What's to come? Our plans for 2019 and beyond

Is it March already?  We normally have most of the year mapped out by now but this year we have been pretty lapse. What have we got booked and what would we like to book for this year and beyond? I figured I'd get my shit together and share my thoughts.  
March  This month sees a big birthday in the Four Roam camp, with C soon to be 11 it's time to celebrate. We are taking him and his friends out for dinner on his birthday and then off to a climbing wall. Having just watched Free Solo we are "all" keen to give it ago (some more keen than others).
April  The month starts with 2 birthdays so there will, no doubt, be a small celebration to arrange. Hoping for some family time away in the van this April and looking at a trip to Wales and the beautiful walk at Ystradfelte. It is described as the best Waterfall walk in Britain and takes in 4 waterfalls; one you can walk behind. We will more than likely stay in a campsite as wild camping is a bit tricky with the four of us and…

Iceland - Our 6 Day Road Trip

Iceland: The land of fire and ice they say Iceland: The land of waterfalls and sunshine we say 
  If anyone had mentioned a trip to Iceland a few years ago I would have asked them to pick me up some frozen peas and a Walls' Viennetta. We knew nothing of the amazing European country that sits 850 miles north of the UK. We didn't know about the beautiful waterfalls, the wonderous rock formations, the friendly people or the constantly moving glaciers.

 It was November 2017 that we first considered Iceland as a holiday destination. We were looking for something that was a little different (there's a theme here). We had been holidaying in the UK for years but now that our labrador, Millie, was getting too old to come along we had a new sense of freedom and adventure. We wanted the children to experience something new and exciting, Iceland ticks all those boxes and more.
 Flights to Iceland are readily available and we managed to fly via EasyJet, from Luton, for a very affordable pr…

#vanlife – is it possible in the UK?

It was a cold week in January and my life was starting to feel like the movie Groundhog Day; wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch #vanlife videos, sleep.

It was like a Fatboy Slim track without the rave “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat, Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat”
 I started wondering; I bet the Matneys never feel like this. They wake up in a beautiful location every morning; a beach in Mexico, a remote woodland in Colorado next to a waterfall, a Walmart carpark in Austin. Maybe I could have a #vanlife adventure of my own.
 According to Wikipedia:

·#vanlife is a form of adventure tourism that involves a van that is liveable and self-sustained that can access remote areas to recreate in.
·#vanlife is a converted motor vehicle that can be used as a full-time home or a recreational vehicle, i.e some people are weekend warriors, some people on short-term adventurers and some people are full-time travellers.

 "Remote areas to recreate in" not sure Emily would approve of me recrea…

The Victorious Festival

The Victorious Festival 2016 is what I believe to be, the trigger to my Mid Life crisis. It may not have been the only trigger but it played a part.

 In 2016 I attended a music festival in Southsea, Portsmouth called Victorious. I have attended a lot of music festivals over the years but this was the first one I had attended with any of our children. This was a father and son weekend and I was keen to show C the delights of festival life. The Victorious Festival was being headlined by Noel Gallagher and the Manic Street Preachers and there were various other acts playing. We had booked to stay at an Airbnb owned by a slightly older gentlemen called Stewart. Stewart was in his early 60’s lived alone and, from what I could gather, made most of his money, and friends, from Airbnb bookings. When we arrived he couldn’t wait to show us his record collection, naming all the bands he had seen and the ones he had met back stage. He took a lot of pleasure in playing obscure vinyl from bands he …

An accident in the Peaks

The date had been added to the calendar several weeks ago “PEAK DISTRICT WILDCAMP”. In our house this is the only way to ensure a free weekend. The plan was to meet up with a friend on the Saturday morning, drive the 3 hours to the Peak District and spend a night wild camping at the top of a mountain. I had several locations in mind; Kinder Downfall would be in full flow, Bleaklow has a wreckage of a WW2 aircraft I’ve wanted to see or if the weather wasn’t too good, we could find a valley to explore.

 So it was that 3 nights before I messaged my friend to confirm the plan. “Bleaklow looks pretty boggy” was my opening line.” Sorry can’t make it this weekend, problems with the babysitter” was the response….

 This left me with a bit of a dilemma, do I go solo and drive to the Peak District on my own? Do I invite the family? Do I go somewhere local? Too many options lead to uncertainty and doubt starts to creep in. Maybe I shouldn’t bother! What If I leave it for another time? What about t…

Do I want to spend the night sleeping atop a viewing tower?

That was the question I asked myself, one cold wet Friday afternoon. The tower in question is a 1987 viewing platform built on the site of a Napoleonic Watch tower.  It sits high above the surrounding trees and offers 360-degree views of Sandringham Park, Norfolk.

 This wasn't the first time I had heard of the tower, some friends and fellow wild campers had stayed there in the summer, they had reported back with photos of amazing sunsets, a cool summer breeze and waking up to the sound of bird song. But this was January. 

 I thought long and hard, I'm not usually one to turn down an adventure but it had been a while since I'd been out, and I was getting soft. The temperature was showing at 5 degrees and the wind would be hailing. I could feign an injury; broken finger nail or maybe signs of the bubonic plague would do but life is for living and what's the worst that could happen?

 So it was that I loaded up my rucksack with my warmest clothes, a hip flask and a square pie…

A house full of feathers

I came home from work today to a house full of feathers and a very excited M. "Jackson bought me a present!" she screamed at the top of her voice. "Wow" i said "Was it a new bike?" This lead to some confusion on her part as it was clearly a blackbird that had caused all the fuss. Silly Daddy!

We have had various cats in the house since way before we even thought about children. All our cats came from rescue organisations and all have enjoyed hunting. Our last two cats had been brought up on a farm and hunting was their job. We had all manner of items brought home from lizards to voles and even a pigeon. All were brought home in the early hours and left as presents for our unsuspecting children.

This current victim was brought in alive and had a tour of the house before meeting it's demise.
So back to the present day and after clearing up the feathers from the house it was time to take M to bed. We trudged up the stairs talking about the highlights of the…