Two months away from Maggie. Naively expecting to just jump in and drive her away to the south to get away from the wintery north. Ah yes, it was not to be. Maggie was reluctant to begin her journey and had to be towed. After an eventful couple of weeks we towed her to a place she could be worked on. Where is a good place for her to be worked on? A reasonable truck would be taken to a mechanic’s garage. But not Maggie. The unorthodox journey of Maggie means being towed to a ‘Tooth Palace’. We walk into the ‘Tooth Palace’ only a few weeks before Christmas. We are greeted by Santa precariously dangling from a rope in the middle of the staircase. Further exploration reveals lots of Elephants of various sizes lining the hall. Elephants are the theme for this ‘Tooth Palace’. There are even other bizarre features like animals that once had a very different life, antiques, artwork and teeth. The owner of the house is a collector. I can’t help thinking of the stories C.S.Lewis would have come up with here. Our friend, Peter, lives in the top room while the remainder of the house is used to make teeth. Mechanic friends are already planning on what needs to be done for Maggie. It is actually only minor repairs but lots of little minor repairs. The Mechanics and Andrew now have some trust issues to sort out with Maggie so a thorough examination is recommended. Looks like Maggie will spend Christmas at the ‘Tooth Palace”. We are treated to a few Winter Markets in Bielelfeld. Yes that is an Ox roasting. Oh my, the taste. Even the memory of that little Ox sandwich makes me salivate. No they are NOT drinking Gluhwein, even though Hannah is legal drinking age in Germany. Well, maybe just a sip. All in all, A good lead up to Christmas. After all, we are in Europe, it is cold, we are surrounded by good friends, family, Winter markets, new tastes, gluhwein, ox sandwiches. Sure, Maggie is having a bit of downtime. Sometimes it takes something like that to get us to slow down and enjoy and unexpected treasure…or two. Hope your Christmas season has been as good, or better than ours.
I just dropped off Maggie at Bremerhaven where the good people at Sefco Export will get her onto a ship. Its not easy entrusting your home to a group of strangers but they have gone the extra mile to help us out.
Bremerhaven is a historic town, where many Germans boarded ships for other lands. There are some good museums here but I didn’t really have time to go.
Well, once again we were to be found at The Freakstock Festival in Germany. We think this makes 9 years we have gone. We didn’t plan to come back for the very next year but here we are.
First we had to reunite the family.
Sam is back after about a year and a half away from the truck. He met the older girls in Scotland and journeyed back with them. Really great to have the family all together again.
Every year we seem to get closer to the noisiest part of the festival and have lots of friends, old and new, around for most of the time. Some highlights were…
Being with friends. Old friends and new friends like clowns, physical theater artists, musicians and other artists and just plain ol’ amazing people.
Do you sometimes feel like you are caught in a surreal space. Somewhere between reality and a dream-like trance. Seems I find myself in that place often. I am currently sitting in front of our truck in the centre of an exhibition space at a festival with over 100,000 attendees. Not sure why we are parked here. We just parked where we were told to go, at P2-JZ1020.
Nice to be back in our truck after so many months away. She was a little worse for wear when we returned. Having hosted a field mice festival in our absence seems to have taken a toll on her, our clothes, bedding, tarps and tents. Lizzy might get a good children’s book out of it, she has already begun to write it in her mind. The story might even have a feature on her “pom-pom bag”. The pom-poms were carefully removed from her favourite bag and redistributed around the truck.
The mice did have a bit of a repreave from their festivities when some two-legged visitors came in to help themselves to some items they thought they needed. They took some things that would be expected, like speakers, solar inverter, power tools, printer and projector, but some things that would not be expected, like Lizzy’s party shoes and my box of beads from around the world. Another bizarre image comes to mind of a man dancing around the truck in Lizzy’s bejewelled high-heels.
During our few day in Prague we visited with our dear friends, cleaned up the best we could, and encouraged the mice to vacate. TJ unsuccessfully pleaded a case to promote a couple of them to “pet mouse” status.
