Another year older and…

Well, the odometer has clicked round another digit. Nothing much appears to have changed – apart from the view of the garden. It is going to take a while to become used to opening the curtains and seeing a tatty old caravan out there.

The van arrived yesterday afternoon, shortly before the end of Mr L’s working day. He kindly abandoned his desk to attend to matters. A five person delivery team (thanks, people!) and Mr L  winkled the van into the space beside the conservatory. We then drove the Land Rover round to collect the breeze blocks that prop the van up. The weather by then had become quite stunningly beautiful and we decided that now was the time to move the van into its intended position.

The LR was on a bit of a tilt when all the breezeblocks were loaded in it
The LR was on a bit of a tilt when all the breezeblocks were loaded in it
Nell thought w emight be going out somewhere
Nell thought we might  be going out somewhere

A complicated procedure ensued, made more difficult by our inability to do anything useful with the jockey wheel despite liberal application of WD40 and a large hammer.  The car and Brunhilde were backed down the track  to give us some space to play with. Mr L drove the Land Rover around the back of the garage. The pair of us hauled the van out of its temporary parking and around the corner of the garage, where we had to deploy the trolley jack (with great difficulty) in order to hook the tow bar. My task was to watch that we did not make contact with the oil tank or get into a guddle with The Heap. I pointed out that on that last count, the horse had already bolted. So a spade was applied to The Heap in order to clear the way. There was little room to work in.

It was a tight squeeze round the back of the garage
It was a tight squeeze round the back of the garage
We had to dig back to make room
We had to dig back to make room
The tight squeeze from the other direction after everything was back in place
The tight squeeze from the other direction after everything was back in place

Mr L fired up the LR and… nothing moved. The rear corner of the caravan was sat on The Heap. I pushed. It worked and forward momentum was achieved. We inched the van past the oil tank and around the far corner of the garage. This manoeuvre involved unhooking the van, lifting and tugging it into a better orientation and re-hooking it again. Mr L towed the van down the grass and into the walled part of the garden. I watched it around the corners and stood by as my new washing line stretched taut over the top of the van and finally snapped.

On site in the walled garden...
On site in the walled garden…

The process of siting the van was a complex one involving several un-hookings and re-hookings. Everything was made more difficult by the presence of stone walls (many multi-point turns were needed) and the chook’s large dirtbath hole in the middle of the grass. We could have done with somewhat drier ground too. Hooking on the van required the trolley jack every time and as the Land Rover does what Land Rovers do… i.e. rolls forward when the hand brake is applied, getting the two to marry together was no breeze. Eventually we adopted a method of : Mr L jacking up the tow gear, then jumping in the LR and backing up, me guiding the backing up, him holding the LR on the foot brake and me jumping over the tow gear to let down the jack so that the coupling just happened automagically.

...and she'll probably stay here until she is broken...
…and she’ll probably stay here until she is broken…

We got the van more or less exactly where we wanted it just at the point where my hands were blistering and my back was giving out. If we had needed one more manoeuvre I think I might have just given up and dissolved into tears, crying “let me keep my room! I don’t want a caravan studio!

For context
For context

It was approaching 7 pm and I was hungry. I suggested that we leave the support blocks for another day and go and drink beer instead.

We both felt much better after a liberal application of Leffe Blonde, home made bread and Orkney Smoked Cheddar and a long soak in a hot bath.

Not many towings left in this, I think
Not many towings left in this, I think

Mr L remarked that the van looked a lot better than he recalled it to be and I kept my own counsel on the matter of thinking it to look a lot worse now that I could see it clearly. It is what it is. A geriatric caravan. It is no beauty but the frame is rebuilt and the walls have been insulated and it has a new and stronger floor. We are informed that it is water tight. It has mains electricity, 12v electricity and a water supply. Various essential caravanny bits have rusted away – the stays are useless and it looks as though future towings may be impossible as only a little more rusting is needed for the gear to crumble. It is likely in place now forever. A shed on wheels.

Meanwhile indoors things are progressing slowly...
Meanwhile indoors things are progressing slowly…

I have no idea how I am going to get all my fibre stuff into my van. I should be honest with myself and admit that it is not all going to go in. As a studio it is going to resemble more of a storage space than a work room. That said, I will ensure that there is room for my spinning wheel and chair. The rest can stack up about me. The trick will be to spin up all of my fibre, then knit all of my yarn, and gradually remove the storage boxes. That process is going to take years. I wonder if the caravan will hold out that long.

Where is it all going to go ?(and this is not all of it!)
Where is it all going to go? (and this is not all of it!)

I began by essentially saying that we have planted an eyesore in the garden. We shall most likely paint the van. What colour, we do not know. We have some BRG paint that was bought for the MGB that we had under restoration. The MG is long gone but the paint remains and would be the sensible thing to do. It is traditional to paint caravans green to blend in with the countryside but BRG will look a stark contrast against our white-painted house. A white-ish shade may do better. I was thinking perhaps Limestone.

In reality I expect we will become inured to the view and laziness will take over, the van remaining its current subtle blend of shades of algae, rust and the original paint job.

Is “inured” the word that I want? I am having a Senior Moment with my lexicon. That’s OK, I am allowed. I am officially ancient. I am (OMG!) Sixty-three. Bl**dy birthdays.

Today, I am aching and sore and suffering from a surfeit of sun. Mr L is so tired that he scarcely knows what to do with himself. I am going to treat him to a nice chicken and mushroom risotto for his lunch. Feed him up and restore him, that’s the way. I doubt very much that we shall be moving breeze blocks this evening. There has been talk of taking Brunhilde away this coming weekend and taking me out for a birthday dinner. I think that perhaps it would be better to spend the time propping up and tying down the van and filling it up with stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.

Does my van need a name? Suggest one in the comments if you think it needs anthropomorphising.  Is it a she or a he? Rusty is a good androgynous name…

And now I must carry on with my packing. Mustn’t forget lunch today – yesterday I was late in turning up the heat and lunch was very late indeed, endangering Mr L’s weekly team meeting appointment. He is a wonderful husband, whereas I am a terrible wife.

Honesty is the best policy

UPDATE: Pitch has to go. Not only does it force images into a slideshow when I want a gallery but it hides the captions that I spent ages typing in and does not allow clicking on the images to get a larger view. In short – Pitch is Pants. The search for the perfect theme goes on, just not today.

One Comment

  1. spinninggill
    May 19, 2015

    I don’t know why, but the name ‘Hortense’ popped into my head! 🙂

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