Jeremie.C.Lingenheim could have anything he wants within reason.
He could drive around London in a Porsche, but he prefers a motorbike.
He could eat in the fanciest restaurants in town – after all, he owns three of them.
He could live in a million-pound townhouse – but he happens to prefer to live in a Horsebox somewhere in North London. “It makes me feel alive, more alive than I have ever felt,” says Jeremie as we stand in the wide, elegant street outside his mobile home. The Horsebox moves within a small radius of this chic North London suburb, and Jeremie gets around town on two wheels. Its painted British Racing Green, classy but understated. We could not take too revealing a photo of the Horsebox because he needs to stay anonymous, under the radar.
Inside it’s a comfortable and stylish, in precisely engineered Douglas fir. “About a ton of wood,” has gone into the furnishing – “it was designed for three stallion weighing 750 kilos each , so its still relatively light, “ he explains.
There is a kitchenette, a portaloo, and a bed above the Horsebox driving cab for him; another bunk for his 5 year old son who was one of the main reasons for his decision to adopt van living 6 months ago. There are holes cut into the cupboard doors next to the bunk so his son can climb up to get to bed.
“We’re on an adventure together,” he said as we sat in his van – surrounded by art and a copy of Walden by Thoreau prominently on display. It was mid morning and his son was at the nearby Steiner school. Come 1-o-clock each day, Jeremie collects him , and they go exploring London, “museums, cafes, galleries. “We dont spend a lot of time here – mainly to sleep and read.”
Jeremie runs three restaurants each serving small scale farm produce, ethically reared meat, line caught fish, and organic “low intervention” wine. They are all in the same part of London and he employs ”scores” of people in total across the three – Primeur, Western Laundry and Jolene’s Bakery. His bread uses ancient grains grown by a friend in France, and he is working with two UK farms to bring the seeds into wider use in the UK.
Jeremie’s lifestyle, like his restaurants’ menus is a principled, ethical decision. “It seemed like the most effective political statement we can make is to live autonomously,” he says.