Getting into hot water?

We have decided to have a small holiday, from, ahem, our year long holiday. We have left our caravan behind at the marina and courageously set forth to explore Crete.

Now, part of the reason for this was to see bits of Crete as yet unseen by us. But the other reason…to have access to a real life, proper bathroom!

The second house on our little tour has rather disappointed in this regard. Here’s what happened;

1. Yesterday (yesterday can you believe) I thought, post kids to bed, I’d have a relaxing shower. “Turn the water switch on for 15 minutes and you will have hot water” said the man. This was not correct. Not 15 minutes, not 1 hour, nor 3. Indeed, not all flippin night. The switch, my good man, doesn’t work.

2. We realised it wasn’t hot in the morning. Kate messages the man but no response. In fairness it was pretty early.

3. Kate suspected that there was a fuse issue. She explains this to me saying “blah blah something blah fuses blah electricity science related stuff blah blah. So, do you think I should give it a go?”

“Absolutely!” Says supportive husband.

“Kerthump” goes the whole house. Everything goes out.

“Oh”, says Kate. “I think that was the wrong thing to do.”

4. Kate reports new development to the landlord.

5. Moments later random, but very pleasant, Greek guy arrives at 9 out of the blue. We say “good morning” in the traditional manner whereby I speak with a terrible accent in his language and he returns the favour with a dodgy accent in my language. We do this a few times to express our delight at the time of day.

6. He immediately fixes the electric issue. Hooray.

7. He promises that the water will be on in 3 hours. There’s talk of “petrol…topped up…turn off after 3 hours or all gone.” We nod enthusiastically.

8. He joins us for a coffee and we say “good morning” a few more times and we promise that we will return in the summer to drink raki with him and dance. He demonstrates said dance. He didn’t need the raki it turns out!

9. Three hours pass. Nothing happens.

10. He returns. Does something outside. WE HAVE HOT WATER!!!

11. We head out (the girls are climbing the walls) and return a few hours later with the wonderful knowledge hot water awaits.

12. Kate tried to shower but the water is scolding.

13. It’s 5pm. The kids are watching “the march of the penguins”. I try to have a shower. Flossy arrives. “Can I have a bath?” She’s full of the cold so I can’t say no. Get her washed and out and dressed and then…

14. “Daddy, me bath, daddy.” Felicity has got wind of the bath opportunity and she wastes no time in getting involved. And she remains there until dinner time.

15. By this time, since the water is too hot we turn off the heater. Yes, you know what’s coming. I go off and…

16. We have dinner. Watch the penguins for a bit and then get the girls ready for bed.

17. I go for my shower. Only to find Freya busy on the toilet. Note here for interior designs, please put toilets in a separate room from the shower/bath! Freya goes and then…

17 b. Flossy arrives. “I’m desperate.” Then spends an eternity with the whole performance including watching how slowly the liquid soap takes to slide down her palm, “GET ON WITH IT FLOSSY!!”

18. Finally! Peace. And the water…well, it wasn’t exactly freezing but it was a long way off scolding.

Dinner time

It’s January 5th 2050, somewhere on planet earth. Freya, Flossy and Felicity have tele-transported themselves back to earth from Mars (section 16 if your wondering) for the weekend.

We are proud of our kids. We did alright raising them. Mostly. But there was one thing we failed at. One thing we just couldn’t figure out. Something that happened every day. Something that, when it happened, our kids forgot every ounce of politeness, good manners and patience we had ever nurtured in them. That time was…DINNER TIME!!!

“Visitors identified in pouch. Repeat. Visitors identified in pouch.”

“Thank you futuristic home security system thing. That’ll be the girls.”

So, we have slaved away for hours on a delicious dinner. With the help, of course, of our chef robot, Nigella.

Me: dinners ready girls. Can you wash your hands, please?

Flossy: No! I’m busy.

