SECRET THE FIRST
A few months ago, I learnt something about those moving overseas-type TV shows. And the thing I learnt was this: They’re filmed in reverse.

(Don’t worry TV people, hardly anyone reads this blog.)

Essentially, the programme makers find someone who’s recently moved into a new property; films them there, having settled in; films them looking at other properties in the same price bracket; films them umming and ahhing; films them in England, going about their previous life; and cuts it all together backwards.

Makes perfect sense – you could probably do the whole show in a weekend.

(This is where any TV producer reading this spits their extra-shot latte over their keyboard, exclaiming: ‘A weekend! I haven’t had that much time since the 80s!’)

It amuses me to wonder how often the TV companies find more attractive properties than the one people actually chose – look in their eyes next time you see a show like this. I would, but we don’t have a TV any more.

SECRET THE SECOND
Today, I learnt something about the newspaper game. And that thing is: They make it up as they go along.

Some Sundays past, a journalist from an English language newspaper in France asked to come round for a chat. They were writing about yurts and wanted to talk to someone who lives in one, and has come up against some of the bureaucratic issues involved.

So I chatted. We chatted. We drank elderflower champagne. It was nice.

Today, my inbox shows me a pdf of the article that’s already gone to press. Not the discreet, background information, no-names jobbie I was expecting. No. Quite a large piece with two photos of me (including one with Her Outdoors), riddled with inaccuracies and generously garnished with words I never said. Or more accurately, words I never said in that order.

I have to say, it doesn’t amuse me very much at all.

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A couple of weeks ago, Her Outdoors got a phone call from a journalist: Would we be interested in being featured in The Observer Magazine on July 18th as one of Europe’s new eco campsites?

HER OUTDOORS: Um… Yes. (If we had money, we’d be advertising in The Observer fordeityssake. If we were going to choose one paper, that would be it.)

JOURNO: Could you email a few photos over tomorrow?

HER OUTDOORS: Er… OK.

Cue montage of scenes the following day, rushing around, spreading sand, weaving wood, moving and erecting the yurt, tweaking the porch, strimming, tidying, putting the cover on, then shooting the pic two posts below, which hides the fact that the wall wasn’t even roped all the way round, the kitchen wasn’t plumbed in and the compost toilet interior hadn’t been built.

We sent the shots over.

I figured I’d have this week to take more shots, add them to the écovallée website, post them on greentraveller.co.uk (who’ve very kindly done a deal with us) and have everything ready for the suspected deluge of interest on the back of said article.

But I was wrong. The deluge started last Sunday, when the article actually ran.

As of this moment, we have one week available until mid September (July 31st to August 7th if you’re interested.) I know (aah bless, he’s fallen in love with the italics button) that wouldn’t have happened off the back of an ad – whatever the size. I am stunned, grateful, excited and a little scared (Her Outdoors will be pleased by this – she says my blog lacks emotional content).

It’s a powerful thing, the press. And in the case of this particular newspaper, which I’ve read has been under threat over the last few months, long may it continue to wield it.

(Oh, I don’t know if it got lost in the ether, but they didn’t use the photo; just grabbed one from the website. Never mind, it meant I had time to plumb in the kitchen and build the toilet before our first guests arrived. Which is a relief.)

UPDATE: That week’s gone now, sorry. No room in the yurt now until mid September – and two people have asked about then!