Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trailer Trash

It's taken a long time, and many aborted attempts, but yesterday, finally, my home for the next (insert best guess here) years arrived at the farm.

Why a caravan, I hear you ask? Well, my little brother inherited the farmhouse, so whilst I have 350 acres of useful grazing land, I have nowhere to lay my head at night. The plan is to build a house down by the old cow shed, but these things take time. 

The caravan should have arrived last November, and I came north for a long weekend to see it in. Unfortunately, that was the Thursday that the big freeze hit. Stuck down in Hull (where most of the big static caravans are built these days), the hauliers couldn't make their delivery time on Friday. Then on Saturday the snow arrived, decided it liked the place and was going to stay.

Three weeks ago, with the snow mostly gone, the hauliers tried again. This time they got as far as the farm entrance, but where thwarted by sheet ice, compacted by the coming and going of tractors. I wasn't here to see that, but apparently there was a great deal of swearing and ill temper involved.

And so to yesterday, with the ice all melted and the snow only still clinging to the tops of distant mountains, the caravan finally arrived here. And it was huge.

You'd think I might have been expecting this. I knew that it was 35 feet long and 12 feet wide, after all. And I'd seen photographs of it, with people standing inside to give me an idea of scale. But nothing quite prepares you for the reality of something that wide and that long. Also the friends who went to view it for me, since it was in Fife and I was in Wales and unable to make the trip up, are both quite short. This buying from a distance had worried me a bit - these things aren't cheap, after all.

Now that I've seen it in the flesh so to speak, I'm in the main relieved and actually quite happy with my purchase. It's not perfect - seven years in a park on the south coast of Fife was always going to have some effect - but it's got double glazing, central heating and extra insulation. The main living area is large enough to swing a cat, which soon I hope to be able to do. I've sited it in a Dutch Barn, under cover and protected from the prevailing wind and rain by a slatted wall. I think I'll be OK. Once I've got the slabs and blockwork installed properly so it's sitting level and safely supported.

Then all I have to do is get the electricity supply connected; tap into the water pipe going to a nearby animal water trough; find somewhere I can buy bottled gas for less than the GDP of a small South-American republic; and organise for a man to come and dig me a pit for a septic tank or similar sewage treatment system. This last will also serve the house I intend to build, so whilst it's a considerable expense, I can compartmentalise it in the 'house building' fund and not feel so bad about spending the money. 

Still, if you'd told me twenty years ago I'd end up living in a caravan, I'd have probably called you something rude. That or punched you on the nose. I mean, me? Slumming it in a Pikey caravan? Never. 

Just goes to show something. Not sure what.

Next up, cows. And maybe even some sheep. Yes, we're going farming. Ooh arr.

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