Thursday, 20 April 2017

Living in a Small Space...(Part Two)

So...... How has it been over the two years that we have been fulltiming in the Eriba ?.....
I will tell you..... The good and the bad........

Well it certainly hasn't disappointed.......
Our choice of caravan has proved to be right for us.... It's a caravan for people that don't want to follow the trend...people that want to be a bit different.....people that don't want to be tugging a giant white box around the country....
In bicycle terms it's for people that would buy a Tifosi instead of a Giant or Trek.....
It's for people that are a bit individualistic....which is what fulltiming is all about anyway....


Living outdoors throughout the year has put us more in touch with nature...wildlife  and the changes of the seasons.... The weather has become a really important part of our lives as it can affect when we put up or take down our awning or indeed when we choose to move on to another site.....

The whole way of life is very relaxing with very little stress....after all people choose to do this for their two or three week annual holiday and we are doing it every day.
As I've said before "Every day is a holiday".
No house maintenance... No commuting......No bills..... Just a very relaxing lifestyle....

We can choose to get up whenever we want and plan our own days free from many of the restraints that so called 'normal' living can place on us..... Yes it is an almost stress free way of life... If we don't like a location or have had enough of that particular area we can simply move on.........
Taking in a sunset on site....very relaxing..

So in short...We love it....
We don't regret the decision to try it and we would recommend it to any one who would like to try a slightly more adventurous way of life instead of conforming to what is expected. 
Most importantly we have no plans to stop doing what we are doing anytime soon....
I just wish that we could have done it years ago like my old walking buddy Gideon has done.....

Now for some of the downsides......

Doctor and hospital appointments.... 
You have to get things well organised so that regular things like appointments etc can all be completed during a stay at your home base campsite.
The same applies to caravan and car service...MOT etc. 
This is why we always touch base with the Bournemouth area twice a year...spring and autumn.
It's not really a downside as such only a slight restriction on the freedom that we now enjoy and as such more noticeable to us than when we were living a 'normal' existence....

Multiple Children.....
You can always tell when the school holidays are on us because the toilet areas on site look like a bomb has hit it.... Toilet paper left all over the floor...toilets not being flushed.... showers left in a state of flood.....etc....This makes a lot of extra work for campsite staff.....

Although there is a 5mph speed limit on most sites this does not seem to apply to children who race their bikes and scooters around the sites like bats out of hell and then leave them lying around for some unsuspecting pensioner to trip over them.....

As for ball games.... most sites have areas for children to play and often ban ball games around the caravans themselves but that doesn't stop parents and their children ignoring the so called site rules which are for the benefit of everyone...
Kids will be kids and I probably did the same when I was their age but as I'm not anymore I want things to be a bit more peaceful....

Solution....
We now mark on our yearly planner when the school holidays are and on those dates make a point of booking in at an 'Adults Only' site or a site that has an Adults Only area away from the mayhem that is the school holidays.. :-)

Multiple Dogs.....
As with the children  one or two are not a problem.... but some people will turn up with multiple dogs.... I have seen up to seven quite large dogs in one caravan.... When one 'pack' meets another group of dogs the barking can drive you mad... Why some people feel the need to have such a large number of dogs in a confined space like a caravan or motorhome I will never know. The owners seem to think everyone loves having dogs jump up at them and enjoy hearing the sound of a dog barking at eleven at night or six in the morning.... Funny thing is that the owners themselves don't seem to notice them barking.... 
Don't get me wrong...this is NOT a constant problem as it just happens occasionally but no less annoying when it does happen....

Solution.....
I haven't found one yet..... We have not come across any 'Dog Free' campsites and I doubt that I would want to stay on one as I actually like dogs. I suppose what I don't like are rubbish dog owners who fail to keep their dogs under proper control.....

Friends and Relatives....
I miss being able to see friends and family on tap....
When we come back to the Bournemouth area I am able to catch up with friends and also my daughter and family and when in Devon Anne can catch up with her family.

