Thursday, 22 September 2011

Our Second Home

As we've travelled to meet distant cousins we've been struck by the number of people who own second homes.  I suppose you could count my houses in Salt Lake City or Oklahoma City, but they are lived in by other people who - all things going well - pay rent.  It's not like I could just pop over and live in them on a whim.  That said, I am quite happy with just one home, thank you.  It's plenty to keep maintained and tidy for us.

On the other hand, the one we have is stationery in a very pretty but chilly part of the world and we would like to experience longer periods of summer.  I decided the best way to do that would likely be to get an RV and live in it in southern France, Spain or Italy for a month or two in summer. 

Bill has been shopping on the internet for nearly the past year and I can't tell you how many times I've dropped everything to go look at photos of the latest exciting find. 

Except that it cost too much or didn't have certain features.  We decided to have a bed that didn't have to be put up before the other person could get on with life, also one that doesn't block access to the loo at night.  Bill didn't like the overhead bed compartments at all.  I didn't really care so long as it wasn't monstrously big and didn't cost too much.

We looked at one locally which was way too small, then drove over to Halifax to visit a place that specialised in second hand motorhomes.  There was a Hymer that was lovely, but at the top of our price range.  Also the dash had been mucked about and I'm against anything that is patently put together with duct tape, even if it did come with an outside tent, potential roof garden space, solar panels and champagne-coloured fake fur seat covers. 

Bill liked this Tabbert a lot better but I went back to look at the Hymer again.  There were others looking by then which would have made negotiating a bit harder; also it now felt miniscule after being in the Tabbert.

I told Bill that orange really wasn't my colour at all and neither of us could work out why anyone would put blue curtains in an orange van.  Then again, the woman who sold it to us told us at least five times how much she loved taking her friends with her to festivals and such and how drunk they all got.  Way too much information for me, frankly.  Bill started to talking about turning away from the Tabbert on the basis of the interior colour scheme and I had to laugh.  My sewing skills aren't wonderful but I figured even I could manage cushion covers and curtains. 

So the Tabbert we got.  I was uncertain whether the transmission actually worked - a five-speed on the column - as Bill fought with it all the way home.  Also, with it being a left hand drive (easier to drive in Europe where Bill is less familiar with the roads) when he went around a parked car or a cyclist it was me stuck out there on the wrong side of the road in the path of the oncoming lorry, not him.  And I've made a will leaving everything to him, haven't I?  It's the most helpless I've ever felt. 

The mirrors didn't altogether work for him on the way home either.  He would ask me to tell him if there was traffic coming.  I found that very hard to do, not knowing how long it would take Bill to find first gear.   I was exhausted by the time we got home.   If 'Full Body Grimace' is not a yoga posture, it probably should be.

The seller-woman gave us a lift from the train station in her doggie-smelling car, which is fair enough - it's her car.  It worried me though that the RV smelled very dog-like for a while.  Gradually the odour faded, but for the clothes closet.  I worked out that it was her that smelled like a dog, and probably her clothes, not the van. 

Enormous shower compared with some; almost a waste of space, but we'll
find a use for it no doubt.

Lavendar sachets and car fresheners here we come!

The front double bed pulls down and rests on the front seats; it can
fold back up or remain down if you are not driving anywhere. 

They did replace the toilet for us to a tidier arrangement and had a number of cupboard catches replaced so every thing more or less works. 

The usual conversion of the eating area into ?king size? bed.  Not likely to
bother with this part, except that two of the couches could
serve as single beds if needed.

Unfortunately, we've yet to find a users manual on the internet in English instead of German.  Still, we know several German speakers and Google translate is pretty cool.
Strange green chenille curtains for privacy.  Those will be
trickier to replace, but I'm sure we will figure it out.

These are the before photos...I'm working on the afters!


Jo said...

The joys of riding in the passenger seat of an RV -- and he wonders why I read or do hand work! Hope you enjoy it, we do.

Rick Stone said...

Looks like a nice coach and you should really enjoy it. Nice way to get out of the cold weather. Of course, I'd be wanting to spend the winter months in the south.

Shelley said...

Rick - I didn't mention that the GPS Bill 'bought me for Christmas' one year (I've never used it yet) did come in handy on the return journey, in fact it took away a huge amount of stress! We've just returned from two weeks in Belgium and it got us from the port at Ijmuiden, Netherlands all the way to Ghent in Belgium and back, so I'm pleased with 'my Christmas present' after all!

Joanne - I can see I'm going to be doing a load more sewing and needlework, which is a great thing!