Posts by GivingItThought

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

    Hmmm, my daughter was loaned one once, it turned out to be a SUN lamp!

    Lol, yep, I think sometimes the two are confused! Did she realise quickly or not until the tan was firmly in place? :) I've had people think that's what I mean in the past and have started telling me about skin cancer. I've double checked and these are definitely for SAD, not tanning :) xx

    Just wondering if anyone uses a SAD lightbox over the winter months? I get a definite dip over the winter and really struggled last year so I've been looking at lightboxes. I did use one years ago; they've come a long way since then as the one I used to have was like a space ship and when I put it on in the morning it lit up half the street. I've found a relatively inexpensive one (under £100) that's much smaller and easier to store. There's a lot of evidence to suggest that these artificial light sources help as the days get shorter but I just wondered if anyone has used one recently? Thanks in advance :)

    You should do whatever you feel.... I understand why some people go stealth. But the world is full of all sorts. If we all drove white ford mondeos and played golf. what a fuck off boring world that would be.... Not sure if Golfers drive white mondeos ... they have never really been people on my radar.

    If you do it for you it will resonate with you... Some will love it, some will not.

    But those that don't like... well.... They don't matter.

    Yes I can see the appeal of blending in and not being noticed; at the same time I don't think people tend to feel threatened by a middle aged lady in a van covered in flowers and glitter lol so perhaps there's no need not to be noticed. It's all still pipe dreams at the moment but I'm hoping to perhaps sort out some sort of work situation where I can maybe spend most of the summer months working at festivals and maybe even house sit for people over the winter months and then would just need park ups every now and again (and if I don't piss too many friends off there are probably a few that wouldn't mind me parking up on their driveways for a few days at a time if necessary). All in the mind only at the minute, if I saw a van like yours I would want to come over and say hello :) Ha, that might be enough to make people go for stealth instead ;) x

    That does look amazing, TS :) I've been thinking about the outside of my vehicle if/when I actually get on and get it done and I wondered whether to go for stealth or to sort of blatantly advertise 'this is a happy, smiley van and all is wonderful!' type thing. There's a van near where we live at the minute that's done out like The Mystery Machine (Scooby Doo), I don't think it's a live in but it does make me assume whoever drives it isn't a wrong 'un :) Which in turn could mean it's a double bluff and the driver's awful lol but anyway, from a personal point of view any kind of colour/decoration/something a bit different on anything at all makes me smile :) x

    I love watching birds close up like that, Akasha, but we have a cat so I don't entice them in to the garden :) We see them a lot when we're out and about though.


    I've smiled loads today! My son said something funny when he got up, I can't remember what now but he made me laugh. Our landlord sent a chap round to fix a door for us, he's a lovely bloke, very sweet and kind and he put some curtain pole brackets up for me while he was here as well so he saved me a job for later which made me smile :) We went up the shop and saw the local kids on the way, they are so cute and friendly and always lovely to my son (he has learning difficulties and is sixteen, these kids are only 9 or 10 but they get that he's got problems and they always chat to him and get him to do a moon walk for them - so sweet). We saw our neighbours very elderly dog who gets excited to see people in an elderly dog way (kind of wags his tail but it seems like a lot of effort so he doesn't do it for too long lol) and then a guy with a puppy that was just mad and leaping around, I love puppies :) Went to the shop, I have a (possibly slightly inappropriate) crush on the bloke that works in there (he's quite a bit younger than me) so seeing him always makes me smile :) Cafe for a bit of lunch, the girls in there are lovely and friendly and were taking the mickey out of a group of blokes who were very hungover. Probably about ten smiles already today and it's only lunchtime! Lol, hope you are having a lovely day :) xx

    Yeah a bog standard, no frills, not even puncture proof tyres - cos if you're miles from home and alone lol - £2,500! I'd love one that rises so I could pick my own apples from my little tree!

    Shocking, they should be provided. Such an essential piece of equipment, it's so limiting if you can't get around. And yes, something that extends so you can get to apples would be amazing! We bought a cheap basic one when my son was having some problems but it still restricts where you can go as the cheap ones don't cope well with uneven ground or kerbs and there was no chance of going off road with it. I never know whether they actually cost a lot to manufacture or if the profit margin is just very big - it's one of those things I always mean to look into and never get round to :) xx

    New wheelchair...please!

