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Sanctuary, part 2 - Boating lake

The car park was like a rubbish tip. I filled several black plastic sacks with just the rubbish that was strewn around where I had pitched. I would fill a sack a day, then walk across the car park to the exit where there is a large bin. Next to that, there are some glass recycling bins. I made plenty of use of them, too. From there, I would then walk across the road to the café by the lake to make use of their facilities and have a cup of tea. The staff there were very friendly and even gave me a breakfast, ‘on the house’, once or twice.

After about a week, I contacted the insurance company to find out what was happening with the truck. They told me that it had been moved to a garage that was going to do the work. (I really can’t remember the name of the garage at this point.) I was given a contact number. I telephoned and was told that they had only just received the truck. The next day, I ‘phoned again. The man who is the proprietor gave me a list of the damage. A list that should not have existed. It seems that Mr. Grumpy of RTA had cut through the speedometer cable rather than simply unplug it and had broken the odometer clock, presumably by dropping it when removed.

A problem now existed; the garage was contracted to replace the locks, not repair the additional damage. RTA denied damaging the said parts. For the next month or so several letters, telephone calls and an investigation then proceeded. In the meantime, the truck just sat in the garage. Despite the garage making it clear that the damage was caused by negligence, it could not be categorically proven who caused the damage. In the end, the insurers agreed to cover the cost of all the parts. I arranged for the truck to be returned to me and had a new cable, clock and doors/ignition barrel set delivered to me on site by the local LDV dealership. I then repaired the damage myself.

As soon as I got the truck back, a local constable appeared. I had had dealings with him back at the ‘drove’ where he had proven to be incompetent; not really knowing what he was doing. He was one of a number of people who had suggested heading down to the boating lake. He approached me to inform me that the truck had no M.o.T. or tax. I launched straight into him, castigating him. I reminded him that, first, the pitch was not on the public highway. Second, that he knew full well that I had been unable to get the truck taxed and ticketed in time due to the harassment, etc. that I had endured. Third, that it was he who suggested that I should pitch here, knowing those facts. He tried to protest. I immediately shouted him down and told that he is an idiot, to bugger off and leave me alone! I never saw him again.

While all this was going on, I had my various trailers to deal with. There was the old car trailer. I managed to sell that. Once the truck was ‘legal’, I towed the horse trailer to Tom’s. Woodchop followed me with the plant trailer. Once at Tom’s place, as Woodchop has a Land Rover, he then towed each trailer over the field and into the orchard where they were being stored.

There was also a car; a Vauxhall Tigra. My wonderful mate, Andy, a great musician, formally of that cult Cornish rock band, Moondragon, and now sadly, no longer with us, (I will tell you more about him another time) had invested in it. The idea was to help me. Unfortunately, it all went pair-shaped when I became the victim of a scam. In a nutshell, I bought the car as a category C write-off with the intention of repairing it. All went well to start with. I had repaired most of the damage before I paid for a replacement bumper. Unfortunately, I lost the money to a ‘parts dealership’ that wasn’t. As I couldn’t find another replacement bumper, I decided to learn how to repair the damaged bumper. I had done a reasonable job. I had left it on a workbench drying, from where Skippy had knocked into it, causing the repair to split as it hit the ground. With everything else that was going on, the car ended up not being finished. At one point, I thought I had sold it, but it ended up being dumped and not paid for, so I had to recover it. In the end, I sold it for scrap.

All that was then left to do, was to dispose of all the excess tools, etc. that I neither wanted or had room for. It was all basically given away through the various internet ‘freecycle’ sites.

The pitch was mostly fairly peaceful. There were a couple of dumped caravans there. One had been abandoned in a terrible state by a couple of crackheads some time before I arrived. The other was OK. The teenagers of the town often used it to meet up and smoke weed. I never minded. Much better than them causing hell-up on the streets. They never bothered me.

Unfortunately, that changed about a month or so before I moved on. Some other lads who I soon discovered were a major problem in town took over the caravan and trashed it, then set fire to it. Luckily, as it was opposite me, I smelt the burning and spotted the smoke billowing from it. I had plenty of water and so was able to douse the fire quickly and safely. I then contacted the police to let them know. Eventually, the council appeared and removed the dumped caravans.

I was already on good terms with the local council as they were aware of the fact that I was tidying up the rubbish. Passers-by would often stop and chat. Some, I was led to understand, had reported my ‘good deeds’ to the council.

Helston has a famous festival day on the 8th. of May every year; Flora Day for the Furry Dance. I’m not sure if anyone knows for how long it has been going on; more than 230 years, for certain. It is a celebration of the beginning of Spring and the Hal an Tow clears out all the Winter spirits. My son Daniel once danced it as a schoolboy.

A few days prior to Flora Day, the fun-fare arrive in town and guess where they pitch? In fairness, the local Gypsies told me that I would be fine as they had made the fun-fare families aware of me and had spoken up for me. Nigel, in particular, is a local I have known for many years. I was happy to move on. I wanted to. Besides, I had been offered a pitch at an ex Methodist chapel where I would have access to power and space to finish the work on my caravan.

*Header photograph courtesy of

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