Let’s go back for a moment to 2006/7.

Her Outdoors put a lot of work into finding the right kind of canvas for our yurts. She talked to lots of people (they weren’t always very forthcoming about their suppliers – not surprising as yurts were really taking off at the time and canvas was in increasingly short supply). She looked at lots of websites. And she settled on the unbleached 12-ounce ‘waterproof, rot-proof, flame-proof canvas’ everyone was using.

Sounds very reasonable. I can’t see why anyone would do anything different.

We ordered hundreds of metres (yards) of the stuff, from two different suppliers. Her Outdoors made a cover for our first 18-foot yurt, we put it in the trailer and off we went.

If you’ve read this blog from the beginning (or the end, depending on which way you look at it), you may remember that August 2007 was very wet when we arrived in France. Very wet – outside and inside the yurt. So wet, we sought shelter in a house and Her Outdoors began to doubt her skills. Which are considerable (and award-winning).

Time passed.

We built the 12-foot Play Yurt and Her Outdoors made a cover. We moved into it. It rained. The cover leaked. And started to rot. (Waterproof, rot-proof, flame-proof, remember?)

We put the original 18-foot up for extra storage. It leaked a bit less. And was a bit less mouldy.

We put a new 18-foot up on a lovely dry beaten earth platform, with canvas from the second manufacturer. Just before a rainstorm. Which went straight through the cover, almost like it wasn’t there.

Her Outdoors made a few calls. Here’s one:

Professional yurt cover maker 1: ‘Ah yes – 2007 was the worst year to buy canvas – the rot-proofing was water soluble. They’ve made some improvements.’

Here’s another:

Professional yurt cover maker 2: ‘Oh yes – you need to re-proof your canvas before you use it. Twice if you can. Otherwise it leaks. We’ll send you some proofing, but you won’t need any seam-sealer.’

More research revealed people who live in yurts full-time do not use canvas. (Which, among other things, needs replacing EVERY COUPLE OF YEARS.) Everyone’s using some kind of manmade material, like polycotton, which costs many, many times more but will last for up to 10 years. (If you really need to know, use the comments thing below and I’ll get Her Outdoors to give you all the details.)

Now, call me old-fashioned if you must, but if you sell something as ‘waterproof’ and ‘rot-proof’, it should be those things. The 12-foot cover rotted so badly, Her Outdoors had to make a new one before we could open this year. It lasted a few months (which would have cost 1250 GBP if made professionally – no wonder other yurt camps cost so much).

Last week, it rained for the first time since July. Again, inside as well as outside our yurt (we re-proofed the guest yurt and Play Yurt at the start of the season and they held up pretty well. We couldn’t re-proof our yurt ‘cos the material was so new, the proofing ran off – yes, it’s actually proof-proof).

We found how the water was coming in – and will be ordering some seam sealer in the next few days.