Me: Erm, Flossy! (Accompanied by teapot pose)

Flossy: (in a much softer and sweeter voice) Sorry, Daddy. I mean no thank you Daddy. My hands are clean.

Me: Freya, thank you for washing your…oh, Freya! don’t scratch your bottom straight after you’ve washed your hands! Back you go.

Freya: Sorry. It’s just that my bottom was itching and so…

Me: Felicity?

Felicity: yes, Dadda.

Me: are you pooing? You’ve gone very red.

Felicity: no, Daddy. Not pooing, Daddy. Finished Daddy.

Me: Atmospheric pressure I suppose is it? Why is it always before dinner? Flossy please go and wash your hands.

Flossy: huh. Alright.

Finally everyone is seated. Nigella serves the soup for starters.

Flossy: Yuck. I hate soup.

Me: Flossy, please be polite. Nigella’s worked very hard on that.

Flossy: But it’s got green bits in it. Can I just eat the bread and butter?

Freya: I love it. Soups my favourite. Thank you! Can I watch a movie if I eat it all up?

Me: No.

Felicity loves it and dives straight in.

Me: stop stop stop. Not from the middle, Fliss. It’s really hot in the middle. Start on the outside and blow it.

Flossy: Daddy, can you feed me please? I’m soooo tired.

Me: too tired to pick up a spoon. Felicity, please stop standing up at the table.

Felicity: DOWN!

Me: No, not down. Eat. And sit on your bottom.

Felicity: DOWN! PLAY!

Me: Please sit on your bottom. Or you’ll fall. You liked it a second ago, whats going on?

Felicity: Yuck. No like.

Freya: I’ve finished Daddy. Look. I win. See how I finished before you, Flossy.

Flossy: I don’t care. I hate soup.

Me: Freya stop it and Flossy be nice.

Flossy: Sorry. Can you feed me?

Me: No. You’re 34 for goodness sake. You’ll be 35 soon.

Flossy: No fair.

Me: Felicity, please stop dropping your spoon. Here you go. Now, please don’t do that again…(drops spoon again) Felicity Fearne! That’s not good. And it’s not funny. Sit down. I’ll get it. No! I can get it. (I bend down to get it) Don’t kick me in the head, for goodness sake. Ouch!

Freya: can I leave the table yet.

Flossy: feed me!

Felicity: DOWN!

Me: aaaaarrrrrrr….

A couple of moments later Freya knocks her glass of water over with her rogue left elbow as she twists to watch a fly glide pass. Flossy starts testing if she can spin 360 degrees on her chair. Whilst Felicity is drinking her water by plunging her hand in then sucking her fingers. It doesn’t take her long to realise that this is inefficient and so proceeds to pour the contents of the glass onto the table and then slurps it off there. So much easier.

I suspect that Kate and I end up eating the main course alone. Probably crying a little bit.

Dinner times! It’s important to eat dinner together. As a family. That’s what we are told. It’s a good bonding opportunity, talk about the day blah blah. Written I suspect by someone without children.

Great things and not-so-great things about living in a tiny house – version 2.0

As the eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted my last blog post experienced some technical difficulties. My apologises. I can now add “having a dodgy internet connection” to my not-so-great things.

So, to recap, this is a list of great things about living in a small tin box, sorry caravan, and some not-so-great things. With 4 months of tiny living under our belts here’s my 5 great things.

Great thing No. 1 – Less stuff

I don’t like stuff. Pointless bits and pieces. Yuck. And with 3 small girls around, stuffs everywhere! Fortunately, living in a caravan means we literally can’t have much. There is no room. Yeah! The flip side of my minimalist attitude is that the girls collect anything and everything; stones, pebbles, twigs, leaves, leaves and twigs made into little boats, trash they find on the street (“but it doesn’t have a home daddy, let’s take it home.”)

Great thing No.2 – We get outside…a lot

It’s fantastic. Unless it’s raining, which it is at the moment. But apart from when it’s raining, it’s great. Out for walks, cycling, running, grass, fresh air, the sound of trees in the birds, just lots and lots of outside.

