The next step: Oxford bound

No Fixed Abode

As everyone knows by now, we’re not in the habit of staying in the same place for too long. That’s why, on this sunny Cornish morning, we’re saying goodbye to Bude and heading off to our next stop: Oxford.

This has been on the cards for a long time, so it seems kind of (understatement) surreal that this is actually happening now. Ever since Beth was accepted onto her master’s degree months ago, back when we were in Bath, we’ve been preparing ourselves for this day. It was the event that prompted our decision to move into a tent to save money – the whole reason we’ve spent the last few months travelling around and trying to stay afloat. And now the day is here – and we, as always, feel pretty underprepared.

Logistically, though, this move has all the right ingredients to go smoothly. We’ve planned for the five hour drive thoroughly (aka we have snacks and a cracking Spotify playlist), we’re prepared for the worst case scenario (aka Beth finally joined the AA), and we know where our next home will be. Spoiler alert: it’s not a house. But you could’ve guessed that already, right?

Staying true to our vow of not having a fixed abode, we’ll be moving into a static caravan in one of the villages outside Oxford. It’s hard to tell at this early stage whether we’ll transition well into caravan living (definitely a step up from a tent, though!), but I’m excited to see how we get on. We’ve only seen pictures so far, and a five minute video tour, but we’ve been liaising with our new landlord for a little while and have high hopes that this little mobile home will suit the two of us well. I’m just excited to scope out our new neighbourhood – and neither of us have actually even visited Oxford before, so it’s a whole new experience for us both.

We’ve had such a great time this past couple of months in Bude, and I’m so thankful to Beth’s family for making it so wonderful. Her mum welcomed us onto the campsite that she lives on, and when it was too windy and rainy for camping, her dad and step-mum invited us to stay with them. Everyone has been so warm and welcoming and we’ve never gone without food, water, and a roof over our heads. It’s given Beth a lovely opportunity to spend time with her family, and given me chance to get to know new people (and also lots of time and headspace to write!).

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I’ve managed to pop back to Bath for a few days, where I finished writing the manuscript and did the majority of my edits and re-writes. It was great to just hole myself up in a hotel room and really have no distractions from my novel – and it’s also great to know that the hard work paid off. I squeezed in a lovely couple of nights with my wonderful friend Elysia, and then popped to Portishead to stay with my other wonderful friend, Jen. Once again, I’m always humbled by the amount of people, near and far, that are so willing to have me stay with them. I know I’m probably a bit of a whirlwind to have around (particularly in deadline season!), but I’m so grateful for the brilliant friendships I have. I hope one day (maybe when I have a house…?) I’m able to return the favour.

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Although Beth obviously has plans to start her master’s degree on Thursday, I haven’t lined up a job yet, so I’m apprehensive to see what line of work I’ll end up in once we arrive in Oxford! Regardless, I’ve always maintained that my career is my writing, and I’m happy to work little side-line jobs in the meantime to make ends meet. I always seem to end up doing jobs I could never see myself in – so who knows where I’ll end up! So far, I’m feeling prison guard… or possibly ushering in the local cinema…

One plan that I do have, though, is my writing course that starts this Saturday (22nd), and I’m really excited to get cracking with it. I’ve had some great responses on the event pages so far, and since it’s something I’m so passionate about teaching others, I’m hopeful it’ll turn out well! If you haven’t heard about my course yet, have a look at the Facebook event page. It’s focusing on using writing as a mindfulness technique and a form of therapy – and tickets are absolutely free for the first introductory session. Grab your free tickets through this Eventbrite link and pop along if you’re in Oxford this weekend!

In the meantime, one of my manuscripts is currently sitting on the desks of five editors at children’s publishing houses, and the other one I’m due to hand in in a few days time. So I’ve a few last minute edits to be getting on with! Please send all your good vibes to the two of us as we try to navigate moving, our new city, getting jobs and finishing / starting our degrees. As always, there’s a lot on our plates…

But it’s always better to be busy than boring, right?

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