Friday, 18 October 2019

It's Feels Brilliant ...

It feels brilliant to get my teeth into another Challenge over on my other blog.  I've left it far too long between this new Challenge and my last one.  Life and stuff simply got in the way, but I'm back to doing what I want to do and it feels good.

The new Challenge is called 'For the Price of a Coffee' and the idea behind it is simply to see what else food wise you could buy with the money that you would normally spend on a coffee from a coffee shop or café … which is £2.75 in my case.  So a £2.75 a day spend for either one cup of coffee or  three meals.

In other news I have just been over to the office and paid my Site Fees for 2020, so another year of Van Life coming up.  If you pay as soon as you receive the invoice, or at least before the middle of November you get a £105 discount … definitely worth having so I always do exactly that.  

Thinking about it that's 38 days food at £2.75 a day, more than a month of eating just for paying early!!

Coming back from the office I found a 5p piece on the floor and to quote the old saying  'find a penny pick it up and all day long you'll have good luck'  I picked it up.  I messaged Alan to tell him I'd paid the site fees and mentioned my little find ...  "That's 5 times more lucky than a penny, go and buy a lottery ticket" he said!!

I might just do that  😃

I'm still a real stationery fiend, and just look at this lovely notebook that my Mum bought me from Dobbie's garden centre when we were there on Wednesday … it's almost too beautiful to write in.

But I will,  it could be just the book for a special Challenge next year.  I do like to start a Challenge in January and see how long I can keep it going for.  I'll have to put my thinking cap on.  If I'm missing a little bit from here for the next few days, it's just because I'll be busy updating the Challenge blog twice a day, but I will be back, promise.

Sue xx

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Gorgeous Day

It's a gorgeous day here at the Van, so after a leisurely start we went on our customary 'coffee and cake walk'.  Across the bridge spanning the river where I just had to keep Suky waiting for a minute while I took this lovely photo.  Then onwards along the path by the side of the fields to the Scorton road.

Suky led the way ... mention 'coffee and cake' and she immediately knows where she is going to … and in ten  minutes we were there.

I don't get time to browse the lovely shop when we arrive, once we are there Suky wants to go straight to the restaurant area.  Dogs are allowed anywhere at this lovely garden centre, but as it was such a gorgeous day I decided to sit outside in the sunshine.  

You order at the counter and then it's waitress service, so I had plenty of time to admire the Autumn plant displays and marvel at the beautiful blue sky.

When our drinks arrived I got out my phone to take a photo … the reason for todays visit.  

Any excuse eh  🤣

My new Challenge is about to kick off and this is exactly what inspired it.  To see what it's all about you can nip over to the Challenge blog and read for yourself.  You can't beat a Challenge inspired by a cup of coffee though can you … haha!!

Sue xx

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Posh Wellies and Scaffolding

Sometimes you are simply in the right place at the right time and the fates have something good waiting for you  😃

My Van wellies have sprung a leak, well three leaks to be exact and all at low puddle height.  Not good when you walk dogs up to three times a day most days and the weather gods have decreed the wettest weather this side of Noah's ark building days.

So I needed new wellies and knowing how downright brilliant my bog standard green garden centre wellies are back in Wales, I thought I would pick up another pair on my way past there as I left for the Van yesterday.  They didn't have my size!

But turning to leave the store I spotted three pairs of these wellies lined up in front of the daffodil bulb display.  One pair was in my size, well the size I can get away with as long as I have innersoles and thick socks on … which I will have for Winter obviously!!

Gulp … do I splash out and get posh wellies was my first thought.  

Then I noticed these labels.

Reduced from £44.95 (who pays that for wellies?)  to a slightly less teeth clenching £22.49 … maybe passable, after all they are for dog walking not festivals!!

Then I spotted this … yay my sort of price.

I quickly handed over my tenner and set off on my travels.

Behind me I had left this.

Photographed and here for posterity.

Proof indeed that we are making our house weather proof and saleable.

