What is our life as nomads really like?
I write about our wonderful trips to some fascinating places in Europe or classic spots in the UK but in between these there are a lot of down times. Even though we are deemed as UK residents we certainly see ourselves as New Zealanders and continue to look at this country through the eyes of foreigners. And because we're pretty constantly on the move every week, even our day to day living can bring some interesting people and fun scenarios to our day.
Time on the road can be like last Sunday when I spent five fun filled hours on the M25!!! Only to stay one night and be straight back on it the next day as I joined the throngs of commuters heading into London for an eight thirty start on a Monday morning. As we crept along the M25, known locally as the largest car park in the UK, at about five miles an hour, I thanked my lucky stars that this wouldn't be a regular occurrence unlike a few frustrated faces around me. Then I watched in horror as some poor chap got a little distracted and 'wham' straight into the back of the car in front. They somehow both manoeuvred their way through the next three or four lanes to the side of the road and attempted to sort things out - now that would really make your day!!
Normal life consists of unpacking and packing on a very regular basis. We've ditched a couple of travel bags since we started out, refining things a bit. As we're certainly pretty practised at living out of our bags and tweaking a few little things can make all the difference. We'd started with two big sausage type sports bags with wheels. They are huge and wonderful for packing into the boot of most cars as they are flexible, which was the initial reason for buying them, but they are so so so frustrating to take things in and out of. Buying a good suitcase made a little thing like looking for clothes and taking items in and out so much simpler. Also kept those 'ironed' items looking crisp and neat instead of continually looking like we've just slept in our clothes. We may be living this gypsy lifestyle but we don't want to look like that do we?
So often we'll find ourselves staying put at one assignment for a couple of weeks doing all the day to day things that we're all doing at home. Settling into a house means all those familiar activities like cooking, vacuuming, cleaning, washing,ironing, feeding and walking dogs or horses etc. Finding the nearest supermarket and other essentials - sometimes a wee challenge in itself but thank goodness for TomTom(GPS). There's never any of those excuses that I can't find what we need because it's not in its usual isle - no such thing as usual. Track down a decent coffee shop, and hate to admit this but usually end up at Nero's, an Italian chain. But for consistency and atmosphere it gets a big tick every time!
But David is now the proud owner of the ultimate travelling coffee maker. The jury is still out on the result but you can't fault his enthusiasm. It did take two years of research so we better give him that length of time to perfect his skills.
Now cleaning out someone's fridge that can be fun. Not the kind I have to put the rubber gloves on before touching and catching the furry bits that are almost creeping out to meet us. But the ones that are jam packed full of all those goodies you never buy yourself or we never knew existed, and the home owner says help yourself because they won't be any good by the time we come home!! And sometimes to make it even more fun we get to try out all sorts of new gadgets.
Or attacking the veggie garden as they encouraged us to do so. Lovely at this time of the year when there's raspberries, blackcurrants or blackberries or later in the year when the wonderful old apple and pear trees are laden with fruit and you endeavour to use them in as many different ways as possible. Also at the mo the delicious new potatoes, lettuces, courgettes, beans, tomatoes, beetroot, radishes, cauliflower and more, so we're a bit spoilt for choice. What we really need is a juicer so can make the most of everything.
The walks with or with out dogs are always a plus, amazing what you get to see if you'll put your walking shoes on and just get out the door. Sometimes the least interesting produce some of the most fascinating countryside and at his time of the year there's always a berries or too to share with our furry friends. And if it's wet, out comes the Pilates DVD - poor David I'm sure he'd rather it got lost somewhere in the car. What middle aged man wants it known that he's a faithful follower of Darcy Bussel !!
Then there's always the call of the humongous televisions on offer especially when Wimbledon, The Tour de France or the Commonwealth Games are on. It's very easy to sink into a big comfy armchair with a cuppa and watch some great sport.
Last year I finished an Interior Decorating course through Rhodec, a UK college, which was a good challenge. David is working away on an online project, so that gives a good focus to those hours that aren't filled with housesitting duties or new explorations.
So it's been a few weeks of back to back assignments and we're getting very itchy feet. I mustn't say frustration is settling in, as it's been a busy time and the coffers are full, its just the call of the airport that is getting stronger. And every housesit we're at is because someone is jumping on a plane and heading away so we're being constantly reminded. Time to get the map out and put some pins in it.