I happened to meet the mayor today, while picking up some papers to scrap or sell the car. ‘Work (on the house) coming on?’ She offered.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘But not so well with the business.’

‘Why? What?’ She said.

I told her that: ‘People have told us it can go ahead with only a Simple Declaration in the Mairie; Her Outdoors picked up the papers and went to the DDE (Planning) to get help filling it in; Madame Couderc said it couldn’t be done with a Simple Declaration and had to be a full CU…’

She didn’t even let me finish. ‘If the DDE have said no (they haven’t – one woman has said no and not even on paper), I can’t change it. I’m not going to fight for you. If they’ve said no (they haven’t), it can’t be done (it can).’ Then she walked away angrily, muttering something about yurts.

Which, I must admit, left me feeling more than a little pissed off.

With good reason.

Here were are (actually, I am – Her Outdoors gave up the fight a few weeks ago, in tears after that meeting with Madame Couderc), trying to launch a sustainable, forward-thinking business IN ORDER TO PAY TAXES, create employment in an area which is bereft – and not just for the over-educated, formerly well-off English population – and promote environmental tourism. And here is my mayor, whose duty it is to support her constituents, telling me she won’t support me – mere months after giving me her word that everything would be OK.

The apparent futility of trying to get the yurt camp off the ground – or rather, onto it – and the pissed-offness it caused all morning made me realise I don’t have the strength to fight this any longer, either.

I give up.

We came to this country to live self-sufficiently because land in the UK was too expensive. We are still utterly behind that decision. It feels right. It is right.

Trying to get the yurt camp on the ground has caused endless amounts of grief, sapped us of our capital and, at times, made us resent our land – our 14-odd acres of woods and meadow – which is insane. I have often suspected that we would only succeed in getting past all the rules and regulations one moment before the global economy crashed and all the rules would be thrown out of the window anyway. So I’ll stop early and save my energy for some much-needed focus on self-sufficiency.

We’re a long way from it. But we’re a hell of a lot closer than we were.

Oh yes. I nearly forgot. For sale:
o Three 18-foot coppiced chestnut yurt frames (with or without covers), two of which have extra-wide doors for disabled access.
o One 12-foot coppiced chestnut yurt with extra-wide door for the same reason.

If you or anyone you know has the land and the stomach for a fight, do get in touch. Friends and friends of friends, worry not. There’ll be a yurt for you here and we’d love to see you. We’ve got a few stories. Let me tell you.

UPDATE:

A very short time later, we had a visit from the mayor, we ungave up, we built a yurt camp, opened for business, were listed as one of the top 10 eco campsites in Europe by The Guardian, were filmed by ITV1 for a series called Little England and a whole lot of other stuff. More recent posts explain how.