Monday, 24 December 2012


There were a couple of frosty days recently,  in amongst more rainy ones than any of us can tolerate. Today the fields and ditches around us are spilling brown lakes across the roads.

We have already visited our folks, and are now cocooning into the Airstream for a couple of days of quiet indulgence. There's an animated version of A Christmas Carol on the television, reminding me that I recently learned that there were several years of white Christmases when Charles Dickens was young, and it is likely that his brilliant and loved stories are responsible for our expectations of a white Christmas. Even though we all know how rare they are for us in England. I don't expect anyone will be writing songs about a Brown Christmas, or dreaming of one.

Happy festivities, and joy in each lengthening day, for we are past the shortest one.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Yarn Bomb

When we were staying near to Ludlow we took the short-ish drive to Leominster, unsure if we had been there before on our travels. Once there, we spent a happy hour or so disagreeing about it. Although in hindsight I'm wondering if Pete was possibly just winding me up. I know for sure that we had been, and I can remember when, down to the month and year. Pete swears he had never been. It's usually a bad sign when this happens. We visited Evesham three times, each more depressing than the last, before we learnt not to do so again. At least not until it became our handy, functional town with an efficient launderette and a lovely vet for the bunnies.

Back to Leominster though, it had a wonderful fromagerie where we stocked up on a scrummy trio of local cheeses. And there was this little 'yarn bomb' event in the street, knitted coverings on trees and street furniture. A sign said it was there to make us smile. Mission accomplished

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

No Rain

Sometimes the sound of raindrops on the Airstream roof can make you feel lucky to be indoors, cocooned. If you have nothing more pressing to do, those are the perfect days for a favourite film (I like something old and from a less complicated era for these occasions), gallons of tea, possibly some baking, and definitely some knitting or crochet. But if it's not Sunday, New Year's Day, or you're not on holiday it can be a smidgen inconvenient.

And after the soggy seasons we have all been dripping our way through, it can start to feel relentless, and like a bit of a trap. You can be all Cumbrian about it and just get out there in your appropriate clothing, but then you get back and steam up the place with the drying out process.

Anyway, when there's a gap of an hour or even a whole day, it's a relief to get out there and inhale the fragrance of damp soil and let the retinas rejoice in some autumnal jewel colours. I particularly like it when the sky is heavy and grey, but the sun has decided to come out in the afternoon and splash golden light on the yellowing foliage. If I look down, I love to see a tapestry of russet and gold leaves on glistening, black tarmac.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Rockhill Rendezvous 2012

I love to wander around the field at Rockhill Rendezvous and just take in the spectacle of a field of gathered Airstreams and their proud owners mingling and relaxing in the sunshine (and eating cake!) whilst I take in the sounds of chatting and laughing. The magic that I can't quite put my finger on is that a crowd of people who are simply brought together by a common love of their Airtsreams, who might not otherwise meet, and who might even drive each other crazy if they spent any more time together, can gather in a field for four days, find some common ground and have a merry old ding dong.

During this year's Rendezvous, two weeks ago, the days were seasoned with some organised excuses to get together. For example, a full-timers' forum which was well attended by Streamers who are currently living in their trailers as well as quite a few who are considering at least an extended trip. A polishing demo attracted vintage owners as well as interested new Airstream owners, and we had a 'meeting' during which it was reaffirmed that UK Airstreamers are not at all interested in forming a club with a committee and a bunch of boring old rules (phew! because I'm with Groucho on the subject of clubs). There was the ever-popular Open House where we all visit and admire each other's trailers and motorhomes. Unhitch and Stitch on the Sunday has become an annual haven of crafty, wooly chit-chat, during which I suspect that many of the other Airstreamers, who haven't had to leave yet, are having a nap.

But the idea is that all of this is optional, and people just dip in and out of the bits that appeal, in between simply visiting each other, going for walks, popping into Ludlow for a bit of food fair distraction, or just sunning themselves in their fold-up chairs. And, of course, there's a fair bit of technical know-how being exchanged too.

As far as the evenings go, there is something going on in the marquee each night, starting with a gentle get together on Thursday, building gradually through the Friday night Meet and Greet, to the Bring and Barby, a band and some dancing on Saturday. By Sunday night, it's time for a more ad hoc approach, one final barbecue, and a mellow night around the fire, for as long as you can keep your eyes open. There's music too. We had our Airstreaming folk duo, Shine, on Thursday, full-timer DJ Yossie on Friday and local band, The Cellar Boys on Saturday. And for a few lucky women (I don't think any men entered the free raffle), there were beauty treatments by Kerry of My Little Beauty.

