Puppy rearing in 2017 verses puppy rearing in the 1980s

Attitudes and expectations have changed in the thirty plus years since we rescued our, little Sophie.

Sophie, a white miniature poodle, was rescued from a home nearby. We had been on the look out for a dog, but the furtherest breed on my radar would have been a poodle. Never-the-less, what’s one to do when you hear about a dog needing a new home….. And then when you go and take a look, and are greeted with a dirty, matted, flea infested bundle of something, chained up in an outside laundry with a chain heavy enough to secure a Rottweiler. Clearly, she was a dog in need of a new home.

The motley crew in 1980 – Sophie the new addition, had been bathed, but not yet clipped.

Sophie cleaned up beautifully and went on to provide great companionship for the family for around 13 years. Along with the companionship, we developed an appreciation for what owning a poodle means.

September 1982, with Paul’s mum, and Scruff (who fathered Sophie’s only litter)

Despite the 80’s upbringing of Sophie, she thrived. Being a poodle, she required regular grooming, mainly in the form of hair cuts. The tight, curly wool of a poodle isn’t easy to brush, but fortunately, cutting is usually sufficient to keep them clean and tidy. She didn’t lose any hair, didn’t get any of the odour usually associated with dogs, and the poodle intelligence meant training was a breeze.

Sophie opening her Christmas Pressie (1986)

When it came to getting another dog, the choice of breed was a no-brainer. It had to be part poodle so as to get the non-shedding coat, and to get the intelligence that would mean easier training. But it had to be a cross breed too, so as to get something a little less haughty than Sophie tended to be.

And so we chose our little Labadoodle. The choice of dog out of the way, then comes the rearing of the dog.

Sophie was feed a diet of canned dog food, a bit of kibble (but that wasn’t really the thing in the 1980s), table scraps, and left over bones from any cooked legs of lamb. We knew cooked chicken bones could be dangerous for her, but never-the-less she managed to survive many a bin raid devouring the remaining carcass of any roast chicken dinners. She was a brat for managing to open the kitchen bin, especially if she could smell chicken.

Not only did she survive eating cooked chicken, she ate her fair share of chocolate too. She survived scoldings when she did something wrong, (even if we discovered her misdemeanour many hours after the event). And she only went to the vet a few times throughout her entire life. We did our best to keep her flea and worm free with over the counter products. Her vet visits consisted of being sterilised, a couple of necessary operations to remove grass seeds from her ears, and I think there may have been a couple of vaccination shots administered over the years. We certainly never considered a yearly check up was necessary, and as far as I remember, no-one considered such a thing for their pets.

My, how things have changed.

And thanks to the wealth of information now available at our fingertips, things are no longer simple. Kibble is definitely in….. Canned food is a maybe, as is raw food. Table scraps are a definite no. Cooked bones of any sort can now cause cracked teeth or impactions that may require surgery (I wonder why that wasn’t a concern in the 1980s, and how Sophie survived all her cooked lamb bones unscathed).

Raw bones, particularly chicken necks are something to consider – depending on which vet you talk to, or which internet site you look at. Some vets say absolutely not, some seem okay with it. However, without bones, dogs teeth deteriorate at a very young age. The choices for cleaning (if raw bones aren’t fed) seems to be manufactured dental chews, and/or brushing your dogs teeth…..

One thing that has, without a doubt, changed for the better is the flea and worm treatments now available. These are now given periodically orally, and seem to do a great job. The rest of the changes though are soooo confusing!

Vet visits – Our first chosen vet was adamantly in the Kibble only diet camp. Absolutely nothing else. As we’d already done enough research to have decided raw chicken necks and wings were the way to go for dental health, we didn’t stick with her to find out how Tilly’s teeth cleaning was to be managed.

So, onto vet number two. Now, I need to digress back to our breed and breeder selection here. Once we’d decided on a Labradoodle, we needed to select our breeder. We chose a small, accredited breeder, Eungai, in Perth’s hills. Mandi, from Eungai chooses her breeding dogs carefully, given due regard to temperament, and very importantly, to hip dysplasia scores. Labrador’s, and subsequently, Labradoodles are extremely prone to hip dysplasia which can result in painful arthritis from an early age. Breeding from dogs that have good hips helps minimise the chances of this happening. So, after lots of internet research, we chose Eungai for our breeder – more on how happy we’ve been with that choice at a later stage – this post is already so lengthy that it’s almost a book!

