Nothing goes to waste

Gypsy Caravanawv1Have you ever noticed that (some) men cannot bear to throw away their ‘good wood’? Friends talk about wood being moved from one house to the next but never put to good use. That is not Chris Fitzpatrick’s way.

When the land in Ascott Road was cleared for redevelopment, the first thing that appeared from the undergrowth was the old, rusty metal boat-trailer that his two children had played on 30 years ago. Well, that was too good to pass up; but what to do with it? He just happened to have a spare shed in the garden, acquired from Freecycle, intended for a previous project, which never quite came to fruition. The answer was obvious – put the two together and build a gypsy caravan for his two small granddaughters.

Chris is a practical man but had no design in mind; the plan evolved as work progressed. It is amazing what ideas can be found when you Google ‘gypsy caravan’! First the trailer had to be cut into a rectangle, with additions from Pat Edgington’s mother’s old bedstead. Extra wood was gathered from Peter and Jeff in Lyneham. The arched roof was constructed using 40 year-old pine bed struts, cut and bolted together. He did have to buy new roof felt to cover it. Windows were made, one complete with wooden shutters. Clear plastic was used to glaze them and one boasts a ‘stained glass’ panel. A stable-door with steps up to it seemed perfect to add a touch of class – all very authentic. Friends offered half-used tins of paint.

The interior fittings include a bed and a proper fitted kitchen (second hand of course). Chris does admit to spending a few pounds and about 200 hours on the project.

Finally it had to be moved from Shipton to Eva and Grace’s back garden in High Wycombe. Pat was called on again and with the help of a borrowed trailer they set off on the journey, only stopping once to tighten the ropes holding it in place. On arrival at High Wycombe a fence panel had to be removed to allow access to the back garden.

Finishing touches were added – beautiful hand- painted flowers. No need to say how delighted Eva and Grace are with their new show house. Does anyone have a pony to recycle?

Christine Halliday

October – November 2018