….make someone stay in a horse trailer?

The Pod Part III

Today is late April and the we are 1 month in to our first proper season. HMRC have been informed, I have registered self employed – now the croft has a chance of being a business not a hobby.

Typical of this time of year, by 9.45am we have already had a spring sunrise, summer dawn, autumnal school run, and now rather predictably the snow has just started to fall. The bed sheets with a picture of a galloping horse, and extra blankets are drying all over the house ready for the next guests. We have now added in a movable fire pit and BBQ; we are just keeping the extras free and the price at Hostel rate and flat across the year. It helps us work out different aspects of the market better if we know that choices haven’t been made around pricing.

So has it been successful?

Yes. Yes it has.

In fact I am blown away by how successful it is – not as much as The Great Dane, he’s genuinely impressed with me right now and I am basking in the “know it all glow” it allows me.

My target for bookings was to have it available from end of March until end of October. We had opened it at the end of last year for about 5 or 6 weeks and we had someone in it every weekend, even though we’d done zero marketing and it was completely out of season. We just bunged it on a couple of OTA’s and went for it.
This led me to believe that I should aim to have it let at least one night per weekend in our first season. Then I got cold feet and opted for 25 nights in our first season, 75 in our second as I hoped by then I would have the time to really push the marketing, and finally by the time we were in year 3 I hoped to top out and maintain with 100 nights a year.
I didn’t have a lot to base these targets on in terms of expectations or market research. Since I last worked in this sector there had been incredible changes, like the internet – that wasn’t a thing back then let alone Glamping. No one would pay you to stay in a horse trailer the last time I let out or dealt with self catering. The Great Dane had no conviction that anyone ever would.

It appears that I was probably way out with those targets. One month in and yesterday was the first time that we didn’t have someone staying in it, meaning we have blown the first years target out of the water in the first month. In fact we are not far off our second years target already, so I am confident we can meet our year 3 target in this season.

However the true mark of success is how people enjoy it, and so far it has been only 5 star reviews. The real proof being with guests reporting it’s the best place they have stayed, and saying they want to return next year. Long term stays are being enjoyed as much as one night “experience” stays. Hardcore campers are enjoying a shower bag under a sky roof, and absolutely everyone is getting a lot out of cutting up wood and having fun with the stove and the fire pit.

On a totally personal level it has done more than that though – it has given us hope.

I said in my other posts this was about finding a way to live where we love with enough time left over to love it. However since I last posted about the pod our personal situation changed a lot. In October I woke at 4.30am in agony in my hips, and from there progressed a winter of troubling symptoms, a loss of mobility, no real answers from the NHS so far, terrifyingly the loss of two jobs and finally becoming registered as disabled.
Our position changed from wanting to live where we love to wanting to keep any kind of roof over our heads. We looked at moving but nothing that was available was going to make us better off. We were going to end up with less space and a larger mortgage.
I couldn’t afford to keep my beloved Muscle Man on the road, and I had to give up breeding our gorgeous cobs because I could no longer handle the youngstock.
My lowest point was when my eldest daughter had to leave school to care for me. We went into a freefall of bewildered panic, and I couldn’t understand what was happening far less how to fix it.

In all honesty I had lost my enthusiasm for everything – I didn’t know if I would do any of my hobbies (rock climbing, riding and mushing) ever again and with 10 dogs and 10 horses to care for that was going to be a problem. I had bred the dogs, or owned them for 14yrs, I had bred the horses and some I had rescued from abuse or neglect and I had a one off bond with them. Being so specialist in terms of their needs there was nowhere for them to go except a large hole in the ground and I couldn’t consider that as an option. I couldn’t see the answer, I couldn’t see where the money for their feed was coming from, where the help with their care was coming from. I knew every penny would count in 2017 and if the pod could make enough to pay the bill for the feed they’d eaten over winter I would have one less stress.

