she passed without a problem ...

To celebrate we stopped at a pub on the way back to the site for a beer and a very nice seafood platter.

Once back at the van we set off up the towpath walking towards Marple as NB Firefly NZ was heading our way from Bugsworth Basin.  We got as far as High Lane when the kiwi crew rounded the bend ...

We jumped aboard at the bridge hole and I commandeered the helm, 2 mins later we were aground!!
It was the boat coming the other way's fault honest ...

The boys quickly assumed their position, they do love boating ...

We moored up just past the water point at Higher Poynton and we arranged to meet Leonie and Ray at 19.00 in the Boars Head for dinner.

On the walk back to the boat we caught up with Jennifer and Peter from NB Mactras Filia, who were also moored up.  We have met these two lovely people on the cut a few times and have been corresponding with them since we lived in Manly.  They hail from Tassie but spend the English summer on the boat and then return down under for the Aussie summer.  Lovely, lucky people ...

We dropped the dogs back and the van and headed off out again.  We had a great night at The Boars head catching up with Ray and Leonie, toilets were not mentioned once!  Really good grub too ...

Our boxes are being picked up tomorrow, to be sent to storage for a while and things are looking very good on the motorhome selling front with some very good leads.  Hopefully this weekend it will all be wrapped up ...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Motorhome for Sale

We are now moored up in Higher Poynton caravan park. We arrived here on Monday. After covering thousands of miles of incident free travels Elaine opened the side door and fell out of the van! Fours hours later she was released from A&E with ligament damage on her ankle.

The rest of the week has been spent on cleaning the van, and sorting out our worldly possessions to be sent to storage. I can assure you it is nowhere near as exciting as travelling.

The  link to the Autotrader ad for the motorhome is here.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Last Post :-(

We had a great day yesterday, playing cricket, watching the football and generally having a good old family catch up.

However, it went a little bit pear shaped when my niece, Hayley thought her boyfriend had a spider on him so she decided to throw her mobile phone at it (as you do).  Unfortunately my mother's head got in the way and the phone made a gash on the top of her scalp as it flew across the campsite.  It bled quite heavily and she went into shock so she was patched up and then taken to the local hospital, where they glued up her scalp for her!

Elaine, bro, niece and niece's boyfriend check out the damaged bonce!

My poor niece was so upset at what she had done to her Nan.  Elaine went with them to the hospital - she said the medical staff were most concerned whether it was a malicious act or an accident!  Elaine told me that the doctor was very thorough in wanting to check for any nerve damage and apparently one of his checks was to get Mother to puff her cheeks out and shrug her shoulders ... so it seems they had a bit of fun with that when he left the room ...

She was back again after a couple of hours and all was well again!  We put her to bed with a cup of tea and she was snoring in no time!

In addition to all that excitement a hot air balloon also passed over last night.  The wind had increased a bit and it was flying along quite fast ... it must have been a fun landing ...

This morning it was a slow start before we all had the full English breakfast ...

Then we got together for a group shot ... or two !

Today we also celebrated my nephew, Liam's birthday, so we all got stuck into a mega cake early in the afternoon ...

Also this afternoon my niece, Kimberley gave Bombo a haircut with Elaine assisting.  She normally does horses so doing a stroppy little dog was a piece of cake, although she said it took longer, with all his interruptions !

Most of the other campers left this afternoon, just leaving our little camp.  Tonight Elaine and I will be back on our own for our last night on the road ...  

Before they all left us though my other sister, Kerry arrived with her boyfriend, Jim (and Ruby the dog) and also my other niece, Leigha with her partner, Brad and her little boy, Mason ...

This is Charlie (my brother in law's father!) having a kickabout with Mason ... 

Then, late in the day we were all on our lonesome again ... 

Tomorrow we are heading back to Macclesfield where we will moor up at Poynton for a few days, whilst we clean out the van and get it ready for sale.

So that is it !  The narrowboat/motorhome tour of the UK and mainland Europe is all over.

