Tattoos, Dodgy Jungle Bridges, Bruce the Beetle and the Rat with no Name

When I turned 50, I was awarded ‘Awesomeness Points’ by my daughter for getting my first tattoo in a bamboo hut, down a dirt track, in the jungle of Chiang Mai, North Thailand, surrounded by elephants. Rather a proud moment really, earning said points. Then, a few days ago and three years on, I repeated that journey, from New Zealand to Bangkok to Chiang Mai to an hour north of Chiang Mai then through the elephant park to see Jodi Thomas, artist and elephant activist extraordinaire in her new bamboo hut down another track, still surrounded by elephants, and requested some further tattooing. As you do.


The rickety bridge. Step carefully on the centre planks…

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Lizard Queen of Navarac – (Contains Lizards).

Tiny house living has its idiosyncracys. Such as being stuck inside a small space during very bad weather. A couple of winters back I had the dubious pleasure of experiencing this while it rained for two weeks solid. After several days I got to wondering if I should tie 44 gallon drums around the outside of my wee home, while nursing visions of it lifting from the ground and gently drifting out to sea.

A bottle of wine or two combined with over a week of solitude, and three nights later, I had written a poem/saga encompassing the visions that flashed through my head. It contains lizards because I’m great fan of them and somehow a collection of lizards ornaments and doodads has grown around me over the years. Funny what happens in a 17ft-long tiny house when the rain and the wine do flow…

Never had the lizards seen a sighting like the Lizard Queen, leading from the towbar thus...

Never had the lizards seen a sighting like the Lizard Queen, leading from the towbar thus…

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23thorns – In Answer to Your Questions on Tiny House Living

There’s a great blog on the WordPress site written by a guy called 23thorns, full of witty descriptions on South African wildlife, parenting ups and downs, and all manner of other ravings. I had a nosy at his blog, he popped into mine and read one of my ravings on Tiny House Living, and he wrote a post of his own that posed a few questions about the lifestyle to which I am largely now accustomed.

The answer to why I went (back) into Tiny House Living is in my blog here

My point of view about some of the Pros and Cons of Tiny House Living is here

And the raving that 23thorns read about Tiny House Living is here

And now to his questions. Continue reading

In Which I Give Mother Nature erm, a Certain Gesture, on a Cold, Rainy Night.

There’s a lot to be said for having an awning off the side of your caravan on a cold, rainy night. While sitting here with a hot water bottle stuffed up my clothing, somewhere between my merino undershirt, my lambswool jersey (purchased from a menswear department because menswear departments for some reason unknown often have better quality garments for lesser prices than their womenswear equivalents), and my very thick sweatshirt (also purchased from a menswear department for the aforementioned reasons), I have pondered upon this fact mightily.

A few weeks ago I pulled out all the coins and notes I had been stashing aside for a very long time and forked out for a new awning to be tailor-made to my requirements. It’s not that I didn’t like the original awning that came with the caravan, it’s just that I was running out of places to put duct tape to plug up the holes where the wind whistled beautiful melodies into my private spaces, and the water feature was quite frankly getting out of hand. Far be it from me to complain, but when the bits of duct tape begin to outnumber the bits of awning, a girl just has to get practical.

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Beautiful Vardos (Tiny Houses on Wheels) to Drool Over…

Tiny houses don’t necessarily have to be grotesque little tin shacks in the woods ya know. There are some beautiful ones out there, hand made with great care and a flair for design. This guy has made some beautiful vardos – the gypsy word for Caravan, essentially – and his Facebook page shows some of them in the throes of creation – fascinating stuff!

His website Zyl Vardos here

And his Facebook page here

One of the beautiful Zyl Vardos - Fortune Cookie. Image by kind permission from

One of the beautiful Zyl Vardos – Fortune Cookie. Image by kind permission from

Tiny House Living – And How I Went Mad in the First Place.

My humble lil' abode - the innards.

My humble lil’ abode – the innards.

Life has its way of having a good chuckle at your expense, does it not? Way back in the child rearing years of my life, my partner at the time and I took to the road in a 1948 Leyland bus, which had a couple of lofts on the roof just big enough to swing a mouse in. So off we set with three kids, two dogs and a parrot, and did a few rounds of the North Island of our lovely country, New Zealand. A grand and interesting life it was too, with many a character-forming challenge along the way.

Things I learned while living on the road: Continue reading