We started to get ready for the opening, and hauled the mattress out of the hallway. We’d stored it there in its bag to stop it going damp and mouldy over winter in the empty pod. However it was up against the glass pane by the unused front door and condensation had run down and pooled on the top of the bag, eventually making its way inside. As my daughter went to take it from the bag I saw it was soaking wet and very mouldy. In a panic I started looking for a replacement – we had only a couple of weeks until opening and I knew deliveries to the North can take that long on large items. One company sold a cheap replacement but it wouldn’t deliver for less than £70, another guaranteed to be in your home in 5 days for £15 but it was twice the price. To have peace of mind I had it in time I went for the expensive one, which actually arrived 17 days later, just 2hrs before our first guest checked in. Our first guest was staying 5 days, and the weather was rough – I anticipated a poor review…..

Thankfully she loved it, and I felt like I could exhale a deep sigh of relief. From then on the bookings came thick and fast and The Great Dane and I began to worry less and smile more.
We realised that this daft wee idea I had last year, and the last bit of cash and mobility I had, had been very well used. This pod was going to get us out of some very tough times, and if we could make another we’d be able to actually make this croft work and stop worrying about losing our home – a place we love. Thanks to this pod, and the fact I am not able to reliably work elsewhere any longer, I finally have the time to enjoy it.

We have started work on the next pod, which is a horse lorry this time. It’s going to accommodate up to 5 people and will be on grid so if some of those people are kids you can look after them easily with electric showers and gas hobs, running water and an electric stove you don’t have to cut wood for. Now we have to start branding, websites, paper based advertising and so on. After all those years running all those businesses and working all those crazy jobs with crazy hours it looks like we might finally have got it right.

Thanks to all our guests so far for their lovely reviews – If we keep getting guests like this we’re going to be blessed.
Big thanks to friends, family, children and partner who sponsored this event with their enormous hearts.

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“….pod like that?”

The Tiny House Saga so far….

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Day 1 on Trailer Transformation – quick inspection.

I emptied out the trailer of the various rubbish and equipment that had ended up dumped inside it – traffic cones, old tyres, electric fence poles, popping paper, old horse rugs and a giant gym ball 44inches in diameter – the usual horse toys.
I had thought the floor would be unquestionably rotten and need replacing, but was pleasantly surprised to see that a good power hose is probably all it needs. The ceiling was peeling paint off the fibreglass hull at the front leaving huge bubbles and hollows. I started to peel it off; it barely needed me to poke at it and the paint fell off in huge flakes. I was astonished to find that a large hole in the paintwork just above the front window where a flake had come off partially leaving a big bubble had been made the home of a small bird. It’s droppings were in the bubble and feathers were stuck to the fibreglass – amazing that it weighed so little it didn’t break the flake!
The front end is in remarkably good condition. The top door of the front ramp is made of ply that’s beginning to split apart, and the OSB lining it is completely rotten.
The side walls have ironmongery for attaching the breast bars to that have to come off first, then the rubber matting which goes to within a couple of feet of the floor, then the aluminium that goes from the rubber to the floor, and behind that is the OSB.
The back ramp is going to go up and stay up, and at any rate is never going to take the weight of horses again so I am pretty certain it won’t need much attention to the hinges. The front unloading ramp however can’t stay on so it will have a door fitted in the whole space – I contemplated stable door style but I think that’s actually quite impractical with wind/midgies and the fact the rear doors are a bit like stable doors anyway. I will remove the ramp and use it as access to the decking that will surround the trailer once it’s parked in position, and fit the stable door to open outwards.

Looking at the available space inside the futon bed is going to have to go along the end wall. This also means that it might be easier to fit storage shelves to the wall without encroaching on the living space. I am acutely aware that pretty much all of my plans for how to furnish this are unrealistic. It’s going to be completely different to what I had envisaged and I’m still not sure how that’s going to look…..

Day 2
Looking at mattress options nothing foldaway, inflatable or thin is going to cut the mustard. A plinth is going to be obtrusive space wise. A pallet futon is probably not going to be sturdy enough for 150 days use a year or easy to put up and down in the available space. Going to go for a metal futon which means that the bed is not going to be made from anything recycled, but I think comfort is very important, as is ease of use if you don’t want things broken.

