I decided to return to fulltime living on the road in 2011. I had already been using my lorry as a mobile home during my summer season but always had rushed back to bricks and mortar at the end of a stand. The lorry is a 1985 Ford Iveco Cargo 0609 with a 4.2 litre Ford engine. When I bought it from the previous owner, who had done a basic motorhome conversion, it only had 21,000 miles on the clock. I have since done a lot to it and driven it many, many more miles.
I have had the outside extensively painted to look like a house by a great scenic painter and designer, Rob Symington. It’s really two houses; a posh one on the front and a tenement on the back. I live between the two worlds. That suits me.
I hope that some of the things this section will do is to persuade you that the possibilities of living well, comfortably, legitimately, morally, ethically and above all happily in a mobile home are well within anyone’s grasp. And then of course there’s the romance of all that travel. The simplicity of the lifestyle it forces on anyone who does it makes for a very worthwhile way of life, often free of the stress and worry that others suffer.
But no digression into the realm of ethics or romance, let’s talk money. Rent to start with. Well if I didn’t have a travelling theatre, a lot of props and a need to keep all that stuff looking good and working properly then I would have no rent as such. There are plenty of ‘wild camping’ sites in the UK where you can park for free. Provided you and the vehicle are legal the police cannot arrest you just for living on the road.
I suppose road tax, insurance and maintenance is the equivalent of rent. But for me I do need a place where I can work on things and the side of the road is not a good place to do that so I rent a yard and a big old redundant factory alongside up in wildest Cheshire. There is space to pull the theatre trailer inside so during the winter months I can take everything out, repaint and renovate it and build new props.
To keep warm in the lorry I have my trusty and beloved wood burner that is by far the best thing I’ve ever installed. A basket of logs and a few smokeless fuel bricks lasts a day and a night and the heat is drying as well as warming.
So, to summarise, I live cheaply, very simply and I love my life. I don’t smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs. I am a vegan so feel OK about other users of this frail planet. I live alone with Mimi and Blue, my two wonderful dogs, for company. And that’s me.