|Wrens are nestbuilding in the woodshed|
Chris and Marta have also essentially been caravan dwellers for the past year or so, but last summer they splashed out a ridiculously small amount of money on three-quarters of an acre of amenity land in the Haute-Vienne region of France. They have a secluded field with a well, a small wooden cabin and some trees. Amenity land isn't intended for full-time inhabitation so this is ideal as a stopping-point where they can spend a few weeks between journeys to pastures new.
The cabin was in surprisingly good condition as the land
The well was dry as it had been neglected for so long, but is now working again by way of a 12v pump, just like we have into our aquaroll, which currently fills small containers but will eventually be piped directly to two huge water butts. These butts collect rainwater too and provide enough water for washing people and clothing - everything except drinking water.
All their electrical power comes from a solar panel that
|The water heater|
I love their quirky decor touches such as a hand-painted umbrella stand and a found Monark chain guard on the wall. It's lovely to be able to sit outside in the evenings at this time of year watching blue and great tits darting to the bird feeders. Marta and I were even lucky enough to observe the wren harvesting moss to line its nest. Of course, it vanished as soon as Marta went for her camera! Last night there was a thunderstorm with torrential rain at times and huge lightning bolts, and previously the sky was so clear (with almost no light pollution) that we saw more stars at one time than we could remember seeing in years.
We are so impressed with everything Chris and Marta have achieved in the short time they have been on their land. Despite owning it for nearly a year, they have only stayed there in bursts of a few weeks at a time, yet it has a cosy, homely vibe. Dave and I have talked, vaguely, about a similar setup for ourselves, but both know that we probably aren't tough enough to cope as happily. We might have been sitting outside until gone midnight for the past couple of evenings, but we like our switch-off-and-on-able caravan heating overnight. And we wouldn't want to have to go wood-gathering in the rain!
|Dave and Chris in the cabin porch|