Enquiries about replacing the back axle have been made, but right now I don’t think it’s worth it. It’s not going to carry weight like horses again and as the only real issue is that it’s been pulled off (and may be slightly bent) I think we’ll try a friends recommendation of ratchet strapping it onto the body using the tie ups for the horses on the outside, and pray. What’s the worst that could happen….?!?!?

Stove selected – found the perfect one with great angle for the chimney, good weight, etc
Tomorrow Poul and I are going to plod away at stripping. Looking forward to that 😉

Day 30 or something – Wow so much has been going on!

Just before I started this project I went for a tarot reading. It was ridiculously positive, and everything in it so far appears to have come true, including the prediction that the pod was going to be a community project.  A community of my friends have been involved full force and work sped along. The Great Dane has been much more involved than I think he wanted, and I suspect enjoyed it more than I think he thought he would. We’ve worked pretty well together. The ENORMOUS list of jobs from stripping and refitting, rubbing down, repainting, fitting stoves, dealing with the axle, finding furniture to fit, researching the industry and what people will expect, exploring toilet and shower options, and trying to get hot water and lighting solutions has been time consuming but SO MUCH FUN!

So far we have an interior on the trailer that is very close to being ready to furnish, with the OSB on the walls replaced and repainted and a ceiling mural started. We’ve made a front door with a combination bolt for security (saves people going home with keys) and replaced the back doors that we have glazed to let more light in. We’ve decided to definitely try strapping the axle up and hoping for the best to move it, and we have very rough plans (and no real idea how to do it) for the toilet and shower block. The stove is in place but not fitted and we plan to make use of chimney heat to warm the toilet and shower cubicle as well as heat water on a gravity fed rainwater capture system. The furniture is bought or ready to be upcycled.

We’ve had lots of obstacles – the unconventional  hinging of the door leaving large gaps midgies will come in, what to put on the floor for easy cleaning that’s within budget, how to glaze windows of unconventional shape and size, where to position the stove, how to heat water for the shower when we don’t get enough solar energy in a Highland wood, and many more small, specific to our particular trailer, type problems.

We’ve made lots of mistakes – not checking all the door hinges were identical before drilling holes. Not checking the rear doors were the right way round before painting the inside a different colour to the outside, not being more accurate with cutting the window perspex, not remembering a curved bead will need to be scribed when mitred, and more we won’t have realised yet.

We need to get the pod moved onto the site before we can progress. The only problem is that Muscle Man is unwell once again and it looks like major surgery so he’ll be unavailable to tow. Towing is going to be awkward until we see if we can get away with either strapping up the axle or removing the rear wheels. We have about 10 days until our deadline and it’s looking unlikely. In the meantime there’s interior painting to be done finishing the mural, seals around all exits to stop rain and draughts getting in, and a boot rack and shelves to be made from pallets as well as an old toy chest from my childhood to paint and use as a coffee table and blanket storage. The gaps are really oversized due to the hinging angles or the way the box was made so that urine would drain out so normal self adhesive door seals are not going to do it. Thankfully the rubber matting that we took off the sides is easy to cut and glue onto the metal frames with a strong glue. The rest of it I hope to reuse in the shower.

I have The Great Dane here to help me for about 3 days in the next 10, and I will need him to help me build all of the toilet and shower cubicle, the kitchen unit, and the decking, and bike parking. I don’t want to be a wimp and move the date back any further. Not only because it means losing income – much needed income – but because I feel like it’s admitting defeat and the project is too big for us. It has been a MUCH bigger project than I expected.
Are we on budget I hear you ask? Well I haven’t added it all up yet – but I am willing to go on a limb and say no. The only reason we have not gone over further than we have is because of the kindness of friends giving up their time and skills for nothing more than a BBQ at the end of the day.

