This morning we woke up to ice on the inside of the caravan windows. I had to peel the curtains off the ice, and the tea towels that are wedged in the draught at the bottom of the kitchen window were stuck fast. It reminded me of caravan tales I’ve been told by the many former caravan- dwellers that live on Mull. It feels good to be part of this hardy community. There are so many of us, each with stories to tell of cupboards mouldy from condensation, walls shaking in the gale force winds, the noise of hailstones on the roof, the draughts and leaks. Winter in a caravan is not fun.
One former caravan-dweller survived eight years in a caravan with no running water. She remembered rinsing clothes in the freezing cold burn. We’re lucky – we have electricity and running hot water (when the pipes aren’t frozen). And the ultimate in luxury – a wood-burning stove. Once that gets going our caravan is pretty cosy, but as soon as the wood burns out, which it does in an hour if not tended, the heat vanishes through the paper-thin layers of window, wall and ceiling. Getting out of bed on a dark, cold morning, hours after the stove has lost its heat, is difficult.
No wonder in my head, most of the time, I picture living in our new house. Although sometimes it is hard to fight the feeling that it is an imaginary house that will continue to exist only in my head.
Optimism, stubbornness, single-mindedness, bloody-mindedness, faith, perhaps hope – something gets us up on the freezing cold mornings and keeps us going.