Saturday, 14 May 2011

Simple is Good

Sometimes things that seem to be, at first, a disadvantage turn out to be the best thing ever.
If the cabin had been near an electricity pilon we might have thought about connecting to the grid and our lives would've taken us down a very different path.  But because this was not an option we started thinking about how we could make a functional little home from home with no mains services.  This led us into the seemingly mysterious world of 'alternative energy'.  We're still learning and experimenting.  The main thing is to keep it simple.  I was surprised to discover how little we actually need, but how difficult it can be to generate it yourself. I wouldn't describe myself as a consumerist but at home I'm surrounded by gadgets and machines, things humming away in the background, led's flashing menacingly.  At the cabin, the most techy thing we have is a whistling kettle - and what a pleasure it is to hear that! Tea anyone?

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Welcome to

Some people dream of having their own little cabin in the woods, a hideaway from modern life. No traffic or other people to ruin things. Somewhere you can be amongst nature and wildlife and enjoy the potential simplicity of life.
Lots of people who visit our cabins all seem to share this dream. Alas, this was not how we saw it at the start. We used to take our cat for walks down the pretty, leafy lane that's near to our house. We loved the tree-lined tunnel that, halfway down, opened out to reveal a tiny lake in the woods, alive with fish, frogs and dragonflies.  Evidence of deer, boars and other mammals was everywhere. The only thing to spoil this idyll was the "bunker".
By chance, we knew the owner & during a conversation it became evident that, due to his age & location, he no longer had any interest in it. A price was agreed & some months later we became the new owners.
The little lake came with just over six acres of woodland, but due to a severe storm a couple of years previously, it had become an inpenetrable mess of fallen trees & brambles, so daunting that we ignored it concentrated instead on the lake and bunker.
The bunker wasn't really that, of course, it was a functional, pent-roofed building, made of concrete blocks, with a heavy steel door and no windows. It was used by old Pierre as somewhere to sit around an old table with a few mates (no women allowed!) after a day's hunting, enjoying bottles of red wine and cognac. It was somewhere to sit out of the rain, that's all. I can't remember who's idea it was to convert it into a cabin but once the idea had taken hold we just couldn't wait to get started.  Luckily, the fallen trees provided us with the raw materials we needed, and some time later the cabin was born.