In the last few days, I’ve re-read the blog(s) while writing a short(ish) summary of the bureaucratic issues surrounding the project so far. I can’t tell you why at the moment.

During this reading, I’ve noticed a few things. One thing is that importing the original Blogger blog into Wordpress didn’t go as well as I thought. The order of posts is a bit random and some posts have disappeared altogether (ALL: “Some posts have disappeared!”).

So, for a more satisfying reader experience, for posts leading up to September 23 2012, go here.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that my blog posts have become far less frequent – and less playful or amusing. I’ll try and redress that over the coming months – months during which, once again, I will try and write Part Two of my book.

I’m keeping the prices for 2016 the same as this year, but there are a few changes you should be aware of.

prices 2016

Change the first

Because I will be running écovallée on my own, I will no longer have time to do the laundry. So when you come, you can either bring your own sheets and towels… or pay €20 per person for sheets and towels that will be laundered in Lalinde.

Change the second

To encourage guests to leave écovallée as they found it, there will now be an additional cleaning charge of €40. The good news is that this will be returned to those who leave the place immaculate. Which should pay for lunch on the way home.

Change the third

You can now book from any day of the week. Outside July and August, it’s a four-night minimum stay. Inside July and August, it’s still full weeks.

Weeks are already being booked, so don’t leave it too long. This year was our best-ever season – with some of the most interesting and lovely guests we have ever had. But next year promises to be even better…

Last week’s lovely guests left this on the bed, next to a bottle of wine. I hope they don’t mind me posting it here.


Come back any time guys… xxx

Before other news (of which there is much), here’s where we now stand on the long-running re-zoning issue that was already ongoing when we arrived here over eight years ago.

We’ve just presented a dossier about the whole project to someone who is so intrigued that he will come and see us in the next couple of weeks. He will then write a report about all the projects going on in the village, before the end of October. His report will then be studied by other people, who will take the advice of yet more people, and a final zoning decision will be made in January. Possibly January. Almost certainly in the first few months of next year. After which, we can start filling out a whole bunch of new bits of paper. (I say we, but it will actually be me, as one of the Very Big Bits of News from this year is that I will be running écovallée on my own from now on. More on that, later.)

It feels – as I’ve written many times before – like we’re back where we thought we were in 2007. To say nothing moves fast in this country is an understatement of massive proportions. By way of a comparison, over the same period, light everywhere has travelled over 47 billions miles (over 76 billion kilometres).

More on this, too, in the posts to come.

Back in 2008, weary after so many futile meetings, I wrote this blog post. At the time it looked like our bureaucratic troubles were over. They weren’t. A couple of years later, we stopped going to meetings with bureaucrats because it was just upsetting.

Until today.

This afternoon, we’ve got a meeting with our third mayor in eight years and have been asked to “bring everything” relating to the project. (I’m going to need a box for all the papers.) We’re assured that we’re in the final stages of the bureaucratic process, but there’s always another piece of paper that needs to be stamped. In this case, a new organisation that apparently needs to know all about us.

So I’m bringing the bureaucracy tab out of retirement and I’ll let you know what’s going on as it happens.


Tweaking the dossier today to give to the person in charge of the process this afternoon. Will have to wait until January for a Final Decision on change of use. I’m hoping that will be this coming January…

Here’s the almost final installation of the solar shower. I had a few problems with the instructions and exchanged a few emails with the excellent and very helpful manufacturers in Greece. All I need to add now is some insulation around the hot water pipe going to the shower and it’s done.

solar shower

With the cost of the platform, cubicle, gravel bed liner, gravel, plants, willow and the original shower, this must be one of the most expensive installations in the world. You want to use it? Be my guest!


As promised in this post, the new solar shower went in this year. Made by Nobel in Greece, with some parts from Italy, guests now have hot water at any time of day or night.

solar shower

The last remaining big project is now the road through the woods to the car park behind the Play Yurt. Which will almost certainly be finished this year…


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