As a side note, has anyone else taken there kids out for a run? Good lord. What a drama.

Great thing No.3 – Seeing each other, everyday!

So, this could in truth have gone in neither category but I feeling positive today. And most of the time it is wonderful. Particularly so if you fast forward or rewind to being a working family and only spending 2 hours together a day (1 hour in the morning which consists of you shouting at them to get ready for school and the final hour of the day them shouting at you about, well, anything).

Great thing No.4 – 5 in the bed in the morning

Now, bit of a trend here, this has the flip side of never getting a lie-in. But I’m being positive…at the moment. So, woohoo, yeah, everyone in bed. It’s 6am. Yeah, bring on the day!!! No, honestly it’s lovely. A few books. A bit of a chat. Finding out all about Flossy’s latest nightmare (she saved me from dragons at the beach last night, which was a great relief).

Great thing No.5 – Hopefully having less of a negative environmental impact

Heating a caravan, for starters, is less impactful than heating a 4 Bed house. Plus having less stuff I think helps. Marvellous. We’ll be having Greta Thunderberger around for nut roast on bamboo plates before you know it.

So, that’s all the great stuff. But what about the stuff we don’t stick on Facebook! The rubbish stuff.

Not-so-great things No.1- Cleaning out the toilet

Yuck. So, everyday I have to remove the “cassette” which collects the toilet business and get rid of it. Not so much fun huh. Fortunately, we have a blue liquid which breaks things down a bit and improves the olfactory experience a little but not completely. It also creates a greenish liquid. I can assure it will be some long time before I will enjoy mint-choc-chip ice cream again.

Not-so-great thing No.2- No lie-ins

I think if we’d thought about this in advance we would have stayed living in a big house with very thick walls. But we didn’t. So, once one person is up, we are all up. Rubbish.

Not-so-great thing No.3- Washing Up, all the time

As I might have before mentioned we don’t have much stuff. The flip side to that is that you have to wash up a lot. Seemingly all the time. Breakfast finishes. Wash up. Have a snack. Wash up a bit. Lunch. Wash up. Snack. Wash up…you get the picture.

Interesting fact. Actually, let’s just say fact. We use 40 litres of water a day (mainly through washing up!) Crazy stuff huh.

Not-so-great thing No.4- Making the bed everyday

I know we all make the bed everyday but our bed is also the lounge and sofa. So we have to strip the covers off, store the duvet and pillows away, rearrange the cushions to make the sofa again, and push back the pull out slidey gig thing. And of course we have to do that again in the evening. Doing it everyday does get a bit irksome (word of the day alert, word of the day alert).

Not-so-great thing No.5- The rain and the hail

It hailed in the night earlier this week and it made the most god awful noise. Similarly with rain although not so bad. Also, to compound matters our awning (the tent that attaches to the caravan) is at the wrong height. So, if it rains in the night we periodically need to push the rain off to prevent it collapsing.

So, there you have it. A little peek into life in the caravan. But rest assured the good things out weigh the not-so-good…at least for now!

5 great things about living in a tiny house and 5 not so great things about living in a tiny house

Hello world. So, this weeks fun packed blog is all about our experience of living in a tiny house – our caravan. In our little tin box we have almost all of our worldly belongings (we admittedly still have a few boxes stored at mum and dad’s). However, we were living in a fairly large 4 bed house and we pared down massively in less than 3 months. It was exhausting and fantastically satisfying. Although you do find yourself asking “where’s that (blank) gone. Oh, I remember, we sold it.”

Now 4 months into our new tiny living life here’s what we have learnt (by the way this is not a top 5 just a 5. I place great value on the correct ordering of top 5 lists and I don’t feel that I have the authority or experience to rank this vital list as yet. In time).

