Stage 2

Published by Jac Sprat in the blog jackie and martin's gap year. Views: 358

Nine months on...
We have at last sold our house and chosen another one in Norwich half the size and value in order to free money up to buy our wonderful Hymer that is waiting for us up the road.
The waiting has been frustrating and difficult - having retired in August and expecting a quick sale but it gave me some time to slow down and contemplate the rest of my life and opportunity to play my new weighted keyboard which was my retirement present to myself. I'm hoping to take it with me and trap it in the pull down overhead bed! We'll see if that works. It is surprisingly long (regular piano) length and didn't look like it was going to fit on the table when we last visited the van so I may be playing it up there too. I'm so glad I took those piano lessons at school as that has given me the basics and I've been enjoying finding song tutorials on you tube that I can master and working out others from ear like the Brideshead theme.
We found our Hymer very fortuitously as a grandad of a young mindee of mine living up the road was selling his and it happened to have all the features we wanted - well winterised for skiing, fixed bed, solar power, low mileage. extra security against break in etc. It's such a relief just to be able to hop into that when we are ready instead of going to Germany to look for one like we had expected. It's a HymerLegend 654 and hopefully should hold its value well providing we don't beat it up too much. It seems to have quite a following already being a limited edition so I hope it was the right decision. We are having a test drive on Thursday and borrowing the manual to try to get to know it a bit.
As we cannot complete until January at the earliest we will not have the luxury of driving to warm climes to get used to it but will need to get ourselves straight out to the alps ready to meet the family whom I rather rashly booked into cabins at Le Champs Du Moulin in Velosc near Les Deux Alpes end of Feb. Add to that a non skiing somewhat reluctant spouse and our big dog - why is nothing easy?
After that we plan to drive to the Dolomites to have a some hopefully sunny skiing through March and April and hubby (Martin) and dog (Pip) can have lovely walks.
So that is as far as we've got.
We have to return to the UK late April for a 90th birthday and an August wedding so we may spend the interim touring the British isles and going to some festivals such as Glastonbury if we can get in.
I should say we took advice and rented a Hymer (hire a Hymer Phil) for four memorable June days to see if we liked it. I didn't think - on booking it - to ask the age of the beast and get a modern one......with the result that it was a classic one with gearbox like a tractor which was very hard to shift gears. I was recovering from a broken shoulder from skiing in March and it jarred it every time which was bad enough. Suffice it to say that every gear change was a triumph and I only had to be rescued twice! Once at a roundabout when I could not get it into first and finally the truck driver behind me took pity on me and jumped out to oblige. At that point I was well inclined to get an automatic but on seeing the small modern gearboxes on newer models I have decided to stick with gears for driving in icy conditions, steep hills etc. Again I hope that is the right decision.
We loved everything about the experience once I'd got used to the width which was a learning curve in itself. Emptying the Thetford toilet cassette was a lot messier than I expected but I can live with that. (I was vaguelly thinking it would be like a pump out of a river cruiser) No one told us to park up to empty it right near the sluice and we walked the length of the campsite sloshing it between us! That's the sort of classic mistake you only make once I guess.. I wonder how many more lie in wait for us!
The other really stupid thing I thing I did was to drop the keys down behind a basin in the ladies' room at a garage. We spent three hours hunting and waiting for spare keys to be delivered by taxi from long suffering hire a Hymer Phil. I thought I must've flushed them away. It was a stroke of luck I spotted them next time I went to the loo!
Luckily Martin was not deterred by any of this - apart from his constant terror at driving in the middle of the road as it was of course a left-hand drive and not pleasant for the passenger.
We have ordered all the books recommended from 'Vicarious' publishers and I have got a phone contract with Three for ease of keeping in touch cheaply from abroad.
If anyone has any ideas on how we can prepare in the next 8 weeks before the big Off please comment accordingly. And remember we are total novices so assume nothing!
PP Bear and Milliemobile like this.
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