PHEW! What a gargantuan journey of a mountain we have just climbed, and here, now, on the eve of our departure we sit with aching bodies and creaking minds and half mad smiles on our grubby faces.
Apologies for my quietness here of late.. this really has been a huge upheaval for us. We have felt like we've been gestating for months in a wooden sawdusty womb, elbowing for room between boxes of stuff and now this week we have been born. For all the romance of our adventure, it has been such a struggle getting to this point. There have been tears and black clouds, deep snow and ice, worries upon worries, mechanical complications and utter physical and mental exhaustion.
The animation is finished at long last and it is lovely.. and so a couple of weeks ago I climbed down the ladder from the attic where I had been living to launch myself into frenzied packing and chucking. How on earth I have accumulated so much stuff I do not know.. and it is hard being brutal when you are sentimental. Nevertheless, a houseful of chattels has had to be shrunk to fit inside a vehicle. Every time I go the local shop to buy biscuits they ask after our progress and the conversation continues between them... "could you fit everything you own into a horsebox?" "Pfrrfffffffftt! No Way!"
The MOT was a third time lucky affair, only failing for one small thing, but causing a week of worry and running about and back again. We finally have the all important piece of paper and thanks to Andy whose help was such a support. We have now been able to fill up Tui's beautiful creation with the nest of things that make a home.
Over the last few days we have been bringing our beloved truck outside the house and laying a pathway of mats across the ice from door to door. Gradually we have filled cupboards and drawers and hung pictures and bells. On each and every hook and corner there sits a little piece of colour, a little tail of our tale.
And so tomorrow is a day of house cleaning and then we're off.. somewhat later than planned, but such is life. We should manage a day or two of picture selling amongst the Christmas crowds and after that we'll just follow our noses. A wee while back we received a beautiful gift handstitched in red on white by Ciara to wish us well on our road. It is a moomin-inspired delight and I was touched indeed. Thank you Ciara.. it will grace our wooden walls and make us smile :)
This blog will continue on the road, but there will be a bit of tumbleweed blowing past here in the next weeks... we haven't organised mobile power and internet yet and until we do, blogs and emails will be restricted to internet cafes en route.
Now.. just before I go, I wanted to be cheeky and invite ourselves round for tea :) You see we have many lovely little spots dotted about the country where we park for a night or two and wake to the twittering of birds. These places are perfect for the way we flit from town to town selling pictures, but if we stay longer then we're sure to get a knock on the door from some men in uniforms. So, my cheeky question to all you lovely UK blog wanderers is ... do you have or know of a leafy spot where a beautiful Bedford and its two inhabitants could park for a few weeks at a time and not bother a soul?
Ideally a corner of a farm or similar rural setting would suit us best. We don't want to step on anyone's toes or doorsteps and wish to keep our hermitdom as well as giving others plenty of space. Really if the spot was not near any houses, that would be splendid. Obviously we'd be extremely quiet and tidy and wouldn't dream of accruing piles of scrap metal or other unsightlies. Indeed we'd be willing to keep watch, scare crows or sweep leaves or similar in return for a small spot of earth to park our house for a while. There would be a kettle on the boil for you too :)
We have a problem near London because of the new low emissions zone around the M25 which seems specifically designed to exclude Bedford TK horseboxes built in 1976. So visiting my family will mean finding a more Kentish spot as a base.
Living in a vehicle in the UK, especially England, is not an easy thing to do unless you keep moving. Scotland, where there is more expanse of nature, is easier. But I would like to try to see if by joining an old rolling wooden cabin with the wonders of 21st century communications technology, we might be able to bypass the usual prejudice and bother that comes with a travelling way of life. We don't want to get in anyone's way.. but no doubt we'll come across folk who would rather we weren't there. So if we can get an OK here and there, perhaps our wanderings might intrigue rather than strike fear and people in corners of the country can enjoy a cup of tea with us and a tale or three. If you think you might know of a place drop me a little mail to the address over there.. Thank you :)
Here for you to see are some peeks inside our newly born house. There are two new portholes and some copper behind the fire (my tiles fell off!), there's a wooden edge to the bedroom that I made, another window and many many other lovely nicknacks. Tui has been sanding off the nasty old brown paint on the outside and has nearly defeated it all.. so now it has a patchworky woodenness to it that I love. For a while the truck leaned a bit due to my books residing on just one side of it.. the lean has been righted now by a rearranging. What a wonder our house on wheels is! And we are nearly too frazzled to see it, but I think we have a sneaking suspicion that we'll realize in a few days what it is that we've done.
Last but certainly not least I want to stand on a hill and say a loud and sincere thank you to my Tui for building us such a beautiful and heartfelt home, the like of which I have never seen in my life before. I cannot wait to spend days of wanderings in it, to look outside at the new and turning world passing by our windows, and to sit by a fire together in smoke in the forest smelling the rustlings of other places ... ♥