I suppose I also have to mention the Vintage and Imported versus New European rounders match, which the Vintage blah blah blah team somehow managed to win for the second year. There, I've mentioned it.

Friendships are formed, the seeds of a winter ski trip were sown, new Airstreamers were welcomed and promised to return. Four days is probably enough, but there is still a feeling that we could just keep going and a handful of Streamers could be persuaded to stay on. Instead, we'll all just have to scatter, Airstreaming in our different ways and get back together with a treasury of new stories to share for next year.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

One Sleep

Rockhill Rendezvous kicks off today. Seems like about half the Airstreams will be arriving at two on the dot. Find more info here and here.

Monday, 3 September 2012


Can you have too many fairy lights? I think not. Anyway, we need to illuminate the inside of the marquee with a lot of fairy lights. Today I gave these jars a second coat of etch-effect acrylic paint and stippled them with a bit of sponge to give a frosted effect. Battery powered strings of LEDs will go inside, and we'll all get a warm glow.

Pete's been making direction signs to dot along the route, so that no Airstreams can miss us.

And, it has been hot!!! It felt like a proper Summer evening. More of those please.

Rockhill Rendezvous Approaches

Three days to go until thirty-plus Airstreams start to roll in to Rockhill Rendezvous. The marquee is up. The toilet sheds have been re-painted and decked out with sparkly lights. Actually, the sparkly lights look and sound whimsical, but since we have no power except from our generator, we have to be creative with battery and solar power. And it all looks so pretty.

I have been following orders to be careful, so that means no extreme familial visits or walking on uneven or slippy surfaces, and I am ready to party and be dazzled and walk on my own two feet (last year I was in a plaster cast, in case anyone missed it!). There is more about our preparations on our other blog, so I don't want to repeat myself. But I really want  to try to take more photographs this year. Pete and I always seem to be too distracted to take them. So, more blogging, and more pics, hopefully!

Here's a repeat, but worth another look. It's our special place on the farm where we get to be neighbours with Carl, Gaynor and the boys. That's their '59 Tradewind just showing off and being all cool and vintage. They just allowed my oldest friend to come and stay in it for a visit from London, which was beyond generous, and typically lovely of them.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Mmm, Purple

The Cotswolds is incredibly popular and well known for its rolling countryside and quaint sandstone villages, but my new favourite spot in the area is the lavender fields at Cotswold Lavender. We had visited about a month ago when a visit by Pete's parents had put us into tourist mode. It was interesting then, but now is definitely the time to go.

The flowers are fully open and on the hot sunny day that we were there, the honey bees were droning loudly. As soon as you step out of the car you breathe in the fragrant air, and the different varieties growing there show you that lavender can be pink or white as well as many shades of purple. Each one you see becomes your new favourite, although it is hard to beat the bunny-eared lavandula stoechas.

There is the obligatory shop where you can stock up on all things lavender, and the tea room. Thank goodness, because we were in just the mood for a cream tea al fresco.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Pink Procurement

The British high street has embraced the flamingo motif, for some reason. I've often wondered about people whose job it is to decide what we plebs get to buy and when. But, since flamingos and Airstreams go together, I'm not complaining this time. There are opinions and theories about why Airstreamers like flamingos. I go along with the idea that when Don Featherstone designed the gracefully kitsch lawn ornament for Union Products in the nineteen fifties, RV'ers probably wanted to take theirs away with them to created a little bit of their own yard-away-from-home. And the look just stuck. Now, you don't have to be into the whole fifties look to plonk a pair of flamingos outside your trailer and feel like you're part of some ironically kitsch gang. Most of us UK Airstreamers have a pair (although there aren't many genuine Featherstones around).

So this summer, we can also fill our shopping baskets with flamingoey stuff of a varying quality, and this is my choice, a drinks pitcher from a ubiquitous high street store. There was also a massive bag I fancied from Next (I think), but I'd never have use for it, or anywhere to keep it. That's the refreshing, anti-consumerism effect of living in an Airstream. Saves money and future trips to the charity shop to offload crap you bought on a whim.