At this point my biggest pointer for anyone wanting to try this is to make sure you have plenty of help. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have skills – many of us learnt to use a jigsaw, grinder and sander for the first time on this project! Most of this I only knew the theory on (thank the gods for YouTube!), but having friends to help hold, climb, paint, grind, sand, saw, drill, and even babysit has made it all possible for me to have a try, and stay close to target – weather and waiting for items to arrive in the post have held us up by about a week.
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Ok it’s now 12th July, and I have lost count of how long we’ve been at this, and how many obstacles – injury, illness, mechanical break down, other engagements etc

Don’t misunderstand – it will still definitely be cheaper to do it this way than buy a generic, characterless, prefabbed pod in, BUT if it isn’t finished in the next 10-14 days I’m going to tow it to Dornoch and throw it in the sea because I’m getting sick of it hanging over me as an unfinished project. We’ve not postponed anything, we’ve just worked it round all the other projects and events because I couldn’t face seeing the “to do list” get longer and miss out on fun like the family holiday and birthday parties etc (although mine was scaled down somewhat as I was just plain exhausted). It’s cost maybe twice what I thought it would now.

So where exactly are we at? Still need to get the outhouse done, but the plans for it are in place at least. All the bits except some more hammerite, some silver VHT paint and a sky light for the roof of the outhouse are paid for and bought – I should probably have my fire extinguisher from the horse lorry serviced as well. Muscle Man did manage to get day release from the garage to move the pod to the woods. The plans for the hot water fell through because the parts will take a month to order in and I can’t wait that long.

I still need to paint the mural, and ceiling and some wood work and furniture – in fact I still need to build some furniture….Oh and the ENTIRE out house.

August 8th
I thought we would have been finished roughly two months ago and right now I can still see at least two weeks of work left. I may as well have ordered those bloody bits for the hot water system. Reading back over the last entry – I was in absolute denial about what still needed to be bought. I’ve probably spent at least another £700 on the outhouse and I’m not done yet.
I still haven’t done the flipping murals or finished the ceiling – sigh.

The weather has not been kind to us. The recent 60mph winds really got in the way of roofing the outhouse – or “The Stall” as I have now decided to call it. Until the roof is on I can’t install the shower, or toilet, or the kitchen sink my daughter clevely made. We’ve had all kinds to deal with including the rear diff going on Muscle Man. He needed new shock, bushes and springs, a steering damper, whole rear axle and was garage bound for six weeks. When we went to the Scottish Land Rover show we had to take the Subaru. It didn’t feel right – it felt like cheating on Muscle Man and like being a total fraud/wannabe amongst the Landy owning crew in the campsite. The reason this was a pod problem though, was because it meant I couldn’t collect things we needed, and paying Highland delivery charges on each individual thing (generally £30 a pop starting price for delivery, needed about 100 things – no joke) bought online was not within budget at all. I needed the car to do the 100 mile round trip to Inverness and go get EVERYTHING I needed in one day – that just never happened. Little by little, as we were near places that were closer to home for various reasons, we managed to collect a lot of what we needed, and some is still to get. Also I had nothing to tow it to Dornoch and toss it in the sea with – which is probably the only reason we kept working on it. My back played up badly for a while too, and Poul did masses of overtime to pay for the extra expenses so momentum slowed to a couple of half days work on it a week.
Did I mention that the weather was S H I T…..?

Today I took on the corner of The Stall that I have been blithely ignoring thus far. It’s such a complicated place, and I think I was hoping fairies would come out and make it all perfect for me it at night if I kept pretending it wasn’t there. Strangely it was nowhere near as complicated to deal with as some of the things I thought would be easy. The Great Dane warned me again about that word I use so often “just”. The whole thing has been built with a an attitude of “just” rather than a just attiutde; “Just do it like this” , “just put it there”, “just bang it in – it’s too late to worry about things being level” are now my stock podding phrases. It was while I was being warned about the danger of a “just” containing sentence that I realised that this project has been completed with absolute attention to ignoring the details.