    You have my sympathies, Akasha, ridiculously expensive and so difficult to fund. We were chatting to a neighbour yesterday and I was admiring her mobility scooter - it looks like a miniature pope mobile, proper roof and doors on it, can do however far on an electric charge, will take her off road if necessary, so fancy, and I was thinking 'I wonder if something like this would be good for my boy' - 17 grand! I nearly fell off my feet. Not the same as a wheelchair, I know, but they can be scarily expensive as well. I'm hoping Jules has got fifty grand to give away and he's looking to see who he'll give it to and he'll pick you :) Lol x

    I've no recollection of my dad singing but funnily enough I was just thinking about the time he got me out of bed on Christmas Eve. We used to live in a sort of horseshoe shaped bungalow with bedrooms on one side and kitchen and bathroom on the other, and the sitting room in between. I was about six and had woken up needing the loo, which meant going through the sitting room and Santa had already been. My dad said Santa would be cross if he knew I was out of bed so he told me to keep my eyes closed really tight and he'd carry me to the toilet but I wasn't to peek. He was quite pissed and when we got to the sitting room he promptly tripped over the dog and went a over t with me still clinging to him with my eyes shut, the dog leaping about because he thought we wanted to play and my dad giving it 'fecking dog' this and 'jesus mary and fecking joseph' that :) Still makes me laugh (and cry a bit because I still miss him) and it was just funny that I was thinking about that and then logged on to see you writing about memories of your dad :) So no singing from my dad but plenty of swearing, little incantations he used to do to call the fairies to put magic dust in our tea when we were ill (it was buckets of sugar which is why myself and my sister had a mouthful of fillings by the time we were ten), shouts of 'what the feck is that?' whenever Boy George was on Top of The Pops and an absolute certainty that the most important skill anyone could ever learn was to pour a pint of Guinness properly :) I sing all the time and my son hates it, he says it sounds like someone is being unkind to a pony :) lol

    I agree, but I do buy food for homeless peeps - on a really cold day a cup of hot chocolate brought to these guys means they don't have to leave their pitch, and they don't have to queue up in store, which has its own set of social problems. I get round it simply by saying "you look cold m8, get I gat you a hot drink", the answer has always been "yes please".

    Yes, completely, I think that's the difference between doing someone a favour and assuming a superiority over them (which is the way I see the messages of 'don't give them cash, only buy them food'). I've offered to buy people food when I've not had cash on me and I'm going to buy something for myself - like you say, Firestarter, it's practical and there's often more than one way to help someone out :) I think my main issue is with charities - not all are bad but large salaries to charity bosses are a no no in my book and having dealt with a few on behalf of my son I've found some have a lack of ethics and honesty as well. Plus I don't like being told what to do! Lol :)

    Living in a van while carrying materials and trying to convert isn’t simple or easy. I’ve been doing it for the last couple of months. it’s not impossible


    I have also lost a lot of space going from a bus to a van, both 12ft long inside but stupid new van has a sliding door that take up a lot of room.


    Don’t let that put you off, it can be done easily. I’m just going complicated this time as it’s getting sold on in the spring.

    Thanks, Pyke. It's still a long way off for me. I'm hoping my son's care package will be sorted and in place in five years' time. Once I no longer have to care for him, I really want to be able to live my life in a way that I enjoy and that suits my health and interests - which basically means not working in some crappy environment doing something I don't particularly enjoy and seeing most of my money go on rent, bills and so on. If I can find a way to make an on the road living that makes living and traveling in a vehicle possible then I want to go for it. I would probably still be living in a house if/when I get the vehicle, which would make converting it a bit easier (in theory, at least). It's all still pipe dreams at the moment but I just want to have something in my mind to be working towards and hoping for. I hope you get the rest of the work done on yours without too much trouble :)

    I have had long conversations with people in Cambridge working for one of the homeless charities and with others who seem to have experience working with people who have nowhere to live. Without exception they have gone down the route of encouraging us not to give money to people who are requesting it on the streets; buy them something nourishing to eat instead. I can't manage to internalise this. They may be right, I don't know, but I find this attitude patronising. It costs so little to put a little money in someone's cup - and allow grown adults to make a decision as to how they will spend their money (the same as we all do) - and it costs even less to stop for a chat. I have met people and heard so many tragic stories. I know I have been lied to on occasion, but what right have I to expect any truth? Any minuscule act on my part cannot begin to compensate for the terrible experiences that some people have suffered.