We always get asked the same question as to which we prefer, the narrowboat or the motorhome? Basically we loved them both.  All I can really say is that the narrowboat always felt like we were living in a parallel universe to normal life albeit at a slow speed.  The motorhome feels like we are constantly on holiday which, believe me, is such a lovely feeling!  The narrowboat was, of course, a holiday as well but with the addition of constant maintenance to keep the boat in a shipshape condition.  With the motorhome you just drive it and clean it occasionally ... it is a very, very easy life, but a love of driving helps. 

Which brings us to the 'last post', as per the title of this blog post!  As our travels have now come to an end it seems a good time to finish the blog.  I will do an ad for the van and put that on the blog plus will put the occasional post up if something exciting happens, but as a day to day blog this will be the last one :-(

I have absolutely loved doing the blog which started out just being something for friends and family to have a look at, then all of a sudden it started to get read by over 10 people!!  

 I think we are now up to about 285,000 page views and it is a very humbling experience that strangers take time to read it and for that I thank you all very much.

I would also like to add that through blogging we have met some fantastic, lifelong friends.

I have nicked a nice little appropriate quote to finish off, I think its rather apt ...

I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I've learned the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning middle and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

We love yous all
Paul, Elaine, Bombo and Sam

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Family Camping weekend

This weekend is the annual gathering of the Macey clan.  As per usual it takes place at Billing Aquadrome.

We picked up my mother on the way and headed to the campsite. 

We arrived at noon on Friday, where we had the site to ourselves.

Whilst we set up mum took Sammie for a walk ...

We set up a perimeter fence to repel any hostiles ...

The others were arriving later in the day so we just chilled in the lovely sunshine ...

The others all arrived at about 18.00 so we set up a circle of caravans, tents and a motorhome.  My sister Lynne brought her dog, so we stationed 3 dogs on point duty to keep away any errant pikeys ...

Last night we all went to a local pub for dinner.

We were awake at a reasonable hour, the people in the vans having a good night sleep, the tent people not so!

I used brother Russell's tripod to catch the early risers in their onesies ...I was naked!

We have a Cadac BBQ which is connected to a gas point on the side of the van, so I cooked brekky for the throng ...

Elaine has been pressed into work massaging a wounded soldier, well he is a sailor actually ...

Today is going to be watching a bit of football, relaxing, eating, drinking ...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Heading North....

We left Crystal Palace yesterday morning heading towards Luton.  When we leave Crystal Palace we head north and drive straight through London.  Maybe I am a bit strange but I love driving through the centre of London!

Brixton was quiet for a change ...

 As we crossed the Thames Elaine took a pic of a stranded Hippo! 

We turned off the M1 at Luton and headed to Aldi for a stock up.

I was born in Luton and lived there all my life till I left for Oz in 1980.  It always saddens me to see what an absolute dump Luton has become.  I can't see what they can do with it now, to me it's beyond repair :(

We then moored up just outside Luton at the tiny hamlet of Fancott.  This is the fourth time we have stopped here.  The Fancott is a great pub, plus they supply a 240 hook up and water ... all free!

Click here for the link to the pub.

We arranged to meet up with some old friends of mine while we were here.  I worked with Will at Vauxhall in Luton in the 70s but Will and Sheila now live in Oz just north of Sydney.  They are over here for three months, on an extended holiday.

We had a great catch up from 17.00 until we were last to leave the pub just after 23.00!

The company, food and beer was superb.

We were having such a good old catch up that I forgot to take a pic, so I nicked one from back in Oz about 4 years ago!

Great to catch up guys and have a safe trip back ...

This morning we pick up my mum from Milton Keynes and head off for a long weekend at Billing Aquadrome.  It is the annual get together of my family, so it should be fun! 

Post Script:  After seeing the poppies at the Tower we looked into it further and found that you can buy one for £25, which you can get sent to you when the display is finished in November.  A great momento and 10% of the the money raised goes to six service charities.  Click here for more info.