Leaving NiKi

Leaving NiKi

5th June to 2nd July 2017

Me and NiKi having fun on the Euro-tunnel train

After a wonderful last weekend in Ypres having a mix of history, culture, cycling, food and drink on the Tuesday 6th June David, NiKi, Pinkie, Lilly, Codie, Carol and I headed north towards the port of Calais and our train ride back to the UK. The weather was oddly exactly the same as when we left-grey and winds howling and blowing NiKi across the motorway carriages. We had left the time tight not wishing to dwell on anything and just about managed to fill up with cheap diesel in France before we joined the queue to board the Eurotunnel. So bad were the winds our bike cover got shredded as we boarded the train and thankfully given the weather we were on the train not the boat. Thankfully the ripped bike cover gave us both something to do for the journey as the spirits of all of us seemed to sink the closer we got to the shores of England and David in his usual fix all way sewed up the cover with dental tooth floss as we travelled under the channel!.

By the time we motored out of Folkestone the weather had abated slightly and not wishing to

The English beer scene, a great and noble tradition unique to this country. Unfortunately not favourable to Davids digestion system nor my nose after!!

dice with the traffic, we took the coast road along to Portsmouth arriving sometime about 4pm. A lovely evening was spent with family taking in the great British pub scene, unique to this country. The following morning we headed back to whence it had all began some 17 months earlier more or less to the day- Portsmouth, my mother’s grave and the dock. We left all those months ago full of nerves and trepidation with family and friends surprising us as we left and waved us goodbye. That Wednesday again we sat with Gary my cousin watching the exact same ship pull out of the harbour heading this time to Bilbao not Santander where we docked but still very strange and surreal as we waved to the passengers on board our life having completed a ‘circle’ over the 17 months on the road.

Cap Finistere, our ship 17 months ago now again leaving for Spain. Bon viajes
Cousin Gary and me, the channel behind. Site of many memories for both of us!
As the song goes.. Welcome Home, Welcome…….a great night

We headed east bound again the next day to see more family and collect our car on the Wednesday spending again a great evening eating drinking and catching up before heading home to London on the Thursday to vote and save the country from the destruction and chaos it seems to have got itself into since we left – I think that’s a bit of a long term plan but nevertheless we made it back to give our tenpenneth.

Pulling into the carpark where our new brick home is immediately changed the mood for all of us but again warm hugs and welcomes helped overcome the sadness that was heavy already in us.

NiKi stood proud in the car park and again drew many admiring glances from all but sadly as we moved belongings out of him and undertook much needed work in the flat he already took on a sad almost unloved stance. The work after 17 months of an easy life was hard, tiring and almost

Another homecoming feast- turbot, Yummy

despairing but again we were buoyed by seeing family and friends who although we had kept in touch with were now real and just moments away.

Our NiKi getting a major clean up but still looking good
NiKi puts many a vehicle to shame, proud and handsome everywhere

Wednesday 28th June was D-day for us and NiKi and so we opted to have some quality time with him heading to our first UK campsite in Grantham, Lincs on the Saturday. As soon as we hit the road and parked up even though NiKi had been more or less stripped clean we all just relaxed and again that overwhelming feeling of life on the road took over and we relaxed and had a lovely evening us and our Elddis Encore motorhome- life was sweet again. The next day

Middlesborough transporter bridge our last one was in a much sunnier Bilbao

we made the final steps to The Grange Motorhome and Caravan Clubsite, Durham for our last 3 nights together. After parking up NiKs we headed in the wonderful historic town of Durham and had a great time re-visiting the sites we had seen on our previous trips. Once again we loved sleeping, cooking and living in our van and wondered if and how we were to settle again.

Elddis were as ever so accommodating and we spent the Tuesday recapping our adventures and filming the lovely English scenery unfortunately in grey skies and rain.

Finally, the day came of which we had really not been looking forward to and David drove NiKi offsite and headed back towards the Elddis head office where we were to hand him over ready for adoption to his next

Cleveland coastal walk and the charm bracelet

family.  Kramer vs Kramer (for those who might remember this heavy tear jerker), the best or worse episode of Call The Midwife neither compared with the tears that flowed from our eyes in those final moments when the keys were dragged from our hands and we headed south without our most loved home.

NiKi, me and another bloody roman ruin. Is there no end to them

We write this last blog some 4 days later sitting at a 2nd hand table that would appear to have been a mistake and looking around and living in a home that is neither to big nor too small for us looking at an unchanging vista.

Family and friends keep us going but for the moment our hearts and souls belong to a lovely white van parked somewhere in the Elddis compound!

Again a big thank you to family, friends new and old who have helped us on the journey, read and liked the blogs and all are too numerous to mention. Plus of course a very special thanks to Elddis and Niki our Encore 254 who made it all so real.

But as Arnie said…………….. We’ll be back.


Two maps to show the route home to London and then and back to Elddis in Consett.
Map One the route to London.

Map 2 NiKi goes home. 🙁


  1. Great effort guys, fantastic adventure! Shifting gear out of nomadic life has been a serious challenge for me more than once, so I may have an idea how you feel. For us the solution was to gear up so we could shift in and out. For others, they found fulfillment in challenges at home, new businesses, children, moving house and so on. Whatever you opt to do, the very best of luck to you both, again congratulations on a huge tour, and thanks for all the foodie temptation! Man hugs, Jay

    • Jay,

      Thank you for your lovely words, both you and Julie have and continue to be inspiring to us and I feel many many others. Your advice and encouragement really helped us.

      What the future holds is an open book at the moment. But the journey has changed us in surprising ways, we certainly don’t need as much stuff as we once craved and our attitude to life is different.

      We look forward to more not less adventure in our lives not least following your tour.

      Man hugs back you both.


  2. Was thinking of you only the other day. Not sure how we would adapt to being in one place. But you’ve had an amazing experience.
    Do keep us posted on the work development.

    • Great to hear from you looks like you are having a full on Celtic adventure and loving it. Hope we can get to a tasting with you both soon

  3. All the best in your new life! I really enjoyed your blog and will miss the sunny pictures, tempting plates and lovely stories. It’s been an entertaining 17 months, thanks!

  4. You will be back I haven no doubt! I have tears rolling down my cheeks reading that as I feel every bit of it. We are approaching a year since our adventure drew to an end and I still can’t get excited by life in a house.
    Geoff and I have an appointment in one hours time with Jackson’s headmaster. We have a bottle of lovely French raspberry champagne ready to hand him as we approach the subject of taking Jackson out of school from April to September next year. Wish us luck! Please keep in touch and if you invest in a house on wheels give her a spin in our direction x

  5. Welcome back to blighty! I have loved following your adventures and I am sure it will be many others in the future. We are just about to take early retirement and start on our exciting new future

  6. Hi there.
    Thank you for the last 17 months it has been a joy to follow you both and sharing your adventures and experiences hoping to do similar next year. Looking forward to hearing your updates now that you are back.
    Take care and thank you once again.
    Geoff Beasley.

  7. Ahh……you gave me a mention and a nice couple of photo’s of my beloved Pompey too! Love yuh guys. Great to have you back but also feeling your melancholy feelings at the end of your adventure. But, good to know we shall see more of you.

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