Tag Archives: White Horse

Snakes and Ladders and the Making of an Overland Camper


Snakes and Ladders

I was walking behind the trucks yesterday, seeing the upraised cranes on both trucks and the ladder on the box. The image of the game snakes and ladders kept coming to mind, feeling like I was going up and down in  the game, and in retrospect, work has been like this for the last month, up and down the ladders and cranes.


Mercedes 814DA 4×4 Chassis Extension with Belly Winch at back

It started after we took the original electricity board body off Thor, the 4×4, or Thorx4  or, as the North Wind calls it – thawxthor. (Remember?). I bravely cut the crew cab in half, and welded the back up so it is now a single cab, so we could get more body on to it later on. We dropped the Ramsey winch into the chassis to create a belly winch.20130920_100951

We were now looking for a body to turn this truck into an overland camper truck.

We had the Scholar around for a while, and in order to get him trained in truck lore, we ended up going up North in the big truck, to get an 18 ft box we were going to cut down to create a luton (the bit that sits over the cab).  It seemed a good idea at the time.


18ft box body on the big truck

If you have been reading this regularly you may remember the white horse theme from the  Mari Lwyd yurt or from here .


Horsey presence

I guess a horsey presence was with us on that drive.

I always I keep my eyes open for omens,  so it was funny that after I agreed to buy the box and we went to another yard to load it on to the truck bed, that in the field behind the yard a perfectly white horse was walking about and I noticed that it had blinkers on. It seemed like it was telling me something.

I took it to be that the spirit of the white horse is telling me that I’m not looking very well and that the box was shot. I turned to the guy and said I dont want it anymore (it being up in the air at the moment). He said it is a good box, so I decided that, as we are there already, we might as well buy it even if we end up selling it…. and that we did, 2 days later.


The Blinkered White Horse

So the story goes, we ended up going South to deliver it with the big truck. It was pouring with rain but we had fun anyway.

I ended up getting another box that had a luton already, brought it back, and craned it on to the 814 4×4 chassis that had been extended.Mercedes camper

The box was overhanging by too much at the back, as one is only allowed 60% of the wheel base, so I was at a loss for a little white until the Angel suggested I should move the door back a bit (there was a side shutter door, at the front of the box, not in the picture). Being southerly, she is also attributed to being a door herself, I mean the Angel not the box.

After a little structuring and modelling with a little guy inside my head , (he does the work as I cant think), I realised that that is exactly the story: “move the door”. We spent a few days of extra intense work, where I moved both the Angel and the box door. At its height she ended up sleeping the night out and having communications from the ally.

Now the box was cut to size and has a bigger bed space above the cab, the door is moved and the game of snakes and ladders of taking boxes off and on, jumping from truck bed to truck bed, up the ladder and down the crane can cease.


814 4×4 overland camper in progress

The White Stalking Horse

A little while ago we said we would look into the myth of the white horse and its manifestation in our group work, I guess it is one of our personal Myths.

As we tried to explain before here, there is a group formation model, that consists of a few men and women, a group that acts as one greater being. We call it the group body, or sometimes the group mind.

Our own story in relation to group work started in the summer of “96 in a festival that took place in the mountains of Portugal, meant to be a month long affair, but ended up lasting more than three months.

Not only did we meet group consciousness work, on that mountain range there lived a few herds of semi-wild horses; the gathering site itself had a herd of brown mares with one splendid white stallion.

The White horse

The White horse in the mountains of Portugal

I remember we used to have our morning service circle in the medicine area and the white stallion would come and stand a few metres away looking at us. I guess from the beginning, group work was imprinted with a pure white stallion (for us anyways), as you will see that white horse became a kind of story-teller of our  particular group blueprint.

7 years later, some of the people who met in those mountains in Portugal were now living in a meadow in the Pyrenees in France. The group was facing a new cycle, as a few months earlier we all went back to the same site in Portugal to recall what is was all about, to re-align our intent.

But in the end, of that re-alignment the group kind of collapsed. It became clear that group work needs a stronger basis and that it could not be family orientated, because of inherited flaws and inter-dependencies.

So here we were in France a few months later (some of the survivors). One morning I went to visit the Scholar, (one of the men). Whilst sitting in his van, speaking about one of the women (as men do), two horses wandered by; one was brown and had a bridle, the other white with brown patches seemed somewhat wild.

The Scholar said, “Let’s go and catch them and ride together”. I said, “There’s no way we will manage to catch up to these two”, so he opened his truck door, picked up a carrot from his food box, and off he goes by himself.  Twenty minutes later he comes back riding the brown (bridled) horse, with the white one walking alongside. I could not believe that he managed to get them, though he was one carrot short.

