March 2015


At the end of last week, I was invited for a drink or few at the newly refurbished bar/tabac in nearby Port de Couze.

(It’s just next to the organic local produce shop and is run by the woman who created the “La Petite Cuillere” café in Lalinde, across the street from the wine shop. She’s done a great job – again – and I’d recommend a visit. There’s good beer and wine, board games and tasteful decor. But that’s not what this post is about.)

I saw a few familiar faces, but I prefer meeting new people and fell into conversation with Les. It turns out, the soirée in the bar was all about him – to raise awareness of his upcoming charity bike ride. None of this John o’ Groats to Land’s End rubbish – he’s cycling the length of Europe, from Gibraltar to Nordkapp. On his own. Not bad for a 60-something ex-graphic designer, a few years after having heart surgery.

He’s leaving Gibraltar on April 26th and doing this:

TTTT-Map

If that’s not worth a mention on this blog – and an inbound link to his site (toptotoetour.com) – I don’t know what is. If I had any money, I’d help him reach his £65,000 target. But, as regular readers will know, I don’t. So instead, I’ll encourage you to part with some of the folding stuff and follow him. (If you’re rich, it’s probably tax deductible. If you’re very rich, what are you doing holding onto all of that cash? Please feed it back into the economy so other people don’t have to worry so much. Honestly.)

You may have read this post a while ago, when I introduced you to my friend and former colleague Phyllis Foundis. At the time, this writer/performer was trying to crowdsource funds to create a TV show in her native Australialand.

If you did part with some folding money, you can give yourself a big fat pat on the back for sponsoring a winner. After making her show and getting it shown locally, then nationally, some weeks ago she picked up some kind of well-deserved awesomeness award. And just a couple of days ago, she was awarded “Most Outstanding New Talent 2015” at the Astras. Which had a red carpet and everything.

Here’s a picture of her and the glassware. You’ll be seeing more of her in the future…

phyllis foundis

I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I just liked the sound of that headline.

The last few days have been a bit intense. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I went and helped someone put up a 120-metre fence, through our local alternative-currency initiative. This was the first time I’d agreed to do what is effectively a time swap and the benefits were manyfold, including: meeting a likeminded, friendly, interesting and enthusiastic person; eating very well at lunch; learning some new (fencing-related) vocabulary; and using a post rammer like this (image used without permission):

post rammer

After 60 acacia posts rammed on Tuesday, I was more tired than I’d been for months. On Wednesday, we did the strainer posts and some fencing, and I ended up banking the equivalent of 11 hours of work to draw on later. Although you can’t currently eat time banked in this way, I know this will be Incredibly Useful Later.

Yesterday, with rain forecast for today, I took up the floor of one of the 18-foot yurts because the platform needs moving a couple of feet out from the hillside. (This is all part of our theme of doing everything at least twice.) Here’s a very behind-the-scenes shot of the floor under cover in the outdoor kitchen, with the platform up there beyond.

yurt camp

If you work in an office and get paid for being there, you may now enjoy a moment of smugness.

I’ve been trying to get some video of migrating cranes for years. Last year they always seemed to be flying over at night, but this week they were showing off in their thousands.

When you hear this sound, you know it’s either the start of spring or winter. (Although the first time I heard it, I thought hundreds of turkeys were on the loose in the woods – until I looked up.)

The last of the cold nights is behind us, the temperature outside will hit about 18C today and there’s a HUGE amount to do before we open in – ARGH – less than two months!