WHEELED HOMES stir something in me, something that is perhaps a mixture of delight in memory, in the imagery of wheels and in all things nomadic. My first birthday was spent in this lovely old Bedford removal van, changed by my parents into a travelling home which we took across Europe and to the snows of southern Bavaria where they worked as woodcarvers. And these memories, so fond and vivid have always stayed with me. (Yes that's a little Rima in the doorway)
Since then I have painted wheels on houses and wheels on people, wheels on creatures and wheels on teapots ... I think perhaps one day my legs might curl up into a circle and grow spokes.
There is something beautiful in the turning gypsy wheel and the colourful skeleton of a wooden home that can move itself to another place, all the while taking with it kettles and beds and fire and books and family and stories.
I have just found a most delightful book which houses a treasury of housetrucks - a sort of American cousin of the gypsy caravan, written by Roger Beck who himself built four of these strange and outrageously beautiful vehicles. There is a ridiculousness to these housetrucks which I love ~ intricate wooden shacks clutching like a tortoiseshell onto an old characterful truck, complete with shingles and little dormer windows, porches and hobbit doors. Somehow I think that this sort of thing would attract the wrong kind of attention nowadays in the UK; it seems that the wilder countries with more open space like New Zealand and America have been places where these kinds of vehicles could exist.
The book Some Turtles Have Nice Shells can be bought directly from Roger Beck's website, and I wholeheartedly recommend its 191 treasurechest-pages, full with pictures of housetrucks' and buses' rustic outsides and cosy ins.
And if you like this then also try ...
Rolling Homes: Handmade Houses on Wheels by Jane Lidz and
Freewheeling Homes (The House that Jack Built Series) by David Pearson.
We have lately been nipping out in between snow and rain to begin the transformation of our lovely Bedford TK. So far we've managed to rip out the innards to make a blank wooden canvas to build our ideas on. After a few months of hammering and sawing and sewing and dreaming, we hope to have made our very own horsebox home on wheels which will carry us and our chattels to nooks and crannies and festivals and forests far and near.