It’s been a shockingly long time since I last posted an entry here. That’s because I’ve been waiting. We’ve been pregnant, gathering the team and preparing the plans. The time limit on the mortgage is about to run out, and at last we can start to spend it. Nearly two years after coming to this land.
Over the winter we started to meet regularly with the architect – Herwig van Soom, well-known in the eco-building community in this neck of the woods – introduced to us by Martin.
Our dreams started to unfold, guided by Herwig’s confident and experienced hand. One day I woke up and realised that here was the vision I had been holding in my mind since the first day I visited this place, flowing out of the designer’s pen of the architect – with no prompting from my part. It was Ria who insisted that we want to live in relationship with the garden. And that brought us the decision to build with strawbales in what is now the workshop where we keep our tools. In the end, the interior that Chris and Ria have been living in until now will be the last to change.
It’s taken the time it’s taken for us to be ready for The Build, and now it is with us! Our principle is to do what we can ourselves, with the energy of family and friends. Guido and his team – also introduced to us by dear Martin – are doing the work we cannot do for ourselves, with their beautiful ethos of eco-conscious building and their flexibility and openness to the spirit of this place.
So, in that spirit, on Monday 26 April, with the help of Martin, Ria’s youngest son Toon and his girlfriend Sophie, Chris, Ria and I lovingly dismanted the roof of the main house. I hasten to add that I was only present for a few hours in the afternoon, so my physical contribution was pretty pathetic, but even I felt my abdominal muscles the morning after! It was grand to pitch in together and do what needed to be done. It felt joyful and organic and REAL. And of course, no Work Day is complete without some delicious concoction from Chris’s kitchen. This time we sat in the sun under the old walnut tree and demolished a freshly baked blueberry tart. Now you see it, now you don’t!
This work is changing our home in very deep ways. It has taken this long, partly, because the ‘house spirit’ was so simple and so withdrawn. It has needed this time to watch and wait and sense and grow in complexity with everything that we have brought into its field in the nearly 2 years we have been present with this place.
Ria and Chris have to live with the dust and the chaos of a constantly reconfiguring environment, clambering around scaffolding front and back to get into the house, shaking grit out of their sheets before going to bed at night. In the mean time the life of the garden and the land goes on apace, and that is the subject of another post!