2020 – Out of hibernation at last….
It was the 26th of March when we returned home from Spain and the 27th of September before Bessie turned a wheel again, a full 6 months!
After completing our initial two week self-isolation we settled down to life as we have never experienced before. The Navigator got busy in the house cleaning and I got roped in to do a lot of odd jobs that had been put off for a long time. As the weather improved we moved outside and the shed and garden fences were painted and the shed tidied up in preparation for a bigger project (a new kitchen) in a few months time (just completed this week).
Usually around Easter our family come here to spend a week or two with us but that never happened this year and it would be August before they made it to Argyll, a full eight months since we had seen them all at Christmas in Belfast. Although we all keep in touch at least twice a week through a video link it is not the same as being in each other’s company so we were really looking forward to being together in a few months time.
So, how did we pass our time in isolation / lockdown?
The Navigator got into a routine of housework / gardening most mornings then after lunch she settled down for an afternoon of leisure, reading, phoning / texting and searching online for kitchen ideas etc.
The TV was dire and we spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos and Netflix and it was on YouTube that I saw videos that would get me hooked on my lockdown project. As some of you may know I used to work in the the publishing industry for nearly 20 years in sales and I am handy enough on a computer so I decided to combine the two and publish journals and notebooks under the Fyne Editions brand. Initially I configured motorhome, camper van and caravan related titles but then expanded into notebooks with various themed covers. From a standing start back in April I have now published over 350 titles and am aiming for 400 before Christmas.
I design the books and then a subsidiary of Amazon magically converts them into proper books and then uploads them onto Amazon who then print them on demand, post them and process the payments. Because they are sold (only) on Amazon postage is FREE with Prime membership or if the customer does not have Prime postage is still FREE if they buy any 2 books. The great thing is once the books are uploaded to Amazon they are there forever and hopefully will sell forever! Why not have a look at the Fyne Editions website and get those Christmas presents / Secret Santa gifts ordered before the rush!! www.fyneeditions.co.uk
In mid May we had the sad news that The Navigator’s mother had passed away. We had seen her on New Year’s Eve as we headed off to Spain but because of the circumstances we could not visit her Care Home on the way back in late March as we had to self-isolate and then lockdown happened and all the Care Homes became no-go areas for families, so it was a tough time. That said, the funeral was a better occasion than we could have hoped for and although mourners were limited to ten, it was a lovely bright day and the Minister performed an uplifting sermon. Jill & Emma couldn’t attend so I ‘Whatsapped’ it live so they could be there in spirit, if not in person. Technology eh!
Technically we were still on a 5 mile restriction but Nippy Sturgeon was not going to keep us away from the funeral and we made the 200 mile round trip without a problem. The funeral was on a Thursday and we were back in lockdown that night but escaped on the Sunday as it was a lovely sunny day and we needed to blow the cobwebs away so went down to a fairly secluded beach further down the Kintyre Peninsula and had a couple of hours relaxing in the fresh air looking out to Gigha, Islay and Jura.
As restrictions began to ease we headed back up to Oban for a much needed shopping trip and a fish supper lunch! Later on we had one trip to Glasgow for a shopping trip but that has been the extent of our travels for months on end.
Eventually August came around and we had the family here at last. We had not seen Eilidh since Christmas and the difference in her was very noticeable. No longer a toddler but a proper little girl and full of fun. It wasn’t the best weather when they were here but we made the best of it and got out and about as much as possible and here are some of the pictures from the visit.
One of the highlights was a lunch at The Anchor Hotel in Tarbert which was superb and very reasonable thanks to the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme and here is Emma about to demolish a plate of Langoustines – once she works out how to get in about them!
This whole area, in and around Tarbert in particular, is renowned for its fresh seafood and we have fallen into the tradition of having a seafood extravaganza cooked by Simon and The Navigator when everyone is here and this year it featured scallops, mussels, crab claws, prawns and razor clams with chips and salad. Delicious!
Another memorable day out was when we all went to Ronachan, the same beach we were at back in May and we had a great time there looking out to Gigha, Islay and Jura.
It was great to be all together again but after three weeks it was back to normality for us once more.
The week after they left I took out the old kitchen and the builders came to install a new kitchen units and they had it fitted in 4 days. Once it was fitted we chose new flooring and tiles and when we were waiting for the guys to come back to finish off we brought Bessie out of storage to wash 6 months worth of grime before heading off for a couple of days to make sure everything was still okay after the enforced time off the road. We packed it up and headed up the coast to North Ledaig, a huge Caravan and Motorhome Club affiliated site just north of Oban.
When we arrived, just after lunchtime on the Sunday afternoon, the weather was lovely and sunny and even warm if you were sheltered from the slight breeze coming in off the sea. We had a relaxing afternoon topped off by our first barbecue since March back in Spain.
And later that evening we were treated to a lovely sunset over the mountains on Mull in the distance.
We woke on Monday morning to pouring rain but it cleared away at lunchtime so we had a walk into the village of Benderloch where the cafe we were heading for was closed for the day. Instead we bought a takeaway tea and coffee from the local shop and had them overlooking the local beach and views out to sea.
On our walk to the village the Navigator had noticed that there were a lot of blackberry on the bushes beside the pathway so she decided to fill our empty cups on the way back with fruit to make a blackberry coulis back home.
Tuesday morning was a repeat of Monday with heavy rain to start with before we left North Ledaig for a stopover at Lidl and Specsavers as the Navigator had her annual test. We decided to head for home, happy in the knowledge that all is well with Bessie and as the forecast was for more rain for the rest of the week we hoped that our builders would turn up as they couldn’t get working outdoors and that’s exactly what happened as I type this our Polish joiner is beavering away laying the new floor and tiling the walls.
Once he is finished with the floor and the tiling we can head off again, this time for most of October with the aim of getting Bessie to Lowdhams for the twice postponed habitation check so no doubt that will be the next blog post…
After we return from our October trip the next event we were looking forward to is the birth of our second grandchild in Belfast sometime in November but the way things are at the moment we may not be able to travel across because of the restrictions in Northern Ireland. Hopefully by Christmas we may be able to travel to Belfast…
Looking further ahead, we booked our usual pitch for 60 nights from mid January 2021 at El Campello before we left in March and we will have to make a decision soon if we are still going to Spain to book a Ferry as we still have a credit from our cancelled March return crossing. Decisions, decisions…