I had a lightbulb moment last Sunday…
I moved my caravan and woodpiles to the other side of the field and plugged in my electric hookup. After two years and four months with no electricity I can now flick a switch and, ‘Hey Presto!’ light.
So what’s it like moving from the 19th century to the 21st? Convenient. Normally if I buy some ham, I have to eat it all the same day. A massive sandwich for lunch followed by something extremely hammy in the evening. And in the meantime, the ham goes under the duvet, the most well insulated place in the caravan.
Now though, cold meat goes straight in the fridge – although it takes a bit of remembering to do so. Just think, no more slipping into bed to be surprised by ham. That’s a bonus.
People ask me why I never sorted something out sooner. God knows. The only answer that seems to make any sense to anyone is that you can get used to anything. I mean, it’s not like I couldn’t have hooked up a battery and used the 12 V circuit. I just never did.
In the beginning
The great rejection of electricity came with my rejection of houses. The first six months (summer of 2011) I spent on the road, living in my old Post Office van.
As an experience, it was magical. I swam in the sea every day, spent nights parked by remote beaches, was kept awake by the white noise of the surf – believe me, it drives you nuts in the end. Autumn storms, rain hammering the roof. A spell on a garage forecourt waiting for the mechanic to get around to fixing the clutch. All good stuff.
And then I found the field – which was just as well – swimming in the sea keeps you clean but November is a chilly month to be skinny dipping. I bought a caravan, and there I’ve been, ever since.
By that time I was used to not having power at home. I had a head torch and a candle. I had my studio / shop. Winters were cosy, candlelit and, with the wood burner, warm. Winters were also freezing cold, dark, damp, draining and plain miserable.
Summers – awesome.
So I liked the electric-free life, and I didn’t like it. It was something I chose and that I subjected myself to. As to why I did it? Who knows? I could pass it off as a daft experiment, but as it happens, I do know why I went without for so long.
Anyone for a ham sandwich?