Friday, 30 December 2011

2011 Review On Living Full Time In A Caravan

January 2011

With most of the snow gone, we travelled back from to our campsite, where we stayed for a couple of weeks, then moved on later in the month. A few frosty days, but winter was more or less over by the end of January. Plenty of windy weather to contend with but that was about it.

The Freelander required its rear prop shaft removing after the 4wd system failed.

For some unknown reason we were banned from UK Campsites we never did get an explanation why we were, so can only assume that the armchair caravan brigade did not approve of our choice of life style. Please if anyone is from there and reads this feel free to enlighten me as to why you banned me! I suspect I will hear nothing!

Back in January I mentioned about writing a book, this is still work in progress! It may take some time as I seem to have so much on my plate and not enough hours in the day to do it all!

We also had a splendid day out down at Hurst Castle and managed to get some great photos (Click Here To See Pics)

February 2011

6 months in and still living the dream! This month an old army mate Mark and his family came down to stay with us for a few days in their  caravan. A fine time was had by all, with trips to the Royal Signals Museum Salisbury Cathedral and to the NEC caravan show, where we bought our CADAC Carri Chef Deluxe This has been our best buy ever, apart from our caravan!

March 2011

We got to try out our new porch awning that we got whilst at the NEC, we also experimented cooking on the CADAC Carri Chef Deluxe managing roast chicken and loads of other dishes to numerous to mention!

I helped some one move house, and I had a day at the caravan in shorts and t-shirt!

I also wrote our most looked at post called Living In A Caravan - Top 10 Questions Asked! Its amazing the sort of questions we are still asked even a year later. 

We also joined Slimming World in an effort to loose a bit of weight, emptying my pockets of all loose change before getting on the scales was only kidding myself!

April 2011

We bought a flat screen TV and a laptop this month, both gets used, but one obviously alot more than the other!

We also took on an Industrial Unit to store all our gear and for me to work from. This ended up being a bit of a money pit, but as you say, you live and learn!

There was some lovely warm weather in April with me sat outside working with the laptop.

Whilst on one site we encountered some rough pikeys, that caused problems with noise, kids and rubbish everywhere. I don't want to stay on sites like that so after asking the site owner to do something, and being assured that he would, after a few days of no action being taken we decided to leave! This is the only trouble we have had since we have started!

We cut our last ties with Shaston by giving up our old Victorian garage as well.

Our first rally of the year took place at Abbey Hill - a great rally that we both enjoy going to. I know the guys from the rally read this, so looking forward to the start of the season all ready!!

May 2011

May was spent sorting out ebay for others and not keeping an eye on the ball and earning money for myself! This was the start of the slippery slope as far as money was concerned as it had a knock on effect which lasted all year!

In mid May we travelled to Shillingstone home of the Three Okefords Preservation Society Vintage Rally. This is really a home event for me seeing as I class Child Okeford as my spiritual home which is just down the road.

At the tail end of May we travelled up to Selwood for their rally, being a bit of a damp and blustery weekend the show did not attract alot of visitors, we saw hardly anyone walk by our stationary engine, but they did have some good Cheddar Valley Cider on in the beer tent!

June 2011

In June I became very stressed working with a certain individual and decided that I was losing more money that I was making and decided that enough was enough. 

We also had a breast cancer scare which thankfully proved only to be a cyst, but a very worrying couple of weeks went by.

West Bay Vintage Rally and Bournemouth And Poole Preservation Club Limited Steam And Vehicle Show were both attended, and both had down pours of rain! Westbay rally was cancelled on the Sunday and Canford Magna stopped letting vehicles in on the friday evening, till later on when things started to dry out a bit!

"M" managed to tear a muscle in her shoulder which put her out of action for a few weeks.

We also started to think about our trip to the Brecon Beacons later on in the year with "M"s Mum!

July 2011

In this month we did a tiny little rally at Witchampton, its that small there is no website! We had a cracking weekend and didnt stop laughing all weekend!

The fridge stopped working, but with the aid of superglue I managed to repair the knob and its still working fine now!

The inlet manifold gasket on the Freelander developed a leak, and we managed to sell the Fiat and buy the Pajero! It was a busy old time for the vehicles!

I started gardening, and got a couple of contracts which kept our heads above water, but only just!

My sister Ali and her partner Matt joined the ranks of caravanners by buying a brand new caravan!

We didn't go to the Portland show due to lack of funds!

