Rum Soaked…

And so in a predicable fashion the first day of our move onto the tipi site started with an issue or two…The first issue totally self inflicted – created by our desire to drink rum, whisky and possibly some cider the night before, marinading ourselves until 2 am, only to wake up the next morning to a house that desperately needed a deep clean, food cupboards and drawers that needed packing, tidying and scrubbing inside and out and clothes that remained on their hangers instead of neatly folded into the large steamer trunks which lay hollow on the bedroom floors… I have no idea why we chose the last night in our house to drink to oblivion – nerves at how the site would work out?… or maybe because we hadn’t had a blow out in a while (I don’t drink like I used too but when I do I still have the same ‘only stop when you physically can’t lift a glass to your dribbling face anymore’ – self destroy button) … once I have my two loves (rum and music) around me (rum can be substituted for Rioja from time to time) I am off in a cloud of singing and swaying until I awake with my head down the loo… Britain’s 30 year old ‘teenager’… or maybe…just maybe, the reason could be found in the fact that we chose to drink and sit in the tipi all night for the first time in weeks, we lit the fire, got music playing and away we poured… maybe subconsciously we wanted to share something with our beloved tipi… the tipi which has been there for every moment of out relationship and family life so far… first birthdays, Yule meals with huge heaving tables of food and a blazing wood burner, Samhain complete with 3ft spider and fake cobwebs, my 30th birthday gathering, numerous parties with our most loved friends, Winter Solstice Releasing rituals, meditation groups, and of course a marriage proposal…This time the tipi was staying at home and we were going away to make a memory, a major brain photo in our lives as a family which it couldn’t be there for… maybe, just maybe we were trying to include it, or us in some part of the web of this new adventure…

So I found myself the morning after the night before…several disastrous attempts at trying to think and instead opting for my favourite packing method of ‘pack everything and forget nothing’ and so I emptied drawers, shoe cupboards, coat racks and wardrobes into bags, trunks and boxes in the hope that I would sort it out when I eventually sobered up… this was one of those days that, if I had a normal job with a boss and a desk, I would have pulled a sickie…no sickie here…Family arriving for a 3 week stay in our house in 5 hours or less and the clock was ticking – A good dose of Wonton soup and somehow the sweats left and the action happened… We managed by the skin of our slimy booze coated teeth…

So off we set… waving goodbye to the family, house, tortoises, hens and rainbow striped tipi…

And now we are here, we should have been here for 4 days by now – however we actually arrived only yesterday, thanks to the land owner forgetting that he had part dug a trench with his digger the day before, therefore blocking our access to the tipi field and able to do nothing about it at 5 pm on a Saturday afternoon, as he was too busy drinking and celebrating his birthdays all weekend with the other folk who life at the farm… Within 15 minutes of watching our rooftop vanish in the rear-view mirror we found ourselves homeless… hung over and homeless and in a van so badly packed that when you looked through the side window you saw a straw hat, a shoe, an empty bottle of water, the corner of what might be a duvet, a toy boat, a dining chair and a large oak framed antique mirror – Luckily some friends who own a brilliant campsite nearby called Noongallas took us in for a few nights – We chortled to ourselves that we would have an unexpected break, a lazy Sunday… alas what happened once our hazy bubble burst was we found ourselves on what has since been hilariously named ‘the cockerel pitch’ thanks to a garish, Jagger-like idiot of a bird who, for some reason felt it necessary to prove what a cock he is to his feathery women by bellowing his scratchy scream into our tent at 4 am each morning and then again every 20 minutes until nightfall – If we weren’t having the wedding there I guarantee there would have been bloodshed…I think we looked almost convincing as we tried to disguise our ever increasing eye bags while laughing along with their new name for our little tented piece of land…

Three days late all is forgotten about the digger incident, the rut has been squashed by a 4×4 as a temporary driveway, we are moved in, set up both connected bell tents and added futons on top of futons in order to try and create a comfortable nest to sleep in… (how curious is it that the more futons you add the more hard a surface it becomes to sleep on…?) So far everything has gone smoothly, though warning signs are showing after being told to avoid the strange man – known locally as Stig Of The Dump (I find this a curious name if it isn’t meant affectionately, because I for one always felt I would very much like Stig of The Dump after reading about his adventures, most memorably his industrious use of jam jars to create windows…) who only leaves his caravan to use the toilet and shower which he (apparently) will be sharing with us as his caravan (which at some point in the last ten years been dropped from height into a large bramble hedge) has no water running too it… And only the most minor brush with stress has been had today in the sweltering heat when we tried to put together our E bay bargain, £50, 80’s frame tent (which is soon to be a kitchen) while following instructions which consist of coded sellotape pieces (most of which have peeled off in the heat) and a collection of photos helpfully taken by the previous owner who, I can only assume wanted to test his new camera zoom by taking some artfully blurry shots from the roof of his house aimed roughly at the pieced together frame lying in an overgrown back garden to show us which colour co-ordinates with each pole… After an hour of delicately placing all the poles into their correct slots we lift the frame to move it a couple of feet to the right into the position…of course, you see what happens here and as always we don’t…we give an almighty heave upwards while standing inside it’s huge metal spidery frame and every single one of it’s legs drops onto the ground… ah, ha! flashbacks to the greenhouse incidents?! no, no… now we are wise to a metal frame, out comes the trusty gaffer tape and we stick away…with each joint double wrapped she shifts (almost) gracefully to her new home – But…umm…gaffer…? you ask? Yes…We are ignorantly pushing aside the day that will come in a few months when we have to take it all down again…for that, is another day and another sticky problem…and maybe by that time Stig will be looking for an awning anyway.

Off we trundle into a week of scrubbing, scraping, mending, mowing and raking… We will no doubt learn a huge amount and this will be yet another massive curve to go around as with most other things we have done in the last year. Living without power will be very odd, though the solar panel will hopefully give us enough to get by on the phone to help lost people desperately wondering if this never ending bumpy track really is the place they will spend a week of their holiday…

So far the lack of noise is the main thing I am noticing… It’s like someone has put their hands over my ears… we have noise so much in our house, sewing machine, washing machine, lights humming, cooker fan whirring, radio muttering away – it’s all there buzzing in you ear… I can’t wait to see how we interact differently over the weeks, and of course how we go back to living under a roof again after this adventure…for one I have always preferred living in a van or tent to a house I accept a house when generally it is my waking life but right now, sitting listening to the grass blowing around and the canvas flapping gently in the breeze, I am already wondering if in fact the transition to go back to bricks and mortar will be harder than leaving it… I have no doubt that a smattering of usual calamities will too be well documented… Incidentally, as I finish this page of writing I see Jon the land owner telling Andy how to use the tractor to mow the field, push this, pull that but whatever you do don’t push and pull that at the same time, or within the same 10 minute spell, and don’t crank this but do push this and crank that… Jon think’s Andy is smiling… I can see the bemused look even from the other side of the field…

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