The flamingo trend has been highlighted by my new favourite blog/website, Domestic Sluttery - the home and lifestyle blog for women who have better things to do. In other words, women! They have spotted a fabulously fifties/Hawaiian skirt from River Island, among other slightly more subtle finds. I've just found this website, but I'll be keeping an eye on it for their cocktail recipes, and indulgences like Chocolate Butter!!! I just know these are my people, because rather than wrapping in clingfilm and placing in the fridge for an hour, no no no, you pop it in the freezer for 5 minutes before schmearing on toast, pancakes, etc. As close to instant gratification as is decent.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Airstreams Throng

The Airstreamers have been gathering in Dorset and Yorkshire. We had a miraculous break in the weather for a weekend at an Airstream-friendly campsite in Dorset, then two weeks later, a cosy paddock and a heatwave near to York.

I really look forward to the gatherings. I've often thought that they are a way for the 'streamers to get their travels off to a start, but of course, in reality, many have already been on the road for a while. But anyway, it's a great time for talking about recent travels and future plans. For others, it can be an excuse to get a bit of maintenance or restoration finished in time for an appreciative audience, or to share your latest modification, or to show off that freshly polished trailer!

In Dorset we had a few new faces, which is always lovely, plus a catch up with some familiar faces we hadn't seen for a while, as well as some really regular gatherers. As people come to more of these weekends, the more the banter and ribbing flourishes. It's just joyful. And because you often know about other Airstreamers via the internet, it's great to put faces to names. This time we met the lovely Jenni and Kevin from Happy Days RV, who rent out their trailers on the site where we gathered.

For the second event, we went up North to Airstreamers Dave and Tanya's paddock. It was just the right size and shape for a cozy get-together, and the sun beat down on us the whole time. I still have the flip-flop tan to prove it. This time, there were no new faces, but the familiarity coupled with our sort of kidney-shaped formation made the group feel very relaxed.

Next? Rockhill Rendezvous in September, of course! It was lovely to hear all the York gatherers bidding each other goodbye with a "See you at Rockhill", like it was a given. Well it is for us, obviously. Our trips to the pub are also known as "meetings", where we each have a notebook and assorted, developing 'to-do' lists. Top of my to do list is "don't break leg!" I've already stepped up my yoga practice to strengthen my legs and ankles. Prevention blah blah blah.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Icing on the Cake

From Inner Realms on Etsy

I know one or two people who would feel right at home in this Airstream. You'd just hope that the inside contents lived up to the temptation on the outside.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Retro Flamingo Fabric

Barkcloth Hawaii Fabrics

On the UKAirstreamers forum a member has posted photographs of their newly-finished interior. Coveting their fabric led me to a bit of a surf and I ended up on the lusciously retro  Barkcloth Hawaii website. This flamingo print just ticks every box for cool vintage trailer style. It's got the ubiquitous flamingo and just enough of those squiggly and starbursty motifs to give the look without being overly kitsch. Although it does come in a range of colours, so if this is too timid, you could go for a pink or turquoise background.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Lashing and A Pelting

It's one of those Sundays you just have to go with. Pete said he'd go out and do the chores when there's a lull. Lull, what lull? A lull is when it's drizzling instead of lashing. But you have to be quick.

Weather conditions can be evocative of specific moments, and this pelting is reminding me of a couple of times and places during our first year in the Airstream where we were holed up, keeping warm and dry. Everything, and I mean everything felt like part of a wonderful adventure during our first couple of years. About a month in, we were on a fairly exposed farm not far from Mevagissey in Cornwall, and storms picked up. We didn't know how much the trailer could stand up to, and like all our neighbours on the campsite, we didn't go anywhere for two days. We didn't dare. We didn't know if the Airstream would still be there when we got back. Now I'm not so sure we would have wanted to be in if the trailer had started to tip over. As it was, it just rocked a bit and kept us awake at night.

Later, during our Summer in Ireland, our loo packed up and we waited on a large, deserted campsite by the coast in County Sligo while a replacement was being dispatched. Like I said, everything that happened was part of this incredible time that we had set out to appreciate, no matter what. So, in the wind and rain, clad in waterproofs and Crocs, I relished my walk to the toilet block. And when I got there, there would be musac! It's a bit surreal. Pelted by grey wetness on the way, you negotiated a 'Wet Floor' warning triangle and walked into a discomfiting cocoon of industrial toilet cleaner aroma, yellowed wall tiles and unnecessary music. But I did enjoy the particular lived-in quality of this slightly run down, out of season site. I'm sure it would have been perfect hell during the holidays.

So these images of being marooned in the wind and rain are flashing back to me, I don't have to go anywhere, Pete thinks he has perceived a lull, and he's out there choring. Alabama Shakes are playing, freshly downloaded after seeing them on Later With Jools last Friday. Jack White was good, but Brittany Howard really reached down in her boots and rocked.

