Ah, Doris

A few words about Doris. 


ahh, Doris!

I think we’re coming up to our third year of ownership (don’t ask me why I can’t remember) having lived in a Dethleffs Van II three years before that. In the end we lived in this van for a year and three quarters before moving into a small two-up, two-down in Bristol – just under five years fulltiming in total. The more I think about that, fulltiming in a van for almost half a decade, the more I wonder whether or not we were in a sane place when we made that decision. 


Five years! Three of which we in a much smaller van than we’re in now. Blimey.


Part of me does think we were kinda mad. And that same part fully understands why our friends must have thought we were off our heads. But there’s a huge part of me that is massively proud of what we achieved. And I miss it. I really do. There is something about having everything you need, and close to everything you own (all our spare stuff was in a lock up garage) all around you – wherever you are. There is integrity to what you are doing … an honesty about your life. It makes everything much simpler (except when you need to go somewhere without the van, for which we bought a 10-year old Focus which is still going strong), and everything is on a much smaller and manageable scale. There is no room to expand … you can’t buy trinkets and unnecessaries as there is nowhere to keep them. Did I mention that I miss it? I genuinely believe we will do another 8-monther, onto the continent over Christmas which we did for our first year, this time towing the trike. And I can’t wait. It may not be soon, and indeed it might be years away, but we will do it. C always reminisces fondly of the, ‘do you remember when we were on Sicily …’.

And that brings us onto the now. Scotland is big, but the roads are small.We have beenIMG_20190908_091754424 caught in a couple of tricky situations this time where we have needed to breath in … or, as happened the day before yesterday, turn round with no obvious way forward and no easy place to back into. Of course, in that moment you think that it must be fab to be in a panel van: narrower and shorter. And, from an observer’s point of view, less big white block of aluminium and fibreglass.

But, we got out of both those situations without a hitch – I backed up 200 metres, and found a place to turn around. With big mirrors and a reversing camera it was no trickier than driving forward. 

We have done small and smaller vans. We know what it’s like to have to make your bed up every night (not good for days on end). We understand the difference between watching tele in comfort, and watching it with your neck crooked. We know what it’s like to have to watch the electricity and worry about running out of water. And, and this is the biggest and, the moment you go on the continent big vans are everywhere – and accommodated for. 

Doris has everything. Everything. And it’s all beautifully made and eminently practical. Everything works and everything suits us. There is nothing we would want to compromise on. And we have never not done something because of what she is. 

So … we love her and she suits us. She acts as a granny flat outside our house in Bristol and has, like all of our previous vans, delivered some fabulous holidays for us. That’s Doris.

Nothing about politics, Roland? Well this next week is going to be interesting. His Borisness looks set to do everything he can to crash out of Europe on 31 October, legal and illegal. But … let everyone be clear. We may leave on 31 October without a deal. But read that sentence again: without a deal. The EU is our biggest trading partner by far. That means at some point in the future we will have to sort out a deal. So no deal becomes … well, a deal. And we will be negotiating from a position of less strength, whilst our country struggles to make do and mend with all of the predicted Yellowhammer outcomes. Including, dare I say it, some unnecessary deaths of people who cannot find medicine. 

Those pushing for a no deal need to be clear that the rest of us will blame them for all of this. I hope it is worth it.