For those who are new to my blog (and there are quite a few new readers lately I am very pleased to say), I am going to take you on a brief tour of my lovely lorry which will be accompanied with a photo series on Instagram (mralexander1234).
My fulltime home is a Ford Iveco 1069 lorry made in 1985 during the redoubtable Good Old British Industry Thatcher era. I will talk engines in a later chapter but I will talk first about the space it gives me to live in.
The actual internal box is 5.7 metres long by 2.3 metres wide by 2.1 metres high. The actual living space (not including the workshop/store) is an almost perfect double cube. Classical proportions. The box was already divided into three when I bought it. It was originally an NHS screening vehicle with a wheelchair lift built in (subsequently removed to reduce front axle weight). I have kept the basic divisions it was built with. The largest is the living space with a door through to the toolstore/storage/porch/dog feeding area. From here there is a crawl through to the lorry cab, the passenger seat of which is converted to a large dog bed where my two little ones sleep and travel. The third area is the bathroom which takes up one corner of the living space.
The rest of the living space itself consists of three different areas, although in reality it is only one space. Living, kitchen and bedroom.
Living room. I have a sofa, a chair, a desk, a small dining table for myself and a large one (seating up to 5 people comfortably). The chair, desk and the dining table have been designed and made for me by Suzanne Hodgson (www.suzannehodgson.co.uk). She also made the cupboard doors. I have built the sofa as a wedge shape as when I’m stretched out on it my feet don’t need the same width as my shoulders. There are various cupboards and store spaces. Every space is used for something. Under the sofa is a large log store for the most essential piece of equipment I have; my lovely woodburning stove. It’s from www.windysmithy.co.uk and the model is called Wendy. 2 Kw output keeps the living space toasting in the coldest of snowy nights. It burns smokeless fuel and logs.
Kitchen. The hob is a small two ring unit which I have found perfectly adequate for all cooking requirements set into a worktop with a small sink at the other end. There is an oven above the wardrobe with a cupboard above that for toaster, blender and various larger kitchen items. There is a microwave above the hob and two ceiling cupboards for food. I have a large fridge/freezer under the hob which automatically switches between gas/mains and 12 volts. There are two cupboards under the worktop for saucepans and plates etc. A drawer unit for kfs and oddments. There are another couple of shelves, including one behind the oven. Again, every cubic inch of space is used for something.
Bedroom. The same wedge principle that is my sofa also applies to the bed. I had a specialist mattress made to fit (www.shipshapebedding.co.uk). It is extremely comfortable. Above the bed is a book shelf and a gooseneck clip for my iPhone so I can listen to podcasts at night. My TV is at the foot of the bed on a swivel bracket so I can also view it from the sofa. Under the TV is the DVD player, hard drive and Freesat box, linked to the automatic satellite finder on the roof. I have Chromecast so I can watch catchup TV and Netflix when I am near wifi.
Utilities. I have a 100 litre water tank slung underneath which feeds the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink and shower and an external shower (hot and cold) fitting for hosing the dogs and filling buckets outside. There are two hot water sources: a caravan water heater which heats about 10 litres of water at a time and is gas or mains electric driven. It supplies the kitchen sink. A second water heater which is an on-demand gas driven Burco boiler which feeds the shower, bathroom and external shower. This means I can have as long a hot shower as there is water in the tank. Lovely. The bathroom is a wetroom with basin and a cassette toilet.
I have an air conditioning unit on the roof for the very hot days. It keeps the living space just right, especially when I am working shows in the height of summer.
There are both 240volt and a 12volt supplies wired throughout the lorry. The 240volt circuit starts with a Consumer unit with trips under the worktop. On tour the system is driven by my trusty Honda 3Kv electric start generator (with a remote start for turning it off at night from my bed). The generator tours in the step well of the lorry so I don’t have far to lift it. The 12volt system is driven by three leisure batteries charged from a solar panel on the roof and by two in-built trickle chargers. The 12volt system runs the water pump, lights and small battery chargers.
The gas is fed from a 100litre LPG tank slung under the body. I fill it at LPG stations on the road. A tankful coats about £20 and lasts several weeks. I can also connect a Propane Gas bottle if it runs out.
Design features, ambience and art. The inside of the living space is lined with wood. Mostly cedar as it is very light and has a lovely patina and colour. I suppose the style is gypsy/showman/ethnic. I have a few pictures and some small sculpture, mostly originals which have significance for me. I have quite a few photos and a lot of objects of all sorts; a lot of wooden things. I love wood. If I find something a really like I will try to adapt it for a use in the space, but as it is small I have to be very careful. Things must be useful or beautiful and preferably both. And lightweight.
So there you have it. To finish with I have to say I love the space it provides for me. It suits my work and lifestyle perfectly. Once a year, usually in winter I go through all the objects in the space. If I haven’t used it or appreciated it at least once in the previous year it goes out. There just isn’t room for things that I don’t use or appreciate often. And the bare minimum of things. Just one teaspoon. But a very nice Sheffield silver plated one.
If you’d like a proper tour ever do ask at an event. I’ll be very happy to give you the grand tour for real.
All the best from a road near you,