My little buddy in the featured photo is Max. He is my shadow.
That photo was taken during the winter of 2015, which was spent holed up in my daughter’s gutted caravan in our paddock-yard. It’s not that I lived there. Not really. Just for all the daylight hours, for 4 or 5 days per week, for about three months. It was a self-imposed retreat to rewrite the majority of my doctoral thesis before its final-final-definitely-final submission deadline in November of that year.
It was very cold out in the paddock, but Max insisted on keeping me company every day – especially after I gave him my coat to sleep on: Always close to the laptop to catch the tiny bit of heat coming from its vent. He is a loyal old friend, and he would follow me to the end of the earth.
The caravan was a very humble environment, and absolutely perfect for what I needed to do: Totally quiet. Far enough from the house to not be distracted by WIFI, but near enough for regular visits to the kettle. And the view of the valley was as magnificent as it is from the window beside my desk inside the house. I was, and remain, very grateful to have been able to use it.
Sadly, it has not been quite so useful for my daughter.
She never did get the chance to fit it out as her art studio because, just weeks after Max and I moved out, a violent spring storm picked up the whole caravan and smashed it down on its side. Who’d have thought the vintage frame would be so incredibly flimsy when the cladding broke loose?
We did not have the skills to fix the frame, so the caravan was sold for a fraction of its worth to a local handyman. We have video, somewhere, of the moment it was hauled back upright. It was anybody’s guess whether the whole thing would collapse in on itself. (This right here is my very first cliff-hanger, because I’m not saying what happened. You’ll have to wait until I find that video!)
One day I will buy my daughter a real art studio. An actual building. A big shed, that will not blow away. And maybe someday I will buy myself a little shed. It need only be big enough for a desk that will hold two big computer screens on one side – and on the other, a comfortable curl-up space for Max.
But that is a story for another day.
Do you have memories of a special writing space? Please describe it in the comments, because I’d really like to read about it.