I've just spent a fortnight in the Frugaldom home-from-home 'ranch' and, true to fashion, the good old Scottish weather has thrown everything at us, from heat wave to snow storms; it has been an interesting learning curve trying to maintain a good balanced temperature in a caravan, that's for sure.

Wooden decking

The caravan is a static sited on the holiday park next to Frugaldom. As it will be home from home for most of the year, getting to grips with heating it (and cooling it) will take time. Again, this is something we have saved for, so site fees are paid in advance and it's up to us to budget the running costs for gas and electricity. We've also chosen to invest in having wooden decking built and they managed to almost complete this while the weather was in a transitional stage between heat wave and yesterday afternoon's snowy blizzard! The morning started out at -3C and white with frost, followed by glorious sunshine and then things went rapidly downhill after that.

Scottish weather

Today, the weather has been awful, ranging from bitterly cold to driving rain, sleet and hailstones bouncing. Staying indoors seemed like a good idea, so I cranked up the gas fire for a while and wrapped up in about 5 layers of clothing. The caravan has one small panel heater with towel rail in the shower room, eco-warm air skirting heaters (350w) in the bedrooms and a gas fire in the main living area, so I have added an extra layer over the mattress plus an electric blanket and my hand-knitted blanket over the top of the duvet on the bed. I also have fleece pyjamas, bed socks and a fleecy sleeved blanket. It isn't a glamorous site to behold but it allows me to switch off the bedroom heater through the night and switch it back on when I waken. The 450w thermostatic oil-filled radiator is left on in the main living area on a low setting and the bathroom panel heater is on overnight. Curtains need to be shut before dark to help retain some heat and then they get opened first thing, as the sun rises and hits the windows. So far, so good. I plan on getting a curtain hung up to separate the living area and kitchen, just to cut down on the open plan expanse at nights.

I have been reading the electricity meter here in the same weekly manner done at the house, so I can easily keep tabs on how much is being used and set aside the necessary funds for the bi-annual bill. I haven't been here long enough to estimate weekly averages.

Cooking is with a standard size cooker running off gas cylinders, so I have no idea how long these will last. They also run the living room fire and heat the water on demand via boiler - same goes for the shower. I have my slow cooker and my breadmaker and both have been in full use.

Homemade biscuits

Today I made a loaf of bread, baked a tray of oat and sultana cookies while cooking dinner in the oven and used up some bacon that son left when he was visiting for the weekend. (The bacon bits got added to carrot and lentil soup.)

Frying bacon to add to soup

I haven't spent anything on kitting out the caravan, so I am cooking with my camping equipment for now. I'll get one of those supermarket £3 frying pans next week, along with a £1 plastic basin for the sink. Other than that, I think I can manage with what I have.

Not much outside work got done today, but I did go a walk out to the field just to check on the latest plantings - a rosemary hedge, two strawberry beds and a small copse of oak trees.

The Frugaldom barn, project HQ

View of the Frugaldom barn with the snow-peaked Galloway Hills in the background. As you can see, we still haven't managed to get the back of the barn painted but we have two sides done now.

A grey day but there's green to be seen

I got caught in one light flurry of hail that moved over quickly in the direction of the hills but despite how grey everything is, you can see hints of green.

Fresh snow on the Merrick

Zooming in a bit, you can see all the new snow that has fallen overnight on the Merrick and other surrounding hills. Judging by tonight's weather, it may well still be falling as snow up there. This is southern Scotland's highest peak and makes for a lovely day's hill walking if you take a picnic in summertime.

Snow on Galloway Hills

The Galloway Hills aren't quite on the scale of the Cairngorms and we get nowhere near as much snow, but beyond these is Lowther Ski Club, so there's enough falls to warrant that.

Blue sky over the loch

When walking home again, there was a brief interlude when the clouds all cleared to reveal a lovely blue sky. It didn't last long, it soon turned black and then the heavens opened to release the next deluge of rain and hail.


I stopped to say hello to the horses and ponies on my way back to the caravan but they were too busy making the most of the dry spell after their numerous soakings of the day.

Not much achieved outdoors today but I got my accounts up to date and filed my tax return, baked the bread and made some biscuits: it all counts and none of it involved spending any money, which is the great thing about frugal living. Just set your budget and fight to stick to it at all times.


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