Saturday, 1 February 2014

world's worst blogger

I'm so crap at blogging,
 "To document our journey..a place to share and reflect...."
Ha !
In all fairness it wasn't always easy to have a decent online connection on the road, but, there were reasons behind my inability to blog.
I'll explain myself later.
Firstly, let me cut a long story short.

Woofing was not working out for us - we were eager to look for our land and felt stifled hanging around on other people' was the wrong time for us.

However, living in the van during summer was perfect for a toddler๐Ÿ˜€

After doing a Goldilocks Tour de France  ( it's too hot, it's too expensive, too many mosquitoes, not enough trees), we parked up semi permantly in the Limousin and began to seriously search for land.  It's bizarre but this region resonanted with us and so did the land prices.

Every potential place we looked at was amazing but didn't quite meet our criteria (small dwelling to renovate, 5 acres of land and a small wood).
Until we were shown Puy Belier.  The estate agent was totally apathetic about the place assuming we'd agree that the house was too small and the location too rural ...... The extra two acres made up for it ๐Ÿ˜€

Things became scary as signings and waiting on the UK sale began.
We waited in limbo for 3 months.  (If you want to buy land here it gets offered to farmers as a priority - this takes 3 months).

Marlo got bigger.

Then in the new year we moved into our very own Victorian Farm.

 So, why was I unable to blog during our journey ??

A strange mix of genuinely thinking people aren't interested in my shit and of holding a kind of superstitious belief that if I was to make all of our business may affect the course of events ๐Ÿ˜•

So, here we are on our own little bit of France.

 Photos to follow once I figure it out...but here's a link for now

Saturday, 24 August 2013

solar powered washing machine -cloth nappy face

I've always used cloth nappies with Marlo - cheap, easy and cute
(blatantly trying to avoid the inward groan when one puts forward any hint of an ecological benefit........oops).

So, how could we make that work whilst living on the road in a riot van.....
Even though some might say I'm a bit of a hippy, I simply couldn't see myself hand washing shitty nappies every few days.

After we fitted the 250 watt solar panel and saw how well it charged, even in UK cloud cover, it was obvious that we would have an excess of free power.
So, it followed that the solution to our potential pooey nappy problem was to  buy a miniature washing machine and find a space for it in the boot.

It has worked out really well.....


Where there's a will,
 there's a way,  hey Tash ;-)  xx

Friday, 31 May 2013

Coming Home

I need to get into the habit of making time to post on the blog and was sure that my next post was to be about putting the solar panel on the van.  However, as always we are a tad behind schedule and I've been twiddling my thumbs wondering what to write about.

Then yesterday Marlo did quite a groovy thing so instead of forgetting about it, I've chosen to commit it to blogdom.

Like all 14 month old tiddly toddlers, the dude is unstoppable.  I'd chosen to meet a friend in the local library, then immediately regretted it as Marlo began charging around and rearranging the shelves. 

After the mandatory disappearing act, Marlo reappeared wearing his "accomplishment grin" and handed me a book.   I turned it over in my hands and staring back at me was the title " COMING HOME," (ahem, the name of this blog).  I was so pleased at the majik of the moment -"How did he know?" 

Yes, yes..I am well aware that the probability of such an event happening is easily calculated and that random events are happening all the time - it's just me adding meaning to it.

However, even with the cold shower of rationality, it's still  a pretty cool memory.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Project Riot Van

Whilst I've been nursing Marlo's first year away - Steve has been creating our home for the next piece of our puzzle.

I am no stranger to simple living in tiny spaces, having spent a considerable time living off grid  in various abodes in various countries.
This piccy was our last home before we went mainstream in Penkhull for the

last couple of years in order to play out stage 3 our project.

It's been fantastic not worrying about 
being moved on, having running water and a place to store ice cream....but.... I miss being immersed in the rhythms of nature, cooking our food on fire and the daily chores of outdoor living.  I also miss travelling.

Those of you new to our lives may be unaware of our ongoing project of buying our own land/smallholding.  We have a few ideas bubbling away about what we'd like to do when we get settled - but that's for another post. Sometimes I'm unsure whether to be explicit about our goals because of the nature of life and plans - i don't want to feel too hemmed in by it all.... but, then again, the whole point of writing this blog is to have a place to document, share and reflect on our journey. 

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - well, Mr Tzu, the last three years have been all about steps.... and the next one towards our goal is a sensibly paced wreckie around Europe, sizing up potential places where we can start growing some roots.   

Having being a global freeloader for many years, I've found that the best way to get a feel for a place is to stay with local families and since we are looking to set up a small- holding, then what better than to stay with those that already have done.  WWOOFing ( seems like a good solution for us as we want to set up camp somewhere rural with other families and have space and animals around for Marlo.  I'm hoping to learn more about organic veg gardening/permaculture and straw bale construction so have connected with some WWOOF hosts which allow for these opportunities.  In return, we offer our equestrian, construction, childcare, cooking and woodworking skills.  Watch this space !

So, back to Project Riot Van.  A week after Marlo was born Steve went off to Scotland to bring back a van we had bought on ebay.
An ex police riot van which was just begging to be hippified and given an entirely new and groovy role in life. 

After ripping everything out Steve began the studwork, putting a fridge in etc.  We decided on a fixed double bed at the back of the van and to omit a toilet in favour of a biotoi and a shewee with hose attachment!!! (I'll let you do your own research on that).
We raised the bed and put it as close to the back door as possible, building the rest of the furniture around it.  There's heaps of room under the bed for outdoor cooking stuff etc and the bikes will go on the back doors.  I've always had woodburners in my living quarters- whether in a ger or a van but this time we've made the decision to keep the German heating system in favour of a burner because

 a) Stack pipes always attract unwanted attention 
 b) Burners do get MESSY - everything gets a film of dust
 c) Don't want to worry about collecting/storing wood

  The prison bar things have been taken off

The pantry store

                                The kitchen

We're both really crap at furnishings and after several stressy trips to the material shop for offcuts, we settled on getting the first cheapy bits we happened upon for curtains.   Well, orange certainly brightens up a small space.

We painted chicken wire and latches black to funk up the cupboards. The left side is finished but there is a little more to do on the kitchen and we are just waiting for delivery of the solar panel for the roof.

Hopefully, the next post will be the one to see 'Project Riot Van' completed.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Marrow Chutney

 I have been in receipt of several bags of marrows from a friend and wanted to do something other than stuffing and roasting, i've been experimenting with some old school chutney recipes.

This following chutney recipe is a winner to jazz up your cheese and crackers....

For about 4 or 5 jars you'll need,

4lb (1.8kg) prepared marrows, chopped
1/2lb (225g) onions, chopped
1 1/2lbs (675g)  soft brown sugar
1oz (28g) ground ginger
1oz (28g) mustard powder
1pt (570ml) malt vinegar


  • Peel and chop (I slice around all the centre and chuck the seedy bit), then sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in a colander or something similar (I leave mine overnight but most moisture comes out in the first hour or so).
  • Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer until everything is  a soft pulp and the liquid reduced so that it is not too runny (anything from 30 mins to 1hr). Bottle while still hot and cover with airtight lids.   

It's so easy to make and everyone in the family will be getting a jar for christmas.  It works great with a really mature cheddar, but its sweetness is also fitting for a brie or stilton.   You can even add a few spoons of this chutney to a stew for a hint of something different.