Living close to the weather

With the rain drumming on the lorry roof, the wind shaking the suspension, it being almost dark and only three o’clock in the afternoon, I can’t pretend any more that the winter is yet to come. It’s here now and if you’re a regular reader of this blog you will know I don’t much like it. 

There are a few compensations. I do like the sound of the rain which is so much more obvious than from inside any house.  It’s almost comforting so close when the wood burner is crackling and the interior is dry and warm. It means I notice rain the moment it starts (good if there’s washing on the line).  And I know when it stops (good if you’ve dogs to walk). But being that close to the weather also means there is the occasional leak. There’s only about an inch or so all round which keeps the weather away from the dogs and me and there are a couple of places where it does fail, especially in a severe downpour.  I don’t like leaks but they are part of lorry life so I have to deal with them.  I spend most of the long static uneventful winter months in my yard.  As I am here for most of the winter I can spread a little and adapt to keep the worst weather out.  For example, I have the awning permanently open on the side of the lorry just enough to keep the rain out of the leaky middle door, but not enough for it to be rattled around by the wind. I spent a day earlier this month filling the gap between the lorry roof and the awning casing with mastic.  The positive result is that the rain no longer seeps through to the inside of the door into the living room. It never caused too much damage as I could catch most of it in pans and as the wood burner is nearby (nothing is too far away in this tiny space) it all dried again very quickly.  But with the awning properly sealed to the lorry roof it doesn’t come in that way at all now. Things like that give me great pleasure.

I don’t like the long nights. My yard is in the country so there is little or no city glow in the sky.  It means now that early evening walks are very black.  But great skies if there are no clouds and it’s good to feel so close to the extraordinary cosmos.  Great for the imagination. I have recently bought a another LED torch which has a wide and bright beam.  I am like a child with my torches.  Back in the lorry I do occasionally feel claustrophobic for hours in the dark.  It is quite a small space even for one person. But there are some things that help.  Good and varied lighting sources (Mains and 12 volt) that change the feel of the space.  I’ve been playing with different LED lights with some good advice from my friend and ‘ingenieur’ Ralph.  With LEDs I can change the lighting and provide a bright atmosphere at a low running costs and by switching some off and others on I can instantly change the feel and look of the space. I use rechargeable batteries, charged by a 4ft* 3ft solar panel on the roof.  There’s room up there for two more which I am saving up for. I also have a selection of sensor lights all over the place so as I walk around the tiny room in the dark it gives me light where I need it.

I do like the feeling of being so close to the outdoors.  It is there in every view, different colours and vistas daily.  Fantastic when I’m travelling in the summer and even now with the leaves coming down in showers the view changes daily.  

I suspect there are many people who would say that there’s no way they could live this way.  In reply I say that I have had to face many challenges in this strange lorry life of mine and for the most part I find them just that; challenges rather than problems.  There have been times when things get me down, the same as everyone, but mostly I continue to love the life.  It’s remarkably low cost (see previous blog chapters on the Economy of Living in a Lorry); it allows me to live very simply; it suits me and in the spring, summer and autumn when I can travel through the wonderful countryside and meet up with all my perennial pals I love it best.

I’ve now taken delivery of the new stage support system.  I arrived at the maker’s yard last week to find that finally it was all done.  I couldn’t wait to take the trailer away and to look at the finished result.

There were still the unfiled sharp metal edges.  There were details that would need adapting.  The new legs sit far too loosely in their sockets.  The welds themselves are not clean and neat.  But overall it looked as if it might be serviceable and with a bit of extra work filing and cleaning, the new system felt as if it would be at least quicker than the old one to put up, which was the main reason for commissioning it.  It will need some adaptation to make the legs fit more tightly into their sockets so there is no movement.  Once the wonderful Rob, my scene painter, has worked his magic with the paintwork I am sure it will be fine, but I won’t use that maker again and I will always see the imperfections in his making. 

Maybe I should have complained, but those of you who know me also know I am not  a confrontational person.  So I left with the trailer and he went back to his piles of rusting metal, his unfinished restorations and the out of date nude calendar still gazing provocatively down.  I prefer my life, leaky lorry and all.

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander

Mr Alexander