A couple of weeks ago, I asked a local eco-minded builder (who also runs one of the two local ostrich farms) to come and look at the work that needs to be done before we open.

In brief, this includes:
o digging out a six-car car park (for “écovallée parking”, as my friend Café del Nightmare suggested)
o improving the driveway down to the field (so it can actually be used)
o terracing about an acre of land for our poly tunnel and organic crops
o digging out a large pond for use by the fire service (that will eventually become a natural swimming pool)
o constructing a 60 x 40 foot deck on a steep slope (for our four-yurt home)
o and three platforms for the guest yurts (including recycled floorboard interiors)
o and another one for the yurt kitchen
o constructing a building for our Swedish compost toilets
o and another one for our solar showers and sinks
o digging a big hole for the septic tank(s)
o and a trench for the horizontal-flow reed beds
o burying the mains water pipe that currently swings from the trees above the drive
o creating a kids’ playground with a strong Peter Pan theme (ship, beach with palm tree, living willow crocodile etc)
o fencing 40,000 square metres of land against wild boar and even wilder hunters
o and other odds and sods

I’m a little worried.

Not by the amount of work that needs doing. No. (We still hope to open in April 2008, though this may slip for want of planning permission.) What worries me is the quote he gave me for cutting the waist-to-neck high grass in the field: 500-600 euros.

You can buy a tractor for that.