Unpredictability - Good for your health

Our modern life is based on organising an environment free from the unexpected. The house needs to be as stable and reliable as possible. The job as safe as possible. Nothing should break down. Nothing but what we predict, should occur.
This is the life of the zoo animal. Let's explore the life of the Nomad. Let's live the life of the Nomad.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A weekend to relax

It was with great excitement that I met my girlfriend at the station on Friday evening.  On Saturday we drove to a very nice camp site on Hayling Island.

This island is situated on the south coast of England, has an area of 30 square kilometers and a population of 17,000.  It is accessed by driving across a short bridge and I believe there is also a ferry service.

The campsite we stayed at was very beautiful indeed.  We had a corner pitch with a view of a tidal creek to our right.

And a fresh water lake to our left.

A beautiful swan stood guard between the creek and lake.  I fed her some bread, which she seemed grateful for.

The sun was out and the weather warm indeed.  We took a wander around the area.  This is a delightful island to visit and I was wearing a smile all day.  I feel blessed to be having such a grand life at the moment.  Someone recently told me the life I am living is their dream.  It is easy, all too easy, to seek your dream and find out it was nothing but a mirage. For me, this feeling of happiness is very precious, to be sure.

Peace to all.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Two significant happenings.

Last Sunday was significant to me for two reasons.  The first significance was handing the keys back to the estate agent, or rather, posting them through the estate agent's door.  It was a very busy weekend.  I had the girls again this weekend so my task was to ensure everything was taken out of the flat, while keeping the kids happy.  I decided to do as much of the evacuation as possible while the kids were asleep, so again it was an early rise for me.  It seemed a shame to be throwing food away, but I had offered it to friends and there was still a fair bit left to put in the bin.  Mops, buckets, dusters, cups, plates - into black bags and into the communal bin outside.  I was given a coffee machine by my girlfriend some time ago, and it was a shame to have to throw this out as well - but it too, went to where the rubbish ends up.

This weekend, I could feel my temper getting shorter - aggravation in my head.  The work load of the past two months was having an effect.

1) Overseas project assignment
2) Change of job.
3) Flat evacuation.
4) Nomadic transition.

There was no break between finishing one job and starting another - and I wouldn't recommend this when you also have to organise a complete lodgings and living transition as well.  In retrospect I should have taken a week off work to get the house clearance completed.

By 4 pm Sunday everything had been removed from the flat - either thrown out or put into my van.  It was then time to say goodbye to the apartment, which made me quite happy but the kids were upset to be seeing their weekend play zone for the last time.  I took the kids back to their mother, and walked around the corner to the real estate agent's shop.  I placed the keys in an envelope, opened the slot in the door, and slid the envelope through.  The envelope dropped to the floor inside the shop.


I got into the van, with all my belongings in the world, and drove back to the Chichester camp site.

The second significance of March 20, 2011? - It was my birthday.  Fourty three and totally free.

Peace to All.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ramblings in a campsite

And so it was that last week I spent from late Sunday till early Saturday in the van in a campsite.  My girlfriend came and stayed with me on Friday night and this was great.  We seem to have given up on just being friends since we miss each other too much.  I returned to the mostly empty flat on Saturday morning where I stayed most of the weekend with my two girls.  Since there was not much stuff left, they brought blow up mattresses to sleep on.  The kids saw this as great fun, and indeed it was - a game of camping in an apartment flat.  Again, the weekend was spent cleaning and sorting through the stuff  the removalists had not taken.  Item such as plates and magazines and various bric n brac were put into black plastic bags and thrown into the communal rubbish bin.  This was a bit naughty - but needs must as they say and I needed to get the flat ready for evacuation by next week.

Yes next Sunday - the last day I have the flat, and at the end of the day I will slip the keys into the landlord's post box.

So late on Sunday I put vehicle keys into the ignition and drove back to Chichester.  The engine was running roughly.  After five minutes I decided what to do. I pulled over to a side, popped the bonnet open and replaced the fuel filter.  This fixed it.  At some point I need  to get the fuel tank cleaned out.  I have also had a big problem with the engine stalling at traffic lights.  It took me sometime to figure this out but with the help of various internet forums I got to the bottom of the issue.  I replaced the fuel cap.  Now that was a cheap repair.  The old fuel cap was not letting enough air into the tank.  These old vehicles are the best - you can actually fix them yourself.