So, vet number two – stretches Tilly’s legs out checking for signs of hip dysplasia. One leg stretches out easily, the other not so easily. The vet, being almost positive that Tilly is already showing problematic signs of hip dysplasia, advises x-rays under aesthetic. $680 later the results are back, the Penn hip scores are in. Tilly has near perfect hips…… So, thank you Mandi for the care taken in choosing your breeding dogs. The tightness in the offending leg was then put down to a sore muscle, and, wait for it – a dog physio was recommended. Hell! his muscle can’t have been that sore, he wasn’t even limping….. Anyway, we declined to go there.

We’re sticking with this vet for now – I don’t know why, but we are. Mr Tilly’s on monthly check ups until he reaches six months of age, with his next check-up next week to check his teeth are coming through correctly. What will be recommended if they’re not, I have no idea. But if, and when anything unexpected is advised, we’ll decide at the time if we’ll continue on with this path, seemingly down the road to ensure we have a perfect labradoodle specimen. A few less than perfect traits I think could sit okay with us……

I think there was dog training 30 years ago, but it wasn’t the norm. Now in 2017 not only is dog training recommended, but also puppy school, and pre-puppy school. The odd clout on the bum or snout is definitely out, even stern growling (unless its at the exact moment a mis-demeanor is discovered) is also out. All training now is to be done only with treats. Kibble diets, which seem to be the main diet recommended, need to be weighed and dogs should never be fed more than the recommended amount so as to prevent obesity.

Exercise needs to be supervised, just enough – and not to rigorous for fear skeletal damage could result. Goodness, how negligent we were with Sophie – in comparison to the dog-rearing guidelines now it seems we weren’t far ahead of the people we rescued her from.

So, with everything about as clear as mud, and totally confused, we’re going with what feels right to us.

We took Tilly to pre-puppy classes, and for now have decided to consolidate the things we’re aware he needs to learn from those lessons. We’ll probably pick up on some further dog training next year, but we decided not to continue on immediately with further formal training. Most of his training is done with treats, but he is still sometimes the recipient of some stern words, and sometimes (rarely though) even long after he’s committed a misdemeanour. Goodness, we’re only human after all, and sometimes frustration comes into play over and above common sense, and the 2017 dog rearing rules. He’ll just have to deal with his imperfect owners the best he can! Honestly,  though, he’s such a good dog, and needs little in the form of any reprimands.

The vet visits – well the juries out on where we’ll go with that in the future. Definitely, Tilly will be having his yearly vaccination boosters, and we will be administering his flea and worm medication as required. More than that I think will be on the needs of the dog, rather than the whims of the vet.

Exercise – well we walk him every day. Sometimes we let him run off the lead on the beach, but his re-call is still hit and miss, so we’re cautious with that. If, when he’s off the lead, he runs to fast, well we’re going to let him – negligent dog owners that we are!!

A cooling swim after some ‘rigourous’ beach running

Drying off after his swim – I wonder when his legs will stop growing…..

And his diet – well we’ve chosen what seems to sit right with us, and yes a good quality kibble forms the bulk of his diet. It’s such an easy way to go. We’ve opted to forbid any table scraps – mainly so as to prevent him begging for our food. The only people food we share with him is a few slices of raw apple. We feed him a few raw eggs a week, a few spoonfuls of natural yogurt over the week, and some raw meat. We mainly keep the raw meat for training treats, but most days he gets at least some. Today I’ve frozen some pieces of sheep hearts in small blocks of iced water, and I plan on using these as hot day treats that he can lick at, with meat rewards in the centre for when I’m grooming him. And every few days we give him either a raw chicken neck or a raw wing. He takes his time, chewing them thoroughly, and I know we run a risk of impactions (and resulting surgery) from the bones. We figure though that the bones are a better way to go for good dental health. Brushing a dogs teeth just seems wrong, and we’re not going there.

