A solar shower was always going to be part of the écovallée experience. Originally, I wanted us to have the latest and greatest green technology for our guests to enjoy. But the costs of running electricity to the field, the twin-coil boiler, evacuated tubes etc. – in France – were prohibitive.

Of course, we’ve got books on DIY solar showers and considered black radiators under glass, hoses in strings of plastic bottles, buckets with holes in the bottom and all that fun stuff. But even with our “budget”, we’re still aiming to provide an unexpected level of luxury. Plus, many of our guests have very young children who need a controllable source of hot water.

So we ended up buying an aluminium swimming-pool shower, and knocked up a temporary cubicle for 2011…


…while we worked out how we were going to make this (as conceived by Her Outdoors):


Fortunately, Project1p happened and we swapped what we had (one week in a yurt) for what was on offer (a custom-made metal object):


I asked a local company what the wood would cost, turned down their estimate of €1,400 and bought it for €83 from a local wood yard, then spent five days sanding it. Finally all the elements were in one place:


We laid out the snail shell shape:


And started with the short side:


Which was up by the end of the day:


And looked pretty good, even if I do type so myself:


The next day saw the snail shell finished:


Which just needed oiling and photographing:


A few times:


Even if it meant lying in the shower tray to get the shape just so:


And not forgetting the penny that helped it all happen:


You might have noticed the gravel bed behind the temporary shower cubicle in the first shot. This is the first stage grey-water treatment before draining into a willow trench planted a few years ago. Here’s what it looks like at the moment, after one year of plant growth and some finishing touches by Her Outdoors:


Something else that will only get more and more beautiful over time.

Advertisements