My Life & Writing

Credit: Terry Mills
Credit: Terry Mills

I'm a retired handyman who writes books for pleasure. My lorry-home has no electricity, mains water, or central-heating, and I studiously live on around £40 a week in Porthmadog, Gwynedd.

As a committed recycler – who has never owned a television or been tempted to consumerism – I hope to persuade others to pursue my low-cost path to happiness.

Originally from the West Midlands, my chosen lifestyle has evolved over six decades. I started with my parents in a council house; then in a seaside caravan; got a job and made a flat in an industrial warehouse; moved a houseboat; spent a week in an estate car...and finally converted a lorry!

I spent lots of time and money converting my boat into a house. But when it eventually sank, homeless I survived in its recovered hulk by cannibalising it over three years!

I had a motorbike and then a three-wheeler car to get around. But I gradually realised I wanted to be more comfortable while travelling to enjoy mountaineering, rock climbing, potholing, and sailing. And to have somewhere safe to write about it.

So I bought a truck to convert. I have lived in my now-immobile lorry – which does have a kitchen, bed-sitting room, and even a roof-garden – in lovely Porthmadog for 24 years.

(Credit Metropolis, Human; and Alvaro Alvarez Ricciardelli.)

I have just starred in an international TV documentary which explains how I live on only 47 Euros a week! Filmed for Dutch TV internet channel Metropolis, their Human 'Housing Emergency' video - which also includes homes issues in Peru and Nigeria - describes how, with no water, electricity, or internet, I live off-grid in my old truck which I bought 30 years ago for just £1,600. It's the perfect way to live for me and I hope to continue for another decade. Watch the original video here

Similarly, there's a 30-minute interview about my lifestyle, book-writing, and outdoor adventures on the following Bangor Hospital Radio Ysbtyty Gwynedd programme broadcast recently:

As well as various careers – including as a laboratory technician, garage company accountant, and pleasure-boat captain in Worcester in the 1980s – I am a self-taught craftsman.

My early-years were among the bomb sites of post-war Birmingham council estates. Asthma meant I went to a more rural boarding school – a 'dumping ground' for weaklings.

But I hated the school's military-style discipline so much, my mum eventually moved me to a comprehensive school's 'delicate' unit, mostly with girls. Many there thought I was weird, but I began to nervously interact with them in my own naïve way.

And finally, although I became very close friends with several ladies through work, somehow my lack of confidence meant I could only ever write about falling hopelessly in love.

Now, I am an active University Of The Third Age (U3A) member, playing table tennis and chess. And I’m addicted to creative writing and the joy it brings to readers.

My full autobiography is in two companion volumes of memoir: 'Yeti Seeks Mate' (general life); and 'English, Solitaire, Cowboy, Cuckoo. . .' (specific adventures).