So, for better or for worse – that’s how we’re rearing our little Mr Tilly in 2017. It’s vastly different than the way we reared Sophie – but hey! I think Sophie did okay, and I think Till’s could have done a lot worse than to be living in our care, near the shores of  beautiful Geographe Bay.  I think come winter, when we head up to sunny Broome and beyond, he’ll be thinking he’s in ‘doggie heaven’. I can’t wait. He doesn’t know how good life can be yet –  But he will…

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Nomination for, The Liebster Award

What’s, ‘The Liebster Award’, I hear you ask, and I’ve asked myself the same question on a number of occasions. This time when Suzanne from http://www.globehousesitterx2.wordpress.com nominated me for the Liebster Award, I thought I’d better shake the complacent, cobwebs out of my hair, and try to do something about accepting the nomination.

I’ll start firstly by apologising to previous bloggers who have also nominated me for similar awards. On the previous occasions my technological fears and phobias took hold. I kept promising myself I’d honour the person nominating me and my blog for such an award by responding as I should have. However, time passed by, and before I knew it accepting the award, and thanking the person who had nominated me had left my radar. So, I hope I do better this time.

This time I’ve looked up what the awards all about. Did I understand it? – not really, except to say that it’s sort of an award set up by fellow bloggers to acknowledge bloggers like myself, and show a bit of recognition for what the nominated blogs do to enhance the lives of, not only the blog writers, but also of the blog followers. (Goodness, I hope I’ve understood correctly).

So, thank you Suzanne from http://www.globehousesitterx2.wordpress.com
(and thank you to the other people who have also nominated me in the past).

I think I’m supposed to provide links to Suzanne’s blog, and to the Liebster award, and to the bloggers that I’ll be nominating later in this post. And I’m afraid that’s where my inadequacies take over. I’m bloody useless at this techno stuff – and getting my head around how to add links – well, if I could be writing my blog using old fashioned pen and paper I would be. About as good as this techno stuff gets for me is to be able to type up my blog and add photos. Trying to get my head around more than that ends up leaving me almost frozen in panic, and sort of ends up as ‘white noise’ in my head. So, I’ll do the best I can to follow the rules of accepting the award, but apologies in advance for where my inadequacies get in the way.

I’m supposed to provide 10 random facts about myself. I hope you will all make do with the facts provided in the above couple of paragraphs – basically, I’m a bit of a numpty when it comes to technology. Putting that to one side though, I do love blogging. It enhances my life by getting me off my butt to do things. When I am doing, ‘stuff’, I look at what I’m doing in more detail, and better than anything – blogging connects me with other bloggers, and I get to experience a whole new world through the written words of others.

Next, I’m supposed to write a bit about my favourite blog. There’s soooo many, but I guess my stand out favourite, the one I can’t wait to open and read as soon as an email alerts me to a new post is http://www.livelaughrv.net. Oh, Ingrid – I do hope I managed to get your blog address down correctly. Ingrid has what she terms is a modest sized fifth wheeler. I think it’s 32 feet long – which by Australian standards is a whopper. You guessed it, Ingrid lives and travels throughout America. She writes beautifully, and more than anything I’ve ever read, or seen before, Ingrid’s photos, and writing has inspired me to want to see her great, big, wonderful country for myself. Thank you Ingrid – your writings are always a pleasure to read. I think Ingrid already has quite a large following, so although her blog is the one I get most excited about when I get the email alert, I haven’t included her in my ‘pay it forward’ nominations.

And now I need to answer the questions posed to me by Suzanne in my nomination, so here goes:

What country, city or continent would you most like to visit and why?

America – read my paragraph above as to who and what has inspired this desire. Thank you Ingrid.

What was the most inspirational time in your life so far?

When Paul and I decided to sell up and travel full time in our fifth wheeler. The dream life didn’t last – but the planning for it was amazing. Alas – the reality of the trip itself was interrupted by family commitments. Eventually, it all became to hard and we’ve since settled back into a normal, house dwelling existence.The excitement of the commencement of ‘living our dream life’ though lives on. Would I do it again – perhaps? but I think Paul’s happier as a part time RVer, so probably part time is the way it’ll continue.

What are you passionate about?

So many things. I guess one thing I’m nostalgically passionate about is breast-feeding, and the restrictions put on people by outdated and incorrect belief systems – but that’s a whole story on it’s own.

