Living on the road

07
Oct

Living on the road

I was suddenly aware that this weekend is my second anniversary of living in my lorry fulltime.  How time flies when you’re having fun.  So today’s blog in my very occasional series is about the joys and some of the tribulations of living peripatetically!

I have touched on some of these things before – the teaspoon test?  I was talking to friends in Harbury at their wonderful triennial Victorian Street Fair and they agreed that their attics and some of the spare rooms were just Repositories of Rubbish! If they were sensible they would put the old TV on Ebay immediately while it was worth something and not just stash it away and find that it now really isn’t!  Or give it away in one of the excellent Freecycle groups.  The happy recipient will come and take it away free!  And we’ll feel magnanimous! But no, it’s got a value, mostly sentimental, so it is stashed away for a rainy day, because, following that law that says if you have the space, you’ll fill it.

When living in a lorry it can’t stay because it has physical weight, it costs diesel to drag it around the country and that means it has to justify itself.  My rule is simple.  If I haven’t used it in 12 months, it goes.  To a friend, to Freecycle or most likely to the Recycling.  October is decision month and there’s a few things going this time.  And the beauty/utility rule still applies.  To come into the lorry it has to be beautiful or useful, but ideally both.

This means that living is very basic and simple.  I like that, it clears the mind and makes me aware of how little stuff anyone really needs.  Most of the world lives like this and have no choice.  Sorry to claim the moral high ground but I’m not living on the road to prove anything to anyone.  I just like it.

The fact of having to source water, even on occasion having to carry it from a tap to the lorry, to dispose correctly of all waste materials, again by carrying it all makes me feel in touch with myself in a way I never did when I lived in a house.  What comes in and what goes out (of the lorry and myself!) is somehow more distinct in my life now.  I certainly think about it more and that feels like a good thing.

What do I miss?  My allotment and garden, but I do have some plans in that direction, not for another Heath Robinson trailer with begonias and broccoli but to work as part of a co-operative with some adults with learning disabilities near my yard in Chester.

Of course there are moments.  Like this weekend when I found at 10.00 pm after a hard day’s juggling in Harbury that my leisure battery had died so the fridge wouldn’t work, I had no water and no tap around, the leaking power steering fluid reservoir on the lorry was empty so it was back to manual steering (VERY heavy doing a three point turn in a narrow Harbury street which I had to do with the whole village looking on), and then the generator refused to start.  All I could do was go to bed and hope there was enough ice in the freezer part of the fridge to wait until morning without the food rotting.

But there was and I limped back to the yard and will obtain a new battery today and meanwhile can plug into the mains at the yard.  And there’s a tap with a hose…. So no, I haven’t yet cut all the umbilicals with 21st century plugged-in living.

Maybe someday I will, but until then, like the rest of us, I am very grateful for those luxuries we shouldn’t take for granted… like 240 volt mains and running water.

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander