What Happened Next?

We left Shetland with mixed feelings. Our sabbatical had come to an end and, even though we often kicked around the thought of a continuation, life’s “realities” had chiseled on our decision and the smartest thing to do was to return to Sweden…for now.

As we stood on Hrossey’s deck, we passed Lerwick and Gulberwick with heavy hearts. Next day, the drive from Aberdeen to Newcastle was uneventful, except we were confronted with inconsequential and sometimes total absence of road directions and signs with the drive around Edinburgh. We came to Newcastle and got on board the ferry to Amsterdam without any mishaps or problems.

HollandFerryPhoto: Saturday morning sunrise. Soon landing in Amsterdam

Well in Holland, our road map was giving confusing signals. Getting back on track, we hit several stretches of road maintenance (C’mon, on a Saturday??), long lines, waiting and time ticking…traffic accident on the autobahn to Kiel…long line, waiting and time wasted…

From all this, we consequently missed our ferry from Kiel to Gothenburg! Shucks! Crap! So, using the small rural roads of northern Germany, we followed an alternative route from Puttgarden, Germany and caught the ferry to Denmark. It was now nighttime. Drove through Denmark. Crossed the Öresund Bridge to Sweden and Malmö. Now on familiar turf, we were so tired that we found a scheduled castle area, dragged ourselves and sleeping bags to an elm tree and feel asleep under its branches.. It was 2 a.m. and we had been on the road for 20 hours.

OstrichFarm01Photo: Small rest at an ostrich farm outside of Stockholm

After a few hours of sleep, we drove to Växjö and stayed with an old friend, getting some R & R that Sunday. Monday morning, we continued to Nynäshamn, just south of Stockholm. I had a job interview for a teaching position next morning. Tuesday noon, after the interview, we drove to Umeå and stayed one night with our oldest son. Wednesday, August 5, we finally arrived in Jokkmokk dead tired. We had been on the go with Jeppe, who never let us down, for 6 days. What a road-trip, heh?

ArrivalHomePhoto: Circle complete. Arrival home!

Thursday evening I got a call from the school in Nynäshamn wanting me to work for them. I spent Friday & Saturday helping Brita get the essential furniture back in the house (beds, for example) Sunday afternoon, I threw essentials into the jeep and drove to Umeå, stayed with our son again, and was in Stockholm on Monday. Arrived back in Nynäshamn Tuesday morning and looked for a flat, got a flat and started to work Wednesday morning at the school.

Mentally, I’m still in Shetland. I’m missing our friends, the sea and Shetland’s peaceful respect and celebration for life. But, being up to my ears with a new challenge in education and not having the time to dwell on these thoughts, I’m not sure what topic(s) will dominate this blog. Possibly, comparative thoughts about both Shetland and Sweden? When things have settled and fall better into place, we’ll see… but, for sure, we will return to Shetland!

2 thoughts on “What Happened Next?

  1. Thanks for this article. I am about to start on my static and I have two questions.
    I was going to leave on the external alu cladding and just insulate , goretex,framing, wood cladding. Can you see any potential problems with this?
    Kingspan say I would need to use 100mm insulation board to achieve the new thermal efficiency regs. Do you find 50mm on each wall sufficient, bearing in mind I live in Scotland, I am 74 and prefer warmth.
    Best Wishes


  2. Hello-
    …and thanks for the questions. Naturally, much is individual choice with projects. I can understand leaving the alu on and saving time. However, I think of condensation and the tight seal this may create (please look at my picture of the inside of the alu cladding and how water dripped off it/ read: Static Caravan 5). I feel you want the place to breathe and leaving the cladding on will only seal up everything. Once left on and you did everything else, you’ll never re-do it, should you find you made a poor decision. Maybe smarter to remove it now? Get a few pounds from recycling it…
    This includes the alu roof. I know of someone who, before putting on a newer roof, just walked over the old alu and pressed it down. Afterwards they insulated on top of this. The results were…uh…dampening.
    Then, your questions about thickness of insulation. I put 50mm Kingspan on the outside walls because our council said I couldn’t insulate and add onto the structure more than a total of 100mm, including breathing space and timber cladding, without applying for planning permission. I held a total of 98mm on outside walls. The caravan was in town on a protected site. Check with your council on this.
    Then, think this way… inside heat rises and this is where you will loose most energy…at the ceiling level. I feel 75mm or even 100mm would be sufficient in the “loft” and with a saddle roof. Hmmm…does a caravan have to comply with new thermal efficiency regs when, what I’ve understood, caravans do not have Scottish Secure Tenancy rights? An interesting question, perhaps.
    Using 12mm timber paneling, as the inside ceiling, also allows for better insulation. Nice looking and rugged outdoorsy feeling. (lightly stain & lacquer the timber paneling white. The timber won’t darken with age and feel “heavy”) Again, look at #5 about damp and insulation. However, when choosing the thickness of insulation, please remember that the place must breathe. The thicker the insulation, the larger risk of building becomes too tight. Fresh air intake can be had from underneath where rain can’t get to it. These two things work together. Consider my drawings with ventilation.
    Again, thanks Jim.

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