What is your favourite book, and why?

A Town Like Alice – I just love it.

What is your favourite time of year?

Definitely anytime of year when the skies are blue, the sun’s shining and there’s water near by. Hence, when winter comes to the south west of Australia, you’ll see us hitched up and travelling north. We try to follow the sun.

What other interests do you have besides blogging?

Beaches, forests, gardening, cooking and card games.

Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

Definitely the beach, but I love forests too.

Where did you go for your most memorable holiday?

Mmmm!! that’s a hard one. I have three holidays that are all stand outs. In no particular order they are as follows:

Esperance, around 20 years ago with another two couples for ten days camping in Cape le Grande national park. 

Coral Bay with brother and sister-in-law and a few other couples to celebrate Paul’s and my 50th birthdays. We rented a house that accommodated 10 people, and had a great time – including snorkelling with the whale sharks. What a buzz that was.

Langkawi – staying at Casa del mar for Christmas a few years ago. Just Paul and I, a very, very belated honeymoon. On our first honeymoon we had both Kelvin and Alice, and Paul’s mum and dad in tow – the joys of a second marriage!

Do you prefer a sunny or a rainy day?

Sunny – every time.

If you had a day all to yourself, how would you spend it?

Most likely in the garden

The garden from our Duncraig house. We lived there for 13 years.


Okay, so that’s my questions out of the way. My next task is to pay it forward and nominate a few other blogs for the Liebster award, pose some questions for them to answer,  and to comment on their blog to let them know. So here goes.

These are a few of the blogs I enjoy following (there’s plenty of others, but these ones have smaller followings, and are ones that for some reason or another, I can relate to the most):

I’m sure they’d all appreciate you taking a look as to why they stand out to me, (I only hope I manage to get their blog address down correctly). In no particular order:

http://www.inpursuitofadream.com      (fellow caravaners in the UK)

http://www.weavingon.wordpress.com      (caravaners in Australia)

http://www.andaontour.wordpress.com      (world travellers – currently in my place of birth Christchurch)

http://www.caravancorrespondent.com     (Glenys travels Australia – her writings are of a professional standard – very, very good)

http://www.amindfultravellerblog.wordpress.com     (always a good read)

http://www.boomingon.wordpress.com     (a writer from Canberra, and the first blog I ever followed. Provides a good insight into Australia’s capitol city and it’s surrounds)

And last but by no means least, http://www.lovingthefiftysomething.com  (I just love Sam’s writings. Sam has recently sold up and is now living on a houseboat in the UK. Please, my own UK followers – you really must connect with Sam through her blog. She’s an amazing writer and photographer who will teach you things about your home country that you never knew).

And now for some questions of my own for each of you to answer (I think there’s supposed to be ten, but five will do, and you are welcome to pick five more from the questions I’ve answered above for Suzanne):

1. Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing when you heard about the death of one of the following: Elvis Presley, John Lennon, or Princess Dianne?

2. Are you a ‘tours person’, or do you prefer your own itinerary, and why?

3. How do you prevent yourself from getting into a rut?

4. Are you a Christmas, or a New Year’s person, and why?

5. Christmas colours – traditional red and green, or other?

And I think that about wraps it up. Thanks again Suzanne for the nomination, and apologies if I didn’t quite get some of it right.

 

Life gets busy, don’t it.

Have you ever heard that song, ‘Life gets Tedious, don’t it.’ Well, sometimes I wish for a bit of tedium, or at least a chance to get just a little bored. No such luck – an extra hour or two in a day, or an extra day in the week wouldn’t go astray. Not to mention what I couldn’t do with a second life time…..

Since we returned to our summer house early in September, it feels like we haven’t had time to scratch ourselves. So, what’s been occupying our time:

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Frolicking on the beach

As you know, a big part of our time is now taken up with puppy training, and puppy exercising. We take Mr Tilly to the beach most days. He loves it, and so do we. The beach is like Doggy Heaven to a puppy, and having Tilly with us as we wander along adds an extra dimension to our own walks.

