We’ve just had the last bank holiday of the summer in England. Usually I would spend it at Leeds festival or somewhere similar ‘partying’. This year I am homeless and vanless and also trying not to spend money if I can help it so it’s going to be very different!
There’s actually lots of things you can do for free or very cheaply. Having a dog is a great advantage as it means we already do lots of exploring with him. We have always done this even before we bought the van but there’s no reason why you can’t do this without a furry companion.
There’s a field close to where we are staying that we have been taking Alfie in for a walk and it’s surrounded by Blackberry Bushes so we decided to go foraging. I have some amazing books my dad bought me for our travels all about foraging and food for free so I was excited to get going. The sun was shining and we spent a few hours walking around and picking the best of the bunch.
Someone had been here before us so there weren’t too many at arms reach so there was only one thing for it… I got on Elliots shoulders and picked all the big juicy ones nobody could reach!
I have a wheat allergy so I looked on line for a recipe and found a vegan gluten free recipe for Blackberry Oat Bars. We did have to spend some money on the other ingredients but it didn’t cost a lot.
They tasted amazing and we will definitely make them again.
A few weeks ago we had driven past an old red Phone box that had been turned into a free library. You might have seen similar before as they have popped up a few places now. The idea is you leave a book and then take a book. I love any kind of swapping so this appeals to my frugal side. I used to have quite a big book collection but I sold or gave away loads before we bought the van.
I still have a big box full I need to narrow down before our maiden voyage as we just won’t have room for them all. I’m trying to read as many as I can before I go. My sister has also offered to keep hold of any and then post them to me at a later date.
When we took the van to the garage we stumbled across two sites to explore.
The first one looked like a solar farm from the distance. Walking Alfie down I noticed signs on beautifully carved posts.
At first I thought the signs were just about the solar farm but they had different information on. The one that caught my attention the most was about the archaeology information and the Jurassic Period. If you follow our shop Bojanges Bazar you may have noticed the logo.
That is a photo I took of a fossil Elliot found in a Cove near Robins Hood Bay, in the UK. We just added a filter and text.
His mum has saved them all this time and when we saw them we knew we had to use them somewhere in the van. It is a ammoniate from the Jurassic Period which was 200million years ago! I think it’s pretty cool to have a piece of history in the van. We are thinking of making them into door handles with apoxy resin.
Ever since we were kids we both loved exploring and my favourite places to explore are abandoned places! I like the eeriness and always try to imagine the place in the past and all who have been there. I also like the fact nobody really goes there, a part of the world just left alone (well almost). I also love to photograph the decay and where nature is reclaiming the land. I’m not sure why but that shit sets my soul on fire! I was just saying the other day we need to explore somewhere abandoned soon as it’s been too long, then we stumbled across this by accident. When we pulled up and realised the fences were down we had to go in…
Not so hygienic anymore!
The lights were not on and nobody was home!
When we got back I did some research online and found out this used to be a large hotel and leisure complex. There was even a swimming pool, gym, bar and restaurant etc. It started to suffer financially and was no longer able to survive. The owners applied for permission to sell the land to a property developer to build houses but locals have been against the decision, some even tried to fight the closure as they thought it was part of the community. Lots of local resident’s had been members of the leisure complex for a very long time but sadly bigger hotels in Swindon took most of the trade and the local business was not enough for the upkeep. After a long time sat empty it eventually suffered fire damage in 2017. What we explored is just a tiny fraction of what once was.
It’s quite a sad story really, and one that is probably familiar up and down the UK.
I wouldn’t recommend you take your pets or children exploring in abandoned buildings and you have to be very careful if you go yourself, just use your common sense and if it looks too risky stay clear! The other rule of Urbexing (Urban Exploring) is don’t damage anything! Although the places are usually already damaged it’s important not to mess yourself. Leave it untouched for the next explorer.
Next time you are at a loose end on a weekend, pack a picnic and get out there exploring for free and avoid the ques and expense of tourist traps.
Let’s just hope the van is fixed soon because we miss her very much although it has been a great week and we are still Happy and Homeless.