But when he came to where I was standing he did not stop. I walk on with him and the horses; the brown one ignores me but the white one comes straight at me and then it starts following me, instead of walking with the other horse.

The Scholar goes over to one of the girls, she steps out of her caravan (sounds gypsy?), he jumps off and she jumps on, she then asks me for a lead, rides the horse for a while, until the horse gets jumpy and rears; trying to kick the one that has been following me all along, the white one with the mad eyes.

Somehow we felt like there was more than just a usual interaction here, in retrospect it turned out to be a true hunch, it was a map.

Our story turned out to be played out by those horses, we called it the Horse Map, because it turned out to be a map of sorts for telling future events.

The Scholar found another path, one that he could harness (symbolised by the brown horse) and the woman too took that path for a while, then reared up (had a little drama) and became a Buddhist nun a path not so un-similar to his initial, so you could say the horses foretold that those two are going another way and that we are going another, symbolised by the white horse.

The horses represented two modes – the Dreaming and Stalking, guess which was the white one?

The stalking horse

The stalking horse

It does not end here, another 3 years went by and we found ourselves gathering a new group.

Whilst in Italy, again in trucks, we found this amazing valley, it too had a  herd of wild horses which was led by a white stallion. We thought that our dreams had come true, then one morning I was speaking to one of the girls and the white stallion came and stood on the ledge right above us looking into the truck, I felt like the story has come for me, this must be our place (we were looking).

A few days later, we found an old mill we thought we should buy, to turn into a centre for group work.

Next night another one of the girls had a dream, where she met the heart of the world and lost it. In the dream she was literally overlooking the Mill (remember the Mill that grinds the ages?) and speaking to a being who was the Heart of the World (but looked like a door) but then it left her going east towards some mountains.

The next morning she was telling me that dream, we were standing outside, at the exact same spot where the dream took place – overlooking the Mill. Just then, out of nowhere a 4×4 truck comes up towing the lead stallion on a rope, the very same free stallion that had been roaming that valley for some 7 years. It was an omen, the leader has been caught, the group lost its freedom. Funny thing was that it appeared just as she told me the bit about losing the Heart of the World.

Then as it passed us the truck stopped, the stallion was rolling on the road kicking, the rope was strangling it, then as if in a dream, a car stopped and an Italian guy (it is Italy after all) jumps out, wearing a Horse medallion on his neck, and takes the rope off the horse’s neck and ties it as a bridle, the truck drives east down the road (same direction as the heart of the world went).

The white horse caught

The white horse caught

This was how the white horse was caught, we felt like our story itself was caught.

The story does not end here, but as this post has become epic, so it will have to be followed by another.

Sewing inside the White Horse yurt and Baker Tent mk 2


Tipi cover inside yurt


Had to quickly finish the tipi cover, as we are about to make The Baker tent mk 2. This one will have wooden toggles to secure the doors/walls instead of the double d-rings we had on the last one, which are more in keeping with the old style look we want the “Wild Canvas” brand to have.


Toggles drilled



And threaded with parachute cord


Baker Tent mk 2 section plan

Here is the sections plan for the Baker tent, still quite complicated (even with the plan). The trick is what gets sewn first to what, to make all seams waterproof.


Little egg that just hatched


Alignment of seams


The little hatchling


And the famous toggles now in the seam

Tales of Yurt Power: The Mari Lwyd Yurt

Mari Lwyd parade Eistedfodd

Mari Lwyd parade, Maes Gwyrdd, National Eisteddfod, 2012…just before they entered the newly finished yurt frame, thus bestowing good fortune on the yurt (photo from ‘Wild Wombling’ – the guys with the amazing chai)

Mari Lywd

Mari Lwyd

The White Horse symbol had already featured quite strongly in our story, when we were invited to show yurt-making at the National Eisteddfod festival in Wales. It is an extremely Welsh celebration of Welsh literature and Welsh performance and we (unWelsh) were only invited by association with Iwan Brioc, our (Welsh) friend.

We were making a yurt frame, of which the roof rafters, instead of being steam-bent as usual, were glued in layers on the jig for the zome of the Zodiac Tent. They were already finished, and we didn’t know if we would finish the rest. Someone told us, at this event, that it was unlucky for the yurt-maker to make their own door so we were waiting to see who would come forth to make the door. Fortunately a guy arrived with some linden wood, and fashioned a door, which was an omen about a person, but that is another story…

Somehow, with many hands making lighter work, the frame was ready to assemble on the final day of the festival. Just as the final rafter was being tied, the Mari Lwyd procession for the finale of the week, came parading around the field and entered the door of the yurt.

Hence the name Mari Lwyd or White Horse yurt.



The yurt complete

yurt door

Coming soon: the White Horse and how it wove itself into our story in various guises.