Better put the kettle on because that lull was a false one and there's one soggy husband out there.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Airstreams Inspire

'Palm Springs Airstream' by Leah Giberson

One of my favourite shops on Etsy is Leah Giberson's. Many of her paintings are of Airstreams and other cool trailers, as well as iconic houses and objects. Her style, which saturates the image with colour while pairing back extraneous detail, is really suited to her trailer, suburban and urban structures, and pool-side subjects. In this one she has captured the sunlight so well, you almost need to squint to look at it. On her website she describes her subjects as ordinary. I find them anything but. I love urban and suburban images. We have known for some time that we will not be returning to live in the city, but urban landscapes are as much a part of my experience and inspiration as any pastoral scene.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Some Squares

The granny squares are accumulating. So far I have been adhering religiously to my plan to use up my stash, but I have got a point where I am left with a smidge too much pink that I don't want to use, and I feel a breathless craving for more shades of turquoisey-blues. So I am obviously going to have to cheat and supplement the spectrum with a trip to a yummy wool shop. The plan at the moment is to go around each square with a subtle and soft grey and then join them together with the same or similar colour, if I can find it. That way I think each square will stand out nicely rather than blurring into a painful cacophony of hues. Remember the snake in Disney's Jungle Book, hypnotising young Mowgli with his swirling eyes? Yeah well, that's not the effect I'm hoping for.

A note about the squares... Clearly, I have chosen to stick with the traditional granny square. I had bought a very funky-crazy pattern from Wonkey Donkey on Etsy, as seen on this post. But when it came to it, I could see myself spending years trying to learn each variation on the square theme and not getting very far with the blanket. As it is, this project is one to pick up and put down, according to mood or weather, so it's simple and comforting to just get into the rhythm of a familiar pattern. Then there are all those ends to sew in, but I'm not thinking about them today.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Flip-Flops and Bumble Bees

Spring is here. We have been fooling ourselves for a couple of weeks, excited by a glimpse of sunshine and some chirruping birds, only to be caught out with inadequate layering of clothes. I might start recording my first sighting of a girl in flip-flops, just like I make a mental note of my first bumble bee. I have seen both, the flip-flops before the official first day of Spring, and the more sensible bee since.

I haven't blogged much lately, questioning whether there's a point. Don't we all? I have felt that things have been a bit ordinary, and who wants to hear about that? Then it occurred to me that things may have been just relatively ordinary. After all, we are still living in our Airstream, of no fixed abode. Nothing ordinary about that. Anyway, doing normal stuff is good; dull, but necessary. Sometimes though, days and weeks can go by where you're just dealing with one bit of domestic or personal maintenance after another. I guess this is the ideal time of year to be in that mode; brighter, longer days to get stuck in with chores and jobs. Then, hopefully we're all ready to get on with the rest of Spring and Summer.

The trailer got a wash and a polish last week. I quite like polishing, and going round with a soft toothbrush to dislodge grime and green stuff from the crevasses. I have an eye for it. It's in my genes. Next, I'm going to raid the vehicle grooming kit that we got with our Land Rover, and see what I can gloss or highlight. It's like make-up for your car or trailer. 

These primroses are sitting on the top of our gas bottle locker, and aren't they just little pots of sunshine? Yellow, and the fresh green of new shoots just seem to be the colours of Spring don't they?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Swoony Loveliness Overload

covered stool with hezlein

Is that just the right amount of heart-meltyness? Try not to stroke the screen. My new crush on granny square blankets has led me to this pic. Loads more inspiration and ingrained obsessiveness can be found on F*ck Yeah Granny Square. So far my squares are coming out quite loud so I was thinking of contrasting that with some pale neutral shades such as a light stone or dove grey. It should work, especially with our aluminium walls here in the Airstream.  Some similar ideas can be seen on this page on Apartment Therapy.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

On My Radio

vintage 70s transistor radio from Wayside Flower on Etsy

A recent trip to the supermarket was transformed when the music on my radio was of an unexpectedly top quality. The husky welsh tones of Cerys Matthews, standing in on Radio 2, introduced this outrageously good selection: a 13 year old Michael Jackson singing the Bill Withers song - Ain't No Sunshine, James Blake covering Joni Mitchel's - A Case of You, and The Rolling Stones' inimitable - Gimme Sunshine.

