On 15 March 2019 reality hit when Rosie’s engine blew up on mountain above Genoa (see when life gives you lemons for the full details). A week later we arrived back at Gatwick having had the journey from hell (my was bag stolen by the taxi-driver, the penknife mum had given me when I was 10 was confiscated and we had to shipped by coach to Pisa). We had no house, no car and our worldly goods amounted to 3 carry-on bags. After such an amazing winter, this was not the homecoming we had planned. Coming home was hard.
The enormity of it all hit me as we were driving down the V4 in Milton Keynes. I was on the phone to Auntie Sue and the tears been stoically fighting to hold in escaped in big ugly sobs. I didn’t think they would stop. Rosie was broken, I didn’t know how to fix her, we had no home, mum wasn’t there to tell me it would all be ok and…and… and…
The positive, the magnitude of which is difficult to explain, was I didn’t fit or indeed feel like it was ever on the cards. This is huge in a life-changing way.
In the following months, there would be more tears and tantrums, as it took far longer to fix Rosie than we had anticipated, the frustrations of hotel living took their toll, and I had no control over anything. Whilst, my rational brain, knew everything would be ok, none of these circumstances are conducive to rational thinking. To make matters worse all I could hear was my mother’s voice saying “Emma just be patient, the right thing will happen at the right time”. This just made me angrier, mainly because I knew she was right!
We are blessed with amazing friends and family. They rallied round and offered us places to stay (and in some cases their kids, food and a car too) so we never really homeless.
Re-adjusting to being back in the UK
Just when Auntie Sue was beginning to think we’d moved in permanently Doug got a job, we bought a car and all of a sudden we were off to Coventry
With the routine of work Doug settled back into mainstream life relatively quickly but it took Issy and I a little longer. We had two weeks where things were really hard (and on more one occasion I questioned whether we had made the right decision selling everything and disappearing). However, once we tapped into the local home education groups we began to put down roots again. A stroke of luck meant that friends we had met in Portugal were also in the area so we had lots of meet ups with them and that provided some familiarity whilst we found our feet.
We’ve been back in Rosie for just over a month now. It’s really hard to explain what a difference she makes to our lives. She is our safe space. The easiest way to explain it is home is where the van’s parked.
Campsite living suits us and we all function so much better without the electrical hum of the hotel, road noise and being able to cook our food. Our evenings are spent sitting outside until the sun goes down, impromptu gatherings which usually start with a hi at the washing up station, meeting new people and watching Issy run or cycle round with the latest tribe of children and dogs. We don’t have a TV, we don’t need it real life is far more interesting!
On the home education front we’ve found our happy places at The Ballroom Climbing Centre, the Binley Wood meet up and Stratford Leisure Centre. There’s so much to do that we’re in danger of not fitting it all in. We can be regularly found in the library or Coventry Transport Museum and we haven’t even got to any of the Shakespeare stuff in Stratford-upon-Avon yet although we have made it to the MAD museum.
So what next?
Well just when you thought we were settling down again, I can report that the next adventure starts in November so watch this space.