In the interests of remaining mysterious, I may have been remiss with some facts. You’re not the only one to ask whether we live in a teepee.
My expectations had been lowered to a ramshackle cabin – thanks to a game the Dimple likes to play called Wind Her Up – so I whooped when we arrived at this four bedroom manor. Plus it’s off the grid, something I’ve noticed men get all frothy about: car batteries power the 12 volt lights, gargantuan buckets catch our water, a leach field dispatches our poop innocuously into the earth, there’s no cell coverage and electricity comes from almighty propane generators during summer. Winter, I hear is a different story. There’s a frightening mound of firewood out the back that’s apparently going to keep us warm and we’ll only have electricity after the sun goes down. I am ignoring the fact that that means no (Toddler) TV, iPod or Internet during the day. Or GBHs. On the plus, it also means no washing machine, vacuum cleaner or oven.
Our dusty, windy, hilly driveway into camp, takes thirty minutes from the highway. It’s excellent with a hangover. The Other (permanent) Mother has casually mentioned she’s been barricaded in some winters as too many trees have sneezed and fallen over – Redwoods are not very stable it seems – blocking the road. I’d been wondering why people had given me chocolate and tea bags. ‘For winter’ they whispered, with pity. Where are the cases of Sherry I want to know. It can’t be worse than winters in London though… surely. Mind you, at least you have bars to escape to. We’ve got the generator shed which is loud, like a bar, without the nice bar bit to lean on.
It’s not quite The Good Life, although I have inherited a flower garden, which I resent. Gardening is for mothers’ whose children have left home so they can satisfy their longing to grow life again. I watch my children sprout every day, plus they require watering, singing, weeding, washing, soothing and feeding – I don’t need flowers to sustain.
The pigs, I will admit, are brilliant. We’ve got two – one for each family – called Sausages and Bacon. Talk about top pets. They come sprinting towards us like jolly dogs except they don’t require any patting, walking or attention; all our food scraps are gobbled up, so no more stinky compost and they don’t care if we accidentally drop their dinner on their heads; they require no grooming – they even apply their own organic mud sunscreen – the pen is big enough to swallow shit, piss and anything else that happens to rot there; they are disgustingly hoggy and gloriously gluttonous. What a superb life! And during winter, when we holiday somewhere hot, we won’t have to find pig-sitters because by then they’ll be waiting in our freezer as real sausages and bacon. As a vegetarian I thought you might appreciate that.
We keep talking about spending a night in the teepees at camp, because we can. But there will be no electricity, lights, iPod, Internet, fridge, oven… crikey, just like winter. Might just stay in the house.
PS Growing exotic vegetables on your roof-top garden is, of course, not old lady-ish and rather glamorous.