This is a follow on from the Monday story about my mate who got chucked out of his flat on the very day that we got the first heavy snowfalls of the winter.
It was just over seven years ago that my partner and I had a falling out, and I ended up homeless. I lived in my car for about three months. That’s pretty bad, but at least I wasn’t wet. There were showers at the local motorway services, a launderette just up the road, and I had a job. Could have been worse, but it has to be said that even in a car frosty nights were a bit unpleasant.
Then in the December, I bought the infamous Pig, an aged but characterful Hymer based on a MkII Transit chassis, and prepared to get through the winter*.
The first winter was quite an adventure, a challenge if you will. At least I could cook, I had heating of a sort, and there was running water, also of a sort. I did get bored with emptying the shit tank though. Then the water system froze. This was not good.
The second winter, I thought, ‘Easypeasy. Did OK last year, didn’t I?’ Then the gas heating packed up. And the water froze again, and in doing so split one of the water pipes that was in the most inaccessible place you can imagine, and hence knocked out in perpetuity. It got so cold I had ice on the windows. And on the ceiling. And on the walls. This was not good. Nor was the fact everything was permanently damp, and mildewed.
The third winter, I was getting thoroughly bored with things, and also not a little afraid. The adventure had worn off, and I was pushing 60 years of age pretty hard. Then the heater that ran off the engine packed up, so if I drove anywhere I had no hot air at all. That was unpleasant.
The fourth winter arrived, to my dismay. Also to my dismay, I awoke one morning (in the sense that I’d actually been asleep for a bit), and found a reasonably sized snowdrift on the floor by the entrance door. I’d been parked sideways on to the wind, and fine snow had wormed its way through a dodgy door seal. I decided enough was enough.
Tough times, though in an odd way sort of satisfying. And at least I wasn’t relying on a cardboard box to keep the elements at bay.
*It’s worth pointing out that in a campervan, there are only about 2 days a year when it’s a comfortable temperature. In the summer you get very hot indeed, and in winter the temperature threatens your gonads.
**If you get snowdrifts, imagine what the draughts were like.