Great thing No. 1 – Less clothes, less stuff

I dislike stuff. The less the better in my opinion. And since we only have a limited amount of space you have to make some tough choices; and the girls have to make the same choices. Actually it really helps going around the shops and being able to say, “I’d love to buy you that horrible plastic toy that will be in a landfill sight by the end of next week but sadly we just don’t have the space for it.”

The clothes situation is just the same. We all have a specific area for our clothes and if you its full, that’s it. If there’s

Learning to tell the time…or maybe not

This week we embarked on learning to tell the time. Oh my word. What was I thinking. And poor, poor Freya.

Time is all we have, therefore time is everything…a wuthering time for all concerned

We have “O’Clock” nailed. Easy. Great. Woohoo! And honestly that’s where the success ends, so far at least.

“So, Freya, if this is 6 o’clock where’s half past 6? Where’s half past?”


“Yes, it’s half past six, where’s that?”

A very confused look.

“Ok, so there’s 60 minutes in an hour, yes?”

“An hour?”

“Yes, an hour. Hour (me writing it)”


“No, not h…our. A silent h.”


“Forgot it, doesn’t matter. There’s 60 minutes in an hour.”

“But what’s an hour?”

“Errr, it’s 60 minutes. Stop with the questions. Now focus. So if there’s 60 minutes in an hour, what’s half an hour.”

Another confused, possibly frightened look now that I think about it.

“What’s half of 60?” Still nothing. “Ok, what’s half of 6?”


“Yes! So half of 60 is…?”


“No! Half of 60 isn’t 3.”

“30. Sorry daddy. Would you like a coffee?”

“Yes. Thank you. Now, so half of 60 is 30.”

I point at the 6. Freya stares nervously at it possibly with the thought that I’d lost the plot, which I had in point of fact.

“But daddy that’s a 6? 3 was half of 6. 3s there.”

“No, no, no, no. The 6 is 30 minutes, 30 minutes is half past. Got it. The number 3 is a quarter past.”

“What’s a quarter past, daddy?”

“That’s when the minute hand goes a quarter of the way around the clock. See, like this.”

I action the broom (aka the minute hand) reaching the 3.

“That’s a quarter past. Or 15 minutes?

“The 3 is a 15?”

“Yes, your getting it. The 3 is 15 minutes. A quarter past.”

Ah, delight!

“So 3 is a quarter of 60?”

“Someone help!”

“What?! Noooo! A 3 is a quarter of a whole. Errr, when the whole is 12 that is. Let’s look at another question. Ok, show me 10.15?”

It’s fair to say it’s a challenging topic. Possibly one approached slowly, bit by bit. And I thoroughly recommend getting someone else to do it for you. We did move on to a quarter past and a quarter to but perhaps we can talk about that another time. I’m off for a glass of wine!

Sleepless mornings

Adorable by day….

Felicity turned 2 in October. Since then she has been in the mood to experiment. With everything.

So let’s start with sleep. To her credit she’s pretty good falling asleep. However. Her experimenting with ‘when’s the right time to get up’ is testing the patience of all the Fuller’s. Remember that we are all living in a 7 by 2 metre metal box, so when one person wakes up, then generally everyone wakes up. 5.30 or 6 was historically a fair bet when we started our trip back in August. We managed to push that back to 7/7.30 through a combination of fresh air, a vigorous exercise schedule and ear plugs.

Unfortunately, things have slipped. 5.30 to 6 became the norm and then…(dramatic pause)…the clocks went back. An extra hour in bed? No chance. 4.30. Unbelievable. Then 4! ‘Go back to sleep for the love of…’

But no. Instead we get a new area to experiment with, actually two. Learning the words to ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and volume control. So, picture the scene if you will. Muggins here sat next to her bed shhhing as best I could so that Flossy and Freya and Kate could enjoy a decent nights sleep whilst Felicity hammers out,


“Shhh, Fliss. Sleepy times.”

“No, daddy. Sing Winkle Winkle.”