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Raiding the neighbourhood Mulberry tree on the way home from daily beach walk

Then there’s been the garden to organise. We’ve removed half of the front rose garden and have had a guy in to pave that area. To get matching bricks, we removed some of the bricks from the rear paved area, and decided to add a contrasting paving to the back garden. The front garden is almost finished now with its initial tidy up – less garden to maintain, and more space for visitors to park. We’re happy with it.

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More parking space, and less garden. The annuals are planted but aren’t showing yet

The rear garden has now had the contrasting paving added. It’s only been laid for a little more than a week, but that’s been time enough to tell us our choice of contrasting pavers has been a big mistake. The ones we chose are plain coloured and show every little mark.

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New plain coloured paving – big mistake

We’ve already put plans in place for them to go….. but it probably won’t be this summer. One things for sure, by summers end we’re going to be well and truly over our contrasting cream pavers!

Never mind, what’s life without change, and now we can see clearly the solution to the disliked paving is also going to solve another problem we have.

Although we live in a quiet little estate, our house is at the entrance point. Consequently we border busy Bussell Highway with just a wide verge of natives between us and the road noise. We’ve been looking for additional  ways to either block out, or distract from the traffic noise. The wrong paving choice has shown us the way. Our intention now is to remove the pavers so as to extend the garden bed at the side of the shed, and plant the new area densely with bird attracting natives. Hopefully, the bird song will provide a pleasant noise distraction. So, next years garden job is already in the planning stages. We always seem to have a list of jobs waiting…. our own worst enemies as far as cramming goes!

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Paving which will be lifted to make way for a native garden

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Grevilleas to attract the birds, some already planted, and more to come soon

Just like our last dog, Sophie, Mr Tilly is clearly going to try and get himself into any photo we take. It’s not intentional I’m sure. He just wants to see what’s going on, so follows us around like ‘a puppy dog’.

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Just checking to see if anything’s going on

We’ve both commenced a little shared job. We’re cleaning one of the schools in town, doing the primary and pre-primary classes. It’s intense work, but is only for three hours five times a week. We can choose whichever hours suit us, any time between the end of the school day, and the commencement the next school day. Sometimes we clean in the afternoon, and sometimes we go in early the next morning. The flexibility is great, and the money helps our savings stay in tact a bit.

Then there’s the planning – we always have a multitude of plans going on. Our plans are usually lose and flexible, but extent for many years to come. Currently underway is our plans for next winter’s trip, and an updated rig to make it in. Yes, we’re marketing our much loved Travelhome. It’s a slow market, so I don’t know how long it’ll take us to find a buyer, but when we do we’ll most likely replace both our cars with just one, and it’ll be one I’m happy to drive as well. The manual Hi-lux really is very much ‘a man’s car’, so we’re thinking most likely a Ford Everest will replace it, and a smaller, normal type of caravan will replace the Travelhome.

So, that’s a bit about what we’ve been doing. Paul mentioned this morning that we’ve been back for two months now, and as yet he hasn’t had a chance to take his bike out once. Yes, we’d love to have a chance to get just a little bit bored. There’s always so much to do – the puppy, the garden, the beach, catching up with friends, and making plans for the future; we enjoy it all….. A lot of the little pleasures that make for a busy, busy life.

Living the dream

Or not! The roads we travel aren’t always straight forward, and don’t always take us down our chosen path.

I read a post today from Ingrid at, Live, Laugh, RV. Ingrid travels America in an RV living the life we had planned to live. Today’s post by Ingrid was tiltled, ‘Trouble with the Dream.’ In it, Ingrid outlined some of the pitfalls encountered along the way, the less desirable side of, ‘Living the Dream’.

Currently suffering a bit of post road trip blues, compounded by the life restrictions (self imposed) of training a new puppy, Ingrid’s post brought tears of self pity to my eyes.  It caused me to I reflect on how far away from the dream life we had planned for ourselves only a few short years ago we’ve come.

The roads we choose to travel sometimes have forks in them that take us in a different direction to our planned destination. Today, I’m hankering for, Living the Dream’ again, and all the trouble as outlined in Ingrid’s post that goes along with it.

The dream

Currently, Mr Tilly is hard work. He sleeps a lot through the day but awakes to follow (and mither us) if we start to try and go about any household or gardening tasks.

