the skinflint philosopher

Attempting to thrift our way to a better life, with a toddler in tow!

Two steps forwards one step back


Sorry there has not been much philosophising of late or even that much thriftiness. It is all going on behind the scenes, just not getting it out to you!

I’ve managed to grab a few minutes laptop time just before dusk fall when I have to go and put the chickens to bed. Granny and Papa Westcountry have headed out for a night on the razz watching Ralph McTell at a local folk festival (of interest to you perhaps, ‘Yeah, another blogger’?), Digger and his father Dyado Bulgaria have headed off to London Gatwick to put Dyado on a plane home after a week visit here to the bedlam (what must he think of his first visit to our quirky ‘British’ family!) and Tiddler is off in the land of nod dreaming of promised jellies and cake as tomorrow is her third birthday.  I tried explaining the concept of a year, and that three had passed since she was born. ‘Papa is very old’ she says seriously. ‘My {sic} think he will be dead soon. Shall we put some flowers on him?’ Clearly the visit to the grave of Great Grandad Billy (who lived to 100) a few days ago in the old village church is still giving her food for thought. Explaining time, and death and all those sort of abstract concepts to a small child are never going to be straightforward. I suppose we muddle through as best we can, and hope it all make sense in the end.

Tomorrow will actually be a triple celebration, as Tiddler, my sister (Auntie B), and our own Aunt (Auntie K) all share the same date of birth- September 3rd. I don’t know what the probability statistics are for that, but we found the two pretty impressive even before Tiddler popped out on her due date.  Tiddler of course is still young enough to be happy with balloons, jelly and a couple of presents to open. Our thriftiness this year is logical too- we would rather spend money once we arrive in Bulgaria to replace toys and items we have had to leave behind.

Speaking of which, our offer on the cottage was pipped at the post by another vendor. Disappointed in a way, but relieved in an other. The money can sit in the bank (though I have since caught Digger scrolling through commercial woodland plots for auction like a secretive little woodmouse) and we are now back to the original plan i.e. motorhome hunting. As complete newbies, we are a little bit bamboozled by all the little fold out compartments- all very Japanese urban living to my way of thinking- and were toying with the idea of splashing out (!) on an expensive van (£25,000!!) with the logic it would retain a high value on resale. Then problems ensued with seatbelts (legality and safety for Tiddler’s car seat) so we knocked that idea on the head and our bank balance breathed a sigh of relief. Back to square one. But, we think we have found the van-to-be, in the end not five miles up the road from us. It is in keeping I think, with our hodge podge approach in general to this adventure. It is a converted minibus, a labour of love where the retired couple who are selling it have stripped out the seats and rebuilt it from scratch. It is not refined, or modern, or even with everything you might expect to find in a motorhome. We think it might do the job. Digger listened patiently and with interest as the chap in his cricket umpire hat talked him through the minutae of the gadgets. There is another empty van sitting on their driveway, which is to be the project mark 2. I sat in the seating area with the lady and talked cooking and curtains. The sun shone through the (many) minibus windows (hence the importance of curtains). We are back on Monday with Tiddler to double check seating arrangements for her will work, and then it might be time for cheque books out.

Digger smiles.’ We could be off in a couple of weeks!’
Yes, when insurance is sorted, and ferry booked, and all manner of other things organised, including all our random boxes of stuff in the sheds. Maps and guide books are in hand, and I’ve just requested the European health cards for us all- what else do I need to do? Am I missing anything obvious?
Motorhomees, and campervanners-  please share advice you wished you’d been given before you set out please?




Author: Theskinflintphilosopher

Call me thrifty, prudent, tight or even a miser, but squirreling money away is definitely my thing. The ins and outs of how saving money became a lifestyle, in order to work towards a specific lifestyle change. Follow me on that journey and learn to look at life in a different way.

2 thoughts on “Two steps forwards one step back

  1. Where’s the photos of said minibus? Must have: bucket with a lid. This is for emergency use in the night. Comfy beds for all. Hot water bottles. or little heater, I was told to get one that runs on paraffin or smthg, altho’ paraffin is smelly. Little suitcase cooker that works on butane gas cans I think it’s butane. Tent or awning for putting stuff in so you can lie down at night. Sometimes easier to sleep in the tent. Get a tent that’s easy to put up like an umbrella, Halfords have these and quite big too. You are going to get good at putting a tent up and taking it down quickly. WARM sleeping bags. Hats for night time. Neck warmers double as eye bands/ear mufflers. Water carrier. Pegs.. tent pegs, washing line pegs. Washing line. Plastic washing up bowl and enamel plates, mugs, etc, cutlery. Fishing umbrella( big). Powerful torch and torches that convert into hanging lanterns, I bought these , they are brilliant. Fold up chairs. Ground sheet. One of those hanging bags that have hundreds of pockets and everything goes in it and is hanging up and you can find everything even in the dark.

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