We seemed to have limped into Germany. Wires dangling from various points on the wall, the few clothes we have left are seeming more tattered with the dissapointment of what is left. Judging myself for not being creative, or patient enough to patch the uncountable holes in my beautiful striped canvas awning. Actually I think I was just too discouraged. We are really tired from flying and cleaning up and the loss. We thought that we might get a bit of down time while Andrew was off teaching on blogging.
Seems to be strange that when we are at our weakest we are put on exhibition. Quite literally this time.
Here we are, still in Germany. Actually we are in Bad Gogging. It is an ancient spa town from Roman Empire days. Lots of statues of old, dead Roman dudes. We thought a spa town would be a great place to have Andrew’s birthday as Andrew has had memorable spa experiences on 2 other birthdays. Hey, its tradition. So, Andrew went off for his birthday spa this morning only to realize that it was ladies day at the spa. Try as he might they didn’t let him in. Maybe tomorrow. No cheap thrills here, just in case you were wondering.
How are we entertaining ourselves in the meantime?
We got given 2 slightly used tyres. YIPPEE. No more thump, thump as we drive down the road.
We entertain ourselves as only native english speakers can with a few local words. This is the cheap thrills. I guess you’ve got to be a Jones to get a good giggle from these.
We continue to renovate our kitchen while a motorbike resides in the middle of it. It is on our list of things to do to our truck before we leave her behind for a bit. I mean, would you want to come back to no kitchen?
We are making our way to Prague where she will spend the winter nice and cosy in a barn. Inigo will winter with another crazy family with 5 kids.
Busy, busy, busy.
Starting to get really excited as well as a bit scared.
Leaving “Easter Island” after 3 weeks. What an amazing time.
We finally got the brake seal on Thursday. Willie and Andrew fixed the truck the same day.
Abi wanted to stay a few more days so she could celebrate her 15th birthday with her new friends.
Hanna took the opportunity to learn some graffiti art on an official graffiti wall with paint cans that have been left over the last few weeks by all the graffiti artists.
We left richer than we entered.
We got our truck fixed for free.
Free training for Inigo from a professional dog trainer.
We were given a very,very cool old, German motorbike (only 50cc, don’t worry nana).
The best of all we have some new, very amazing, friends that we hope to see again soon.
Oh yeah, one of our new friends, Kolya, is selling his truck. Yeah, I know. He did all the boring bits of doing a far better job at insulating the box than we would ever do. Get this. He has replaced most of the metal frame with wood frame. Put holes in the wood frame so that there is a barrier of circulating air. The next layer in comes the insulation and then the walls. All you need to do is add the fun bits. He loves his truck but needs to sell it because he has terminal cancer and can’t drive it anymore. If you’re interested email us and we’ll put you in touch.
I am still processing so much that we learned there. Our time at “Easter Island” has to be one of my favourite travelling experiences over the last year and a half. It has changed us, I believe for the better.
What do they say. The best laid plans of mice and men.
We made plans to go to India and a major catastrophic event happens to wipe out most of the roads. What is that about. Well….. we think to ourselves. We can help. Help how. Bringing in stuff. But then what. Do we just become more of the hungry mouths to feed.
We planned on our kids being able to go to UK to school and our visa extension was DENIED. Plans. Plans. Plans.
We planned on spending some time in EU and the Shengan countries changed the rules. Now, instead of 6 months in and 1 hour out it is now 3 months in and 3 months out.
What is all this about.
We try to be organized and are stopped at every turn.
Now we are feeling quite rejected and unloved by the border peoples. We are feeling more and more like we have no foundation.
We are thinking of doing something quite drastic. Andrew brought up showing the kids the countries they have passports to and hanging with some relatives for a bit. A round the world trip.