A line on the floor at the entrance to the kitchen which Mr Tilly is learning not to cross

His training is going very well but toilet training’s a bit hit and miss. He loves his training sessions. He’s  responding well (with the help of treats) to soft lead walking, coming when called, and we’re getting him started on grooming. Trouble is, if we’re not giving him a play, or training session,  if he’s having a nap, we can only do something seated nearby . If we wake him up trying to get on with anything that’s not a quiet, seated activity, and that activity doesn’t involve him, he occupies himself as puppies do – by getting into mischief.

Mithering the spin mop

I’m sure that once his vaccinations, have been completed and we can then take him to the beach and tire him out, things will improve remarkably. We’ve taken him on a few walks to the beach carrying him safely in arms till we get there, or walking him down the centre of the road away from the verges where other dogs will have left their marks (possibly Parvo virus contaminated).Then we’ve been keeping him almost at the water line where hopefully the water has washed away the possibility of any dangerous virus contamination. He loves it, but the restrictions of being unvaccinated mean it’s a very contained activity.

Being safely transported to the beach

A restricted romp at the water’s edge

Only a few more weeks, and we’ll be able to take him out to picnic spots, and will try and fit in a couple of short trips away in the RV to introduce him to that part of our life. The weather will be warming up. The big tidy up of the garden after five months away will be well under way, and we’ll be settling back into our summer house. Life – currently in unvaccinated puppy training limbo, will become good again. We’ll  be out and about enjoying the wonderful South West of WA, and Mr Tilly will be out and about enjoying it with us.

And won’t  that be just, ‘a pleasure’!

Long overdue changes and updates on the way

What’s one to do at 2am when sleep’s being elusive. Last night had me perusing this blog. I know! – not the thing one’s supposed to do when sleep’s being elusive.

I started by reading the ‘about us’ page. Clearly, life has evolved. The page is now so far out of date that it doesn’t fit with where we are in life at all any longer. Sometime in the next week I’ll update that so as it fits.

Next I moved onto the ‘categories’ drop down box in the header. For some reason my side menu bar with the drop down box for ‘categories’ isn’t linking up with the header. As it’s the side menu I use when categorising posts, anyone seeking to view past posts, and using the menu from the header box won’t be finding much of anything. Clearly some administration, and a bit of a tidy up is needed.

I’ve looked at changing the header – but the fix for it is as elusive as was sleep last night. I’ve sent a call for help by way of an email to my ‘guru’ helper (Grandson – Tim). Hopefully, later this week when we take a trip up to Perth I’ll get some much needed help to get the headers, and side bars in sync.

Watch this space – I think a better format will transpire very soon…..

Free camp spots

There’s no shortage of free road side stop places when travelling around Australia. The purpose is to enable travellers to drive safe daily distances without suffering fatigue. Some have barely anything there except a place to park up, but others have some sort of toilet facilities, even if it’s just a long drop loo, and most have rubbish bins. In the eastern states there’s often water as well, but in the barren WA outback, free water isn’t readily available.

The local shires maintain the facilities in their areas, often requiring trips of many miles by their maintenance staff. Most are designated somewhere between 24 and 72 hours as the maximum stay. However, some that are particularly picturesque often entice people to outstay the designated time frame. Continue reading

Housework on the road

So, you’re a bit over housework. You’re considering exchanging your brick abode for a transportable home on wheels to get away from the repetitive grind. Think again! I’m about to burst your bubble….

A big house usually means lots of storage, so clutter can be hidden. In a caravan there isn’t a lot of storage, so the only possible way to keep on top of your clutter, is not to have any. For Paul and I, no matter how much we try to minimise our belongings, we still manage to accumulate ‘too much stuff’. The only way to be able to accommodate any new purchases is to either get rid of something, or re-organise. Re-organising is a common occurrence.

We came away with our short stemmed crystal wine glasses plus a set of water glasses. Recently found some stemless wine glasses that seem ideal as all rounder glass for caravanning, so we’ve purchased a set. This means we now have three sets of glasses on board until we get home and offload some. Two cupboards needed to be tidied and re-arranged to fit in the additional four glasses.

