What is the Tiny House Movement?
Put simply, it’s about simple living in small homes. It’s cheap, creative and better for the environment. It’s been a passion of mine for a while. The movement is making strides in the USA and is building momentum here in the UK too.
Why did I live in a converted horsebox?
As usual, when met with a problem to solve, I like to choose the path less trodden. (I like a good bit of mud in my boots.) So, my best mate Remy and I converted a horsebox into a beautiful Tiny House; something that wouldn't look out of place in George Clarke's Amazing Spaces. .
Sometimes I am an actor. Regular unemployment means it's sort of like my hobby.
I am currently touring a production of Mike Leigh's, Abigail's Party.
When actors go on tour, each theatre they visit gives them a 'digs list'. A 'digs list', is a list of nearby, vetted rooms available to rent for the short term period you are employed at the theatre. First stop Derby.
Each landlord/ lady gets a few sentences to sell you their spare room. That's all well and good... until one look at Google maps shows they are miles and miles away from the theatre. After a few minutes of reading the dig blurbs for Derby and seeing stuff like "No use of the family kitchen but access to a microwave" I decided to check out the options available on airbnb.
No joke, Airbnb hasn't reached Derby... at least not for my chosen search. The nearest Airbnb is in Sheffield. 40 odd miles away. So with an obsessive addiction to cooking on a flame and only using microwaves when on a boogie board, I came up with a plan...
Plan = live in a horsebox while on tour.
To do list:
1) Get a horsebox.
2) Live in it.
Luckily my best mate, Remy has a horsebox and even luckily'er he has put a small double mattress in, above the driver's cabin.
Remy, like me, loves a bootsale and a salvage. Remy has cobbled together a basic rustic kitchen: with an old carpenters work bench, a small butler sink and a beautiful old copper tea urn. The tea urn works as a small water tank to supply water to the sink.
There is a three burner hob for all my cooking needs. This is where I will heat water for washing up etc. He's also done some really great decorating. He painted the inside of the horsebox a warm off-white and has sliced 10mm discs of wood and tacked them onto the wall.
Remy and his partner Tammy have only ever used the horsebox for a couple of nights' stay maximum and always in a campsite. Whereas I will be on the road for 2 months and won't be able to plug into campsite's electricity or water or make use of the bathrooms!
I’ve already lived on a boat so I've done the right rehearsal period for this project.
Next stage is to turn Remy's short-break-shelter, into a long-term-alternative-abode. Water above all else is the resource I need to pack the horsebox full of. I will also need to build a (composting) toilet. And clever storage solutions for food and clothes. My gypsy blood and boat training, means heating is way down on my list of priorities. I'm starting this adventure in fair weather and ending it in late November so heating might become a problem...
What? How does a composting loo work, I hear you cry? Basically the solids and fluids are separated by a 'urine divider' which means after a sprinkling of saw dust, there is no smell!
After a few breakages, during a couple of short trips in the horsebox to buy supplies, I realised the importance of screwing everything down or up. I want to be able to get on the road without having to put everything into boxes. I've screwed jars to the underneath of the table and realised a mere hook doesn't do the job to secure a hanging object, I've used eyelet hooks and carabina clips.
Space at an absolute premium I had to solve the: Where to put a month's worth of clothes without living out of a suitcase, riddle... This is what I came up with: individual tote bags, all labelled for the different clothes types.
(J=Jumpers, Ts=T-shirts, &=Socks and Pants, BOT=Bottoms, W=Washing)
Writing isn't my strong point, so apologise for all the mistakes, especially with tenses. I am writing this at the end of my trip in Derby and all the prep of getting the Horsebox ship shape was worth it. I have absolutely LOVED Derby and living in the horsebox. Here are a selection of pics of me enjoying it...
As you can see, I basically just cook, then eat, all day. For a few hours a day, I do have to drag myself away from the horsebox, if only to charge my devices, OH and do a bit of acting... but I've found the dressing room a great place to do work for BOOM DONE.
Anyone wondering if BOOM DONE SHOP is still open, it is. I do all the digital stuff remotely in Horsebox HQ and my amazing Mum does the post.
If you want extra information about the Tiny House Movement, take a look at this blog I wrote before.
Thank you for reading this.