Land Rover Discovery
If I had lived 100 years ago, I would definitely have had a horse. A big shaggy one, probably quite long in the tooth, with massive hooves and an easy, lolloping demeanour. He’d be a reliable old thing, a quiet countryside companion and a hauler of many big things. But I expect he would snuffle disapprovingly if I asked him to ferry me from Cambridgeshire to Wales and back with a mountain bike. Or pull-start a mate’s Corsa. Or lug home half a tree. A 21st century bumpkin requires a less fleshy beast of burden, and that usually takes the form of an old Land Rover.
If you’re lucky enough to own a log burner, you might recognise my need to salvage trees from the roadside, especially if you share my reluctance to actually pay anyone for firewood when you can find it growing pretty much wherever you go. For collecting this bounty, a vehicle with a capacious loadbay, uprated suspension, and fourwheel drive to deal with the boggiest verges, is just the ticket.
Gales brought down trees, hedgerows and powerlines all over the country a few weeks ago, and while the law technically frowns upon people removing wood from the side of the public highway, I’m told that removing genuine obstacles is different, making the hours just after stormy weather an ideal time to go in search of nature’s cast-offs. The Disco needed a run and my woodpile was looking diminished, so I hopped in and went for a forage.
I found a newly demolished tree within a few miles, so I pulled on to the verge and loaded the rear with good, chunky branches. A little further and another jackpot was spilled across the road, causing cars to swerve.
The Land Rover was half full with a couple of weeks’ worth of free warmth – and probably a community of angry creepy crawlies – within half an hour.
Our work done, steed and master galloped home. I offered it a carrot as an expression of my thanks, but he wouldn’t eat it while I was looking.
Plenty of room to stack a good haul of firewood.