To be fair to us we’ve been up against it. Both the hammers we own are bent, REALLY badly, and one has no rubber handle on the end anymore so you have to hold it too high up or it will cut your palm. We have a rubbish saw and a 75% more rubbish saw – hand saws. The generator won’t work so no power tools, and the tape measure can’t be put fully away inside it’s housing or it gets stuck and can’t be got out without serious frustration and all of your coffee break. Also, the button for holding it out in place doesn’t work so after a meter or so it really needs two of you to work it. The screw gun is my hero – 12 well used years old and not got the best of bits because the screws easily eat them, so we take it really easy – it basically just saves me turning my wrist and there’s no other benefits. Sometimes I think doing it by hand would be easier as a screwdriver wouldn’t strain my arms so much when I’m working at funny angles.

That’s the whole problem really – the funny angles. That’s what I have been ignoring. I just bartered one of our foals for 7 bundles of prefab panels for sheds. I hope they’ll make 5 pods, an office, a reception/shop, and potentially a field shelter too. The greatest joy of these projects will be working with squares and rectangles (excepting roofs), because the pod is anything but, and even those that are, aren’t level. The trailer is a bizarre pointy arch along the top of the main part and then tapers into a nose. It’s also a mix of metal, and fibre glass. The Stall is wood and metal and PVC sheeting and joins on at the awkward nose where the teeny jockey door will give people a chance to get to the toilet without getting rained on or midged. The corner here where metal corrugated sheeting meets fibre glass at a strange angle, and wood has to be attached to aluminium that has the chimney for the stove coming through it, as well as managing to floor over the tow bar and scribe around the brake and jockey wheel, whilst keeping the angle for run off of rain, and incorporate a second valley to join the gutter, made me realise that this project had given us a really hellish learning curve. Surely the following pods will not be this hard to build?!

Last week I had the help of my friend who came up to stay for a week or so to give us a hand, for about the third time I think. She’s a good egg. She’s got a list of back and joint problems that mirrors and surpasses mine. We tend to find the weather effects us both badly and while she was up we had a couple of electric storms and an arctic blast. Bad enough in winter but aggravating at this time of year to our spirits as much as out joints. She helped me with many parts of it, and nearly put herself in hospital filling in the soak away with rocks three times the size of her own head. We even managed to figure out the trusses together. That felt good – it felt like we’d gained more adult points that day. On the very many times we sat back and admired our handiwork and it’s rough edges, I kept saying that I might put a reminder to guests before they review us, that this was built by a bunch of disabled women, kids, and a foreigner. None of us  with previous experience or qualification to do so. Just a mad idea on how to solve the eternal problem of making a living in a place you love with enough time left over to love it.

We’ve slogged at this, there’s been weather, sickness, injury, 6 weeks of car break down, many unmissable family events, small children, unworkable ideas, unbuyable materials, unaffordable delivery charges all in our way. Yet we have kept plodding at it – every day moving something forward a bit. As I type the partially painted top for the toilet takes up the middle of the living room floor, the room is to the rafters in pots, pans, towels, and furniture for this damn pod ( I really didn’t realise how much the interior was going to cost – we’re probably close to 2.5 times the budget now), so whether I have shopped, or researched, or just written the plan for the week repeatedly around the weather – I have always been chipping away at it. This week I am going to sacrifice the 3 days we had booked off to go away as a couple to celebrate our anniversary (a year since our engagement) but instead we are going to batter in to getting this finished ASAP. Ironically my first night in the pod may have to be my anniversary trip – that’s if I am lucky!

So what have I learnt so far?
Triple the budget
Double the time
If being on time matters, don’t work with funny angles.
Get better tools.13754425_1220539697970948_2205027196663780649_n

………..try to build a house? Even a tiny house?

Well let me tell you I have built houses before – it’s just they were about 3ft square and for dogs, or rabbits (but never both together. That could be alarming :/).

