Thursday, 5 July 2012

Houseless, but certainly not homeless.

We’ve finally done it! We handed the keys in to the estate agent last Wednesday and we have survived a whole week of van dwelling.
So far, so good! We’re still in a state of organised chaos, well our van is a bit of a mess.  We are missing our kitchen unit (a promise from a friend fell through), lacking a few cupboards, plastic boxes and storage space (a job for next month’s wage) and I appear to have enough clothes to open my own branch of ‘Go Outdoors’! A job for tonight is to go through our clothes and decide what we really need...that fancy dress bag is really going to have to go into storage!
After 3 days of cleaning last week, seriously it’s the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life! We were on pins as to whether or not we would get our ridiculously large deposit back from our rental house we were moving out of. It wasn’t just the money that was important to us, but the fact that it is our security net. If we need to move back into a house at short notice or the van decides to break down, then we should have £1050 in our savings account to fall back on. The good news arrived on Saturday as I listened to a voicemail from the estate agent informing us after the Landlords inspection we were getting our full deposit back and it should be with us within seven working days. This in itself is a massive achievement and if you have dogs you will know how much hassle it can be to try and rent a house and the assumptions behind having dogs in a rented property...funnily enough neither of our dogs did eat any of the house!
Our first week in the van has been pretty uneventful and we are really looking forward to getting organised and settling in more. I think my most interesting moment this week is now having the ability to ‘wee’ standing up. I have invested in a Shewee extreme ( and it has been a complete revelation. It was hard to overcome the psychological barrier of opening the flood gates whilst stood up, but I’m getting there slowly and it is really quite liberating not having to squat and bare my bum to the world!

Monday, 28 May 2012

1 month until the big move!

We’re finally firing on all cylinders! We bought a van on Saturday 28th April and we have had a few fun weeks and weekends in it as a bit of a test run.
It is a Renault Master 2.5 litre van – which used to be a passenger ambulance, it has spent life as a Taxi mini bus and we have welcomed it with open arms as a partially done project. It has had all the seats removed and a very basic conversion started to make it into a campervan. We are going to continue the conversion and make it our home!
We have handed in notice on our rented house and sold most of our belongings...we are currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor and have little more than sofa, fridge and freezer (everything else has gone and I can’t wait to move into the van.
We officially move into the van on 27th June...just one month to go!
We are taking our ‘before’ photographs tonight and jobs which we hope to be done by the end of the next couple of weeks include:
·         Curtains – essential for privacy and a homely feel.
·         New floor – easier to clean.
·         Painting the woodwork – to brighten the place up.
·         Kitchen unit completion – for normality and somewhere to store our food/utensils etc.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Who pressed the pause button?!

No we've not fallen off the edge of the Earth!

But things slowed down and knocked us off track....I will post a more detailed update before the end of the week, but after a long 8 months of this idea taking shape...we may have a van and be very close to starting this crazy adventure!!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Carbooting crazy!

On Saturday we went to do one of the biggest carboot sales in our county. We really weren’t too sure how this was going to go and if people wanted to buy our ‘tat’, however as the saying goes ‘one persons rubbish is another persons treasure!’

I don’t think we were as prepared as we could have been. Friday night scurrying around the house chucking random unwanted objects in boxes. And no, we didn’t have a table to sell this junk on – had to go and borrow a rickety old wallpaper pasting table. We had a lot of stuff to sell and not much table room.

Up at the crack of dawn and loading all our booty into the car we made it to the market location at 7am. The location of this carboot was in what is normally a cattle market and I’ll be honest it wasn’t the most pleasant smelling place on a Saturday morning, but nonetheless we set up our one table and two upturned crates and the selling began almost instantly. As the day drew on gaps appeared in our table and we filled them with objects from our still packed boxes. 

We sold things at low prices, but some of these things would end up at a charity shop at the end of October if we don’t sell them so 50p here and £1 there all adds up. We decided to leave at 13:00 and still had about half of our booty left. We had to pay £11 for the stall and we also had some food whilst we were there and we managed to come away with £100 – not bad for a mornings work!

I think we have at least 2 or 3 more carboots in us and we’ve not even started selling the big items yet. Our total now stands at £462.78.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Size matters!

Just a short one from me today.