    That's the way I feel, Marshlander, charities have a tendency to infantalise people and make decisions for them. On top of that, homeless people don't have anywhere to store or keep food so what are they to do if they've just eaten and then someone offers to buy them something, particularly in the winter when they need to be eating hot food, not sandwiches. Much is made of them being alcoholics or drug users - everyone I know has a well paid job, a nice home, a family, a good social life - and they all need a drink or a smoke at the end of the day. Yet a bloke in a doorway with his entire world in a carrier bag is supposed to get through the day on nutritious sandwiches? I agree with you, I don't like the attitude - as a society, we've basically refused to provide people with homes, healthcare or compassion, and now we want to decide what they can and can't eat as well? People are horrified at the prospect of giving a pound to someone who 'might' spend it inappropriately but will happily go home and put in another order to some online tax dodger who 'might' cream another couple of million quid into an off shore account this year. Makes no sense to me x

    Similarish in some ways, Treestump. For me, not quite so many coincidences or insights all at once (in the way that you describe); I seem to go through more subtle, drawn out shifts where aspects of my life or the people in it don't seem to fit anymore. It often leaves me feeling very out of sorts and alone, not least because I'm not usually in a situation to simply discard or discount things that no longer feel suitable or useful. It takes me a long time to adjust to each shift. For a long time I fought against it - I always had a plan in mind of what I wanted to be happening in my life and I didn't like to be distracted from that. These days I try to go with it more and sort of listen to what it's saying. Not always easy. Good that some health problems have lifted for you, though, although I would say be careful not to overdo it - I have a tendency to rush around when I start to feel better to make up for lost time, and then I wear myself out again. So do take good care of yourself even if you're feeling well enough not to need to :) x

    I agree with the above posts, but one of the issues that bothers me most is that homeless people have also become demonised of recent years. To put it into perspective I sometimes buy coffee/lunch for a local homeless lad who begs near where I sometimes lunch. I can afford to pop into a café and eat it only costs me a couple of quid (It is not a honest as I make it sound as I get to feel as if I have done something to help, although my minimal amount of help is next to useless in the grand scheme of things).


    Recently a colleague told me that this particulary guy "makes quite a good living" begging there. The guy is genuinely homeless and often very, very cold. So I asked my colleague how he defined a "good living" bearing in mind he himself has a good flat, massive TV, comfortable life etc and his defence was along the lines of "if they didn't have drug problems and could be bothered to get a job" etc that homeless people "would not be in that position. Sadly I suspect those views reflect the views of a large percent of the populace, but are none the less very selfish indeed.

    Sadly I think anyone in need has been demonised in recent years - homeless people are all druggies with comfy council flats pretending to be homeless, people on benefits are all work shy lazy scroungers, disabled people aren't really disabled, carers aren't doing anything other than watching telly all day, anyone from overseas is only coming here for a council house/benefits/to blow us all up and so on. Yes, some people are arseholes, yes some people fleece the system but personally i would rather give a couple of quid to someone who doesn't need it than not give it to someone who does, if that makes sense. I haven't always got spare cash to give to rough sleepers but if I have got a couple of quid I give it to them. The ones I've spoken to over the years always seem nice, friendly, genuine, just people having a shit time. One guy I stopped to talk to was almost in tears because he'd been sat there for hours and no-one had even looked at him. He just kept saying "people walk past me like I'm nothing". He wasn't begging, he was just sat with nowhere to go. Costs nothing to say good morning or just put your hand up to someone. If I knew that the UK had a first class drug rehab programme, that everyone with mental health issues could access support at any time, that we had plenty of cheap housing (even if only a room or a bedsit) and that there was genuinely no need for anyone to sleep out then I wouldn't give anyone money, I'd give them contact numbers of where to go to get help. But we don't have all those things and until we do I will continue doing the little bit I can. I know from my own experience that sometimes someone taking two minutes out of their day to say or do something nice can be the one thing that keeps you going for another day. It makes me sad that people seem to be more ready to judge and condemn now without giving the other person a chance to speak x

    The only one I can think of is Tipi Valley in Wales (as in they make their own shelters in the woods, as far as I'm aware). I hope you can find somewhere that you like, ShadowWolf, it sounds like the urban living isn't to your liking. I hope you can find somewhere more suitable :)

    i dont need a smart meter to tell me what uses the most power and what to cut back on ,iff i want to save gas , i turn off the boiler ,iff i want to save electricity ,i dont put my desktop PC on as much ,simple really

    Yes, same, I've just had this conversation with our energy provider. They asked if I was interested in a smart meter and I told them that I don't understand what the point of them is and what they actually do. The only reasons he came back with are that you can see what you're using and you don't get estimated bills because the meter reading is always accurate. I only use what I need and texting in my meter reading takes less than two minutes so I still don't get the point of them (from my perspective and the chap said he agreed and didn't think they were worth the bother either).

