October 2009


I can’t even begin to tell you how busy we’ve been. (Which is a bit sad. Because in my dotage, I won’t be able to look back, over my enormous wine-and-duck belly and say: “Blimus. I’m glad I’m not as busy as that any more.”)

But I can tell you about the day we were supposed to pick up the rabbits. For some reason, in the Present Tense.

Drop the kids off at school and go to pick up friend’s trailer in Lanquais. Drive into field and take down 18-foot yurt (aka Guest Yurt One), where Bob’s been staying for a few weeks (I haven’t told you about Bob). The wind is strong and Things Fly Around Annoyingly. Return to Shack and take down 18-foot yurt, the roof cover for which was beautifully made by Her Outdoors in time to beat the rain and protect the pounded-earth floor, but which leaked like a sieve because of Something They Don’t Tell You When You Buy Waterproof Canvas (more on this later) and necessitated the Abandoning of the Adobe Floor Concept for 2009. Put up Guest Yurt One on Near Shack platform (which isn’t easy, I won’t tell you). Cook lunch. Add groundsheet under frame. Add insulation to groundsheet. Move furniture from field to Near Shack platform. Pick up Boy from school. Pick up Her Outdoors’ parents and bring back for dinner. Move furniture from 12-foot yurt (aka The Play Yurt) where we had been sleeping, to make room for Bob (who I still haven’t told you about). Phone Richard the Butcher to say we won’t be able to pick up the rabbits today. Pick up The Daughter from school. Return trailer to friend so it can be used by them the next day. Have dinner with visiting family.

And that wasn’t an especially busy day.

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The last couple of weeks have had their downs and ups.

One down was a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce, which started well. The very knowledgeable and energetic woman said this should be easy enough – a yurt camp on our own land. Several phone calls later, she left us with a very familiar look on her face – a kind of resignation meets bewilderment, crossed with a well-it’s-to-be-expected – and the words: Bon Courage.

Good luck.

Another down was a further trip to the Social Services. You may remember, we have completed many, many pieces of paper with a view to having some kind of housing benefit. I’m on the dole. You’d think we’d be entitled. (I know I did.) But it seems the system is still hung up on the money I earned as a self-employed person in the first six months of 2007. We “don’t have the right”, the woman said. “It’ll be different in January.”

“I’ll be going self-employed to open the campsite,” I said.

“Don’t do that!” came the reply. “You’ll lose all your rights.”

It’s complicated. Many things are.

On very big up was a very generous donation from an anonymous source that will allow us to complete work on the Shack before winter. Which meant we could buy a load of wood and put that up:


And buy a load of tiles and put them up too:


You’ll see our bedroom yurt in the background which has also gone up, so we can put down the adobe floor which needs a couple of weeks to dry before we can move into that.