It is an odd thing with friends as some of them keep in touch when we are travelling and with some I don't hear a thing until we next meet up but such is the way of friendships I suppose.
The other day I had a bike ride with my old mate JD who I hadn't seen for about eighteen months but we just picked up and carried on as if we had seen each other a week ago....as I say such is the way of friendships....  

These are the only downsides we have found whilst we have been wandering around with Eva the Eriba....

We love it.....We don't want to change it and we don't have to suffer that feeling of deflation that most people have at the end of their holiday.....because every day for us IS a holiday... 


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Living in a Small Space....(Part one)

All my life I have enjoyed being in the great outdoors....
Whether I was camping....walking....cycling...bird watching..... fishing or indeed any other outdoor activity it has always made me happy to be outside in the fresh air......

I had a varied life of work with a number of different careers throughout my working life....
However no matter what job I was doing I couldn't wait for time off so that I could get my fix of the great outdoors......
It made no difference how much I enjoyed my work... I always enjoyed time off pursuing my outdoor activities more.....!! 

On many occasions throughout my working life I used to think how great it would be to live outdoors and for many years long distance walking and backpacking fulfilled this desire.
I completed many long walks which enabled me to live outdoors for many weeks at a time....

Even with my love of cycling I was able to combine living in a tent with travelling ultra long distances by getting involved in cycle touring all under that great big sky......

When retirement finally knocked on my door I was able to indulge myself with more of the above but it eventually dawned on me it wasn't enough.....

I was finding that trips of between one to six weeks living in the great outdoors were not hitting the spot anymore and it dawned on me that I needed to give some form of fulltiming a try before age and health prevented me forever from having a go........

I was lucky because when I mentioned it to Anne my partner of nineteen years she said she was prepared to follow this dream... "as long as it's not in a tent".

We thought about motor homes and ordinary caravans (camping trailers) but none of the ones we looked at seemed right...

When we discovered the Eriba Touring range of small caravans it seemed to tick all of our boxes..... One of the main things about the Eribas is that they have a 'pop top' roof with a canvas surround when the roof is elevated...... This means that Anne could have the comfort of a caravan and I could still have some canvas between me and the sky....

One other thing.... I have always liked a retro look one reason why I like the paint job on my Tifosi bike....
Well the Eriba is very retro... The look has not changed much over all the years of production. The look just screams retro from the curved 'corned beef tin' shape.... the split windows at the pointed end and the dimpled bodywork.....

It was important that whatever we decided on was small...... I have always liked small spaces..... 
At one point in my life I lived in a small studio flat and loved the thought that had gone into making the most of the space available..
All my backpacking and cycle touring tents over the years by definition have been small and all the many nights that I spent in them taught me how little space we really need in which to live...
Small is also cosy and easier and cheaper to keep warm during the colder weather.....

We didn't just want to effectively be transferring everything that we had in our home to a huge caravan or motor home (not that there is anything wrong with that) but it's not what we wanted... no we wanted this to be more than a change of what we were living in we wanted this to be a total change to the way we actually lived our lives by redefining our priorities....
We wanted to make our lives less complicated and live a simpler and less cluttered existence and this meant that small was the way to go........

Anne and I were convinced that we could live in the close proximity that a small caravan would force on us and we were eager to prove to ourselves that we could actually do it....

We ordered an Eriba.......


Eva the Eriba with the new Awning at night. (note the purple awning light)

To be Continued.............








Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Start Of Our Third Year Of Wandering.....

Yes we have now completed our second winter and now back in Dorset we our starting our third year of wandering around with 'Eva the Eriba'....

To celebrate the start of this third year of fulltiming we have bought a new awning for summer use....
We decided to go for an inflatable model in order to cut down on the time we spend putting awnings up and also in taking them down.....
A couple of minutes of pumping and this one is up leaving just the pegging out to do....
Open the valve and it deflates almost instantly.....

Below are a couple of images of the new awning at our current location near Verwood......



Over the past few days there have been a couple of other Eribas on site and at their owners request Anne and I showed both couples around Eva and the new awning......