    Welcome! I don't think wanting to live outside is weird at all (although I think a well constructed shelter of some kind is a different kind of living out to sleeping rough - very different experiences :( ). I often find myself wishing I could pack the bare essentials and just walk - not Ed Stafford, surviving in the wild stuff but just wander wherever my feet take me and bed down wherever seems most convenient that night. Mr Fang sounds lovely :) Welcome to the forum :)

    Thank you for all the tips and advice. I am chuckling at the idea of keeping my windows on a roll and just sticking them on when I need them :) Lol. Is it possible to put skylight type windows in the roof? I like as much light as possible but also like my privacy so was wondering how to go with as few windows as possible that other people can see through without having to live like a mole.

    just ask politely nearly if not all will happily show off the inside of their van or truck i built mine for just me if it was a commercial build it would have at least six beds,

    That's absolutely amazing. I have a feeling mine will be a lot more basic lol. Wow, what a lot of work, real labour of love :)

    Im in the same situation as you.Theres things I have to sort out still but i dust my plans daily which keeps me going and sane..well partially at least.If you have transport and can get to where everyone gathers,asking persons for hints and recommendations may prove invaluable and you may even get to be invited in for a look at others adaptions and living ideas.Some of the things I have heard and seen on here are very clever adaptations to problems with van living.Each "van" and each person, needs re jig everything to suit the individual doing it. Good nests are as unique as the individuals they are built around and seem to range from a mattress in the back of a van, to palaces on wheels like wandering gypsy built. :)

    Thanks, Cricket, I think seeing some of the other vehicles that are around and how beautifully they are done out is such a great thing, there are some lovely pics online. I sometimes see vans parked up and I'd love to see inside but if I poke my head through someone's window I might get a smack on the nose and rightly so! Lol. Yes, like you there are other things I need to do first but I kind of feel like time is slipping away from me now so I do want to have a plan in mind to work towards to make me feel like I'm doing 'something' about it. Good luck with your plans :) x

    Once you find a suitable van, get it insulated and lined then sort a bed and some form of heating. The rest you can do over time as you save up. Use a camping stove for cooking and a washing up bowl for the present, you can build the rest as you go and save some dosh for diesel! Happy travels.

    That is brilliant advice, it hadn't even occurred to me that I could live in it comfortably whilst doing it up. Part of the financial problem is earning enough to pay for somewhere to live and being able to afford a vehicle as well - it hadn't occurred to me I could start off simply and put my money into the build rather than paying rent :) That's cheered me right up! It's still quite a long way off; at some point my son will be going into residential care (probably about five years from now) and that's when I'd like to strike out on my own but still be mobile enough to see/visit him regularly and for him to come away with me if he wants to. I will have to start reading up on insulation lol :)

    Reckon readymades are ok for weekend warriors. You'll probably find if you want to live fulltime in a van you won't find a suitable readymade layout. Far better to sort your own out to your own spec. That way you get all the important bits(to you) and none of the crap you don't need. Good luck .

    Thanks, BigBear. The one I bought last time needed a lot more work doing than I had realised so I ended up spending all my spare cash on the van and didn't have anything left over to go anywhere in it! Was all a bit mad. I've not got the cash at the minute to get started anything but once I've got myself sorted out financially I will start looking around a bit. The idea of planning one out myself is exciting I just don't want to mess things up this time around :)

    buy a plain van, fitting it out is not hard and your skills will improve rapidly, factory tend to be flimsily made and do not stand up to every day living for very long, there are exceptions but they tend to be expensive. All vans have their own problems,be it merc,ford, fiat or whatever, good luck

    Thank you for the advice :) I made quite a lot of expensive mistakes last time (expensive for me, anyway!) so I don't want to do the same again. It's still a way off but I like planning things in my mind and hoping things start falling into place :) Thanks for the advice :)

    Experts, I had a campervan which I hoped would be the first step towards being in a van full time (or at least most of the time). Various things happened which meant that van life needed to be delayed for quite some time and I no longer have the campervan (made a lot of mistakes but learnt from them). It's still a long way off for me but I need something to work towards so I have ideas rolling around in my head and I wondered, for someone like me with limited skills with regards to vehicles and kitting them out/keeping them running smoothly, do you think you're better off going for a ready made campervan or buying a normal van and then getting it kitted out to suit your needs? I am planning/hoping on getting some basic mechanical skills under my belt and a bit more knowledge but can't see myself becoming an expert.