This week I am in another campsite in Chichester.  I have paid up a full 28 days and so where I stay, at least when I don't have the kids, is something less I have to think about.

There is a bungalow at the front of the park where I entered to pay the bill.  I was greeted by a British bulldog with a rubber ball in his mouth.  He obviously wanted to play throw the ball, but for some reason wouldn't let go of the ball for me to throw.  I tried several times to get him to drop the ball but there was some sort of short circuit going on in the canine's head - and obviously a joint short of a bone.  I am not a natural animal lover and lose patience quickly with dopey dogs, so gave up and handed the money over to the warden.  She handed over the receipt and I took a walk around the park.

There is one van with a Union Jack flying from a mast and a sign post pegged into the ground with the words "The Pensioner's Pension".  On the continent they call a hotel a pension so I guess this translates to "The Pensioner's Hotel".  It made me chuckle.

So here I am.  My van is parked on grass with the front facing a pitching area the size of a football field.  There are no campers there in front, only caravans behind my van. So I sit in the front seat and stare out into what, in the dark, appears to be complete nothingness.  I listen to the radio.  I listen to TalkSport as I always do.  They mostly talk football.  The pundits take up a position on this football player, or that manager, and the debating gets so heated it makes me laugh. I like these guys, that have the courage to talk to hundreds of thousands of listeners.  These broadcasters, whose job it is to entertain, are very brave people in my opinion.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

A Nomad has few belongings

Moving home is such a headache.  All those objects you accumulate year after year - they have to be hauled out and moved to the new home.  For me this particular challenge was slightly more challenging than you would expect.  I didn't have a home to move my stuff into.  I figured I had a few options.

1) Try to sell as much stuff as possible and take everything not sold to the recycling depot.
2) Just take everything to the recycling depot.
3) Hire storage space somewhere for my belongings.

The problem with the first option is lack of time to do this.  I do not have a partner I can ask to sell my stuff while I am at work.  Well actually I sort of had a partner, but we agreed this weekend to just be friends - and I guess we were just friends all along.

The second option seemed feasible.  I am not really attached to all these belongings, with the exception of my books.  I have hundreds of books, and they certainly are not going to fit into my van.  I very rarely read a book twice so why keep hold of them?  I do like to have books on display.  Someone once said a room without a book is like a body without a soul.  Or something along those lines.  Well, I decided a dozen or so books in my van would be fine, It would be a case of one new book in, and one of the old ones out.

I dismissed the third option.  I hired storage space when I worked in Europe and indeed this is convenient.  I decided I could live without the books.   So everything except that which was not required in the van would be gone.

I asked around and found a few guys who were prepared to give up a Saturday or Sunday to help me haul my stuff out of the apartment.  I could use the van to transport the stuff to the recycling depot.

But I didn't think it possible to get this job done in one afternoon. I decided to hire a house clearance firm to take my stuff away.  I am sure they thought they were on to a winner, and indeed they were.  I paid them two hundred pounds to take all my stuff away - and some of this stuff they themselves will probably sell for additional profit.  And good luck to them for whatever profit they make - these men are hard workers and I really admire someone prepared to do a hard day's work.

But I wasn't going to give it all away.  I estimated that the kitchen floor space was about the same size as the vans floor space.  So the stuff I wanted to keep was placed in the kitchen. The kitchen was soon full.  I just had to be ruthless, and just keep things that I had to have - clothes, laptops, tools, important documents etc.

The sheer number of documents I had accumulated was phenomenal.  I was up at three in the morning going through them all, shredding all but that which I definitely needed to keep: exam certificates, tax and identity documents.  I finished the filtering process at 8.00 - so it took me five hours going through all this.  It was very strange, going though all those documents and the memories that came back left me somewhat emotional.

After the guys finished their hauling I got into the van and drove to a camp site in Chichester.  And it is here on the camp site that I write this blog.

So it's all done.  My being is separated from my belongings.  I am one step closer to the honour of wearing the badge of the real nomad.

Peace to all.