Memories

Its amazing how many memories are rattling around as I make my way through the house packing things up.

I have moved many times but I have never taken time over each item like this before deciding whether to sell, take or store each precious belonging.

Today I went through our CD collection which is rather substantial and can’t all come with us and practically every CD brought a smile to my face or a laugh that I actually once liked that particular band or singer. These CD’s are like the soundtrack to my life. There is David Bowie who I loved as a young teenager – although then I used to play a vinyl not a CD on a little portable record player at full volume (which really wasn’t that loud at all) to annoy my parents whenever they had done or said something that didn’t go down well with my angsty teenage self. The 70′s & 80′s were a huge influence on me music wise (it still takes nothing more than a bad tune from either decade to get me up on the dancefloor hurling myself around for all my worth) so they make up a large portion of our collection. I’m nothing if not diverse though and smattered amongst Bowie and Abba and all my 80′s favourites can be found Celtic music which I love and classical and lots and lots of Christmas carols including a CD of christmas tunes to the beat of steel drums that we brought on our honeymoon in Barbados and which I play every year whilst putting up the christmas decorations.

Hubby has his favourites too – lots of ACDC (oh how I remember going to see them with him – I couldn’t hear for days!) and his favourite (and allowed) female singer fantasy – Kylie. I have Robbie on my list and his CDs feature heavily too.

Choosing what was to stay and what is coming was no easy task and I fear I may have too many in the to take box – weight is an issue apparently when towing your home behind you – we may need something more substantial than Gigi at this rate!!………………….

Once done with the CD’s I moved on to sorting our glassware out and realised that we pretty much have a glass for every sort of drink going – not a good advert for a Personal Fitness Trainer and would be health freak!! In my defence I would say that we hardly use them anymore (hic). Our drinking style has definately changed over the years – for one I no longer drink pints of bitter – thank goodness as they are neither ladylike nor do much for the waistline. Hubby has a selection of beer glasses from his time living and working in Hasselt, Belgium back in the heady days of our fledgling romance. We have wine glasses and decanters a plenty from our time living in France and lots of champagne glasses as our tastes acquired the more expensive habit of quoffing Dom Perignon and Krug. My favourites I will store or take but the rest will be sold or given to charity shops so others can have the pleasure that we have had over the years that drinking out of a nice glass can give.

All this memory recall can make for tiring work though and I think I may leave it there for today and go and do something less thought provoking instead – I have a HUGE pile of ironing that can no longer be ignored but which is perfect to switch of too……….oh and one of the cats needs rescuing after entangling herself in bubblewrap – maybe she is trying to tell me something and just wants to stay there until it is all over. I may just join her……………………

Out with the old and in with the new…..

Weekends are supposed to be nice restful affairs are they not…..well definately not this weekend. The frantic activity started early on Friday evening when someone came to buy our sofa. It is very empty and echoey in our lounge now – its amazing the difference two pieces of furniture can make.

Saturday morning found hubby ringing around for cars and mapping out several different appointments for us to go and see. We started in Watford – about a 3 hour car trip away from us and basically got no further than that. After a thorough checking over and test drive it seemed we had found the car that is take us on our trip across Europe. She (we characterise all our cars which is probably a bit sad!!) is a Ford Galaxy as in the picture above but in burgundy – not that colour matters too much but I’m sure I can accessorise nicely with her!! Next up a spot of haggling – I moved away at this point as it always stresses me out – but hubby is a master of the haggle and he got 10% dropped of so happy all round. I drove her home and she was a dream to drive. Cue sighs of relief all around and a nice bottle of cava to welcome Gigi to the family – yes we have named her too……..

Sunday saw us parting with more of our possessions – a 7ft christmas tree, my treadmill, tumble dryer and a mirror. Some friends also came across and the four of us dismantled our greenhouse in the pouring rain – for three hours. Wet doesn’t even start to cover it……why are we moving to Spain again??????

So a successful if very busy weekend – I was glad to go of to work this morning for a rest. Next up caravan….

