Friday, September 18, 2009

Cheeky Bunnies and the Monk

Happy Friday all. Lost my mobile at the weekend again so no new videos unfortunately. Have to buy another. Pants.

The last fortnight has flown by. My old friend Andrew Brocklesby came to bless us (I know you were only a monk for 3 months but that still counts for me) and while he was here the kids bought 2 rabbits - Choco (aka Houdini cos he can escape from any place any time) a boy for Josh and Biscuit seen in the photo with Eli). What cheeky wee things they are, getting us running round the place fixing them up nice and sweet in new accommodation and menus. Unbelievable. Kids and Vonnie have gone all soft on them. Bless. They are very cute bunnies.

Enjoyed the pondering with Andrew B. Trying to make sense of what is happening back in the land of the English and beyond - jobs, relationships, the police state, oil, war, money; anxieties I'd begun to forget about and which for some can, and unfortunately do, cause immense despair. For us London was often a beautiful place to work and grow and play. But we know it all takes its toll in ways hard to see while you're still in it. From out here in the wilderness the perspective changes. I will miss our chats Andrew. See you for the olive harvest later.

After the foray into the forest above our houses last week (see last entry's video of the monkeys) we towed and carried and rolled then stripped the eucalyptus beams of their bark, cut to size and hoisted them with brute force up onto top of the house, fixing them in place to form a strong pretty wooden structure with some cool bolts made to order and fitted with the help of the local ironmonger. Pictures to come next week.

That was the last bit of work from João's sons Filipe and George, who have now left for a few month's financially rewarding but back breaking work in France picking apples and pears. Until Christmas. We already miss them. And feel a little of that very Portuguese sense of Saudades, translated badly as longing or yearning or missing, but expressed so perfectly in the music of Fado. Hear some Mariza if you haven't yet had the chance.

Apart from the roof structure, which has been such a relief to see it finally in place, 4 new stone masons came to start work this week, another João, his taller gentle brother Paulo, a singing Mario and the Velhote - 'the old guy'. Quite a team. In just 2 days they opened up 2 huge holes in the basement kitchen wall (unreal how the gazzillions of stones above in the wall didn't budge an inch) and built back up the side walls of the new doorways in stone and clay, beautifully, sprinkling their artistic work with little purple chinks of slate. Next week they start the big job of raising the walls of the kids house. We know how they will do this. Because we know how to do it ourselves. It's just with Filipe and George gone and the kids now at school (they'll tell you about their first week back won't you sprogs?!) and me probably returning to teach in the afternoons next week, River and I felt it was probably a good idea to get some skilled labour in for a couple of weeks, get the kids walls up and then put on their roof straight after we put on ours before the big Autumn Rains. Well that's the logic, and so far so good. Incredible watching artisans at work. And while we're watching, we're learning. And that's really what it's all about, init folks?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Monkeys dancing in the forest. A rare glimpse.

Another awesome week at work folks. Lots of fun. especially as we are beginning to move into a period of working with wood rather than stone and clay. Beams for the roof. Pillars for the verandas. And then on to the floors. A couple of videos this week. A long interview with me and Vonnie at the end. We're trying to record somehow how we're seeing and feeling things right now, for our benefit mainly. But hope you like. Especially the monkey one.

Andrew Brocklesby, a friend of mine back from university days, is staying with us at the moment. More hands. More stones carried. More legs to bear the weight of lugging 3 eleven metre beams down from the forest. And nice to have him here too. London's beginning to drop away from his shoulders. Bless.

Bought two rabbits with the kids today. Computer or playstation was not touched all day. Biscuit and Flopsy are already contributing nicely to the compost pile. Little shitters.

Tommorrow we're back to the work of love that is our house. Can't wait. Ta ta.

Lime brace...



Saturday morning reflections on the work...