Oh, and the nice (but dim) scaffolding guys came back last night after their days work and relocated the leg of the scaffolding that was in front of the boiler, so Alan now has heat and hot water.

So do I but I'm in my happy place.  Van Life ... you can't beat it  😄

Sue xx

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Holiday to Sark

Where do you go when you want a simple holiday, a step back in time, with nature on your doorstep, peace and quiet everywhere you go and not too many people to bump into.

We chose Sark.

We were lucky with the weather.  Sunshine and wildflowers along the lanes in October, amazing.

Rather a lot of coffee and cake was consumed ... shhh don't tell Suky!!

Walking across La Coupee on a blustery but lovely warm, sunny day gave us spectacular views, the sort that genuinely makes you say 'Wow'.

We left our cycles on the main island side and walked around for the day.  After not being on a bicycle for over 35 years I had great trouble admiring views and keeping in a straight line on unmade up roads and muddy paths.

Having a delicious lunch on Little Sark once we had crosse La Coupee.  Just a simple salad but served on freshly baked French bread ... proper French bread.

Then with the skies darkening, we set off to walk back and retrieve the bikes.

We spent our days walking, cycling and eating.  Exploring the island and meeting some of its 660 inhabitants ... but not many of them, it's a quiet place with lots of elderly folks that keep themselves to themselves in houses dotted few and far between. We spent time chatting to the different day-trippers that came over each day on the two passenger ferries when we bumped into them in the cafe or pub.  And just generally relaxing.

We got this close to a genuine Olympic gold medal on Friday night when the main Island Hall opens for a big Fish and Chip supper for islanders and visitors to enjoy.

Then after a week of rest and relaxation, we headed home via Guernsey.  Stopping off for a spot of lunch before catching our flight back to Southampton Airport.  It was a lot of travelling, but we both drive so it helps with long journeys.  

Now we are all home as we have just picked up Ginger and the dogs from the local kennels, where they have holidayed for the last ten days.  They all smell very 'doggy' ... yuk!!

The house is in chaos with wet washing everywhere,  our heating system needs water letting into it and the guys that have erected the scaffolding around the house in our absence have rather inconsiderately put one of the scaffolding uprights right in front of the boiler door ... so we can't open it to re-charge the system.  The hot water will run out soon as that is also losing heat, so it's home to all the usual problems.  The building work on the exterior of the house starts anytime now so it's back to the peace and quiet of Van Life for me.

I supervised the last lot of building work while Alan worked away,  so this time it's my turn to escape the mess and chaos ... phew.   :-)

Sue xx

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Happy Birthday Suky

It's someone's birthday today.

My special girl Suky is 8 years old.

Sometimes I'm asked about her name and it's meaning.  The name Suky is a derivative of Susan, and meaning a lily, the same as Susan does ...  I didn't know this when I named her, the coincidence blew my mind!!  

She was actually called Suky in memory of Jessie, Alan's Mum who sadly died the day before Suky was born.  She loved dogs that snuggled up to you and said they were 'sooky sooky' dogs.  Meaning timid and needy in Scottish terminology.  Hence Suky's name is a tribute to a very special lady.

She's here somewhere, she's one of the pups with her Mum at just a couple of days old.

The day we picked her up, December 2011 ... just eight weeks old.  

Suky Midnight Star with her Mum Lady Midnight Star, her dad is a black Pug called Kenmilleven Graphite

With protective 'big sister' Rosy, the day after we brought her home.

And running on the farm with both sisters.

Tucked into Dad's coat when it got too cold, and little legs got too tired.

Toilet trained  :-)

December 2012

Chubby pup 2013

A tired Dad makes for a good mattress, here with all her doggy sisters October 2014.

Another year and the diet is working well, 2015

2016 and a svelte and happy Suky.

But even so ... fitting into one bed with the family can sometimes feel like a squeeze. 2017

2018 sees Suky modelling socks ... and not looking too happy about it!!

And now in 2019, she's my constant companion both at the Van and back in Wales.

