January 2011

OK, so I haven’t been keeping you up to date.

Some of it’s been illness (note to self – expect to be ill for about a week in mid-Jan – that’s two years in a row now).

Some of it’s been the gripping Millennium series of books I finished last night (finished reading, sadly, not writing).

Some of it’s been that I haven’t had the energy to blog, after a hard day in the sand filter.

Then there’s the distraction of having someone turn up out of the blue to tell us about a new French law banning (yes, banning, on pain of destruction in 48 hours) people from living in yurts, caravans, mobile homes etc., that prompted a meeting with the mayor to find out where we stand and to tell her that we always intended to build a house and would she support our planning application, to which she replied that the new law didn’t really apply to us and was aimed at people camping on land illegally but that she would support our planning application.

And a load of other stuff.

But I can tell you that this lorry arrived on Friday…

To deliver this pile of gravel…

That we can put in this hole…

The spoil for which has made this pond…

All before the end of February.

A couple of years ago, I was pushing a wheelbarrow of wood up a hill from a woodpile inconveniently located 100 metres away from the beautiful farmhouse we were staying in at the time (which probably qualifies for the longest opening sentence on this blog – but that’s not important right now).

It wasn’t the first wheelbarrow of wood I’d pushed that day, or the last that winter. Wood is heavy, the hill is steep and I was pretty tired.

Coming down the hill was an English guy I know, who chuckled and said: “Good training”.

Training? I thought. I wasn’t training, I was doing. And what kind of thing would that be good training for? Pushing bricks uphill?

That said, we’ve burst into the unlikely sounding year 2011. The rain was good enough to stop, which allowed me to get back into the sand filter and re-start digging out the bottom to the required depth. By hand. Which, you’ll know if you’ve read many of these screens, is the way we do pretty much everything around here. After a few hours’ work, the sand filter looked like this:

And the spoil went down the slippery slope to start forming the edge of what will be a beautiful woodland pond, encouraging wildlife we don’t currently have, and a splattering of aquatic plants. I’m telling you this because, at the moment, it looks a bit rubbish:

I’m also telling you this because the rain has started again and is due to be with us for many days. Which means I have to find jobs that can be done in the wet – strimming, coppicing etc. – one of which is to move a few tons of rubble and spoil from outside our yurt.

It needs to be done and, curiously, is good training for moving the 42 tons and sand and gravel that need to be put into sand filter once it’s empty.