‘I think so.’
I swung the car onto a field and we bumped over a wide expanse of grass.
‘There it is!’
And there it was. A small yurt set on top of the world. Next to it a wooden structure, topped with tarpaulin, open on two sides, housing an outdoor kitchen.
It's home for Hen and Leo, plus Willow the border collie. And it’s beautiful.I’d been in my pit of course. Hadn’t really felt like doing anything much except curl up in a ball and cry but this had been planned weeks back and Trish doesn’t take prisoners. She’s bootcamp mama, the woman partly responsible for my rippling quads and newly toned shoulders – she shouts, I just meekly obey. So I went and it was what I needed.
As we got out of the car, Hen came over, Willow bounding at her heels, and hugged Trish and hugged me. The SP wriggled out and just fell on Willow in complete delight.
|the stove - pic by Hen|
‘Hey, that’s okay. The scones didn’t work out either,’ I said.
Usually I make great scones. They’re my one area of culinary expertise. Sod it, I’ve even won a prize for the darn things. Except now, it seems, even that minor domestic skill has vanished. I’d planned on taking some home-made japonica jelly to go with them but when I pulled down the last jar it had developed a nice furry crust of mould. So it was fudge from the Tantivy instead.
Hen is one of those people who are just so *so* fabulous. Again, I *met* her on Twitter (so, see, it's not all bad!) - in fact you should follow her...here. Sustainable land management is her “big thing”. She lives in a yurt on the edge of an ancient oak woodland on Exmoor where she cares for 47 acres of oak wood, river and meadow. Her aim is to help the woodland recover from years of over-grazing and lack of management. She is also hoping to plant 6,000 trees to ‘fill in a break in a woodland corridor that runs from the North Devon coast, along a river to the moor.’
She showed us around the land and it’s heartbreakingly beautiful. She gave us wood sorrel to nibble – ‘just like biting into a Granny Smith’ and pointed out the areas she’d cleared and where she wanted to plant trees and it made me think all over again that the environment has to our prime concern really. Isn’t it obvious? We can have the best society in the world but if we don’t have a world in which to live it… Or am I being stupid?
We walked back, with Willow and the SP playing all the way, and sat down on stools that Leo had made from greenwood, and ate our soup (which was delicious actually) outside and nibbled fudge and drank mugs of tea. Then it started to rain so we went into the yurt and, by god, it was warm and cosy and lovely.
And we talked about trees and baskets and long bows and deer and we talked about yurts and life in Mongolia, and about people and how they live on landscapes – either marching with clunky boots or dancing with light bare feet, all the while the dogs playing at our feet.
Anyhow. I’m not really full of words right now so all I can do is suggest you take a walk to Hen’s website and blog and read about her vision. And think about dancing rather than clod-hopping.Let me give you one small taster from her blog:
"You've met Old Bert before. He is my favourite tree. Bert is completely hollow inside (but he still has a huge heart), and he's so old he has lots of plants living on him. There's Old Ivy, who loves him so much that fifty years ago she wrapped herself around him and never let go, there's young Campion and Wood sorrel, and many old friend Lichens and Moss. He's a house for lots of little mammals, bugs and birds too. He doesn't mind though, Old Bert loves the company and life by the river is good."
|Old Bert (pic by Hen)|
Life by the river does look good, to be sure. Surrounded by trees, not people. So does life in an isolated yurt, to be honest. I have yurt envy. Deep deep deep yurt envy.
|actually this looks like a good spot for me!|