Their models were both about twelve or more years older than ours so they were eager to compare theirs with a newer model....not that a lot has changed over the years other than minor cosmetic details and seat fabrics etc.... after all why change a near perfect design....  

One of the couples we spoke to had travelled up from Cornwall and had attended the Social Event on Saturday held at Automotive Leisure the main UK Eriba dealership based in Bournemouth the same as we did.....
They had just purchased an inflatable awning from the dealer for their Eriba Triton which although slightly smaller than our Eriba Troll is a popular model with a popular internal layout..... He said that he wasn't going to put it up on site as he would be leaving the following day.

Although the dealer had a awning on display at the 'event' our Triton owner was keen to see what it was like erected on site in real camping conditions and he had a number of questions about the awning which I was able to answer for him...

Owning an iconic caravan like the Eriba is almost like joining an exclusive club....
Because of the longevity of these little caravans and the various internal layouts Eriba owners always want to talk 'Eriba' when they meet other owners on site and compare their vans feature by feature.....

This got me thinking about why people might decide to purchase something like an Eriba in the first place instead of a much larger van. 
It's not about the cost because these little vans don't come cheap and there are any number of much larger caravans that you could purchase for about half the price of an Eriba.......

No.. It goes much deeper than that and I will expand on my thoughts of this in my next post when I look back at our reasons for deciding to set out on this little fulltiming adventure and how we feel two years in.......



Monday, 3 April 2017

Preparing to move on.......

After five months covering the winter period we are now preparing to move on....

As I have said in an earlier post it has been a bit of an unusual winter for us having to travel back and forth between here and hospital appointments at Poole and Bournemouth in fact
I have yet another medical procedure booked at Bournemouth Hospital on Friday afternoon......

Over the past couple of days we have taken our awning down....spring cleaned the interior of the caravan....washed and polished the exterior and generally sorted out all of our kit in readiness for the touring that we have planned for this year...

It's always an exciting time preparing to tour with 'Eva the Eriba'........
New horizons to look forward too.....

Another New Horizon.... (Image taken at Dawlish Devon)
 This year we have left our awning at Anne's son's house.... He lives just a few miles from our Dartmoor site and said that he was happy to put it in his loft for the summer season....

The reason for this is because we have purchased another awning for use during the spring / summer/ autumn touring season.
The new awning is an inflatable model designed for the Eriba Touring caravans and promises a much quicker time to erect. 
With no rigid pole system it also has a smaller more compact size when packed..

We are hoping that this new awning will make our lives that little bit easier everytime we put it up and take it down compared to our other awning........

We will still continue to use our original awning during the winter months as it has proved itself many times during some horrendous weather including gale force winds but it has always been a real pain to put up and take down and when moving on regularly it becomes a bit of a bind hence the new inflatable awning.....

Craig tending his grass to perfection......
One thing that I will miss here at Tavistock are the site managers Craig and Caroline......
They both work really hard to make the site a fantastic place to be.....
Craig puts so much effort into tending the site grass to total perfection....... 

If you want to put up a tent or awning on a bowling green this is the place.........

Sunday, 26 March 2017

If I Had A Bike Shop......

If I had a bike shop (not that I'm ever likely to have one) I think the choice of name would be pretty important....

Often as we travel around I see various independent bike shops with interesting names but the one I saw last week in Dawlish in Devon has to be my current number one.........



I would be interested to hear of your favourite bike shop name.......

Monday, 20 March 2017

More Moor........

Within half an hour of Gids and Angie leaving the site another friend turned up for a stay with us......
Peter Calcutt who I have known for many years from our connection with the Backpackers Club drove down from Bournemouth for a one night stay sleeping in his Hilleberg Akto tent.....

He shared the entire tent field with just one other tent......mind you having the entire field in which to choose a pitch doesn't make life any easier as we spent a good ten minutes trying to pick out the most level and smooth part of the field on which he could pitch his 6'x3' shelter......

