Why & how: facts, fiction and photos

I was sitting in my house in West Cork, the kids were playing and the summer was moving forward with arthritic slowness. Yes we were in Ireland and the sky was leaky. The clouds, however were doing their usual dramatic displays and pungent was the aging smell of turf fire mixed with fresh field dung and blooming heather.

We had moved to rural Ireland from France to get away from the big city bustle, raw pavement stuccoed with dog droppings and life measured, not even with J. Alfred Prufrock’s coffee spoons but with jackhammer breakfasts and fire siren soirées.

So here we were, among the yellow gorse hills of Dunowen.  The last coveted coppers barely blanketed the bottom of the proverbial cookie jar. I needed a job.

All my life I’d been in working in the theatre. What could I do in rural Ireland?  I’d moved there propelled by a need for nature and roots (partly fancied partly real), but now there I was and my plans for the future had only gotten me this far…

I looked out the window.  The cows stared back, chewing their cud.

Then a neighbor rolled by with a stack of hay on his wagon.  And another drove up with a horsebox.

I thought to myself “if I had one of those…I’d fix it all up, invite folks inside and tell them stories… “

Ping!  I literally heard the light switch click in my brain.

It was one of those rare perfect ideas that actually works in some cockamamy way.  It solved all my problems!  I could take my kids with me from town to town, festival to festival and they’d have a great summer.  We’d have a fantastic place to stay and I could earn a living, forge a new path, venture beyond a new frontier.

“Now”, said my mother, “I have heard some hare-brained schemes in my time but this has got to take the cake”!

Well, crazy as it may sound, this was the beginning of a wonderful story, and it goes on and on and on and on and on!

the makings of the caravan

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