5th June to 2nd July 2017
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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. 🙁