Lifestyle Change

As our moving date creeps closer and the adrenaline starts to build the anticipation of what we can expect when we arrive is making for some sweet daydreams.

There are many aspects to my lifestyle that I am hoping will change when we embark on our ‘adventure across Europe’ and I thought that I would spend some time today explaining what some of them are.

For me living in the UK feels like it has a very heavy energy attached to it. I think that a big part of that has to do with the fact that for many months of the year we are couped up inside simply because it is just too cold or wet to do anything else. I’m not a girl that enjoys being couped up. I love bare feet and sitting/lying in the grass. I love listening to the birds singing whilst eating my food al fresco – straight from the garden if possible. I love flinging the windows open and letting the fresh air flood through the house without running the risk of hyperthermia. I don’t enjoy being swaddled in hats and coats and scarves – don’t panic I’m not about to go all naturist on you – but do prefer to wear fewer rather than more clothes. I love the sun on my skin and generally living outside and I HATE BEING COLD……..

So for me a big part of moving to a warmer climate is so that I can spend more of my days outside than in. I love the ease that comes with living that kind of life. Being closer to nature has a calming effect on me. I have never been a city girl – I tried and gave it a good shot but as soon as we moved out of the city and into the country I knew that I had come home and that I would never live in a city/town again. Give me a view of trees, fields and open spaces and I am a happy bunny……

I also love travelling. Moving from place to place and having new experiences and new perspectives in each one is very refreshing to me. We have moved around a lot during our time together and although it is always fairly stressful moving (I suspect because of the vast collection of ‘stuff’ that we have to drag with us each time) it has become something of a pattern for us.

I’m not overly concerned with material things (am even letting go of my vast wardrobe of clothes!!) or with having the latest technology . My mobile phone is years old – and doesn’t take pictures, videos or make the tea, I have a MP3 player not an IPod or Blackberry or whatever else is the latest must have and gasps for effect we still have a tape deck…..Much of our furntiure that we are getting rid of has been with us since we first set up home together some 20 years ago. Of course we have special sentimental knick-knacks that we wont part with but on the whole we are preparing to travel light and the thought is very liberating.

So, to be able to travel and live with minimal stuff is very exciting and something I am really looking forward to. Being the masters of our own destiny – quite literally feels very empowering.

I am hoping that we can simplify most areas of our life and change some of the patterns that we have. For instance I am anticipating that we wont be shopping in big supermarkets quite so much if at all. One of the things I remember from living in France is going to the weekly markets for fruit and veggies. It was such an experience with stall after stall of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, cheeses and bread. You don’t see those sort of markets here and the whole shopping process was so much more fun than aimlessly walking up and down aisles pushing your trolley and feeling like you would rather be anyway but there. The markets were so much cheaper as well and that for sure will be a big plus. Food shopping here has become ridicously expensive over the last 12-18 months. It always astounds me how much I spend on seemingly so little. Also because we will have little storage space I am hoping to get out of the habit of buying things to pop in the cupboard – they invariably never make it out again for quite some time. I am convinved that there is a Narnia style world at the back of my food cupboard where things disappear only to reappear months later when I have forgotten all about them.

One of the biggest things I hope to change when we get to Spain is the amount of driving that I do. Although I love my job I certainly don’t love the driving that I do to and from clients. It is such a waste of my day and I can’t wait to not have to do it. Having all those hours free to be creative with my business and to do YOGA – I will literally have hours everyday just to do yoga……..bliss.

We will also get to immerse ourselves in another culture. Another way of doing things. People who live in hotter climates always seem to have such a ‘manyana’ attitude to life that I love. Relax, do it tomorrow, it will still be there. When we first moved to France it was infuriating to us that they took lunch breaks and actually closed shops, supermarkets, everything really. They actually sat and enjoyed lunch and each others company and then went and slept it off. I mean come on……but by the end of our stay we too were enjoying siestas and long lazy lunches and it was soooo much better than the rush that is a lunch break over here. That I am looking forward to getting used to again.