Happy Birthday Suky.  🎂

Sue xx

We Really Are

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Friday, 11 October 2019

In Five Years

Where will I be in five years

Who knows

I don't think I've ever planned that far ahead

The one time I did

It didn't happen

Well maybe it did ... just

Where will you be in five years

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Why Rush

Why rush

We have one life

There is absolutely no need to rush ourselves

Through the days we have

Take joy from the small things

Make the most perfect cup of coffee

Sit with hands hugging mug

And sip and dream

Take time

For the small things

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Can I Ask

How I hate those three little words ...

'Can I ask ...'

If you have to put them before what you want to ask me

NO you can't

Be strong

Just ask

Simple as

Tuesday, 8 October 2019


It doesn't take much to make me grounded again

A walk in nature

A sit in silence

A daydream on a cloudy day

A dream of a fresh new future

Monday, 7 October 2019

Simple Things

It's the simplest things

That makes life the richest

Give me an old bookstore any day over a shiny retail park with all those things that you didn't know you needed until you saw them ... and brought them home.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Not So Much

I used to care so much what people thought

Now ... not so much

I'm me

It's all I can be

If they don't like it ...

Friday, 4 October 2019

Off to Simplicity

I've had enough

I need to get away

I need space to think

Space to live

And space to simply be

I will be back

But for a while, I'll leave you with my thoughts 

... and some of the memes I love

Sue xx

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Monday, 30 September 2019

So Much Rain

Wow what a weekend!!

So much rain fell from Friday to Sunday that the river burst it's banks in places.  The caravan park was briefly inaccessible to anyone not with a high 4x4, as the archway that is the road into the site had completely filled up with water, and the field and road on the other side of the big bridge over the river had also flooded.  Trees were uprooted and hurtled down the fast flowing river to hit the bridges regularly with no doubt a big thud, and the poor ducks were sheltering along the bank and under caravans.  

Alan had arrived on Friday night in his smart new white Audi rather than our  trusty old Mitsubishi, so we would have been stuck ... you all know my car is a little Fiat 500 no bloody use whatsoever for off road conditions 🤣🤣

But luckily our visiting family had come in their lovely high vehicle so we could still go out and about showing them the local area between rain showers, and walking the dogs regularly.  Our two little furry friends much prefer to stay in when it's wet outside and we don't push the issue, a quick dash to the little garden for toilet use and then back in suits Suky and Mavis just fine.  But our visitors with their lovely big German Shepherd had to brave the elements regularly and it would have been rude not to let our two tag along.

So the weekend has been all about drying wet dogs and dog towels, humans and sodden coats and eating out for virtually every meal.   A good night out in the club on Saturday night raised spirits nicely and after a good meal yesterday our guests hit the road home to Scotland.

This morning in the Van there is just me and Suky … and the sun is back.  What terrible planning, the weather Gods were most definitely NOT smiling on us this weekend.  Let's hope they are saving all their bright, clear skies for next week when we set off on a little adventure to Sark.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

This is Me ... Just Me

This is me ... this morning.

Happy and simple in my 99p charity shop t-shirt, my £6.99 George at Asda jeans, stood in the bedroom at the Van.

Just me.

I'm happy to be 'just me' ... it's all I've ever wanted to be.

 I've always been a bit of a character.

Happy to pose with Valerie my '1st birthday' bear, who still lives with me now ... she has no choice!!

Posing on the steps of Auntie Ida and Uncle Harold's caravan with my brother Graham. Where I spent so many happy childhood weekends and family Summer holidays ... yes, at the same place where I now live in a slightly bigger Van for much of my time.

 A day out in uniform ... with Dad who was a scout leader, and the guides, brownies and scouts to Chester Zoo.

And with Mum at Pontins a couple of years later.

The last family holiday I went on.

Me, in the gold jacket with my brother behind and my cousins at a family 'do'.

Me and my sons, Jason on the left and Simon the eldest, on the right.

With my line manager at the re-launch day of one the Hospice Charity Shops I managed. 

With Alan on our wedding day ... with shocked parents.

Then with one of my best cabbages just three years later.

Just me.

Sue xx