Was strolling through town earlier with the other half and we saw a high top, short wheel base Transit Van (actually a FedEx Van) so I thought I'd stick my head in as this is the van we think we are going to get. WOW! The van in my mind clearly has delusions of grandeur. It is definitely smaller than I imagined. My other half wasn't fazed at all, but I'll be honest I was a little taken aback.

The fact that my other half was fine about it is making me think we'll be OK, but I know now we are going to have to have storage solutions for everything and if possible mini versions of things we need. Mmmm how can I shrink the dogs?

Monday, 22 August 2011

Will we be Gypsies?

If all goes to plan we could be living the dream in 10 weeks and looking at the dates Sunday 30th September is when British Summer Time Ends, what better day to start our new life! When you say it like that 10 weeks doesn’t seem very far away at all. We still have a house full of ‘stuff’ we want to sell and not even £400 in the Van fund. I know we can do it, but there still seems like there is so much to organise. We are ‘Car Booting’ this weekend and we are hoping that this is going to boost the fund.

I’ve been thinking about the legalities of living in a van and I’m pretty sure it is not legal! We’re probably going to go to campsites and caravan parks at the weekends when they are open (March-November) and I’m sure that is fine and above board as it is just like any other camping weekend and we will be paying to be on someone’s land. However most of the other time we are going to park up somewhere private and out of the way – we will be based in the countryside so there are plenty of places where we will not be disturbing people.

We are going to be good citizens and we will leave no trace of being there. My other half is going to dispose of any waste water at work (such as washing up water) and I’ve been looking into biodegradable cleaning products such as washing up liquid and toothpaste. The last thing we want to do is make a mess of the beautiful countryside we both love.

The reason we want to live in a van is to save up for our wedding and we hope to do this by not paying rent on a house or all the usual bills. This also means we will not be paying council tax as we will have no permanent address. Does this make us Gypsies/Travellers? Will people hate us for it? We will both still be in full time employment so it is not as if we are sponging off the government and living off benefits. I have been chatting to a journalist who is interested in our story and she has told me to get in touch with Shelter (the charity) who may know about the legalities, so this is my next port of call. I also need to find out how much notice we need to give to move out of our rented house – I think that will make it very real when we have a move our date!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Week 2: My Dad takes a complete U-Turn!

We’re into the second week of selling everything we own to fund buying the van we are going to live in for a year. The fund is mounting up nicely £340.43 and I must admit we’re still not putting 100% effort in yet, but if we want to be in the van by the end of October we need to make selling ‘stuff’ our full time hobby. Next week we’re going to concentrate on selling items from the kitchen which to be honest even if we were staying in a house we could probably live without. I mean just how will we manage without two sets of weighing scales, a smoothie maker and a slow cooker; our life will surely have no meaning. I am really looking forward to cooking on a little 2 ring camping stove with grill and using the campervan cook book we got for Christmas last year.

We are only telling our very close family about our (some may say) crazy plan. We told my Dad earlier on in the week over the phone who was all gung ho and thought it was a top idea. We told my fella’s Mum on Wednesday who also thought it was great, however I do think she thinks we are becoming Gypsies/Travellers forever! It was really good to have some positive comments from our parents because even though I am not far from the big three zero I do still like approval from my Dad!

I called my Dad yesterday just for a general chit chat and I was stuck on the phone for almost an hour as he has now taken a complete U-turn and thinks we are crazy. He had to ask at least 5 times if: 
  • We had both been fired.
  • We were in serious debt.
  • The police were after us.
After reassuring him none of these terrible things had happened and that we were choosing this new lifestyle and not being forced into it, he allayed his next set of fears. Why on earth were we starting this in October, in winter when we could start in spring? He didn’t want to be seeing a news story where a young couple and 2 dogs have been found frozen to death in a transit van! I explained to him that firstly we are not complete numpties, but also the first thing we will be doing is insulating the van and also we are going to have portable gas heater (and safety first a Carbon Monoxide detector). 

He is still not convinced. He is worried about hygiene – I can shower at the gym and my other half at work, toileting – there will be public toilets nearby some of the places we will park  and I am investing in a SheWee and a trowel and what about television won’t we be bored – I don’t think so we’ll get a radio, I love reading and playing games. Back to basics for’s only for a year...think about the money!