TechnomadicsVagabonding Europe

IMG, 0252 With a few days of fun and frivolity over and done with, it’s time to knuckle down and get to work finding our new home. This is made much easier with our mobile broadband, and we’re spending most of our time trawling eBay, Gumtree and one or two other forums for likely motorhomes.

We moved on from Islington, and went to stay with Amy, a friend from Perth who very generously offered to put us up for a few nights in Hammersmith. Brilliant! We were, unfortunately, quite boring guests though, sitting on our laptops lots of the time.

When we weren’t at our laptops, we were out taking a break. We hunted down a restaurant at which to have dinner on the first night: an Indian one, in the end, with horribly intimidatingly formal decor and bored waiters patrolling the tables waiting to pounce and stifle conversation; the food was good though, although we winced when we got the £30 — $60 or $70 — bill. Another day, we spent a few hours in the moshpit that was Portobello Market on a Saturday (oops), at which we bought some amazing-looking goodies for a picnic — olives, fetta, pesto beautiful little cherry tomatoes, a fresh ciabatta loaf, big ripe fresh raspberries and some peaches — which we took to Hyde Park to eat beside a small lake/pond full of huge white swans and a little girl throwing an impressive tantrum over something that can’t have been that important (although she was missing a shoe – maybe a swan got it).

Picnic at Hyde Park

Hyde Park swans

We also went out for a drink with Amy and Hayden, another friend who’s in London for a few days on work, in an otherwise lovely bar that called for conversation of the shouting-at-each-other-above-the-music variety.

Back with Tiff in Islington on Sunday night, for our arbitrarily final night in London — everything logistical seems to be pretty much arbitrary with this lifestyle: No deadlines, don’t have to be at work — it’s rather surreal. We decided to head off to Birmingham to visit some extended family there: Trevor and Jane, who are motorhoming experts, and Jane’s parents Keith and Olga, who are aunt and uncle to Chris, my mother’s partner. Went out the last night for tea with Tiff, and Hayden again, in Angel.

During our motorhome research, we discovered an unfortunate but not surprising hiccup: There are basically no advertised motorhomes in the London area. They’re all distributed around the country, mostly around the outside. Given that non-metro transport in England is obscenely expensive, this represents a bit of an issue — which we’ve addressed by deciding to get ourselves a rental car (we’ve been recommended 1car1 as an affordable company; Update: Ah. They’ve gone into administration) and go on a road-trip.

Unfortunately, we make this decision shortly after buying rather expensive train tickets to Birmingham, at £42 (we see $90-ish) for both of us. Managed to assuage this spending-money guilt by realising that it will still be an interesting and worthwhile experience. Actually, I’m writing this right now from the train as we hurtle at high speed past pretty little fields bordered by lush trees and punctuated by fantastic cute little villages of little red brick houses with yellow-lichen-strewn tile roofs; a very threatening dark cloud looming over the horizon in the path of the train (apparently summer is over).

And on that note, given that we have just passed Coventry and are nearly in Birmingham, I shall sign off until next time.

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