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.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Stuntman

There are men of such human superiority, that just being in their presence will make the 
hair on the back of your neck stand to attention.  One such man I had the honour of 
meeting a couple of months ago on a campsite.  It was a stunt team - men that live a nomadic life at the edge.  Entertaining people in the most dangerous way.
The teams vans had their website address advertised and so I visited their site at the 

I went up and spoke to the stuntman and he told me about the tricks he performed.  He 
offered to leave free tickets for me and the kids under the windscreen blade of my van 
before he left.  He never left the tickets.  Maybe he knew he wouldn't be around at the 
time I could take my kids to see his daredevil show.  Blasted from the canon,  the net did not raise, and the body bounced and the man was dead

This post is in honour of a very brave nomad.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Caravan

Last Friday I had decided on buying a Bailey's four birth caravan.  I was in two minds about this as in some respects it is another anchor, albeit a nomadic anchor at least.  But there were some practical reasons for this purchase.

1) It would be ideal for when I have the kids every second weekend - having to rent hotel rooms is expensive and I simply do not like even the best hotel rooms.
2) While I am still doing an office based 9-5 job, there is a comfort factor in being able to have a shower in my own property each morning - rather than having to use the communal facilities.
3) "C" also wanted to experience the nomadic life, albeit in a part-time sort of way and offered to put over a quarter of the price of the van.  What is more, "C"'s daughter and partner also have a hankering for the camping life.  This project involved stepping out into an uncertain world, and wouldn't have been possible without the help of such people so it is good and right they share in the project's dividends.  Infact, looking back on it all this has indeed been a team effort and I have learnt one important principle - when a project is important to you, and you communicate your project with belief and joy, others will also be enthused, and want to join in and help.
4) It means I can have my belongings away from my van.  Taking my van anywhere, while it contained all my belongings was always a little unnerving when I had to park the vehicle and leave it unattended for a while.  Also, sharing the chalet on wheels with those that have helped, means the amount of time it is left unattended will be minimised.
5) If the van needs to be away at the mechanics for repair work, I still have the caravan to sleep in.

So the caravan was purchased last Friday.  I was fascinated by the water system.  I lived a while as a kid in a van and this simply had a manual pump and no hot water.  This one had its own full water boiler system.  Problem is it wasn't working.  The water pump is a 12 volt submersible apparatus which you dip into the outside water tank - called an aquaroll, and this is connected to a coupling device on the outside of the van.  Inside the van is a switch panel and you flick a switch to provide power to the pump.  So this was switched and then we had flowing water, for a while.  Turned out the water was flowing out underneath the sink and through the caravan.  This was due to an old water filter breaking apart.  So this was replaced and then we had the water flowing, but no hot water.   Again examining the boiler system and the technical manual I realised another switch needed to be turned on, and a pressure knob turned a few times.  Still no hot water - turned out there was no fuse in the switch.  Found another fuse in the heating system switch and used that, waited 20 minutes and then there was nice hot flowing water.  But the aquaroll tank seemed to empty rather fast.  More troubleshooting and so it appeared the water pump coupling end was leaking water as well,  Tried fixing this, then gave up and bought a new one.  Perfect.  From one 40 litre load of water "C" and we have managed to.

1) Shower twice.
2) Drink lots of coffee.
3) Complete general cleaning duties.
4) Tooth brushing and general body cleaning activities.
The downside to this luxury is that you have to empty the waste water container each day and fill the aquaroll each day, but this is a ten minute job.  

And here we are - home being where the parking brake is applied.  Initially I had envisioned base being an anchored boat in a marina but for the time being this is impractical.  So base became a caravan in a camp site.  

The van goes into the mechanics next week for a service and a safety check - it's an old vehicle and I do hope it can be fixed to pass the test.

Just a note to all the American readers of my blog - I believe in the USA you call a caravan a "trailer" so I hope this resolves any confusion.

Peace to all.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

New Experiences

Last weekend was alot of fun.  My girlfriend, lets call her "C", met me at the station and we had a great night playing darts and taking in the caravan life.  There was a caravan club rally at the site, and my normal view of green grass was replaced with a view of at least thirty club vans.  I was expecting a rowdy evening but it was completely quiet.  I guess the weekend campers really just want to get away from it all and enjoy some peace and quiet.
The next morning I went to the site's cafe and got two bacon sandwhiches - delicious.  It was "C"s birthday and for some reason "C" couldn't stop eating all weekend.  The weather was lovely and warm and we spent the morning and afternoon relaxing, sun baking and reading - and "C" spent it mostly eating.
I had no desire to drive this weekend so we got the train into Brighton late afternoon.  We then smartened up and went to the Greyhound racing stadium.


I have never been to such an event before and found it very interesting.  We had tables booked and a three course meal, again, delicious.  I placed a few quid on each race and actually won slightly more than I gambled.
I am not an avid gambler as I find losing money fairly depressing, but I really did enjoy this new experience.  You can also take children into the stadium so I will definetly add this to a weekend activity next time I have the kids.

The next morning we went to a car boot sale in Carden.  Again this was something I hadn't done before in the UK and I found it fascinating.  All those people gathering up their little used belongings and turning them into a bit of cash on a Sunday morning.  There was a food van so I bought "C" another bacon sandwhich and a tea, since she was hungry. Since I found this car boot sale so interesting we decided to go to another one - this was on top of the car park at Brighton Marina.  Brighton Marina is one of my favorite places with so many things to do.


The only thing I purchased was a little photograph of Stonehenge, as seen from the sky on a snowy day.  Living in a van I can't really collect things as I used to do.

After this we had a nice meal with another friend at a restaurant/Inn in Fulking - you have to be careful how you say that.  The food was great and I had gammon steak with bubble n squeak and egg.  

After this it was back to Chichester for a relaxing night alone in my van.  I have been thinking, since my long term goal is to start a business fixing caravans, that it makes sense to buy one.  The site has some for sale, and I have spotted a smart pageant moselle four birth model.  I might just put this on my shopping list.  The kids too, will enjoy spending their weekends in such a cool caravan.