Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Difference

camper van at sunrise, on the cliffs, Widemouth Bay

Ten years of talking, I think, before the camper van dream was dragged to reality. Not just talking - lots of working lots of hours, and meanwhile making other plans and working for those too until the world was swimming in front of my tired eyes and I had to sit down. 
Sit and dream of living in a quiet field, planting trees, making foraged soups and syrups.
We have the van, which may never be finished, being a learning project. 
We have plans which if you took them out of our heads would fill a hangar. There are alterations for variables and equations of 'if this, then that, if not, then this other way' and it is tricky to keep track of where we are going. The underlying why is the desire to live in nature, and to be part of not letting the world be ruined.
In April last year we collected the van. It stunk of diesel and promptly developed an electrical fault. Today it is crammed full of - I'm not actually sure. It is being a temporary shed. But it works, we make good use of it. Two grandchildren have been with us for overnight camping adventures, the rest are pending. We go to the beach and get cold and cook tea, and #vanlife, and it annoys us and we love it.
It is tricky to keep track, with all the working and the planning. 
We are shopping for land now.
We have a list of requirements which we must adhere to, lest we be lost in impractical beauty. 
We have confused faces, not expecting this to be actual.
We are shopping for land now...

Dog in the River Otter
This was Dog's favourite site. Vetoed for poor access, alas.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

At The Start Of The Day

Happy dog on the riverbank, Exeter

Day began unwelcome but I was the one who had set the alarm. I made coffee and peace with myself, opened the door for Dog to slink out, let the birdsong in.
Looked up.
Grey sky - the marbled kind, like smoke frozen.
And the sun bled upwards, orange-gold, worshipped by field flowers.

Most preparations had been done the day before; clothes set out, bags packed with food, laptop, notebooks, comfort things like a wallet and more notebooks and spare pens. The dog walking bag which slings easily about the shoulders. Water bottle. The right keys. 
The drive is good, with this sky to view and smooth moving queues, and Dog settles in the boot as she recognises the journey to Granma Grace's house. There is even a parking space near to the house, a rare treat. One with room to reverse in and still get the boot opened and let Dog leap out, tail at full whirr. 
We sneak in to get the parking pass - hear a light snoring which is the noise of All's Well. 
Put the pass in the car; I have the dog walking bag, my keys, a phone for taking pictures. The right shoes to negotiate mud and goose poop. 
Dog gives me cause to fish out a poo-bag... Of which there are none. There is the empty packet, so I improvise. 
Ten steps later Dog squats into position again. It is not a urination squat. 
Children play here. People come walking. The willows sigh and the river runs and the swans are majestic and the moorhen is terribly cute. It is no place to abandon responsibility. 
Back to an unwelcome experience. I will spare you, dear reader, too many details as long as you can understand that I was innovative and heroic in my construction of a miniature stretcher, and successful in reaching the bin to dispose of all unpleasantness.
Dog and I could then run the gamut of geese along the river path, and find her a place to swim. 
We could admire the reflections, the bold graffiti that brightens up concrete inside the bridges, the nervous-aggressive edge of pigeons staring out from behind spikes (that, presumably, prevent their droppings from streaking the murals?) 
Gull noise hammers at the sky till the grey flattened out. Traffic burbles over bridges. 
A tidy man perched at the verge-side with a rucksack at his feet puts down his cider can to roll a cigarette. He watches Dog, smiling. He looks like he has stories but we have a job to do and coffee in a flask that is calling me, so Dog is dried off with a quick jaunt over grass, and we hustle back to Granma's, feeling adventured.

Willow tree, River Exe, dog walking