This is music to make you feel something, to make you swoon. Cerys also usually has her own show on BBC Radio 6 Music. My life has been considerably enhanced since I realised I could listen to digital radio through our television. Instead of being spoon-fed somnambulising mush I can start the day with Shaun Keaveny who respects his listeners enough to treat them to Public Image Limited, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder (and I don't mean Ebony and Ivory). He chats clumsily about the universe with Professor Brian Cox most Fridays, and finishes the week with a poem written and performed by stand-up satirist, Murray Lachlan Young. You won't get any X-Lobotomy-Factor porridge here. Instead of anaesthetising the nation, 6 Music stirs and awakens.

Commenting on a trivial news item about the changing of rules on the wearing of fascintators at Ascot this year, Shaun's take was that a fascinator isn't really a hat, "... more like an emerging idea, or a mood." Profound genius, and all during breakfast.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Feeling Frosty

At last, some proper wintry weather. A bit of frost anyway. Until now I haven't needed to wear my woolly hat, not once. Usually it is fixed to my head for the whole winter. In the last few days though everything has had that twinkly dusty covering. I have gone out of my way to walk on the grass just to feel that crunch. I was beginning to feel robbed of a decent winter. What's the point of a mild winter that's barely discernible from the rest of our temperate year? 

Our bird feeder is the busiest attraction in the area. We always have a pair of woodpeckers (Greater Spotted, I think) as well as the usual selection of chaffinches, green finches and great tits. In the sunlight today the pheasants look like they're plumed in copper and gold. Last year one or two of them figured out how to perch on the top of the feeder and reach down to the seeds with their tail feathers raised for counter balance, but this year's population is still scratching around on the ground. I can be pretty certain that they are not the same birds since there is a lot of shooting in this area, although our 'landlord' doesn't allow any hunting on his land. Weirdly though, I have seen a shady character in full camouflage, including his green-splodged rifle, cutting across the camp site at dusk to get to the woods, only to return some time later, dragging a deer carcass behind him. I happened to have just stepped out of the Airstream one evening and, perhaps sensing my surprise and suspicion, the hunter tried to put me at ease by engaging me in conversation about how the local roads were less icy than earlier in the day. Phew! That sure did distract my attention from the fresh corpse on the ground.

My formerly-broken ankle is causing me less jip. I felt like there was a plateau in the process recently. I was expecting or hoping for steady and tangible improvement but I was still frustrated with aching and fatigue. Now I've reached that stage where I can be out and about and forget all about it. I do still feel tentative on potentially slippy or uneven ground though. A few  walks to the pub helped me turn the corner. I can remember feeling chuffed that I could comfortably stride out rather than take shorter, safer steps. Thank God for the incentive of real ale.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Spiny Critter

Here's a new addition to my shop. He licks envelopes and shop windows.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

And So...

Right, that's that then. It's quite hard to pick up a blog when it's been left for a while, as many of the blog writers I read point out from time to time. Is there a bloggers' protocol out there, whereby we just type in a codeword and everyone understands the futility of trying to make up for the un-blogged weeks or months. That would be handy.

Plus, of course, there was that December festive stuff that seems to have been building up since about October, so let's not mention any of that. We survived. Nuff said.

So what's new, apart from the year? Well, we trundled around and up and down the country throughout December for friends' big-birthday and getting-hitched celebrations, as well as the family visits at the end of the month for you-know-what. Now we're happy to be tucked up once more in our Worcestershire hideaway.
And I just posted some Sock Critters from my Etsy shop to someone in Niagara Falls! I know that's probably exactly the whole point of being part of the Etsy handmade hyper venue, but it's still blooming marvelous to think that I can sit here in our Airstream in little old Blighty, knitting and sewing daft bits of loveliness, and someone in Canada (and Australia recently too) stumbles across my stuff and decides it's just what they need or want. Brilliant! Now the Little Tin Hut shop is looking a bit depleted so I have another Critter on the go and a tea cosy, of course.

Here's a cosy which I should have shown off proudly some weeks ago. It was made for Carl and Gaynor's 1959 Tradewind, with some of Gaynor's wool left over from her crocheted blanket. Her sister-in-law started her off this summer and I don't think she's stopped since. Dare I say she's hooked? No, I'd better not.

I've also been inspired to pick up the crochet hook again. I recently bought this pattern from Wonky Zebra's shop of vintage crochet and knitting patterns, and I have started working on the array of granny squares. The colours will be different of course, because I'll be wading through my stash as much as I can without making it fit-inducing.

From Wonky Zebra on Etsy