Hair shirted: There's a phrase beloved of my friend and fellow blogger Aril from Gnat Bottomed Towers. It doesn't describe us though for although we like to be careful with our pennies, we like our creature comforts. The music video is for you, Aril. I think you'll like it.
Now Mad Dog Mcrea are a much loved local band that I've seen many times, and written about before. They do a cracking version of 'The Bare Necessities' but alas, the sound quality on the You Tube videos that I found were lacking. Insteead I've substituted this one to reflect my gypsy ancestry which may account for my wanderlust. It also goes with my current living status that's still giving rise to rather a lot of lucky heather and peg quips!
Life on the Appalachian trail demonstrated that I can cope perfectly well in the wilderness although a recent Facebook quiz suggested my knowledge is rusty. There is a high likelihood that I might be eaten by a wolf within a week. Some people who take to this wheeled way of life are way more hardcore that me. Even though I have a smattering of survival skills, I'm not the type to park the van in the middle of nowhere and live off-grid, though I read the website with interest. Rather I try to replicate modern day living as far as possible, albeit in a smaller space. I've chosen my campsite and motorhome model carefully to do this. Here's my list of essentials:
- An on-site launderette: I don't want to relive my student days lugging a load of dirty laundry for miles and watching my socks go round in a drier for hours. Nor do I feel it's right to take up the offers of friends and use their machines. Because I use the driers here I don't need to iron. The task actually takes less time that it used to when I lived in a brick built house.
- No bar or on-site entertainment: Sure I like to party as hard, nay harder, than the next person but there are limits. I have to work after all. The site is quiet and allows me to sleep and relax in peace. I'm not woken up at all hours by holiday-making revellers.
- A decent phone and data signal that allows us to tether two devices at once. Most of us are heavily reliant on our phones these day and I'm even more so than most. Using all those apps instead of having stand-alone gadgets saves tons of precious space.
- Proximity of pitch to water and waste disposal. Not too far so emptying the toilet and filling the tank with my watering can seems like an Iron Man challenge yet far enough away so that I don't have to listen to others tipping their own Porta Potti contents down the cistern throughout the day.
- Hook up: On the aires of France I can live without mains electricity as I have a solar panel and a leisure battery. Appliances that can be run off the 12V supply are limited though. Charging phones and tablets involves fighting for the cigarette lighter socket and razor outlet in the bathroom. Mains power allows us to plug in stuff as normal and means that I can heat the van and run the fridge without using the more expensive bottled gas supply. That's now only used to cook with and to heat the water. An 11kg bottle lasts for about six weeks.
- Hot running water: No further explanation needed. Boiling kettles is a pain.
- Sure cooking with two rings and a barbie is fine when you're on holiday. In the longer term a keen amateur chef needs to expand her repertoire. The halogen and slow cookers have allowed me to do this.
- A fixed main bed: Having to re-organise furniture and make up a bed each night would be wearing.
- Living space that is well defined allows for privacy: Our living space is multi-functional and areas can be curtained off for those Greta Garbo moments when I want to be alone yet there's a small boy hanging around.
- A decent sized bathroom: Bumping knees on a wall everytime I 'powder my nose' would have peed me off by now. That ginger cat that I see outside would be annoyed but he could be swung in there.
Well, this must be working. We're now in month five of motorhome living and still loving it!