We both have three months’ notice to work at our jobs before we leave. (Jeff hasn’t quit work; he’s got a year-long sabbatical.) So despite no longer living in our house, we still have to get up and get to the office looking vaguely respectable. This entails rising at six to get in the shower before any other campers are up. We manage it most of the time but occasionally, an early bird beats us to it, unwittingly putting our tight schedule into jeopardy. After my shower I go to our van (a VW Transporter), which has become our mobile storage unit. I’ve rigged up a strap along the width of the roof to hang up my work clothes. I get dressed, swap Crocs for work shoes and we jump in the car, heading for Rye station and, for me, the 7.38am train to London.
We don’t tell our work colleagues at first. It seems a bit weird and embarrassing: ‘Did you watch X last night?’ they might ask… ‘No, we live in a tent actually, so we don’t have any electricity, let alone a TV.’ Hardly the expected response of a professional journalist (me) or town planner (Jeff). But over time, it slips out here and there. Some think it’s hilarious. Others appear vaguely disapproving. Mostly, people look baffled.
Mornings are a rush, but coming home has its own special thrill. I park the car, walk along the dirt track and unzip the tent, shed my work clothes and emerge to get the stove going for dinner or fling myself on the sun lounger to catch the day’s last rays. London seems a million miles away.