I can bodge – what crofter can’t? It’s our national sport. The crofter is the original Ecowarrior with his “make do and mend” attitude and hoarding born out of budget problems. I can take a broken fence and make it stand up again. I can hand saw until my shoulders spasm, I can hammer with surprising accuracy and strength, I know nothing about engines other than the various noises of an ill one, I can design, and I quite enjoy painting and varnishing. I have no experience of metal work beyond second year craft and design, however, and looking at the rusting mass of my very old horse trailer I feel I am going to need to learn a lot about that.

THE BACKGROUND

When looking at what has brought me to this project I think we have to consider both mine, AND the trailers history.
The trailer belongs to the halcyon days of running an outdoor activity centre that included pony trekking and a riding school. It is an enormous green tank of a thing. Recently refurbished when I bought it back in 2005 , it was ancient then, originally from Laurie Trailers of Falkirk, I think the make is a Bradley. In fact it appears to be older than me if the last number on the chassis number is the year it was made?
With a double floor and space to take two Clydesdale horses at once, it never did – partially because the two Clydesdales I owned were a very sickly ex broodmare who should not ever have another foal, and a particularly deadly stallion who I dreaded trying to do the deed in the back of the box, resulting in at least one death. That and the fact the box alone weighed roughly a ton and with a couple of tons of horse in it too no one had a vehicle (at that time) that could tow that physically or legally. In fact after towing it empty or with a small load had killed a few 4×4’s and saloons it became known as “the car killer”.
One day my father decided to use it to take something into the woods and dragged it mercilessly over terrain it should never have gone through, and broke one of the axels. For whatever reason – it may have been the many fond memories I had of times out and about with horses in it, or the crofter in me – I never parted with it. A number of years ago, probably about seven, I parked it down in one of the paddocks with wooden blocks to hold up the rear of it and I used it for training perfect trailer loading with the horses and storage. There it sat with the ramp down like a gaping mouth staring up to the riding school shocked at it’s abandonment, while god knows what Highland wildlife took turns living underneath it. Until yesterday that is……

My history is just as arduous;
After the great days of the activity centre which were cut short by some serious riding falls about a year earlier, gradually reducing my mobility to zilch, I spent the following seven years looking for a way to make a living.
Initially I decided to do something obvious – use the skills and assets I had procured over the 5 years with the activity centre to do horse rehabilitation. I’d been doing this as a hobby/sideline all along. Now I’d try and make it pay. Sadly I got nowhere with that as my back made me so completely unreliable and further injuries were quite common even when you did your best work. So then I went into a string of around seven or eight other businesses, many at the same time, decided by my necessity to work from home due to a terrifying lack of childcare in the vicinity. Sometimes I was at extremes of role juggling from a full allocation of childminding 12hrs a day, as well as trying to care for the 40 odd animals on the croft, be a self employed manager in a company owned by Lord Sugar (somewhere I have a photo of me photo bombing his Lordship – one of my finest unplanned achievements, but I couldn’t find it to include it), and work a seven hour shift in the local bar at night, six days a week.

As you can imagine, this was EXHAUSTING. It was too much, and wasn’t even making me money. I dropped everything that did not justify itself financially once I had reviewed my accounts for the past half of the financial year. Shockingly the most profitable thing I had on the go, that was reliable, and with a predictable income, was the bar job. Until last month that is, when I turned up to find the receivers of bankruptcy were in the building and I was redundant there and then. With a bit of quick thinking and fighting we had the place reopened a few days later but we are not out of the woods yet…….

I am sad it’s not worked out at the bar and not just because the small village will go dry without a pub, and there’s going to be a hulking great building derelict in the center of the village, but because the only place that’s employing people at night when I have free childcare will be gone. I had enjoyed aspects of that job a lot – it was straight forward, and none of the paperwork or bank balances were mine to keep me awake at night for once (I have an absolute phobia of opening mail, and a weird love-hate relationship with paperwork). However that’s changed now that we are fighting to keep the place going, and ultimately the decisions on how to do that are not mine. I do find it difficult not being in control – it was the most worrying part of returning to employment from self employment; not being my own boss, not making the buck stopping rules and decisions, but that was also exactly what I was enjoying getting away from. Weird how your fears can be your friends eventually.

