Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad

I finished (mostly) the interior of The Drowned Van over the summer - it's dry! It's habitable! It smells okay! I've even been making curtains although they aren't quite finished yet. I thought I'd share some photos here, but I also wanted to talk about what happens next.

You see, I won't be finishing the exterior paint.

I won't be fixing the plumbing or the gas.

I won't ever be going on holiday in 'Lila' after all this work.

She's off to Calais, to provide shelter to a family living in The Jungle through the winter, and hopefully beyond. Like so many people I've been horrified by what refugees are going through in Europe and felt powerless to help...but I did realise that I have something sitting on my driveway which I might sleep in 10 nights a year, but which someone who needs it much more could sleep in every night.

Then I was put in touch with Caravans for Calais and the upshot is that Lila will be leaving me on Saturday, and hopefully will be someone's home shortly after that. I'm going to try to make the journey with her, to take supplies and volunteer for a few days as well as to document the latest part of her adventure, and I'll be updating this blog with more information on that as well as photos of her voyage. I'm sad to see her go, but for  van with such a story it seems appropriate that this twist in the tale should come along!

People are donating caravans and time to get them out there, but money is needed for essential repairs, ferry charges and blankets and waterproofs to go in them. If you would like to help there is a Go Fund Me Page.

I appreciate that there's an argument that people in Calais aren't refugees so much as economic migrants. Trust me, if I could get Lila to Hungary, or Greece, I would - but I can't. At the end of the day the people in Calais are human beings living in terrible conditions so I think it's still worthwhile. I hope if you've been following this insane story, you'll agree.

So for now - here are some photos before she is stripped down again for the voyage. Fans of TDM will hopefully spot some references and souvenirs as well as a guest...


  1. Can't believe how much work has gone into this only to donate it so selflessly. Lovely x

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