Posted: December 2, 2015 in Blogs
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I told people that the window got smashed by a hockey ball. Not an unlikely occurrence, given how I like to spend my time. I park Vanda the wonder van in particular spaces wherever I frequent; she’s a double spacer! It just so happens that the best spot at hockey is behind one of the goals, quite some distance from it, but near enough that in truth she has been hit by a wayward hockey ball before. This was a lie though. Something quite different caused the smashed glass, the last remaining scar of that night. I really must get it fixed.

I wrote a poem about my car once, a trusty old Golf. She served and served and although she came with some quirks that worsened with age, she never really let me down. I didn’t like to forget how much freedom a car can give you, perhaps something that’s easily taken for granted, especially up until that freedom is taken away. Sometimes I used to come back to that car and all the electric windows had all wound down of their own accord. It would be drizzling; gently settling on the limited edtion velvet-like upholstery, like a damp layer of clothing. The central locking broke and the key for the boot didn’t work, so I spent six months using the back seat to house all my shopping and hockey stuff. Eventually she failed the MOT because when you put your foot on the brake every single light lit up like a fun fair – jazzy. Anyway, the tone of the poem was one of acceptance, that despite all this I relied on her and if I was ever homeless she could even house me.

I’ve often spent time thinking about being homeless, almost planning what I would do and where I would go. Out running or walking I would spot somewhere sheltered and quiet and note to myself that If I had nowhere else to go, that’s where I would take refuge. When I sold my almost new car and bought Vanda, some people thought I was crazy. Perhaps I am a little crazy, but not because of that. That Van gave me more security and independence than I have ever felt before. Wherever I went I had everything I might need. If I was tired I could sleep, hungry I could eat, and If I needed to get away, she was there. She’s given me cheap nights out, weekends away and endless happy times. A lot of these magic moments occurring while watching my friends pack up tents and camping gear, white faced and dank with hangovers, while I lounged on my camping chair, happy in the knowledge I didn’t even need to pack away a bed.

When you don’t have a house, don’t have many possessions and spend a lot of time in something that gives you so much, if something threatens it directly, it’s going to have an impact. I will never tell anyone what happened on that night, well I can tell some fact but I will leave out the story. The fact is, I needed to get away, like my life depended on it. The sliding door of my wonderful Vanda got wrenched off the hinges and I drove off without it, unaware. I had to go back for the broken bit of her, lying in the road. Some policemen came, called by the onlookers. They helped me try and fix her but without much success. The door was buckled, the window glass smashed. I felt like my whole world had been ended, I howled uncontrollably. I couldn’t drive her and I couldn’t leave her, not with all my stuff on show and easily accessed. I called Greenflag and I watched in the freezing cold, in the early hours of the morning, while the man battled to get my sliding door on. At last, a temporary fix. Later on it took the garage four hours to line up the door properly and get it to open and close. Even now, it doesn’t sit flush and it has to be slammed shut.

These were some dark places. I will never forget what happened that night however I quickly let my mind cover it with a thick, black fog. I wondered at the reality of it. I’ve never been involved with the police before; it seemed like a soap opera, a portion of life that wasn’t mine. I couldn’t forget though and it haunts me still. Vanda the wonder van, now with her door quirks. She’s still mine though, my security, my home, my life. I will never let anyone threaten her again.

So if you wonder at the story, it doesn’t even matter. I’ve chosen the fact, left out the emotion but know that I will never forget. We were unhinged for a while but now, now everything will be alright. I really must get that glass replaced…


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