Safe in my Father's hands

Im not one of those people who seem to just pray for things and immediately get them.  I know people like that - and their faith inspires me.  One of my friends has a million and one stories of how God has provided for her...her car breaks down, she prays for a new one, someone instantly turns up to give her one.  She needs money for flights for a mission trip, she prays about it, someone comes up to her out of the blue and offers her the exact amount she needed for that ticket.  Well its never been like that for me.  I always wondered why, now I think Im starting to see.

You see, Im also not the kind of person who believes I deserve anything I havent worked for.  Yet if I worked for it, I can accept that thing and use it as productively as possible.  So when I was considering buying a van which cost double what I was originally intending to pay, I prayed about whether I was doing the right thing.  And no miracle benefactor appeared, no-one turned round and offered me the money.  And even if they had, I probably wouldnt have accepted it.  But I stepped out in faith, and I bought it because I believe that this is God's plan for me and my finances are safe in his hands.

And 4 days later, I get a pay rise at work that will have covered the cost of the van by the time I leave.  And because I know I have worked for that money, I feel ok about putting it towards my master plan.

We are all safe in His hands, even if we dont know it until after we have taken the risk.

New arrivals

Halfway through the 300 mile journey home!

Blank slate...cannot wait to get started

Left hand drive is going to take a while to get used to!
So I made it to Southampton to pick the van up after 10h on a bus and 2h layover in London.  Though I did have my breakfast sitting opposite Buckingham Palace so it wasnt so bad.  And I made it home !!! 7h of left driving was pretty terrifying, but I managed not to crash the van and not to bruise my left hand too much by smashing it into the door trying to change gear.  And now the van is safely situated in its home for the next 18 months - and I can breathe a MASSIVE sigh of relief! Great weekend!

Springtime beckons

The world is re-awakening.  Daffodils are slowly opening, crocuses are reaching and stretching towards the sun and the smell of hyacinths fills the air.

New white lambs skip and frolic in the fields, their dark eyes filled with wonder at the stirring world.  Bold green leaves and pale blossom begin to grace the trees and hedgerows as the birds begin to sing louder with excitement into the hazy clear skies.  

Golden rays bringing the first promise of the warmth of summer fold themselves around me as the whole world seems to pulsate with the life and hope that only spring can bring.

Amsterdam freebie

On Sunday I went on a free (yes FREE) 2 day mini-cruise to Amsterdam courtesy of my nice and generous bank.  Amsterdam was cool, but I dont think cruising is for me.  I get bored way to easily to spend so long on a boat.  I went with my Mum because we are celebrating the cancer-free end of her 5 years of cancer treatment and we thought it would be nice to do something a bit different.

In Amsterdam we went to Anne Frank's house which was really thought provoking.  While its really important to understand the scale of the Holocaust in order to appreciate how terrible it was, for me all those numbers and facts tend to obscure the individuality and value of every single life which was lost.  Anne's diary and the opportunity to see the house she was hiding in magnifies the horror of the Holocaust far more than any fact ever could for me.  It hasnt really been changed since the Frank family lived there, you can still see the pictures Anne put up on her walls and the marks drawn on the wall to show how much the children had grown while they were there.  It brought tears to my eyes.

We also went to the floating flower market - which is in the picture, did our own walking tour round the central area of the city and had the most beautiful hot waffles covered in melted chocolate.  It was a good day.  Didnt get a chance to go to any of the art museums though - if Im ever in Amsterdam again I will definitely go and take a look at them.

But now its back to England, work and reality. Spring is in the air though and Im picking up the van on Saturday so its not all bad!

My Roaccutane experiences

Ok so I thought I would share this story because when I was making the decision whether to be put onto Roaccutane or not - a little internet research brought up so many awful horror stories that I was almost frightened out of taking it at all.  And Im glad I stuck to my perception that those stories, while true, were probably representative of a tiny minority.  So heres my story...

So my acne wasnt exactly horrendous when I started on Roaccutane. But it was steadily getting worse, I had been on all the antibiotics and prescription creams under the sun for YEARS, and none of them had made any improvement.  I definitely wouldnt have considered taking this drug if I didnt feel like any other less invasive treatment had a chance of working.

I have been on the drug for 3 months now, hopefully after 1 month more I will be finished.  I was told that my skin would continue to improve for 6 months after I finished the course, and that after 1 year there is a chance that the acne could come back.

So what are the downsides....well there are some...

  • I have dry skin and really dry eyes and really really dry lips all the time - but if I didnt have them then it wouldnt be working right!
  • For the first few weeks I got splitting headaches.  I honestly dont know if the drug caused them, and they have cleared up now.
  • My skin damages really easily, and it takes forever to heal.
  • My nose bleeds a tiny bit inside most of the time, its a bit painful and annoying but its not enough that Id class it as a nosebleed.
  • I have to go for blood tests and back to the dermatologist every month - this is not a drug for busy people!
  • You cant drink on these drugs.  This doesnt really bother me that much to be honest - but given this is a drug that directly affects your liver I think it is a rule that really needs to be stuck to.
  • I get coldsores...and I never usually get them.

And the works.  It really works.  I just hope it lasts.




Anna Pearce...van owner

It was THE ONE !!!!!!!! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh the excitement.

Inspection came back with nothing on it that I wasnt expecting for a van of that age...and the deposit is paid...and the ticket is on Saturday 26 March I will be collecting MY van! 

YAY! Thank you Lord! (And thank you to my friend Matt for noticing it on Ebay and giving me loads of great car advice)

Maybe you are the one....take two!