    Thank you in advance :)

    Fear of spiders is not at all unusual - the toughest guy I know (a martial arts expert) is totally phobic - we all fear something, deep down......

    That's interesting, I've never met any guys who are scared of spiders! Maybe I have but they just haven't said anything :) I can cope with normal size house spiders; I don't like them but I can get them in a cup and put them outside. Last year we were over-run with enormous ones; I'd never seen that many of that size and they seemed to be in the house earlier than usual as well. I kept finding them in my bedroom and then couldn't sleep - just as I was dozing off another one would run across the floor. Then one ran across my pillow and oh my days, I was out of that room so fast! Didn't sleep a wink that night. I've found conkers have kept them at bay before but last year they seemed to be out before the conkers were! Someone else told me they don't like mint so I'm filling my window ledges up with mint plants, just in case :)

    living on my own i have to cook sew etc. although when i,m with someone the jobs around the truck tend to follow traditional lines because they are better at cleaning and tidying and i,m better at the dirty/physical stuff. I do not see this as demeaning to anyone just being practical.I drive and maintain the truck empty the bog and deal with the garbage and she looks after the inside jobs, tis called a partnership

    Yes, exactly this, I do both types of job because I'm by myself, you just have to get on with it. There are things I hate doing because I'm so scared of spiders, so jobs that involve going in the loft or the shed fill me with dread and I'd happily let someone else do them - male or female - but there's no-one else around so I just have to get on with it. It is about partnership, isn't it? It's not about one being superior over the other, there are things that need to be done so best just to get on with them and get them out of the way. One thing I do think is a clear difference between men and women is physical strength. I think I'm fairly strong considering my size and again, have spent years having to lug bits of furniture around on my own (it's amazing what you can move when you shuffle something a few centimetres at a time) but all of my male friends are a lot stronger than me and can move heavy items a lot more easily (and I've had to call someone more than once when I've got either myself or a bit of furniture wedged somewhere and nothing but brute force can change the situation :) ).

    When i was at school both sexes were taught cooking, sewing, woodwork and metalwork. I can still make a cushion cover and a fucking A++ chocolate sponge cake.

    Yes, same here, although I was crap at sewing and baking and much better at 'boy' stuff. It was actively discouraged at home, though, and I still remember my step dad (who was a tree surgeon) telling me that he would teach me how to use some of his machinery if I could put a set of shelves up properly. I put the shelves up (I was about fifteen at the time), exactly where he wanted them and perfectly straight, without any errors - and he laughed at me and told me machinery wasn't for girls and refused to let me use any of it. It's always really stuck with me; I felt it was a huge betrayal and enormously unfair. I'm still crap at sewing and baking; my son begged me to stop making him birthday cakes and just buy them from the shop which I think says it all :)

    I wonder how we'd ever be able to work out how much is nature and how much nurture? Would be so difficult to try to untangle so many generations of people being told how they ought to be.

    I've been told I'm more like a bloke emotionally. I tend to need to spend time thinking about things by myself while I try and figure out what to do - I go in to my cave :) I do ask people questions to try and figure out what to do but they'll usually be practical ones about how to tackle something. I have got friends that endlessly talk about the same problems but won't change the way they are or the way they do things to see if anything changes. That seems to be similar in men and women I know. The single mums I know tend to be a lot better at DIY and lugging furniture about than the coupled up mums - that makes me wonder if women being less practical is more down to it being considered a bloke thing. I think class does come in to it, as mentioned earlier - I grew up on a council estate and the women were far scarier than the men, in my opinion! But also life ran around the males - dinner was cooked at a time that suited them and what they wanted to eat was what everyone ate. The men always got the last say on decisions and were generally the most important person in the house. Perhaps that frustrated the women and made them more aggressive in other ways? I also wonder if people on lower incomes are more practical, because they can't afford to buy new or pay someone to fix things so have to try to figure something out? Maybe it's a combination of gender and income level/class? Hard to know or figure out.