We're closing the workshop, Toti Bleu is finished….well, there will always be little things to do, and additions, repairs, etc. The end of the construction has arrived. Now our thoughts turn to traveling! The turtle in the rear window holds its head high and strides off with confidence. It knows its pace is slow but it is not afraid, not worried and it is waiting for a new adventure.
We haven't used Tòti all summer. Instead we hitched up Vanille to the small wagon each week for training. We felt it necessary to focus on finishing the work and then take a trip in the autumn. Last week we hitched Vanille to Tòti and went out for about 3 hours. There were no problems. Vanille pulled Tòti easily and Bella came along. Next week, if the weather permits, we will take a trip for a few days.
Imagining Tòti, going after the dream, and finally the realization that dreams can come true has been an enormous event in my life. At this moment I am sitting in Tòti. I have pulled the table out from under the bed, set up my iPad and keyboard and begun to type. In front of my eyes there is a view through the window of a field sprinkled with flowers, and enormous trees with their branches shading the lane leading to our home. The sheep are resting in the shade and Bella is running around with a stick in her mouth, a ball of excited and ecstatic energy. The only sound is of the wind through the trees. I want to write about how I feel at this moment, knowing that the next step will be when we actually begin to travel. Even with Tòti just resting in this field, she is a wondrous place to relax, to dream and to think. She shelters my being with softness, with memories of her construction and love for the people who have entered our life and helped to bring her alive.
This has not been an easy project. We began with no knowledge of building a gypsy wagon or of driving a horse and we had no money in the bank. How everything happened is a sort of miracle, a belief in daring to dream, and by simply putting one foot in front of the other at turtle speed. Encouragement, energy, gifts, information, and more has come from new and old friends. Without all these generous people, Toti would never have been completed. We were never alone! This project has left me with a belief in the magic of life, of our interconnectedness and the amazing generosity of people.
These two men were simply incredible!
My husband Mark, who has done all of the research and choice of materials including using epoxy and fiberglass, and all of the construction….with his annoying perfectionism. In addition he now harnesses and drives Vanille and has won her confidence and complete trust. Previously he had no experience with horses so this is enormous!
Our friend, Jean François, who appeared at the beginning and who has stuck with us through it all, always smiling. It is he who brought Vanille into our life, who helped with many stages of the construction and who has taught us enough to fill a library about horses, the feeding of draft horses, hoof care, driving a horse and so much, much more.
There are my wonderful daughters and many, many more friends who have been angels. Their names are written on Tòti's wall and in my heart.
My job has been brushing color on and lots of it. I also take care of Vanille. I have a passion for horses and she is an amazing horse!! I have also learned to harness and drive. I enjoy it but I am just as happy riding along while the men are in control.
At the beginning, this was my idea. I drew the plan on paper and together Mark and I made a scale model. Mark just wanted to sail across the Atlantic. Perhaps that will be the next project. Or maybe we will sail together in our land yacht.
Before I close, here's a book that Mark found for me. There are very few books about gypsy wagons and I have tried to mention them in this blog as I discovered them. Here's the latest which I love. It was written for children in 1910. I feel lucky to have found a copy.
The next time you hear from me, I will have traveled and cooked and slept in Tòti Bleu.
The impossible just takes a little longer.