So...I think I have found another possible van.  If this one isnt The One I am seriously going to go insane before much longer.  I found it on Ebay... but I cant seem to add pictures from there...

This van is a left hand drive import which is registered in the UK.  Its got the exact engine Im looking for, super low mileage and looks like its in great condition.  It is a bit over budget but it already has some of the features that I was intending to install myself (like swivel seats) so overall it isnt too much more than I was hoping to pay.

I am willing to go over budget for this van because I have no idea when I will next find a left hand drive in the UK, never mind one that matches my requirements.  Also it is less than £1000 over budget - and who is to say that even if I do find another suitable vehicle any time soon that it would be any less expensive!

So Im getting a vehicle inspection done on it on Friday (the AA dont inspect imports...but the RAC do) so Im pretty excited for that.  I really hope that the inspection finds no major issues - as the costs of all these inspections is really starting to add up!

Im definitely going to go for it if the inspection report looks in a couple of weeks from now (next weekend Im going to Amsterdam so van collection isnt an option) I could have my van!!!! WOW.

Cheshire Moon

Last night there was a Cheshire cat moon. I love the moon, it brings out the wildness in me.  And I love Alice in Wonderland, especially the Cheshire cat.  So a Cheshire simply perfection.

'Come, it's pleased so far', thought Alice, and she went on. 'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where...' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

What I have learnt about importing a vehicle into the UK

So after much thought I have pretty much given up on the idea of importing my van, Im going to hold out for a left hand drive over here.

In summary, my reasons for this are - 

  1. Risk - the whole issue with being scammed, having no idea what Im buying or whether I can make it home seems too risky for me.
  2. Cost - while importing theoretically shouldnt cost too much, it will still cost something and potentially it could be very expensive to get it ready for its MOT.  Im not sure whether overall I would be saving enough to make it worth all the stress and inconvenience of getting a van from overseas.
  3. Language - I like to be really clear on whats happening, and that just isnt possible.
  4. Its too scary...and Im a coward!
So, whether this is the wrong or the right choice, its the choice I have made.  I have also decided that the £2000 it would cost to get a popup roof would probably be better invested in getting a better base vehicle.  So I am looking at how easy it would be to install a hammock in a van instead.  I love the idea of a van hammock!
But for future reference for anyone who is interested, here is a summary of what I have learnt about importing a vehicle.

  1. You need to get an import pack from the DVLA.  This needs to be completed once the van is in the country, and taken with evidence of MOT, tax and insurance to your local DVLA office.
  2. You need to get the MOT and the tax as soon as you get to the UK - they recommend you get the vehicle transported over because of this but I think you could work around this.
  3. The best sites to look for vehicles in Germany are and
  4. Vehicle inspections in Germany can be arranged by ADAC or TUV - neither seem like they do that thorough a check so if you have someone on the ground out there or the skills and time to go out yourself then I think that would be a better option.
  5. German vehicles come with 3rd party insurance on the export plates which is valid in any country until the plates expire.
  6. You cannot use this insurance to register the car in the UK - you need UK based insurance, which can be obtained using the VIN from one of these brokers.
  7. Personally, I wouldnt consider buying a vehicle from a country where I dont even have the basics of communication.
  8. Unless you can book a ferry a long time in advance, the cheapest way to get back to the UK by a long way is using the Channel Tunnel.
  9. If your vehicle is under 10 years old, it has to be put through a Type Approval test - the guy I spoke to at the DVLA said that most vehicles require various expensive modifications to pass this.  Vehicles over 10 years old can skip this and go straight to get their MOTs.
  10. For these older vehicles to pass a UK MOT, the most likely modifications you will have to make are to ensure the foglight is on the correct side and the headlights beam points the correct way.  Also make sure your speedometer shows values in miles or this can be an expensive change to have to make.
  11.  German vehicles should come with an ownership document, a registration document, proof of emissions testing & a TUV test, and a contract of sale.
And thats my top 11 tips!  There are some really great sites online with info from people who have actually had the guts to go through with all this stuff.

So now its back to searching through Ebay here in the UK to find the perfect van!

What am I giving up?

When I was in Tanzania I stayed with an Australian lady for a few days.  She was working as teacher for a Christian Mission organisation in Dodoma.  Dodoma is the "capital" of Tanzania - selected because it is in the middle of the country.  In reality it is just a few political buildings and one dusty concrete road which pales into insignificantcein comparison to the industry and bustle of Dar Es Salaam.  But this is not a consideration of African politics and colonialism.
Anyway this woman was one of those spirited, dedicated and tenacious people who have lived the most incredible lives by most people's standards.  She has taught and done mission work all around the globe, she was self-assured, beautiful and talented.  I was talking to her about her life and probably kept saying "wow"..."you're so lucky"..."thats great" and stuff like that - as you would.

Suddenly she stopped describing her adventures and achievements, her voice dropped and her open vulnerability has stuck with me as one of my lasting memories of her.  She told me about how whenever she goes home, all her family and old friends tell her how lucky she is, and how jealous they are of her freedom and her lifestyle.  But when they say that, all she sees is the things that she has given up to obtain that freedom.  Things that they had but maybe didnt realise the true value of.  Husbands, children, stability, security.

Not to say that she couldnt have had those things in Tanzania, or in any corner of the world, with any style of life.  But the choices we make do tend to force us to prioritise certain aspects of our lives.  I guess the more extreme the decision, the more likely it is that you are to have to give something else up

So what am I going to be giving up?  I too intend to run to the corners of the earth and never look back.  But the biggest risk of all is that most of the time, you wont know what you are giving up until it is too late.  Its a risk Im willing to take because I know what I will gain is worth the potential sacrifices. 

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