And lastly for now (although I am sure that I can think of many other changes that I want to make) I want to learn how to Flamenco dance……….pause for laughter.………seriously though I think that it would be really cool to actually learn how to dance properly and Flamenco always seems so strong and powerful to me – all stamping feet and swirling skirts – I could so do that……

Watch this space as they say and see how this all evolves……

Rabies jabs and a whole lot of wailing…..

Oscar, Tinker and Molly known collectively around here as ‘the babes’ had a trip out in the car today down to the vets to receive their rabies jabs so that their passports could be stamped up to date and they are cleared for travel….

The vets is less than a 5 minute car journey away and I am a careful and slow driver especially when they are on board but predictably they wailed the whole way there taking it in turns to let out the loudest and most pathetic sounded cries that you have ever heard. Once at the vets I had to wait 30 minutes even though there was noone else there and then when I finally did get to see the vet she informed me (in a very apologetic tone it has to be said) that she only had enough vacinne for two and that one of them would have to come back next week. Sharp intake of breath from me, even sharper one from the cats when they realised one would have to make another trip. The rest of the visit was uneventful and the cats behaved themselves until we got back in the car when the wailing recommenced (yes I know Spain is a longggggggggggggggg way….)

So, who has to return next week……not an easy decision as they are all pretty bad in the car so I had to take each case on its merits.

Oscar is the male of our little pack. He is big, very fluffy and a real softie. He likes to think he is a big macho cat but in reality he is just a big pile of squidge. He had to go to the vets last week as he needed some dental work done and I took him to our old vet who is a bit further away – an hours journey each way. He wasn’t in the best of moods when we got there and actually pooped his pants just as we arrived so that alone earns him the right to sit the next vets visit out.

Molly is the baby of the family and the loudest. She meows all the time, constantly and likes nothing more than to be cuddled on demand. She had a big accident with a car last year and lost one of her back legs as a consequence and so now vet visits can be quite traumatic for her as she never knows if she is going to leave with all her remaining limbs!! So she gets an exemption from next weeks visit as well.

Which leaves Tinker who is the mummy of the group. She looks after everyone, washing and grooming them all and generally keeping them in tip top condition. She is 17 now and going a little bit ditzy and although she can meow as well as the rest of them she is also the easiest to calm down. So, poor Tinker pulled the short straw and will be returning with me next week to have her jab.

I am also going to be purchasing something called Feliway, which is a spray made from natural ingredients that is supposed to help calm animals down. Anything is worth a go as otherwise our journey down to Spain is going to be very traumatic for all of us……and if it doesn’t work on the cats then I will just use it on John and I…….

Vacuum storage bags and garlic mushrooms…..

An odd combination I will admit but these two things have been a real revelation to me today.

Vacuum bags because it means I can take more of my clothes than originally anticipated – and that is good news believe me because even after three weeks of extemely harsh pruning my wardrobe was still looking unlikely to fit into the suitcase I had allocated myself for life in a caravan (and it is a very large suitcase) But fear not with the aid of quite a few vacuum bags I have managed to squeeze all essential items of clothing into said suitcase and am feeling very happy again. It has to be said that the vast majority of my wardrobe consists of very summery outfits and an obscene amount of bikinis – I counted about 20 this morning – all of which would seem to be rather useless in an English summer so I suspect that my subconscious has been planning this move for some time…….

And as for the garlic mushrooms – well I had the urge for something garlicky this morning and so chopped some portobella mushrooms and simply marinaded them in some olive oil, salt and tonnes of garlic. They were delicious…….and didn’t last very long…….

That’s it for another day…..more boxes, more lists and another glass of wine…….

The cats are off to the vets in the morning for their rabies jabs so wish me luck. We only have to go down the road but the chorus of wails and meows that they treat me to is quite impressive.