“No, Fli…”

“WINKLE WINKLE…(and on it would go).

The experimenting continues. Fortunately 4 o’clock has returned to its rightful place in the dead of night but we are a way off the day starting at the desired time of 7 something.

Other areas of experimentation also includes water. Always fun! We have pouring. Everywhere and anywhere. Clearly most fun inside. Splashing. Regardless of what we are wearing. I made the mistake of putting them all in welly boots and an all in one outfit in the rain. Dipping hands in our juice. Delightful. Has the double delight of displacing the sticky juice all over her high chair and the floor whilst also resulting in horribly sticky hands.

And of course, finally, yoghurt. No need to a use a spoon. And it’s preferable to be only wearing your nappy. That way you can fully experience yoghurt in its many delightful and diverse ways.

It’s just a phase. Right?

Poo on the lip

Before I get cracking with this blog, if you don’t have kids you might want to look away now.

So. This was a while back. We were living in Texas, over two years ago. I forget the details running up to the event but I found myself downstairs washing up. Both Flossy and Freya were upstairs, Kate wasn’t around so I’m guessing it was a school day. I probably took maybe ten minutes to wash up and having completed my domestic responsibilities I paused. Upstairs was silent. No shouting. No crying. No nothing. Peace and quiet. Ha ha thought I, a prime opportunity to take a break and catch up on the sports news. What a fool. As the Norwegian saying goes “never trust a silent child for it means big trouble for dad.” My peaceful bubble of tranquility was broken by Flossy calling out, surprisingly calmly,

“Daddy, I’ve got poo on my lip.”

Well, few phrases can eject you faster from you seat than those words. I bolted up those stairs in a flash whilst, very wisely I think in hindsight, advising Flossy not to move a muscle. Or lick her lips.

What greeted me upstairs in the bathroom was some sort of poo crime scene. The evidence of Flossy’s activity for the last ten minutes horribly laid out before my eyes.

What had happened?

Well, firstly, Flossy clearly had experienced some wiping issues. This was clearly not a ‘one wipe wonder’ situation. Flossy at the time was new to the toilet game and, partly due to inexperience coupled with a height disadvantage, she tended to dismount the toilet in a sort of tobogganing style, ‘push and slide’, rather than the more socially considerate ‘lift and stand’ method. As a result, well…things got messy.

Now a lot of kids would have moved on, perhaps not even noticing the compromised toilet seat. Not Flossy. Clearly troubled by the mess she decided to clean things up, at first with toilet paper and then wet wipes. And a fair amount. Some ended up in the toilet bowl, some in the bin, some scattered across the wet bathroom floor and a few in the sink! Yes, Flossy had decided to make her own wet wipes and ferry them back and forth across our beautiful white bathroom leaving a sort of brown papier-mâché creation along with little brown foot prints going this way and that. I looked at the scene agog. Only to reminded by a little voice beside me,

“Daddy, I’ve still got poo on my lip.”

How the poo got there til this day remains a mystery. Only Flossy knows and that is perhaps how it should be. But for any parents who fancy a quiet 10 minutes. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

Activity Number 3: Bird in a Cage

Yesterday was a rainy day. Not had many of them since we’ve been in Crete but yesterday was a wet one. So much so that the awning completely collapsed!

Anyhow, stuck in our little metal box of a home in the pouring rain with our 3 wonderful girls called for some drastic action. It called for….CRAFT TIME. My one rule with crafting is don’t do it in your own home. My second rule is that if you live in a caravan definitely don’t do it at home. My third rule is that if it has to be done then, for goodness sake, make sure I’m out of the house. I failed on all three rules but I remembered rule four, if you have to do craft time make sure you’ve had your morning coffee.

Fittingly, since we were stuck in the caravan we made something called “bird in a cage”.

Here is how to do it. Freya’s on camera and I’m Peter Duncan.

Bird in a cage, gotta love it.


