Thursday, March 10, 2011

The trial separation begins

So called because we're separated, and it's a trial.


It's a curious situation, and not one I hope will last for too long. The Horse Doctor is down in Wales where her job is and our house for sale. I am up here in Scotland, where my farm is and my no-longer-leaking Caravan. Soon I should have some livestock to tend, but for now my days are mostly about clearing gorse and mending fences (that's not a euphemism, by the way). 


This sorry state of affairs actually started almost two weeks ago, when I ventured north with dogs and a trailer load of rubbish. I was determined to take up residence in the caravan, rather than relying on the spare bed and goodwill of my brother and his family. That first night, without water, gas for heating or any other kind of convenience, was mostly cold and very uncomfortable.


The following day, I connected up the water supply. I wasn't too certain this would actually work, but even I was surprised by the sheer number of burst pipes that spewed forth underneath. The problem was that, when I bought the caravan from Pettycur Bay Caravan Park in Kinghorn, Fife, the site owners moved it off its pitch and wheeled it to the front gates for the hauliers to bring to me, they didn't bother to first drain it down. 


Putting to one side for now the fact that this is perhaps the most idiotic thing I've ever encountered, and not something you'd expect from people who deal with caravans for a living, it wouldn't much have mattered had the caravan actually been delivered back in November when it was supposed to be. Unfortunately, delivery day coincided with the start of what was to become the coldest winter on record, with blizzards sweeping across the country and general misery all round. The caravan couldn't be delivered, and so sat in the haulier's yard until the end of January, when it finally arrived.


Of course, temperatures dropped as low as minus eighteen this winter, so any water in any pipes (and cisterns) was bound to freeze. Had the caravan park done their job properly, there wouldn't have been any water in either pipes or cisterns. Since they didn't, there was. Both toilet cisterns have cracked, and I spent three days last week just cutting out split copper pipe and replacing it with plastic (handily left over from the renovation work on the house). I stopped counting after the fifteenth burst pipe.


But it's fixed now. The gas is connected, the heating and hot water running as well as can be expected given the poor pressure. It's a private supply and very much end of the line. As yet, I have no sewage system - that's a subject for another post entirely. But the waste from sinks and the shower drain to a handy soakaway nearby, so at least I can keep clean.


The beginning of this week saw me on a train all the way down to Cardiff to pick up a car. Next week I'll be doing that all over again (I have too many cars). The following week I have to go to the hospital in Aberystwyth to be told that my MRI scan has shown up nothing serious and I will just have to learn to live with the constant ringing in my right ear. Sometime in between all this travel, I may yet start farming. 


Next time: Chainsaw frenzy.

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