Anyway, I have decided that I have to once again make the most of my assets and any skills I can learn to find a way of making money in future. I have the croft, I have this trailer, and I have roughly worked out that I can just about afford the £1000 I want to make the budget for getting it done. I’m not even convinced that budget is realistic, and I’m certain it contains no contingency. Also I can’t afford to get the money then start the project, because if I do the season will be over. I also don’t know if I can get it going before I may lose my job, and even if I do I can’t see it replacing my income in full or at all beyond mid August.

I have to say that 8 or 9 businesses in seven years has been a task, but a task that’s given me so many new skills – online marketing, social media skills, confidence, contacts and a real feeling for what’s worth doing. I really want this one to work because it’s fun, and cute – it’s a house in a horse trailer, how awesome is that if you’re daft about equines?!!
It’s not going to make a fortune, but if I can get it up and running for this summer I am hoping it can pay me back – which is the same as paying for the next venture. Everything I have done in the past seven years has given me the skills, knowledge and contacts to get this underway, and I believe this trailer is the vehicle to the next phase – none of it is the perfect answer, but it’s all part of the journey.

Yesterday I took the first step. Me and The Great Dane (my Fiance, a human one, don’t worry. ) went through much agony with a dodgy jockey wheel, and embedded tree trunks, water filled tyres, and a dysfunctional farm jack to get the trailer hitched onto the back of my faithful old Landy, Muscle Man. I dragged it through some pretty trenchy mud up onto the yard and took a proper look at what I might need to do with it. Stripping it right down is the only way to be really certain of what it will need. (P.S. shortly after this Muscle Man broke down – might be a coincidence, because he is a Land Rover and that’s what Land Rovers do. Especially 20 year old ones).
The Great Dane has made it plain that whilst he is happy to give advice and help where he feels he has time or is qualified to do so, this is not HIS project. And that’s fine. He has his own projects. I don’t think the way to a healthy relationship is to consume the other persons free time with what you want or have to do. Although mucking about getting it out of the field yesterday was a lot of fun, even the bickering part was tongue in cheek (my never ending self improvement has not yet reached the realm of perfect communication or dealing well with frustration).
I loved looking at the old wagon, remembering the very many furry butts I used to see through the back door (or, in the case of the Clydie mare who had sweet itch as one of her many issues, actually hanging out over the back of it looking for a scratch). I remembered the adventures, and parts of the country it had been to like when I went to the Isle of Lewis to buy a rare Eriskay and my gear box went on a big hill and I nearly crashed killing me, the horse, a very young eldest daughter and my best dog ever, or the time I used it to take seven horses home from a local show while I had a broken pelvis from falling off going over the practice jump, or turning it in a passing place at the most Northern tip of Skye – it is longer than normal box and the pick up was 18ft long( If I have a super power it is definitely driving and reversing with trailers on, almost un-natural if I say so myself). I remembered how, after all the nurturing I gave her, that Clydie mare was such a devoted friend of mine she’d follow me anywhere – even into the trailer without any halter or lead rope; the sense of love and devotion I would have standing in there stroking her beautiful face and giant snuffly nose, as someone put the back ramp up and we’d go off in seek of better grazing for her each time she inexplicably lost condition. She was called Offers Lady May so it seems fitting that we start this project in the month of her name.

And now it’s time for someone else to experience love and devotion in the trailer! Once she’s all transformed and reborn she’ll be going into a circle of hard standing atop the hill in my Caledonian Pine wood and be rented out for a nominal fee. I aim to have her ready for mid July if I can.
Plans include a composting toilet, a decked outdoor food prep and dining area, a wood burner on a door; that’s right – a door, a stable door entrance, a Perspex window with recycled plastic bottle “stained glass” and pallet furniture, and horse related fittings. I’ll try and detail the whole thing so other people without a clue can see where to get started once they find a relic to relove.