38 days and counting

There are 38 days before we are due to drive of to sunny Spain with our new home hooked up to the back of our new shiny car. Too bad we have neither car nor caravan at this point in time – he he……

What I do have though is a house that looks like an atomic bomb has exploded in it, 3 cats who are getting more and more anxious by the day and a hubby who declared this morning that ‘why don’t we just throw of the whole **** lot away as it would save a lot of **** time and ****effort’ – I’ll let you add your own expletives in there for good measure and trust me there were many!!

Despite all the chaos around me at the moment I am actually feeling rather calm and confident that all will prevail and we will be happily trundling off down to the channel tunnel in just over 5 weeks time – when I book it of course!!

Tomorrow we are hopefully going to look at some suitable vehicles (fingers crossed) and at the weekend we are doing a big car boot sale to get rid of the smaller items that aren’t worth putting in the paper. There is so much to do that it can get a bit overwhelming but I am trying hard to look at the bigger picture and breath deeply…….

Glasses of rose wine are helping greatly along with glasses of white wine of course. Happily though my raw journey of which this blog is supposed to be about – not much of that lately – is going remarkably well under the circumstances and it is actually proving quite easy to be raw as I have so many other things to think about that eating any other way is not even entering my head – if I knew that all I had to do to stay raw was orchestrate a move abroad in less than two months – well lets just say that we would have been in Spain three years ago……

Adios for now ………..     emmmmm where did I leave that wine……………..

Juggling

Moving abroad is quite a tall order, moving abroad with only two months notice – well that may well seem like madness. But that is the order we have set ourselves and so long days and sleepless nights – interspersed with nightmares about caravans disintegrating (I kid you not) are what we have to get used to for the next 6 and a half weeks.

Its a strange job packing up all your belongings with a view to selling 90% of them off. This weekend we had the first of what I’m sure will be many house/garden and garage sales. The house looks like some sort of warehouse at the moment with boxes everywhere and most of our furniture congregated in our conservatory to make it easier for people to view it.

Having people trapse through your house umming and arghing over your wardrobes and bookcases is also somewhat surreal. Then they start to haggle with you over the price and although you know you have to go through the ritual (people love to haggle right) all you really want to shout is ‘just frikin take it’ but obvioulsy you can’t and so you politely go through the whole procedure.

Chilled white wine seems to make the task easier to bear and has made a welcome return to our house this weekend. I fear it may now be our steady companion until we take to the road at the end of October. Its amazing the effect that first sip will have at the end of a particularly stressful day.

This week will see more ads being placed and more lists being made and more boxes being sorted. My wardrobe which was once vast is now shrinking by the day as I keep sifting through it and consigning most of the contents to the ebay/charity shop piles.Somehow I don’t think that the Betty Jackson faux fur jacket (that I have never worn but which brings a smile to my face everytime I see it) is going to come in very useful in southern Spain – at least I hope not….

Despite all the upheaval and disruption there is an underlying sense of excitement that is building by the week. I keep having to stop and remember that very soon we will be on the road and living what we have been dreaming about over the last few years. When I think of that then I break out into an enormous smile and the mad juggling that is going on at the moment is all worth it……

Yoga

My yoga mat and I have been strangers these last few weeks since we got the ‘big news’ and my world turned upside down. I had intended to spend the summer working on loosening my hips up but alas I fear they are probably tighter than ever by now.

I have managed a few times to roll my mat out and quieten my mind long enough to do something of worth by these moments have been few and far between.

Most of my time is now spent making copious ‘to do’ lists whilst slowly clearing through 43 years of accumulated ‘stuff’ – and that is just mine. Hubby went through two of his boxes this morning that have been sealed up since our last move. His ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ were quite comical – like a little boy on christmas morning – until it got too much and he repacked said boxes and said he didn’t have the time to do them just yet!!! Deep breath from me………

Maybe now would be a good time to get back on my yoga mat and use that time to refocus, re-energise and bring my mind back from pinging around the ceiling and reground it. Tomorrow I am off to a morning yoga session with some lovely friends and I think it could be just what I need. Then perhaps we can tackle hubby’s boxes again…….