Thursday, 22 August 2013

A visit to Saltram House - and some last-minute preparations

Writing this blog post by the River Plym
on the 20th of August.

I'm sitting by the Plym Estuary writing this. I've been exploring the area around Saltram House while Victor is being serviced and undersealed (to prevent rusting) nearby at Allans Vehicle Services. The weather is gorgeous, the countryside stunning, and I'm counting two cormorants, three little white egrets, a couple of crows and about a thousand gulls in the estuary. I've got a packed brunch and water, but as it's still 5 hours till Victor will be ready, I'll probably treat myself to a meal at the restaurant up at the House later on.

The Plym Estuary at low tide

I was supposed to get all of my things out of the house and stay in my former in-laws' spare car port for the weekend of the 23rd to the 25th (I should point out that this is nowhere near as bleak as it may sound, they would give me access to a bathroom that I would have all to myself and the house is only 5 minutes from my favourite beach!), but Victor will now smell so bad for two weeks that it will be impossible to sleep in him. Some people become allergic to the smell, it's that bad! So now I think I will just put the awning up in the garden instead, and put all my things in there. Don't want them to start smelling as well!

View of Plymouth from the woods near Saltram House


I've still got a few things left to buy before I can go, and I really need to order them now - I just wanted to get this service out of the way first as I don't know how expensive it will be. But I'm running out of time as I won't be living in the house after August. You need an address for ordering things online...

My ex is moving his son and baby mama into the house on the 1st of September and I go to Norway for 11 days on the 30th of August, so that leaves me only 10 days. Ooops! Better get ordering as soon as I get home tonight! It's mainly a solar kit I need, and ideally some sort of alarm system for Victor. I may also get a laptop safe, and then I need either a cooling blanket or cooling coat for Albert. So just 4 items left on the wish list!

Expecto patronum!!
The entrance to Stag Cottage, Saltram House


The drive down to Plymouth went well. I've never driven down here before, so I messed up a little with my lanes until I got used to the new SatNav's way of telling/showing you which lane you need. At one point it even gave me the wrong lane, but I was able to move over to the right one so it was fine. This was my first longish drive in Victor - roughly 80 minutes - and he certainly handles very differently to Betty! The tires felt a bit 'wobbly' and obviously he catches a lot more wind, but then again it was the first time I'd had the chance to drive him at 70 mph! I think I would probably have saved a bit on petrol if I had driven slower, but as I have found out over the past few months - that isn't really my driving personality. ;o) I'm happy to trundle along, but I don't like ending up in queues, even if the traffic isn't going particularly slow. Maybe I'll be better at seeing a long line of cars in front of me if I can remember that I'm saving money?

You'd almost have to time travel to get from
the foreground to the background of this photo

UPDATE ON 22 AUGUST:

Well, Victor is a very good boy indeed! Mr Allan the Bongo specialist couldn't find anything that needed doing on him - he kept saying it doesn't even look like he's been used! There wasn't so much as a speck of rust. So I only had to pay for the undersealing - result!! I've spent the morning ordering (almost) everything on my Amazon Wish List - all that's left now is some sort of alarm system, but I thought I'd check with my fellow Bongonauts (I didn't make that up, it's what they call themselves!) what they would recommend, so I'm holding off on that one for a day or two. I've ordered a Goal Zero Escape 150 battery pack, and a Goal Zero Nomad 7 foldable solar panel, as well as one of Goal Zero's Luna Lights, which is a tiny USB light that can be plugged straight into the battery pack and hardly drains any power. I didn't get a laptop safe, but I have ordered a security briefcase which you can attach to your car with a wire - it seemed like a better idea than trying to bolt a safe into Victor on my own, and it should be enough to placate the insurance company, which requires valuables to be locked in a separate compartment in the vehicle. I also got a Prestige Cool Coat for Albert, which was recommended by a friend of mine (thank you, C!).

Yesterday, I cancelled all my book sales on Amazon, and today I donated all the unsold books to charity. I am also listing the final 4 items on eBay - a row of seats that I have removed from Victor, some other Bongo parts, a bundle of TinTin comic books (would LOVE to keep them, but gotta draw the line somewhere!) and my all-in-one printer. So today I have to print out all my tickets and reservations for my upcoming trip to Norway! I have moved everything I am taking with me into the bedroom - it is utterly baffling that so few possessions can take up so much room!

The stuff that made the cut.


This is almost everything I am taking with me, but there is also the stuff I ordered today, my wash bag, my food and kitchen equipment (which takes up a plastic box the same size as the one with the Ikea tea light lantern on top), and a bag of dog food. Oh and two big microfibre towels that I have just washed and not packed away yet. And my pillow, which is still on my bed. If I hadn't already checked that everything fits, I wouldn't believe it myself.

The stuff I'm keeping, but not taking.
The bike will be given to a friend of mine.


This is the stuff I am keeping but not able to take with me. My ex has offered to store it here (I think he wants to make sure I'll be coming back next year, but I'd be coming back to visit my little Chestiechops anyway!)

I now own less stuff than anyone else I know - so how can it still take up so much space?
Boggles, the mind does... ;o)

Love Neens xx