Thursday, 17 July 2008

Location Location Location

It would appear that my first priority is to find a new job. Once I have found a new job, I can then start to think about where I will be based and make moves to ingratiate myself with the locals. I do not want to go too far from TLB so I will be looking in the Surrey/Berkshire area.

To my mind there are 2 types of places I can stay, camp-sites and private land. My preference is private land though it will be a mixed blessing if I find such a place. Camp-sites have obvious advantages: showers, toilets, electricity, access etc. The main problem with them is that they usually have maximum staying periods and they often close during the low season. This will mean that I am going to have to stay on my toes and always be on the lookout for my next pitch.

I have considered going in with a cover story, telling camp-site owners that I am in the area on a short term programming contract and the most economical way to live for the duration would be in a tent and can I stay for 3 months? This may let me negotiate a discount for medium term booking and maybe even score a plum spot on the camp-site, I think that will all come down to the geniality of the owners and the popularity of the site. Time will tell, though if I can only get a maximum of 21 days out of each site there should be at least 100 days worth of camp-sites within easy reach of my current workplace. There are however no guarantees that I will be working here which is why this is all rather theoretical.

Camp-sites, hopefully, will only ever be a short term solution to my medium term problems of somewhere stable to exist. The infinitely preferable option would be to live on some private land with the permission of the owner, in exchange for money, labour or some other form of remuneration. I would obviously have to generate my own power and access to water may become more of an issue but these are problems I should be able to overcome.

The big question is... how on earth do I find land owners of this ilk? I can appreciate that most landowners, when confronted with a scruffy man and a dog will be doing everything possible to get them off the land, not inviting them in with open arms and suggesting good spots to pitch a tent. I think that this particular challenge may well be the one that ends up defining my adventure. I have a few ideas of how to get in with the local landowners...
  • I have links into the horsey community through a dog walking friend and may be able to find an equestrian based property with which I could come to some sort of agreement.
  • I could try advertising in the likes of Surrey Life and Country Life and as many posh local journals as I can find in a bid to secure the attentions of some right thinking landed local person who could find a use for having a strapping young lad on site, if only for peace of mind.
  • I could try and get in with some local hippies and pitch on a corner of their rainbow land collective, not that I think Surrey is exactly brimming with such places.
  • Local classified advertisements, hoping for the sympathy of some likeminded local.
  • I could just try cold calling farmers from the phone book.
None of these ideas really inspire me with huge confidence, but I have a feeling that these are the sorts of things that will find me by word of mouth and I know I have a few allies out there who will be keeping an ear to the ground. There is of course a third option - camping rough.

Finding myself a quiet spot in some country park carries with it a number of issues. All of the facilities that I will require to live will need to be provided but there is also the very high possibility of discovery, abuse and/or arrest. It is almost inevitable that people would find me, this is a dinky little island and I am pretty sure that no part of southern England remains undisturbed by dog walkers or local kids for very long. I have rough camped out on Dartmoor, having walked for a day to what I consider to be the most remote, inhospitable spots and still when I wake up I will be greeted by someone in a Barbour and wellies on their morning dog walk past the entrance to my tent.

I am pretty sure that without further qualifications as a Ninja, the rough camping option will be reserved for only the most dire circumstances. Circumstances which may I add, I am loathe to consider now. As it stands my plan at the moment is to book myself into one of the local camp-sites, negotiate as long a period of stay as possible and use that time to find a permanent place to stay, as well as equip myself for that very eventuality.

Okay, so it is not the most water tight plan but I knew there would be some risks involved. Once I know where I will be working I can start to target my efforts towards finding somewhere lovely, preferably near water, woods and a nice cosy pub.

1 comment:

crimpit said...

Where are you gonna keep your bike fella?
It strikes me that you havent considered the effects of dampness and oxidisation, nor the difficulties of effective security ( tent posts being relatively easy to cut a D lock free from).

page counter