23rd September 2016

Our First Week

Our first week in our van has been full of ups and downs as we have worked out teething problems – literal and metaphorically! We have done so much in the first week that i can hardly remember where we have been and when.

We spent a lovely long weekend at Greenbelt Festival in kettering. There we saw and listened to many inspirational people and found people that spoke about things which we felt we had been thinking and saying to each other for months without any knowing of why, just things which had been laid on our hearts i guess. It was a long weekend of listening, singing, rain and the weird and the wonderful we left greenbelt full of ideas and thoughts for our lives, direction for the kind of way we would like to live and how to implement some of these ideas into our van life.

After this we set of too….well we didn’t really know where. We had no plans and found ourselves staying at a lovely little farm shop just north of kettering in a village called Ashley, there we went and saw a lovely little old church and sat in the garden for allot of the afternoon, going into the church they were selling little jars of homemade condiments, sat on the side with an honest jam jar next to them. Things like this, rarely seen in our modern lives always warm my heart and restore a little my faith in humanity in some way.

The night at the farm was so lovely and a real find for our first night, as we sat that night after washing our clothes by hand and hanging them around our van, then eating ham, potatoes and salad from the farm we were excited about the trip to come and felt very grateful for such an amazing opportunity.

The next day we set off for Leicester, we had realised that the iMac we had brought with us to use wouldn’t work with the electric inverter on the sola panel. We needed to buy Tom a macbook so that he could work more effectively on the road. Heading into the city centre with a giant camper van was an experience neither of us particularly want to repeat any time soon, we drove around and around the ring road round the city trying in vain to find a carpark without hight restrictions. Our search was futile and we ended up driving to a big Morrisons way out of town and walking what seemed like miles back into town to find John Lewis.


A couple of hours later and feeling glad to be leaving the city we drove out of leister and vowed never again to enter a city centre in the camper van… lesson well and truly learnt.

Onwards and towards the land of Nottingham we went, we decided to find a nice campsite and have a couple of down days to chill and work out a bit of a plan for the coming week or so. We found a lovely little campsite with chickens wandering around and a quiet family feel to it. Barnaby spent the whole first day enjoying being able to rome alone outside the camper van, finding twigs and leaves, chasing chickens and watching neighbours going about their business.

Onwards from Nottingham we spent the day at Southwell Workhouse, the place was fantastically done with free audio tours and heaps of stuff to look at, we spent the best part of the day there and decided to become national trust members so we could enjoy more places like this.

That night we stayed in chesterfield, famous for its crooked spire. We stayed at a lovely brit stop at a pub and had wonderful home cooked meals and lovely staff. As usual Barnaby charmed the old guys at the bar and laughed at the waitress, taking it all in his stride.

The next morning we decided to go to church at the cathedral with the crooked spire. The service was nice, not our sort of thing at all really. It was all sung prayers, incense and following a sheet of paper really. I couldn’t help but look around me at everyone sat in their best dress, the upper class of the local society and wonder, had jesus been here would he be here in church, or sat in the pub next door chatting to the old guy at the bar. I couldn’t help but visualise jesus throwing over tables and being sad that we seem to have to badly missed the point of it all.

Going to church seemed to be more of an act of status then an act of worship and as I looked around me, the beatitudes being read reverently from the centre of the church, everyone turned to face men in ropes pouring incense I couldn’t help be confused by the

point of it all.