We find out how a Coventry-based park home resident made her ‘shed’ a home, with the help of Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS)

A wooden building in a meadow?

Never in this world!’That summed up Gill Gilsenan’s thoughts on park home living before she looked inside a home at Elwy Circle, at Ash Green, near Coventry, and realised that it was perfect. Well, apart from the meadow surrounding it! The home had been refurbished with a new roof, kitchen, bathroom and carpets – all ready for Gill to plonk her furniture in.

Wish I’d done it sooner
It was three years ago that Gill moved into her park home and now she says she wishes she’d done it sooner. It had been quite a wrench for Gill because she had lived in her one and only brick-built house in Coventry for 37 years. (Apart from a stint on a houseboat for 18 months!) The house was three-bedroom and, once the children had left home, Gill felt she was ‘rattling around’ in it and a debilitating disability prevented her from maintaining the house to the standard it had been and how she’d like. It was a distressing time and it fast-tracked Gill’s search for alternative living arrangements.

When a friend found the so-called ‘shed’ on the internet, Gill displayed much initial reluctance! It was a wooden home in the middle of some fields. However at the time of viewing, a few of the neighbours shared some friendly banter that made Gill feel welcome and she could see herself fitting in.

Peaceful site
The park is a wonderfully peaceful site. Gill has the fortune of overlooking tree-lined fields, often frequented by buzzards and other wildlife. In fact Gill likens it to living on a country estate. It’s so quiet, however, that Gill couldn’t get to sleep when she first moved in!

Gill is a family lady through and through. She regularly sees her son and daughter who live nearby. Her most frequent visitor (and playmate!) is her lovely boisterous four-year- old granddaughter, Abi. Gill does the nursery run twice a week and they spend Saturdays and Sundays together.The park is a safe and happy environment for Abi and the perimeter of Gill’s home is a perfect racing lap for Abi on her scooter. (Obviously, Gill is flag person!)

It was Abi who alerted Gill to the need to have the underside of her home checked. Gill openly admits that she knew nothing about park homes when she moved in and it’s been a steep learning curve! While everything looked in good working order within the home, Gill experienced issues with electrics and plumbing. Gill now advocates that potential buyers should have a proper survey done on the home – particularly if it’s 40 years old, as Gill’s is!

Rockin’ home
Gill was concerned because every time Abi ran across the home, everything rocked!

She said,‘I am so glad I had Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS) carry out the underfloor survey. I had been putting it off as I was worried what they’d find, but I’m glad I called them! I can now relax with confidence.’ Little wonder the home felt a bit shaky; there was no stabilisation or supports fitted!

Now the PHCS HD supports have been installed, the home is more level and one can skip across the floors with no dubious movement!

PHCS also installed its underfloor insulation. Gill said,‘It’s made a huge difference, heating-wise! The home is much warmer and the bills will be much lower as I have turned the heating right down.’ Even Katie, Gill’s daughter, who often sits on the floor, comments on the remarkable improvement and eradication of cold draughts.

“PHCS’s underfloor insulation system has made a huge difference, heating-wise! The home is much warmer and the bills will be much lower as I have turned the heating down.”

A great team
Gill is especially complimentary about the PHCS team. Her encounter with all the various team members has been pleasurable and professional.The service, starting with the initial survey and written report, throughout has been first class. So touched by the genuine care and friendliness of the installers that it left her with a tear in her eye. Gill has suffered chronic arthritis for the last 20 years which has impacted greatly on her mobility and ability to do things. But she has a steely determination and continues to be self-sufficient with the aid of walking sticks.

The garden (alias the meadow!) was overgrown with weeds and plants so much so that when they were removed a pathway, step and gate (going nowhere!) were revealed.The back was on two tiers and housed a rotten shed crammed with rubbish.That’s all been got rid of and the garden is now on one level and stylishly block paved in grey and mauve.

Gill has been busy creating potted plants and flowering hanging baskets which adorn the fence line, bold in colour and scent. It is a low maintenance garden but there is always the question of weeds raising their heads between the paving slabs – Gill is on to it but all in good time!

Folk singer
Gill also has a very fulfilling and absorbing pastime in folk singing. Modestly she tells

of all the events she and her folk partner, Malcolm, are involved in. Malcolm and his wife have been precious friends to Gill for over 40 years.

Gill and Malcolm have been singing together for ten years and they even have their own CD titled Malc and Gill. Malcolm has his own recording studio so they often practise there so as not to disturb others.

Their events schedule is busy.They entertain at various fetes and clubs and they also engage in many annual festivals including the Wessex Folk Festival,Warwick Folk Festival, Banbury Folk Festival and the little market town of Alcester’s Folk Festival. They are great social occasions and lots of fun so I’m sure Gill would welcome PH&HC readers to come and join  them.

Gill is planning a house concert in the ‘shed’ this summer. It will be a folk day where various folk musicians and singers will get together for enjoyment and entertainment. A barbecue will be on hand and a guest spot is planned… but she’s not letting on who just yet!

Brought to life
‘The shed’ certainly has been brought to life with Gill living in it! Likewise, living at the ‘shed’ has changed Gill’s life for the better with a happier outlook. A win-win for park home living I’d say!