We had a good time...catching up on the latest gossip....downing a few beers and eating lots of food prepared by Anne.....
We even managed to fit in a couple of walks on the moor.....
One up to Pew Tor which overlooks our campsite and another to Great Mis Tor.

Great Mis Tor has been called one of the grandest hills in Devon and lies above the River Walkham about four miles north-east of Princetown.....The Tor stands at an elevation of 538m (1,765ft). I had actually walked up this Tor with Gideon just a couple of days before...

Pew Tor sits high on Whitchurch Common and can be seen from all angles on this part of the moor...The summit is made up of three large granite stacks plus a number of smaller stacks.
Although sitting at a lower elevation than Great Mis Tor at 317m (1040 ft) it provides outstounding views all around ......

It is always good to have friends come and visit us on site and I look forward to meeting up with Peter again when Anne and I visit the C&CC site at Verwood in April......

I have posted a few images below taken on our Tor walks together.......






Sunday, 12 March 2017

At Last ...Caught up again...

Some twenty six years and more ago I had a walking buddy who I did quite a few long distance walks with...
We did the Pembrokshire Coast Path.....The West Highland Way.... The SouthWest Coast Path...and many more trips of various distances....
As time went on and pressures of work and family grew we saw less of each other and about fourteen years ago we lost touch completely....

Well the other day my buddy Gideon tracked me down via the internet leaving a message on this blog and also google+.

Well I was really amazed to find out that he and his partner Angie have followed a similar path to the one that Anne and I are on ie: fulltiming in a motorhome /caravan and living life to the full.
The big difference is that Gids and Angie have decided to do it whilst still relatively young Gids being just fifty one years of age....

They sold their lovely four bedroomed house and stepped away from the pressures of life and work (he was an Estate Agent) and are now doing seven months of seasonal work with the Camping & Caravanning Club in order to help fund the five months of touring that they will be doing each year over the winter months...

Last Wednesday Gids and Angie arrived here on site for a three night visit so that we could catch up with each other and I must say that we had a fantastic reunion meet-up.


Gids & Angie with their Motorhome & Smart Car that gets towed behind.
During their short stay down here we managed to down a few beers including some gin & tonics for Angie and also managed to fit in a great takeaway chinese meal which was consumed in the luxury of their motorhome.......

It was great having this unexpected meet-up with a really good old friend and we had plenty to catch up on as well as looking back at some of those great walks that we did together years ago...we even managed to fit in a short walk together with Gids dog Molly as well.....

Like me.... Gids is posting a blog and you can catch up with his travels at :-       gidsandangieontheroad.wordpress.com

I will add his blog to my 'purple blog list' on the right hand column here at purpletraveller.....

Anne & I have promised to drop by for a short stay at the site that they will be working on towards the end of the summer season.... Obviously that visit will be reported on here at PT. 





Friday, 3 March 2017

Rumours Of My Death........

Yes...To (roughly) quote Mark Twain....
"The rumours of my death are greatly exaggerated".

We are still here on Dartmoor alive and just about kicking.....

In my last post way back in early December I said "As soon as I can... I hope to be back out on the bike and do just that".
The 'just that' was referring to improving my hill climbing abilities.

Well that has just not happened.....
Since that post we have been back and forth to the Bournemouth and Wimborne area attending various medical scans....tests and check ups. 
Due to all the medical rubbish I have not been able to get out on the bike at all...

When not travelling I have had to take things a bit easier than I normally do.....

With all of the above I have not had anything to report on this blog..... I really didn't want to bore you all with all the medical stuff and as that has really dominated our overwinter stay down here on Dartmoor I decided to take a break from the internet.......

However we are now into our last five weeks down here before we hitch up and hit the road again for the upcoming season....... 
Although I have to have yet another scan in April plus having a medical procedure carried out
it does seem as if we are seeing some light at the end of this gloomy tunnel....

So I am back and will start to blog again as more and more interesting things start to happen....
It's good to be hitting the computer keys again...!
I have missed it and all my regular readers.......