Friday, 26 February 2010
A Crystal Palace with wheels.
In1990 we started out on our 'mobile living' adventure. Jeffery's father had recently had a heart attack, and, as his home was on the south coast while ours was in mid Wales, visiting him had been difficult - we could not afford a car as well as a mortgage and 3 children! Becoming mobile was clearly important, but so was having a home - how to square this particular circle? At this time i was home schooling the children (the eldest of the 3 had become school-phobic, following major bullying, and the 2nd had specific learning difficulties which were neither acknowledged nor supported) so staying close to school was not a problem, the only tie was the house and my husband's job.
So, we asked ourselves, could we combine home & transport? To cut a long story short, we decided that a large American-style motorhome would give enough space and conveniences, and give us independent transport, too. With the dubious support of the Bank, and putting our house on the market, we invested in a 'Camp Mate' RV on a Chevrolet base vehicle. The next year or 2 were a VERY sharp learning curve! Over the past 20 years we've had an eclectic collection of vehicles, ranging from our swank RV through a converted ambulance, a bus we converted ourselves and a real Gipsy Vardo (20th century style!) to our present, brand new caravan.
It really has been an adventure, or rather, a succession of them! Nor have they ended yet, the comfort our present home has offered us through the recent, harsh winter has far surpassed any previous home - with or without wheels - so we are not tempted to return to bricks and mortar. We have survived losing a wheel at speed from our caravan while towing (I recommend Al-Ko's safety hitch!) many snowy winters when house dwellers shivered in cold, disconnected houses, and lots of trying extrications of large vehicles from small spaces (e.g. tiny Welsh country lanes!) We have enjoyed spending nights in many glorious locations, such as a lay-by overlooking Jura, where we watched the sunset over the Paps with amazement, or another where we had no tv, phone or radio signal, but were lulled to sleep by the rushing of water flowing down the granite cliffs on the opposite side of the glen.
Our gipsy caravan was probably the most spectacular of our homes, with its glittering chrome, mirrors and glass everywhere - including engraved windows! Tasteful it may not have been, but glorious it most certainly was - if it hadn't weighed so much, we'd probably still have it, but it simply took way too long to get from A to B, and climbing a hill was a nail-biting affair!
Our present, luxurious Abbey Spectrum535 will certainly remain home for some time (barring disaster) and I am confident it will be our window on many new, exciting aspects of Britain, and possibly further afield.