August 2011

Mid August we went to Purbeck Vintage rally and had a good time, the weather once more was not kind to us being rather chilly, but at least it stayed dry!

This was the first time we had towed with the Pajero and with the stationary engine in the back. Needless to say it performed extremely well, I had to keep reminding myself that we were actually towing our caravan!

We also passed our one whole year of living in our caravan this month! It certainly didn't feel like a year had gone by!

We also had our holiday in the Brecon Beacons which we both enjoyed, and would love to go back again when funds will allow!

This was the furthest I had ever towed before and again it was a doddle.

September 2011

Saw another two shows . The first being at Harmans Cross which is just outside of Swanage, what makes this one so special is the tickets we are given to go on the steam train that runs from Norden to Swanage on a regular basis.

Its only a small show, and even with having the caravan perched on a hill we still enjoy this rally.

Another small do at the Hollycombe Steam Park near Liphook. We had a week of camping and helping out the park and we ran our engines in the evening as this is when the park opened. Another fun week with never a dull moment, plenty of relaxing and generally doing very little for a few days was rather nice!

Towards the end of the month it started to get warm again!

We also had our very own "One Big Pikey Party" with "M"s brother turning up from Ireland in an old beat up transit with Irish plates he looked and sounded the part! A number of other friends and family turned up and we had a full on weekend, loads of BBQ's, beers and camp fires. A good time was had by all!

October 2011

This month saw our last show at the Cross Keys Pub, a small gathering of stationary engines, miniature steamers and vintage tractors. A great way to finish off another year of exhibiting.

We had our first frost this month, but in general the weather turned out very  mild, if not a bit barmy on a few days!

I won a photo competition run by the National Trust of a lizard that I took on a wooden fence whilst in South Wales.

And we handed back the keys to the unit, we simply could not afford to keep it on.

November 2011

This month we watched the tree's change colour and the leaves begin to fall, it was also a month when I suffered from depression.

I'm usually an upbeat, positive kind of person, but I let things get on top of me, hence the lack of posts in this month. I simply did not feel like writing.

I still have good days and bad days, but on the whole I'm feeling more positive about the future.

I had an interview for a job and as long as all the paperwork goes through the outlook for the future looks better.

December 2011

The run up to Christmas is never a good time for me, so there have been good days and bad days. I associate Christmas with spending money which is totally wrong. The whole meaning of Christmas appears lost in the hustle and bustle of outdoing each other for best gifts and who's house has the best lights on it! 

I'm not religious at all, but I think we should really all take a good look at ourselves this time of year, and really think why we spend so much money!

I spent a good few days working for Bob an antiques dealer up in Shaston, which I am very grateful to as without the cash injection it would of been a bleak existence! It also cheered me up working with someone who has a dislike for Christmas greater than I have!

So to round things up its been a tough year financially, like a lot of folk, we are feeling the pinch, but we do have a way out and a plan which is probably more than most. We have a roof over our heads, ok, a tin one, but its a roof, its dry, warm and secure, and it does not cost much to run. So we have a lot to be grateful for.

Next year I will be starting my new job, hopefully by late January or February at the latest and we will see a rise in our income and a better standard of living.

That's not to say we will be giving up living like this. That will not change for some time, it is too good to leave!

So it only remains to say, thanks for all your support over the last 12 months, it really is great to hear from you all.

I couldn't go into thanking everyone who contributes to this blog, but a mention to New Zealand, Canada, USA and all those in the UK, full timers who we have got to know via this blog, and those who we have actually met! Of course not forgetting 007Herbert who as we speak is probably planning his next round the world trip and Mr Gulliver who over the year has been a steady visitor turning up in his camper van through all the seasons and weather to join us for a beer.

Those of you who have contacted us for advice or have found this blog useful, thanks for dropping by, I hope those of you who are full timing are enjoying the experience and those of you who are thinking about it, well, stop thinking and start doing!

So HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all, I know a day early, but we will be celebrating the end of one year and looking forward to 2012 tomorrow so this is the last chance I will get. 

Till 2012...........................


  1. Good for you guys! Love reading your postings. A very Happy New Year to both of you plus that special "China" dog.

  2. Happy New Year Chubster and love to Em

  3. Happy New Year Jools, M & China !

  4. Only just got round to catching-up with you! Trusting that throughout 2012 you'll be encouraged as you continue to encourage others..