Beginnings, Life on the Road
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As I write, I’m sitting in the last proper bed I’ll sit in for a while and the boys are enjoying the last bath they’ll sit in for a while. Tonight, we sleep in the van for the first night of many and tomorrow morning we cross the channel.

The past week has been a whirl of packing belongings, saying goodbyes and feeling a bit odd. Our last few days in Hebden were some of the most exhausting of my life. Pulling up roots is unsettling for all concerned, and we have felt the inevitable strains of a big life change. We bade farewell to our temporary house, our town, our good friends, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts…

There’s been a good deal of driving already, some of which has gone smoothly and some of which has brought challenges. It didn’t help Colin (the van) that I drove several miles after leaving Hebden Bridge with the hand-brake on. I found it difficult that having instructed a child to pee in the tin bath I’d shoved in last minute, I then had to deal with an emergency stop that sent the entire collection of lego people flying into that same tin bath. I’ve cried a fair bit – big fat snotty sobs on the night we left home (also my birthday) and more restrained (dignified?) ‘wet eyes’ thereafter.

It’s been really cold and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the possibility of us all dying of hypothermia somewhere in the middle of darkest France. My only slight comfort is our last minute decision to buy a ‘bivvy heater’, a thrillingly dangerous contraption that belts out heat but probably emits hazardous levels of carbon monoxide and will almost certainly burn our van down (only joking mums!). Good job my dad bought us an industrial size fire extinguisher for Christmas…

Today we’re meeting a some good friends in Epping Forest for our final goodbye before heading to Dover for a sleepover on the front. And then, we’re on our own….



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