HELLO! Happy Christmas! And thank you to you all for such a jubilant waving-off! We have travelled the whole length of the country through rainclouds and sunclouds and in and out of radiator leaks and battery failures to get here, although we have always been "here" wherever we stopped along the way and we've always been heading "there".
Gradually day by day we have settled in to our wheely home and begun to realise why we did it. We have had warm candlelit evenings by the fire eating mince pies with cream and saying to each other - do you remember leaving all those months ago? (when in fact it was just the previous monday) Days turn into weeks when the scenery changes so fast and your days are so full of so many faces. It is wonderful to wake each morning to a new tree outside the round bedroom windows, and in its branches, a new bird singing. As we have headed south, the cold Scottish winter has lessened its grip on our toes and there have even been days on the street selling pictures without coats!
We have been lucky enough to find forests or at least a tree or two beside which to park each night, and have met interested people young and old along the way who have come inside our house to nose about. Sales got gradually better as we headed south too, culminating in a shockingly lucrative two days before Christmas in Canterbury - our favourite town to sell!
The TK is a beast of a thing to manoeuvre around little snaking lanes and is left floundering on slightly inclined motorways, managing a top speed of about 45mph. And of course there have been mechanical stresses too.. our last leg of the journey was made through heavy four lane traffic with a bolt stuck in a radiator hole to quell a leak until we could reach "dry land". I had to leap from the vehicle amid traffic to refill the leaking radiator with water whilst impatient drivers zoomed round us. We just made it to Canterbury and found ourselves heartily welcomed. It was a delight to meet kind folks of all sorts in all corners. The Brothers of St Francis whose wall we sell our pictures against were accommodatingly friendly and the Park & Ride attendant offered redundant tree stakes to burn in our fire which we delightedly collected from the emptying carpark to bemused stares from the departing shoppers.
However we had reached our final selling destination with no leafy corners in which to moor our land boat, and were beginning to worry a little. Thank you for all your kind offers and ideas.. You may well be hearing the rumble of a Bedford engine up your lanes one day :) On the day before Christmas eve Tui got into conversation with a nice bookbinder man inquiring about a commission. The converation turned to houses and horseboxes and he said "well if you are stuck for a place to stop I have an orchard with a barn on it where you'd be welcome to park"... what a perfect turn up that was! And so we trundled away from town with bulging wallets on Christmas eve to find this excellent spot where we have been given kind permission to stay for a while. This was just the most perfect outcome after all these long months of work, exhaustion and bad weather, and there we'll be able to spend a time resting. We can rig up internet and power, make windows and build roofracks, mend radiator holes and add another layer of waterproofing. And I can paint clocks at my desk and we can take afternoons for reading books and wandering about the hedgerows. And after a time there we can wander off again :)
Christmas Day dawned over young apple and quince trees, Kentish oast houses and a draughty barn; the early coo-hoo of a wood pigeon made us feel very much in England. I have noticed a phenomenon amongst folk we meet whilst selling.. they almost all ask "where are you based?" or "where are you from?". It's a strange question anyway, because you never know whether that means where were you born or where do you live.. and when your house moves about it's even harder to answer! It seems an interesting need in people to be able to pinpoint some kind of originating place, and it makes passing through other people's originating places all the more interesting.
I am writing at present from my family home where we have been able to spend lovely time at Christmas; and dotted amongst these words here are pictures from our journey: sunrises in Lincoln and tree-stake fires and peeps in and out of our door. Soon I will be blogging from "our" orchard and I look forward to making stories and creating things from inside our lovely creation of a home.
We wish you all warm and happy tale-filled Christmastimes all over the world wherever you are from and wherever you are going to in 2009!