Archive for the ‘Getting Organised’ Category

Thanks to a nice piece of fixing from my lovely brother, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks at the bottom of a field in a little village near Canterbury, right next to the farm buildings where Miles runs his wild food business. Perfect.

Since leaving Easter Wood we have begun searching for other woodland management projects on HelpX and WWoof. Tinker’s Bubble, Landmatters and Steward Community Wood, all in the South West, are making a go of it living communally and legally on the land. I feel a strong pull in this direction, and want to experience for myself what this kind of lifestyle involves.

Mostly, I am desperate to be in a more natural environment for a while. Something in me let go a little bit when we arrived up at Easter Wood, and there was a thrill at having somehow put a piece back in its place. Beautiful and idyllic as Chartham is, civilisation of any kind is beginning to grate.  Too many years in London and the overpopulated South East has left my senses clamouring for a different kind of rhythm.

Unfortunately it seems pretty clear that low-impact woodland settlement and large live-in horseboxes are not terribly compatible: access routes and planning agreements are not conducive and I can understand why. To visit, we will need to abandon our home and dwell on the earth, living in benders, yurts and cabins, sharing meals and living side by side with other volunteers and permanent inhabitants.  This will be a beautiful thing to do; it also means being transient again and leaving the comfort and familiarity of our new home for a while, something we have done plenty of in the last 18 months.

One solution would be to swap the truck for a yurt and van, or at least a bow top wagon. They are cosy and neat and beautiful and reasonably portable, and are ideal for woodland living. We considered a yurt last year. We also considered full blown Wwoofing, ie staying in the accomodation provided. However, we had done enough travelling in India, and again on our arrival in the UK and were desperate for a bit of Home.

Feeling the need to arrive and depart with a minimum of fuss with Rowan in tow, we eventually settled for the horsebox. It allows us to experience different environments whilst reducing the degree of change associated with each move. Of course, something considerably smaller would also do the trick, and would present less of a challenge to park, only now we are in the unfortunate position of becoming attached to our lovely home!

We have put woodland projects on hold for now, until we can find somewhere to leave the truck while we go and visit. We will be heading to Middle Ruckham Farm in Devon, to help them build fences, look after their gardens and to spend more time mulling and incubating, and learning new skills. As we develop our own rhythm of moving and staying still,  and become clear about our long term plans a yurt may become a more viable option. For now, while so many things are uncertain, it is good to keep our lovely cabin on wheels.


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Keep in the loop!

This wonderful software will send you my posts by email. I dont think it does anything else – no spam etc.  You get to be lazy and I get to be read.

Just click on the subscribe now button and wham in your email address….

Crisp air and fresh smells


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I am just about to finish my NLP practitioner course – integration weekend coming up at the end of this week – and have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to build up some business. I want to develop an online presence, with the intention of offering my services over the phone, skype, or email, so that I can keep travelling and still have work. I’ve been thinking alot about this blog, how I want to use it, and what to call it. Skinawit is great – but a bit obscure?

I love thehandmadelife, as its a big nod to Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ story of the Red Shoes (Women Who Run With The Wolves) which talks about the importance of creating a life by hand and making it just right for you, even if it looks a bit ramshackle to outside eyes! There are two blogs and one website (uk based) with the same name, but they all have a strong crafts focus. Not sure what to do – thehandmadelife sums up what I’m about so well, so much “life coaching” etc is just so clinical and bland, I want something richer and with a strongly creative (in the widest sense) flavour. How much does it matter if there are similar domain names out there? Watch this space, and feel free to offer your thoughts!

Drinking coffee after a two week break. Wow, rocket fuel…

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Life is moving on. We have spoken to our current hosts and, although we had been hoping to stay on for a while, we need to pick up our skirts again in order to protect their upcoming planning applications.

It’s a bit sad, as the family is lovely and there are some interesting people staying here, two young families, one staying in the house and one in a converted minibus with whom we’ve struck up quite a friendship. Its good to feel there are so many friends out there waiting to be made. And that there are other people looking for a different life, with the courage to step out of the norm, with their kids, in order to build the future that feels right. Its good to feel we are in good company!

Still, moving on promises new horizons, and keeps us going on our journey. The family here hosts volunteers from http://www.helpx.net and we have just registered with them and with Wwoofing, so what with that and visiting communities we should have plenty to keep us busy, I’ve already seen a few interesting looking projects.

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2009 was quite something. We started the year off in Goa, contemplating plans and weighing up the pro’s and cons of living in a vehicle, doing the festivals…We ended it in sub-zero temperatures and snow, wrapped up cosy and warm in our converted horsebox, a dream come true, parked up on an organic strawberry farm in Sussex. (well, almost: in fact the new year was spent shivering and snowed in at my parents drafty cottage in suffolk. such is life.) It was a year of  talking, and thinking, and dreaming, and talking, and making things happen, slowly and slowly getting where we want to be: at turns painful and incredibly satisfying,  we are still at it and getting better at thinking about what we want and making it a reality. When you take away the structure of work, and of big domestic overheads, when these no longer dictate to you a pattern for your life… Its gorgeous, and liberating, and of course romantic.  But its all up to you. There is no more “if only”: you get to decide what is really important, and if you get it wrong – or right! – you take full responsibility. Life has turned into a constant feedback loop.

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hello world

In the spirit of assuming that more technology and widgets will of course make me a better more organised person, here is my blog. Someone told me that the thoughts i have may be interesting to a wider audience than the pot bubbling on my stove…. we’ll see.  I suspect there will be some experimenting re style I hope, dear reader, you will bear with your author’s imperfections and keep faith, with me, that there is some quality to come.

Pull up a chair, I’ve lit the fire.

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