The Off Grid Life: Part 2: Choosing what to live in.

offgridders2

26th January 2019

Karen was a shortish, fair haired woman with a soft west country accent. She lived in a tiny cul-de-sac of modern houses, tucked away in a little corner of a street halfway up an extremely steep hill. The week after we collected the solar panels from our duffel coated friend at the filling station, we were again heading off to somewhere on the outskirts of bath.

I’ve never travelled around Bath very much, and never ventured in that direction since owning a car, but as we again found ourselves driving from Bristol in icy and windy condition, we were at least comforted by the fact that we recognised some of the roads from those cold September mornings of 2018 as we travelled through various winding Somerset B-roads in search of a suitable field in which to live. Now, having found our field (in Carmarthenshire, Wales), we were looking to buy some digs on wheels. That brings us back to Karen, a trailer tent enthusiast. That’s the only way I can describe her, never have I heard somebody enthuse which such gusto the advantages and downright brilliance of trailer tents. As Karen waxed lyrical about these magic boxes on wheels, I in turn reminisced heartily over our family’s seaside holidays. We used to unfolded out our fantastic Conway trailer tent for two weeks every year, from Tenby to Devon, Cornwall to Scarborough.

You may be thinking, what is a trailer tent? It’s what the name suggests, a trailer with a tent built into it. Let the legs drop as you uunfold the matress covered beds,extend the adjustable metal frame, unfurl the attached canvas over it and  in no time you have yourself a comfortable accomodation for four adults. The interior of the trailer cabin is tall enough to stand up in and has on each side a double bed with foam mattress and zip-able privacy curtains. Smart models sometimes feature soft adjoining benches running over the wheelarch. Some have a large awning that attaches to the trailer and once erected is just as big as an awning for a 4 berth caravan.

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Partially erected trailer tent

Ah, but now your second question. What are we going to do with our trailer tent? Our intention is to secrete ourselves quietly on our 2 acres. A caravan would be obvious and doesn’t  really fit into our desire to fly as far beneath the radar as possible. Our 2 acres are overlooked by one large farmhouse on a hill, probably less than 2 miles away, being inside the barn is the safest way to go unnoticed. Also, in a very non-righteous way, we’re of the opinion that we should make as little a mark as possible upon our recent purchase.  We want to enjoy the area, and our own little patch of 2 acres as it is; healthy, beautiful and unspoiled. It’s probably a little easier to go unnoticed in dense woodland, but to do it in a field on the side of the hill is a slightly taller order. Our instincts when it comes to making a footprint in nature feels the right one. Putting a caravan in the barn was the obvious first choice but the entrance to the barn isn’t wide enough for one thing. So, we would erect a trailer tent inside the barn.

We plan to be properly moved onto our land in early March. Spring, summer and autumn in the trailer tent, in the barn should be just fine, if a little awkward and chilly at times. We can spend our time planning an upgrade to a caravan, before the winter of 2020 and decide how to blend it into to the natural features of our field. There’s definitely a time considerat,ion. As I trudged around the trailer, removing snow from on and around it I thought about our upcoming move, less than six weeks away. Karen held the key to our future.

After one swift but concise demonstration on how to put up the bedroom (trailer) section and more ebullient enthusiasm from Karen, we’d handed over a deposit, received a receipt and vowed to return in two weeks time to collect our new home.

The solar panels will provide energy, the trailer tent will provide somewhere dry to live. All we had to do next was figure out how to get these things from West Bath to West Wales in a hatchback without a tow bar.

Come back soon for more.

 

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