I’ve not written for a few days. Writers block perhaps. More likely after the first few hilarious blogs I’ve found the pressure too much! In truth, I’ve not been in the mood. Things have been tough. Why? That’s not quickly answered. Life, and it’s many twists, take time to explain, to unfold and unpack. It’ll take a few blogs. First up let me start by telling you about Kate, my wife.

It was a Tuesday I think, although that hardly matters. She got up at 5.30. I, as always on a weekday, got up at 5.40. I go in the shower after she’s done, and we are invariably joined by one, two or three little people before 6. Today as I emerged from the shower felicity and flossy were in the bedroom.

But something was not right. Kate hadn’t been keen to go into work for a couple of weeks but today she was shaking, her breathing was short and panicked and her eyes; it was something like terror. Panic maybe. Pain. And then the tears. Floods of tears.

“I…I…I…can’t. I…can’t….go…in.”

I held her in my arms. Her shaking body. Her breathing snatched, as if she was drowning and yet my hug couldn’t stop her slipping down beneath the surface. At our legs two bewildered little people looked up at their parents, hugging mums legs to try and help, not understanding but full of love and determined to help.

Kate was having an anxiety attack. I will never forget it. Nor should I.

I have watched her work untold hours for more than a decade. Watched her slave away for school after school pouring her heart and soul into them desperate to give the children in her care the very best education possible. In Dubai, she woke at 5.30 every weekday, left the house shortly after 6. Usually she was home by 6, never in time for our cherished family dinner time, but in time to read her children a few stories and help out with bath time. Sometimes she didn’t get home in time. Meetings. Emergencies. Stroppy parents. All robbed her of time with her children. Days would pass when felicity, only a year old, wouldn’t see her mum. By 7.30/8 she back with her head in her laptop until at least 10, but often midnight. And for what? She got thanked by some, many actually. Many lovely people saw the wonderful work she did. But many didn’t. And, as Dubai especially proves in so many ways, money is more important than anything else. The schools she devoted herself to failed her.

But it was coming. You can’t work that hard for that long and not crack. I should have done more. Should have got her to step back before she fell back. And how she fell. Fell back into a bundle of depression, panic and anxiety. That Tuesday, after crying into my arms on our bed, somehow, unbelievably, ridiculously, she mustered herself and went into work. She never made it. She might have died that day. Her panic attack made her almost blind. Mercifully she wasn’t on a main road and had the presence of mind to pull over. She called a friend who talked to her and calmed her down.

Since that day we have made some big decisions. Decisions a lot of people don’t understand. We are spending a year travelling Europe, homeschooling our children, having breakfast and dinner together, finding out who we all are. In a tight little caravan that isn’t always the easiest thing. Homeschooling them isn’t always the easiest thing. Cooking dinner in a caravan certainly isn’t easy. Trying to tell our story isn’t always the easiest thing. And watching your wife, the love of your life, your favourite person in the world, battle with herself is certainly not the easiest thing.

As a result, I’m very defence of her. She’s dealing with a lot. Every minute of every day. Anyone with kids knows how tough things can be. 6, 4 and almost 2. Sleepless night and early mornings. Each day is exhausting and filled with unique challenges. Add depression, anxiety and panic attacks into the mix. Add the fact her father is terminally ill. It’s too much. So, yes, she can snap. She can randomly burst into tears because I put the raw meat at the top of the fridge. She can be frustrated. She can get overwhelmed. She can just want to curl up and hid. She might forget stuff or be late. Some people don’t like that. Some people don’t tolerate it. Some people are too self centred to stand in someone else’s shoes and put a bit of effort in to understand another human.

And now, we are in Crete. Her dad is dying. It’s a horrible thing to see and with all the baggage she is carrying she is trying to support him and his wife to make his final days as comfortable as possible. I’m amazed by her. Her dad should be immeasurably proud of her, as I am sure he is. She is one in 7.6 billion.