It’s been another busy couple of months, but both Adrian and I have both been suffering from writers block. This time there have been reasons and I’ll go in to those in a separate blog, but first, let’s get up to speed on where we are at now.
So, after getting the permitted development sorted for our barn and two poly-tunnels, our next mission was to get a caravan on the farm to use as a restroom. Although we’ve had a fantastic summer with plenty of sunshine, with the kind of work we are engaged in, you need somewhere to go and sit, make a cuppa and eat your pack-up. We looked at all the options available to us and eventually decided that a static caravan was the way to go.
On the 18th August we got the call to say that our static had left the yard in St Austell. This was an issue as we hadn’t finished sorting out the base, but thankfully I had my friend who wishes to remain anonymous on-line so will be known as ‘She Who Has No Name’ (SWHNN for short!) and my cousin Sarah down here with me. So, with an hour and a half’s notice we set to shifting the last 3-4 tonnes of hardcore over to the base as a weed suppressant. We just made it! In fact, as we sat down on deck chairs in front of one of the containers, we all became aware of the sound of a chainsaw getting closer. SWHNN free-climbed up the side of the container to see what she could see, and lo and behold, what she could see was an orange flashing light and a roof and chimney coming down the lane towards us!! The excitement was palpable!
It seemed to take an age for more of the caravan to reveal itself, but then, Keith Cheesewright and his guys were having quite a job getting a 35ft x 12ft static down a narrow Cornish back road! My cousin shot off down the lane to investigate and this is what she found. Slowly but surely our static WAS making it’s way towards us. I think by this time I was actually bouncing with excitement! I guess putting a caravan on a field wouldn’t cause so much excitement ordinarily, but, the arrival of this caravan meant that so many things could be started and it also solved a number of issues, most importantly, it gave me somewhere other than the car to put Bob whilst I was doing busy and doggy-dangerous stuff. A long hot summer had not been conducive to having Bob with me everyday and I hated leaving him at home even every now and then.
The next issue for me was whether my truck driving experience had really allowed me to judge how wide the gates at the front needed to be to allow large and wide loads in to the farm. It seemed to look too narrow having the static inching ever closer to them, but amazingly I got it spot on! One of Keith’s lads had to remove one of the wide load signs of the back left-hand corner of the static, but that was to avoid scrapping the top off the 800 year old Cornish Hedge. After all the waiting, the caravan was on the farm and breaks were going to be comfortable from here on in. Hurray! But, the fun of the day was a long way from over. In fact, much as I had anticipated being able to sit and watch the delivery happen in front of my very eyes, myself and SWHNN very quickly became honorary members of Keith’s team!
In order to get the static down the lane, Keith had put it on the back of one of his smaller rigid trucks. This wasn’t a problem until it came to getting the caravan off the back of the truck and positioned onto the hard standing that we had finished with only minutes to spare! However, when it came to winching the static off the truck, the bottom of the caravan had gone to ground. To counter this, SWHNN, myself and one of Keith’s lads had to climb into the caravan and make our way to the lounge at the front to make it tip that way and bring the back of the caravan up off the ground. It was the most exciting thing to do. Both myself and SWHNN were loving the excitement of it so much. Keith’s lad who was in with us was just enjoying a break from all the labour! For him, being in the caravan with two excited women was better than working!!
My cousin Sarah stayed out of the caravan as it was being taken off the back of the truck and filmed it all as it happened for us. The trouble is, it took ages and as a result the video is too long to post on the blog, but it remains a reminder of a very exciting day for us, and, it meant that Adrian could enjoy all the excitement later as he was at work on the day the caravan arrived. So, there it was! Sat on the farm looking big and imposing. A real moment for us at the farm. I guess putting the caravan on the farm made everything we are planning seem more achievable. More real. Actually happening. No going back from here. If I’m honest, I was as overwhelmed by seeing it sat there as I was when I visited the venue for our evening reception on the day before our wedding!
At 4pm, when Keith and his happy crew had left, it dawned on the 3 of us that we hadn’t eaten all day. So, we headed back to Truro and indulged in some well earned fish and chips. We were all emotionally and physically exhausted by the day, so we relaxed for the evening in readiness to go back to the farm the next day and start on Bob’s dog pen.
As I mentioned earlier, with such a wonderful long and hot summer here in Cornwall this year, it had become a nightmare having Bob up on the farm with me everyday with only the car as a place of safety and shelter for him. Our fields are all enclosed by Cornish Hedges, but they don’t throw up much shade. Although the caravan offered one solution for his safe keeping, it wouldn’t be very much cooler for him than the car with only the windows at the tops open to create a through draft. With the granite that had been removed from the Cornish Hedge to open up the entrance, and the soil that had been removed to put the concrete bases in for the static to rest on, my cousin Sarah set to making a raised bed in front of Bob’s dog pen, whilst myself and SWHNN set to the task of bashing in fence posts and putting up rabbit fencing to create the boundaries of bob’s new pen.
By the end of the week of having my most excellent work crew with me, the caravan was sited, the dog pen was all but finished and all the things that needed to happen could suddenly be achieved without the stress of a puppy with no shade. I managed the last couple of jobs in the week that followed the departure of SWHNN and Sarah, building my very first gate all by myself and putting a bamboo screen up to stop Bob barking at every horse-rider and dog-walker that passed the farms entrance. His bath was added to the pen so that he could rinse off the grass pollen that he’s allergic to, and our old dining room table was put in with a pallet resting up against it to provide some shade. Job done! It’s been a labour of love to get things this far, but really, we’ve barely scratched the surface of building a farm!
Since the week after my work crew left and I got the dog pen finished off, sadly, I’ve been suffering with a trapped nerve in my neck. This has slowed down my progress somewhat and has so far lasted for 3 weeks, but I’ll be back to building more of the farm just as soon as I can lift my post rammer up again!
On the day the caravan was delivered I was visited by two of our neighbours. One came to let me know his thoughts on the caravan (I’ll go into that in my next blog!), and the other came to ask me very politely to remove the branches that had been cut down from his trees to get the caravan past his property. Myself and SWHNN went down and dragged a good lot of firewood up the lane to the farm.
If you look at the photos below though, there is no doubt whatsoever that we have altered the look of this land, and very visible progress of what is to come is starting to appear. It makes Adrian and I very happy to see our dreams becoming a reality.