As I type this, the cranes are migrating north again. It seems like they’ve only just gone south – and there wasn’t really a winter while they were wherever it was they went.

It’s the third year in a row here without snow. Good news for heating costs. Confusing for all animals who don’t have access to the Internet, and can’t come to their own conclusions about whether it’s too warm, why it might be, and what (if anything) they can do about it.

But that’s beside the point.

The point of this post is to reveal one of the works in progress here at écovallée reception. This structure was created a few years ago, to provide shade during the many months when you can sit outside for all three meals a day.

bamboo roof on free gazebo

Following my usual practice, the uprights are acacia from just over there, placed in posts holes that are back-filled with whatever came out of the holes in the first place. Originally, we bought some rolls of that split bamboo you find in DIY shops. They were hugely expensive (€70 for the roof, I think), badly made, and messily fell apart quite quickly. In an effort to tidy the place up a bit, they went to scrap.

Past guests will be familiar with a clump of bamboo next to the entrance to reception. This has been getting increasingly dense, partly because this is where I usually throw the washing-up water. (I know, I should have a forest garden up here. Give it time.) In a moment of clarity, I realised that I could replace the split-bamboo with real bamboo – cut to the right length – and reduce the amount of bamboo taking over that corner of the driveway. In fact, I may end up using the lot.

It’s already looking pretty good. Many thanks to Ben from Quinta do Figo Verde, who helped me get the project started and convinced me to put those cross pieces in. I’m just plodding away, processing and putting up six pieces a day. If the weather’s with me, it should be finished before I need it.