Caravanning means being parked often in sandy or dusty environments. One room, with roof vents, and lots of windows, most often all open, means dust finds it’s way in. Additionally, don’t forget, part of the reason you’ll be doing your road trips is to get out and enjoy what nature has on offer. More time spent enjoying nature’s bounty inevitably means you’re going to end up bringing home just a little bit more than photos. It may be sand on your feet from the beach, or it may be mud on your boots from the forest walk – whatever it is, some of it will find it’s way indoors. In a big house these little bits are hardly noticed. In the smaller confines of a caravan, without almost daily cleaning the sand and dust can become overwhelming if not kept on top of.

Your car and caravan isn’t going to have the protection of four walls and a roof to protect it from the elements. What nature drops on your rig is going to stay on your rig unless you remove it, and do what you can to stop it building up.

Some things are a constant, wherever you live. Laundry – in a caravan you’ll most likely have a small washing machine, and you won’t have an abundance of clothes with you.

Most caravans don’t have dishwasher. Without a dishwasher, and with a smaller kitchen dishes will need to be kept on top of.

In a house you most likely get away with a few daily chores, and a good weekly clean. In a caravan, you’ll most likely need to clean properly at least every other day. It won’t take you as long as a weekly clean in a house, but added up over the week you’re probably going to be spending almost an equal amount of time cleaning. No, you’re not going to escape the constant grind of cleaning, neither inside, or outside of your rig.

Here’s how we keep on top of things:

Paul will usually start his day with the ‘walk of shame’, as it’s termed in the caravan world – the emptying of the loo. We’re usually within the vicinity of some sort of proper loo at some point most days, so this job isn’t as bad as it otherwise could be. If you’ll excuse the literal expressions – the emptying of our loo is a bit of a pissy job, but it’s not a crappy job!

Laundry – we don’t have the luxury of a built in washing machine. Ours is a portable 3kg automatic Sphere which travels in our ute and is then set up under our awning. We manage to fill it with a load almost daily, sometimes even twice a day. We have our own little portable clothes line which we anchor into the ground at the rear of our van. We usually start our day by getting a small load of washing going prior to breakfast.

Our caravan interior is white powder coated aluminium. Spray window cleaner keeps it smear proof and clean. After the breakfast dishes are done, I grab a cleaning cloth and use the window cleaner to give the benches, mirrors, hand basin, and shower a bit of a clean, and attend to any marks on the walls at the same time. It all only takes a few minutes. Then a quick sweep of the floor, and a hands and knees job with a damp cloth to remove any remaining bits of dust, dirt or sand keeps on top of that.

By the time the bed’s made, the dishes are done and the caravan has had it’s daily once over, the washings ready to be hung out, then we’re done. We both share these daily tasks (except for the loo, emptying – I take care of most of the food preparation, so I figure I’m taking care of what goes into the loo, – it only seems fair than Paul should take care of it after that stage).

The outside needs to be kept on top of too, and the inside often needs a bit of deeper cleaning. So, two or three times within a four month trip, Paul will give the exterior of the car and van a good clean, sometimes even applying a coat of polish, and I’ll give the leather seating inside a good clean, and deep clean inside all the cupboards.

Polishing the car.

Telescopic ladder used for accessing the roof for cleaning.

We’re currently parked under a tree which is sometimes inhabited by bats over night. Occasionally we’ll wake to a sea mist, not often, but it creates a problem when it happens. The mist accumulates in the overhead tree foliage and drops like raindrops onto the van, bringing with it orange dust laced with dried bat droppings. Left on, the orange dust will grind into the fibreglass, and the bat droppings will eat away at the coating. So, washing it off becomes a necessity if the van is to remain looking good. A coat of polish now and again makes future occurrences easier to deal with.

It’s all just had a good clean. Neither of us are fanatical about keeping it good, but we do manage to keep on top of it. It’s not uncommon for fellow travellers to comment on our van’s finish, and they find it hard to believe it’s been on the road for almost ten years now. Yes – there’s still housework and cleaning to be done even in a caravan there’s no escape unless you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford a daily cleaner. Is it worth it though? We don’t get away from the housework, but we do get away from the winter weather, we do get out and explore, we do meet new people. To us, it’s a dream life,  so is it worth it – you betcha it is.

Newly cleaned, and polished – note portable clothes line to the rear.