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Last chance to get lucky ‘Win a week stay”

We are giving away a free week long holiday in one of our yurts in conjunction with The France Show where we exhibited last month.  The competition closes on the 28th February so click on the link now to enter.

Hint: if you don’t know the answer to the qualifying question take a look at the page “Yurts” on our website!

Why not like us on Facebook at the same time so that we can tell you when we have any special offers or let you know about our next competition!  You’ll also be able to see lots of new and lovely photos of each of our yurt retreats there too. Our facebook page is here.

Good luck to everyone who enters, you have nothing to lose!

La Cabushe Mark II

Our lovely friends from Purton, Sophie and Alex left yesterday to get back into their normal lives, Sophie as the wonderful caterer for the rich and famous and Alex as a splendid organic veg grower and master wood carver! They have left behind a beautiful yurt which will be the new La Cabushe in a couple of weeks – it is now down to me to get on with the sewing!

Alex carving the Quirky Camping sign

Sophie making the yurt walls

It is always a bit of a daunting task to start a new cover, I fetch my roll of very heavy canvas (all 80 metres of it, very heavy!), my scissors, chalk and measuring stick and then I just stare at it all on the table and I wonder how on earth I am going to do the wooden frame, always so carefully crafted, justice! But as soon as I get started it is really enjoyable and very satisfying – each time I make a cover I find better ways to finish it to ensure a tailored fit – I’m pretty fussy and have to get it to sit perfectly along the contours of it’s frame, so it is quite a challenge as no two yurts are the same as you can imagine when you are working with natural wood in the round.

Alex’ door and Sophie door furniture

La Cabushe’s new tono

But that’s a job for next week (or maybe the one after) there’s plenty of time for thinking about it (ha ha!) as La Cabushe doesn’t open for another three weeks!

In the meantime we just want to say a massive thank you to Sophie and Alex and Jen a friend of theirs who also helped in the initial stages of the yurt build, for all of their hardwork – they battled the elements to continue working on the yurt through the worst of the winter, and have made an amazing yurt to be very proud of amongst lots of other things.

C’est la Saison d’Amour

1st of October, Chilli Joe our handsome Jacob ram was introduced to the ewes, it’s the season of love in a Barry White kind of way for our flock. It’s the first time Joe has had to “work” so we are hoping he’s not a Jaffa (seedless), always a risk when you are only using one ram. The gestation period for a ewe is approximately 147 days (same as the highest break in snooker), so we need to be looking at the ewes closely towards the end of Feb.

All the yurts except the Bodgers’ have now been taken down, cleaned and put away safely in the barn for the winter. Our lovely new neighbours at the bottom of the hill helped us to pack away the decks, they’re the only things we need help with as they are cumbersome and heavy, so thanks guys! The Bodgers yurt will have to come down later so we need to make some space in the barn. I’ve done my best to make all the water pipes safe from the cold by draining down the system and lagging the brass fittings, last winter we lost a lot of the brass connectors to frost in our harshest winter here to date.

We’ve been busy bottling, pickling and preserving anything we can from the kitchen garden before it’s too late. The chillis seem to have done well so that should keep us warm on those cold winter evenings!!

We managed to get down to the roundhouse for our halloween celebrations – it was very beautiful down there and it’s nice to reflect and raise and glass to all the people who helped to create this lovely space, that period of time will always be a special memory for me. Thanks again xx

Back on the Craft Show Circuit

Earlier in the summer I was invited to demonstrate at the Abbaye de Boschaud near Villars for the Fête “Flânerie Artistique”.  This has become quite a well known and well attended show in the area and I was fortunate enough to be able to set up my stand in the old abbey. I have to say that in my time I have given demonstrations in some fairly amazing places around the U.K. (stately homes, palaces, castles, including Windsor Castle, and some beautiful woodlands too) as part of my work with Living Heritage and the RHS in the 1990’s but this place was really special. I set up beneath the partly fallen down dome of the Abbey and hoped that none of the precariously positioned cut stone would cut short my demonstration!

Matt demonstrating at the Abbaye de Boschaud

It was a very hot, sunny day which was only intensified by being within the white stone walls of the Abbey and this may have been the reason why nobody stayed around long enough to buy anything! Although this was possibly one of the worst shows I have done financially, it was one of the most rewarding emotionally!

Whilst demonstrating in front of crowds, sometimes large, in the U.K. it was very rare that I ever heard a question or comment that I hadn’t heard several times before. I always had a stash of comical, witty responses that would generally make everyone laugh, I went with the crafty idea that if they were smiling and happy they would be more inclined to put their hands in their pockets!! (I’d worked with a few knarly old timers who taught me some tricks of the trade!)

     Matt chatting up the locals

At the Abbaye I recognised many of the same old questions and comments in french and was able to respond, I got them chuckling and created some banter which was great. Obviously there is still work to be done as nobody was parting with any cash. I’m hoping that had more to do with the economic crisis than it had to do with my french or the quality of my work, but it was a start!!

The experience has re-invigorated me to do more weaving which is what got me started on this journey all those years ago. Happy Times!

Make Hay While the Weather’s Fine

No time to stop and stare, no sooner than the Roundhouse and Bodgers’ Yurt were up and running we had to crank up all of the machinery related to haymaking.

Acrobat / Les Soleils

There is a farmer at the bottom of the valley who I’ve always privately been amused by for being the worst farmer in the shire (it’s a farmers’ thing!). He baled his first cut of hay about five weeks ago, I’m just doing mine, so what does that say about me!! It takes a long time for an incomer to be accepted into a farming community and I thought I was making good progress, even as a beardy weardy eco warrior, but this has put me back ten years!!

We have had a much bigger crop of hay this year so the sheep should be fine this winter and I managed to bale up some straw directly behind the combine (for the price of half a butchered lamb), so all bases have been covered.

View from just above La Cabushe Yurt

Everybody on the island is eating well, with plenty of pork and lamb in the freezer, Wendy’s homemade pork sausages have been a big BBQ hit with friends, family and yurties alike, good old Itchy and Scratchy! We also have eggs popping out of chickens like there’s no tomorrow, not to mention the kitchen garden which is producing more salad, fruit and veg than we can shake a stick at, there will be some bottling and preserving to do. Make hay while the weather is fine!!

One of Sam’s spectacular summer salads
Antje busy in the kitchen garden