Author Archives: Paul Smith
Author Archives: Paul Smith
I collected an essential part of our on board electrical kit yesterday, a Honda EU20i suitcase generator.
Both Cynthia and I are used to living off grid on the boat, but we had a slightly more robust electrical system there. We had four 160ah AGM batteries powered by a 300w solar array and the engine’s 70amp alternator. The solar array catered for all of our electrical needs in the warmer months without having to resort to running the boat’s engine for battery charging.
The boat had a 2kw inverter fitted so that we could run mains appliances. We had more power than we could reasonably use so, to be honest, we were a little wasteful with our electricity. We have to be much more careful in the Hymer.
My hearing isn’t great at the best of times, but I was pretty sure that the Spanish lady at American Airline’s check in desk was asking me if I had brought Esther with me. I don’t know anyone by that name, so I was thoroughly confused. Why was Esther in charge of my travel arrangements?
The frustrated official wrote a web address on a scrap piece of paper and waved vaguely towards the rear of the cavernous departures terminal at Birmingham airport.
Fortunately I had my MacBook with me, so I typed in the address and all became clear. I needed an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) permit before the check in desk could process me.
After collecting Cynthia from Calais nine days ago, we’ve had a hugely enjoyable if rather tiring trek across France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. We’re now in Denmark, parked next to a tranquil freshwater lake half a mile from the coast.
After hauling Cynthia and her luggage on board nine days ago, we drove out of France and through Belgium in the blink of an eye before stopping for the night in a campsite in the beautiful seaside town of Sluis. We are very much looking forward to exploring unknown areas of Europe in a much more leisurely fashion, but the limited time available for our current trip has dictated a fairly swift passage.
Last Sunday we stayed overnight at the Hereford Camping and Caravan Club site. I can see the appeal of staying on campsites regularly. Life is so much easier than wild camping. For a start, you know that you aren’t going to hear a knock on the door late at night asking you to move on. You also don’t need to conserve your water or electricity or carefully monitor your toilet cassette capacity.
On Monday we did the usual waste out, water in housekeeping ready for a couple of days off grid, then showered at the site to minimise the use of our tiny water tank. Without a goal other than to head south west, we headed back towards the M5 at Gloucester where we stopped at a Sainsbury store and then drove slowly down to Bridgewater and then rather nervously joined the sometimes impossibly narrow and hilly A39.
I didn’t write a newsletter last week because of our workload as we prepared to collect our Hymer B754 motorhome. Because our life at the moment is more roads than rivers, I created a survey asking newsletter subscribers to let me know if they would be interested in reading accounts of our motorhome travels. The answer was a very positive and resounding “Yes please!”.
I know that there are many differences between motorhome and narrowboat lifestyles, but there are probably even more similarities. Both require you to live in harmony with your significant other in a very small space. Both require you to take a far more hands on approach to managing your utilities, and both necessitate embracing a simpler life much closer to nature than you would in a bricks and mortar home.