Dang, that sounds extravagant. I know people fly all the time but it is NOT GREEN and NOT CHEAP and I DON”T WANT TO LEAVE MY TRUCK and WHAT ABOUT MY DOG!!!! Dang, I sound like my mother not wanting to leave her home and her STUPID DOG to come and visit her daughter!
Oh no! Am I choosing my beautiful, cute, in-training mutt over my beautiful, amazing, self-sufficient 2 oldest kids. You know, I am such an external processor.
OK, lets try this with the other objections. I DON”T WANT TO LEAVE MY TRUCK. You know we have been offered this amazing huge warehouse in Germany to store her in. It would be so much better if someone wanted to use her while we were gone. You know, try out this nomad thing in Europe or something. That would be nice. Our truck could hang out with some new people or something. We’ll have to think about that one.
Next one. IT IS NOT CHEAP. Several of the people from this squat we are staying in right now fly all the time. THey say it is cheaper. It is just that big chunk at the beginning and the limited funds after. It just seems so extravagant. YOu know, people have been helping us out in so many ways. NOT to by high-flying but to live simply doing good stuff. Still, we have been trying to find cheaper ways of bringing the truck and all by sea and havent’t found anything yet. But maybe we haven’t tried hard enough yet. If we bring our tipi and a small stove and pots to cook on the road it could bring the cost down considerably. Hmmmm.
IT IS NOT GREEN. I can justify this by averaging it out over the years but there may be no way of getting around this one.
I dunno. I want to be fair to my kids. They have cousins they have never met. They hold a passport to the USA and haven’t been there for 7 years! They hold a passport to New Zealand and only those that were born 17 years ago saw it and then only for a week.
Decisions, decisions. Plans gone to the wayside. New possibilities coming up. May become plans.
In the meantime we will continue to work on our truck
and look at beautiful skies
and hang with new friends.
The morning sun is streaming into the truck. TJs new friend, Jet, is knocking at the door.
I open the door and look out. It is time to get up. Inigo went on a slow meandering walk with a little girl, her dad and her dog. They live in the truck just up from ours and she likes to get up early.
Andrew left hours ago with Willie to get Abi and Hannah. They have been at a camp with American kids here in Germany. Can you imagine. Some are their friends from Portugal.
TJ has been kinda lonely being the only child. She was calling herself the “Lonely Child” until Jet found her. Soon she will be off to play football and exploring around the “Squat” we are staying in this week.
We feel quite at home here. People are so friendly and practical. We feel like we can relax and be ourselves. Sometimes we get kinda overwhelmed with the rules and conformity in Germany, or is it simply being in a western country.
This place carries a refreshing freedom with it.
Not so much a violent exclaimation of “WE WILL NOT CONFORM!”
Instead it carries a gentle, “Let us be, let us be us, we don’t wish to be part of your world view or system.” Aaaaah.
Just been to Freakstock Festival again. We aren’t too sure how many times we have been yet. There is some discrepancy with the family historians. Dad says 7 times. Abi says 9 times. I say ALOT OF TIMES. Back at the Coptic Monastary/military base.
Lots of people!!!
Lots of really cool trucks and creative people in them.
Lots of tea and tea and tea.
Lots of friends – both new and old.
Lots of pizza. What was great about this pizza party is that Abi took over. I guess me and Andrew were being a bit too slow and she took over, then trained up a team of young people and they did it all. Young Jan (red shorts) won the hearts of every woman there as he served out the pizza with a beaming smile.
I also got further piercing coaching from my teacher and did my first 2 piercings. My teacher said he was happy with me and says I just need more practice.
One thing that occured to us is that going to the festivals has become alot easier. It used to be difficult because of the portaloos, cold showers, constant noise and camping in a field with so many others. This time we realized that it seems so much easier because our lives have changed so much. It is now easy because of the nearby toilets, regular showers, the noise doesn’t bother us and we can sit out in a field with lots of friends and nobody is going to ask us to move on or complain about how strange we are. Maybe it is as my dad said – everything is relative.