Thursday, 10 October 2013


Watch any series of Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud's house building show (where folk who profess to have hardly any money, yet always have enough dosh to hugely exceed their initial budget) and you can bet your bottom dollar at least one set of hopeful house builders will sell up and live in a caravan, while the building work goes on around them.

Home from home...
It seems to be the done thing, to decamp your entire family and the dog, into the smallest, dampest, coldest place you could possibly live, while your dream home rises above you. 

Forget renting. Far better to move into a tiny fibreglass airless box with deflated tyres, which previously housed chickens, and sit there with your 2.5 children and 1.0 pooch, bemoaning your lot, while flicking through the latest Fired Earth/ Farrow & Ball catalogues.

While your husband, who is now doing all the work since you fell out with the builders over door handles and they downed tools, dangles precariously off the half-finished roof, and tries to waterproof the house by nailing your vastly overpriced reclaimed traditional Welsh slates in place with a toffee hammer*.
*The builders really did take all their tools, and the children were given a Fortnum's sweet hamper to soften the blow of not having cable for a few weeks.

So, from the outside looking in, there they are, Mr and Mrs Middle England, ensconced in their little caravan, which has seen better days and will be unceremoniously dumped without a backwards glance at the end of the “build”.

While they wait for the day they can relax in comfort on their (very reasonable at £18,000) sofa, in the (£76,000) cinema room and whinge to the somewhat unmoved Mr McCloud just how awful it was living in a box on wheels for a few weeks.

Leaving the sad little van to carry on rotting away quietly, tyres slowly perishing, local poultry eyeing it up as a potential step up the coup ladder, until the time when it finally gets to light up the children’s faces. 

But only as they watch it burn on Bonfire Night, topped off with a home-made effigy of the now slightly crispy Mr McC (he was just a little too scathing about spending £40,000 on a bath tap).

What a sad end. And so unnecessary. For the little mobile home, and the lovely Kevin.

I’m lucky. I don’t have to live in a caravan while the work is carried out on The Mini House.  

Mr PJ, the small brown dog and I, are happy where we are in No1 Heatherside Corner. 

But I like to think, if we were to move into a caravan, while The Mini House "build" was in progress - something which could take months, possibly years even, this would be our temporary home of choice.
The next project, perched on a lovely blue pallet
(for which is there for no other reason apart from the fact it goes nicely with the red paint
and is as rare as Hen's Teeth; when did you ever see a completley blue pallet before now?)
Bit drafty, I grant you, but its little tyres are still inflated, there are curtains, of sorts, at the windows, a space-age Perspex roof, and it comes with a proper front door, even if it isn’t attached at present.

I found this little treasure at a car boot sale and borrowed the £5 to purchase it from my Father in Law, who exclaimed in a loud voice “That will go nicely with your dollies house”, making him and everyone else around me snigger.

But at 42 years, 51 and a half weeks old, I am a grown up and therefore I care not a jot for other folks mockery and derision, as I see potential - the next project, when The Mini House is finished.

I see a mini Airstream.  I see The Pod. I see a Teardrop trailer. I see a tiny retro interior, with a sleek silver roof. 

I have quite a vivid imagination , it has to be said.  

But what I don’t see is “kindling”. 

Which was the first word from Mr PJ’s mouth when I bought "Dunroamin" back home with me.


  1. What a lovely car boot find. Will look forward to seeing what you do to it :).

  2. As soon as The Mini House is finished, I'll be on the case.....Tempting to start now!