A sudden holt to our winter adventures
Well hasn’t 2020 been a strange one so far?!
Back in mid-March we were parked up next to a beautiful beach in southern Spain counting our blessings that once again we had been fortunate enough to spend the winter exploring Spain & Portugal. A few weeks previously we had signed contracts to work the summer season as campsite wardens in the New Forest, not needing to return to the UK to early May the only thing we had to ponder was where to spend Easter.
Fast forward a couple of days and we found ourselves in a country that had gone into a sudden lockdown due to COVID19. Up until that point COVID19 was a word that we had barely been aware of, save for the small amount of news we had manged to hear about China having a virus and it having spread to Italy. After much discussion we decided it would be safer to move from our idyllic beach spot to a nearby campsite in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where at least we would have the basic facilities if we weren’t allowed to move around freely. Over the next few days things escalated at an alarming rate, beaches were cordoned off, everything apart from food shops and chemists were closed and the Local Guardia regularly patrolled to ensure that no-one was leaving their home, or in our case campsite apart one of the few permitted reasons. We spent the next few days trying to keep up to date with developments both in Spain and in the UK. Things were changing fast and we were unsure whether it would be safer to stay put or head back to the UK. We both experienced a roller-coaster of emotions, one minute we were going to pack up and head off, the next we would watch the news coming from the UK and decide that we may be safer to stay put. This went on for almost a week, in the end we decided it would probably be wise to make our way back slowly to the UK. A few days into the long journey back to the UK we received the devastating news from our prospective employer that our summer contracts were being cancelled.
Once we arrived in France we had a fleeting change of heart and almost decided put the brakes on and stay put, however there was beginning to be murmurings of lock down starting in the UK as the number of confirmed cases there were starting to escalate. The World Health Organisation was now saying that UK residents should return home at which point we discovered our recently extended travel insurance would no longer cover us should one of us become ill with COVID. At this point as much as we didn’t want to return to the UK, we felt we were left with little choice.
Fortunately our ex-employer had said that they would provide us with a pitch for free until the end of the season so after a brief visit to our storage unit and a flying visit to to drop some shopping off to our daughter we headed to our new temporary home in the New Forest. A few of our travelling buddies unfortunately also found themselves in the same uncertain position and hence ended became our new Forest neighbours.
The weeks that followed were very tough, at first we had no access to electricity, no laundry facilities and had no idea when we would be able to receive some much needed income again. Everyone was worried and stressed about what their future may look like, but eventually things did begin to settle and we all began to accept and adapt to our new circumstances. Fortunately, we have all remained healthy and we have certainly fared better than some others who have found themselves both without a job or place to park their home.
The forest has been our temporary home for almost 12 weeks now and all things being equal I can honestly say there are worst places to have been lockdown. It has been a privilege to have the New Forest as our playground. Although like most we have had a few down days we have also had the pleasure of many walks in and bike rides in around the forest. We have regular visits from the local wildlife and as spring progressed we have been blessed to have seen the arrival of a new generation of donkeys, ponies and deer – cuteness overload.