Take it all in your stride and do it with Pride!

You know those times when everything all kind of just falls into your lap? Like the universe is saying to you ‘here you are, now go have a fantastic time’? Well, that’s exactly how we’ve been feeling the last few days.

All Meant to Be – Lofty

First of all, I bought a wonderful book about restoring VW campervans. Having quickly realised that much of the work I would love to be able to carry out on Lofty was a little beyond my reach at this point in time, we started looking for someone with the knowledge and skills to do some of this work for us. I searched online – as you do – looking at numerous places all over southern England, before finally settling on one a little bit outside of Brighton. Turns out the guy we’re taking the van to, is the very same guy who wrote the book I’d purchased earlier. It also happens that this very same guy worked on Lofty five years ago! These little synchronicities feel like the Universe nodding at us, saying ‘you’re on the right path guys’.

Haynes, VW Bay Transporter Restoration Manual by Fletcher Gillet

A great book, by a great bloke – the man knows his stuff!

Falling into Place – House Sitting

So, it’s August, schools are out and prices are up. We thought now would be a good time for a spot of house-sitting to keep costs down while we stay in Brighton. We found an opportunity that had roughly the right dates, for not quite as long as we’d hoped, but good enough. Unfortunately, we made contact with the homeowner just after she’d agreed to another sitter. Damn. We went back to the drawing board for a couple of days and was starting to think it was going to be hard to get a house-sit to coincide with our van repairs when boom! The homeowner we had previously applied to, contacted us to ask if we’d like to ‘sit’ for her friends in Brighton, and for about twice the duration too. Happy days.

Going with the Flow – When the Flowing Gets Tough

We planned to arrive in Brighton the day before the house sit, so we could visit the homeowners and get to know their home and pet care needs before they leave, so booked into an Airbnb for the first night. It was a pretty tough day, because on the way to Brighton Lofty decided to play up on the middle of a busy flyover and conk out in heavy traffic. To really test our zen, the handbrake fell apart at the same time. Having sat pondering my next move for several minutes, with a foot on the brakes, hazards blinking and numerous impatient drivers giving us a toot as they swung around us, I fortunately remembered that it should be ok on the hill, if I leave it in gear. It was, and it saved my leg from aching much more than it was already beginning to. We called for rescue, paid on the spot, and nearly £200 down and about an hour later, we were back on the road. Needless to say, we finally arrived in Brighton a little ruffled.

Lofty, our 1974 Westfalia VW Campervan.

This old girl (aka Lofty) can be stubborn as hell!

We had kept the homeowners and Airbnb host in the loop about what was happening, because of course, we were also running pretty late for our appointments with both of them. The good thing was, we couldn’t have asked for nicer people. Our Airbnb host welcomed us into his home like old friends, concerned about our day and even offering us a little tipple to help unwind. The homeowners were really cool too and it turned out that they too have had VW vans for years, and done the whole ‘vanlife’ thing so we had a lovely time swapping stories with them once we had finally arrived.

Perfect Timing

The great thing about Lofty’s little breakdown, was that we may not have seen much of our Airbnb host at all if it hadn’t happened. If we had arrived on time, we would have met a friend of his to get the keys while the host was at work. I think the timing of everything meant that we would have been out when he came home; he would have been in bed when we came back that night; and he would have gone back out to work again when we checked out the next morning. So, we feel totally blessed to have got talking to our host, who, it transpired, was also an organiser for one of the blocks on the Pride parade – and he invited us to be in it 🙂

It really felt as though things were just falling into place for us. Not to mention, we found out that Brighton has it’s own Earthship open to the public – that’s for another post (here).

Mrs Bee with painted face at Brighton Pride.

Facepaint? Check. Peacock feathers? Check. Looks like we’re ready to go!

Brighton Pride – Love, Glitter and Dancing

Pride day came around quickly. I was so excited when we turned up at the seafront to help get everything fixed-up for the parade. Costumes were donned, faces were being painted, floats were being decorated; it was all so wonderfully colourful, and everyone seemed to be as excited and as happy to be there as we were.

Members of the LGBT workers forum at Brighton Pride.

Shiny happy people from the LGBT Workers Forum, flying the flag, literally!

The parade took us through the centre of Brighton town, with thousands of people lining the streets, waving, cheering, dancing, smiling and high-fiving us as we bounced our painted and glittered selves through the main thoroughfares to the sound of the awesome Samba band that was part of our block.

Samba band at Brighton Pride Parade.

Providing the beats as we danced through the streets

The vibes from everyone around us, in the parade, or watching, were of the very highest grade of positivity. The air was filled with the energy of thousands of happy, accepting, good-natured folks and it was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life.

Pride parade marching through the streets of Brighton

Parade in full swing

The positive messages of embracing and loving your fellow human beings, whoever they are, wherever they are from, were loud and clear, and delivered with an awesome party vibe. Brighton Pride is an event that is definitely going on the calendar for next year.

A Chinese Dragon at the Brighton Pride parade.

Super, dazzling, fabulous, colourful fun!

Mrs Bee with glittery decorations at the Brighton Pride event.

Mrs Bee got rather carried away with all things glittery!

Lesson from our Vanlife

It really is quite amazing how things turn out sometimes. Being drawn towards one small decision can set in motion a whole chain of serendipitous events, completely unpredictable and unexpected, bringing wonderful people and marvellous experiences into your life. It never ceases to amaze me how events can unfold, if we traverse the tributaries of existence with just a little curiosity about what lies around the next bend. Sometimes the waters are turbulent, and what vanlife is teaching us is to to roll with the waves, not fight against them. Like Alan Watts says ‘if you try to smooth over the water with a flat iron, you will just disturb it all the more’. Remember that calmer waters are just ahead, and not only that, but by being thrown around in a storm, you may well arrive in a more fortunate position than you had originally intended.

 

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