So the background of this tale is that once upon a time we were in Wales building two 4×4 trucks to go on the road: an oh-so-sweet Unimog and her big brother: a Mercedes 1820.
We had done the outer structure on both: put on bodies, spray painted them (the original “yellow in the Welsh rain saga“), added ‘Spirits Intent’ stickers, put windows and doors in the boxes and, a crane at the back of the 1820 for good measure.
But then the cosmic clock said its ‘time to go’, so we ended up buying a Brockhouse Army trailer for living in, which was to be towed by the Unimog, loaded up the two trucks with everything else: the materials for doing the interiors (such as insulation and piles of red oak tongue-in-groove), the combination saw machine, the sewing machine, canvas…and 2 coppiced yurt frames which were nearly finished, and tumbled onto the road.
(Incidentally reversing the trailer which is a draw-bar, meaning it pivots both at the trailer and the Mog, was not impossible but almost).
Anyway, the core of this story began when we were waiting in Italy for the go ahead on another Yurt Power Story, this one involving our Garden Fairy. It was eventually a No on that yurt, and we were (literally) about to turn for France where we had another yurt cover job when…the ‘phone rang and it was an Elfi woman wanting to know if we had any yurts. (The Elfi are a group of wild communities mainly in Tuscany, north of Pistoia, which are either on the land, or in houses they made themselves or resurrected from the old mountainside dereliction). The internal builds of the trucks were coming along slowly on the road, but it would be good to have a bit have more room in them so maybe we can get to live in them, especially with winter drawing near, so we gave them a good price. We still needed to finish the frames and sew the covers.
We understand that the first sequence of an event is the ‘map’, the blueprint for the whole story. This map was that when we went to meet the Elfi woman (elfess?) in a tiny hamlet, there was no room to park which, as you will see was to be played out in the body of the story.
The roads up to ‘Casa Sarti’, the community who had invited us, are narrow and winding so the 1820 and the trailer would never have made it but the Unimog did! Looking for a place where we could park and work on the yurts somehow, one of the communal fields seemed the only option. That evening saw a community event in the opening of a new forno (pizza oven), and we met all the players. When we asked them what they needed they all said, RAIN, as it had been dry for a few months. I told them we could do rain, then we had all the dramas of the community run about us using that field. There were all the objections: the cows, the road, the noise, the wells, the lack of water….so we would be going straight into the heart of the inner conflict of alternative communities. We realised we would have to find some other way to do it, maybe on the road somewhere.
That somewhere came when we returned to the petrol station where we had left the 1820 and trailer and the boss said we could stay there.
So life at the Tamoil gas station started, with a laid back boss who had a strong liking to wine lunch breaks and playing the clarinet. There was not much room so we had to pitch the 22′ and the 16′ yurts concentrically and sew outside next to the trucks. We were finally doing it on the road. I think the gas station must have had 50% more clients just so they could ask what was going on. It was somewhat hard to hold such a space, but it seemed that in comparison with the elfi politics it was easy.
The main issue seemed to be the weather, as maybe that long awaited for rain was on the way…so we did a little marathon to finish the yurts, and, as we finished the second yurt cover, the rain started.
We got the boys to help and we drove the bigger yurt to the platform it was going to go on…. …and then all hell broke loose on our heads. We decided to stick it out, so we put that yurt in the strongest rain ever getting completely soaked, and even heaving to paddle ankle deep on the PVC groundsheet.
We later heard that that yurt had blown down in a storm. La Dolce Vita.