Alternative Living: Caravan Life With a Baby

“Living like this is affordable, which means that my partner (who works away a lot) doesn’t have to take every job on offer and so we get a lot of time together” – Cordelia Fellowes on her alternative living situation…

Cordelia, 32, lives with her partner Paul, 37, and their 10-month-old daughter Elody in a static caravan in Somerset. She discusses life in a confined space.

“We’re both self-employed. I’m a singer/songwriter and Paul’s a lighting designer. We’ve been living in a static caravan (37 foot by 12 foot) on some private land in Somerset for 15 months. We found it advertised in The Friday Ads.

It’s very light and spacious. We have a double bedroom at one end, with an en-suite bath, sink and loo. Then there’s another toilet, a shower room and a tiny second bedroom (currently a walk in wardrobe/storage room).

At the other end is a large sitting room/kitchen, with a fitted dining table and seats. There are big windows everywhere and the ceiling is about 7ft (people over 6ft 4 have to duck when walking through the doorways!).

The rent is £400 a month and that includes council tax and water rates. We then have a gas bottle which costs us around £20-40 a month, depending on the time of year.

Our electricity is on a meter and ranges from £35 to £100 a month, again depending on the time of year (or how cold it is!). We don’t have a landline but we have a ‘mifi’ box, which is basically wifi without the need for a phone line. This costs us around £15 a month.

Living like this is affordable, which means that my partner (who works away a lot) doesn’t have to take every job on offer and so we get a lot of time together

Having a child in this environment has been ideal so far. I can be in the kitchen cooking, or even in the bathroom or bedroom, and my daughter is never more than a few paces away.

Recently she’s begun crawling so we’ve had to make more of an effort to find a home for things/keep the place tidy, but other than that it’s been great. When she gets older and wants to be in her own bed, then perhaps we’ll have to do some major reshuffling but we expect to be able to stay in this static for another two years.

I can’t imagine having another baby whilst staying here but if we had to, we could probably make it work. When Elody’s walking and playing outside, it’ll definitely be safer as the road is a couple of hundred yards away and we are enclosed by trees.

Living like this is affordable, which means that my partner (who works away a lot) doesn’t have to take every job on offer and so we get a lot of time together. When Elody was born, Paul was home for almost three weeks –and he just recently took another three weeks off. That’s more holiday than some people get in a year!

We are obviously sacrificing having a lot more space (and money) by living the way we do, but as a family we are very close and Elody is as attached to her father as she is to me, which I love.

There are all sorts of people that choose not to live in houses. Painting them with the same ‘benefit scrounging pikey’ brush is just so wrong and totally untrue

The only things I miss are a proper sized oven and a big fridge. Also a bigger bed would be nice, as we all share a bed – which can get a bit squashed! But I’m nit picking… We honestly don’t miss much about being in a house.

If we could live anywhere, we would live in Somerset, on our own piece of private land in either a house or earth ship we’d built, or two big statics stuck together. But when this will happen depends on how long it takes us to save up to buy land.

We’d like a big workshop, tool shed and a guest caravan too and to be a half an hour’s drive from Bristol but still very much in the rural country. I have no idea if this will ever be possible but we continue to dream.

I hope our government will relax its laws on property development and alternative living. Buying a house has become a pipe dream for our generation. I don’t know anyone my own age who has managed to get a mortgage without a significant amount of help from their parents or a large inheritance.

There are all sorts of people that choose not to live in houses. Painting them with the same ‘benefit scrounging pikey’ brush is just so wrong and totally untrue. All of my friends that live in caravans, trucks, benders or on boats (and I have close to a hundred) work full time and are caring, considerate, helpful members of society.”

Photo credit: Ramona Carraro Photography

Have you ever considered an alternative living arrangement – a caravan, tipi, boat, or something else? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below…

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