Friday, 24 June 2011

I have yurt envy

‘Turn here,’ said Trish, gesturing at a gap in the hedge as we were halfway up a one in five track.  ‘Are you sure?’
‘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
‘The soup is a disaster,’ said Hen, shaking her head. ‘Truly, it’s just gakkitygak!’
‘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  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!


zenandtheartoftightropewalking said...

I wanna go live in a yurt now and its all your fault.

Milla said...

I'd wondered where you'd wandered off to and am glad you weren't sobbing on the stairs but snarfing on sorrel instead. I am Queen of Fudge. Really. I make THE Most Delicious Fudge in the world. And so modest with it.
And your scones, and the prize - that wasn't the second prize when only one person (you) entered was it?
Have fun next week chicken!

trisha said...

A great day - I am buying that stove, love outdoor cooking! Have the stove maybe a yurt will follow,
My turn next time and thanks to hen, leo, willow, jane and sp for a magical day , Trishaxx

trisha said...

A great day - I am buying that stove, love outdoor cooking! Have the stove maybe a yurt will follow,
My turn next time and thanks to hen, leo, willow, jane and sp for a magical day , Trishaxx

martine said...

we used to own a yurt ... unfortunately one of the things that my ex now owns by himself (with a new wife who hate camping, ha ha!), they are wonderful dwellings and given the chance I would love to live in one. thanks for the post, love to hear about people really living and doing stuff to make the world a better place.

Carah Boden said...

Sorry to hear you are low, J, but glad you enjoyed the Yurt break. Sounds wonderful and I couldn't agree with you more - the environment is paramount to a sustainable society.

I'm not low at the mo, but I am exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically and am wondering what is going on with the world around me at the moment. Understand the 'no words' thing - I've been paralised for months. They come to me in the middle of the night and then are lost come the morning when the craziness takes over again.

Big hugs.

Mrs Jones said...

We stayed in one a few weeks ago, on Bodmin Moor - it was utterly fab and there's nothing like being stunned at the amount of stars in the Milky Way when viewed at 2am in a coal black sky...

It was here -

Fran Hill said...

The word yurt is such a fabulous one. I want to keep saying it. Yurt yurt yurt yurt yurt.

mum in meltdown said...

that looks fab there....almost had a chance to stay in one for a 'glamping weekend' for a friends birthday until they changed their minds and decided on a Rib Ride up the Thames!!! So want to stay in one of camping anyway :)

Isobel Morrell said...

Golly - you make it all sound so lovely and cosy. Not the first time I've heard that yurts are great. Hope you've returned refreshed and re-invigorated: I've been wondering where you'd got to, too, even though I'm a newbie follower.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Oh I follow hen too and read her blog and love her to bits! I love twitter when it produces this kind of synchronicity! Sounds like exactly what you needed and now I too have deep yurt envy. I think I need to live in one for a while.

Irene said...

I'd love for my life to be so simple as to be able to live in a yurt. I'd think it would be the ultimate simplicity and freedom.

Exmoorjane said...

Oh crikey, Blogger is allowing me to comment so shall try to respond quickly before it changes its mind.

Viv: Yeah, me too.... sorry. :)

Milla: Fudge? LOVE fudge. Make some. Get on M5. Bring it here.

Trish: was fab, wasn't it? Thanks for pulling me out there. :)

Martine: ha! poetic justice in there somewhere but boo hiss to losing custody of the yurt. :(

C: love ya, know that, my kindred spirit... sending you energy vibes and must come visit you on that high hill sometime - maybe with Lulu in tow. ;)

Mrs J: stars...ah stars...we get that here though not as overwhelmingly amazing as when we lived right up on the moor. Can't beat it.

Fran: go on, go for it - yurt, yurt, yurt, yurt, yurty yurt. :)

MiM: hmm, I kinda don't mind camping...used to do a lot of it but really like huge big beds now!

Isobel: oh, bless you...thank you for caring..dear new follower. :)

EM: you've been on my mind - must catch up...shall we run off and live in a yurt? No chickens, mind!

Nora: yup, exactly. I crave simplicity and serenity... :)

F said...

I'm not even sure what a yurt is but I think I might want to live in one. Especially if it was in such a beautiful place.

Unknown said...

OMG, she's living my dream life... I wonder if she wants to swop!

JoJo said...

How wonderful. Hen is such an eath goddess she really is. I'd love to meet her too as her tweets are so interesting. How lovely that you got to spend some time with her I can seriously understand why you might have yurt envy I probably would too.

Great blog by the way x